When Neil’s past catches up to him, Kelsey must choose between her new family and an old love… With tensions rising between the Council and demonkind, Kelsey finds herself investigating a series of murders that threaten the fragile truce between them. If she can’t stop these killings soon, they could ignite a fire sure to burn the supernatural world down. Unfortunately for her, Kelsey’s problems don’t stop with a pile of dead halflings. Her connection with Marcus is frayed at best, and Gray hasn’t been heard from in months. Her only semblance of peace comes from a new man in her life. When Gray storms back into the picture, her love life goes from incredibly complicated to apocalyptic. Just as Kelsey begins to unravel the mystery, the forces of Heaven decide to take an interest in her actions. Outclassed with these powers in play, Kelsey knows that one misstep could leave the human and supernatural worlds in ashes.
“Your Highness, please back away. In fact, it would be best if you left the room altogether.” Felix put himself between me and Roberts. “Kelsey, I need you to push her down. Push her back down for a few moments. Marcus will be back soon and he’s going to take care of you. Being around those angels unsettled you. I don’t know if you noticed, but at the end of the meeting, your ward fell off. You didn’t have it on when Oliver shook your hand. He’s unbalanced and now you are, too. It’s like a contagion for someone like you. Oliver’s illness has called up your inner wolf and she’s angry.”
“Perhaps if I touch her,” Henri began. “I’m an academic. I don’t have the same connection she has with Marcus, but I might be able to help.”
“I’m not unbalanced.” It didn’t matter that my hands were shaking and they had been ever since I’d left the angels behind. “I’m going to talk to the wolf whether you like it or not. He’s been handling silver. It’s the only reason his hands wouldn’t have healed. Even then, a couple of hours would have done it. Unless the freaking silver he held came straight from Heaven. What about it, Roberts? How did you spend last night?”
The wolf was shaking his head. “I don’t know.”
That wasn’t an answer I was willing to accept. I was about to explain that to everyone when Chad stepped up and got in my face.
“I’m taking him out of here now,” Chad explained. “You’ll let me or we’re going to have trouble.”
I was ready for trouble. I was fairly sure I grinned, the idea of fighting a vamp lifting my spirits high. For the first time in what felt like hours, I went still. “You’re not going anywhere.”
Chad turned, his shoulders squaring, and I felt the world begin to bend around me. Chad belongs to one of the rarest classes of vampire—the magicians. As far as I knew, he was the only one walking the night at this time. He could form illusions so real you could taste food, feel imaginary rain on your skin, utterly believe whatever he wanted you to believe. I’d come up against him before. I might be one of the only people in the world who could see through him.
“It won’t work,” I said calmly as reality seemed to go dark and I heard the hissing of snakes all around me. “Do you not remember what happened the last time you pulled this shit on me? It took three tranqs to take me down. I don’t think you have those on you today.”
“I won’t need them.” Chad lifted his hand and the world shifted.
“Holy shit,” Casey said, climbing up on his desk. “What the fuck is happening?”
Snakes were happening. They were crawling from the woodwork, twitching and hissing my way. The fibers of the carpet beneath my feet lengthened and formed more snakes until they were a menacing mass, threatening everyone in the room.
Well, except for Chad, who had lifted his husband into his arms and prepared to take him away.
I let my wolf loose a bit. She knew this was all an illusion. That primitive part of my brain that Chad was accessing, the lizard brain that merely wanted to survive, was taken over by the wolf inside me. The alpha wolf didn’t want mere survival. She wanted to dominate, and that meant seeing past fear, trusting her instincts over what her eyes perceived.
The minute I opened the door, I felt her surge through me.
“I’m not letting you go. I can’t. I’m conducting a murder investigation, and I believe your boy here just became my prime suspect.” My hands twitched, eager for a fight, and I realized how long it had been since Marcus and I had thrown down.
Too long. Remember that whole thing about needing sex or violence to feed my inner wolf? Well, she was hungry and there was a whole lot of violence in Chad’s eyes.
I welcomed it. I could feel the need rise like a wave threatening to engulf me. This was why I had a trainer in the first place.
I gritted my teeth because Chad turned on his power. I could feel those fucking snakes climbing my legs and sinking their fangs into me. I refused to pay any attention to them despite the fact that I ached to rip the fuckers off me and toss them aside. To do that would have given the magician more power. If I bought into it, if I took my eyes off the only thing in the room that was real, I would end up like Casey, who was screaming like a girl.
“Let me pass, Hunter,” Chad said.
I stood my ground like the good Gandalf I was. Except I kind of wanted to shove my nonexistent staff right up old Chad’s ass, and then we would see if he sent snakes my way again.
The anger rose, rapid and quick, a flash fire coursing through me. I didn’t even realize when I had reached for the fireplace poker. All I knew was it was suddenly in my hands and I was going to use it. I could see myself shoving that piece of wrought iron right through his heart. It wouldn’t kill him. I would need wood for that, but then again, I didn’t want the fight over so quickly.
I raised the poker, ready to start.
“Stop it, both of you.” Donovan stepped in between us, but I didn’t care at that moment. I hadn’t felt this way in forever, not since Marcus had taken me in. I hadn’t been so out of control that I didn’t care who I hurt as long as I got to hurt someone. I would fuck up Donovan, too. All that mattered was seeing blood, feeling bones crush.
“You see, I told you she’s far gone and I can’t fix her anymore. I’ve called Gray and he has an idea of what to do,” Marcus was saying.
I wasn’t listening.
I started to bring the poker down Donovan’s way, but I was stopped in mid swing. A hand held my wrist, an arm going around my middle and hauling me back against muscled flesh.
“Stop it,” Trent growled in my ear. “You stand down right this second.”
NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.