Viper’s newest establishment was a beautiful testament to refined elegance that catered to a more sophisticated clientele than many of his others. There were no open orgies, no blood battles, no public feedings. Instead there were elegantly attired guests who were seated at small tables and bathed in light from the massive chandeliers.

All very chichi.

Or at least it was all very chichi until Jagr stormed through the doors.

The mere sight of the vampire’s massive body covered in a leather duster that went down to his ankles, his pale blond hair tightly braided to reveal his stark, frigid expression, was enough to make several lesser demons hide beneath their tables. There were even a few vampires who swiftly moved to the darker shadows.

Jagr ignored them all.

He didn’t give a damn about the crowd who had forgotten about the dew fairies and instead watched his long-legged stride toward the back of the room. In truth, he didn’t give a damn about anything.

All he wanted was to be done with this obligation and return to the silence of his lair.

Damn Styx.

The ancient vampire had known that only a royal command could force him to enter a crowded nightclub. Jagr made no secret of his disdain for the companionship of others.

Which begged the question of why the Anasso would choose such a setting to meet.

In a mood foul enough to fill the vast club with an icy chill, Jagr ignored the two Ravens who stood on sentry duty near the back office, and lifting his hand allowed his power to blow the heavy oak door off its hinges.

The looming Ravens growled in warning, dropping their heavy capes, which hid the numerous swords, daggers, and guns attached to various parts of their bodies.

Jagr’s step never faltered. Styx wouldn’t let his pet vampires hurt an invited guest. At least not until he had what he needed from Jagr.

And even if Styx didn’t call off the dogs…well hell, he’d been waiting centuries to be taken out in battle. It was a warrior’s destiny.

There was a low murmur from inside the room and the two Ravens grudgingly allowed him to pass with nothing more painful than a heated glare.

Stepping over the shattered door, Jagr paused to cast a wary glance about the ice-blue and ivory room. As expected, Styx was consuming more than his fair share of space behind a heavy walnut desk, his bronzed features unreadable, with Viper standing at his shoulder.

“Jagr.” Styx leaned back in the leather chair, his fingers steepled beneath his chin. “Thank you for coming so promptly.”

Jagr narrowed his frigid gaze. “Did I have a choice?”

“Careful, Jagr,” Viper warned. “This is your Anasso.”

Jagr curled his lips, but he was wise enough to keep his angry words to himself. Even presuming he could match Styx’s renowned power, he would be dead before ever leaving the club if he challenged the Anasso.

“What do you want?” he growled.

“I have a task for you.”

Jagr clenched his teeth. For the past century he’d managed to keep himself hidden among his vast collection of books, never bothering others and expecting the same in return. Since he’d been foolish enough to allow Cezar to enter his lair it seemed he couldn’t get rid of the damn vampire clan.

“What sort of task?” he demanded, his tone making it clear he didn’t appreciate playing the role of toady.

Styx smiled as he waved a slender hand toward a nearby sofa. It was a smile that sent a chill of alarm down Jagr’s spine.

“Have a seat, my friend,” the Anasso drawled. “This might take awhile.”

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