Shane was standing in the doorway, patiently waiting for her to notice him. She knew that expression— or lack of one— on his face. It was specific to situations where Myrnin was involved, and Shane was trying very hard not to let his jealousy show. He had nothing to be jealous about, and he knew it, but seeing her clutching Myrnin’s hand probably hadn’t been his most favorite moment ever.

That, and Shane’s anti- vampire instincts were probably churn- ing, being so close to one of them now.

“Hey,” Shane said, and raised his chin. His most neutral greet- ing. She came to him and hugged him, then kissed him. That broke through the wall he’d put up between them, and his arms went around her to hold her tight. “I didn’t know what else to do.

I couldn’t let them keep you there. You’re not exactly built for jail.”

“Well, you have to admit, it was probably my turn to get hand- cuffed and thrown in the hole,” she said. Her smile didn’t have much strength, though, and faded quickly. “The man in the basement— he was killed with one of our knives, Shane.” She managed not to quite make it a question.

He got the message anyway, though, and responded with a frown. “Well, it wasn’t me. Wasn’t Eve, I guarantee you. She’d at least have moved the body someplace else. She’s no dummy.”

“Where is Eve, exactly?”

“Out,” Jenna said. She sounded very blunt, and very disapprov- ing. “I warned her, but she said she couldn’t stay. She went back to try to see Fallon.”

“I thought she went to see him when she left our house!”

“They wouldn’t let her in. She came back to find me, and we both saw you get taken to jail. Not sure which one of us held the other back, actually, but maybe your good sense is starting to rub off on us. We didn’t jump in and get ourselves arrested, at least,”


Shane said. Claire swung around to stare at him, wide- eyed; so many questions ran through her mind that she couldn’t pick a sin- gle one out of the blur.

“But—” Claire couldn’t express how much she didn’t like the idea of Eve— angry and frustrated even more than she had been— heading at Fallon like a guided missile. It was pretty obvious, though, that there wasn’t much either one of them could do about it at this point.

“Look, it makes sense. It’s pretty clear he’s running the show here; if she can get in to see him— and I really don’t see anybody stopping her— then nobody’s going to storm Fallon’s office to march her out in cuffs. And if she can really intimidate him into letting her see Michael, maybe she can give him a chance to get away, or bust Amelie out. She’s the only one who’s got a shot at being our inside man. Woman. Whatever. Let’s face it— none of us is exactly in a mastermind position right now.”

“Does she know even about the dead guy?”

“Oh, she knows,” Jenna said. “Eve thinks the guard was killed at the prison and moved to your house, and she thinks she might be able to find out who did it, and why. I think her exact phrase was, I’m going to Nancy Drew this crap. ”

“Bet she didn’t say crap,” Shane said.

“I’m paraphrasing.”

Eve’s plan was dangerous, and Claire immediately felt a rush of adrenaline, thinking of her trapped alone without anybody to trust. Michael, sure, but Michael couldn’t help— not unless some- thing changed drastically.

Myrnin had been uncharacteristically quiet since they’d ar- rived, and she glanced over to see him frowning down at his flip- flops. He probably missed his vampire bunny slippers.

“Do the guards at the mall know you’re out?” she asked Myrnin. He didn’t look up.

“That’s very doubtful,” he said. “I did kill the guard who spot- ted me, after all.”

They all stopped what they were doing, and there was a second or two of silence.

Shane’s head suddenly snapped around, and he turned his whole body after it, facing Myrnin.

And took a step toward him. He said, in a voice tight with fury, “Would that be the dead guard in our damn basement?”

“Well, of course, how many dead guards could there be? Why, did you kill one, too? Wasteful.”

Shane snarled. It came from somewhere deep in his chest, a wet animal sound that Claire had never heard before, and hoped she’d never hear again. He took another step toward Myrnin, and Myrnin’s eyes flared an immediate, alarmed crimson. “Claire,” he called sharply. “Mind your young man. Do you really want me to have to kill him?”

It was the offhanded way he said it that terrified Claire. She forgot sometimes, despite her best efforts, that Myrnin was only mostly sane, and only mostly human.

And she wasn’t sure what Shane was right now, either.

Jenna and Miranda instinctively got out of the way, and even though every instinct in her body screamed at her to do the same, Claire stepped in the middle, faced Shane, and met his eyes squarely. They didn’t look right. Not right at all. The color— the blankness— it was all wrong.

He lunged forward, staring past her at Myrnin, and she could have sworn she saw a poisonous spark of yellow in his eyes.

She didn’t move. She lifted both hands, palms out, and he ran into them, jolting her hard and driving her back a step— but it shifted his focus away from Myrnin and onto her.

And the alien look in his eyes flickered, and died away, leaving just Shane. Angry, yes, amped up well beyond where he ought to be, but whatever had been set in motion, she’d stopped it.

For now, anyway.

Shane held up both hands, backed up a step, and then spun around and stalked away, breathing hard. “Why are you protect- ing him?” He didn’t quite yell it at Claire, and she knew it cost him to hold it down to just an angry accusation.

“Good question,” she said, and turned to Myrnin. “You killed a man,” she said. “And you brought him to our house?”

“In all fairness, I was looking for you,” he said, “but you weren’t yet home. I had to do something with him. Normally I would have taken him to the graveyard— by the by, it’s a great place to dispose of an excess corpse, one just digs up an old grave and—”

There were parts of him that she just would never reach, and knew she should never, ever try, for both their sakes.

Shane turned around, and Claire instinctively grabbed hold of his arm, because she still sensed the suppressed violence in him.

He was under enough control not to lunge at Myrnin— which would end badly anyway— but she also knew sometimes he just couldn’t quite control those impulses, and she didn’t want to see anyone hurt. “You dumped a dead man in our house, and what? Just forgot about it?”

“I was busy, and how in the world would I have known you’d be stupid enough to allow the constables to roam freely through—”

“They had a warrant, and we are not your temporary storage for murdered bodies!” Claire said, and realized that she was a little too upset about things, too. Almost as much as Shane, and without the excuse of the dog bite’s infection. “You kil ed him. Where did you get a knife? Our knife?”

Myrnin shrugged, clearly not taking any of it too seriously.

“You’re quite careless with those things,” he said. “I believe I originally got it from you. The guard in question had confiscated it from me when I was arrested, and I decided that I wanted it back.

But I let him keep it in the end.” He grinned, and his vampire teeth looked long and terrifyingly sharp. “Oh, don’t frown at me so, Claire. He had it coming, you may be assured of that. He was a brutal thug of a man. I was defending a lady’s honor, in fact.”

“Jesse’s, maybe?” Claire asked. Because Jesse— the red- headed bartender that both he and Claire had made fast friends with— was not just a vampire but one that Myrnin had surprising affec- tion for. “What happened?”

Myrnin didn’t answer, not directly. “Enough of this. Time is wasting. The Lady Gray will ensure that no one notices my ab- sence for now, but I’ll need to be back in time for their nightly au-dit of their prisoners. Before then, I have things to obtain. I’ve stripped the building of all materials that might be of use, but I shall need some things that simply aren’t available in that place.”

“Materials for what?” Claire asked.

“Never you mind,” he said. “But these followers of Fallon’s madness have started a war, and I intend to finish it.” Myrnin’s eyes seemed to flare red for a second, alarmingly bright, and she remembered the hunger she’d sensed in him before, and the fright- ening sharpness of his teeth. He didn’t seem to be himself just now, and she realized, with a creeping sense of alarm, that they almost certainly wouldn’t have bothered with his usual medications at the prison— and in this state, he might not be willing to take them on his own.

There were a few things scarier than a bipolar vampire off his meds, but to be honest, not that many.

“Myrnin,” she said, and drew his instant attention. Unset- tlingly. “You can’t go out there again. It’s too dangerous for you.”

Too dangerous for innocent people wandering around thinking it’s safe.

“If you’re implying it would be better for you to go in my place, it’s certainly far too dangerous for you, Claire, seeing as you are a half- convicted murderess.” He said it with entirely too much rel-ish. “And before you offer your boy’s services— he’s in no better shape, is he? No, it’s best I go alone, and quickly. I’ve been in this town for too many of your short lifetimes to be caught by the likes of Fallon and his Daylighters when I have some warning of their intentions.”

Jenna exchanged a quick look with Miranda, and said, “I’ll drive you. Where are you going?”

“To my lab, of course.”

“I don’t know where that is.”

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