Home > Immortally Yours (Argeneau #26)

Immortally Yours (Argeneau #26)
Author: Lynsay Sands

One

“Tybo, it’s time to move,” Beth said into her headset as she watched the garage door drop closed.

“And thank God for that. We’ve been camping out here all night in the cold and mud. I’m done in,” came the complaint over the headset.

“We all are,” Beth said grimly. “So quit your bitchin’ and move into position or I’ll come find you and kick your arse.”

“God, Beth, I love how your accent comes out when you’re annoyed. It’s so Eliza Doolittle.” Tybo’s voice was smooth and full of laughter this time. It made her suspect he’d complained just to get a reaction out of her, especially when he added, “I like it best when you talk dirty. It just revs my engine.”

“Dirty?” she asked with surprise.

“Ummm hmmm,” Tybo crooned. “You said arse.”

Beth covered the mouthpiece of her headset as a bark of laughter slipped from her lips. She hadn’t worked with Tybo long, but was quickly learning the man was a character. Shaking her head, she removed her hand from her mouthpiece and said, “Stop flirting with me, you cheeky bastard, and move into posit—”

A choked sound and the rustle of cloth from her earpiece made her stop talking and listen instead before she said, “Tybo? Tybo?”

Beth paused a heartbeat to wait for a response, and then said, “Valerian? Do you see Tybo?”

Silence was her only answer.

“Ah hell,” she muttered. Slipping out from behind the tree she’d been using for cover, Beth started moving quickly in Tybo’s direction. She had the dart gun she’d been issued in one hand, but her sword in the other. It was the sword that saved her. Before Beth reached the spot where she’d ordered Tybo to take cover, the dart gun was abruptly kicked from her grip. She never saw it coming, but reacted instinctively, sword hand coming up and swinging hard even as she turned toward her assailant. She caught him at the base of the throat where it met his shoulder. The blade went deep, slicing better than halfway through his neck.

Beth yanked it out, grimacing at the sucking sound it made. She watched the man topple sideways to the ground, and then quickly wiped the blade off on her attacker’s coat before grabbing up the dart gun she’d dropped. Shooting him with it to ensure he didn’t heal and rise too quickly, she then turned and continued forward. Beth found Tybo on his back in the mud some twelve feet from where she’d been attacked. There was a knife in his chest.

“You should have moved when I told you to,” Beth muttered as she bent to tug the ivory-handled knife from his heart. He didn’t open his eyes and sit up at once, but she hadn’t expected him to. He’d need some time to heal. Beth reached into the satchel hanging at her side, pulled out a bag of blood and then opened his mouth. She had to massage his upper gums briefly to get his fangs to slide out, but then she slapped the bag to them.

Leaving Tybo where he lay, Beth straightened and glanced around before continuing along the path. Valerian had been positioned another thirty feet ahead in the woods surrounding the house. She found the hunter exactly where she expected, also with a knife to the heart. As she removed it, Beth noted that it was a duplicate of the knife that had been in Tybo’s chest.

Tossing the blade aside, Beth slapped a bag of blood onto Valerian’s fangs as well before turning to peer through the bushes at the house they’d been watching since just after sunset. It had been empty by the time they’d got their orders from Mortimer at the Enforcer house and made their way here. The inhabitants, a rogue immortal and his minions, had already been gone by then, probably to hunt up new victims. Beth, Tybo, and Valerian had sat here awaiting their return for most of the night and now it was almost dawn, but a few minutes ago a van had pulled into the driveway. The garage door had opened, the van had pulled in, and the door had closed without them ever seeing how many people were in the vehicle. Which was why Beth had ordered Tybo to approach the house. They needed to know how many rogues they were dealing with and what the situation was. It was vital to their approach. If there were innocent mortals who needed saving, for instance, it would affect how they handled everything.

It seemed, however, that their presence hadn’t gone unnoticed, and one of the returning rogues had managed to slip out unseen and sneak up on them. Her question now was whether that was the only one. Had the newly turned rogue just been sent out to check around and happened upon them? Or had they been spotted and he was sent out to take care of them? And if so, how many others, if any, were out scouring the trees surrounding the house, looking for them? Aside from whether there were innocents around, Beth also needed to know how many rogues were inside besides Walter Simpson, the master rogue of this group. Unfortunately, getting those answers and doing anything with them would be hard since her entire, and very tiny, team was now incapacitated except for herself.

Cursing under her breath, Beth took a quick glance around and then moved to the nearest tree and swiftly climbed up into the branches. She settled on a large, sturdy branch fifteen feet up, took a moment to be sure that she had a good view of the surrounding area and that no one could sneak up on her, and then slid her cell phone from her pocket.

Mortimer answered on the first ring. “Problem?”

“Oh no, Mortimer. I just called to say hi,” she said lightly, rolling her eyes, and then explained grimly, “Tybo and Valerian are both down from knives to the heart. The blades are out, and I think I got their attacker unless there were two. But that leaves me on my own with a rogue who may or may not have others to help him, and who may or may not know people are out here.”

“The attacker’s not talking?” Mortimer asked.

“Hard to talk with your windpipe hacked open,” Beth said dryly.

“I would imagine so,” Mortimer agreed, and she was sure she could hear a smile in his voice. “Well, you are in luck. A couple of reinforcements walked in just moments ago. They will be there in twenty minutes. Stay put until they join you.”

Beth opened her mouth to answer, but paused as a woman’s scream came from the house. It was long, loud and filled with horror.

So, she thought, there’s the answer to one of my questions. Yes, there are innocents inside the house.

“Beth,” Mortimer said, sounding tense now. “Do not go in there on your own. Wait for backup.”

“Yeah . . . can’t promise you that,” Beth said solemnly as the terrified scream turned into an agonized one. “Tell them to hurry.”

“Beth,” Mortimer said with alarm, but she’d already ended the call and slipped the phone back into her pocket so that she could drop out of the tree.

“Feck!” Scotty snapped, bolting toward the door. Mortimer had put the phone on speaker when he checked the caller ID and saw who was calling. They’d all heard Beth’s words and the shrieking in the background. Scotty knew damned well that agonized scream would have Beth charging into the house with little care for her own well-being. She needed backup now.

“Donny, go with him!” Mortimer barked, slamming the phone back into its cradle when the dial tone announced that the connection had been broken.

“Really?” the young man asked with surprise.

“Move yer arse!” Scotty barked over his shoulder, having heard the exchange. He was already halfway down the hall and didn’t slow as he added, “I’ll no’ be waitin’ on ye.”

“Go!” Mortimer’s bellow was followed by the sound of running feet as Donny obeyed. Scotty was sliding into the SUV and pulling the door closed before the ginger-haired lad caught up to him.

“Keys,” he growled, sticking his hand out the open window as the boy slid to a stop next to the driver’s door and peered at him uncertainly. The lad had picked him up in the vehicle and so, no doubt, expected to drive, but Scotty didn’t care. Giving him a hard look, he ground out, “Now,” and was rather amazed when the fellow didn’t obey at once. Donny’s eyes widened, and there was definitely fear in his expression, but he simply ran around the back of the vehicle.

“Well, ye walkin’ bawbag!” Scotty bellowed and opened his door, intending to give chase, but he stopped and swung around in his seat with surprise when the passenger door opened. Scotty raised his eyebrows when the lad slid into the seat and pulled his door closed. But he didn’t say anything, merely closed his own door again and held out his hand for the key.

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