Sacrifice (The Gryphon Series Book 3)(11)

By: Stacey Rourke

A wicked little spark lit Rowan’s face in a way that made me wonder if I’d just made a deal with the devil as he mulled over my ultimatum. “A level playing field with the Conduit herself?” His mouth curled into a wry smile. “Hmmmm … that’s too tempting to pass up. Not having to watch over my shoulder for when you’re finally going to pounce … ”

“Don’t flatter yourself. I wouldn’t pounce. I’d drop kick you.”

He licked his lips as if the very idea sounded scrumptious. “Either way, pack a lunch kiddies, we’re heading to the Big Apple.”

Chapter Four

“It’s everything I dreamed of!” Kendall spun in a circle, her arms thrown out wide. “The hustle and bustle of the big city! The high-rises! The fashion! Broadway!” She pulled her arms in and hugged herself. “Oh, Broadway. That was my dream before I grew wings. Hey! That could be a great idea for a play!”

“Kendall, we’re in a dark, dingy alley that smells like gym socks and pickles.” I kept my hands stuffed into my pockets out of fear of catching some rare skin-eating virus. “You haven’t actually seen New York yet.”

“Still.” She shrugged with stars in her eyes. “We’re here. I can feel it.”

Gabe grimaced like Kendall smelled worse than the alley. “Let’s go over the plan again, so we can get out of here ASAP.”

“I’m finding this field trip very enlightening.” Rowan rocked back on his heels and stuffed his hands into the pockets of the winter jacket he’d borrowed from Gabe. The three-sizes-too-big coat dwarfed him to the point that his demonhood seemed a bit diminished. “The whole demonic community would be significantly less intimidated by your little group if they spent an evening with you.”

Gabe’s head whipped around and a menacing growl tore its way out of his solid wall of a chest. In a blink his eyes turned to topaz. Rowan said nothing, but cocked his head and raised one eyebrow, daring my brother to advance.

Caleb still being in jeopardy shortened my patience with their testosterone charged crap down to exactly zero. “I get it! We all get it. That garbage can over there gets it! You don’t like each other. Well, big friggin’ deal! We’ve got a job to do! So, as of right now you’re gonna stop with the snide comments, and the growling, or you’re both gonna find out what a groin kick delivered by the Chosen One feels like. Got it?”

Silence. Then Gabe cleared his throat and physically shook off his feline attributes.

Rowan swung his arms around and ended with a casual snap/clap. “To answer your earlier question, I believe the brilliant plan our fearless leader came up with was to grab the disgusting, evil creature and give him the equivalent of a group hug so I can whisk us all away to a more private location where we can kill him in a horribly bloody manner, yes?”

A deep scowl creased my forehead. “Well, when you say it like that it sounds stupid.”

Rowan made no attempts to disguise how funny he found this. “Doesn’t matter how I say it, doll. You plan to snuggle the enemy. Clearly, this idea is flawed.”

“News crews and cops are swarming Time Square trying to get a good view of this thing.” I didn’t actually need to defend myself to him—or anyone really—but I hated having my battle plans called into question. It made me justifiably argumentative and downright cranky. Then again, that might just be the effects a’ la Rowan. “Up to this point it has moved fast enough to appear as nothing more than a humongous, blurred thing to them and their cameras. But we can’t fight in front of a crowd like that and maintain any kind of anonymity.”

Rowan took a step forward, right smack dab into my comfort zone. His leer, meant solely to entice, for some reason brought to mind the serpent tempting Eve to take a bite of the apple. “So, let ‘em all see what you can do. Let ‘em marvel at the wonder that is the Conduit.” His gaze dragged leisurely over me. His turquoise eyes glittered with naughty suggestions. I stayed put and tried to act completely indifferent to his brazenness rather than risk riling Gabe up again. “They’d adore you, lass. And flock to worship at your alter. You could live as a goddess among men. Why not?”

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