Home > Immortal Rising (Argeneau #34)

Immortal Rising (Argeneau #34)
Author: Lynsay Sands

Contents


Cover

Title Page

Prologue

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Eleven

Twelve

Thirteen

Fourteen

Fifteen

Sixteen

Seventeen

Eighteen

Nineteen

Twenty

About the Author

An Excerpt from The Chase One

 

 

By Lynsay Sands

Copyright

About the Publisher

 

 

Prologue

 


“How many?”

That question from Lucian Argeneau made Stephanie open her eyes. She’d closed them to concentrate on the many voices sounding in her head, but now glanced around at Lucian and the group of rogue hunters awaiting her answer. It was predawn on a warm fall evening, the sun sending streaks of orange and vermillion out to pierce the night sky ahead of its arrival. But it was still pitch-black in the copse of maples they stood in. Even so, she didn’t have trouble making out the twelve people ranged around her, or the overgrown yard of the somewhat run-down seventies-style bungalow on the other side of the trees.

The benefits of night vision, Stephanie thought grimly, and ground her teeth as she tried to block the flow of thoughts and memories pouring through her head from the men and women around her, as well as the people in the house, and pretty much everyone else within a mile radius of her. Not that she was sure it was a mile. It could be that she was picking up the thoughts and memories of people as far away as two or ten miles for all she knew . . . So many voices in her head.

“Stephanie? How many?” Lucian repeated, sounding impatient now.

“There are thirty-two rogues in the house,” she responded calmly, unconcerned by the grumpy man’s irritation. “And one more somewhere behind the house.”

“Behind it like in the backyard?” Mirabeau asked, moving closer to her side.

Stephanie glanced at the tall woman with fuchsia-tipped hair, and shook her head. “Farther away. Past the woods behind the backyard.”

“Probably just a neighbor on the next street, then,” Lucian said dismissively, and turned away to begin giving his orders to the others.

Stephanie scowled at his back, but waited until he finished with his orders before saying, “I don’t think it’s just a neighbor, Lucian. The feeling I get is the person is—”

“Your feelings do not matter. Whoever it is, it’s not someone we need worry about now,” Lucian interrupted. “We will check it out after we take care of this nest.”

“But—” Stephanie began in protest, only for him to cut her off again.

“Stay here until we clear the house.”

Stephanie turned to where Mirabeau had been a moment ago, intending to enlist her aid in getting Lucian to listen, but the other woman was gone. She’d already melted into the dark trees to head around the property to the spot where she was to take up position before the group closed in on the house.

All of them were now gone, Stephanie realized as she turned back to where Lucian had been, only to find empty space. She was alone in the woods.

Stephanie threw her hands up with an exasperated huff and then lodged her fists on her hips and surveyed the situation. Despite the darkness and trees, she could make out several different hunters moving through the woods around the house, finding their spots. After having worked with them for several years, she knew the routine. They’d basically surround the property, and then approach at a signal from Lucian, closing in like a net drawn tight around the house. Each person had their orders. Some would guard windows or sliding doors while others would charge through the back and front doors, the idea being that no one inside should evade capture once the house was breached.

Stephanie watched the group maneuver, but her mind was elsewhere. She could hear that other voice from beyond the woods behind the house. The owner was responding to a beeping sound, going into a small room to check—

“Cameras!” Stephanie barked the warning as the thought entered her mind, and then scanned the front of the house for the security cameras. She couldn’t see them, but knew they were there. Fortunately, either Lucian could see them or he was just trusting her, because he immediately barked an order and the slow approach was abandoned in favor of a much swifter one.

Stephanie watched as Lucian led the rogue hunters Decker and Bricker through the front door. There was no sudden shrieking or sounds of chaos. The rogues in the house were all either already asleep, or settling down to sleep at this hour. It was why the hunters struck at dawn, so that they could catch the whole nest and not miss any inhabitants who might be out and about during the evening.

It was also always easier to take them by surprise, Stephanie thought, and then closed her eyes and focused on that lone voice again. She’d known about the cameras because this person had been checking them and had seen the hunters closing in on the house. He wasn’t just a neighbor. He was connected somehow to this house. She’d gotten that feeling earlier, but hadn’t been sure how exactly he was connected to it and the people inside. Now she tried to sort through the person’s thoughts for an answer.

Stephanie sifted through the multitude of voices in her head until she zeroed in on the one she wanted again. The individual was in something of a controlled panic now, if there even was such a thing. His thoughts were urgent, but he had planned for the possibility of this raid, knew exactly what he had to do, and was doing it. He was gathering the things important to him and preparing to flee the area. He’d have to set up somewhere else. It was inconvenient, but not unexpected. It was always best to know your enemies, and he had plans in place. There were—

“Bombs!” Stephanie shrieked, her eyes shooting open as she began to move. Running for the house, she yelled, “Bombs! Get out! Get out! Get out!”

She spotted Mirabeau at one of the side windows, with Tiny at the next one over, and felt a moment’s relief as they, along with the others who had remained outside, began to back warily away from the house. But only a moment’s worth. Three men had entered through the front door, and three men had no doubt entered the back as well. More importantly, Decker—her brother-in-law—was one of those men at the front. If anything happened to him, her sister, Dani, would—

A relieved sob slipped from her lips when she saw Decker coming back out through the front door with Bricker on his heels. Her brother-in-law was looking toward her with a combination of confusion and question. Obviously, they’d heard her shouted warning from inside the house, but weren’t sure what to make of it.

Stephanie opened her mouth to tell him and everyone else that the house was about to explode, but the words never left her lips. Like lightning before thunder, the blast hit her first. Stephanie experienced a jolting sensation like nothing she’d heretofore known. She imagined it was similar to how it would feel to be hit by a freight train.

Since it was the blast wind that picked her up and threw her backward, the fact that there was suddenly no oxygen for her lungs was a bit confusing. Stephanie had no time to ponder that, and was sailing through the air before her ears picked up the boom of the explosion.

She landed hard on her back in the overgrown grass, and found herself briefly staring up at the brightening sky before she could find the wherewithal to move. But then Stephanie gathered herself enough to stumble to her feet again. She was vaguely aware that she was swaying as she scanned what she could see of the yard and the people in it. Most of the hunters in her view seemed only mildly injured. There were a few moans and cries of pain from those who had suffered broken bones, or head wounds, but more were on their feet and checking the injured than were down.

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