Curse the Dawn

Curse the Dawn by Karen Chance Read Free Book Online

Book: Curse the Dawn by Karen Chance Read Free Book Online
Authors: Karen Chance
    “It’s five to two,” Marco informed me, shoving his hairy wrist in my face. “You’ve been gone all night .”
    “You want to get me killed, is that it?” he demanded. “I piss you off somehow I don’t remember? You working out some kinda grudge?”
    “No! I . . . just lost track of time. I was busy.” In fact, I wasn’t all that great at timing my shifts yet. I’d planned to come back a few minutes after I left, in which case I wouldn’t have had to worry about explaining things to the deadly duo. Not that I should have had to do so in the first place.
    Marco scraped something gray and hairy that was absolutely not smashed rat off my shoulder. “Doing what? Dumpster diving?”
    I counted to ten and reminded myself not to overreact. The muscle twins were only doing what they’d been told. Getting rid of them was going to require talking with the one who’d sent them, and even that wasn’t likely to work. Because their master also considered himself mine, and he liked to keep an eye on his property.
    Mircea Basarab had been born a nobleman in fifteenth-century Romania, when one’s woman was almost as prized a possession as one’s horse. They were also treated about the same: dressed up and shown off on important occasions, and petted and pampered and kept under careful watch the rest of the time. And although he had since modernized his wardrobe, his vocabulary and his job description, his attitude toward women was remarkably constant.
    Not that I was his woman, as I’d mentioned several times. By coincidence, it was the same number he hadn’t been listening. I somehow had the feeling that something similar would happen if I brought up getting rid of Marco and friend. For someone who could hear a pin drop three rooms away, Mircea could be amazingly deaf.
    It wasn’t that I objected to the idea of protection—quite the opposite, in fact. Far too many people had my name on their to-do-nasty-things-to list. But while vampires are formidable opponents—especially the masters, which judging by the power he was leaking all over the place, Marco definitely was—they tend not to perform so well against certain kinds of opponents. Like revenge-minded ancient deities. For what I was facing, I needed something a little more subtle with a lot more punch. Not that I had any idea what that was yet.
    I heard the elevator outside the penthouse ding and went into panic mode. I fled to the bedroom, followed closely by Marco. His buddy must’ve remained in the living room to greet the master—and hopefully to stall him.
    “Tell him I’m not up yet,” I said, trying to wriggle under the bedclothes.
    Marco shook his head. “That ain’t gonna work. You knew he was coming. He’s gonna expect you to talk. He’s gonna expect some quality time. And if there’s cuffs involved, he’s gonna expect them to be his.”
    I shut my eyes, trying hard not to think about Mircea and handcuffs. And got an inspiration. “The bathroom. Hurry!”
    We ran into the gray and white opulence of the adjoining bath and I slammed the door. “Quick! Fill the tub. And get me out of these cuffs!”
    Marco didn’t ask questions, just started hot water flowing into the huge soaking tub and threw in half a container of bath salts. Bubbles foamed up everywhere as he bent to examine the restraints. After a few seconds, he said a bad word. “These are magical cuffs,” he told me so softly I could hardly understand him over the rushing water. I guess he was worried about vampire hearing. “They ain’t gonna come off easy. We’re gonna need a mage.”
    Pritkin would have normally been my first choice, but he already considered my intelligence to be sadly underutilized. If he saw me like this, I’d never hear the end of it. Not to mention that he’d demand to know where I’d been, and I hadn’t had time to come up with a good lie yet.
    “Find Francoise,” I whispered. She was a witch and a good friend. There was an

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