Home > Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson #10)(14)

Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson #10)(14)
Author: Patricia Briggs

He was right. Good to have a second who could think things through when all Adam really wanted to do was hunt down the vampires who had taken Mercy and obliterate them. Killing was too clean.

Impatiently, Adam nodded his agreement and took the seat opposite Marsilia. Darryl sat at his right, and the chair at his left stayed empty.

Marsilia was a real bombshell. Blond-haired Italians were never common, and he knew that the color was natural, because Stefan had commented upon it. But her beauty wasn’t a thing of color only; it was bone- and muscle-deep.

Beautiful people, mostly, lived like everyone else. Extraordinarily beautiful people, however, usually paid dearly for their beauty. Adam was pretty sure that had been no less true in fifteenth-century Italy than it was now.

Intelligent brown eyes examined him—maybe for weapons, maybe for weaknesses. He didn’t mind because he was doing the same. Though for both of them, what they were made them pretty efficient weapons all by themselves.

She was wearing slacks and some sort of silk top that left her arms and shoulders bare, covering her adequately otherwise while leaving no doubt that she wore no bra. She could have appeared on a news program or a Hollywood premiere in her outfit without attracting comment. She wore it like a woman who habitually used her body as a weapon rather than someone aiming a weapon at him personally. To her left sat Wulfe, who’d succeeded Stefan as her second-in-command when Stefan had left her seethe. Wulfe looked like a sulky punk rocker from the eighties, though maybe that look was back. Without Jesse’s prodding, Adam tended to lose track.

Wulfe’s pale hair stuck out in chick-soft-looking tufts about an inch long, whose ends were dyed pink. Wulfe was, in Adam’s estimation, more dangerous than Marsilia if only because he was unpredictable.

Stefan, interestingly, sat on her right. Wolves pay attention to body language, and Stefan’s body language was protective and worried.

“First,” she said, “I have to apologize for the way in which my past has rained down upon you. It is no secret that Mercedes and I are not friends, but I value the role that she plays in our community, and I do not think that anyone else could balance the werewolves, the fae, and the vampires as well as she does.”

“Differently,” murmured Wulfe. “More interestingly even, but not as peacefully.”

“Are you finished?” Marsilia inquired politely.

“Excuse me, Mistress,” Wulfe said diffidently. “I was just enlarging upon what you said.”

“Who took her?” asked Adam. He wasn’t interested in apologies that she didn’t mean.

“He did not sign his e-mail,” Marsilia said. “But I recognize the wording. It was Iacopo Bonarata, the Lord of Night. He who rules the European vampires.”

As soon as she had told him it was her ex-lover, Bonarata had been Adam’s pick. First, Adam didn’t know of any other ex-lovers of hers. He suspected that if she had other ex-lovers, they either served her or they were dead. Marsilia was as pragmatic a creature as any he’d ever met.

“Why?” Adam asked. “What does he want?” How do we get my Mercy back alive? He didn’t say it because they all knew what he was asking.

“His e-mail did not say,” Marsilia told him. “Knowing him, it could be any of a dozen reasons. He could be reacting to our killing of Frost, which he might see as an elevation of my power. He sent me here to rot, not to rise up through the ranks and rule North America.”

“He knows you well enough, he should have thought of that as a possibility,” Stefan told Marsilia.

“Not his business what anyone does here,” said Adam. “He rules Europe.”

Wulfe laughed. “Innocent,” he told Adam. “I find it so droll that you are such an innocent.” Then the silly affectations left his body, and he was softly menacing as he said, “Iacopo Bonarata has spider silk throughout the world. He owns corporations based in New York and Texas as well as Buenos Aires and Hong Kong. He has owned four of the last six presidents, though they did not know it. Any other vampire rising to power is a threat, and he does not deal well with threats.”

“He is a Renaissance prince,” said Marsilia, almost apologetically. “The last of his house, the rest of whom died during the Black Death. Control everything or die: it is how he was raised, how he thinks. I do not know that he understands words like ‘content’ or ‘enough.’”

“He threw away something of great value,” said Stefan. “Something he viewed as a work of art—and he knows it. He regrets it.”

Marsilia turned her great dark eyes on Stefan. “Don’t be ridiculous.”

“He told me, the night we left for the New World, that if I became your lover, he would hunt me to the ends of the earth,” Stefan said.

“If Iacopo were a dog in a manger,” Wulfe said, “he would urinate and defecate in the hay. And before he would allow anyone to spread the hay on the ground to at least get use of it as fertilizer, Iacopo would light the hay on fire. And then he would sing about how wonderful the hay was and how tragic its loss.”

“You carry that analogy a little too far,” said Marsilia.

“It is accurate,” Wulfe defended himself. “The song was in a minor key—and the painting he did, I am told, was nearly as stunning as you actually are.”

“So why did he take Mercy?” Adam asked Marsilia. If someone didn’t distract Wulfe, he was likely to lead the conversation all around the mulberry bush until there was no time left.

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