Home > The Brightest Embers (Broken Destiny #3)(2)

The Brightest Embers (Broken Destiny #3)(2)
Author: Jeaniene Frost

    “And I thought you agreed to support me,” I said, the weight of all those lives making my tone sharper.

    Adrian stopped and turned to face me. The sun was starting to set, casting artificial shades of red across his golden hair. His towering height, impressive physique and gorgeous features had turned countless heads as we walked, but he didn’t seem to notice anyone else. Adrian stared at me as if I was the only person on this massive complex.

    “I do support you.” The smoothness in his tone didn’t fool me. Unbreakable ties could also be made of finest silk. “My every action is driven by my undying love for you, in fact. What more do you want?”

    Put that way, what more could I want? Yet something still felt...off, as if what Adrian wasn’t saying was more important than his words.

    Underneath my joy this past month, I’d also had a nagging feeling that I was missing something important. Of course, it could be that I just didn’t know how to truly be happy. I’d never had a real relationship before. Plus, until six months ago, I and everyone else who knew me had believed I was crazy.

    “I know you’re not chomping at the bit to find the spearhead because using it is dangerous for me,” I said, exploring that nagging feeling. “But I’ve survived lots of risks before, remember? I’ll come out on top this time, too.”

    Adrian opened his mouth as if to argue, then closed it. “I know you will,” he said, still in that smooth, easygoing tone. “You’re just not ready to wield it yet. That’s why I’m glad none of these relics have been real. Later, when you’ve had more time to train, you’ll be prepared to handle it.”

    “Yeah, well, later better end up being sooner,” I muttered. All the people still trapped in the demon realms couldn’t wait years for me to bulk up on my supernatural fortitude.

    “Don’t worry,” Adrian said, intensity deepening his voice this time. “I’ll keep you safe. I promise.”

    I gave him a lopsided smile. Yes, between Adrian and our good friend Costa training me, my stamina, strength and skills had grown by leaps and bounds. Eventually, with more training, I was counting on it being enough to keep me alive when I attempted to wield the final hallowed weapon—assuming we ever found it.

    I shook off that nagging feeling. It had to be me projecting my own paranoia onto Adrian. After all, aside from our fight when I’d decided to go after the spearhead, Adrian hadn’t argued with me about it. He’d arranged these trips, helped me train and been nothing but supportive. So, even though I felt like I’d grown an inner “trouble brewing” sensor in addition to my hallowed one, it had to be in my head.

    “Fine,” I said, my tone brightening. “Since the spearhead is a bust, do you know any good restaurants around here?”

    I stopped speaking when Adrian flung me forward. He’d shoved me so hard that I would have hit the pavement facefirst if not for all the training I’d undergone. Instead, I rolled, muscle memory taking over. Several loud pops sounded in quick succession above me, as rapid as fireworks, yet when they were followed by screams, I knew what they really were. Gunfire.

    “Ivy, run!” Adrian shouted.

    I darted toward the nearest car for coverage. I didn’t have to worry about Adrian—bullets weren’t lethal to him. He hadn’t joined me behind the car, but he’d run in the direction of the shots. That would be suicidal for anyone else, but his half-demon bloodline meant that only another demon could kill Adrian.

    “I’m good!” I shouted so Adrian wouldn’t worry about me.

    The car window above me shattered from another round of gunfire. Worse, the angle from that shot had been completely different. That meant we were being attacked by two shooters.

    I hit the ground and began to crawl toward another car, shredding my knees on the concrete, but not caring about the pain. Another shot hit the ground only an inch away, and I lurched forward to avoid the next one.

    “Larastra!” I shouted to Brutus, using the Demonish command Adrian had taught me. I hoped the gargoyle could hear me. Our rental van was on the other side of the parking lot.

    A familiar roar responded to my shouted command, followed by a much louder crashing sound. I fervently hoped it was my pet who’d caused that noise instead of a third attacker joining the mix, but I didn’t dare pick my head up to look. I stayed as low as I could, hunkered behind a truck that should be wide enough to protect me.

    New screams jerked my head around. A blonde girl knelt next to a nearby car. She was shaking all over, yet her gaze appeared almost blank when she looked at me. She also wasn’t crouched low enough to be safe.

    “Get down,” I hissed.

    Her eyes widened, but she didn’t move. Maybe she couldn’t. I’d seen shock freeze people before, but she needed to get down or—

    “Dammit!” I shouted when blood bloomed on her shoulder after another burst of gunfire. She shook harder yet still didn’t drop down low enough to avoid another hit. I glanced in the direction where the shots were coming from. I was no expert, but from the angle, the shooter was probably on a roof. That would give him a great view of the parking lot and me, if I came out from behind the truck to help her.

    I’d get shot if I did that. That was probably the gunman’s plan: wing the blonde in order to lure me out. Well, I had news for him. I was staying right here.

    “Help me,” the blonde girl whispered.

    She had blue eyes like my sister. She looked to be about Jasmine’s age, too. And she was caught up in a war she didn’t even know existed.

    Stay where you are! a dark sense of self-preservation urged me. If this girl can’t duck, that’s her problem, not yours!

    Don’t you dare! my conscience snapped back. She doesn’t deserve this. These shooters are here for you, not her!

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