Written in Red Page 37

Then she pulled out a package for Mr. Erebus Sanguinati. It was one of the packages shoved farthest back in that corner of the sorting room, so it had been there for weeks, maybe even months.

It wasn’t a heavy package, but it was square rather than a rectangle, making it too high to fit into the metal boxes. She chewed on her lower lip, wondering what she should do.

“Something wrong?”

She stumbled back a step. She hadn’t seen anyone approach, hadn’t heard anyone, but a beautiful woman with dark eyes and black hair that flowed to the waist of her black velvet gown now stood near the fence that separated the two mausoleums.

“I have a package for Mr. Erebus Sanguinati, but it won’t fit into the boxes.”

“You’re the new Liaison?”

“Yes. I’m Meg Corbyn.”

The woman didn’t offer her name. Instead, she looked toward the larger mausoleum—whose door was now open just enough for someone to peek out.

“You could leave a form saying there is a package being held at the Liaison’s Office,” the woman said.

“It’s been at the office for a while,” Meg replied. “That’s why I thought I should deliver it in person.”

The woman’s smile was more lethal than encouraging. “You could leave it in the snow. The previous Liaisons would have—if they had been brave enough to come at all.”

Meg shook her head. “Whatever is inside might get damaged if it got wet.”

A sound like dry leaves skittering over a sidewalk came from the larger mausoleum.

The woman looked startled, then studied Meg with unnerving interest. “Grandfather Erebus says you may enter the Chambers and set the package before the door. Stay on the walkway, and you will come to no harm.”

“I was told I wasn’t allowed to enter the Chambers,” Meg said.

The woman’s smile sharpened. “Even the Wolfgard accommodates the Grandfather.”

Which meant Mr. Erebus was a very important person in the Courtyard.

Smoke flowed swiftly over the snow, gathering to one side of the gate. Part of it condensed, becoming an arm and a hand that pulled open the gate before changing back to smoke that moved away.

Something about smoke and the name Sanguinati that she needed to remember.

Pushing open the gate a little more, Meg walked up to the mausoleum. A hand curled around the edge of the door—an old hand with knobby joints, big veins, and yellowed, horny fingernails. A dark eye in a lined face peered out at her.

Not quite looking him in the eye, in case that was offensive to him, Meg carefully set the package down on the dry marble stoop.

“I’m sorry it took so long for you to receive your package, Mr. Erebus. I’ll watch for them from now on and get them to you as soon as I can.”

“Sweet child,” he whispered in that dry-leaves voice. “So considerate of an old man.”

“I hope nothing spoiled,” Meg said, stepping back. “Good day, sir.” She turned and walked back to the BOW, aware of all the smoke gathering just inside the fences. The gate closed behind her. The woman continued to watch her as she got into the BOW and drove off.

She had another set of packages for another address in the Chambers, but she was feeling shaky and wanted to get away from that part of the Courtyard. She continued driving until she passed the last of those ornate black fences and was heading for the Hawkgard Complex.

Then she remembered. Smoke. Sanguinati.

She hit the brakes and almost slid into a snowbank. She managed to put the BOW in park and crank up the heater before she started shaking.

Vampire. In one of their hurried, forbidden conversations, Jean had told her vampire was the street name for the Sanguinati. Smoke was another form they could take when they were hunting.

And when they are killing?

Now she understood why it was so dangerous to set foot on their land—and why no one who did left the Sanguinati’s piece of the Courtyard.

But an old, powerful vampire had given permission for her to enter the Chambers and deliver a package.

“Oh, I feel woozy.” She leaned back and closed her eyes. A moment later, she opened them, too uneasy about not being able to see what might be approaching.

How many of them had been out there, watching her?

That didn’t make her feel any less woozy, so she put the BOW in gear and trundled the rest of the way to the Hawkgard Complex, which consisted of three U-shape buildings, two stories tall, that were separated by driveways that led to garages and a parking area.

Every apartment had a patio or balcony with its own entrance. What she didn’t see were mailboxes or the nest of large boxes for packages. Which meant there had to be a room somewhere for those things.

Pulling up in front of the middle building, Meg got out of the BOW.

“What do you want?”

She squeaked and grabbed for the door handle before she regained control enough to look over her shoulder. The brown-haired, brown-eyed man who stared at her didn’t look the least bit friendly.

“Hello,” she said, trying out a smile. “I’m Meg, the new Liaison. I have some packages for the Hawkgard Complex, but I don’t know where I should leave them. Can you help me?”

He didn’t answer for so long, she didn’t know what to do. Finally, he pointed to the center room on the ground floor. “There.”

“Does each building have a mail room?” she asked, wondering how she could figure out what package went to which building.

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