Home > The Bitten (Vampire Huntress Legend #4)(37)

The Bitten (Vampire Huntress Legend #4)(37)
Author: L.A. Banks

Shabazz stepped forward and dashed the remaining holy water in Jose's face, but Jose still didn't come around. "He's blitzed on Neteru. Pull him out, Mar, before Damali takes his jugular!"

Father Lopez stood, weaving. "I took the first bite and oh, God, it felt so good," he whispered. "Pull us both out of this bond梟ow - before she takes the jugular."

Total pandemonium erupted as the team broke into two squads, each slapping, dousing, working on the two connected men. Marlene was in Jose's face, recanting the connection, trying to bring him up out of the trance, while the other seer, Father Patrick, worked on his young cleric, anxiety rising by the minute when the fallen wouldn't respond.

"We have to shoot them before Damali turns them," Shabazz said, unholstering his weapon and pointing the barrel of the gun at Jose's temple. Jose immediately lifted his head and looked at Shabazz.

"Are you insane, man?" Rider yelled, slamming into Shabazz, throwing his aim off.

But as soon as Shabazz had pointed the gun at Jose, the trance had been broken. Jose sat there looking dazed. Imam Asula nodded, whipped out his machete, and pressed it to Father Lopez's throat. Father Lopez immediately snapped out of it as well.

"What the f**k?" Rider said angrily.

Shabazz holstered Sleeping Beauty. "A master is most vulnerable when he's asleep, when he hasn't fed, or when he's gettin' busy, but will always pull up when there's an eminent threat." He stroked his gun, and nodded in Asula's direction. "So me and brotherman provided an eminent threat."

Marlene sat down slowly at the table and let her head drop into her hands. "I know you two gentlemen have just been through something outrageous, and I'm sorry you had to go there," she said, speaking to Jose and Lopez. "But can you tell us anything about where they are?"

Father Lopez nodded. "They're at the mansion in Beverly Hills."

Jose nodded weakly. "Nuit's old joint," he said slowly. "Carlos is seriously pissed off, and something is trailing enough sulfur there for Rider to track it. There's weird noises, barking, that Mike can track. I don't know what it was but if I caught the scent again, I'd know it." He looked away, his face suddenly stained with embarrassment. "And I can track Damali now, easy." He rubbed his nose with the back of his hand, and shuddered one last time.

"Jesus." Marlene stood and paced away from the table. "Okay, okay, we have to mount up. Maybe there's a chance."

"You're right, baby," Shabazz said quietly, going to her, "we have to mount up a posse, but not to save her. We're gonna have to find them and smoke 'em both."

Chapter Ten

"What's the matter, baby?" Damali murmured, stroking Carlos's chest.

Suddenly he lifted his head from her throat, and braced himself on his arms, listening, eyes scanning the room, every sense keened: After what seemed like an eternity, he kissed the bridge of her nose, then moved down her torso and planted a gentle kiss on her bare belly. "Two lower-level male vamps just tried a lock with me," he said, then rolled off of her and stood.

Instantly, he was dressed. "I'ma take a walk. You stay here," he said, firmly. "The two vamps have a bunch of human helpers with them. It might get ugly, and I haven't fed."

"I don't want to stay in here by myself," she said, studying him hard.

"You hungry?" he asked, glancing at her sideways.

She nodded.

"Get dressed, then. Tonight is as good a night as any for me to teach you how to hunt."

She hesitated, but found herself fully dressed before she could even look down. "You said they had human helpers..."

"Yeah," he replied. He hesitated. "If you're carrying precious cargo, you need to eat right, and learn how to do it without turning one of them."

She touched her belly with shaky fingers. He didn't respond. They both knew what time it was.

"I need to also show you how to control the dogs, if I'm away for a few hours. But I don't want you out too often. I'll bring the feeds to the lair for you. I'll take care of you, baby. Don't worry."

Damali stood there wondering. What had she done?

She could feel herself vacillating between wanting to follow him outside to do the unthinkable, and wanting to run shrieking into the night.

"I don't want to feed like that... Not until I know for sure - "

"Know what? If you've fully turned?" He stared at her hard.

His statement slapped her in the face. She took a deep breath.

"Baby, think about it," she said calmly. "I can't be carrying, if I'm turned."

He rubbed his jaw with his palm.

"And if I am already turned... wouldn't we have bigger problems than some low-level vamps sniffing around? Wouldn't you have to worry about the Vampire Council coming after you for turning their vessel?"

"True dat," he said, thoughtfully. "But, baby, you've definitely ripened." All of a sudden his head tilted and his nostrils flared.

"Will you forget about them, Carlos! They can't get in here. I've got other concerns right now. Look, my name would have burned into their books if I'd turned, you'd thought it yourself." She stared at him. Something wasn't right. Her turning and the Vampire Council's response should have been Carlos's top priority, but it wasn't. He was hiding something from her; she could feel it. What could be more important than the dark side losing its vessel?

She studied him hard and kept pushing him for answers. "If I've completely turned, all Hell would literally be breaking loose right now, and it's not. So, I'm not fully turned."

"Damned sure felt like it," he said and his voice sent a sensual shiver through her.

No, she was not going there with him again. They needed to talk. "This might have been a false ripening."

He shook his head, his gaze penetrating her. "No, baby, that I'm very clear about."

Her hand nervously rested on her abdomen. "If I'd conceived tonight, then wouldn't that register somewhere, too? Wouldn't the presence of a potential daywalker conception show up in the registers of Hell?"

Carlos crossed his arms over his chest. "After what I laid down tonight, you are pregnant as a jaybird, D. It might not have registered, yet, but I'm sure. Till I know otherwise, I'm treating you like you're carrying mine."

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