You’re going to kill me, he groaned.
My honeybunch just lied to me. It was so sweet I wanted to cry. Instead I said, If—When Titus loses, that ship can just sail away.Bruiser’s lips pulled up slightly, though the smile never reached his eyes. So it seems. His tone said that he knew or guessed that Leo—or I—had that eventuality covered. However, there are any number of treacherous strategies that the passengers on the ship might attempt. And you have made certain that most of them will not succeed.
That meant that Bruiser knew about the plan I had put in place with my one cell phone call from the island. Interesting. Gee had spilled the beans. Or Alex had been listening in when I made my call and told my sweetcheeks. Or . . . something. Okay, I said just as softly, thinking about all the people on that ship. Okay.We stood twenty feet from the surf on the flat sand. A long, undulating wave train rolled in, over and over, off the gulf. The storm was coming ashore, thunder a constant, disorganized, booming echo, lightning striking down in blasts of light that illuminated the tossing sea, rain in heavy sheets, visible in the flashing bursts. The wind picked up, carrying with it the ozone of lightning and the faint scent of dead fish on the otherwise clean and salty air.It wasn’t a magical storm. I knew how to recognize those. But . . . lightning. And Brute was here, which suggested that Hayyel, the wolf’s angel, had eyes on the proceedings. Soul in dragon form zipped through the storm clouds, in human sight looking like cloud-to-cloud lightning; in Beast-sight a light dragon, filling herself with power. I didn’t know why, but the vision made me itchy, worried, anxious. Soul could see and alter the future when she wanted. I knew that. She knew the possible outcomes of this final duel. I shivered in the cold wind. There was something circular and cyclical about this fight beneath this storm. As if it encapsulated everything that had happened since I arrived in New Orleans.
Leo took to the beach, carrying one longsword and a small sword shaped like a Gurkha kukri, the blade roughly twelve inches long and slightly curved. Titus was similarly armed, but with straight blades. Both wore armor. Leo’s hair was back in a bun that secured it from whipping in the wind.Bruiser touched my shoulder and went to stand with Brandon and Brian, the Onorios all in one place. The outclan priestess stood across from them. They had been in that configuration all through the Sangre Duello. Arbiters and judges.
Leo’s people stood closest to the house. Titus’s people were on the water side of the imaginary ring. The scent of lemons was faint but present, riding atop the smell of salt and vamp. The moon still shone overhead, days away still from the full phase, scudding clouds obscuring her light from time to time, casting shadows on the white sand. I took the Glob in hand and stuck it in my pocket, holding it. A good-luck talisman. Its magic shocked my hand, magic captured from the lightning storm that had made it.
I held the rubies and the gold nugget I never took off in my other fist against my chest. I was armed. Heavily armed. But my arms and ability wouldn’t decide this fight. They were useless.Noah jumped up excitedly. "Good idea, I'm starved." He turned to Amelia. "Thank you for letting me use your makeup."
"Any time and I mean that. Colton was right; you nailed that smokey eye." Amelia could clearly see that Noah had an interest in cosmetics."Thanks, maybe you can show me different styles later?"
"Sure," Amelia said sincerely. Not many people shared her passion for creating new looks.Once they had left, she noticed that Darian alone stood by the door.