The ground floor was tile throughout in a neutral tone and there was a large conference room to the left of the entrance with a simple rectangular table and wood-framed chairs with fake-leather upholstered seats. The room was set up for PowerPoint and not much else. Bare-bones, very un-Leo-like. Also un-Leo-like was our little group, what might—in a business situation—be called power players. Enforcer, part-time Enforcer, head of security, and former primo were all in one meeting with Del, Eli, the Tequila boys, and the Vodka boys keeping watch over HQ. It was Operation Shutdown, a plan I had devised to cover any situation where the top security brass were all silent or inactive (meaning dead) and the second-level ops people were in charge. They were practicing, while we were dealing with contagious tail-waggers who might have a traitor on board.
Rick stood, pushing Kem aside. The black leopard looked at him adoringly. Go home to Gabon and be kind to your—his lips turned down—my wives and your children.Asad snarled. Clearly this was not what he had expected to happen. Beast snorted in derision and I grinned, showing blunt human teeth to the werelion. Asad had been planning something disruptive and dangerous as he tried to steal the SOD, maybe that war I had thought about. He had put tiles on a world-sized playing board, all perfectly arranged to topple for a predetermined ending, no matter where they started to fall. And then—whatever his plan had been—I messed it all up. That was clear on his face. Go, me.
The elevator opened to reveal more guards, which was my cue. Leaving the others and the mess of blood and interspecies politics, I slipped back up the hidden stairs, wondering where the werewolves had disappeared to. I freaking hated being out of my own Enforcer loop.I needed a few minutes with Leo. As I rounded the stairs on the main floor’s landing, I caught the fading stench of werewolf blood, then Ayatas’s faint scent, Leo’s scent overlapping both, but seemingly at different moments. Together, the fading scents went up the next set of stairs to Leo’s office. Great. Leo had come out of his office lair and met the werewolves. Then had come back out and greeted the special agent. Ayatas got a private meeting with the MOC while I dealt with were-creature politics. I dropped my headset off at the foyer security nook and dropped into a chair with a tired sigh.A low voice rumbled slyly, Want me to rub your feet?
I chuckled up at Wrassler. You big ol’ softie, you. Instead, let me see the security footage. Let’s start with sub-five. I want to know who was responsible for the FUBAR down there.Wrassler frowned. His expression told me that he had already watched the footage and wasn’t happy about any part of it. The cameras mounted in the sub-five basement showed me most of what I needed to know, beginning with the elevator opening and a female vampire walking out. Pale hair and eyes, her face chiseled and cold, the stark beauty of a glacier in pink silk and ballerina shoes. Dominique. Grégoire’s clan heir. She stepped onto the clay floor of sub-five, the werecats and wolves behind her, the wolves carrying Antifreeze, his head lolling.
Inside me, Beast growled low, odd tones in her voice, vibrating through my own chest.
Dominique, a two-hundred-year-old, powerful vamp, aimed a flat device like a television remote control at the camera. The screen went black. Then the other cameras went black.Carlos laughed and told the story, with all of the details he could remember. After spending all day talking about scary topics, it was fun to tell them about how he’d met Nik.
Wait, so after you threw this unsuspecting, traumatized woman into your car—and then drove her through L.A. in that terror mobile, you and Angela went out drinking with her? Alexa asked.I can’t believe you would say something like that about my car! Is this what happens when people get a ring on their finger and stop being polite?
The entire world knows you’re terrifying to be in a car with, Drew said. Finish the story.Some friend you are. But, yes, that’s pretty much exactly what happened. Except we weren’t just with her, we were with her and her two best friends. It was me and four very angry women. I was just grateful I got out of there alive.