The drama is so high in this book my stomach tied in knots the whole time. While on vacation Cat starts having dreams of a vampire named Gregor, in which he tells her that he is her husband, not Bones. He tells her that they are blood bonded and that her memories of him have been blocked, but she can get them back by drinking his blood. Gregor is doing everything in his power to get Cat back. I gave her an arched brow and tapped my engagement ring for effect.

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Fabian, keep a lookout on the road. At the first sign of Gregor or his men, you come warn us. Never did I expect to be so indebted to a ghost, but I owed Fabian more than I could repay. After the disastrous party, Fabian had the presence of mind to follow Gregor, haunting the trunk of whatever vehicle Gregor drove or hitchhiking on various people who happened to be near Gregor.

Always pride before a fall. Factor in the same dismissal of ghosts that had made his spying possible, and Fabian had had a hell of a time getting a vampire ally to listen long enough to start the chain of calls that eventually reached Bones. So far, though, it seemed like those in the house had no idea they were about to be attacked. I gave a worried glance at the sky.

All that was good news. The bad news was, dawn was only about half an hour away. As if hearing my thought, Bones met my gaze. Vehemently, and with lots of profanity. Then I looked around the faces staring back at me. Sure, now I could stay awake and even walk when sunlight hit, but fight? We might need the diversion if Gregor returns before we have my mom safely away. Several packs of TNT had been strapped to the trees, as close to the house as we dared to plant them without being seen.

And sometimes, distraction made all the difference between life and death - or escape and capture. Bones gave me a quick, hard kiss.

Spade gave me a somber look and followed. Bones caressed my face once, then left as well. So did Fabian. I stayed where I was, not needing binoculars to watch their progress toward the house.

There were four guards outside and, according to Fabian, at least eight more inside, plus Cannelle. The element of surprise would be all the advantage they had, outnumbered four to one, and I doubted Gregor had left weak vampires or ghouls as guards. Even though the distance was less than two miles, it took the three men over ten minutes to crawl there, barely disturbing the long grass around them.

I was almost a wreck by the time they approached the house. A jumble of fear, hope, frustration, and nerves made me feel like I could jump out of my own skin.

Did the guards have instructions to kill my mother at once if there was an attack? Could Bones, Spade, or Rodney get to her in time, without getting themselves killed in the process? Oh God, please, let this work. Just close enough to really see what was going on. The scattering of trees made for a skewed view of the house. The ground was free of tall grass within thirty yards of the house, so there was no more coverage for Bones, Rodney, and Spade to sneak up in.

Everything in me tensed as I saw the three men rise at the exact same time to charge the house. Shouts of alarms came from the four guards, but I was savagely pleased to see how fast they were cut off. Spade and Rodney made short work of their two guards, then, from different angles, the three men entered the house.

More shouts came from inside. I crawled faster, keeping low but within eyesight of the house. Gunshots barked in terrifying staccato from what sounded like automatic weapons.

A feminine voice rose in a furious, accented screech. Remembering her kicking my mother while holding a leash made me want Cannelle dead almost as much as Gregor. Oh shit. I eyed the sky with mounting despair. Definitely too close to dawn for me to risk jumping into the fight, but I could still press some buttons.

That much I could do to help. Fabian disappeared through the structure of the house, not bothering to use one of the smashed front windows as an entry point. I waited, counting off the seconds in a frenzy of tension until he came out, hovering near the roof.

It looked like he pointed to my left, which was where the screech of tires had come from. Damn Gregor for being a clever bloodsucker. I waved at Fabian, careful to stay low, and the ghost dove down and seemed to disappear into the ground. He came up moments later right in front of me, startling me at how he was all of a sudden inches from my face. Fabian disappeared below the dirt again. I waited, the following seconds like a blowtorch on my nerves.

That would put them right near the TNT strapped to the trees. Come on, Gregor. Show me where you are. My wish came true when I heard the stealthy sounds of movement in the brush not fifty yards from me. I waited, counting off the distance. Twenty yards. Almost there. I blew the charges right as Gregor and his guards passed the closest to the most-heavily-rigged trees. The explosions went off, one after the other, scattering Gregor and the others with their confusion over what might blow up next.

It was also my very loud signal to Bones that they had to pull out, now, whether they had my mom or not. With the dozen guards Gregor had with him, it would be dicey making it out alive ourselves. I glanced at the ever-brightening sky with loathing. If only it were an hour earlier, I could fight!

I could help get my mother, or draw off some guards, or just do something, other than hide to keep a bad situation from getting far worse by being captured.

A window in the house exploded outward, two forms hurtling through it onto the ground. Adieu, bitch, I thought, seeing him shove her lifeless body aside.

But my moment of victory was short-lived. Gregor shouted an order in French and all twelve of his guards rushed at Bones. I was already on my feet, forgetting about staying hidden, when Spade burst out of the house. Coward, I thought viciously, seeing Gregor stay where he was near the far corner of the house.

What will you do, Dreamsnatcher? Will you run while you have a chance, or risk your life to stay and fight?

The front door was kicked open. I gasped, seeing Rodney come out with my mother in his grip. Her arms were around his neck, and she was moving.

Oh, thank God. Gregor snarled something and drew out a sword. Rodney paused, swinging around with my mother still in his arms. Bones and Spade were each battling half a dozen vampires apiece. Neither one of them could help Rodney. I ran, pulling knives from my belt while cursing. Gregor was too far away for me to hit him. Rodney set my mother down, caressing her bloodstained cheek for just an instant, then turned to meet Gregor.

He only had two knives left in his belt, and Gregor was far stronger than he. That ash-blond head jerked up as he saw me running flat out toward them. In that moment of distraction, Rodney flung one of his knives. Gregor spun back to face Rodney, his sword slicing the air between them. Instead of ducking back, Rodney charged. He barreled into Gregor with all of his undead force behind him. That long sword flashed down in a straight, merciless line.

My mother rushed forward. Then Gregor looked right at me. And smiled. As if in a dream, I stopped running. Dropped my knives and watched Gregor come.

Through the red haze that dropped over my vision, it made perfect sense.


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