Into the Fire Page 2

“Then he’s in for another surprise.”

His words reached me through our link instead of the normal way, so the continual portico collapse must be drowning out everything else. Once I had hated my psychic abilities so much that I’d attempted suicide, but now they came in handy. I still loathed reliving people’s worst sins the first time I touched them, but nothing important came without a cost.

A red Porsche bursting through the wall of fire surprised me into dropping my link to Vlad. The car’s speed caused it to fishtail as soon as it hit grassy terrain. Glowing green eyes revealed that the driver was a vampire, but it couldn’t be Branson. He’d locked himself in a panic room.

This had to be one of Branson’s friends. Maybe he was in league with Mircea, too. Even if he wasn’t, only someone who’d also betrayed Vlad would be in such a hurry to get out of here. With Vlad busy trying to bust in the panic room, I was the only person standing in the way of this treacherous driver and his freedom. I chased after the car. If it reached the driveway, I’d be screwed. Unlike Vlad, I couldn’t fly, and the Porsche could go much faster than me once it was on flat, paved ground.

The car shot forward with a burst of speed. Damn, the driver must’ve spotted me. Now he was only a dozen feet away from the driveway. I put everything I had into a desperate lunge. If I reached the car’s bumper, I could flip it—

I ducked when multiple cracks smashed through the back windshield. Two bullets whizzed over my head, and the third one struck me in the shoulder instead of the heart. From the burn, the bullets were silver. Of course. Any other ammunition was useless against vampires.

Pain caused my powers to flare. A long, sizzling whip shot from my right hand and I cracked it toward the car. The electricity it contained caused it to tear through the Porsche’s frame as if it were butter. More gunshots had me spinning to avoid another volley of bullets, and I used my velocity to full advantage. When I swung back around, my electrical whip had lengthened, and I lashed the car with all the force I had in me.

It split in two, the front section still going several feet before the car’s weight caused it to cave in. A fire broke out, and I couldn’t tell if it was those flames that made the driver scream, or if I’d sliced through more than the car’s frame. I stayed low as I circled around to the driver’s door, my whip crackling as I readied it to strike again.

“Drop the gun and get out, or—”

I didn’t get a chance to complete my threat. Flames shot over the car, too thick and numerous to be from the electrical fire. Then Vlad slammed down next to me, the ground shuddering from the force of his impact. He shoved me behind him and rounded on the burning car.

“You shot at my wife?” The flames intensified. High-pitched, panicked screams made me wince from more than their assault on my enhanced hearing.

I grabbed his arm. “Stop, we might need him alive.”

Vlad glanced at me and saw the blood from the bullet wound in my shoulder. At once, his arm became so hot that my hand started to catch fire. I let him go, and he turned back to the car with a smile that made further argument useless.

I knew that smile. It meant someone was about to die.

I took a few steps backward as the screams from inside the car became even more frenzied. When Vlad’s shields dropped and I felt the full force of his rage, it didn’t surprise me to see the Porsche begin to glow as red as the car’s paint job.

Then the car melted into itself as Vlad’s incredible power turned metal into molten liquid. The screams stopped. So did the sounds of breaking glass and twisting steel. Soon, all I heard was a hiss as the ground caught fire.

I reached out to Vlad again, this time not dropping my hand even though his flesh still scorched me through the thin material of his shirt. “You might want to consider working on your anger management issues,” I said in a light tone.

A bark of laughter escaped him. “So say my many enemies.”

When he turned around and pulled me to him, his body was no longer scorching, and the emotions intertwining with mine now felt only marginally insane with rage; a vast improvement. He kissed me, and I didn’t care that the stubble shadowing his chiseled jaw rasped my face. All I focused on was his kiss and the wave of love pouring through our connection, even more powerful than the rage that had caused him to melt a car as easily as a normal person could strike a match.

When Vlad stopped kissing me, another emotion poured through the bond that had formed the moment Vlad had raised me as a vampire. Regret.

“I shouldn’t have done that.” He gave a frustrated glance at the smoldering heap of melted metal. “I know better than to kill an enemy before I interrogate him, but I saw the bullet hole in your shirt and . . .”

“Blew your fuse,” I finished, giving him a lopsided smile. “Happens to the best of men, I’m told.”

Another harsh laugh. “Perhaps, but never to me.” Until you, was left unsaid, but I didn’t need to feel his emotions to know he was thinking it.

“Cheer up,” I said, striving to lighten his mood. “Once you bust through that panic room door, you can interrogate Branson for days, and no one will ever know you spilled your lighter fluid too soon with this guy.”

This time, his laughter held hints of real amusement. “I look forward to such a redemption.”

“Well, let me make sure Branson didn’t try to run for it while you were out here,” I said, grabbing the belt buckle again. In moments, I saw the inside of a small panic room. It had a single chair, a twin set of control panels, and several screens that showed live video feed from both the interior and the exterior of the manor.

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