Home > Blue Blooded (Jessica McClain #6)(13)

Blue Blooded (Jessica McClain #6)(13)
Author: Amanda Carlson

Once both vehicles drove away, it didn’t take long for Ray to make his landing.

This time I was ready.

“What’s up?” he asked. “Why’d you get out?”

“Did you notice anything strange from up there?” I asked. He shook his head. “No weird colors or auras or magic signatures?”

“No. Should I have?”

“Jeb’s out here somewhere,” I told him, turning in a circle. “I was just wondering if you detected anything. If he leaves any kind of magical imprint, we might be able to spot him sooner than later next time.”

“Are you talking about that short dude with a porcupine hairdo?” Ray mused. “He’s powerful as hell. Last time, his magic damn near burned my skin. I don’t think anybody would detect him if he didn’t want them to. I’m good, but not that good.”

“What he says is correct.” The sharp voice sounded from the base of a small junction of trees not twenty feet away. “If I had wanted it, no one would have ever known I was here.”

Jeb hadn’t worried himself with trying to appear normal this time. He wore a long, flowing white robe, which dragged comically behind him as he paced toward us. He was even shorter than I remembered—four and a half feet at most. He held the same golden leather-bound book in his arms, which looked enormous, his brown hair still spiked at attention all over his head. His bushy eyebrows and beard completed the confusing look. I imagined that under the sleeves of the robe his arm hair was carpet-thick. I suppressed a giggle.

“I hadn’t expected to see you again so soon,” I told him. We’d parted ways not more than a day ago. “You could’ve given me a heads-up that we’d be meeting here.”

He sniffed, “Well, I couldn’t very well predict our next meeting, as I wasn’t sure you were going to make it through the cemetery ordeal. But once you did, it was written that you would arrive here, at this time.” One of his thick fingers began to trace over a page. “Since we last saw each other, you have increased your odds of survival by fifty-three-point-four percent. That’s fairly impressive, especially in such a short amount of time.” He nodded approvingly, eyeing me over the massive tome in his arms. “But we must do better. As you know, your survival is imperative. With your death would come great loss. The supernatural world would be unable to recover itself for a millennium. We must not allow that to happen.”

No pressure. “Yes, you’ve told me.” I moved closer to the strange little man who’d declared himself my assistant the last time we’d met. Rourke and Ray followed. “Juanita wants me to survive as well. She arranged a meeting after you and I saw each other and told me that finding Ajax would lead to my destiny.”

“She is mostly correct.” He nodded, his spiky hair not moving an inch. “But there are other things that must be completed before you are able to find your way back to your true path. We will get to that in a moment. But first, according to what’s written here, if you follow Enid’s instructions blindly, you will not survive. So you mustn’t do that. She is shrewd and knows that you will risk much for the people you love. You have to outsmart her without her knowing, which will be tricky.”

Trying to outsmart a powerful seer sounded a little more than tricky. “You mean like we did with the wendigos?” I asked. By changing my mind for a split second and going with my heart instead of my rational brain, I’d managed to reverse the outcome of what could’ve been a horrific death for all of us, not to mention an innocent town full of humans.

“In simple terms, yes,” he agreed. “But this will be much more complex than defeating a pack of flesh-eating zombies. It will take finesse.”

I coughed. Defeating a horde of reanimated bodies that had had the power to change a living creature into a mindless, deadly killer had seemed like a pretty complex ordeal at the time.

Rourke interrupted, “Can we trust Julian, the leader of the wolves?”

Jeb frowned, glancing at Rourke with distaste. “That is undecided.” Jeb seemed pained to have to answer my mate.

Before Rourke could argue or give Jeb a verbal smackdown, I asked, “What do you mean it’s undecided? I think it’s important to know who we can and cannot trust.” I would let Jeb know later that my team was an extension of myself and that he needed to treat them as such. The warlock was going to have to get used to doing business a new way—like dealing with those he thought inferior to himself, which was likely everyone on the entire planet.

“Julian de Rossi is a man after his own interests,” Jeb answered, confirming what we already suspected. “It is unclear exactly what he will do next, because he changes his mind to suit himself.”

Rourke had been right in his first assessment of Julian. “Does that make it harder to predict what his future choices will be?” I asked.

“Yes and no.”

“Jesus, man!” Ray piped in, disgruntled at Jeb’s obtuseness. “I thought you were an all-powerful supe who knew what was up? Telling us if we can trust Julian should be a no-brainer.”

Jeb visibly bristled, his spiky brown hair vibrating with anger. It was the first time I’d seen his hairdo move. “You are incredibly lucky I decided to include you in this meeting at all,” he huffed. “I could’ve very well kept you both out.” He glared at Rourke and then Ray. “The only reason I’ve allowed it is because Jessica has informed me she will be doing things differently, so I have given her the benefit of the doubt. But this is not how I’m accustomed to working, and I will not have my authority challenged by a mere infant.” His nostrils flared. “You may be a reaper as well as a vampire, which is highly unique—in fact, you are the first of your kind. But you know nothing about this world.” He paused dramatically, before adding, “I would love to answer every burning question you have, but unfortunately, Fate is complex and it doesn’t work that way.” He turned his gaze on me. “To answer your question, Julian is hard to scry for because he changes his allegiances often, but”—he raised a hand in the air—“the final outcome will never change, because he will continue to do things for his benefit only. So I say yes and no because we won’t know every detail until he makes up his mind.” His finger went back to tracing the page. “I can tell you that on this night you are safe. He is interested in learning about what has happened to you. He’s curious about your power and genuinely wants to protect you, as his allegiance is to your father, Callum. But it won’t stay that way for long. He will be tempted away.”

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