Home > Fused in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy #3)(6)

Fused in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy #3)(6)
Author: K.F. Breene

Clothes removed, Darius wasted no time turning into his monster form. Claws from his feet clicking on the hardwood floor, he made his way back to my room.

I grimaced on his behalf. “That guy deals with an awful lot where it concerns me. He and the warehouse are going to turn on me one of these days.” I sighed, because even if I told him to get lost (and I had), he’d stick around. And he’d keep on sticking around, I had no doubt, regardless of what came.

The surge of power within me drained away, my fire back to normal, and my ice disappearing altogether. I’d need to think on how I’d managed to summon and use the ice so readily. Although, admitting to the why of that situation would be dicey. That might call up the dreaded L-word.

I grimaced. I was in pretty deep where it concerned that vampire.

The invisible partition I’d put up had dissipated with the ice magic. I started into the kitchen, thankful that Callie and Dizzy followed me in.

“Does Penny have one of those spells?” I asked as I took down a bottle of whiskey. I hesitated. “Would you rather have wine than the whiskey?” I asked them.

“Whiskey. Two fingers. No ice.” Dizzy ran his hand over his glistening forehead. “Maybe three fingers.”

“A glass of wine for me,” Callie said.

“Penny has a few different spells that are just as powerful,” Dizzy said as he sat at the small round table in the corner of the kitchen. “Any spell she helps us with, or makes on her own, will be potent. But I trained her on the importance of safety when carrying around spells of that magnitude.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “You taught her the importance of safety, did you? The same guy who just blasted an ally?”

“Let’s hope the pupil surpasses the teacher,” Callie huffed, and shook her head. I could always count on her to see the humor in dire situations.

“I didn’t expect him to be there!” Dizzy yelled. I couldn’t as easily count on his levelheadedness. “I was worried about barging into Reagan’s home, since she can be unhinged when people just waltz in. Then a larger-than-most vampire was hulking by the door, claws out and war on his face—what did you expect? You’ve dragged me along to all these battles lately. I’m jumpy.”

“Darius is jumpy, too. He was not happy about someone showing up at my door unexpected,” I said softly, feeling the uncertainty rise again. It annoyed me. I wanted to stab something because of it, but it was all my stuff. I’d have to replace it or fix it, and that was too much effort. “Do you think he knows something I don’t?”

“Reagan, how many times do you need to hear this?” Callie accepted her glass of wine with a thanks. “He will always know something you don’t. A great many things, probably. Most won’t concern you, sure. But some probably will, and you are only in the loop when he needs you for something.”

I shook my head and looked away. That wasn’t how our relationship worked anymore. We’d advanced to another level.

At least, we’d better have.

I really should’ve threaten-questioned him more recently…

Dizzy gulped down his whiskey before handing it back. “Another. With a cube of ice. I’ll sip the second one.”

“I’m driving, then?” Callie asked.

“Yes. That spell was nasty. I feel terrible. I should’ve known there wouldn’t be danger in Reagan’s house. With her in it, I mean. Poor Darius.” Dizzy shook his head.

I furnished him with the bottle.

We stopped and started a dozen trivial conversations, each of them interrupted with Dizzy asking, “Should you go check on him? You never did bend back his fingers.”

“If he needed help, he’d ask me,” I would say.

“Vampires don’t ask for help.”

“This one does. From me, at least. Trust me, Dizzy, he’ll let me know when he needs something.” I just hoped he waited to ask for that something until the dual mages were gone, because I knew it would be blood he needed.

A half-hour later, a hard rap sounded at the door. I paused with my glass of wine halfway to my mouth. Callie’s eyebrow quirked.

“I’m not usually this popular.” I frowned. Was this what Darius had been worried about?

I stood slowly and tapped the gun wrapped in a holster around my thigh.

“I admit it, you were right,” Callie murmured to Dizzy. “From now on, we’ll knock out a code and wait for her to answer the door. She’s too keyed up for a normal house call.”

“All my friends are within these walls,” I said. “And it’s too late for a door-to-door salesman, assuming any are brave enough to come around here. I can’t see this being a normal house call.”

“Then what is it?” Callie asked as she stood and opened her satchel for easy access.

Dizzy stood, too, but the quick motion caused him to sway. He braced a hand on the table. “Let’s hope it’s the salesman, because I’m not so steady.”

“I got it,” I said, stalking out of the kitchen and toward the front door. Callie followed but stopped in the archway of the kitchen.

The hard rap came again.

“A polite person would’ve rung the doorbell, not practically busted down the door with their knocking,” Callie said softly.

I had to agree. But at least they were knocking.

I pulled open the door in a fast, smooth movement, ready to draw and fire without hesitation. Shock bled through me as my fingers curled around the grip of my gun.

“What are you doing here?” I blurted.

Chapter Four

Roger, the alpha of the Northwest Region of shifters, stood on my porch with his empty hands loose at his sides. He stood a little taller than me at about five ten or so, but his bearing, and his frame stacked with muscle, made him seem so much bigger.

His piercing gaze—one blue eye, one green—trained on me. “I have some information you may want.”

“That I may want?” I asked, dumbfounded.

As a rule, when I needed information, I badgered (usually with violence) Red, one of the lower-status shifters. Their species never came to me. That Roger, one of the most important shifters in the entire world, would impart knowledge was…odd. That he would come to my house to do so was…worrying.

I glanced behind him, noticing a racy muscle car parked on the other side of the street. No one sat in it or stood beside it.

“Are you alone?” I asked. I needed to establish the parameters for this crazy situation. At the moment, my gut was automatically screaming, It’s a trap, kill everyone!

“Yes. Can I come in?”

I blinked rapidly. “In…my house?”

He didn’t nod, just stared at me. Apparently that was yes. Or maybe, yes, you moron, do you not understand English?

“O-kay.” I took a hesitant step back. “I should probably warn you that—”

Before I could finish, Roger’s dual-colored eyes darted past me. His expression, naturally hard, as befit someone who had fought for his position and therefore couldn’t show weakness, morphed into a terrifying mask of rage.

I glanced over my shoulder to find Darius wearing a ladies’ silk bathrobe—mine—and standing in a balanced sort of way that screamed enemy—kill! His condescending smile didn’t reach his hard eyes. He didn’t flex his straight fingers. They probably still hurt.

“Mr. Nevin,” Darius said. He sauntered closer. “To what do we owe the pleasure?”

“Why is he wearing your bathrobe?” Roger asked. A shimmer of green outlined his body, his shifter magic threatening to change into his wolf form. He was clearly also thinking enemy—kill!

“He likes women’s clothing. He’s eccentric in that way.” I winked at Roger. “Anyway, do you still want to come in, or would you rather fill me in on the porch?”

Roger studied me for a moment. “I’m not here for trouble. In the house is fine.”

“I should probably warn you that I have two mages in the house,” I said, stepping to the side. “If you try to call in some reinforcements to attack Darius, it won’t go well for you.”

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