Home > Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson #10)(7)

Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson #10)(7)
Author: Patricia Briggs

“Love,” the vampire said thoughtfully after a moment, “is the most powerful force in the world. You are loved by many. Wulfe is right, that is power. The vampire’s hold on you was something you accepted, something you wanted. I could have broken it—but if I had, she would have died.”

She? It dawned on me that he’d been using the wrong pronoun. The vampire I was tied to was Stefan.

This vampire thought . . . that I was tied to Marsilia. Who else would the mate of the pack Alpha be tied to but the Mistress of the seethe? He hadn’t broken the bond because he wanted her alive. I was right. I was right. I knew who he was.

I knew who he was—and I was in real trouble. I could hear the blood pound in my ears frantically. Never a good thing when you are sitting next to a vampire.

“You are fond of her,” he murmured. “You love her. You asked her for the bond, and that is why it is so strong.”

There was something in the position of his body that told me that I didn’t want him to talk about Marsilia to me. Something weird in his posture that spoke of jealousy.

I raised an eyebrow at him and answered him in an effort to change the topic. “Right now, I’m not too fond of you . . . Mr. Bonarata.”

Iacopo Bonarata, the Lord of Night, head of the Milan, Italy, seethe, once lover of Marsilia, was the de facto leader of the European vampires—and probably anywhere else he chose to travel. He wasn’t the Marrok, who ruled because that was the best way to protect his people. He was just a scary bastard that none of the other vampires chose to challenge. He’d been unchallenged by anyone, as far as I could find out, at least since the Renaissance, when he rose to power as a very young and ambitious monster.

And he was jealous of my imaginary relationship with the Queen of the Damned, Marsilia.

Fortunately, my attempt to change the direction of the conversation seemed to have worked, and when I named him, the vampire threw back his head and laughed, a great booming laugh that invited me to join him.

For all that he wasn’t pretty, he exuded a sexual bonhomie that was very powerful. The only thing I’d felt that was anything like it was when the fae tavern owner, Uncle Mike, turned on the charm. For Uncle Mike it was magic, and it had nothing to do with sex. The Lord of Night was all about sex and earthy things—but it was also magic.

He’d been using it on me subtly from the moment Pretty Vampire had left my cell, but when he laughed, the magic simply boiled out of him like an invisible fog.

I caught the shadow of its effect, intended or not. This magic should have enhanced the sexual pull of the Lord of Night. It brushed over me without affecting me overly much.

The vampire’s sexual appeal was powerful even without magic—but, to me, he wasn’t Adam. That meant that I could have appreciated him without temptation. He was also a vampire, and that doubled my resistance to his magic.

The Lord of Night sat next to me, waiting for me to start drooling over him.

For my part, I sat stiff and sore—and very worried about what he would do if he realized his magic had no effect on me. Would he attribute it to my tie with another vampire, or my tie to Adam and our pack, or would he figure out what I really was?

The vampires from my neck of the woods hated and feared what I was. The walkers, the children of the ancient ones, hunted down a lot of vampires in the American frontier during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. They ultimately failed, and the vampires exterminated most of my kind.

I didn’t know if Bonarata, who’d been in Italy for the whole time, felt the same way. If he even knew about what my kind could do. If he did, he might kill me out of hand rather than . . . whatever else he had planned for me.

But I could not make myself relax into him. There were some things I could not do—and pretending to be attracted to Bonarata was one of those things.

I didn’t want him to know what I was. I didn’t want him to know that the blood bond—created, ironically enough, to keep me safe from another vampire—tied me to my friend Stefan and not Marsilia, because I wasn’t sure how he’d react.

“So,” the vampire was saying while I thought furiously about the dangers of unpredictable, psychotic, obsessed, immortal vampires. “You know who I am. That is good. You may call me Jacob. Iacopo is difficult for my American friends, so I have recently changed my name to the English version.”

Apparently he was choosing to ignore the way I wasn’t reacting to his magic. That didn’t mean he backed it off.

“This was supposed to be a simple meeting.” His voice was seductive. Not beautiful, but deeply, richly masculine in a way that owed nothing to magic. “I desire to have a place where others would be comfortable meeting with me. When you created such a space, it seemed that some useful agreement could be made between your pack and my people. We meant to take you somewhere that we could talk, but your condition meant we had to take you for longer than we meant to. Somehow, I think that your Alpha will not react well to this.” Nearly every word out of his mouth was a lie. He must have thought that since I wasn’t a werewolf, I wouldn’t be able to tell. Either that, or maybe that I would be too far under his influence to notice.

He smiled a charming smile. “You know him best. How do you think I should proceed?”

“You should let me go,” I told him instantly. “And never come back to the Tri-Cities.”

His smile widened, but his eyes remained cool. “Try again.”

I shrugged. “I don’t know what you want. I fix cars. For hammering out interspecies treaties, your tools are better than mine.”

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