Bleeding Hearts Page 47

Hunter was fighting two of them and I couldn’t shoot without the risk of hitting her. Chloe had one screeching, thick blood spouting from a deep gash in her side. Even her blood smelled full of decay.

“Chloe!” I yelled. “Down!”

She dropped, used to obeying orders. I aimed and fired, the bolt flying true. The Hel-Blar crumbled, still clutching her wound, saliva dripping from her many fangs before she turned to dust. Chloe threw herself into a roll, coming up next to Hunter. Another Hel-Blar fell to a combination of Hunter’s legendary roundhouse kick and a stake. There was only one left.

He whirled and ran and there was no catching him. I barely saw the blue smudge of his skin in the darkness until he reached the edge of the drop into the lake. His silhouette was clear enough that I fired again. I missed. He leaped over the edge and we heard the splash of his body hitting the water. We ran to the hilltop and Hunter flicked on her flashlight, scouring the inky water. He could stay under water for hours since he didn’t need to breathe. Or he might already be swimming for the far shore.

“He’s gone,” she finally said, turning off the light. “Damn it.”

“Still,” Chloe said, wiping mud off her hands. “Three out of four is pretty good.”

“I guess.”

“Let’s get out of here,” Chloe nudged her. “It’s late.”

We piled back into the Jeep. I checked my phone as Hunter pulled out from under the tree but there were still no messages from Solange. Twenty minutes later Hunter turned onto my road and stopped several houses away from my driveway.

“Thanks,” I said, stifling a yawn. “I needed that.”

Hunter grinned. “Which proves you’re as weird as we are.”

“True. Night.”

There were no lights on, so I assumed my parents were sleeping, blissfully ignorant. Still, I circled around to the back, keeping on the grass so my footsteps were muffled. I wasn’t about to give myself away at the very end like this. I felt better, like I’d accomplished something. I should probably have worried that my version of accomplishing something included killing monsters, but I had enough to worry about.

Like the fact that someone was standing at my bedroom window, leaning inside.

Chapter 18


“We must go,” Aidan said. “Saga is waiting,” Aidan insisted when neither of us moved. “We had to steal children,” he muttered. “Young’uns still wet behind the ears.”

I straightened.

Aidan sighed. “Just come on, before you make things worse.”

“Worse?” Christabel squeaked. I reached to take her hand. I couldn’t imagine what she was feeling right now. “How can it get worse? Wait. You’re not going to call up one of those blue things, are you? A vampire’s one thing, but that …” She shuddered.

I frowned. “You saw a normal Hel-Blar?”

“That was normal?”

“As far as we knew,” I said. “I’ve never known a Hel-Blar to act like this one does.”

Aidan’s face was implacable and ever so faintly ironic. “The colonials used to say that about us when they landed. Savages and all that.”

“I didn’t mean it like that.”


“Aidan saved me,” Christabel admitted.

I blinked at her. “From a Hel-Blar?”

She nodded.

“War between the tribes.” Aidan pushed the door open. “You asked what would be worse than the Hel-Blar,” he elaborated.

“What tribes?” Christabel asked. “Is this about that Blood Moon thing?”

“I’ll explain later,” I whispered.

“We’ll explain,” Aidan corrected him. “Your lot don’t see us as real vampires, and you certainly don’t know anything about how hard we’ve fought to survive.”

“You’re not … like the others,” I agreed.

“No. And neither will either of you be, if you play your cards right and keep your mouths shut. Saga is easily insulted for all she might seem otherwise. Took war trophies from her own kind, didn’t she? Imagine what she’d do to her enemies if there was war.”

We followed Aidan onto the porch. Night had settled over the crooked roofs and the dandelion-thick road. A howl shivered through the air, not a wolf or a dog. Sounded like Hel-Blar.

Christabel’s hand tightened around mine. She dug her heels into the dirt. “Can we make a run for it?” she asked softly.

“No,” Aidan interrupted drily. “You can’t.”

Christabel scowled. She had no idea how well we could hear. “I actually thought I liked Saga earlier today,” she whispered. “She was slightly insane, granted, but kinda fun in a weird way. You know, for a monster who has girls stolen from their cars for kicks.”

Yeah, Saga was going to pay for that. Out loud, because I knew exactly how well Aidan could hear, I just said, “She thinks she’s saving her people or getting political power or whatever. Like Princess Leia.”

“You’re not seriously comparing her to your precious Princess Leia?”

“I guess not. She’s got more Xena in her.”

She smirked a little. “I just bet you used to have Xena posters all over your wall.”

“Hell, no.”

“Why not? I thought that’d totally be your thing.”

“She’s way too much like my mom.”

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