Rising Darkness (Rylee Adamson #9) - Page 61

I paused in mid-stride. “I do. I don’t say it enough. I couldn’t have come this far without all of you. Even when you weren’t with me, you were. Do you understand?”

She clacked her beak twice. “I do.”

I left her there to roost. Before I could step inside, though, the shadows next to the door shifted. I yanked a sword free.

Frank stepped into the light and held up his hands. His face was battered to hell, and his hands . . . shit his hands looked like they’d been through a meat grinder. “Frank, what are you doing out here?”

He ducked his head, and moved as if to push non-existent glasses up his nose. “I just don’t feel like this is over. Orion left too fast.” I lifted my eyebrows at him and he straightened his back. “The zombies held Milly down while we fought for Pamela’s life, but when Orion left Pamela’s body . . . he went back to Milly’s body and got away from the zombies. They seemed to scare him away, but still . . . .”

A chill swept through me. I hadn’t seen Milly, hadn’t known Orion was so close. “What?”

Frank lifted his eyes. “You didn’t see her, did you?” He quickly explained that Milly, or Orion as she truly was now, had shown up at the mineshaft and tried to derail things. And when he told me how Orion had gotten away, I agreed with him.

“Something’s up. Good man, keep an eye out and shout if you even suspect anything.” I put a hand on his shoulder and gave him a squeeze as I went by.

“Did you mean what you said? About us being with you?”

I stopped and hugged him. “Even you, Frank. You are all a part of the reason I can kick ass, even when it hurts.”

He hugged me back and a heavy tension seemed to flow out of him. “I’ve never had a real family like this before.”

I laughed. “If you think this is a real family,

kid, you’ve got some things to learn.” Patting him gently on the back, I slipped inside. The hall was quiet, but the voices I heard came from the kitchen. I followed them, stopping in the doorway. Berget and Pamela stood side by side and Faris leaned against the countertop, legs stretched out in front of him and crossed at the ankle. A Liam pose, if I ever saw one. Alex laid on his side, breathing deeply, a soft rumbling snore escaping him.

Berget was the first to look up.

“Do you know the next step?”

I shook my head. “Lark, is she sleeping?”

Pamela tapped her fingers on the table. “Yes, Peta’s with her.” She seemed a little sad and it took me a second to realize how attached she’d grown to Peta. The cat was good like that, worming her way into your life.

“You’ll get your own familiar, probably when you least expect it,” I said. She smiled and though there was a shadow of pain behind her eyes, the darkness that had hovered before was gone.

Faris’s eyes met mine across the room. The rim of gold around the blue concerned me a little. What if they blended together, became one man instead of two separate ones? Could I love him then?

Shit, the thought made my brain and heart hurt.

There was a distant thump and we all froze. “What the fuck was that?”

Eve let out a screech and I was up and running without thinking. Or maybe not wanting to think.

I burst out the door and onto the yard. The place was lit with witch light, the steady green pulse hanging above our heads in three distinct orbs. In the center of the lawn stood Milly, her arm around Frank, holding him to her chest. Eve and Marco stood back, wings spread and beaks open as they hissed at Milly.

No, not Milly.

“Orion.” I strode out, closing the distance between us.

“That’s close enough, Tracker. You know, this boy cost me my new witch.” With one

smooth motion, she pulled a copper knife from her belt and slid it across his throat. Pamela screamed his name as his head bobbled forward, a soft gurgling of air the only other sound I heard.

No. Horror froze me for half a heartbeat. Not Frank, too.

Orion dropped his body, stepping over it like it was nothing. “Now onto more important business. I’ve had your dragon maimed, I wonder if I can do the same to you? Without Milly to heal you, and Pamela isn’t capable, a broken back should slow you down, yes?”

Orion raised his other hand and a car lifted from the other side of the fence. One flick of his finger and the car spun toward me. Fucking hell.

Berget was there at my side between one breath and the next. She caught the car and threw it back the way it came. Faris stepped up to my other side. “We’ll cover you. Kill him if you can.”

I didn’t wait, didn’t wonder if this was the final battle. If we could maim Orion badly enough now, maybe I would have a chance at kicking his ass. I didn’t disillusion myself. This was not the first time I’d faced him, he was one tough son of a bitch.

But this time, I wasn’t alone.

I had my family with me.

Alex slunk in from the side, inching toward Orion.

Orion spun, a laugh on his lips. But then something shifted. Those glowing red eyes swirling with black pinpricks shimmered and turned green.

“Milly?”

“Rylee. Kill me quickly,” she whispered. “I can’t hold him at bay for long. Love my boy and tell him the best of me. But kill me now so he won’t know I was a demon’s whore.” Her eyes overflowed with tears and she shook with the effort.

My swords were out and I strode toward her. “Milly, please. Fight him. Pamela fought him off.”