Twice Tempted Page 76

I looked down. Silvery liquid oozed out of two holes onto my blazer, but before my mind even registered that I'd been shot, instinct took over. I leapt up, clearing the crowd and hitting the roof of the tunnel in less than a second. A piece of concrete exploded near my head and I spun away as fast as I could. Then gravity brought me back down into the crowd. I landed on a few people, inadvertently knocking them over. As soon as I hit the ground, the screaming started.

I couldn't see anything through the sea of legs surrounding me, which meant the shooter couldn't see me, either. Still, I wasn't about to use them for cover. Liquid silver bullets might be as dangerous to me as regular ones were to humans, yet thanks to Vlad's insistence, I wore a bulletproof vest underneath my clothes. The people around me didn't have such protection. I began to crawl away from the crowd, throwing my coffee cup aside after noticing with disbelief that I'd held on to it this entire time. As I crawled, I pinched the wire underneath my scarf. I hadn't seen her do it, but it didn't take psychic powers to guess who'd shot me.

’’The jig is up,’’ I said shortly. ’’And she's firing liquid silver bullets.’’

I reached the end of the crowd and stood up. As if my gaze was drawn, I saw Cynthiana amidst the terrified commuters, almost casually tucking her gun back into her jacket. She must've thought the silver bullets had done their job and I was dead beneath the stampeding crowd.

Vlad's voice barked through the receiver. ’’Don't engage her. Go to the Crangasi station. We'll be there soon.’’

Cynthiana whirled, either sensing my presence or hearing Vlad's voice over the noise from the commuters.

She stared at me for what only took a second, yet felt like an eternity. I don't know what possessed me to rake my coffee-coated hand over the side of my face, but I did, using the liquid and the material from my glove to wipe away the thick makeup that hid my scar. When she saw it, her dark topaz gaze turned bright green and she bared her teeth in a snarl.

’’You.’’

I expected her to go for the gun again. Or to charge me;she looked as furious as I felt. Both would've been fine. I'd lead her away from the people if she charged, and if she shot at me, at least she wouldn't be shooting at any innocent bystanders. But Cynthiana didn't do either of those things. Instead, she raised her hands and shouted something in a language I didn't recognize.

As if yanked by invisible strings, every commuter who'd started to flee stopped in their tracks. Then they turned around and headed straight toward me, their hands outstretched like claws and their expressions murderous. Over the horde, I saw Cynthiana's snarl change into a smirk. Then she ran down the subway tunnel in the opposite direction from the Gara de Nord.

I muttered a curse as I began to plow through the crowd, trying not to hurt them as I shoved them away. I wasn't shown the same consideration. My hair was yanked, multiple fists punched me, and I was even bitten when a woman latched on to my leg and wouldn't let go despite my dragging her as I ran. My first attempt to use vampire mind control to get them off me didn't work. I was either doing it wrong or Cynthiana's spell was too strong. I managed to get free only after losing my jacket, scarf, and several pieces of my pants courtesy of the biting woman. Then I dashed away before the rest of the mob joined in the melee.

As I ran toward the Crangasi station, I squeezed the wire near my neck. ’’She went down the M1 tunnel,’’ I shouted, then let out a groan as I saw the frazzled end of the wire sticking out of the Kevlar vest. Someone had torn it in two. Without hesitation, I turned around and began to run in the same direction Cynthiana had. With no way to tell Vlad where she was going, if I didn't track her, she might get away before his people converged on the Metro.

A shrill sound and blinding light signaled a train headed right for me. I jumped off the tracks and onto the concrete lip of the tunnel, hugging the wall as I continued as fast as I could along the narrow ledge. When the subway passed me, the wind from its velocity tried to suck me into its path, yet my new muscles held me to the wall as if I'd been glued. Once it was gone, I jumped down and dashed along the tracks, my gaze lighting up the darkness with green.

If not for my enhanced vision, I would've missed the slot in the tunnel across the tracks that marked the entrance to another passageway. No light shone from within and the walls were wet from what looked like a recurring leak, leaving a shallow, dirty puddle in front of the entrance. Must be one of the many unused passages that made up the underground labyrinth of the Metro. I paused, glancing between that and the rest of the tunnel. If I were Cynthiana, which way would I go?

Seeing a muddy footprint leading into the passageway made up my mind. I ran over the tracks and into the narrow entrance, grimacing at the smell that suggested indigents used this as a shelter. Now there was no point trying to track Cynthiana by scent, though over the stink, I caught an odd, earthy odor. Was that her? If so, she needed to change her perfume.

I ran faster when I heard sounds ahead, almost like a mad scrabbling. Had Vlad's people entered the passageway from the other side and caught her? The narrow tunnel forked ahead so I couldn't see. Just in case Cynthiana was waiting with a gun aimed for my head, I hunched so I'd be a few feet shorter than expected, and then peered around the corner.

What looked like hundreds of glowing eyes stared back at me. That scrabbling noise increased. So did harsh chirping sounds as a mass of gray fur and fangs charged right at me.

’’You bitch!’’ I yelled down the passageway.


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