My Love Lies Bleeding Page 13

“Untie me, Lucy.”

My hands fluttered forward.

“No,” I whispered, watching them as if they belonged to somebody else. I curled my fingers into my palms. Sweat beaded under my hair, on my face. My glasses slipped down my nose. “No.”

“Untie me, Lucy,” he demanded, more forcefully. “I’m impressed. Few people need a repetition. But you can’t win against it— you’ll only hurt yourself trying.” I fought the compulsion frantically, and lost. The knots loosened, fell free. When his hands were unbound, he wiggled out of the shoulder ropes and then bent down to untie his ankles.

“Stay there, Lucy. Don’t make a sound, don’t make a move until I’m gone.” I struggled and strained but it was like sticky chains held me tight. The Drakes were going to kill me. I had freed their only advantage, who was now lifting the window open and slipping out into the ragged garden. At least he didn’t know about the silent alarms. Still, they weren’t enough. I watched him hop the decorative stone wall, run across the field, and slip into the forest. The sun beamed brightly on his head. I heard footsteps, a soft curse, and Nicholas’s furious voice.

“What the hell have you done?”

The release was abrupt and total. My muscles felt like water. My vision grayed and I crumpled to the carpet. I didn’t pass out but it took me a moment to open my eyes again, a longer moment for all the furniture to settle back down into their proper places. Nicholas was crouched beside me, eyes gleaming.

“You little idiot.”

The last of the spiderweb-sticky film of compulsion dissolved. I was eager to reestablish myself, panic running like angry ferrets through me at the thought that the effects might be permanent. The anxiety had me nauseous. I reared up suddenly, as if I’d been poked with a cattle prod. The exhilaration of controlling my limbs again was sweeter than any chocolate.

Nicholas, possibly, didn’t agree.

“You have got to stop breaking my nose!” he hollered as the rest of the family thundered in. Blood stained his fingers as he cracked his nose back into place.

“Oops,” I said, wincing. It was probably a good thing he healed so quickly. I rubbed my forehead where I’d crashed into his nose. My breathing was uneven, as if I’d been underwater too long. Quinn, only half-dressed, glared at the chair with the empty ropes coiled like sleeping snakes. His expression went hot, then cold.

“Where the hell is he?”

“She let him go,” Nicholas explained tightly, rising from his crouch. It was then I finally noticed he was wearing only pj bottoms. His chest was bare, roped with slender muscles. My breathing sounded loud, even to me. The combined weight of the Drakes’ outraged fury made me cringe. More adrenaline pumped into my bloodstream. Great. I already felt as if I’d drunk a gallon of espresso. I didn’t know if I was going to pass out or explode. Solange helped steady me.

“Are you okay?”

“I think so.” My teeth were chattering. I fought back tears of frustration and guilt burning behind my eyelids. Nicholas heaved a disgusted sigh before wrapping me roughly in an afghan and shoving me onto the couch.

“You’re practically green,” he muttered, pushing my head down between my knees. “Breathe.”

Helena was at the window, snarling. She shaded her eyes. The glass might make the sunlight safe but their eyes were still pale and sensitive.

“I’m sorry,” I said miserably. “I only meant to give him a sip of tea. He said he was thirsty.” I could tell Liam was reining in his temper with a formidable amount of willpower. The tendons on his neck stood out in stark relief. His jaw might have been carved out of marble.

“What happened?” he asked very slowly, very precisely.

I wanted to crawl into a hole.

“He blew some sort of powder in my face.” I rubbed my chilled arms. I wondered if it was a side effect of the drug or if I was in shock. “I resisted it at first, it was kind of like your pheromones. But the second dose did me in. He told me to untie him.” I closed my eyes briefly, irritated with myself. “And I did. I couldn’t stop myself.”

“Willingly?” Quinn hollered. “On purpose?”

Liam silenced him with a look and came to sit in front of me. I tried to avoid his eyes, gave up. There was mostly hard patience and very little recrimination in his face.

“I’m so sorry. I tried to fight it. It was like being hypnotized or something.”

“I need you to tell me everything you remember.”

I described the way it tasted, that it tickled my nose, clung to my sweater.

“Hypnos,” Liam said coldly. Helene turned from her post. She pointed to the desk, and Connor went to retrieve a little jeweled box from the bottom drawer. Then he used a small brush to collect whatever powdery residue he could from my sweater and the carpet.

“We’ve never been able to get our hands on any,” Liam explained smugly. “We’ll have Geoffrey analyze it.” Geoffrey taught night classes in biology at the local college. But he also had his own lab and was always running experiments and studying the Drakes’ unique gifts.

“But what is it?”

“We’re not sure about all the components; certainly it contains one of the zombie herbs. The rest, we don’t know enough about, only that it’s very powerful. Apparently, we should have searched him more thoroughly.”

“It was hidden in his sleeve.” I scowled. “If I ever see him again, I’m going to shove it right—”

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