Written in Red Page 151

“Like what is?”

“I meant what I said. They’re coming for you, Meg, but I’m not interested in you. Just give me the pup. I’ll be on my way, and you can run. You might even make it out of the Courtyard and find another place to hide for a while longer. Maybe forever.”

Stalling for time, Meg realized. All the talk was just a way to stall for time. But there was one thing she needed to know. “Why do you want Sam?”

Asia smirked. “I know some men who would love to have some leverage over a Courtyard leader. They’re powerful men who could get a lot of concessions for us humans. A couple of them might even enjoy having an exotic pet for a while.”

He’s not property, Meg thought as the cold inside her gave way to a furious heat. Giving Asia a hard shove, she shouted, “Run, Sam!”

Asia returned the shove, knocking Meg into a wall. Sam exploded from behind the couch. He had filled out a lot in the past three weeks, making up for the lack of growth during the years he’d been frozen by his mother’s death. His teeth didn’t sink into anything but Asia’s parka sleeve, but his weight and the way he swung his own body to bring down his prey was enough to throw her to her hands and knees.

Meg pushed off the wall, shouted “Sam!” and ran out the door. She wasn’t dressed for outside—no coat, no boots; nothing but jeans, her heaviest sweater, and shoes. But she ran to the BOW Asia had driven and yanked the door open. Sam jumped in and scrambled out of her way as she got in, turned the key, and put the BOW in gear before she closed her door. She was driving away from the apartments by the time Asia reached the road.

Glancing in her rearview mirror, she saw staggered lights approaching the Green Complex. Those must be the men Asia said were after her.

“You did good, Sam.” She’d heard the explosion and knew there was a problem up ahead, so she made the first left-hand turn she could, pushing for speed on a road oddly stripped of snow. “You did good.” Then she added silently, Now it’s my turn.

* * *

At first, it didn’t look like there was much wrong with the Utilities Complex. Then Simon spotted Blair kneeling beside Ferus and saw the bloody snow. He pulled up close to them, put the BOW in park, and jumped out.

“How bad?” he asked Blair, adding a silent call to Vlad, who immediately stopped his efforts to shift the snow around the garage doors and strode toward them.

“One of the Hawks is dead, and Ferus took a couple of bullets,” Blair replied. “Not sure how bad he’s hurt inside, but he’s bleeding plenty. We need to get him to the Wolfgard bodywalker.”

Simon sprang up and opened the BOW’s back door. In the winter, most BOWs carried some basics: two blankets, a short-handled shovel, a snow brush, and an ice scraper. He grabbed the blankets and laid them out in the snow next to Ferus. He and Blair lifted the wounded Wolf onto the blankets, wrapped him, and eased him into the back compartment. Blair went around to the passenger’s seat, but Simon waited for Vlad.

“Something?” he asked, stepping away from the BOW.

“Nyx says there is a broken feast,” Vlad reported. “Three of the intruders are dead and already growing cold, but the other two . . . The hearts still beat, and the blood is still hot.”

“Then don’t waste them.”

“Big hole in the back of the building. The wave of snow smothered the fire. I don’t know if we’ll find any of our own in there.”

Simon bit back impatience. Ferus was bleeding. He didn’t have time for this. The Sanguinati did not always consider such things, but he knew Vlad well enough to know this wasn’t idle talk.

“The Elementals’ steeds are running with no hands on the reins,” Vlad said.

He wasn’t sure that was true, but he shrugged. “That isn’t up to us.”

“What do we do if Winter unleashes her fury?”

He knew the answer to that. As he opened the BOW’s door, he said, “We do our best to survive.”

* * *

Six snowmobiles roared up to the Green Complex. The special messenger pointed to three of his men and said, “Go after her. I’ll catch up.”

They raced after the BOW.

Pushing up his goggles, he gave Asia a cold stare. “You couldn’t follow orders, could you?”

“You want Meg Corbyn. I just want the Wolf pup.” When the stare didn’t change, Asia added, “She was going to bolt. I held her up as long as I could.”

He turned his head and said to one man, “Take her back to her car.”

“My car is stuck in the parking lot,” Asia protested.

“Then you’d better get it unstuck before these creatures notice you,” he said harshly. “You can take the ride or walk.” He put his goggles back on, then drove off with one member of his team. The other man waited, watching her.

She hesitated, tried to think it through. Then she realized he was about to leave her and hurried to mount behind him. She pressed against his back, shielding her face as best she could while they raced back to the business part of the Courtyard.

She needed time to think. The special messenger would have cut her out of the deal, would have made some excuse so his benefactor wouldn’t have to give her or her backers any payment for their help in finding Meg Corbyn. And that would probably sour the TV deal she’d been promised. But the messenger didn’t have Meg yet, and if she telephoned her backers fast, she could spin the story any way that would give her the best paycheck.

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