Vasic didn’t have time for games. “This is Rayland Faison. Records state him to be a member of your family unit. Is this correct?”

“Yes.” Folding her hands in front of her black knee-length dress, the cut as severe as the bun into which she’d scraped back her dark hair, Dara Faison said, “Why was my nephew killed?”

“He attempted to assassinate Lianne.” He caught the tiny flicker at the corners of her eyes, extrapolated that she wasn’t as surprised as she should’ve been. “Did you order this assassination?”


“You’ll be required to submit to a telepathic scan to confirm that.”

Her shoulders went rigid. “I’m sure that won’t be necessary. My nephew had . . . certain leanings. Fanatically pro-Silence. It’s why we locked him out of the part of the system that held the data about Lianne’s ability and contract.”

“A good precaution—except for the fact your nephew worked in computronic security.” Vasic had retrieved that data during the minute he waited for Dara. “Telepathic scans will be mandatory for all members of the family unit.” If there was even a chance Rayland Faison hadn’t been alone in his radical beliefs, Vasic had to unearth that information as fast as possible. “The scans will be carried out by a specialist telepath.”

To her credit, Dara held firm, the taut oval of her face carved in stone. “You have no authorization to order such a violation of our privacy.”

“You gave me that authorization when you instructed Lianne to breach her contract.” Dara’s complicity in Lianne’s actions had been obvious from the messages he’d read. It had been a stupid move, one driven by an arrogance he knew the matriarch would profess not to possess.

“Lianne will be transferred here tomorrow.” He eased his Tk until Rayland Faison’s body lay on the floor. “Should there be any further leaks traced to your family, you will be terminated.” Vasic would permit no one to harm those he’d promised to protect. “All data about the project is already in the process of being scrubbed from your systems.”

Dara Faison hadn’t moved since the instant he’d made it clear the telepathic scans would happen, as if finally comprehending that she’d attempted to play in a pool where she was so out of her depth, death was a real possibility. Now she glanced at the body of her nephew and said, “There will be no leaks.”

Returning to Lianne’s cabin without further words, Vasic took visual scans and collected blood samples that he sent back to Central Command, then began to clean up the blood molecule by molecule. It took time and concentration. Most telekinetics couldn’t work on this level, their power too violent.

Can you take blood out of carpet? he asked the only Tk he knew who worked on an even more minute level, that of the cells of the body itself.

No, not like you, Judd replied. Ironically, given what I was ordered to use it for under Ming, my ability seems to function best with living tissue.

While Vasic’s came in useful in death . . . and apparently in fixing broken windows. The odd reminder slid unexpectedly through his mind as he added more blood to the large floating globule where he was collecting the biomatter. He was slower than usual at the detail-oriented task, his resources depleted by the demands of the day to this point.

As a result, dawn was a soft glow on the horizon when he teleported the biomatter directly into a medical incinerator.

“If I hadn’t just seen you do that,” came a feminine whisper from the doorway, “I’d say it was impossible.”

Chapter 16

VASIC HAD SENSED Ivy’s presence, had expected horror at the sight of the liquid mass of blood floating in midair, but her voice held a kind of shocked awe. “You should be resting.”

“My head feels stuffy from too much sleep.”


“A dull throb. Nothing too bad.” Ivy ran her hands through her curls, aware of the steel black shields that had protected her when she couldn’t protect herself, sliding quietly away. “Thank you.”

“For what?”

“Shielding me.”

Not responding, he walked over to physically right a fallen chair.

Her breath caught, an ache in her chest. He hadn’t expected thanks, didn’t know how to handle it. Did anyone ever thank an Arrow for doing what no one else would? “Anyway,” she said past the fist squeezing her heart, “Rabbit was curious—and so was I after I saw the way the compound had been redecorated.”

Taking a step into the room where she’d seen Vasic draw up blood droplet by droplet into an eerie liquid globule, before he vanished the whole thing out of existence, she looked for any remaining evidence that might tell her what had taken place, saw only the damaged kitchen area. “What happened?”

Vasic faced her, his expression inscrutable. “Cristabel foiled an assassination attempt on Lianne. She was seriously wounded in the process, the assassin killed.”

Ivy’s hand rose to her mouth as she recognized the name as belonging to the elfin brunette Arrow who’d been unfazed by Rabbit’s inquisitiveness yesterday afternoon. “Is Cristabel . . .”

“Out of critical danger as of thirty minutes ago.” Shifting the table several feet to the left, he used raw muscle to rip off a shelf on the far wall.

“And Lianne?” The quiet, somewhat shy woman had to be in shock.

“About to be transported out of the compound.” He moved past Ivy to place the remains of the shelf on a stack of wood beside the cabin. “I decided not to move her until she was more stable.” Copyright 2016 - 2024