Page 62

The fabric was lifted from my face. Instinctively I gathered my surroundings. The room was large, and as my eyes scanned over the axes and swords that hung on the wal s, absolute horror struck me.

“This is Shax's building,” I gasped.

“Yes,” Isaac said. “The last place you'l ever see.”

I swal owed, hard. Isaac's voice was so pleasant; almost maniacal. His soft tone, coupled with the absence of al humanity in his eyes, was beyond frightening.


I rotated my neck to its limit to see Ryan sitting in a chair directly behind me, his back to mine. “Are you okay, buddy?” I said.

Blood saturated his hair line just above the temple. “Besides my head throbbing so hard my eyebal feels like it's going to pop out? Peachy.”

He squinted, obviously in pain.

“You didn't have to do that,” I growled at Donovan.

“That's the beauty of it,” Donovan smiled.

“Where's Shax?” I asked.

“Whoa, there, Cupcake. Don't be in such a hurry to die,” Donovan said, scribbling something on a notepad sitting on the desk. “He'l be here soon enough.”

Isaac stood before me, and then crouched just a few inches from my face. “I knew Jared as a child. Did he tel you that? I remember the way he spoke of you. Now that I see you,” he said, gently touching my cheek, “I can't fathom what he sees in you that is so special. You are such a plain little thing.”

“Ow!” I yelped, looking down.

Isaac dug his thumbnail into my wrist, and blood oozed from the half-moon-shaped gouge.

“Leave her alone!” Ryan said, jerking in his seat.

Isaac licked the crimson liquid from my arm. “I thought maybe it was something I couldn't see. Merovingian, and nothing to set you apart from the rest of them. Very disappointing.”

I lowered my chin and glared up at him. “Like you must be to your father. With al of your amazing talents and abilities, and you're a sel out—a sycophant for the other side.”

Isaac reared his hand and let it fly, back-handing me so hard I fel over onto my side, crashing to the floor in the chair I was tied to.

“You son-of-a-bitch!” Ryan screamed, wildly struggling to get free.

“So much for not tolerating violence,” I groaned.

“That was just a warning,” Isaac said, setting me upright. “I have less tolerance for disrespect.” He slowly leaned in, kissing my forehead.

“Let's go,” Donovan snapped. “They'l be here soon.”

Isaac nodded, and then they were gone.

“You okay?” Ryan said, scooting his chair until I was in his line of sight.

“I'm not going to lie. That hurt.”

Ryan leaned in, inspecting the bump quickly rising above my eyebrow. “Jared's going to be pissed.”

“I'm sure he already is.”

“They should be here by now. Something's wrong. Jared said if they weren't here within a few minutes, that I should get you out of here.”

I looked around. “We can't leave. There's a safe behind that desk, in the wal . The book is in there.”

“How do you know?”

Ryan's wrists and feet were tied to his chair like mine, and he pul ed and twisted his arms, ineffectively attempting to escape.

“Jack told me. We have to get into that safe.”

Ryan raised an eyebrow. “Did Jack tel you how to do that if you're tied to a chair? Because I got nothing.”

I sighed. “Didn't the Special Forces teach you anything?”

Ryan smiled. “Yeah: Keep a knife with you at al times.” He wiggled his right leg. “In my boot.”

The chairs complained against the wood as we positioned ourselves so that I could reach the knife. After several minutes of grunting and groaning, I final y felt the handle.

“I think,” I grunted again, straining against the tight restraints, “I think I've got it!” I said, grasping the hard plastic between my fingers.

“Don't,” Ryan said too late, watching the knife fal from my fingers to the ground.

“Crap,” I huffed, blowing my bangs from my face.

“Okay,” Ryan said, taking a deep breath. He jerked to the side until his chair tipped over, and then maneuvered his body until his hand was within inches of the knife. “Nothing's ever easy when I'm around you, Grey.”

“Shut up,” I said, unamused.

“What the hel is going on in here?” Claire said. She stood in front of the half-open window sil , arms crossed, her hot pink duffel bag over her shoulder.

A wide grin erupted across Ryan's face. “Better late than never, Gorgeous.”

“Shut up,” Claire said.

“Wow, I'm getting it from every angle,” Ryan said, letting his entire body relax and fal against the floor in protest.

“Where's Jared?” I asked.

“Behind me. We don't have much time,” Claire explained, tearing the cloth around my wrists and feet with a flick of her finger.

“I'm on the floor, bleeding, and you save her first? I'm hurt,” Ryan said to Claire.

Claire freed him, and then lifted Ryan to his feet. She pushed back his head to inspect his wound, overly rough. “You'l live.”

Ryan winced. “Thanks, Honey, I love you, too.”

I walked over to the window, searching through the dark for Jared. “I thought you said he was behind you.”

Claire chomped on the large wad of gum in her mouth. “He had to calm down. When he sees that knot on your head and that hand print on your cheek, he's going to freak out al over again. Back up.”

I took a step back, and Bex appeared in the window, barely making an effort as he pul ed himself through. “You smell like beer,” he grimaced.

“Nice to see you, too,” I frowned.

“Where's the safe?” Bex asked.

“Where is Jared?” I said with an impatient tone.

“Right here, Baby,” Jared said, crawling into the window behind Bex. “I'm right here.” I didn't wait for him to crawl al the way into the room before I grabbed him. After a few awkward maneuvers to stand while encapsulated in my arms, he kissed my forehead, and then inspected the remnants of my brush with Isaac. His jaws fluttered under his skin. “I'm going to enjoy kil ing him.”