Promise Me - Book 16
Navigating the many pitfalls of being bound to the demon Shaker, human Sarelle uses him to force a peace with the vengeful vampire lords. Yet she cannot escape her Oathed vampire Danial’s command to engage in a menange-a-trois with her shifter ex-husband, Theo. Sorceress Rene magically intervenes, going in Sar’s stead only to be bespelled herself into having Theo’s son, Harrison. Secrets long hidden are revealed, as Sar, Lash, and their son are hunted throughout the northeast by the vengeful Valarian and his forces, climaxing in a final bloody reckoning. In the end, Sarelle must face her ultimate tests: to reconcile with loved ones who have betrayed her…or to finally sever the bonds between them, forever.
When Shaker and I got back to Hayden after dropping off a very drunken Theo at his home, I guiltily expected that Devlin or Lash would be waiting to ask us where we had been. Instead, our middle-of-the-night-foray had gone undiscovered. Further, no one had disturbed us during my venting of emotion with my personal demon afterwards in the kitchen. Though Shaker advised against it, I thought it wise to explain my teleportation and his presence, in case Titus had sensed me leaving or one of the guards had seen Shaker arrive. So I had a glass of wine, and Shaker grumblingly imbibed more of Titus’s Black Arts whiskey, as we waited for inevitable discovery.
An hour passed this way, and no one came to find us.
Bitching that what we were doing was not only a waste of time but also completely unnecessary, Shaker finally mentally checked in with Titus and Sunrise. Shaker’s demon brother brought his sleeping grandchild to the kitchen a few moments later, just to nod hello to me. For a moment he and Shaker studied one another, making me infer that the two of them were having a telepathic conversation. Titus shot me a look right after, as if he wondered why Shaker had come to see me instead of teleporting to Titus’s home to say he was here. But he asked no questions aloud, either not wanting to wake Sunrise, or not wanting me to hear what was being said.
Devlin and Lash arrived an hour later. Lash was bitching about Thane, one of Devlin’s Italian mob connections.
“Arrogant spaghetti bender!” he hissed. “I’m not from an island! I’m Southern!”
“Relax, you know how he is about anyone who speaks Spanish,” Devlin said. “And you’re being just as much of a jackass as he was tonight.” He caught sight of me. “Love, what are you doing up? You should have been in bed hours ago in your condition.”
Finally, the big chance to explain. “I had to go get Theo. He was drunk at Davy’s. Shaker helped, as Theo was too heavy for me to handle.”
Both my vampire and weresnake paramours begin talking at once.
“Theo? Why? He never goes to Davy’s?” Devlin said suspiciously. “And why would Davy call you to come get him and not Jenny?”
“Fucking cat! I thought I smelled cougar. Why the fuck didn’t he call his buddy Tears?”
I glanced at my weresnake mate, wondering why I had thought it important to tell him anything. “Terian was away, Lash.”
“Why not his mate? Why is he fucking calling you? Asshole!”
“She’s dead,” I said flatly. “Or he would have called her, or maybe not even gone there. That’s why he was drunk, he was upset she died.” But not too upset to try to kiss me...
“What happened?” Devlin asked, sitting down. Lash sat down, too, angrily.
“Cancer, he said. Remember, Theo turned Jenny into werecougar to save her life, because she had cancer and modern medicine couldn’t do anything. Becoming werecougar put the cancer in remission, but it came back.”
There was a footstep, then out of the corner of my eye, the shadow of someone leaving through the garage.
“Danial,” Devlin whispered. “He stopped by to visit me tonight on his way back from the airport. He said he had more news on Cain’s brother, West, and possibly information to contact him. However, our talking can wait. Theo needs him more than I do tonight.”
“I’m sorry for him,” Lash hissed, remorseful. “It’s terrible to lose someone you love.”
“I went with Sar, to protect her,” Shaker rumbled. “I was visiting my brother.”
Lash nodded, and then absently thanked him. I felt guilty, my neck flushing. Luckily, I was so hot being near Shaker that my embarrassment went unnoticed.
“Come to bed,” Devlin said, taking my hand. “Shaker, thanks for your help.”
Shaker stood, his red eyes on me, waiting.
Shit, do I need to dismiss him? “Goodbye,” I said as dismissively as I could.
He nodded and disappeared.
“Let’s get into the Jacuzzi first,” Lash hissed, the angry note in his words returning. “I need to wash off some Italian slime.”
* * * *
The next morning, I sought out Rene. I found her in the gym, walking on my treadmill.
She gave me a half-smile. “You know, it’s so odd, to be walking and not get anywhere. I never imagined there would be machines that would be created because people didn’t walk enough to stay in shape—”
“What did you see?” I interrupted in a commanding tone. “You saw this happening! Tell me everything!
“No,” Rene replied just as firmly. “I may be wrong. I was wrong before, and I did not see you helping me become human, I saw me ebbing into nothingness. Now I see another future, but it’s not certain—”
“Tell me! I need to know if what Theo said was true, if Danial is going to try to force me to be intimate with Theo.”
“Danial is going to call Devlin soon, and make plans.” Rene said darkly. “That is all I know for sure. So we will likely need to go through with ours. That is all I’ll say for now.”
I left frustrated, but relieved that at least I knew something of what was coming.