Read A Council of Betrayal Online

Authors: Kim Schubert

Tags: #romance, #vampires, #witches, #djinn, #shape shifters, #mages, #succubus paranormal, #succubus romance, #shifter alpha

A Council of Betrayal (6 page)

BOOK: A Council of Betrayal
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He made a face, putting the rest of the
uneaten bite down.

“I suppose this means you will just have to
eat more dessert,” Logan teased.

“Read my mind.”

“So Olivia, we heard about that terrible sex
tape that your ex-boyfriend released.” Sage gave me sad,
understanding eyes.

I pursed my lips. “I rather thought it was
some of my better work, you know, being without proper tools.” I
took a long pull of my drink, smiling at her.

She shifted in her chair, stabbing a bite of
strawberry shortcake. “Really? I actually hadn’t watched it.” She
lifted the bite to her painted cherry lips.

“How long do you anticipate keeping your
place with us?” Nathaniel asked, dabbing his mouth delicately with
a napkin.

I tilted my head. “Until it’s pried from my
cold, dead hands.”

Nathaniel swallowed and I smiled, showing all
my teeth.

“Or if Logan gets hitched,” I amended with a
half shrug.

Hudson slung a heavy arm over my shoulders.
“I for one am happy to welcome you to the fold, dear Olivia. Aside
from needing more attractive females, it sets my weary heart at
rest knowing Logan has someone to keep him from getting stale.”

Logan’s fork landed so forcefully it chipped
his plate.

Hudson released my shoulders, flashing a
smile. “I watched the sex tape.”

I tried to inhale my next sip of alcohol,
choking as I looked up at Hudson. He pounded on my back as the
liquid fire tried to fry my lungs.

Pulling an unencumbered breath, I laughed,
“Glad you are a fan.”

He waggled his eyebrows. “I’d love a—“

“Enough,” Logan growled lowly.

Hudson took the hint, turning back to his
dessert, but not before flashing me a sly smile.

The waiter delivered another dessert to me. I
smiled, slipping him more money with one hand while using the other
to fork half the chocolate pie into my mouth.

“I am impressed at your appetite,” Sage
commented.

“Enough,” Logan commanded again.

I drew my eyebrows down at him. I’m not a
baby, I didn’t need to be protected, especially from one jealous
bitch.

The band, which had been playing low-key
background music, changed to an upbeat tune. That appeared to be
the sign for us to stop playing human.

A hand brushed over my shoulder gently and I
turned.

Garrick kept his eyes carefully on me. “May I
have this dance?”

I took his extended hand, scooting off my
chair. “If you will excuse me,” I said to the group, following
Garrick onto the empty dance floor.

“What did you have in mind?” I asked him. His
hand rested on the delicate lace on my hip.

“I was thinking we should really get this
party started.”

“Did you intentionally just quote P!nk?” I
laughed.

He smiled. “Just because I’m older than you,
that does not mean I haven’t kept current with the times.”

I laughed, “Think the band is taking
requests?”

“Darling girl, I expect you to know me better
by now. The band is waiting for my signal.” He rotated us toward
the stage. The woman playing the harp saw his nod and quickly spoke
to the other band members.

After a brief pause while the harpist counted
them off, they burst out with a swinging fifties song.

I laughed, throwing my head back as Garrick’s
eye glittered with an unspoken challenge. “I forgot this was your
favorite era.”

He shrugged, spinning me out with an
excellent snap, holding my hand as both our feet made the quick
steps to the beat. Coincidently enough, the skirt gave a perfect
flare for the hippy, toe-tapping kicking we were doing.

Narrowing my eyes, I decided to give Garrick
a challenge. He spun me again and instead of tapping my feet as
usual for a few counts, I rebounded, quickly charging him for a
jump. With quick vampire reflexes, he caught me in midair, twisting
my body around his neck. I locked my knees, pressing my arms
straight out as he spun my body down his own.

A peal of laugher bubbled up my throat as he
slowed the spin down, pinning my knees behind his back. I took his
offered hand before he released my knees and I landed on my feet,
kicking to the beat that I swear had increased in pace.

Garrick smiled and moved gracefully, thanks
to perfect reflexes and years of honing his dance skills. I kept up
easily, although I was sporting a thin sheen of sweat from my
exertion, to his cool complexion.

He used an impressive, one-handed move,
swinging me over his shoulder. We had the entire dance floor to
work with. We were acquiring a growing audience, since no one had
yet ventured onto the floor with us. Garrick slowed the dance down,
and I looked to him for a clue as to what had caused the
change.

His dark brow furrowed and I followed his
gaze. I could no longer see Grams or Logan through the crowd of
people. Without a word, I released his hand, changing directions
and tunneling through the crowd.

I didn’t make it very far. Those I had
assumed to be idle spectators were actually thugs for hire. Strong
arms swooped around my waist before I snapped both bones with a
crisp sound. He went down, harder than a shifter should. His skin
was warm where my hands gripped his wrist.

I inhaled deeply. “Fucking djinn,” I hissed,
before throwing my weight into getting to Grams.

Garrick wouldn’t help me. I was on my own. I
didn’t fault him for not lending a hand. In that public place, it
would be seen as siding with me, and my enemies would be his, his
would become mine. I appreciated his staying out of it.

He had slowed the dance to allow me to
realize something was amiss. Even that might be enough to throw his
lot in with me. Neutrality was important at the Conferences;
picking sides with a group made you as vulnerable as them to
attacks.

Let’s face it, folks, I have quite a few
enemies. Another djinn, a clone of the first, landed a blocky fist
against my head. I staggered into a third body. They closed in on
me, their fallen companion at my feet, writhing in pain. I kicked
him for good measure.

My right hand slid to my hidden daggers. I
fisted two and sliced through their business suits and into the
gray flesh of their bodies. More grayish substances oozed from the
wounds, forcing me to grip my blades tighter. Given how closely
they were gathered around me, I wouldn’t be given the opportunity
to draw new blades now that my hidden gems had been revealed.

One flunky landed an impressive jab to my
kidney and I sliced the offending hand off, not cleanly. It dangled
as he yelled in pain. The last djinn standing bear hugged me from
behind, lifting me off my feet and spinning toward the exit.

I finally had a clear view of Logan and
Grams. She was fine, protected by Jerry, who had constructed an
impressive shield around the group. How did he do that?

My brief glance at Logan had me smiling.
Hudson was holding him back, sweating profusely at trying to out
alpha the Alpha. I used the upward momentum, flipping myself over
the djinn’s head onto his back. He reached back a clumsy hand,
trying to get me off, succeeding in grabbing my hair. Gripping both
blades hard, I slammed them through the flesh of his back. His hand
in my hair jerked and I felt chunks of my scalp trying to break
free.

I really liked that haircut. I was not going
to lose pieces of it to that piece of shit.

I pressed the blades in farther, my hands
going through the gray flesh with a sick sliding. The smell had me
gagging, my face too close to the wounds. I continued to carve,
though, with the asshole still pulling on my hair.

I dropped my left blade and shoved my hand
through the muscle I had just damaged, searching for his heart.
Realizing what I was after, he let go of my hair, stumbling to the
nearest gold and chestnut post and slamming my body into the metal
and wood construction. I tightened my grip on my right blade,
pointing the tip downward as he tried again.

Everyone was watching now. Some had stood up,
others still relaxed in their chairs, enjoying the show.

The djinn twisted and I saw Garrick
surrounded by his entourage, watching my fight intently. My
searching fingers finally clenched down on the throbbing heart
muscle I was searching for.

With the djinn still under my touch, I gave a
final yank and pulled my left hand and forearm out of his back,
using my teeth to rip the gray flesh of his heart open, watching
the red blood inside surrender to gray mush.

I landed on my knees in a pile of gray goo
that all three bodies had left behind.

Spitting, I leaned heavily on my knees,
pulling my spine straight, not giving away how badly my side or
head hurt. I turned to Garrick, shaking off my blades. “Thanks for
the dance, but it appears my dance card is full for the night.
Unless you’d like it dirty.”

Garrick inclined his head slightly. “Always a
pleasure, Executioner.”

I nodded my head, turning to Grams. She stood
up gracefully and our table stood with her. Logan finally relaxed
enough that Hudson didn’t have to physically restrain him. I smiled
and winked at him before heading to the exit.

I was going to drop gray goop everywhere and
it didn’t seem right to make the humans clean up our mess. They
were already going to have a hell of a time getting the giant gray
blob cleaned up.

At the trash can at our private elevator, I
stopped. “Mercer, can I have your jacket?”

“Of course.” He slipped the garment off
quickly, removing his arm from Grams’s shoulders.

“Goodbye, beautiful dress,” I said
sorrowfully, peeling the material and shoes off before depositing
them into the trash, using the material to try and scrape off the
large chunks of goop.

Slipped over my shoulders, the jacket hid the
fact that I wasn’t wearing a bra.

“Sorry about the dress, Jerry,” I
lamented.

He smiled, reaching over to squeeze my
shoulder, wrinkling his nose. “I’m glad you are okay. The dress is
replaceable.”

Mercer kept touching his gun nervously, now
that it was revealed with my taking his jacket. “What the fuck were
those?” he asked, doing a good job of handling the unknown.

“Djinn,” Jerry answered, his arms crossed in
front of him. I could guess he was missing Mark about now, but as a
shifter Mark had to stay with his pack.

“Gin? Like the alcohol?” Mercer asked,
adjusting his tie.

“It’s pronounced the same, but spelled
differently,” Jerry agreed, undoing his own tie.

“What are they?” Grams asked me.

I groaned, gingerly touching my bruised
kidney. “In human lore they are the genie in a bottle. The truth is
they are very rare, very powerful, and very expensive. The three I
killed weren’t the actual djinn, but short term clones, for lack of
a better word.”

“You are telling me this djinn is able to
clone himself with enough intelligence to attack you?” Mercer
asked, pulling on his shit tie again, then giving up on the damn
thing and loosening it entirely.

“Yes, but they are exceptionally weak. The
more clones they create, the weaker each one is,” Jerry
offered.

“So how did you know to eat the heart?” Ali
asked in the corner. I had forgotten about her and Grant.

That was a gross visual. I needed to spit. “I
wasn’t trying to eat it. I just didn’t have a free hand to slice
it. The heart of a clone contains the blood of the djinn. Spilling
it kills all the clones created with that blood source.”

“What happens if they give each clone its own
blood source, and how did you know that one had the blood in it?”
Grant asked.

“I didn’t, it was a lucky guess. As to the
other, I don’t know. I’ve never met a djinn that powerful,” I
answered, grateful when the doors to the elevator opened.

Grams swiped her finger over the print reader
and I headed to the shower. As I closed the door behind me, I spied
my phone blinking at me. I swiped it off the nightstand before
going to stand next to the tub, turning on the faucet to warm the
water up.

Are you okay?
Logan asked.

I’m good, just a little sore
, I
replied.

We are leaving
, came the instant
reply.

NO!
I sent back quickly, before
drafting another message.
You already showed how important I am
to you by needing to have Hudson restrain you.

He did NOT restrain me
, he
replied.

I laughed.
By having him talk sense into
you? Better, Alpha?

Mildly
.

I rolled my eyes at him. The water was warm
on my feet. I flipped the lever to start the shower, resting my
phone on the top of the toilet.

Who had I pissed off badly enough that they
would find and make a deal with the djinn?

My stomach dropped away. Zachariah. Shit. I
slammed my fist against the tile. Of course, he did tell me he was
coming after me and mine for killing his vampire, Gabrielle. He
deserved it for kidnapping Tommy, and I would make the same
decision again if I had to.

I had to admire Zachariah’s timing. Attacking
me at the Conferences was smart. Violence was expected, and if I
was weak enough to be killed or allow members under my protection
to be killed, then I didn’t deserve my post and should be
replaced.

There would be no retribution by my allies,
and they couldn’t help me here.

I sighed. Zachariah was just one in a long
list of Supernaturals I had pissed off. It might be him, it might
not. Either way, someone was after my ass, and not in a fun,
let’s-play-all-night kind of way.

I massaged my head, wincing as my fingers
brushed over the goose egg forming there. The gray goop ruined the
washcloth and was in danger of clogging the drain when I finally
stepped out to dry off. Wrapping myself in a towel, with another in
my hair, I padded into my room and threw on clean yoga pants and a
pink tank top.

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