Two days after the attack on the Night Life building against my family by an unknown assailant sent by Poet we planned to move into a new building — a building where we controlled all the security. A building that was ours. Alex had purchased it when he was looking for places for his new club. A good investment he called it. He had wanted it to be a surprise – his way of taking care of the family.
Ant secured the place while Alex paid for renovations. The fifth floor was to be our home – a true penthouse. Ant and Ryan and all the body guards would have their own apartments on the fourth floor. The third would be common spaces like a media room, library and gym.
The second floor Alex said was office space – a place for the kids to do their schooling in undistracted areas, conference rooms for meetings when I didn’t feel like going someplace else, and one sorta ‘ball’ room type place. Alex called it the dance studio. A place large enough for social gatherings.
But the first floor – that was different. It was open to the public. It had a coffee shop and a bar – both of which Alex owned and operated. They were both called Brew. One brewed coffee and the other brewed beer. And both had been open for a few weeks now. Alex had the money to pull it all together using supernatural construction agents. So it went quickly.
Alex told me in the basement they would install several safe rooms – a place we can put a rogue werewolf or vampire temporarily until we got things situated everywhere else. I hadn’t been down yet to put the runes on which made me wonder if someone else had done the job.
It didn’t really matter, I had been super busy the last two days too. Alex was busy moving the family to the new house, making me think less and less of what I had to do about it all. Alex kept saying it was nothing – he could manage – go be hero,the fucking King of New York.
I’d much rather be in Alex’s arms than with whoever else was pulling my attention. And it took everything I had to get even the hour of alone time I had pulled out of the ether. Later today I’d be meeting the Mayor for the first time. I had a meeting with the architect but I still planned on meeting with Alex for lunch. I was looking forward to cooking for him, and maybe a lot more personal time with him.
Everyone was safe and sound but I felt something was wrong. I had a nagging feeling and Hunter was the source of that. All of the kids, like there was a lingering sense of danger leftover after the attack. My body was coiled tight waiting for the next blow. But it never came. And the feeling never stopped. I made Vin promise to look after Hunter. Ryan had suggested looking after Cass himself I hadn’t even needed to make the request. Darwynn took the distinct position of looking after Drake. His volunteering to watch the little dragon made me smile. Darwynn didn’t look like the type of guy who liked kids, but he like everyone else fell in love with Drake. His orange eyes blinking at you with a bright smile. He was unique and Darwynn loved him. Matt and Laker were always looking after Fae, I didn’t worry about the omega wolf often. Rider was there for all of them. But that feeling of dread never really left no matter how many protections I put in place. Something was coming.
It was just two days after I told myself. But Alex had yet to reach out to Poet. He either couldn’t find the man, or he was gone – like a puff of smoke.
I didn’t like the idea that the Second Ascendant was out to kill me – but more importantly I would kill him for trying to kill my family.
For now I spent the time alone – with no body guards at a jewelry bazaar in China town. I was looking for some specific things. Small pendants that would remind me of the kids and my family. In our move Hunter had found my old medical bracelet – the one Mia had put charms on to make it less like a medical bracelet and more like jewelry.
Michaela had made me stop wearing it because it jingled. Now I had a small stone attached to it that kept it silent, and held other magical properties I didn’t quite understand yet. It glowed when I touched it, but not when anyone else did. It was a rune I’d remembered seeing back when I had the book.
I don’t know why I put it on bracelet but it was helpful in being able to wear it while I worked. But now I wanted to find something to add about with my life now. It had a lot of little charms that reminded me of my childhood – a ballerina, an ice cream cone, a computer, there really were too many memories to count, there was a tiny dragon in the center opposite of the medical part, it was red enamelled and that was Alex – even if I hasn’t known it then.
The clasp was broken so the bracelet itself sat on top of the dresser waiting for Alex’s jeweller to come fix it. But my thoughts kept straying to things that were going on. I’d found pendents for everyone, I wasn’t 100 percent happy with the choices but they were all packaged up and sent to our apartment. Thoughts on the previous night kept filtering into my moments.
Last night I had a meeting with Armande – it wasn’t our normal Friday night meeting and he gave me that look that said he was surprised to hear from me. He was blind but his eyes still said so much when he looked dead at me. “You are off schedule,” he said.
I shrugged and Griffin took up his stance behind me arms crossed over his chest.
“Does the human think he can stop me?” Armande said even as he rushed towards Griffon with vampire speed. But my bodyguard never flinched, never even moved when Armande was flung backwards away from Griffon with just a thought.
Armande laughed. “I should have known, Our Prince has no ordinary humans watching his back.” He nodded toward Griffon, “I approve.”
“I’m glad you approve Armande, I need a favor.”
His eyes turned to me with an expression that could only be characterized by big question marks like a cartoon character. “A favor? Not a command or an order?”
“When have I ever told you what to do?” I asked.
Armande smirked. “Never, but never before have you held the whole of New York City in the palm of your hand. You could crush us all with one squeeze.”
“I’m not here to rule you, Armande. I just need a favor.”
The smirk on Armands face twisted into a smile, “A favor for my liege.”
I growled at the supplication but went on anyway. “I need to know if any of your people have found Poet Rhemues. He’s…”
“I am aware of who he is. I will put some of my best trackers out there. But wouldn’t The Wicked Truth find him faster? Or even send the Hound after him.”
“I don’t tell Cari what to do and I’m pretty sure Wicked is busy dealing with his own problems – he doesn’t need mine.”
Armande chuckled, “And a man who calls the Hound by the familiar says he does not tell her what to do. I would say it was fear that kept you from her presence, but I think it’s something else.”
I rolled my eyes. “She is Ant’s mother, I know her name – nothing more. And I do fear her, but I fear if I sent her after anyone I would never get a chance to talk to them.”
Armande laughed, “Il Cane’s temper can get the best of her, but she will obey whatever command her master gives.”
“I am not her master.”
“Semantics, my boy, semantics.” He smiled and turned towards the dark window. “I will do what I can. My favor?”
I nodded, “What is it?” I asked. I wasn’t sure I really wanted to hear what Armande wanted to ask of me so soon.
“Arrange a meeting with the New York Vampire hunter. Vlad and I would like to make a deal with your father.”
“You want to make a deal with Kai?”
Armande nodded, “He follows your path, and now that the Venatori are yours we wish to bargain for lives present and future. We promise no harm shall come to him. He is under your personal protection. And has been for some time.”
“You are telling me, you and Bernstein haven’t killed my father because of me?”
He smirked, “Why else would the bastard who hunts us still live. And he needs to bring his friend, his softer side so to speak. With him by his side, we have a better chance of all surviving.”
I nodded, “I will do what I can.”
I had similar meetings with Bernstein, Adrian and Dom. And each of them asked for their favor in return immediately – brokerage of a deal with the Venatori. They were taking advantage of the upheaval. I knew that the Venatori were in chaos.
Dorian kept me apprised of the situation. With Mark Green gone there was a void in the leadership. The council of families was bickering about who should lead. The hunters were all but lost as my no kill order went out through New York. I couldn’t control much outside of the City itself. The order had of course gone out to the other branches around the world. But it wouldn’t likely be followed. I mean I didn’t even want to rule anything, but here I was leading everything in New York City. I was King of New York. Just the humans didn’t know it.
When did my life become so hectic. I longed for the afternoon rest with Alex. I needed him, needed to just be me for a little while. I wasn’t sure when I was ever going to live a normal life. Bt then I wasn’t sure if I even wanted that – as long as I had Alex I was going to be happy.