Wicked Bite Page 1

Author: Jeaniene Frost

Series: Night Rebel #2

Genres: Fantasy , Romance



“Why am I waiting for the bride of Dracula to grace me with her presence when I should be out looking for my runaway wife?”

Ian watched as his best mate, Crispin, glanced around to make sure Vlad hadn’t been close enough to overhear him. Ian didn’t care. Vlad owed him for . . . something. Ian couldn’t remember what since it was tied to his mostly missing previous month, but he knew it was significant. Sod his host’s temper tantrum if he overhead Ian calling him by his most-hated nickname of Dracula.

“The fact that you can’t remember the real reason behind your new . . . attached state is why we’re here,” Crispin said. “Vlad’s wife knows a secret you were hiding from the rest of us. If it’s the cause of your partial memory loss, we need to find it out before we proceed.”

Attached state. Ian’s lips curled. Crispin still couldn’t bring himself to say “marriage.” Every fiber of Ian’s being should reject that word, too. Instead, he was driven by a near-crazed need to find Veritas, also known as the little vixen he’d wedded.

True, he couldn’t remember why he’d married Veritas. That part hadn’t survived whatever process had torn most of his memories of the past several weeks from his mind. But he had a vivid recollection of their binding ceremony, even if the notion of him marrying anyone, let alone a Law Guardian, was laughable. Crispin had certainly believed Veritas’s denials about their matrimonial state when she dumped Ian with Crispin a few days ago, then left with only a vague warning about an angry demon.

Ian didn’t remember that part, either. He’d been unconscious, and with a vampire’s near-instantaneous healing ability, that shouldn’t be possible. Whatever had stolen his memories had also left him—briefly—as vulnerable as a human, and the only person who knew how both had happened had fled.

Sometimes, Ian was so angry over that, he could scarcely focus on anything else. But the rest of the time, his need to find Veritas had nothing to do with anger and everything to do with the more powerful feeling burning through him.

“Ian.” He looked up to see a raven-haired woman in the doorway, her scowling spouse right behind her. “Sorry to keep you waiting,” Leila continued before glancing behind her at Vlad. “We were late because we were fighting.”

“Over me?” Ian let a sly smile lift his mouth. He would have taunted Vlad anyway—it was his nature—but for some reason, he had a stronger-than-normal urge to annoy his host. “Don’t tell me I forgot something else significant about the past few weeks?”

Vlad’s growl at the innuendo caused Leila to shoot her husband a look. “Your famous temper is why you’re waiting outside during this conversation,” she told Vlad. “I can’t trust you not to get your flame on otherwise, even if Ian is just being Ian. And really.” Now Leila’s attention was back on him. “Can’t you resist being sleazy for five minutes?”


Ian gave her his most innocent grin. “Me? Innocent as a lamb, I am.”

“Yeah, if that lamb also had a werewolf curse,” Leila murmured. Then pity filled her gaze.

Ian stiffened, though his grin remained in place. Whatever secret Leila knew about him, it was bad.

“You need to go, too, Bones,” Leila said, calling Crispin by his vampire name instead of the one he’d been born with. “What I have to say is for Ian alone.”

Crispin’s features drew together until he duplicated Vlad’s scowl. “I hardly see why that’s necessary.”

Vlad’s sharp laugh sliced the air. “If I couldn’t convince her to change her mind, you think you have a chance?”

Crispin looked as if he did. Before he could open his mouth, Ian pushed him toward the door. “Don’t start a row, mate. Don’t know what you’re fussing about. I can tell you what she says afterward.”

“You didn’t before.” Crispin’s voice was tight. “You refused despite that refusal endangering your life.”

Phantom pains stabbed the back of Ian’s head. He managed not to flinch. He’d shared much of what he remembered about the past month with Crispin, but not this.

“Things have changed,” Ian replied. What Crispin didn’t know, he couldn’t fret about. “Go on. The faster you leave, the faster we’ll have answers.”

Crispin looked at Leila. Her expression hardened into a perfect mask of “you don’t stand a chance.” He sighed in defeat, then followed Vlad as the Impaler, who, after a final glance at his wife, also left the room.

“Let’s tour the dungeons,” Ian heard Vlad say. “I have a sudden urge to stab something with a hot poker.”

Leila shut the doors, cutting off whatever Crispin’s response was. Ian waited until he was sure Crispin and Vlad were far enough away, then said “Spill,” to the lovely brunette.

“What’s the last thing you remember from the time you spent helping me and Vlad?” Leila asked him.

“Driving away while wanting to kill your husband,” Ian replied, shrugging. “Don’t know why. I can’t remember much of the month after that, either, except for the slivers shoved into my mind a few days ago from a creature I’m fairly certain was the Grim Reaper. But those memories mostly consist of the woman who married me, then fled.”

And ignored his repeated calls and texts in the three nights and four days since. Why? Another clear memory he had was of Veritas shouting, “Don’t go!” at him with the same blindingly intense emotion he felt for her. Yet she’d abandoned him when he’d been at his weakest, and he had no idea why.

“If you have more to add, be quick about it,” Ian went on. “You’ve already cost me two days’ looking for her by insisting this meeting be in person.”

“This isn’t the kind of news you relay by text or over the phone,” Leila said softly.

“Does it have to do with Dagon?” When Leila’s eyes widened, Ian grunted. “Crispin told me Veritas warned him that a demon named Dagon was after me. Happen to know what I did to brass him off?”

Leila looked away. “No. But Dagon really hated you, and you avoided him with a warding spell until you thought Mencheres had been murdered—”

“Murdered? By whom?”

Leila edged away from the new harshness in his tone. Then a sparking line of white extended from her right hand; a reminder of the voltage running all through her body. The lights in the room also briefly dimmed as she pulled power from them, too. She was readying herself in case he attacked.

Must be very bad news, indeed.

“A group of necromancers had the power to kill me,” she replied in a steady voice. “They told Vlad they would unless he killed Mencheres for them. Vlad faked Mencheres’s death to buy time to find them, but you were there when Vlad made the supposed execution video, and you didn’t know the person Vlad killed was only glamoured to look like Mencheres. So, when you saw what you thought was Mencheres’s body, you . . . you cut off your protective ward to summon Dagon. He came, and you sold your soul in exchange for Mencheres’s life.” At that, her voice cracked. “I saw it, but I couldn’t stop you. I’m so sorry, Ian. So very, very sorry . . .”

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