Blooded Blade Kit Colbana #7
Kit Colbana—half breed, assassin, thief, jack of all trades. Master of
Or so she’d always been led to believe.
Over the past few years, Kit Colbana has dispatched some of the worst
threats the non-human races could have imagined. Pandora—a mother of
monsters. Puck, a father of nightmares. Jude, a vampire who nearly drove
Kit to the brink of insanity.
Then there was the Lemera, an ages-old creature of myth, born from Kit’s
own people, an unseen, undead assassin that hunts without rest, kills without remorse. Yet Kit walked away.
Her grandmother’s pet assassin failed to kill her so Kit wasn’t surprised when yet another unwanted memory from her past shows up, looking to take her down. But her blood-hungry, homicidal aunt disappeared without a trace only hours after arrival.
Is it a reprieve? Or something far worse?
Kit’s lover Damon is keeping secrets. Her grandmother’s pet assassin, the Lemera, seems to have taken a liking to Kit. And her grandmother, Kit’s own worst nightmare, is haunting her dreams.
They’re all on a collision course with fate and there’s only one way it can end…bloody.
“Nothing quite so simple.”
The answer came, not from Lemera, but from the doorway.
I whirled, knife in hand, and at the glimpse of a man moving into the doorway, I reacted.
Chang caught the blade, swinging his torso to the side in a fluid, impossible movement that told me I’d never be able to take him by surprise—not with the way he’d just crept up on me. On all of us, judging by the way Justin and Colleen were practically vibrating. Even Lemera looked uneasy at the sight of him.
But the ages-old shapeshifter didn’t look at them. He looked at the blade he held, wiped it on his sleeve. “My apologies, Kit. I did not mean to startle you.”
Panting, I stood there as he crossed to me. The magic-sharp scent of his blood danced in the air and realized he’d caught the knife by the sharp edge. I swiped it from him and glared.
“Damn it, Chang.”
“Again, my apologies.” He looked around, gaze flashing gold, then, eerily to complete black.
Terror chittered in my brain, my memory feeding up an image of the woman Lemera had called Madae looking at her with ink-black eyes. But her eyes had been…soulless. Void of life, warmth, anything of heart and kindness.
Chang’s came to mine, and even though his eyes were pure black, I saw…him.
“I have never seen you so terrified, Kit,” he said quietly. “In all the time I’ve known you, you have never held this much blind fear.”
The acrid taste of it was crawling up my throat, all but choking me, so I was pretty damn sure it was pumping out of my pores, too. I wasn’t surprised he could pick up on it.
“Sorry,” I said, shooting for a bitchy tone and failing. “If I had known a shifter sniff test was coming, I would have picked a stronger deodorant.”
His lids flickered, then he blinked and just like that, the dark brown of his eyes was back and he chuckled. “It isn’t in your scent, my friend.” He leaned in and pressed a kiss to my forehead.
Unsettled, I held still as he pulled back, his eyes still studying me carefully.
“I guess if you tracked me here, then Damon isn’t far behind,” I finally said.
“I didn’t track you.” Chang looked away from me then, turning his head to look at Lemera. “I tracked her.”
Her visage flickered and when it reformed, she was as she’d been in life, beautiful, tall, strong and golden. Her sea-blue eyes rested on Chang’s with an odd sort of recognition.
“I know you,” she said finally.
Well, yeah. The two of you tried to kill each other.
But the thought had only barely formed when Lemera shook her head. “No. I know of you. She has sent me to kill you before. I failed. You’re the great hunter. The one she’s always feared. You and your cub…” Her eyes widened and she looked at me. “Your stubborn male.”
Chang blew out a tired, heavy breath and walked past us to look out the window. It was opposite the one Lemera had used earlier. With the ease I might use to rip off a bandage, he pulled the boards from the window, not stopping under all of them were gone. Once his view was unencumbered, he leaned forward.
“There was a time when I would have ended you the moment I saw you,” he murmured.
Justin tensed. Colleen’s breath caught in her throat.
Lemera’s visage faded back to the spectral form of the grave.
And I think my heart stopped.
I had no idea who he was talking to, not until he turned around. His gaze skated past me to land on the revenant.
“Do you think it so easy?” she asked, the screams of untold dead echoing in her voice.
“Now that I know what you are?” One corner of his mouth quirked up in a smile that spoke of faint amusement. “Yes. You’re of the grave, revenant. The largest part of you yearns to return to it.”
Silence rippled through the desolate church and through the strange bond I shared with Lemera, I felt her surprise…and her longing. I touched her arm, afraid she might rush toward him, beg him for what he’d just offered.
The contact was viciously cold but I didn’t pull away.
She brushed her fingers over mine and in that instant, she warmed and her body was once more fully human, as she’d been in life.
“I cannot go to my rest yet, little sister,” she said, meeting my gaze. “No matter how much I wish to. You know the promise I made. And the hunter, powerful and old as he is, cannot undo the curse binding me to her.”
Tugging my hand away, I curled my fingers into a tight fist and watched as she moved to stand before Chang.
“Why would you end me?” She studied the slim shifter, head canted to the side and eyes curious. “Because she pulled me out of the grave? Because she sent me to hunt you?”
“Because I smell the magic that was part of your remaking.” His lip curled and the black spiraled in his gaze once more, giving way to an old, ancient anger. “I smell it…and I know it. I spent years hunting the persons who stole her from her family. It was one of the few quests I ever failed, one of the few promises I was unable to keep.”
“You talk of Charmian.”
His mouth tightened and rage flashed in his eyes. “You might not wish to speak her name, revenant. I am not who I once was, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten my vows.”
“I did not kill her.” Lemera flicked her hand, the gesture not quite dismissive…but close. “She and I made a pact, and yes, she died trapped down in a hole with me, but it wasn’t my hand that ended her life.”
A growl escaped him. “Don’t toy with me.”
“Why would I bother?”
He shot out a hand.
It went through Lemera—the first time. But when he went to yank it back, brilliant gold flashed—and it flared around them both, blinding all of us. It burned with power, light and tasted of the wild, of the earth and the deep, dark green forest.
I flung up an arm.
Justin spun and flung himself against me and Colleen, silver flashing all around us.
Then the golden light dissipated and Chang had Lemera pinned to the wall.