The man pressed a hand over his chest. “You know my name?”
“There isn’t anything I don’t know about you. I’ve been looking forward to your arrival. Thank you for speeding things up for me by taking your own life.”
“Those idiots who thought to imprison me found that a man of my stature doesn’t apologize for his deeds.”
“Believe me; no one thinks you’re sorry,” Hades said wryly, picking up one of the balls on his desk and rolling it along his palm.
“Imbeciles! I’m not sorry. I’m proud of the deeds I accomplished. I knew you would reward me. We are both types of demons, are we not?”
“Of course, mi amigo.”
Cortez’s face broke into a smug grin, then broadened when Hades leaned back in his chair, staring at him appreciatively.
“I witnessed when you threw that young couple in the ocean, tied to an anchor, laughing as they screamed for help.”
“The puta said she didn’t want me to touch her. She was begging for my touch when I threw her in.”
“And the husband?”
“Bastardo learned, what I want, I take.”
“Yes, he did. I’m a great believer in giving others what they deserve.”
“I know you are. Is she meant for me?” Cortez’s eyes flickered toward her.
Zerina stiffened in her chair, revolted by his greedy eyes traveling down her body and lingering on her breasts.
“No, she’s mine.”
“A man of my own taste.”
“Not exactly. I find I like my women alive, not decomposing in an ocean.”
“Lessons must be learned.”
“That’s very true.” Hades gave a mock sigh, leaning forward in his chair and dropping the fake friendliness. “It’s been nice chatting with you, but my companion and I have lunch waiting for us. I’m sure we’ll talk again. I’m sorry to say, the next time, you may not look at me as favorably.” Hades waved his hand as he spoke.
Zerina knotted her hands together on her lap to keep her scream from escaping.
Cortez had bent down, trying to untangle the seaweed that had appeared around his ankles. It twined around his legs, holding him still as it grew upward. Then the hands that had tried to tear it from his body were pinned to his side. Continuing to grow upward, it then covered the screams coming from his mouth until it completely enclosed every part of his body except his nose.
“Grimm, take my new friend to the river Phlegethon. Let him choke on the streams of fire that will burn him internally.”
Grimm bundled the bunch of struggling seaweed under his arm before disappearing.
“I hope that didn’t destroy your appetite?”
“Are we having wine with our meal?”
“Then I’m good.”
The moon was high in the sky, leaving the compound swathed in moonlight. Destiny stared out the clubhouse window, watching every shadow intently.
“Are you worried the vampires will break their word?” Broni’s soft question had her taking her eyes away from the window.
“I won’t be relieved until we’re sure they have come and gone from town.”
Her niece looked just as worried as she did.
Everything was going according to plan. They had managed to return to the compound with five semi-trucks, which were still parked beside the others in front of the gate. Rhys, Adam, and Balder had climbed on top of the semis to fire warning shots at the Road Demons who hadn’t been happy to see them driving through town. The men had held them off until it had turned dark and the Road Demons had retreated.
She knew they expected the battle to begin again in the morning, stupidly not imagining the next morning wouldn’t arrive in time to save their lives.
The two women were waiting anxiously for a sign of the vampires’ arrival.
“I’m not worried about them hurting Rhys, Balder, or Rocque, but Adam is mortal. He should have stayed inside the compound’s gates.”
“He’s a fool. I don’t think the vampires can breach the gate because of the protection spell you placed on it, but damn, I wouldn’t chance it if I were mortal. A vampire’s fangs are a hard way to find out you were wrong,” Destiny said matter-of-factly, feeling Broni drop her hand.
“I wasn’t the one who placed the protection spell.”
Destiny wanted to bang her head on the window at her slip.
“I told Fate to tell you that your soul was old.” Destiny cupped her hand on her niece’s cheek. “It’s been you who has been protecting the clubhouse. You died near the spot where we’re standing now. When you died, Fate directed those in your village to bury you here, and she spoke a protection spell that Rhys gave her.”
“Neither my mother nor Rhys told me! How did I die? Tell me, Destiny!”
Destiny gripped Broni’s hands in hers. “You don’t want to know, Broni. It was when Zerina was still a child. You showed such bravery that Fate and Mother wanted to reward you with another life. You protected your family then, just as you have with the new one you found now.”
The semis’ lights came on, stopping the conversation. They waited expectantly for the large trucks to drive away, holding their breaths, then sighing in relief when they finally started moving.
“I was getting worried,” Broni admitted.
“Me, too.” She didn’t fear for her own safety, but until her niece was immortal again, Destiny was uneasy with her being so close to the vampires.
Abby came up behind them to look out. “They’re leaving?”
“Yes.” Destiny gave a sigh of relief as the red lights glowed in the distance.
Giving a smile, she went to open the clubhouse door for the men who were approaching, noticing that Abby went back to help Zandra give out sandwiches to Rocque’s warriors. They would keep watch for the night to make sure that the clubhouse remained safe as the vampires searched for victims.
None of the men looked happy that the vampires had left. Destiny knew what was troubling them. It was the same feelings that were attacking her.
Broni hugged Rhys as soon as he cleared the door. When he slipped an arm around her waist, Destiny was close enough to hear his murmured assurance.
“I was never in any danger from the vampires.”
“I know, but I can’t break the habit of worrying about you.”
The love between the couple had flourished since earth’s destruction had begun. It was only one of the few bright spots that Destiny had seen since Morgana had ripped them from the Halls of Death.
Destiny also saw the covert looks that Abby was giving Adam. She had been keeping an eye on the young woman since Tank had ruthlessly kidnapped and beat her, leaving her stranded when the apocalypse had begun. If Adam hadn’t sent one of his men to watch Tank, she would have been just another victim of Dionysus’s treachery. Jace had brought her back to the clubhouse.
It had been traumatic to find herself captive, but Broni and Jace helped her recover, though her mind was still healing from when Tank had kidnapped and tortured her, nearly breaking her mind. They would have succeeded, if not for Broni and Zandra.
Broni had helped her and Zandra to escape. Zandra was the same age as her younger sister who had perished. Her mind, while not totally healed, was
on firmer ground. From the secretive looks she was giving Adam, her feelings for the hard biker were developing faster than her mind could handle.
Rocque and Adam went behind the bar to pour themselves glasses of whiskey. Destiny took one of the stools, reaching over the bar and finding a glass. Rocque filled it for her, watching as she downed it, then refilled it.
“The Road Demons have dark souls. Instead of having a safe haven for humans, they torture and kill those who sought their aid. Those they didn’t were massacred in their homes and beds. We should be rejoicing they won’t get their hands on another woman or child.”
Destiny nodded her head at Abby and Zandra before turning back to the two men whose faces showed the ravages of what they had facilitated. “As a Moirai, I know the souls that are being taken have no redeeming values, but that doesn’t make it any easier for me, and I know it doesn’t for you both, either. We have to remind ourselves that there will be battles we can win in restoring the human race, and then there will be times we have to accept the realities of loss.”
The men stared at each other as if she had lost her mind.
“You think we’re upset because of those pieces of shit?” Adam asked, refilling his and Rocque’s glass then reaching under the bar and taking out a glass to pour one for Rhys as he and Broni moved to sit down on stools next to her.
“You’re not?” Destiny’s eyes narrowed.
“Fuck no. We’re worried about the vampires making it to Colorado. I didn’t know they had children with them. Those semis are going to put a target on them, and the kids are already scared.”
“Vlad won’t let any harm come to them.”
“I gave them two of the RVs for the kids. Balder is moving one of the semis that is blocking our gate to give to them. I’m going to kick my own ass if we have to make a break for it and don’t have enough vehicles to carry everyone.”
“I can relieve you of that worry. You won’t find any place any safer to go.”
“It can’t be this bad everywhere?”
They all grimly stared at their drinks, each lost in their own thoughts. None of them noticed that Zandra had gone to the window to peer out. It was only when she waved her hand that Broni took off, pulling her away from the window.