“My Queen, there’s something at Inferno you need to see. Sooner, rather than later.”
“Bradon, give me a good reason for rushing down there,” Kat sighed. “You were supposed to have a night out. Away from me.”
She’d assumed Bradon and the others were going out for time on their own. Now here he was calling her and asking her to come down. Not long before the phone call, she got an odd feeling which unsettled her. A presence in the city that felt wrong, off. She’d been hoping to investigate, but Bradon rang and interrupted her thoughts.
“Kat, get to Inferno. Right now.”
She bristled and a growl slipped up. “You’re not Julian, don’t you dare try to order—”
Her soon-to-be not immediate guard cut her off, “Feel anything weird tonight? You’ll find your answer here, Your Highness.”
Then the bastard hung up. He actually hung up on her. Weird feeling? How’d he know she felt weird? Sure, they were intimately bonded, but only Julian understood what she’d been feeling as of late. The feeling came from someone in the city. Someone new. Pissed off to no end, but curiosity got the better of her.
Kat checked Julian’s office, only to find him gone. She swore he’d just been here.
With a shake of her head, she snagged a piece of paper from his desk, jotted down where she was going. She left it on his desk, then left the mansion. Usually she avoided having someone drive her as she preferred walking, but for a change she used the on-call driver Julian hired to take her wherever she wanted to go. The moment she left the confines of the house, her skin prickled and came to life, her vision clarified. She stared off into the night beyond, taking in the main city beyond their hill.
It was a person. Human? No. Not entirely. Kat couldn’t see as far as Inferno, but she didn’t need to. That feeling of off and an other-worldly presence triggered her in ways she couldn’t explain. Getting inside the car dampened the sensation ever so, but as they approached Inferno it grew. A warmth gradually built that made her skin crawl.
Kat attempted to sense anything beyond the vehicle, but she couldn’t press too far. After the last fight, Cara hadn’t just remodeled to keep fights from destroying the place. She’d enabled wards around the entire building to ensure the safety of those inside. Namely the occasional one in government offices who wanted to do their King wrong. Julian found working with humans and other races was better for all. Most agreed with his viewpoint. They’d learned working with him meant peace among all, not just vampire and human.
That didn’t mean on occasion a “bad egg” didn’t pop up who held ill intent and wanted to “out” them on social media and the rest of the world. Social media was part of a huge reason her beautiful hard-working King had begun twice the work as previous and worked with far more than just Awakened. The King and Queen ensured all were safe. Kat took on her duties and took them as seriously as Julian did.
She tried to keep on top of the social media aspects as much as Julian and tried to have her own meetings with the local government, as well as more. At the end of the day however, Julian was far better at being fair and meeting with people. They hired others to deal with social media. It was in Julian to be on the move all the time. Not as much for her. So most tended to come seeking her help, seeking her advice, and the role of mother was the one she took on with ease. Her door was always open to anyone who needed an ear, anyone who needed advice, anyone who simply needed her.
Julian’s was the traveler businessman role, the father to all. He went to meet with government officials, he went to meet with other leaders. He was constantly on the go, training in his gym, training the Runsasi Guard. She absolutely loved him for it too and often snuck in to watch him train or would have her own training time. It was still very easy to distract him, and when the King was home, she made it clear, it was Kat’s time and nobody else’s. Well, mostly. Julian couldn’t stop working if he tried.
“Just pull up in front,” Kat instructed the driver.
All Cara told Julian and Kat about the wards around the club was that they were to ensure safety of the patrons, nothing more. Julian trusted her so Kat let it go, but she didn’t like it. It was strange that Cara suddenly wanted to “ward” the club. It happened shortly after Julian destroyed the pairing between her and Sean. It was a little too coincidental with the timing. After all the many fights Cara dealt with inside the club, it sort of made sense, but still. It unsettled Kat. Did she feel she needed another level of protection? What happened between her and Sean?
When the vehicle stopped outside the club, the driver got out and opened her door. Kat turned to him, “wait here.”
He shut the door behind her, then got back behind the wheel. Being human, the chill of the night would get to him so he couldn’t wait outside. Since he wasn’t a guard, there was no reason to have him follow her around.
Kat strode down the stairs and into Inferno without a second glance to the people waiting to the side. None of them fussed when they saw her. The bouncer let her through the rope keeping all back. Dressed in her deep red dress, she earned a few wolf whistles from the men. Their dates didn’t appreciate it and made it too clear. Kat grabbed the fabric of her dress and hitched it up so her shoes didn’t catch and trip her down the stairs.
Descending the stairs, she slammed to a stop outside the door. An overwhelming sense of strength, fear, and . . . something more struck her in the gut. Grief poured through her. Tears welled. Kat turned her face to the side. Her skin prickled, her eyes burned, and her teeth began to elongate. The instant before her hand touched the door handle, it slammed open in front of her with barely an inch of space to clear.
Bradon’s smugness infuriated her. She snarled. “Get out of my way.”
She shoved past him and into the club, then stopped at the bottom of the stairs inside the doorway. In the same instant, her gaze burned brighter and drifted straight up to the window. A scent clung to the air, dispersing throughout the club, becoming so bare nobody but Kat would know that scent.
Except for the man nowhere to be found.
Dammit Julian, get here. Find her.
She was gone. Kat sensed it. The scent was drifting throughout the entire club. An essence on the wind, growing weaker.
In a blink, Kat was inside Cara’s office. “Where is she?” her voice deepened on the last word until it came out as a solid rumble. The window shivered in its pane.
Cara stepped back. She solemnly shook her head. “Gone.”
“Why was she here?” Kat ground out.
Kat cut her off, “Cara I swear to God you tell me or I’ll—”
Cara raised her palms to ward her off. “Please . . . allow me to explain.”
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Fury of a Queen is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, stories, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2020 Kim Iverson
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