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Zorn’s brows lowered. “I’ve never blindly followed anyone.”

“We all know he sometimes gets an idea in his head,” Donovan said, stopping by me, “and gets stuck on it even though it’s not the absolute best approach.”

Zorn nodded and handed a tray of seasoned steaks to him. “Occasionally he can be unreasonable. Especially regarding the safety of a certain…pain in the ass.”

“He means you.” Daisy pointed at me.

“I think we all knew that, Daisy,” Mordecai said.

“Well, he could have just as easily meant me, Fido,” she retorted, and earned a scowl.

“There are times when it’s wise to…back off,” Zorn finished.

“And those are the times we’ll send in Lexi.” Jack nodded. “Good plan.”

Bria shook her head. “You should run to Sydney, Alexis. Not walk, run. But don’t worry, I won’t let them use you.”

“I feel like I’ve walked into a fun house,” I mumbled. When had I seen the Six act so easy going and loose? Then again, they were usually only together like this when Kieran was present.

I was starting to realize everyone else saw a very different side of Kieran than I usually did. A harsher side, with more impenetrable walls and harder angles. A guy who didn’t tolerate the word no, and reduced people to quivering messes on the battlefield.

I wasn’t sure how to feel about that.

Don’t waste your heart on me, Alexis.

Oh yeah. That was how.

“Oh, did you show her?” Donovan asked as Thane called from the back door, “What’s the hold up?”

Jack snapped his fingers and turned toward the fridge.

“Oh hey, Alexis.” Thane walked down to me, just another large, muscular man in a very tiny house.

“We do need another place to congregate,” I said, flattening against the wall so Thane could join us.

“You staying or going?” Thane asked.

“Staying,” Jack sang. He pulled a newspaper from the top of the fridge and handed it to me.

“Damn,” Thane said with a smirk. “I mean, great, because that vitals-grabbing thing you do will sure be helpful, but damn, I thought Demigod Kieran was going to put his foot down this time. He was set on it. Demigods don’t usually bend.”

“I wouldn’t talk about the boss’s lady grabbing your vitals,” Donovan said with a smirk.

“She defies logic.” Jack tapped a story on the right column on the front page. “They got their man, and all it took was Demigod Kieran vouching for your authenticity.”

“Huh?” I asked, looking at the paper.

“That’s that guy, Lexi,” Daisy said, smiling at me. Mordecai perked up, his tired eyes shining. “That guy at the freak show, remember? The one you called the cops about? See? I told you they’d track you down. But you were right—”

“I can’t believe you’re admitting it,” Mordecai said.

She scowled at him. “Shut up, Rover, I was right, too.” She refocused on me. “Like you said, it led them to Kieran’s office. He talked to the cop shop about you being legit.”

“You don’t seem so weird when a Demigod is vouching for you,” Jack said, laughing.

“All aboard,” Bria called.

I pushed away the banter and zeroed in on the newspaper article.

The criminal from the freak show that seemed like forever ago stared at the camera in his mug shot, his expression pissed off and his hair mussed. In the four-color picture above, a SWAT team surrounded an opened locker, the contents hidden.

“They got enough evidence to put him away,” Mordecai said. “The cop you called took point.”

I glanced over the story, chuckling. “Guess I can’t use it for a new business, even if I wanted to, since the credit went to an anonymous caller.”

“Demigod Kieran figured you’d want to keep your privacy,” Zorn said.

Bria huffed out laughter, but didn’t say anything.

“We could easily get around all that,” Daisy said confidently. “We could definitely make a business work.”

“Chump change,” Donovan said, smiling over my shoulder. “You’re working for Demigod Kieran now. You don’t need no freaking freak show.” He laughed and handed off the steaks to Thane before patting me on the back. “That’s cool, though. You helped bring down a murderer.”

“And soon, you’ll help bring down another,” Bria said with a violent gleam in her eye.

“Hear-hear!” Donovan said as he followed Thane out to the grill.

“Are we really signed on to help bring Valens down?” Mordecai asked quietly.

Jack glanced back, then Zorn did, as if they were equally as interested in the answer.

“Not we, Mordecai,” I said. “Me. I signed on to—”

“No.” Daisy held up her hand, stopping me. “We. We go where you go. We’re a family. If you’re getting involved, we’re all getting involved. Maybe not on the front line, but we’re in this with you. That’s non-negotiable. I still maintain that Kieran is a possessive, stalking asshole and a bad idea, but these other yahoos are okay, so I’m good to join this team.”

“You’d make too many bad decisions without us,” Mordecai said seriously. Jack and Bria burst out laughing. They didn’t know that it was mostly true.

I took a deep breath, fire burning through my veins. I’d never taken a stand like this before. I’d never aggressively stepped up to authority and put myself out there. But if I did it against anyone, it was always going to be Valens. It was always going to be the guy who thought he was above the law.

“Yes,” I said, the fire overflowing and strengthening my words. “Yes, we’re going to get involved. And come hell or high water, possibly literally, we’re going to win.”

“Atta girl,” Jack said, clapping. “Let the games begin.”


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