Dark Side of the Moon (Page 22)

Dark Side of the Moon (Dark-Hunter #10)(22)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

"At this point, I would go with just about any theory. I’ve honestly never seen anything like this. I mean, there have always been a few stupid humans here and there who’ve been willing to help them. But never on this scale."

"Which brings up the question of why they’re helping them? What are the Daimons promising them for their service?"

Ravyn shrugged. "It could be anything. My money says they’ve promised them eternal life."

"I don’t think so. It’s too easy. Think about it for a second. Someone fairly high up is helping them. Why? What could that person stand to gain by allowing Daimons to murder people in Seattle and take out the Dark-Hunters? The human would have to have a vested interest in this, and eternal life doesn’t do it for me."

Ravyn grew silent. "You know, the Were-Hunters came into being for one simple reason. "

"And that is?"

"Roughly nine thousand years ago, an ancient Greek king married an Apollite without knowing it. When she died on her twenty-seventh birthday by slowing decaying, the king realized that his sons were going to meet the same fate as their mother. Horrified at the prospect, he immediately set out to magically splice animal strength with his sorcery to Apollites. His goal was to make Apollites live longer."

"And?"

"It worked. He created the Arcadian race, my race, who have human hearts, and the Katagaria race, our enemies, who have animal hearts."

Susan nodded as she remembered that from her reading.

His dark eyes bored into her. "Do you see what I’m saying. Lycaon did everything he could to protect his family. He even defied the Fates when they told him to kill all of the hybrids he’d made. To kill his own sons…"

Her jaw went slack as she finally caught his meaning. "One of the police has married an Apollite?"

"And what if that Apollite were to turn Daimon?"

Susan couldn’t breathe as those words went through her like glass. It made complete sense.

An official who would have the ear of the media to help hunt them down. An official who could tamper with evidence and reassign investigators.

"It’s either the police chief or the commissioner, isn’t it?"

"That would be my bet."

She covered her mouth as her mind whirled. If they were wrong and she went after an innocent man, she’d never live this down. But if they were right…

"We need evidence. Hard, inarguable evidence."

Ravyn nodded. "And we need to cut off their human allies quickly."

Susan couldn’t agree more.

"Yeah. It’s going to be dangerous, but for now we have to get our hands on Jimmy’s journal."

"What journal?"

She looked away as pain gripped her features. Clearing her throat, she met his gaze levelly, but he still saw the hurt she was trying so hard to hide. "My friend Jimmy, the investigator at the clinic, always kept a journal of his thoughts and what he did."

"Like a blog?"

"No, he was too private for that. This would probably be in his house somewhere. Either as a handwritten book or on his laptop. We need to search their house and find it."

Ravyn was skeptical. "Wouldn’t the cops know about it?"

"I don’t think so. Like I said, Jimmy was really private, especially around the guys he worked with. I don’t think he’d have told them he kept a diary of all things."

She had a point. The gods knew he’d never admit to such a thing either. "But if they went to the trouble of killing him, wouldn’t they have searched his place?"

"I’m willing to bet no. They think he’s silenced and we’re on the run. Searching his house might make someone suspicious."

Again, she had a good argument. But one thing, if the cops hadn’t searched the house yet, they most likely would soon and whatever evidence or clues Jimmy might have left behind would be lost. So it was either get to it tonight or possibly lose it forever. "Okay, let’s go. What time is it?"

She looked down at her watch. "Twelve thirty."

"Where does he live?"

"On Twenty-ninth Avenue West."

Good. Ravyn stretched before he sat up. "That gives us plenty of time to get there, search the place, and get back before dawn."

He noticed her hesitation as she sat on the mattress. "There’s only one little problem with that. "

He sighed as he caught her meaning. "I know. They don’t want to let me back in here once I leave. But that’s okay. I have a secret weapon."

She arched a brow. "And that is?"

"You," he said, smiling. "It was impressive how you got past my father earlier. You really should be a lawyer."

She blushed at his compliment before she set the book aside.

He stood up and held his hand out to her. Taking it, she let him pull her to her feet, but the tug was so forceful that she stumbled into him.

Ravyn’s breath left him at the full frontal contact. Every inch of her was pressed up against his body, making him instantly hard and aching for a taste of her. There, for a moment, it made him almost want to be mortal again. There was just something about her that captivated him. "Sorry," he said, his voice faint. "I sometimes forget how strong I am."

"No problem."

But there was a problem, he wanted to pull her even closer to him and taste those lips again. Get your bead in the game, boy.

Forcing himself to step back, he headed for the door and into the hallway. He led her upstairs toward the back of the club where his family should be away from human sight and hearing. From the sounds that echoed, it was obvious that at this time of night the club was hopping. The heavy, thumping beat radiated through his head, making it ache even more. But then he’d never been overly fond of this style of music anyway. He much preferred classic rock.

As they neared a partially opened door on their way out, he paused at the sound of his brothers’ voices. And the more they spoke, the angrier he became.

"You know our laws, Dorian," Phoenix snarled. "He should be killed, now, while he’s sleeping."

Dorian answered in a matter-of-fact tone. "The law of sanctuary-"

"Screw Savitar’s laws. My mate and children are dead. The law of the jungle says-"

Ravyn pushed the door open. "The strongest survive. Always. And in my book, ass**le, that’s not you."

They jerked around to face him. He caught the look of shame on Dorian’s face an instant before he hid it. But Phoenix was another matter. His eyes gleamed hatred. Ravyn braced himself as that look took him back to the night he’d died. To the look of tortured agony on Phoenix’s face when he’d discovered his wife’s body. She’d died beside their mother, trying to save her son and daughter.

Ravyn had stood in the doorway that night, too, paralyzed by the blood that soaked into the earthen floor of their cottage. Even though he’d been a warrior since the day he’d entered puberty and mastered his powers, he’d never seen such carnage. The humans hadn’t been content to simply kill them. They had mutilated every member of their clan they had caught. Boy, girl, woman, child, infant… it hadn’t mattered to them.

Phoenix had pulled his mate into his arms and roared with pain-filled horror. Until he’d turned on Ravyn.

"You did this!"

Overwrought with his own guilt and grief, he hadn’t been able to move or to speak. His gaze had been morbidly caught by his mother’s remains. By the look of terror that was permanently frozen on her beautiful face.

"Tell Isabeau the truth about us. About you. Ravyn, tell her what we are. Even if she is human, the Fates have chosen her to be your mate… surely, they know what they’re doing. You must trust in the gods, my son. Always. "

His mother’s words had echoed in his ears that night as he stared at her through the tears that burned his cheeks.

And then Phoenix had lunged at him. At first, he’d thought nothing of it, until he felt the sharp, hot pain in his side. It was followed by another and another as Phoenix stabbed him repeatedly while Ravyn merely stood there, taking each blow without even raising his arms in defense.

"Die, you bloody bastard. I hope you spend eternity in Tartarus paying for what you’ve done!"

Dorian had grabbed Phoenix and pulled him back, but it was too late. The damage had been done.

Ravyn had staggered back as he coughed up his own blood. He’d looked down to see the lifeblood as it coated his hands and fled from his body to drip down his clothes, to the floor to blend in with the rest. He’d slipped on a pool of it and fallen to the floor.

The last sight that had carried him out of his human existence had been his own father coming forward to spit on him, then kick and curse him as his last breath had rattled painfully in his chest. It was a sight that haunted him still. A sight that came to him often in the light of day while he tried to sleep and tormented him anew.

But he was through being haunted by his guilt. Being hated for something he’d had no part in. His only mistake had been to trust a woman who’d told him that she loved him. He’d had no way of knowing she would betray him by calling down the wrath of her people before they formally mated.

And he was tired now. Tired of the hatred and the blame. It was time to put the past to rest.

Ravyn raked his brother with a sneer. "You want me dead, Phoenix, then let’s go outside and end it once and for all. But I warn you now, I’m not feeling guilty anymore and I won’t stand there and let you stab me again. You got your one shot in. That’s it."

Phoenix moved to stand just before him. He narrowed his eyes. "You should have stayed dead."

Ravyn didn’t flinch or blink. "No, I should never have let you kill me to begin with. I should have slapped your stupid ass down and gone for Isabeau and her people without losing my life over it. Or better yet, I should have killed you the night I took my vengeance for being such a selfish bastard. But I didn’t. I forgave you for killing me, just as I forgave Dad for kicking me. But I’m tired of taking the high road while the rest of you spit at me. So stop crying, little boy, and suck it up like I’ve had to do."

He gave Phoenix a disgusted look. "You think you had it so bad? Trust me, you didn’t. I lost everything that night, too, including my mate and my entire family. You and the rest at least had each other to console yourselves. What the f**k did I have? Not a damn thing. And now I’m sick of tiptoeing around you and I’m sick of being blamed for something I couldn’t help. Had you been half the man you think you are, you’d have bonded yourself to Georgette and died with her."

Phoenix lunged at Ravyn only to have Dorian catch him and pull him back. "No, Nix, you know the law."

"Screw the law! Let me go, Dori!"

Dorian refused.

Ravyn shook his head at his brother while he struggled against Dorian. "Instead of bitching about what you lost, little boy, you should be damned grateful for what you had. You had almost a hundred years with Georgette. One. Hundred. Years. I didn’t even get a day with Isabeau as my true mate and I’ve had nothing since then. So screw you, crybaby."

Phoenix lunged again, only to have Dorian catch him and pin him to the wall.

"Get out, Ravyn," Dorian said, his voice thick.

Ravyn stared at the twins. At one time in his life, he’d have died for them. Growing up, they had been more than just his brothers, they had been his best friends. The loss of that friendship still bothered him, but he’d learned to stop caring. Obviously he had never meant as much to them as they had to him.

"I’m going, Dorian, but I will be back."

Phoenix cursed as Dorian’s face hardened. "You’ll have to find someplace else to stay. "

Ravyn shook his head. "There is nowhere else until I get this settled and you know it. By the Omegrion’s law, you have to welcome me even if it sticks in your craw. "

"I hate you!" Phoenix shouted. "You come back here and I’ll kill you, you bastard."

"Take a number."

Dorian let out a tired breath as Ravyn took Susan’s hand and led her to the door.

Susan didn’t know what to say or do as they left the building and headed to the alley in the back. She could sense the pain inside Ravyn even though he was trying hard to hide it with an angry facade. Not that she blamed him. Given what she’d heard, she couldn’t imagine how betrayed he must feel over his family’s actions. How could they have turned on him like that?

Without breaking stride, Ravyn headed straight for a gray Porsche with tinted windows. Susan frowned as he opened his palm, waved it in a circle, and the door popped open.

"This may be an odd question, but whose car are we stealing?"

He didn’t look up as he got into the car. "Phoenix’s."

"How do you know it’s his?"

"Look at the plate."

She did and sure enough, it had his name on it along with a bumper sticker for the club. Strangely amused, she got in. "Don’t you think this is going to piss him off? "

"God, I hope so," Ravyn said in a sincere tone. "Otherwise it defeats the purpose of taking it. "

"Won’t he call the cops?"

"Nope. It would violate sanctuary. So let him simmer, we have a place to visit. Besides the cops won’t recognize the car and the tinted windows will keep us hidden."