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Показать все книги автора/авторов: Tiernan Cate
 

«Awakening», Cate Tiernan

1. Embers

They fled tonight, the lot of them Selene Belltower, Cal Blaire, Alicia Woodwind, Edwitha of Cair Dal, and more—all slipped though my fingers. They knew I was closing in on them. It's my fault. I was too cautious, too worried about proving the case against them beyond all doubt, and so I left it too long. I've failed, and badly. And worse, Morgan nearly dies because I didn't stop them.

I've got to break warding spells and get into Selene's house. She can't have had time to pack up all her things. Maybe I can find some clue, something to tell me where she went or what her group is planning.

Damn, damn, damn!

— Giomanach

 

I stood with Bree Warren and Robbie Gurevitch, my two oldest friends, on the lawn in back of Cal Blaire's house. Together we stared at the flames that leapt hungrily up from the pool house and cast a smoky pall over the stark November moon. Somewhere in the inferno there was a crash as a section of the roof caved in. A fountain of white-hot sparks flew skyward.

"My God," Bree said.

Robbie shook his head. "You got out of there just in time."

Sirens wailed in the distance. Though it was the last night of November and snow lay inches deep on the ground, the night air felt hot and dry as I gulped in a deep breath. "You guys saved my life," I managed to choke out. Then I doubled over, coughing. It hurt just to breathe. My throat was raw and my chest ached and every cell in my body craved oxygen.

"Barely," Robbie murmured. He tucked an arm under my elbow, supporting me.

I shuddered. I didn't need Robbie to tell me how close I had come to dying, trapped in the tiny, spell-wrapped room that had been hidden in the pool house. Trapped by Cal Blaire, my boyfriend. My eyes, already stinging from the smoke, blurred again with tears.

Charismatic, confident, inhumanly beautiful, Cal had woken something that had been sleeping inside me for sixteen years. It was Cal who had first loved me, as no boy ever had. It was Cal who had helped me to the realization that I was a blood witch, with powers I'd never even known could exist in the real world. It was Cal who had shown me how love and magick could twine together until it seemed that all the energy in the universe was enfolding me, streaming through me, there for the taking.

I shook my head. "I think I'm okay." Now that I could breathe, my body was starting to thrum with adrenaline, and I was getting a weird, disconnected feeling.

"There'll be an ambulance coming with the fire trucks," Bree pointed out. "You should let them check you out, Morgan. You inhaled a lot of smoke."

"Actually, if Morgan's up to it, it would be better if we left now." Hunter cast a glance over his shoulder. The first of the fire trucks was turning into the curved gravel driveway in front of the big house where Cal and his mother, Selene Belltower, lived. "I don't think we want to talk to anyone official. Too many awkward questions. Sky, if you wouldn't mind delaying them for a moment so we can make our getaway. ."

Sky nodded and set off across the lawn at a smooth lope. Stopping a few yards from the house, she held up her hands.

I watched, puzzled, as she moved her fingers in a complicated dance in the air.

"What's she doing?" Robbie asked.

"Casting a glamour," Hunter explained. "She's making the firemen believe the fire has spread to the house. The illusion won't last more than a few moments, but it'll keep them from noticing our cars while we're driving away." He nodded his approval to Sky as she hurried back toward us. "Let's get going. No time to waste. Robbie, if you'll drive Morgan's car, we can all meet down at the end of the block."

I was dimly amazed by the swift way he took charge of the situation. No exclaiming over what had happened. No expressions of shock or horror. Just business. Normally that would have irritated me. But at that moment I felt reassured; safe, almost.

Robbie hurried toward my car. I started to follow him, but Bree took my arm. "Come on, you can ride with me," she said.

My gaze met hers. Even at the scene of a fire, her glossy, shoulder-length hair looked perfect. But the shock of what had happened showed in her dark eyes.

Once we'd been so close that we'd finished each other's sentences. That was before she'd fallen for Cal, before he'd chosen me. This morning Bree and I had been enemies. But tonight I had called her, sent her a witch message with my mind, when I was facing my darkest hour. I had called out to her. And she had heard me and had come to my aid. Maybe there was hope for us yet


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