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Veiled Threat(Rylee Adamson #7)(9) by Shannon Mayer

Liam didn’t offer his own hand back. “Missing appendages don’t make me trust you any more, they only make me think you’re weaker than you look.”

Their eyes met and Liam expected a challenge, but Erik didn’t seem to be looking for a fight. His eyes were full of questions, but no direct challenge.

“Well, goodnight then, Liam.” Erik walked past him toward the guest room down the hall. Liam watched him go and waited until the sound of the bedroom door clicking shut reached his ears.

His voice low, he stared at the closed door. “I don’t trust you. But I think we’re going to have to.”

Moving quietly, he slipped back into his own bedroom and shut the door. Rylee still slept, motionless on her belly, her breathing deep and even. Lying beside her, he pulled her gently into his arms. She murmured something unintelligible and buried her face against his chest. The long gold chain holding the pendant he’d given her when they’d bound their lives together warmed between them, reminding him of the promises he’d made.

Holding her tight, he closed his eyes and let out a long, slow breath.

Keeping Rylee safe, and in one piece, was his number one goal. And his wolf acknowledged, as he did, that if Erik was telling the truth, the Slayer would be able to help them do just that.

Of course, that was assuming Rylee wouldn’t take exception to Erik bringing in Ophelia, or trying to tell her how to kill demons.

Another long, low breath escaped him. Yeah, it was going to be an interesting morning.

Waking up to a dragon roaring inside my skull was not what I’d call pleasant. I was on my feet and scrambling for clothes before I was fully awake.

“What the fuck is going on, Blaz?” I grabbed my new leather jacket as I bolted for the back door. I was still breaking it in; it only had a few stitched up spots from our stay in Europe, and the leather was still a bit squeaky. When I reached the door, a burst of cold air wrapped around my neck and face as Erik stepped in, blocking my path. He held up his hands, palms facing me. I hadn’t noticed before that he was missing fingers on his right hand. Not that it mattered.

“Let them work it out. A tiff like this always looks worse than it is.”

I narrowed my eyes. “Let who work it out?”

He tipped his head toward the window over the sink and I peered out. On the far side of the barn, in the fields, was a red and silver dragon beating the shit out of Blaz. Her wings buffeted him as she snaked her head forward, biting his shoulders.

“That doesn’t look like they’re working it out.” And just how was I going to stop her? I mean really?

“You want get between them?” Erik laughed at me and headed to the coffee pot. He was wearing the same clothes as when we’d met him, minus the long fur-trimmed cloak.

“Not really. She won’t kill him?”

“Nah, she’s just pissed he’s avoided her for so long.” He sat with a thump and then I realized we were by ourselves. I Tracked the others in the household and found them either still asleep or, in Liam’s case, out for a run with Alex.

I kept my back to him and watched the dueling dragons, seeing now they were both holding back. Blaz was no longer yelling inside my head—hell, how did he think I was going to help anyway?

“How do I know you are really my uncle, or if you are my uncle, you’re not some evil ass relative who’s waited for years to get your revenge on my parents by trying to take me out?” Fuck, I felt like some twisted Disney princess saying that, but the possibility was there. Especially with my life.

The sound of someone choking came behind me and then a cup being set on the table. I turned to see a very amused Erik leaning back in his chair.

Before he said anything, a rather loud and peevish female dragon interrupted, her voice echoing inside my head loud enough that I knew I was not the only one hearing her words.

Tracker. Come and deal with your lily-assed blue boy; I cannot talk any sense into his pea brain head.

I didn’t wait for Erik to follow me; I was pretty sure he would. Hell, I had no doubt he’d set this up, even though he’d said he wouldn’t call Ophelia.

Which went to prove my distrust was well placed. Already I knew I needed whatever knowledge he had about demons and fighting them, but I was keeping him on the outskirts of my circle. No need to let the viper in the front door, even if you needed his venom to poison the bad guys.

Walking across the muddy farmyard, I circled to the back of the barn. Tracking Eve, I found her sound asleep too. It was like everyone was still on vacation, sleeping in, resting their bodies as much as possible. That we were all on the same page made me a bit jittery. Like we all knew the “big game” was coming and we were prepping. I didn’t like it, not one bit.

Around the back of the barn I found the two dragons. Ophelia sat on her haunches, still as a statue, glaring at Blaz with his wings spread wide and his jaw open as if warning her off.

“You two kids having fun?” I stopped and put my hands on my hips. Blaz tipped one eye toward me.

This is not fucking funny, Tracker.

I lifted my hands overhead. “Look, you two big-assed lizards figure this the hell out. I’m not a negotiator and I don’t relish the idea of trying to work out your breeding rights or who takes out the fucking garbage in your dragon relationship.”

Ophelia’s jaw dropped and her eyes widened, showing off the deep brown edging the purple of her iris. I am not here for breeding rights. That is months away. I am here to help my rider. And quite frankly, I am here to help your scrawny ass, Tracker.

Blaz snaked his head toward her going nose to nose. Don’t talk about my rider that way, bitch.

Ophelia snarled and shoved him away. So, you do have some spine in there after all.

Again, I held up my hands. “Stuff it, both of you. I’m going to Portland; Blaz is taking Liam and me.” I glanced at Erik leaning against the barn. “I suppose you and Ophelia are coming too?”

Erik nodded the same time Ophelia did. Though on him, it looked like he held back a laugh, and Ophelia just looked smug.

A black streak of fur ripped across the yard, mud flying in all directions. “Alex tooooooooooo!”

Liam in his wolf form loped lazily along behind Alex, his tongue lolling out. He gave me a wink over one silvery golden eye as he stepped beside me, Alex right behind him. Alex pushed hard against my leg on one side, and Liam pressed against the other, heat from their bodies warming my legs in a split second. Submissive he was no more; Alex pressed harder, begging with his eyes as round as he could get them, his lips whispering “please, please, please.”