The Beautiful Ashes Page 11

’’Setting supernatural locks,’’ he replied, with a jaded glance at me. ’’This motel isn\ on hallowed ground, so we have to demon-proof this room. I don\ think we were followed, but I\d rather you weren\ murdered in your sleep.’’

I swallowed. I\d rather that not happen, too. ’’So, that stuff you\ e sprinkling around is like demon-mace?’’

His mouth twitched, making me wonder if he fought back a smile. ’’Close. Know how a priest blesses water and then it\s considered holy? This is the Archon version of blessed oil, which briefly renders any place it touches as hallowed.’’

’’How brief is \riefly\?’’ I wondered.

A shrug. ’’Long enough for us to sleep.’’

’’If it hallows out any place, then why did we spend last night in a spider-infested crypt?’’ I asked at once.

Now I was sure he was fighting back a smile. ’’You looked like you slept there just fine to me.’’ At my instant glower, he added, ’’I can only get this stuff from Zach, and he\s stingy with handing it out. This is the last I\ve got, so after tonight, we\ll need to sleep on real hallowed ground until he decides to show up and give me more.’’

A stingy angel. Now I\d heard of everything. Guess I\d better enjoy the real bed tonight. Who knew what I\d be cuddling up next to tomorrow. Speaking of that, I needed to handle some things before I went off the grid any longer.

’’You have a phone I can use? I need to call my roommate, Delia. Tell her I\ll be gone for...a while.’’

Adrian\s expression changed from suppressed amusement to stern refusal. ’’Not a chance. No calls, texts or emails.’’

Who did he think he was, my new father? ’’Let me rephrase I\m calling my roommate, either with your phone or with someone else\s.’’

I couldn\ just disappear on Delia. I, of all people, knew how awful it was to wonder if someone you cared about was alive or dead, and she wasn\ just my roommate. After Jasmine, Delia was my best friend.

’’You call her or anyone else you know, you\ e making them a target,’’ Adrian replied coolly. ’’Not many people escape a demonic kidnapping attempt. The ones that do are usually helped by me, so that makes the demons extra mad. By now, minions have combed through every aspect of your life, and they\ e waiting for you to connect to someone so they can use that person against you.’’

Nothing changed in the room, but it suddenly felt smaller, as if the walls were edging toward each other.

’’What\s the point? They already have my sister,’’ I said, anger and despair sharpening my tone.

Adrian leveled that gemstone stare at me. ’’Right, so don\ give them anyone else.’’

I sat down on what I guessed was my bed, since Adrian\s duffel bag was on the other. The zipper was open, revealing nothing more sinister than clothes and toiletries. And here I\d been so sure about the severed minion heads. I did give the toothbrush a longing look. This motel didn\ have those as freebies, and my breath could probably slay a dragon.

’’Help yourself,’’ Adrian stated, nodding at the bag. ’’Zach packed supplies for both of us.’’

He didn\ need to tell me twice. I went to his bed and began to rummage through the bag. Thanks to his large build, it wasn\ hard to distinguish what was meant for Adrian and what was intended for me. The only surprise was that Zach had guessed my size, even on the intimate items.

’’What kind of angel notices cup size?’’ I muttered under my breath as I added a bra to my pile.

Adrian\s bark of laughter let me know that I\d said it too loud. ’’Zach is nothing if not detail-oriented.’’

’’You sound like you\ve known him a long time,’’ I observed.

His face closed off in a now familiar way. I could let it go, like I had most of the drive here, but I was getting tired of his frequent bouts of silent treatment.

’’I get that you don\ want to be here and you really don\ want to talk about whatever it is that you are, but if we\ e going to be fighting demons together, I should at least know more about you.’’

Adrian walked toward me, a hard little smile twisting his features. Then he bent down until his face was level with mine. His eyes looked even more vivid in the overhead light, and he was so close, I could see that his lashes were dark brown instead of black.

’’Here\s the most important thing you need to know. I hate demons more than you do, so you can trust that I\ll help you kill them. But, Ivy ’’ harsh laughter brushed my skin in its own caress ’’ whatever you do, don\ trust me with anything else.’’

The last time we\d been this close, he\d had me pinned to his car. He wasn\ touching me now, but somehow, his gaze made the moment equally intense. The scary part was, I liked it. Without thinking, I moistened my lips.

His gaze dropped there, and I sucked in a breath at the hunger that flashed across his face. So finding out about my supposed lineage hadn\ killed his attraction to me! With that knowledge, things lower down began to tighten. Adrian was maddening, confusing, dangerous...and what would I do if he tried to kiss me?

Suddenly, I saw a blur of motion and then he was gone, the door vibrating from his exit.

* * *

I awoke to the wonderful smell of hot, greasy food, and the even more tantalizing aroma of coffee. When I opened my eyes, a bag of McDonald\s was on my nightstand. I hadn\ heard Adrian leave to get it, but then again, I hadn\ heard him come back last night, either. He must have since his bed was mussed, and from the sounds of it, he was now in the shower.


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