Sacrifice (The Gryphon Series Book 3)(10)

By: Stacey Rourke

“Maybe someone is trying to lure us there?” Gabe glared daggers at the back of Rowan’s head, not happy in the least that he was touching me. “Think this is Alec or the Countess’s doing?”

I chewed on my thumbnail while I mulled that over. The Countess led the Dark Army and wanted to kill me so she could basically take over the world. She could’ve been luring me into unfamiliar territory where I’d be vulnerable. However, Alec had been underground with his band of puppets for a while. This could’ve been his big reveal.

“Whoever it is wants us to know what they’re up to. The demon is just a calling card. They’ll make their presence known when we get there.”

“Then let’s go. Now.” Gabe’s voice dripped with resentment as he finally acknowledged Rowan. “You’re the fastest transportation around.”

Rowan snorted a laugh and threw his hands in the air, palms up. “Sorry, mate. I’ve tried the hero thing before. Gave me hives. I think I’m allergic.”

Gabe ground his teeth together. I guessed it was to stop his fangs from sliding down, but kept that theory to myself. “Then don’t do it for you,” he jerked his chin in my direction. “Do it for her.”

Rowan’s head fell back in a loud guffaw and he dropped my wrist. “What on earth gave you the idea that would work?”

My brother stomped up the porch stairs and leaned in dangerously close to the pirate. “Because you sold her out to ensure your own freedom, and she hasn’t returned the favor by killing you.” Gabe stood ramrod straight and stared down the bridge of his nose at Rowan. A low growl seeped out and vibrated his chest. “Unlike her, I’m not nearly that generous.”

Despite the amused smirk Rowan wore, his eyes held a glint as deadly as a double-edged sword. “Then it’s a good thing you’re not the Conduit, aye?”

Before the oppressive testosterone in the air made me heave, I stepped between them. “Oh, for crying out loud! Would you two knock it off! Rowan, you have two choices here. You’re either going to help Caleb or you’re taking us to New York. It’s up to you.”

Rowan raised one eyebrow. “And what’s to stop me from doing neither and teleporting off to some random tropical hot spot? I could have a tasty strumpet on me arm and a Mai Tai in me hand in less than ten minutes.”

The front door squeaked open and Kendall poked her head out. “Uh, guys? That … thing is in Time Square and just stormed the set of Good Morning America. Grams called in a tizzy. Apparently if she can’t start her day tomorrow with Sam Champion she’s holding us, like, personally responsible. She had her scary voice on. We need to go.”

“I’m working on it!” I screeched. Kendall’s eyes widened and she retreated back into the house with her hands raised. I cleared my throat and tried to adopt a silky, more persuasive tone. “Rowan, Gabe’s right. I do owe you a world class beat down.”

“Damn right,” Gabe rumbled.

I held up a finger to silence him, but kept my gaze locked on Rowan. “One you know I am more than capable of delivering. Someday, somewhere you and I will cross paths again. At that time, I’ll get my payback. I promise you that. However … if you help me tonight I’ll wipe the slate clean between us. You owe me nothing. I owe you no messy, violent death. Deal?”

“Cee, you nearly got killed because of this guy!” Gabe erupted, his face reddening in anger. “Ended up taking a fireball to the mid-section! That ringing any bells?!”

“Technically, that was Caleb’s fault, not mine. And I also came back to save you all, let’s not forget that.”

“We wouldn’t have needed saving if it wasn’t for you!” Gabe lunged for Rowan with rage bubbling in his feline eyes like hot lava. I slammed my hands against his chest to halt him.

“Enough!” Gabe’s size gave him no advantage to go around, or even through me, and we both knew it. I kept my forearm pressed to his chest and turned back to Rowan. “You have my word. You help me tonight, by first dropping us off in New York, then going back to help Caleb and we start over on neutral ground. Then, for all I care, you can poof off to find yourself that—” I felt like a dork trying on his lingo, but went for it anyway, ”—strumpet. But if you don’t do this, there will be retribution of the worst possible kind. So, what do you say? Deal?”