My Love Lies Bleeding

Page 9


Dad shook his head, dismayed. “They’re training them younger and younger.”
“They need to be able to infiltrate the high schools and colleges to spy on us,” Connor pointed out.
“I’m only doing my job. Keeping people safe from monsters like you.”
“People like you are the reason my aunt Ruby won’t leave her house anymore,” I snapped. She’d lost her husband and three sons to hunters and had never really recovered from the loss.
His face went hard. “Monsters like you are the reason my father’s dead.”
“Oh and we’ve never lost family members to hunters or Helios?” I shot back even though I felt bad that he’d lost his father.
“And they’re not monsters, you bigot,” Lucy broke in, incensed. She leaped to her feet. “It’s a disease, you ignorant prig. Are people with diabetes or arthritis monsters too?” If secrecy wasn’t so important, she would have used her theory in her personal crusade to make the world accept us.
“It’s not the same.”
“It is so.”
“My dad’s throat was ripped out.”
There was silence. Then Dad frowned. “Only the Hel-Blar rip out throats, son.”
“A vampire’s a vampire,” Kieran insisted stubbornly. Lucy went red in the face.
“Why are you really here?” Dad pressed before she could explode.
“Because of the bounty,” he answered tightly.
Mom went unnaturally still. Her eyes caught the light and reflected it. “What bounty?”
“The bounty on the Drake family.”
Someone snarled. The air was so charged I was vaguely surprised it didn’t spark and catch fire. Dad stalked toward the phone on the desk. He barked orders into the receiver, not even bothering with a greeting. “Double the patrols. Get word to everyone. Yes, even her. And the council.” He switched to the cell phone in his pocket, dialing grimly. His voice muted to a soft murmur I couldn’t entirely make out.
My hearing wasn’t sharp enough. Yet.
“What the hell’s the bounty for?” Sebastian demanded.
“I don’t know.”
Quinn sauntered over, leaned in close. “You’ll tell us.” Kieran paled slightly, trying to break eye contact. Quinn’s hand closed over his throat. Kieran seemed a little dazed when he finally answered.
“It was posted tonight.” He shuddered. Sweat beaded on his upper lip.
“Is this about Solange?”
“I don’t know.” He choked, tried to swallow. “I don’t know,” he repeated. “I heard there was a bounty, and I wanted in.” Something in his voice made me think it was less about the bounty and more about the chance to stick it to our family specifically.
Quinn eased back, letting his hand drop to his side. “Some agency, attacking a fifteen-year- old girl.” He spat. “Cowards.”
Kieran took several deep ragged breaths. “We protect the innocent.”
“This isn’t a comic book, idiot,” Lucy muttered crossly.
“If you’re going to kill me too, get it over with.”
“We don’t drink from people like you,” Nicholas sneered, making it sound as insulting as he could.
“Do you drink from her?” Kieran nodded at Lucy. “Have you made her your slave?”
“Who, Lucy?” Nicholas snickered.
“Hey!” Lucy snapped. “Shut up.”
I wasn’t entirely sure which one she was talking to.
“This isn’t getting us anywhere,” Duncan said quietly. Like Sebastian, he rarely lost his temper or his focus. “Let’s not get sidetracked.” He tied a black bandana over Kieran’s mouth, knotting it securely. Dad nodded approvingly before pointing toward the kitchen.
“Kitchen. Now.”
Our kitchen looked like any farm kitchen: a huge wooden table, ladderback chairs, painted cupboards, and a kettle on the stove. There was a basket on the counter full of red apples and pomegranates and even food in the fridge, mostly for me and for Lucy when she stayed over. In fact, she was already pouring herself a glass of cranberry juice. The blood was kept in an old wine cellar, hidden in the wall and locked with three deadbolts and an alarm system. That was a fairly new precaution, ever since one of Logan’s ex-girlfriend’s brothers had barged in after Logan had broken up with his sister. The guards hadn’t stopped him; it would have seemed suspicious to have them swarm out just because someone came to the front door uninvited. The dogs had stopped him though, even before Mom had. He hadn’t made it past the front hall. It was only luck that he hadn’t seen into the kitchen, with the jug of blood on the counter. Needless to say, we were strongly encouraged not to date humans after that.
Now Quinn paced beside that same counter; Nicholas leaned against the wall, arms crossed. The rest of my brothers sat, though their muscles were tensed for sudden movement. I watched the dark fields on the other side of the glass with suspicion. Dad’s phone rang again. Mom glanced at Lucy.
“We should call your parents.”
“Can’t.” She set her glass down. “They’re at the ashram for two weeks, remember?” The sun was edging up over the horizon. “And they always leave early to watch the sun rise over the lake.”
She sighed. “Of course. You’ll stay here then.”
“I will? But no one’s after me.”