Blood Trinity (Page 40)

Blood Trinity (Belador #1)(40)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

“I know your name is E. Valerie Kincaid, but not what the E stands for.”

“Me either. If you find out let me know.” The aunt who’d raised her had never explained why Evalle only had the initial E and not a first name. Would Isak have found out who her father and mother were? Her aunt had never shared the name of either. She’d only told Evalle that her mother was trash and her father didn’t want her.

“Why don’t you know?”

She shrugged. “I’ve always had just E, which is why my nickname became Evalle. The woman who raised me called me E. Valerie for a while, then it morphed into E-val. You happen to find out who my father was while you were at it?”

His head canted to one side with an odd look of surprise on his face. “No. The records only show the woman listed as your adoptive mother.”

So he didn’t know the woman was her aunt? “What else do you know about me?”

“I know your aura is not human.”

She paused with a forkful of lasagna at her lips. Go on offense when you have no defense. “That wasn’t funny when you said it last night and it’s not funny now, Isak.”

Isak finished chewing and swallowing his last mouthful, then wiped his lips with the linen napkin. “Humans have a pale aqua and sometimes pinkish aura. Yours is silver.”

She felt each heavy thump of her heart in the space between his last three words. She put her fork down and faced him, the muscles in her body tightening to face a possible threat even though Isak’s tone had been one of curiosity more than challenge. “What are you accusing me of being? Something like that Birrn demon?”

He finally looked into her eyes—or seemed to look right through her glasses—then his gaze pulled back, studying her head and shoulders. “I’m not accusing you of anything. I’m curious to know why yours is different.”

How to answer that question? “I don’t know. I can’t see auras. Are you sure about what you’re seeing?”

Or had she misread his charm and he was toying with her?

“Yes, I’m good at reading auras.”

No one had told her she had a silver one, but she lived around nonhumans all the time and couldn’t see auras herself. Chances were they all had strange auras and thought nothing of hers. She had to either convince him she was not a threat or get the hell out of here quick.

But she needed information he had on the Birrn demon and possibly anything else he knew. Asking for that right now would not curb his suspicions. She turned the topic back to him. “I’ve always thought people like psychics saw auras. Are you psychic or something else?”

“Something else.”

“Human?”

“Most definitely.”

She tapped her fingers on the table. “This is pretty one-sided. You yank me in here like a captive and want me to answer questions, but you aren’t sharing a thing. You want to know about me? Who are you? Where’d you come from? Who do you work for? Where’d you get that superblaster gun? How is it you’re human and you can find nonhumans?”

He drew in a deep breath and leaned back as he expelled it. He propped an elbow on the table and rested his chin on his bent fingers, thinking on something. “I was raised in a military family, so I lived everywhere until I joined the army. I left the army last year. All my men are former military of some sort. They all work for Nyght, Inc. I can’t discuss what we do, but we save lives that are threatened. I designed the weapon you saw the other night. And I guess you can say I have a natural gift for finding nonhumans.”

Where was Storm when she needed the human lie detector? She pushed her plate away. “I can’t help but think you brought me here because you think I’m not human.”

He stood up and started clearing the dishes to the sideboard then sat down across from her again. “I haven’t accused you of that. Just want to know a little more about you. Like where you grew up.”

If he had her birth records he had to know some basics, but how much of the records was fabricated if her aunt was listed as an adoptive parent? She wouldn’t tell him anything he didn’t already know.

Since he was being reasonable and she still wanted information, she said, “I grew up in a little town in western Indiana.”

“There’s no school listing for you anywhere.”

“That’s because I didn’t go to school.”

“Your name would show up somewhere even being home schooled.”

“I wasn’t home schooled.”

That stumped him for a moment.

She knew so little about where she came from she’d like to see the file he had on her, but that wasn’t her first concern right now. “Why does my background matter to you?”

He sat down again, arm on the table, as relaxed as a tiger that could pounce at any moment. “I’ll be honest with you. You were on site with that Birrn demon. There have been two more demons in the city besides that one. I’m following every lead on anything unusual. You’re unusual.”

“Unusual? In what way?”

“No one sees you during the day.”

“Who do you mean when you say no one?”

Lifting his hands, he counted off fingers. “The morgue where you work has you listed as nights only, no exceptions. Your bike is only on traffic cameras at night.”

She caught his look of need I go on? “What exactly do you think that makes me?”

“I’d say a vampire if not for your aura. The dead do not have auras.” He’d said that in a joking manner, but she didn’t think this man joked about things like that.

If she didn’t give him a reason he could accept for her nocturnal behavior, he was going to become a problem for her. “I was born with a rare skin disease. Vitamin D is poison to my body. It’s as simple as that.”

“What about the silver aura?”

“I don’t have an answer for you. What else have you encountered that has a silver aura?”

“Nothing.”

Halle-freakin’-lujah. She allowed the trapped air to escape from her lungs but held her unconcerned façade. “Maybe the strange aura is just part of the whole allergy to the sun thing.”

“Maybe.”

He wasn’t letting this go, not inside that iron-tight mind of his. She smiled in spite of her apprehension and said in a lighthearted tone, “You going to arrest me over suspicion of being unusual?”

“I don’t arrest anything.”

This conversation had taken a serious turn. “That’s right. You shoot to kill and send your goon squad as limo drivers.” Sometimes attitude was the best weapon handy. She stood up. “Dinner was wonderful. I really appreciate it and the curb service.”

“I still have a question.”

“I still have a busy schedule. Save it for our next clandestine dinner.”

“How long have you been talking to Nightstalkers? None of them ever see you during the day either.”

Crud. If she walked out now he’d take that as fear, and that wasn’t happening. She sat down. “I already told you why I don’t go out in daylight. What do you want, Isak?”

“The truth.”

That wasn’t going to happen. Tzader had warned her that Isak was after Alterants and to stay away. Coming here hadn’t been her idea. What truth could she give Isak that might end his suspicions and open the door to finding out about his intel?

“One more time. The truth is that I was born with a severe reaction to the sun. It will kill me. I’m not a demon or a monster.” Most days. “My parents were human. My mother died in childbirth. The woman who raised me was an aunt, if your definition of being raised is being kept in a basement twenty-four-seven for eighteen years, where I got fed every day.”

He frowned at that but didn’t interrupt her.

“She did teach me to read, write and speak so that I wouldn’t require as much care. She hated my mother and told me my father didn’t want some freak for a child. I do see spirits and can sometimes talk to them. I work at the morgue and do not harm humans, animals or aliens who don’t harm me. What else?”

“Would you remove your glasses?”

If he knew what Alterant eyes looked like—which he probably did, since he’d killed one—seeing her pale green eyes would end all bluffing.

She’d been put on display and turned on a pedestal to be observed from all directions since escaping her aunt. He could kill her if he wanted, but she would not sit here and grovel. “You’ve reduced me to a specimen under a microscope and now you want me to risk my vision just to appease your curiosity. I’ve answered your questions and met my commitment for a meal. What’s it going to be, Isak? You going to blow me to pieces to protect the world from a freak of nature or let me go?”

When he didn’t answer, she rose and stepped away from the table, heading for the door. “I’m leaving unless you shoot me.”

The rustle of clothes reached her ears before his voice did. “Wait, Evalle.”

And his voice sounded different. Huskier.

Pausing a step from the door, she turned around to find Isak close. Very close. She could smell his freshly showered body. She expected to see the steely look of a man bent on protecting the world from monsters like her.

But when she raised her face to his, she was surprised to see the discomfort in his gaze. Standing close in this low light, he could see the shape and movement of her eyes through the protective glasses, but not the color.

He lifted his hand slowly, as though being very careful not to make the wrong move.

Don’t touch my glasses. Her heart thumped wildly.

One of his fingers touched her cheek, then lifted a tiny strand of hair off her face. “I have a responsibility to protect humans every minute of every day, but I don’t think you’re a demon or a monster. I do think you’re unusual. One of the most unusual women I’ve ever met.”

He leaned forward and kissed her forehead, then her cheek.

She couldn’t have moved if the building had been on fire.

Cupping her face with his massive hand, he leaned down and kissed her. Her heart raced out of control the longer his lips worked magic over hers. He had a persuasive mouth that convinced hers to kiss him back.

He tasted like the last sip of wine he’d had.

When he ended the kiss, she had her hand on his wrist, holding on for support.

What had she been thinking to kiss him? She let go of his wrist, dropping her hand to her side.

She hadn’t been thinking. Her empathic side had been opening the door to emotions she’d never allowed to surface before. This was dangerous. First Storm, who was just as spectacular at kissing, and now Isak.

He ran a finger along her neck. “You’re different and beautiful.”

If she hadn’t truly believed he was human, she’d have thought he was spinning a spell right now. Was she putting out pheromones to men these days? Did Alterant pheromones work on humans?

Or was she dealing with a hormone overload to feel a sizzle from standing this close to a man who’d threatened her entire world just a minute ago? Had to be her empathic sense maturing.

She needed to get that under control.

He gave her a long gaze. “I want to see you again.”

When she was nervous, her sarcastic side came out. “You made that pretty clear by snatching me off the sidewalk. Do you grab all your dates that way?”

“Haven’t actually dated in a long time. I knew you were too tough to be afraid, so I was hoping you’d go along with Jones out of curiosity.”

His admission about no dating surprised her. She had to admit he’d pegged her right on being curious, but she had to find the Ngak Stone, and she might disappear any day if things didn’t go well with the Tribunal. “I’ll be honest with you, Isak. I’ve got a lot of things on my plate right now and some difficult people on my back. I may have to go away for a while, and I’m telling you this right up front so you don’t think I’m avoiding you if that happens.”

Worry stirred through his strong face. “I can help you with difficult people.”

“I doubt it.”

His lips curved in a smile that countered her words. “I don’t just hunt demons, sweetheart. I’m good at making people disappear. Someone bothers you, just let me know.”

She wasn’t sure if it was the endearment or the vow to protect her that ramped up his charm factor, but her heart tingled over his concern. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

And she would. But right now her best plan of action was to see if he’d share information on the Birrn and get out of here while she still had her glasses on and Isak thought she was just another anomaly of nature. “If we’re good, I’d love to know more about that Birrn you smoked the other night.”

“Maybe next time. Much as I’d like to keep you here longer, you need to get to your bike before daylight, and I’ve got to find a Nightstalker and get some answers.”