Shades of Blood(Warriors of Ankh 3) - Page 7

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But a brave pain in the arse nonetheless, and Ankh now. And no matter how much Neil disliked having the Ankh in his territory, disrupting his way of things, undermining his authority and turning usually collected and intelligent Neith into flirtatious, blithering numptys, he respected Cyrus and he feared Darius. He also happened to be a big believer in tradition and legacy. Aye, Neil may not like the Ankh coming in and ruling his roost but it was the way of things. The madman who was stirring up the Neith against the Ankh was causing him more than a little unease. At least Cyrus now knew he wasn’t the traitor.

As soon as Neil had verified the truth of her story he’d called the number he had for Cyrus and was put through by security to the man himself. It was then Cyrus confirmed that Romany was working on his behalf. He apologized for being underhand but he didn’t know who he could trust. Cyrus had enlisted the help of Romany and her Councilman, Sandy Meikles, to unearth the rebel in their midst.

Now Neil was in on it too.

“I’m sorry I had to lie to you. Cyrus was pretty sure you were the guy.” Romany shrugged, crossing a long leg over her opposite knee, her coat riding up so he could see the dagger strapped to her thigh. He raised an eyebrow. She was extremely confident, strong, and relaxed for such a young warrior. She’d lied to him so smoothly and she was anything but subtle. Neil decided he liked her savvy and understood why Cyrus had enlisted her. You had to admire someone who was able to carry out her duty even when she’d been wronged. Romany Jordan was clearly a Neith to be reckoned with and he envied the Chicago Councilman for having her on his team.

Neil nodded, leaning back against his desk. His wife and boys were down in the training center so the house was quiet except for the four Neith he had guarding his office door and the front and back entrance of his home. He’d put them there before he knew the truth about the girl. “The Princeps’ visit was a strained one… to say the least.”

“Because of Eden?” Romany quirked an eyebrow.

“Aye. The girl unnerves me.”

She snorted. “Yeah, I know right? But I guess she didn’t ask for any of this… and I sort of owe her one.”

“You really did kill her brother then?”

Her eyes grew dark with something indefinable. “It was a mistake. I wasn’t thinking… all I saw was a soul eater and I carried out my duty.”

“No need to be defensive with me, Miss Jordan. We’re Neith. We kill soul eaters. Doesnae matter who they are.”

Their eyes caught and held and she nodded gratefully. “Thanks. You’re the first one to say that to me. Even my Councilman was pissed at me.”

“I imagine because you pissed off Cyrus of Persepolis. I doubt it had anything to do with the creature you killed.”

“Yeah well… I’m trying to make up for the all the shit that went down so… any clues?”

Aye, he had a clue. His only clue. One he didn’t feel all that comfortable divulging but he had to. He had his own misdeed to make up for.

His bloody sister, Mary.

“You said there’s a possibility that the Neith rebel has spoken with Cosmina Arcos?”

Romany nodded, sitting forward. “The rebel and Arcos know too much. We have a mole, maybe more than one, and information is being fed to both of them at the same time. We’re hoping that means there’s a connection between them. It would make sense. Their agendas are similar.”

Neil nodded, heaving a heavy sigh as he stood up from his desk. “Well, I know someone who’s spoken to Arcos.”

Romany stood up from her seat, her shoulders thrown back with determination. “Lead the way.”

“Will you let me see my son?” Mary asked him, her chin trembled a little, betraying her anger.

Neil refused to feel bad for removing Cameron from Mary’s care. Cameron was living under his roof now and naturally hated his uncle for separating him from his mother, his only parent. But it was for his nephew’s own good and he’d made bloody sure neither of them could go behind his back to meet up with one another. Of course that added another layer to the hatred his nephew felt towards him, but Neil could live with that. It was part of Mary’s punishment for betraying the Ankh and therefore betraying her own people. To have gone behind his back, behind the Princeps’ back to a known traitor… it was unbelievable. And yet, not something he was entirely surprised by. Mary had not been the same since her husband was murdered by soul eaters. At least there was a positive to her betrayal - she might remember Arcos having mentioned a Neith by name.

“If you tell us anything useful.” He nodded, crossing his arms over his chest. She stared up at him from her couch, the television muted in the background, the sound of her outraged gasp nearly drowned out by the noise of the Edinburgh traffic outside her living room window.

“You’re a cold bastard, Neil. Just like Dad.”

“And you’re a treacherous bitch.”

“OK,” Romany cleared her throat, stepping forward from her place by the living room door. “We’re on a tight schedule here… just tell us if Arcos ever mentioned anyone by name?”

Mary shook her head. “Arcos’ only agenda is to kill Eden.”

Neil frowned. “So she has nothing to do with the rebellion?” He found his hands curling into fists as she stiffened, growing quiet. Bloody hell, she knew something. “Mary. If you tell us, I’ll let Cameron stay with you this weekend.”

Her eyes brightened immediately and he felt a momentary nip of guilt prick him. His sister and Cameron had grown so close since his brother-in-law’s death, and despite Cameron’s anger at his mother for betraying Eden, she was still his mum and he still loved her... still missed her. Neil winced at the thought. “OK.” Mary nodded eagerly, seeming four years old instead of forty. “Arcos slipped up once. She told me her only agenda was to kill Eden, so if I had other things in mind, such as what Adam was up to, then I could piss off.”

Neil froze, his heart racing a little harder at the name.

Nah.

No way.

He cut an unsure look at Romany whose own eyes were wide, aghast. “Adam? Adam Lincoln?” she asked hoarsely.

If the Adam in question was in fact the Texas Councilman, the most influential and powerful Neith in the US, not to mention one of Cyrus’ friends, then they were all in deep shit. “I bloody well hope not.”

His mobile rang, cutting through the tense air, making him jolt. He cursed inwardly at how jangled his nerves were as he answered it, “McLeish.”

He listened in growing horror as his second-in-command, Richard Liddle, explained a situation he’d hoped never to encounter again. “When?” he asked sharply.

“Could have been anytime today. The last time we saw Cameron was last night at yours.”

“They’re all gone?”

“Chris and Alison. Tobe and Cameron. The house is wrecked.”

“And… blood?”

“Some. Not a lot to indicate severe injury or death although there is one rank and very dead soul eater in their kitchen. The rest must have gotten away with the Douglas’ and Cameron.”

“I’ll be there in five minutes.” He shut the phone off and met his sister’s terrified gaze, his head pounding and fury writhing in his veins.

Chapter Five

Fuel for the Fire

Noah’s heartbeat throbbed beneath her ear, steady and strong. Reassuring. His long fingers brushed through her hair as he stroked her, soothing her. Eden inhaled his citrusy Noah scent, her palm pressed against his warm chest, her legs tangled with his. For once she didn’t care if she got caught in his room. On his bed.

With the way she’d stormed out of Cyrus’ sitting room she doubted anybody would be coming to check on her until she’d cooled down.

When Noah had found her on his bed, he’d slipped in beside her and pulled her close and let her cry it all out without saying a word. Finally she’d fallen asleep, only to awaken to find it dark outside and Noah was still beside her.

Cyrus had tried to explain everything to him.

Everything to her. Apparently Romany made a good double agent because of her strained history with Noah. People would believe she had an agenda against Eden and the Ankh. And apparently she’d done good work so far. Turns out McLeish was definitely on their side (who knew, right?) and now he, Romany, and Romany’s Councilman were working together to discover the traitor.

Eden had barely taken it in.

How could he? How could Cyrus bring that woman back into their lives? Especially now… especially now she knew that Stellan had had a future.

Another tear leaked out of her eye and Noah caught it. “Baby.” He sighed, squeezing her closer. “Tell me what to do. I can’t stand this.”


Tags: Samantha Young Warriors of Ankh Fantasy
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