Sacrifice (The Gryphon Series Book 3)(15)

By: Stacey Rourke

“I do hope he hurries,” she purred with an over dramatic sigh. “It’d be such a waste of a fine specimen of manhood. But really, girl, did you think I was just going to let him walk away from my army? From me?”

Unable to contain it a moment longer, my anger boiled to the surface and erupted. “Why?! Why are you doing this? How is hurting him going to help you harness the Gryphon’s powers? This is between you, me, and the Gryphon. Let Caleb go!”

Her smile faltered. She drew her crimson eyebrows drew together and cocked her head to the side. “You still don’t know what this is really about, do you?”

The snarky words left my lips before my brain could filter them. “Other than you being a power hungry witch that dresses like she went to an S&M yard sale? Nope, that’s all I’ve got.”

In a flash she was in my face, close enough for me to see green flames flickering in her blood red irises. “You smart mouthed little twit. You shouldn’t speak of things you don’t understand. Did you ever ask the Council the truth about your precious Gryphon and the things he has done? Have you?!”

I raised my chin and tried my best to look unaffected. I didn’t want to be frightened by her. It was my calling not to be. But my knees were knocking so loud I suspected she could hear them.

She took a deep breath, closed her eyes and let it out slowly. Then, with her composure once again intact, she began, “My motivation runs deeper than simply coveting his abilities. I have all the power I could ever need. I gathered it with one goal in mind … revenge. Revenge against the very beast you have sworn to protect.” For a split second a hint of sadness seemed to crack her stone exterior. “Perhaps when your Celtic cutie dies you’ll see how motivating a force revenge can be.”

Crimson hair curtained her face as she bowed her head to Cronus. I couldn’t help but wonder if that move was intentional to hide her seeping humanity. “Orior oriri ortus meus pet.”

The bat-bull’s eyes snapped open and a visible puff of air expelled from his broad nostrils.

Façade firmly back in place, the Countess tossed her hair and stared down at me with her regal Queen of the Damned posture restored. “For the sake of your raven-haired love I hope you can refrain from killing Cronus. However, rest assured that more Titans will follow and you can’t save them all. Sooner or later, Caleb will die. Do yourself a favor and come to terms with that, girl. ”

After a quick little finger wave she vanished into the night and her heaving beast rose up to attack.


Gabe-lion stalked up beside me and plopped down with a huff. His massive head turned my way, and he heaved an exasperated breath directly at me.

“Yeah, I know.” I rubbed my frozen arms and scooted closer to my big, hairy brother. “I probably should’ve reminded Rowan to come back for us.”

“Ya think?” Kendall’s teeth chattered through blue lips. Her ivory wings encompassed her like a shawl, but couldn’t hinder the biting cold.

“You could always try to fly us out of here instead of just sitting there like a lump,” I snapped, my tone sharpened by my deep desire to regain feeling in my toes.

“I can’t lift Gabe,” she grumbled, turning her back to me to end the conversation.

If my face wasn’t frozen like Jack Nicholson’s at the end of The Shining I might have smiled. Despite her griping, Kendall would sit right here and freeze alongside us until help came. She could fly off at any moment, but her soft heart wouldn’t let her. However, if Rowan didn’t get his butt back here soon I planned to use my empathic ability to overthrow her sweetness and motivate her to fly off and commandeer a ferry to come pick us up.

I was eyeing the shoreline for a vessel to target for that very reason, when a puff of black smoke materialized at the base of Lady Liberty. I leapt up onto frozen feet that screamed in painful protest when I put weight on them.

Rowan unceremoniously deposited three of Grams’ heaviest afghans onto the snow covered ground. “Those are for you.” He rubbed his hands together and warmed them with his breath. “Tad nippy out here, isn’t it?”