Cursed By Destiny Page 14

A pile of leftover flesh the size of a mattress stirred to my right. I stumbled to my feet and lifted the edge of the nasty slippery skin. Taran crawled from beneath, spitting vile liquid. “I found the brain,” she sputtered, before she proceeded to projectile vomit.

Gemini’s wolves merged into one and changed to human. He tore across the lawn and hauled Taran into his arms, gallantly stroking back her slimy hair while she continued to hurl.

It must have been love.

Danny, also now human, had finally regained consciousness. He staggered over to me. “What happened?”

Snarling echoed behind me. Koda’s wolf form growled at Shayna. I wasn’t sure what he said, since I didn’t speak wolf, but it didn’t sound pretty. Shayna put her hands on her hips and frowned. “Miakoda Lightfoot, don’t you dare take that tone with me!”

I looked around the neighborhood. The universe had a sense of humor. Seven cars were parked on our street. They remained unscathed, while Taran’s Mustang continued to smolder.

Liam and Bren tended to Emme, who threw up violently into Mrs. Mancuso’s snow-covered rhododendron bush.

“Is she okay?” Danny asked.

Bren sauntered over to us, covered in maggot slop, naked, and obviously not giving a damn. “She’s fine, Dan. She just got hit with a chunk of spleen.” He sniffed the air and backed away from him. “But forget that. Why the hell do you smell like evil’s nut sack?”

CHAPTER 6

For years, the local witch clan had gathered during the winter months and practiced making it rain. My sisters and I generally avoided witches, and they kept their distance from us. The supernatural catfight we’d had with them ensured we’d never be BFFs. “Weird” and witch just didn’t mix.

I must admit, I enjoyed how the fragrant scent of their magic mixed with the bewitching power of Lake Tahoe when they called upon the rule of nature. And while I’d been drenched in too many unexpected downpours, today their ability to manipulate the elements proved useful. All it had taken was a call from Gemini for the coven to command a rainstorm strong enough to wash away the putrid remains of the Tribemaster. I may have aligned with the vampires, but the witches had managed to get awfully cozy with the weres.

By the time Misha arrived—pissed as all hell that I’d nearly died again, and fired up from his own smackdown in Incline Village—the disgusting mess had almost completely dissolved. Misha’s vampires altered the memories of the firefighters who’d sped into our neighborhood with blaring sirens to extinguish Taran’s car and arranged for a tow truck to haul away the warped piece of metal and chrome. Two demolished vehicles in less than twenty-four hours. That had to be some kind of record.

I glanced to where Mrs. Mancuso continued to snore loudly from her position in the bushes. Taran had tried to revive her while the vamps did their Jedi mind-altering thing so the rescue team wouldn’t notice her. But when the lovely Mrs. M woke up in a pissy mood, Taran knocked her out again.

“Taran, I know you don’t like her, but you can’t leave her out there. She’ll catch pneumonia.”

Taran huffed. “She called me the Judas’s whore child, Emme. I’m not waking the old battle-ax again.”

Emme shook her head and asked Liam to carry Mrs. Mancuso back into her house. When they walked out, Emme was blushing and Liam was laughing. He jerked his thumb toward Mrs. Mancuso’s house. “Hey, there’re pictures of us shirtless framed on her wall.”

Emme tugged on the sleeve of my bathrobe. “There were also stacks of J. R. Ward novels piled everywhere,” she whispered. Her blush deepened when she caught Misha’s wink. “I—I’ll see if Shayna and Koda are done in the shower.”

Misha moved to my side when Emme hurried upstairs. His more sober tone returned when he once more took in my haggard state. “I may have to assign you permanent guards. Danger continues to stalk you like a deranged ex-lover.”

I pictured myself flanked by an angry mob of Catholic schoolgirls at the grocery store, hissing at the produce guy for getting too close. “That won’t be necessary, Misha.”

“I disagree. You are my most valued weapon, and one I must protect.” He swept my matted hair behind me and stroked my jawline with his finger.

I cleared my throat and stepped away from his caress. “How’s your family? Is everyone safe?” The vamps had fought the Tribemaster’s army in Incline Village. According to Koda, the weres Gemini had called battled it out with the remaining Tribesmen near Squaw Valley. I found it bizarre the Tribe had arrived in Tahoe of all places, especially given the strong presence of Alliance members in the area.

“My family is well and rather enjoyed the combat.” Misha frowned. “But you are my primary concern at the moment. The invasion was not well planned and rather foolish. The Tribemaster abandoned his subordinates to come here. Why? And why divide them into smaller, more vulnerable groups?”

Danny appeared from the downstairs bathroom. Considering what he’d been splattered with, we’d allowed him to have dibs on the shower. He rubbed his hand through his mop of black curly hair, glancing at me before addressing Misha. “He came looking for Celia. He asked for her specifically.”

Misha raised his chin, the heat from his rising anger bristling against my skin. “To ignore his army and hunt Celia by himself suggests either extreme arrogance or foolishness. It also raises questions as to why he would want her specifically.”

I tapped my fingers against my arm, remembering what Misha had told me. “You said the lake tells you the secrets carried in the wind. Did it happen to mention whether the Tribemaster we hacked to pieces was the dark one after me?”

Misha lowered his lids. Through the open front door I sensed a change in the wind. The vampires lolling on the porch tensed and looked toward the lake. The breeze intensified and swept into the house,and right into Misha’s back. Harnessing Tahoe’s power was a hell of a talent, one I didn’t have a knack for. Misha shook his head and opened his eyes. “What seeks you remains among us.”

Awesome. “Well, considering one of their supervillains just ran amuck in the neighborhood, I get the feeling the Tribe is what’s after me.” I shrugged. “Maybe they do know I’m your ammunition against them.”

Misha waited before answering. “The Tribe appears to be the most plausible enemy.”

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