Sequel to Incubus
When Slayer Henri and his Intermediary Sébastien are sent to Paris to deal with attacks by vampires, they find the truth is worse still. They also find unexpected allies in a family of gargoyles who help protect mankind.
Paris is under attack by demonic forces and it will take the united talents of humans, gargoyles, and vampires if they are to be defeated.
Sébastien also finds that his mate is the last creature on earth he would have expected. When the time to fight comes, can Sébastien survive, or will his life be forfeit in the depths of the dungeons of the infamous Cardinal Richelieu?
“By the time another Slayer could get here, Paris will be lost.” Hallbjörn closed the distance between him and Richelieu to a hair’s breadth. “She totters even now. Don’t waste your breath with idle threats. If we fail, Paris falls, and you do not have the power to save her.”
The cardinal’s face visibly paled, then flushed crimson with fury. Sébastien held his breath but slid his hand toward his haladie. Then Richelieu’s expression changed. Sébastien had faced preters before, but the cold, calculating look the cardinal gave Hallbjörn turned Sébastien’s blood to water.
“Very well, Slayer. You have forty-eight hours to rid Paris of this creature of evil, or you and your Intermediary will be excommunicated from the church. Permanently.”
The threat may only have been implicit, but Sébastien doubted it was idle. Now they only had two days in which to find their nemesis and destroy it. Or they would be killed by the very man who’d called on them for help.
But Hallbjörn just smiled, slowly. “We will fight to save the people of Paris. As we have always done. Irrespective of threats such as yours. Give me what I need.” Hallbjörn didn’t even bother to be respectful. His voice was as cold as granite and Richelieu’s expression flickered briefly into confusion that his threat seemed to have made so little impression.
Richelieu turned his back and stalked into his room. At his desk he wrote furiously on a sheet of paper and gave it his seal, then snapped his fingers.
With a quick glance at Sébastien, Hallbjörn strode over to the cardinal who thrust the paper at him.
“This will give you all the authority you need. In forty-eight hours, I expect you to be back here, with evidence the vampire is destroyed. You will then leave Paris. If the creature remains, you know your fate. Go.” Richelieu pointed at the door.
“The evil will be destroyed. You have my promise on it.” Hallbjörn didn’t even bother to bow, turning sharply and striding away, forcing Sébastien to trot to keep up with him. “That man doesn’t have a care for the people of France. Only his position in the court.”
Once they were outside Hallbjörn waved the scroll, then handed it to Sébastien. “This has his seal and his approval. I couldn’t have asked for more.”
“And his threat?” Sébastien asked, then almost bumped into Hallbjörn as his lover stopped dead. Hallbjörn took Sébastien in his arms and kissed him until Sébastien was dizzy.
“Henri is safe with my family. Richelieu will not touch him. If he tries to harm you, nothing in this world will save him. You have my promise on it. Now, let us go to the queen. We will omit to tell her of Richelieu’s threat, and instead tell her what I really want. I trust her above him.”
In the queen’s suite, a grim-faced Anne listened as Hallbjörn spoke. Then she stood and paced the floor.
“You believe the creature we seek is in the catacombs. Are you certain?” Anne faced Hallbjörn.
“Yes.” Hallbjörn nodded. “But going in with an army will do more harm than good. I don’t know the true nature of our adversary. But I doubt the beast will remain alone once it knows it’s under siege.”
“You may have whatever, and whoever you wish, with my blessing.” Anne went to her desk. “Come here. Tell me what needs to be in this letter to ensure you and your Intermediary are safe while you deliver Paris from its danger.”
“Thank you, your majesty.” Hallbjörn strode across the room to stand beside the desk, his voice too quiet for Sébastien to hear as Hallbjörn leaned down, his head close to that of the queen’s.
A second scroll joined the first in the bag Sébastien had tight against his body.
Hallbjörn turned his attention to the musketeer. “Luc. We need you to meet us later. You know where. Marie, it will be safest for you here. Remain with the queen until one of us comes for you.” Hallbjörn reached out to clasp Sébastien’s shoulder. “It’s time to force the beast from its lair and fight.”
The cold tone of his lover was one that shook Sébastien to his core. Instinctively he patted each of his weapons in turn, taking a small amount of comfort from their familiarity. He was trained to fight at his Slayer’s side. He’d now fight beside Hallbjörn and his new family.