Bastien snarled, lips curling back from all four of his fangs.
Terror flashed through me. His incisors weren’t so much a problem; Getting Fanged without the benefit of a vamp mindlock is never going to be top of my pleasant-things-to-happen list, but hey, with my fast-healing sidhe metabolism, a couple of fang holes and some (more) blood loss was only going to result in me having a literal pain in the neck while pissing me off big-time.
But his tiny venom fangs, sticking down like bone-white needles from behind his front teeth, were much more terrifying. One small drop of venom and my 3V infection would start running riot. Before I could say, fuck you for Fanging me, I’d be crawling after him, begging for him to do that, and more, like the desperate, addicted, blood slave I’d always feared I could be.
Not gonna happen.
I clenched my right hand, feeling my heavy emerald ring dig into my flesh. Magic tingled through my fingers. All I had to do was release it, and I’d be holding Ascalon, the bespelled sword that would cut through anyone, other than an innocent. Bastien wasn’t an innocent. The sword would slice and dice him like a sushi chef would raw fish.
Only then the Sack of Shit vamp would be dead.
A dead Bastien would break the bargain we made. More importantly, a dead Bastien would mean the permanent destruction of the other half of the spell trapping the fae’s fertility.
Crap. And I really, really wanted to kill him.
He leaped . . . time slowed . . . I dropped onto my back, shoulder blades jarring on the tiled floor, jack-knifed my knees tight to my chest and, as he flew above me, kicked up and out. My boots dug into his stomach, propelling him up – satisfaction pulsed through me as I glimpsed his snarl turn to astonishment – and onwards over the twenty-odd feet till he crashed in to the end of the waiting room.
And crashed into one of the coffins.
The coffin rocked, teetered and fell, knocking into the next one, setting off a domino-effect as that one banged into the next. And the next . . . until the last one smashed against the wall. It split open, a grey-wrinkled arm falling out . . . horror spiked my gut; the coffin was occupied . . . time sped up—
The world exploded.
Light seared my retinas. Sourness scorched my nose and throat. Heat tightened my skin. Coffin shrapnel exploded through the waiting room. A flaming brand whooshed over my head, another stabbed my right thigh— a thin piece of burning wood as long as my forearm. Even as I yelled and jerked it out, slapping my smoking jeans and ignoring the spurt of blood that meant it had nicked an artery – I’d heal – one thought screamed through my mind—
Vamps and fire don’t mix. All that highly oxygenated blood they get from sucking on necks (and other things) makes them as combustible as a hydrogen-filled balloon. Or a coffin containing a goblin dead from Milking the Methane.
Scrambling to my feet I scanned the coffin-bonfire crackling noisily away. A bubble of magic encased it; the Safeguard spells tagged to the gems on the coffins had activated, though not quickly enough to stop the initial damage. The waiting room looked, unsurprisingly, like the aftermath of a bomb blast: the force had blown the plastic chairs into a heap, sparks melting the seats like wax; small fires sputtered and flickered; and shards of glass from the high windows littered the floor. But the spells had been fast enough that the main fire was safely contained.
It blazed white-hot at its heart, nothing other than wood to be discerned in the roaring flames. But lying at its edge, trapped by the magic, limbs jerking and twisting as flesh, muscles, tendons, and sinews cooked and popped in the heat – so not eating roast pork for a long, long while – was a dark shape.
Not the coffin’s dead occupant – he/she would’ve combusted instantly. So, even though vamps are nearly as flammable, the crispy fried critter had to be Bastien.
And I needed the bloodsucking shit alive.