Corrigan Magic (Corrigan_ Blood Destiny Book 2)By: Helen Harper
I knew they were after me almost immediately. As soon as I left the meeting in the West End, I could feel the hackles rising up on the back on my neck. Staines had told me to expect something along these lines so I wasn’t surprised. In fact, it would be an easy matter to avoid any conflict. Mara was already at the curb, engine running, and I did have an almost soul-destroying mountain of paperwork to complete back at the Brethren headquarters. But if they didn’t make a move now, then they’d make it later. Rather than delay the inevitable, it made sense to deal with this now.
When I approached the car, Mara stepped out. She’d recently taken to dressing down. Xander Brady, the previous Lord Alpha, had demanded she wear an old-fashioned chauffeur uniform. He’d wanted to make himself appear more important – and prove to the watching world that his control was absolute, even when it came to minor elbow witches. But Mara had just looked ridiculous in the brimmed hat and perfectly starched suit in the colour of mossy bracken. I hadn’t commented on her attire when I’d taken over. If there was one thing I’d learnt over the years, it’s that where women’s clothing is concerned, the best approach is always to keep quiet. Besides, considering what the mages get away with wearing when they’re away from the immediate reach of the Ministry, I didn’t think that demanding sharp creases and pristine collars would improve the efficiency of either the shifters or those like Mara who worked with us. Therefore, when Mara first ditched the hat and I didn’t comment, she gradually became bolder and bolder. It didn’t take long for Brady’s uniform to completely disappear. Today she was wearing dark jeans and an extraordinarily cheesy t-shirt emblazoned with three wolves howling at the moon. It was difficult not to grin even though I knew the werewolves would be appalled if they saw it. Mara enjoys pushing the boundaries and I’m happy to let her. There’s a little too much of an elitist, entitled attitude lingering amongst some of the Brethren, especially Brady’s personal recruits. It wouldn’t do them any harm to learn to laugh at themselves.
“You can go home, Mara,” I told her. “I think I’ll make my own way back.”
“I’m not sure that’s a good idea, Lord Corrigan. There are three vampires who’ve been waiting by the corner for the last hour. When you came out, it was obvious that you’re their target.”
I raised my eyebrows. “Target? Maybe they simply want my autograph.” I leaned in towards her and lowered my voice. “I’m becoming quite the catch, you know.”
Mara didn’t so much as blink. “I don’t think they’re your type.”
“What’s my type?”
“Apparently rogue werehamsters who don’t like following orders.” Mara’s tone was light but she must have registered something in my expression because her face suddenly paled. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to speak out of turn. I…”
“Don’t worry about it.” I tried hard to retain an element of our banter. “I know what the rumour mill is like. I’m just not sure that a shifter whose first impulse is to find the nearest giant wheel is the one for me.” My weak joke fell flat and Mara didn’t so much as crack a smile. I sighed. Perhaps it would be better to cut and run before I really put my foot in it. “Tomorrow afternoon, then?”
“If you insist.” She still didn’t look very happy.
“I do.” I started to wander off, whistling lightly. “Have a lovely evening.”
I crossed the road, maintaining my relaxed posture. The vampires were carefully keeping downwind so at least they had one or two brain cells to rub together. They must have been of the opinion that if I couldn’t smell them, I’d be oblivious to their presence. No shifter relies on one sense to the detriment of the others though.
Vampires were cold, soulless creatures but this impending attack wasn’t personal. I was the new Lord Alpha and they were keen to test my mettle. Equally, while I was confident I could take them, I wasn’t stupid. Foolhardy egotism has been the downfall of many Otherworlders. No-one is invulnerable. Three vampires working together wouldn’t be easy. There’s a reason why wolves hunt in packs – and an encounter with three dead ones would be no different. I decided to even out the odds.