Home > Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9)(6)

Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9)(6)
Author: Ilona Andrews

   “The knight-protector honors us with his presence,” Rowena said.

   “Hey, handsome,” Desandra winked at him. “Remember me?”

   They had gotten into it before and nearly killed each other. Nick didn’t look at her, but a small muscle in the corner of his left eye jerked. He remembered, alright.

   “What can we do for you?” Curran asked.

   “For me, nothing.” Nick was looking at me.

   “Just spit it out,” I told him.

   He tossed a handful of pieces of paper on the table. They spread out as they fell. Photographs. My father’s stone “residence.” Soldiers in black dragging a large body between them toward the gates, nude from the waist up, purple and red bruises covering the snow-white skin. A black bag hid the head. Another shot, showing the person’s legs, the feet mangled like hamburger meat. Whoever it was, he or she was too large to be a normal human.

   Raphael picked up a photograph next to him, got up, and carefully placed it in front of me.

   The hood was off. A scraggly mane of bluish hair hung down around the prisoner’s shoulders. His face was raw, but I still recognized it. Saiman in his natural form.

   My father had kidnapped Saiman.

   Rage boiled inside me, instant and scalding hot.

   I had tolerated all of my father’s bullshit, but kidnapping my people, this was going too far.

   “When did this happen?” Curran asked, his voice calm.

   “Yesterday evening.”

   Saiman used to be my go-to expert for all things weird and magical, but the last time I tried to hire him, he told me that sooner or later my father would murder me, and he wasn’t stupid enough to play for the losing team. I knew Saiman was the center of his own universe, but it had still surprised me. I had saved him more than once. I didn’t expect friendship—that was beyond him—but I had expected some loyalty. One thing I knew for sure: Saiman would not work with my father. Roland terrified him. One hint of interest from him, and Saiman would run and never look back.

   I wished I could reach across the distance and drop a burning space rock on my father’s house.

   Nick was looking at me. Some part of him must’ve enjoyed this. He wasn’t smiling, but I saw it in his eyes.

   I forced my voice to sound even. “Is the Order taking the case?”

   “No. The Order must be petitioned, and no petition has been filed.”

   “Shouldn’t this fall under the citizen-in-danger provision?” I asked. “An agent of the Order took these pictures. They saw that Saiman was in immediate danger, yet they did nothing.”

   “We are doing something,” Nick said. “I’m notifying you.”

   “Your compassion is staggering,” Ghastek said.

   Nick turned his lead gaze to the Master of the Dead. “Considering the involved citizen’s origins and his long and creative criminal record, his rescue is a low priority. In fact, the city is safer without him in it.”

   “Then why tell me at all?” I asked.

   “Because I enjoy watching you and your father rip into each other like two feral cats thrown into the same bag. If one of you kills the other, the world will be better off.” Nick smiled. “Give him hell, Sharrim.”

   Mahon pounded his fist on the table. The wood thudded like a drum. “You will keep a civil tongue in your mouth when you speak to my daughter-in-law!”

   “Your daughter-in-law is an abomination,” Nick told him.

   Mahon surged up. Raphael grabbed his right arm. Curran grabbed his left.

   “That’s right, hold back the rabid bear,” Nick said. “This is why the world treats you like animals.”

   I jumped onto the table, ran over to Mahon, and put myself between him and Nick. “It’s okay. He runs his mouth because he can’t do anything else.”

   Nick turned around and walked out of the room.

   Curran strained, flexing. “Sit down, old man. Sit down.”

   Finally, Mahon dropped back into his seat. “That fucking prick.”

   Raphael collapsed into his chair.

   I sat on the table between the plates. Bernard’s manager would have a cow, but I didn’t care. Holding Mahon back took everything I had.

   Ghastek and Rowena stared at me.

   “Did you know?” I asked.

   Ghastek shook his head. “They don’t notify us of what he does.”

   “What are you going to do?” Desandra asked.

   “We’ll have to go and get him,” I said. I’d rather eat broken glass.

   “That degenerate?” Raphael asked. “Why not leave him there?”

   “Because Roland can’t take people out of the city whenever he wants to,” Curran said. His face was dark. “And that asshole knew that when he brought the pictures.”

   “You should’ve let me twist his head off,” Mahon said. “You can’t let people insult your wife, Curran. One day you’ll have to choose diplomacy or your spouse. I’m telling you now, it’s got to be your wife. Diplomacy doesn’t care if you live or die. Your wife does.”





   THE BATTERED CORPSE of I-85 stretched in front of me, winding into the distance, flanked by trees. Brilliant blue sky rose high above it, suffused with sunshine. It was barely six and already the temperatures threatened to slide into the nineties. It would be one hell of a hot day.

   I glanced behind me at the ten mercenaries parked by Curran. They came in all shapes and sizes. Eduardo towered over everyone except Douglas King, who was enormous, six five, with shoulders that wouldn’t fit through the door and legs like tree trunks. Douglas shaved his head, because he felt he wasn’t communicating his badassness well enough, and he painted what he claimed to be magic runes on his scalp and the side of his face in black camo paint. The runes were bullshit. I had told him that before. He didn’t care.

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