Monday, 11 July 2016

Snippet 1 from Into The Fire (Night Prince #4) by Jeaniene Frost

Vlad ordered his pilots to take off. “Where are we going?” I asked, grabbing a chair as the engines roared back to life.
“Nowhere,” Vlad replied. “Just far enough off the ground that no one can overhear us.”
I cast a glance out the window at the mostly deserted airport we were now speeding away from. “Do you know the odds against anyone being able to overhear us inside your plane?”
Vlad arched a brow. “Soon, those odds will be zero.”
Mencheres settled into one of the jet’s plush seats. I sat down, too. “Want a drink?” I asked Mencheres, gesturing to the mini bar protected by a clear glass panel. Just because vampires needed blood to survive didn’t mean we skipped other libations.
He inclined his head. “Whisky, if you have it.”
Vlad gave him a sardonic smile. “From that provincial choice, I can tell you’ve been spending time with Bones.”
A smile ghosted across Mencheres’s lips. “If you and Bones weren’t so similar, you’d likely be friends.”
I stifled a snort as I handed Mencheres a glass of whisky. I didn’t know why Vlad disliked Mencheres’s co-ruler so much, but I didn’t see him getting over it anytime soon.
“Enough about that,” Vlad said, dismissing Bones with a swipe of his hand. “Magic is one of the few things forbidden under vampire law, but like Mircea, there are those who still practice it in secret. I need a guide into that world, at once.”
Mencheres leaned forward, his expression turning very serious. “You are too well-known to slip in and out of that world unnoticed, and vampires who practice magic will kill to keep their identities from reaching the Law Guardians.”
I agreed. “There has to be another way-”
“There isn’t,” he interrupted. Despite his harsh tone, the hand he laid on my arm was gentle.
“What if we see the voodoo queen again?” I said. “Maybe there’s something she didn’t think of before.”
“Marie’s previous leads came to naught, and if she’d thought of anything new, she would have told me.” Vlad’s tone became flat. “Marie Laveau would love to have me owe her such a stunning debt. She amasses favors the same way the greedy amass fortunes.”
Mencheres closed his eyes. After an extended silence, he opened them and looked at Vlad. “I left that world several millennia ago, but I know one person with recent ties to it, and I trust him to act as your guide. First, however, I need your promise that you will not kill him.”
I felt Vlad’s surprise as his shields dropped. “I can’t promise that of anyone who betrays me or Leila,” he finally said. “Aside from those two conditions, yes, I promise.”
“No matter how badly you will want to,” Mencheres persisted. “Despite his many flaws, this man is dear to me, and it would pain me to lose him.”
My curiosity was piqued. If this person wasn’t a threat to us, why was Mencheres so sure that Vlad would want to kill him? Sure, Vlad had a temper, but he wasn’t uncontrollably homicidal.
“Aside from my two conditions, yes,” Vlad said, the annoyance in his tone emphasizing that he didn’t appreciate having to repeat himself. “Now, who is he?”
Mencheres gave Vlad a look of grim amusement. “Oh, you know him. And you dislike him even more than you dislike Bones.”