Bloodmagic Page 44

I was about to retort that I didn\ need his damn help before remembering that I was still completely penniless. ’’Okay. Thanks. Can you say goodbye to the others for me? Julia and Betsy and Tom?’’

’’You don\ want to say goodbye to them yourself?’’

’’I, uh, no. It\s best this way. I\m going to be gone for a long time.’’

Corrigan stared at me unfathomably for a moment, before pulling shakily out from under Staines\ arm. He leaned forward until his face was scant centimetres away, then pressed his lips to mine with such a feather light touch that I wasn\ even sure whether it had really happened or not. ’’Then I\ll be seeing you, kitten.’’ He turned back to Staines, who gave me a brief stiff nod, and then they both left.

I stared after them for a moment, drinking in the lingering male scent that Corrigan had left behind him. There was a knot in my chest that didn\ seem to be going away and that had nothing to do with my blood fire. I clenched my fists and glanced down. A tinge of green light surrounded my hands, reminding me that time was short.

The pack\s limousine pulled up outside the Ministry\s imposing metal gates. Unlike the last time I\d been here, there was now a rather scary looking guard posted at the front. I allowed myself a small smirk at the mages\ renewed energy for security. The window in the front rolled smoothly down and the driver murmured something inaudibly to the guard, who nodded briskly and gestured with one hand. The ornate gates opened and the car slowly drove in and up the short drive.

Once we came to a complete halt outside the front door, I moved to get out, not waiting for the driver to come round and open the car door. This didn\ seem to make him very happy because he rushed out and almost sprinted round the car. A weredog, I thought. It figures. He bowed deeply to me and doffed his cap. What a difference a day makes. I smiled at him absentmindedly and made my way up to the front door. Before I had a chance to knock, however, it swung open with a dramatic motion.

The Archmage was standing in the hallway, with a crowd of others behind him, none of them looking particularly thrilled to see me. They\d probably been hoping I wouldn\ show up so they could flex their magic muscles in a fit of retribution. I shrugged. Bully for them.

’’Ah, Miss Smith,’’ intoned the magician. ’’So good of you to join us.’’

I snorted ’’You didn\ exactly give me much choice now did you?’’

’’I hope that\s not bitterness in your tone. You do realise that by receiving this opportunity to study with us and control your gift, you are privileged beyond what most mortals could ever dream of? ’’ He paused for a moment and gazed at me assessingly. ’’Although I doubt that if you were truly mortal I\d have had both the Lord Alpha and the Seelie court demanding that I guarantee your safety.’’

I raised my eyebrows slightly. The Seelie court? That didn\ bode too well. I mentally cursed Solus and his big blabbermouth and hoped that it was just him looking out for me, and that he\d not given away my heritage to all his fairy buddies. I also tried to ignore the little thrill that Corrigan showing interest in my well-being gave me.

The Arch-Mage held out his hand. ’’Well? Are you ready?’’

I wasn\ going to roll over that easily. ’’You promise to release Mrs Alcoon?’’

He looked irritated for a moment. ’’As we have already stated.’’

I attempted to eyeball him for a moment but he just looked at me implacably. I shrugged and then clasped his hand in mine. ’’Then I guess I\m good to go.’’ The air began to shimmer and my stomach started to lurch in familiar anticipation. Damnit. I closed my eyes tightly and hoped for the best.

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