Home > Night Unbound (Immortal Guardians #5)(7)

Night Unbound (Immortal Guardians #5)(7)
Author: Dianne Duvall

Bastien’s lips twitched.

And Ethan was enjoying this way too much, damn him.

She counted to ten. “Why would the two of you think I would call you over here to bury him? It’s not like I don’t have the strength to lift him and do it myself.”

Ethan shrugged. “You’re a girl.”

Lisette glared at them both. “And, what, you think I don’t want to get my pretty little hands dirty?”

No response.

“You do know I kill vampires for a living, right?”

Bastien pointed at Ethan. “He said it, not me.”

“But you were thinking it.”

He scowled. “Are you reading my thoughts again, telepath?”

“I didn’t have to. It was all over your face. Besides, I stopped peeking into your head a long time ago because all you ever think about is Melanie na**d and your vampire friends.”

Ethan’s eyebrows shot up. “He thinks about Melanie na**d with his vampire friends?”

Bastien popped him on the back of the head.

“Ow! Shit!”

Lisette pinched the bridge of her nose. “Let us return to the subject at hand, shall we? Yes, I’m a girl,” she pointed out needlessly. “A girl who can kick your ass, Ethan.”

“I know,” he acknowledged with a grin as he rubbed the back of his smarting head.

“Bastien, my guest here,” she said, refraining from mentioning Zach by name, “is immortal. I was hoping you might know how to tend his wounds. Neither Ethan nor I knows much about first aid.”

“Why don’t you just give him blood?”

“No fangs.”

“You don’t need his fangs to descend. You can transfuse him with your own.”

She hesitated, unwilling to tell them what she suspected.

“What?” Ethan asked, picking up on her unease.

“He has wings,” she said.

“Those are real?” Bastien asked.

“Yes.”

He studied her stoically. “And—what—you think . . . ?”

Ethan frowned. “You don’t think he’s an angel, do you? Like a fallen angel?”

Some kind of angel. She hadn’t thought about whether or not he had fallen.

“I don’t know what he is,” she hedged.

The two men shared a look.

At least they didn’t laugh at her or mock her.

“He’s probably just a shape-shifter,” Ethan suggested.

Possibly, but . . .

“You don’t want to give him blood,” Bastien said.

She shook her head.

“All right. I’ll tend his wounds.”

“There’s something you should know first,” she cautioned.

“I’m listening.”

“Seth isn’t terribly fond of him.”

Ethan crossed his arms. “Translation: He’s on Seth’s shit list. If Seth finds out we helped him, we will likely join him on that list.”

A dark smile slid across Bastien’s handsome face. “When has pissing Seth off ever stopped me from doing something?”

There were definite perks to having a black sheep in the Immortal Guardian family.

Bastien ended up being a remarkably capable medic. He seemed to know the use of everything in Tracy’s substantial first-aid kit and used a hell of a lot of it to close Zach’s wounds.

“Where did you learn to do all this?” Lisette asked, watching him stitch up a deep gash on Zach’s arm.

“I commanded an army of vampires prone to psychotic breaks and a dozen or so human wannabe minions with violent tendencies. Severe wounds were a nightly occurrence, and Tanner and I were the only ones around who were guaranteed to be focused enough to take care of them. Hold his wings while I roll him onto his side.”

Approaching the bed, she leaned down to grasp Zach’s wings. They were so large. And so mangled. Broken in countless places. Feathers bent and torn. “Ethan, will you help me?”

They each took a wing and kept it as immobile as possible while Bastien turned Zach onto his side. Again Lisette marveled over how soft the feathers were. Softer than rabbit’s fur.

“I’ve set countless broken bones in the past,” Bastien murmured, “but broken wings . . . ? This is a first.”

“I appreciate your trying.”

He glanced at her as he worked. “Any particular reason you didn’t ask Melanie to help?”

Bastien’s wife, Dr. Melanie Lipton, was a now-immortal doctor who worked at the human network, searching for a cure for the virus. Either that or a way to prevent or reverse the brain damage it caused in humans. She was also doing everything she could to carry Ami safely through her pregnancy.

Lisette sighed. “I didn’t want to get her in trouble.”

His lips quirked as he manipulated one of the wings. “But you didn’t mind getting me in trouble?”

Ethan snorted. “When are you not in trouble?”

Bastien laughed. “True. I’m going to need something I can use as splints.”

Bastien slowly and methodically tended the many injuries that marred Zach’s lean form. When he finished, Lisette walked Bastien upstairs and followed him out the front door.

“Will you have time to get home before sunrise?” she asked, eyeing the gray that preceded dawn.

“The way I drive? Yes.” He paused on his way to a Chevy Volt and turned to study her.

Lisette shifted, uncomfortable beneath his silent scrutiny.

“Are you sure you’re ready for this?” he asked at last.

“Ready for what?”

“Being on Seth’s shit list.”

Hell no. The thought of facing Seth’s wrath made her quake in her boots. “You survived it,” she replied coolly, but feared she didn’t fool him.

He shook his head. “Only because Seth believed himself responsible. It’s why he still tolerates my bullshit. And why he won’t hold my helping you against me. He feels guilty about overlooking me and leaving me to fend for myself for two centuries.”

Whenever a gifted one was transformed into an immortal, Seth sensed it, made his way to his (or very rarely her) side, and aided him in the transition into his new life. Seth then either trained the new Immortal Guardian himself, or saw to it that the newbie was trained by another and received the guidance all new immortals needed.

But Bastien had escaped his notice. So Bastien had mistakenly believed himself a vampire and had lived among those monsters for two hundred years.

All knew his violent, troubled past haunted their leader.

“Do you hold him responsible?” she asked.

“No,” he said, his voice devoid of rancor. “And I’m sure he’s seen as much in my thoughts. But the guilt nevertheless lingers and pretty much gives me a permanent get-out-of-jail-free card. You, on the other hand, don’t have that protection.”

No, she didn’t.

“I learned very quickly,” he went on, “that Immortal Guardians have a pack mentality.” Three years with them, and Bastien still didn’t consider himself one of them. “If Seth turns on you,” he warned, “the others will, too.”

She swallowed hard. “My brothers—”

“Have wives to think of. And, in Richart’s case, a stepson.”

“I know.” She didn’t have a problem with no longer coming first in her brothers’ affections. It just felt a little scary to know they wouldn’t always have her back now.

“Is he worth it—your fallen angel?” Bastien asked. Again, no scorn or mockery infused his voice.

She honestly didn’t know the answer to that and settled for saying, “He saved my life. I can’t forget that.”

“That’s a hard debt to forget.” Turning, he continued on to the car. “You have my number.”

“Thank you, Bastien.”

He opened the driver’s door. “Ethan’s jealous as hell, you know.”

Her eyes widened.

“Asshole!” Ethan called from inside.

Bastien laughed. “I guess this means you two are on the outs.”

“You knew?” she asked, stunned.

How had he known about the affair when no one else had guessed?

He sank into the driver’s seat. “I may not get along well with others, but I am a keen observer of them.” The words seemed to carry a warning. “And I can feel your emotions every time I brush against you.”

Considering how many times she had barged into his thoughts in the past, she decided she wouldn’t let that bother her. “Give Melanie my love.”

He winked. “I’ll be too busy giving her mine.” Closing the door, he started the engine and sped away.

Chuckling, Lisette stared after him. What an enigma.

Ethan exited the house and stepped up beside her. “That guy is so weird.”

“You didn’t tell him?” she asked.

“About us? No.”

“Do you think he’ll say anything to anyone?”

“Nah. Who would he tell, other than Melanie? And she isn’t one to gossip.”

“I don’t want to end up in the betting books, Ethan.”

Immortal Guardians, their Seconds, and the mortal members of the network would gamble on just about anything. She didn’t want them to complicate matters between her and Ethan by betting on whether or not the two of them would get back together.

“If word gets out about your beau in there,” he said, jerking a thumb back at the house, “they’ll be betting on whether or not Seth will let you live.”

A chilling thought.

What the hell was she doing?

Chapter Three

Ethan left shortly after Bastien did, still grumbling over the non-butt call.

Zach didn’t so much as twitch all day. His breathing didn’t deepen. His heartbeat didn’t increase in frequency. His eyes didn’t open.

Lisette eschewed sleep, preferring to watch over him instead and wonder about . . . so many things.

Immortals tended to sleep more deeply when healing from serious wounds, so his lack of response when she called his name didn’t concern her too much. Particularly since his bruises faded. Cuts and gashes closed by Bastien’s handiwork began to heal, angry red lightening to pink, edges smoothing, scars forming.

It took longer than she would’ve expected for an immortal his age. There must have been extensive internal damage. And there had been a lot of broken bones in his wings. One wing had nearly been completely detached. Bastien had had a hell of a time setting it and binding it. Those might take another day or two to heal.

Who had done this to him? And why?

She didn’t think Seth had. When Seth punished an immortal, everyone and his or her brother heard about it. Although, as far as she knew, only she, Roland, Sarah, and Ami even knew Zach existed.

Lisette sighed as the sun set, no closer to finding answers. She touched Zach’s hair. “Zach? Can you hear me?”

Nothing.

“You can answer me mentally if you can’t speak.” Though the gifts they possessed varied from immortal to immortal, Zach clearly was telepathic. Otherwise, he would not have been able to enter her dreams.

Silence.

“I have to leave for the night’s hunt.” She rose, her fingers already missing his silky locks. “I’ll keep my Second away for the night and return as soon as I can.”

She just had to think of something to tell Tracy.

Opening the wardrobe, she drew out a change of clothing and headed into the adjoining bathroom to shower.

The wardrobe actually served dual purposes, just as those in David’s home did. Behind the curtain of black vampire hunting clothing lay a panel that concealed an escape tunnel that led deep into the surrounding forest, allowing her a safe exit beneath evergreens year-round should the need to flee during daylight hours ever arise.

She hadn’t thought such necessary until Roland, Marcus, and Sarah had been attacked during the day, Roland’s house set aflame with them inside it.

Lisette didn’t linger in the shower. The sooner she left, the sooner she could take out a few vampires and return home. Surely Zach would awaken tonight. She just hoped, if he awoke while she was gone, that he would linger until she returned.

Upstairs, she packed on her favorite weapons—shoto swords, daggers, and a pair of silencer-equipped Glock 18’s with thirty-round clips.

Grabbing her helmet, she headed outside and straddled her Hayabusa.

“Before I’m Dead” floated on the night.

Lisette drew out her phone.

“Did you get a good night’s sleep?” Tracy asked as soon as Lisette answered.

“I did,” Lisette lied. “Where are you?”

“I’m still at David’s.”

Which meant every immortal on the premises would hear both sides of their conversation.

Instead of responding verbally, Lisette texted her: Can you spend another night and day there?

Sure. What’s up?

Will tell you later.

OK.

Seconds later, Lisette sped down a deserted North Carolina road, her thoughts consumed with the dark immortal in her bed.

Ethan prowled Duke’s campus, full of restless energy. He hadn’t encountered a single vampire all night. Not one!

Muttering beneath his breath, he slid a dagger from its sheath and began to toss it up in the air and catch it by the blade. It had taken him a while to learn how to do that without cutting himself, but he did it now absently as his eyes perused the shadows.

He was spoiling for a fight, damn it, and couldn’t find one.

He’d been spoiling for a fight ever since he had seen that big-ass immortal sprawled in Lisette’s bed. Sure the guy had been bloody and banged up. But he had been in her bed. Her bed.

   
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