Home > Blue Blooded (Jessica McClain #6)(15)

Blue Blooded (Jessica McClain #6)(15)
Author: Amanda Carlson

It was disconcerting to see him go like that.

Ray shook his head. “That is one weird little dude.”

My sentiments exactly.


Julian’s wolves were surprised to see us walking up the road. The SUV’s hood was up, and they stood scratching their heads. It was a brand-new vehicle.

But, like magic, once we came within five feet, the engine started.

Jeb had lots of tricks up his big, baggy, white sleeve.

The drive to the Compound was short, up a long, winding driveway lined with beautiful trees and a rolling vineyard as far as the eye could see.

I’d forgotten how beautiful it was here.

The old villa was typical for Italy, built out of big blocks of buff-colored stone, with enormous terraces that wrapped around the entire estate and big floor-to-ceiling multipaned windows that could be opened twofold to let the beautiful outside in. The grounds were enormous, with several outbuildings in the distance and many more we couldn’t see.

Julian stepped onto the veranda to greet us as we arrived. “I take it your meeting went well.” He made a sweeping gesture with his arm. “Come, we are enjoying some breakfast. I am sure you are hungry.”

My stomach rumbled on cue.

I’d finally learned how to keep my constant craving for sustenance in check—by blocking it out of my brain so I could function—but I wasn’t about to turn down a free breakfast. “Thank you,” I said. “We are starving.”

“I don’t need breakfast,” Ray commented. “Instead, I think I’ll head into Florence and take a look around.” He glanced at me pointedly. “Get a head start on things.”

I nodded. “Agreed. We’ll be ready to head out in about an hour. Meet us there.” He didn’t linger, shooting up into the air immediately.

Julian appraised us, but said nothing as we followed him inside.

It was clear to anyone who paid attention that Ray and I were closely bonded. I was happy Julian hadn’t asked any questions. My relationship with the reaper vampire was a hard one to define.

Ray, Rourke, and I had briefly discussed matters after Jeb had vanished. Ray was going to snoop around the city and see what he could find about a supe who played with statues, while Rourke and I informed James, Marcy, Tyler, and Nick about everything in private. Then we were going to have to make some polite inquiries about who Julian’s lover was. I was confident we could figure it out without a lot of hassle.

I was hopeful that once we found the powerful supernatural who could cloak me, he would help us. I mean, what kind of creature would want the world to fall into chaos if they could be of service?

I didn’t think many.

Unfortunately, Florence was the home of statues. There would be many places to look.

Julian ushered us through an ornate foyer, complete with a huge crystal chandelier and a set of double spiral staircases, each leading to a different wing of the house. We walked under an archway and into a massive kitchen.

A long, ornate table was the centerpiece of the room. It was positioned in front of three sets of French doors, overlooking a balcony and the vast expanse of the vineyards. The table could seat at least twenty. The parquet floors were honey-colored, and the table appeared to be made of reclaimed wood. Off to the right was a fully functional, modern kitchen, with marble countertops and big stainless-steel appliances.

It was a gorgeous setting.

“Hiya.” Marcy waved from the table. “Have a seat. The croissants are to die for.” She held one out as I pulled out a chair.

“Did the meeting go well?” Tyler asked. In my mind, he asked, What’s up? Did Jeb have any important things to share? You weren’t gone that long.

I took the proffered croissant from Marcy and sat down. The pastry was warm, indicating it was just out of the oven. The buttery crust flaked as I broke it in half. I held my moan inside. “The meeting went well,” I told the group. “Just some routine stuff he wanted to tell me now that we’ve arrived in Italy.” My tone was light. In my mind, I told Tyler, We’re going to have to track down a supe today who works with statues. We need to feel Julian out about where to go without alerting him that we’re on a mission. Oh, and we also have to find out who he’s sleeping with.

Got it, Tyler replied. It was hard to ruffle Tyler, which I loved.

Julian sat at the head of the table. He picked up a fork and knife and began to cut into what appeared to be an omelet. Eudoxia was nowhere to be found.

A chef bustled into the kitchen, complete with a large white hat. He came up to the table. “Welcome, what may I offer you? In addition to the fresh fruit and pastries on the table, we have anything your heart desires. French toast, pancakes, soufflés, bacon, sausage, you name it.” He was a wolf and didn’t appear to be older than thirty human years, which meant he was at least fifty immortal years. He had dark hair that curled under the hat at the back of his neck. His skin was a warm olive tone, and his voice was heavily accented Italian, but he looked to be of mixed heritage of some kind.

By his scent he was a wolf…but as I inhaled I found it was mixed with something else.

That got my attention.

“French toast and bacon sound wonderful. Thank you so much,” I told him. I refrained from asking him to bring me a bucket full of bacon. I figured he knew how to serve a pack of wolves, so he wouldn’t skimp. He took Rourke’s order, but before he left the table, I couldn’t help asking, “Are you a hybrid wolf?” It was rude to ask, especially after just meeting him, but I had to know. Something told me it was necessary. My wolf barked her agreement. I added hastily, “I’m sorry if I’m prying, please forgive me. But your scent is so interesting, I had to ask.”

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