Chapter no 70

House of Earth and Blood

Fury was sitting on the couch when Bryce returned from the bar. In the exact spot where she’d gotten used to seeing Hunt.

Bryce chucked her keys onto the table beside the front door, loosed Syrinx upon her friend, and said, “Hey.”

“Hey, yourself.” Fury gave Syrinx a look that stopped him in his tracks. That made him sit his fluffy butt down on the carpet, lion’s tail swaying, and wait until she deigned to greet him. Fury did so after a heartbeat, ruffling his velvety, folded ears.

“What’s up?” Bryce toed off her heels, rotated her aching feet a few times, and reached back to tug at the zipper to her dress. Gods, it was incredible to have no pain in her leg—not even a flicker. She padded for her bedroom before Fury could answer, knowing she’d hear anyway.

“I got some news,” Fury said casually.

Bryce peeled off her dress, sighing as she took off her bra, and changed into a pair of sweats and an old T-shirt before pulling her hair into a ponytail. “Let me guess,” she said from the bedroom, shoving her feet into slippers, “you finally realized that black all the time is boring and want me to help you find some real-person clothes?”

A quiet laugh. “Smart-ass.” Bryce emerged from the bedroom, and Fury eyed her with that swift assassin’s stare. So unlike Hunt’s.

Even when she and Fury had been out partying, Fury never really lost that cold gleam. That calculation and distance. But Hunt’s stare—

She shut out the thought. The comparison. That roaring fire in her veins flared.

“Look,” Fury said, standing from the couch. “I’m heading out a few days early to the Summit. So I just thought you should know something before I go.”

“You love me and you’ll write often?”

“Gods, you’re the worst,” Fury said, running a hand through her sleek bob. Bryce missed the long ponytail her friend had worn in college. The new look made Fury seem even more lethal, somehow. “Ever since I met you in that dumb-ass class, you’ve been the worst.”

“Yeah, but you find it delightful.” Bryce aimed for the fridge.

A huff. “Look, I’m going to tell you this, but I want you to first promise me that you won’t do anything stupid.”

Bryce froze with her fingers grasping the handle of the fridge. “As you’ve told me so often, stupid is my middle name.”

“I mean it this time. I don’t even think anything can be done, but I need you to promise.”

“I promise.”

Fury studied her face, then leaned against the kitchen counter. “Micah gave Hunt away.”

That fire in her veins withered to ash. “To whom?” “Who do you think? Fucking Sandriel, that’s who.” She couldn’t feel her arms, her legs. “When.”

“You said you wouldn’t do anything stupid.” “Is asking for details stupid?”

Fury shook her head. “This afternoon. That bastard knew giving Hunt back to Sandriel was a bigger punishment than publicly crucifying him or shoving his soul into a box and dumping it into the sea.”

It was. For so many reasons.

Fury went on, “She and the other angels are heading to the Summit tomorrow afternoon. And I have it on good authority that once the meeting’s done next week, she’ll go back to Pangera to keep dealing with the Ophion rebels. With Hunt in tow.”

And he’d never be free again. What Sandriel would do to him … He deserved it. He fucking deserved everything.

Bryce said, “If you’re so concerned I’ll do something stupid, why tell me at all?”

Fury’s dark eyes scanned her again. “Because … I just thought you should know.”

Bryce turned to the fridge. Yanked it open. “Hunt dug his own grave.”

“So you two weren’t …” “No.”

“His scent is on you, though.”

“We lived in this apartment together for a month. I’d think it’d be on me.”

She’d handed over a hideous number of silver marks to have his blood removed from the couch. Along with all traces of what they’d done there.

A small, strong hand slammed the fridge door shut. Fury glared up at her. “Don’t bullshit me, Quinlan.”

“I’m not.” Bryce let her friend see her true face. The one her father had talked about. The one that did not laugh and did not care for anybody or anything. “Hunt is a liar. He lied to me.”

“Danika did some fucked-up stuff, Bryce. You know that. You always knew it and laughed it off, looked the other way. I’m not so sure Hunt was lying about that.”

Bryce bared her teeth. “I’m over it.” “Over what?”

“All of it.” She yanked open the fridge again, nudging Fury out of the way. To her surprise, Fury let her. “Why don’t you go back to Pangera and ignore me for another two years?”

“I didn’t ignore you.”

“You fucking did,” Bryce spat. “You talk to June all the time, and yet you dodge my calls and barely reply to my messages?”

“June is different.”

“Yeah, I know. The special one.”

Fury blinked at her. “You nearly died that night, Bryce. And Danika

did die.” The assassin’s throat bobbed. “I gave you drugs—” “I bought that mirthroot.”

“And I bought the lightseeker. I don’t fucking care, Bryce. I got too close to all of you, and bad things happen when I do that with people.”

“And yet you can still talk to Juniper?” Bryce’s throat closed up. “I wasn’t worth the risk to you?”

Fury hissed, “Juniper and I have something that is none of your fucking business.” Bryce refrained from gaping. Juniper had never hinted, never suggested—“I could no sooner stop talking to her than I could rip out my own fucking heart, okay?”

“I get it, I get it,” Bryce said. She blew out a long breath. “Love trumps all.”

Too fucking bad Hunt hadn’t realized that. Or he had, but he’d just chosen the Archangel who still held his heart and their cause. Too fucking bad Bryce had still been stupid enough to believe nonsense about love—and let it blind her.

Fury’s voice broke. “You and Danika were my friends. You were these two stupid fucking puppies that came bounding into my perfectly fine life, and then one of you was slaughtered.” Fury bared her teeth. “And. I. Couldn’t. Fucking. Deal.”

“I needed you. I needed you here. Danika died, but it was like I lost you, too.” Bryce didn’t fight the burning in her eyes. “You walked away like it was nothing.”

“It wasn’t.” Fury blew out a breath. “Fuck, did Juniper not tell you anything?” At Bryce’s silence, she swore again. “Look, she and I have been working through a lot of my shit, okay? I know it was fucked up that I bailed like that.” She dragged her fingers through her hair. “It’s all just … it’s more fucked than you know, Bryce.”


Fury angled her head. “Do I need to call Juniper?” “No.”

“Is this a repeat of two winters ago?”

“No.” Juniper must have told her about that night on the roof. They told each other everything, apparently.

Bryce grabbed a jar of almond butter, screwed off the lid, and dug in with a spoon. “Well, have fun at the Summit. See you in another two years.”

Fury didn’t smile. “Don’t make me regret telling you all this.” She met her friend’s dark stare. “I’m over it,” she said again.

Fury sighed. “All right.” Her phone buzzed and she peered at the screen before saying, “I’ll be back in a week. Let’s hang then, okay? Maybe without screaming at each other.”


Fury stalked for the door, but paused on the threshold. “It’ll get better, Bryce. I know the past two years have been shit, but it will get better. I’ve been there, and I promise you it does.”

“Okay.” Bryce added, because real concern shone on Fury’s normally cold face, “Thanks.”

Fury had the phone to her ear before she’d shut the door. “Yeah, I’m on my way,” she said. “Well, why don’t you shut the fuck up and let me drive so I can get there on time, dickbag?”

Through the peephole, Bryce watched her get onto the elevator. Then crossed the room and watched from the window as Fury climbed into a fancy black sports car, gunned the engine, and roared off into the streets.

Bryce peered at Syrinx. The chimera wagged his little lion’s tail.

Hunt had been given away. To the monster he hated and feared above all others.

“I am over it,” she said to Syrinx.

She looked toward the couch, and could nearly see Hunt sitting there, that sunball cap on backward, watching a game on TV. Could nearly see his smile as he looked over his shoulder at her.

That roaring fire in her veins halted—and redirected. She wouldn’t lose another friend.

Especially not Hunt. Never Hunt.

No matter what he had done, what and who he’d chosen, even if this was the last she would ever see of him … she wouldn’t let this happen. He could go to Hel afterward, but she would do this. For him.

Syrinx whined, pacing in a circle, claws clicking on the wood floor. “I promised Fury not to do anything stupid,” Bryce said, her eyes on

Syrinx’s branded-out tattoo. “I didn’t say I wouldn’t do something smart.”

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