Iced - Page 28/120

I agree with Margery.

I want that chamber pumped full of concrete or lead or iron, or anything that might bar the path between him and me.

I do not know a tenth of the spells Rowena knew. And still she failed.

I can’t even get the door closed!

The night the Book was laid to rest, I left the chamber celebratory, with my heart feeling lighter than it had in a long time. The Sinsar Dubh was finally off the streets, and although the method of confinement was not all I’d hoped, I’d envisioned a reprieve. A time of rest and rebuilding, precious, necessary time to come to terms with the many changes in our lives, the endless killing, time to grieve the loss of our many sisters.

It was not to be.

He comes to me with his promises and his lies, with his beauty and unchained desires, and he says that I am all that he needs. He says I and I alone can rule at his side and that my special gift of emotional empathy makes me the only woman capable of ever truly understanding him to the deepest degree, on that rare and uncompromising level of emotional bonding an Unseelie prince must have, or will go mad without. He says I am his only possible mate and he has waited an eternity to have me.

He claims he is being wrongly accused, and we are all being tricked. He says he is not the Sinsar Dubh. He claims the moment he was imprisoned in his block of ice, the King took it all back.

He says we are being played by a clever, cunning, mad ruler who cares nothing for his children, who never has, who loves only his concubine, and once he had her in his arms again, reclaimed the power of the Sinsar Dubh, too. He says the concubine still isn’t fully Fae, and the King retrieved his spells so he might resume his work, that it was all sleight of hand in the chamber that night.

He tells me he was made out to look like the villain again so we wouldn’t search too hard for the Unseelie king, so we would worry instead about containing the only prince capable of stopping him when he decides our world is expendable, which Cruce assures me the King will one day do—and not too far in the future.

He tells me I must be humanity’s savior. When I am ready, he will show me the way to free him. He says that only I am strong enough, level-headed enough, to see the truth when it stands before me, wise enough to make the hard decisions.

He speaks with forked tongue and I know it!

And I am still losing the battle.

I wake in the morning smelling of him. Tasting him in my mouth, feeling his tongue on my skin. Filled with him, as no man has ever filled me: body, mind, soul. He makes love to me and I resist but somehow I’m not resisting. In my dreams I say no but do it anyway and love each exquisite, soul-charring moment of it. I wake up coming over and over again from my invisible lover. Shuddering with heat.

And need.

And shame.

My sisters count on me. I am their leader.

How will I survive this? How do I stop him from coming to me? There must be spells to block him, wards, runes to place around my bed! Maybe I should leave the abbey, now, before it’s too late. Can I leave my sisters? Dare I leave my sisters? If I don’t leave right now, will I ever again have the strength of will to go, or will I find myself down there one night, trembling hands on the bars, willing to do anything it takes to set Cruce free?

How many died the night Rowena let the Sinsar Dubh out, how many murders weighed on her conscience? Did she even have a conscience left by then or had it been corrupted completely?

Who will step up if I leave?

There’s no guarantee the next woman will be any stronger than me, or more capable of resisting his seduction. How long would Margery last, in the face of such temptation? How cruel might she become with the power of the Sinsar Dubh blackening her heart?

God help me, I must stay.

I must win this silent, invisible war, with no one the wiser.

God help me.


“Trouble ahead, trouble behind”

“There you are,” Jo says as I saunter past the kiddie subclub. “It’s almost eight-thirty. I thought you were supposed to be here at eight.” She’s got on makeup. She never wears makeup. And she did something sparkly on her eyelids and between her boobs. It makes me mad. I don’t know why she changed. She was just fine the way she was.

The words “supposed to be here” chafe me raw. They’re insult heaped on injury. I had a crappy day. It’s already taking every ounce of my self-control to hide how much it kills me to see Jo waitressing, wearing a short kicky skirt, serving Fae. But I choke it down because if I let an ounce of it show, who knows what Ryodan might do? The dude’s as predictable as an Interdimensional Fairy Pothole, those pieces of fractured Fae reality drifting around that you never know what’s inside of till you’re ass-deep in alligators.

“Mac’s looking for you,” she says.

I rubberneck wildly, trying to search every subclub in Chester’s at once. “She here?”

“What?” Jo looks at me blankly, and I realize I must have spoken in fast-mo. That happens sometimes when I get agitated. I start to vibrate, and I think all other people hear is the high-pitched whine of a mosquito.

“Is she here?” I slow down for a sec to talk then speed up the rubbernecking.

“No. She left with Barrons half an hour ago. You’re going to give yourself whiplash if you don’t slow down your head, Dani. It’s creepy when you do that. You just missed each other. If you’d been on time, you wouldn’t have. What’s wrong? You just went as white as a sheet.”

If I’d been on time.

Did Mac come here looking for me? Was she hunting me? Does she know I’m supposed to show up for “work” at eight?

I feel woozy. I need to get the blood back in my head. Sometimes I think my heart and veins go into fast-mo without the rest of me, prepping my body for flight or fight, sending all the juice to my sword hand or my feet, and away from my brain. It’s the only thing that explains how stupid I go when I get mad or worried. But then, guys work the same way with their dicks, and they can’t fast-mo, so maybe it’s just a human design flaw. Intense feeling? Ha! Instant brain death.

“Where the fuck is my drink, bitch? You want a piece of me or what?” an Unseelie at a nearby table growls. It means it, literally.

“Tell me you’re not eating Unseelie,” I say.

“Ew! Never!” Jo says like she can’t believe I asked.

“Did you get highlights in your hair?”

She touches it, with a self-conscious smile. “A few.”