Home > Shades of Wicked (Night Rebel #1)(9)

Shades of Wicked (Night Rebel #1)(9)
Author: Jeaniene Frost

Mencheres stared at me until it felt as if his gaze was boring into me. I didn’t flinch. We might be nearly equal in strength, but even with all his great power, he couldn’t kill me. Not permanently.

Ian tapped on the plane’s open door in obvious impatience. “Can we continue this pissing contest in the air?”

Mencheres took that destructive gaze from me and settled it on Ian. “Why? What sort of trouble are you in a hurry to escape from?”

The words this time weren’t spoken, but they hung in the air. From the way Ian stiffened, he sensed them, too.

“As the lady said, I’m here of my own will, so it’s not your concern. Happy Christmas, Mencheres. Grand to see you, but you have a wife to return to and we have our own places to be.”

Mencheres released more of his power. The entire plane began to shake from the force of his aura. I had to resist the urge to wrap my arms around myself. It felt as if my guts might spill right out of me. All Ian did in response to this tremendous display was yawn. Since vampires didn’t need to breathe, it was as blatant as a stiff middle finger.

“Have it your way,” Mencheres finally said in a dark tone. “I will get the truth from Vlad.”

“No you won’t,” Ian said instantly. “If that wanker was going to sell me out, he already would have.”

Mencheres drew all his power back in. My stomach dropped and my coat fluttered as if buffeted by a strong breeze. Then the former pharaoh’s gaze softened as he stared at Ian.

“Why, after everything we’ve been through, will you not simply trust me enough to confide in me?”

For a second, pain darkened Ian’s gaze and his cocky demeanor cracked. Just as quickly, those flashes vanished and he smiled, bright and confident as the rising run.

“Don’t fret. I’ve got things well in hand.”

Mencheres said nothing. The silence turned into a weight that should have dented the floor. I didn’t glance at my mobile, but I was keenly aware of the minutes ticking by. We needed to leave. Soon, this plane would attract the wrong kind of notice.

“Have it your way,” Mencheres said again.

A flick of his hand later, the door closed by itself. Then the pilots turned the plane around and began to taxi down the lot. Within moments, we were in the air, the faint lights of the city growing dimmer beneath us.

I sat down in one of the cream-colored seats. Now that the standoff was over and Poland was disappearing behind us, I was relieved enough to realize I was hungry. I hadn’t fed since yesterday morning. Maybe I’d be lucky and Vlad’s plane would be stocked with a few blood bags.

Mencheres leaned back on his couch. His posture was still relaxed, but when I met his gaze, I knew that was a lie. His eyes resembled black diamonds as he stared at me.

“We share the same sire and we have known each other for thousands of years. That is why I want you to mark me well now, Veritas. Ian is reckless and impulsive, but you are not. You plan everything down to the last detail, so factor this into the plans you refuse to share with me: I will hold you responsible if Ian dies in whatever scheme you’re involving him in.”

“Mencheres,” Ian began.

“Do not interrupt,” he said harshly. “You are correct; I cannot command you any longer, but neither can you command me. If I choose to avenge you if she is careless with your life, that is my concern, not yours.”

He’d thrown our earlier, defiant words right back at us. My teeth ground. Mencheres’s threat might not be Ian’s concern, but it was now mine. He didn’t bluff. His normal course of action was to telekinetically rip the head off anyone who pissed him off. That sort of decisiveness made threats unnecessary.

Mencheres had taken the time to threaten me. I took that seriously, even if he couldn’t kill me as easily as he could the rest of the world. Instead of being comforted by his sire’s vow of vengeance, Ian appeared exasperated.

“Know what you are, Mencheres? You’re a bloody helicopter mom.”

I stifled my burst of laughter, turning it into a wheeze that fooled no one. Mencheres gave me a sour look, but now I couldn’t stop picturing him as one of those overprotective parents who constantly hovered over their children.

Mencheres gave me another “this isn’t funny” look before returning his attention to Ian. “You are not so strong that you are immune to death. I care for all the vampires I have sired, but there are few I love as if they were my own children. You are one of those few and something is very wrong with you. I could sense it even before Vlad warned me tonight.”

Ian came and slung an arm around my shoulder. I stiffened but allowed it, willing to see where he was going.

“See this lovely hellion?” he asked. “She’s so powerful I can barely keep my cock from standing at constant attention around her. More to the point, she’s extremely invested in keeping me alive. Take assurance from that, even if you can’t take assurance from my own determination not to get killed.”

Mencheres looked back and forth between us. I schooled my features to show nothing except confidence. Ian took another approach. He looked me up and down with leisurely appreciation, then pulled me even closer.

“And soon, this little vixen will want to keep me alive for many more reasons than that,” he all but purred.

I was willing to appear friendly, but I would not be treated as if I were a predetermined conquest. Ian claimed to enjoy pain? Let’s see how much he enjoyed this.

I threw an elbow into his side that broke all the ribs it came into contact with. While he let out a loud “oof!” I removed his arm from my shoulder with enough force to break that, too.

“If your cock comes anywhere near me, I will rip it off,” I said in my most pleasant voice. “However, I am very invested in keeping Ian alive, Mencheres,” I added, pivoting back to him. “Regardless, your threat is noted. Now, continue your conversation by yourselves. I’m keeping my own company for the rest of the flight.”

Then I moved to the section of the plane that was the farthest away from them. I could feel someone’s gaze on me the entire time, but I didn’t turn around to see if it was Ian or Mencheres.

Chapter 8

Mencheres didn’t stay long. When the plane flew over Romania, he left. He could have had the pilots land first. Instead, he used his power to form an invisible barrier over the door so we didn’t suffer a catastrophic loss of cabin pressure when he opened it. Then he jumped out, closed the plane door and resealed it with his power, and flew away.

Mencheres wasn’t normally this showy with his abilities. His dramatic mode of exit was another warning. I’d known he was fond of Ian, but I hadn’t expected this. Mencheres was making it clear that he held Ian’s life in the highest possible regard—and I had better do so, too.

That was a problem. I’d meant it when I told Mencheres I was invested in keeping Ian alive, but that investment had an expiration date. Once Ian succeeded in bringing Dagon to my trap, my focus would shift to bringing the demon to his long overdue justice. Not to preserving Ian’s life. Now, I had to kill Dagon while making sure both Ian and I survived? How?

“Thank God he’s finally gone,” Ian said, sauntering over to my side of the plane.

I considered ignoring him. I’d told him I was keeping my own company, after all. Then, I decided to ask what I’d been wondering about this past hour.

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