The Darkest Craving (Page 21)

The Darkest Craving (Lords of the Underworld #10)(21)
Author: Gena Showalter

“Torin gave me a heads-up.”

His focus sharpened on her. Well, okay, then. “You got info for me?”

She motioned to the bartender, and waited, silent, for a bottle of vodka to be slid in front of her, as if Kane weren’t suddenly vibrating with impatience. “This belongs to him,” she said, hitching her thumb in his direction.

Knowing Harpies couldn’t eat or drink anything without stealing or earning it, he threw a few bills on the counter without complaint. “Anytime would be great, Tal.”

She drank straight from the bottle, wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and faced him, her expression impassive. “There’s a Phoenix chasing your Fae. Her name’s Petra, and she’s a vicious little troll.”

Not exactly a news flash. “So, how did you know that?”

“You remember when my friend Neeka the Unwanted was given to the Phoenix, even though she’s a Harpy, to save my sister? Well, little Neeka keeps getting stolen from different clans—everyone wants a piece of her, which is so wonderfully ironic, considering her name. She gets bored between travels and spies for me. I knew the stuff about Petra would be important to you because my sisters told me about your encounter with the Fae.”

Sabin and Strider were such pansy blabbermouths.

“Anyway,” Taliyah continued. “The rest of the information is going to cost you.”

He arched a brow, saying, “How much?” Whatever the price, he’d pay it.

“I want the fortress in the Realm of Blood and Shadows.”

A thirty-thousand-square-foot monstrosity for a few words? A fair exchange, in his opinion. He wasn’t sure his friends would agree. “There’s a problem. The place isn’t mine to give.”

Taliyah drained the rest of the bottle with a grace matched by few. “Too bad. It would have been nice doing business with you, Kane. See you.” She walked away from him without another word.

Coldhearted. As always.

Kane leaped into action, dragging her back to the bar—and she let him. She had more at stake than she wanted him to believe, then. “It’s yours,” he said to her. “The fortress is yours. When do you want it?”

Winter-blue eyes sparkled triumphantly. “Three months and two days from now. No sooner, no later.”

“Fine. I’ll kick my friends out myself.”

“Even my sisters?”

“No,” he said, thinking that was what she’d want to hear. “They can—”

“Deal’s off. Sorry.” Once again she walked away, and once again he had to drag her back.

“Fine,” he rushed out. “I’ll kick them out, too.” They’d want to stay with their husbands, anyway.

She nodded, satisfied.

“Why can’t you stay there with everyone else?” he grumbled. She had before.

“You’re not going to tell anyone I’m there. You do, and I’ll hunt you down. Immortal races will be talking about the things I did to your entrails for centuries.”

Harpies, man. They actually had the strength and stomach to back up their threats, and that was a serious downer when the women weren’t on your side. “What do you need the fortress for?”

“None of your business. Now, do you want the information I’ve got or not?”

“I do.”

“Okay, so, apparently, a Sent One—Thane, I think his name is—suddenly appeared in one of the Phoenix camps a few weeks ago. He threw a big fit, and killed lots of the warriors. One of them was the king. The Sent One was eventually subdued, and a new king took the throne. This new king was finally able to claim the woman he’s been craving for centuries—the dead king’s wife.”

“What’s this got to do with anything?”

“I’m getting there. The new king took the widow as his concubine, but only a few days later, this Petra girl killed her. As punishment, she was cast into the Never-ending. And now that Petra’s on the loose, the new king wants her back. Like, bad. The things he’ll do to her when he finds her…it’s going to be legend—wait for it—dary. Oh, and the concubine was Petra’s sister. Meaning, there’s no line this troll won’t cross. If your Fae is on her radar, she’s in trouble.”

He would get to her first.

The glass shattered in his hand, cutting his skin.

Stupid demon.

He dabbed at the wounds with a napkin.

He waited, but Taliyah said nothing more. “That’s all you have for me?”

“As if Neeka is that poor of a spy. I was just waiting for you to digest. So get this. Petra was seen buying a key to Séduire.”

Séduire. The kingdom of the Fae, though many humans lived there, located in a realm between realms. Some immortals could flash there, moving from one space to another with only a thought. Most could not. Kane was among the could-nots, so, for people like him, a special key was needed to open one of the invisible doorways.

“If this Petra is following Tinker Bell’s scent, and she bought a key, Tinker Bell must have returned to Séduire,” Kane said, thinking out loud. Finally, he had a location.

“Tinker Bell?”

Disaster growled.

William scooted into the seat beside him, saving him from having to answer. The warrior was without his usual random woman (or six) and scowling. “What are you doing here, Ice Witch, and how did you find us? We’re on a boys-only vacay.”

Taliyah rolled her eyes. “I just answered those questions for Kane and won’t do it again for the likes of you. And what a way to say hello, Man Whore.”

So. The two hated each other now. Interesting.

William looked at him, and Kane could see the excitement banked in his eyes. “You’re just going to let her talk to me like that? I should pack my bags and leave you.”

“I should be so lucky.” Kane signaled for another whiskey. The glass shattered as he downed the liquid inside it, and he choked on a shard. Coughing blood, he stood. “I’ve got to find a key. Don’t call me if you need me.”

What are you doing? Disaster demanded. Don’t leave the Harpy. She’s mine. I want her.

Taliyah reached out and grabbed his wrist. He…felt no pain, he realized, and no desire, either. Apparently no one’s touch affected him like Tinker Bell’s. “Remember what I told you.”

Yeah. He remembered. No one could know she wanted the fortress.

“What did you tell him?” William demanded. “You might as well confess. I’ll just bug the answer out of him if you don’t.”