The ride back to the villa was long and silent. The information that I had found out was bad on so many different levels, I couldn’t even comprehend everything yet. So when Nicolas offered to drive I didn’t protest, but I didn’t bother answering Marcus' onslaught of questions either... because at the moment, I didn’t even know where to begin.
Mississippi was at Red’s, and running the fights? That was more astounding to me than I could put into words. I left Roxie in control of the enforcement in Hells Underworld so many damn years ago. So the question is now, what the hell happened, and where the hell was Roxie?
To think I have to go through Mississippi to get to Sterling, to get to Mr. West... it just shows how damn small the world really is. When we got home, I couldn’t sit still, and had two men watching every move I made as I paced the front room while I tried to piece all this shit together. “Could Silver have stayed with Sterling and that’s why Mississippi is at Red’s? No, that couldn’t be it, because after I won the fight that night, I could’ve sworn I destroyed that pairing, but damn it… Mississippi, really?” I hissed chewing my thumb nail.
“Molly, who is this woman, and why does she have you so upset?” Nicolas asked.
“She’s just someone from my past…” Was all I was willing to give them.
“There’s more to that though isn’t there luv?” Nicolas pushed, but I didn’t answer.
“How in the hell is she was working the damn fights, that’s what I don’t get… shit!” I hissed.
“Nicolas told me that Demetrius said something about Red’s. Who is this Red?” Marcus asked lighting a cigarette and taking his brandy in his hand.
I turned sharply wanting to lash out at the gorgeous man getting all up into my business, but stopped. I took a breath calming myself down before I spoke. “Red’s is not a person, it’s a place and it’s deep into the heart of podzemnyy chert voz’mi. But that doesn’t matter, I made a promise to never go back there again, ever. Well, truthfully, I promised never to go back into any of those cities again... and look at me now. I’m going to be heading back to the worst one of them all, and dealing with someone who’s going to be one hell of a problem for me.” I scowled dropping to the sofa.
“You said hell’s underworld in Russian. What is hell's underworld, and is it in Russia?” Marcus asked.
“Yes I said Hells Underworld, and yes, it’s in Russia. But it doesn’t matter... you’re not going there.” I laughed rubbing my hands over my face.
“That didn’t answer my question. What is Hells Underworld?” He then stated with a lifted brow.
“It’s a place where my kind dominate. In fact, there are many things that the underworld has no idea about.” I sighed.
“Like what bird?” He asked even more intrigued now with my answer.
“It’s nothing, never mind.” I murmured with a shake of my head and got up off the sofa.
“Molly…” Marcus growled.
“I’m going to make a conference call.” I said walking away, and ignoring Marcus.
Once I was down the hall, I got out my cell and texted a group message to George, Calista, Jamie, Shelly, Nikki, Trixie, and Kitty. It was time to get all of us on the same page.
“Calling a meeting. Be ready for conference call in 2.” I texted then threw the phone on the bed and flipped on the TV on the wall.
Georgie was the first one to join, of course, and when she saw me she shook her head. “I take it things didn’t go as well as you wanted.” She stated.
“Oh no, I got the information that I wanted. It’s just, well, complicated.” I explained. But before she could question that answer the rest of the girls came on line.
Seven faces stared at me from my screen waiting for the update, and I took a deep breath before I dug in giving them the not so good news I’d found out. “Well ladies, we’ve got some new info and some new problems to work through. First, when I went to see Demetrius…”
“Ah hell, I wish I could’ve been there. Bet that was effin savage” Calista interrupted to have the girls chuckle.
“Anyways, first he doesn’t know where to find our Mr. West but he gave me a name that I couldn’t argue with under the circumstances.”
“And who might that be Molly?” Trixie asked.
“Sterling De Bravado.” I sighed.
“Isn’t that the guy you told me about...” Georgie hinted.
“Oh yeah, it is.” I answered.
“No, oh lord Molly!” She gasped.
“Yeah, that was my thought as well.” I nodded.
Jamie crossed her arms and shook her head. “So what does this mean?”
“It means Mr. West is either the leader of all the worst of the worst, or he’s got the bad guys thinking, he’s all that and a bar of chocolate. Either way... there smellin’ what he’s sellin’.” I shrugged.
“Dam it, so what are you doing, and what are we to do?” Shelly sighed.
“Wait, can you take this information as truly credible. Because if we go down that rabbit hole, were going down to the underbelly of the underworld?” She warned.
“I know, and I thought the same thing as well. Leading me false information to get us snagged up with another fracture of creatures would be, well, messy. Mr. West is the one pulling this puppets string, and we all know for a fact who he works for…” I implied.
“What’s the bloody sods name Molly girl?” Nikki pushed.
Everyone was quiet for a minute as the name sunk in…
“No bleedin' way, we already know that iffy bastard works for grimy Mr. West!” Shelly blinked falling back into a chair.
“Molly, are you thinking that this all ties together with the disappearing innocents?” George questioned.
“Yeah I think it just might. You see years ago, when I worked for the enforcement in the cities, there were also innocents being taken. There was a woman named Silver who was selling her own kind for a profit. You’d never guess who just so happened to have bought the place she was fighting...” I hinted.
“Sterling De Bravado.” Georgie sighed.
“Bingo! And I think he might know where we can find our Mr. West.” I told them.
“Great, that’s at least a start.” Georgie chirped.
But then Jamie frowned. “I also have some information to share, but it isn’t good...”
“Bloody hell, is there more?” Nikki groaned.
“Afraid so. Jamison has found out something from the vampire committee.”
“Shit...” Georgie sighed.
“He knows there’s someone inside the committee are trying to pollute the waters with fabrications about mixers, well, most are fabrications.” Jamie told all of us. “Do you think we should do something about that?”
I crossed my arms. “I think between Jamison, Nicolas, and Marcus, they’ll have the traders in the committee found long before we could. I think we should concentrate on finding Mr. West and where he has his compound. Than we can see if the MM’s want to live in peace with us, or are itching for a war.”
“And the missing innocents?” Nikki questioned.
“That’s a twofold question. First, I have a gut feeling were going to find out who has been taking the girls and what the hell there doing with them when we travel down into the rabbit hole like Jamie said. Second, I think we need more than just a mixer council now of eight to get things going. Nikki, I was hoping you and Sampson could recruit mixers, and any other creature who might want to help us, to make a task force.”
“Yeah, Of course Sam and I can get that started at the new cluster, but you’ve forgotten our biggest problem of all.” She stated smacking her gum.
“And what’s that?” I asked.
“The bloody wolves. It’s getting so vile that we have to watch our bloody arses when we walk down the street. Not only that…but it seems even the vampires are joining in now and again.” Nikki replied.
“Yeah, but I have Alexander going to Scotland to gather some information on that. But George and me, we think we already know who might be the instigator of the werewolf’s attacks.” I fumed.
“Who?” Trixie shrugged.
“Agatha.” Georgie offered.
“Who’s that?” Shelly asked.
Calista's hand hit her forehead and groaned… “No effin way! Your wolf’s bloody ex-mate? Shite, that’s deep Mol!” She bellowed.
All eyes were on me as my hands went up to stop the onslaught of questions that were going to be thrown my way. “Don’t worry ladies, I’m going to take care of it.” I assured them.
“Bloody fucking hell, let me know when that’s going down. That’s a fight I don’t want to miss.” Nikki laughed breaking the tension, and making everyone laugh along with her.
“Alright ladies I think we have a plan. As soon as I’m back from Hells Underworld, then we’ll see what we’ve all found out and what our next step will be.” I informed them.
They all nodded and said their goodbyes, all of them that is, but Georgie. “So, you told the girls that Sterling could give you information about Mr. West, but failed to say how you were going to get it. Do you know where he is. Is that a piece of the information Demetrius gave you?” She asked with a lifted brow.
“No, I don’t know where he is.” I admitted.
“Just great! Then how is what that asshat gave you worth anything at all? I swear Molly…” She griped, when I cut in.
“He gave me Mississippi who was Silvers BFF, and seams to be working at Red’s Place in Russia, right now. It’s her that will give me Sterling.” I explained walking over to get my cell from the bed.
“Is that the place you told me about where you… you know, with Sterling, right?” She hinted.
“Yup, that’s the place.” I sighed texting Alexander to have Lennox call me, then add a 911.
“Good god…” She muttered shaking her head.
“There’s nothing to be done about it. I’ll let Lennox know that I’m going and then head out in the morning.”
“Lennox doesn’t know?”
“Nope, well, not yet.” I sighed, when Nicolas walked in and took the remote from the bed.
“I’m sorry Georgie, but Molly will have to talk to you later.” He smiled, then the screen was blank and the wooden cupboard started to close over it on the wall. He wrapped me in his arms kissing the side of my neck and sighed. “Tell me what’s going on.” He whispered in my ear.
“Well…” I started, but my cell chirped in my hand, and saw that Alexander had texted me back. I sighed pulling away from Nicolas and readied myself for what was coming next.
“Ryklin said Lennox would make contact when he could.”
I growled and shook my head. “Tell Ryklin this is a 911... that means it can’t wait.” I texted back.
“I will pass that along hen.”
Keeping the phone in my hand waiting for a call that I really didn’t want to have, when I glanced up at Nickolas and Marcus. I could see they were both upset by my secrecy and was about to address it, when my phone chirped again. I closed my eyes and took a breath before I answered. “Hey...”
“What’s going on?” Lennox asked.
“I need you to come home.”
“I’m dealing with something right now in my home world. Then I’m heading back to help find Tipton.” He answered.
“I think you’re going to want to come home Lennox. Ryklin can deal with Tipton.”
“Baby, I can’t do that…”
“No you’re not!” He growled.
“If you can get here by the morning, fine. But if you’re not here, I’m leaving without you.”
“You don’t understand, I can’t just leave when I’m home…” He groaned.
“Then I’ll see you when I get back.” I sighed switching off the cell, and tossing it on the bed. Either Lennox makes it home or he doesn’t, and in all honesty, it’s probably better if he doesn’t. But he was the one I made the promise to, so he deserves to know the truth, and the chance to go with me.
When I glanced back up, Nicolas sat on the edge of the bed, Marcus stood at the doorway while I tried to smile keeping my thoughts to myself. Tomorrow the reality of what I will have to turn back into was making me nervous. I was terrified of the beast slipping out of my control under the circumstances I was going to be putting myself into...
“I need to relieve some anxiety.” I whispered pulling my shirt over my head and dropping it to the floor. Marcus' brow went up in question as he stood with his arms crossed looking over at me, but Nicolas, he came over and took me in his arms instead.
“What do you need from us luv.” He questioned kissing my neck.
“I don’t want to be the warrior tonight. Tonight, I just want to be a woman, your woman. Because in the end that’s all I really am. A woman who is terrified of the things that I’m going to have to do, and I’m afraid that I’m going to lose myself. All I want is for you to love me enough so I won’t.” I whispered tracing his scar with my fingers as his beautiful aqua blue eyes stared down at me.
“Tell me what you want luv because all you need do is ask, and it will be fulfilled.” Nicolas whispered in my ear.
“I don’t want to be strong, and I don’t want to be in control. I want you to be in control. I want you to show me that I’m yours, and only yours.” I sighed enjoying his touch.
Marcus came up from behind, wrapping me in his arms. His hand drifting over my lower stomach and started going into past my pants. His free hand took my head and pushed it back to his shoulder as his fangs came down. “Don’t worry bird, were going to love you to exhaustion.” He growled, then sank his fangs deep into my throat.
Molly’s naked body laid draped over Nicolas as she slept. His arms were under his head as a grin played upon his face as he felt the soft skin of her back. His world once again felt complete just having his little woman in his arms and satisfied. There was no more pain from starving, from the debilitating thirst, no haunting memories of a family long since past that haunted his days and nights. Just one small woman who needed his love and protection, even though she was so strong.
He just laid there enjoying the feel of Molly’s skin on his, when Marcus reached over, kissed her bare shoulder, and then got up from the bed. Nicolas watched as he pulled on his slacks and shirt before heading out of the bedroom. With a sigh he knew that this was completely out of character for his friend, and decided to get up himself and see what could take such a possessive sod as Marcus away from his bird.
When Nicolas walked into the kitchen, took a beer, then went to the veranda where he knew Marcus would be. Under a large linen awning Marcus sat in a chair looking out at the city with his glass of brandy in one hand, a cigarette in the other, and the bottle on the table. That’s when Nicolas knew there was something more going on.
“I was surprised when you didn’t take Molly from me and didn’t place her in your own arms. But to then just leave… I knew you had something brewing in that brain of yours.” Nicolas chuckled.
Marcus didn’t answer right off, instead he poured himself some more brandy, and thoughts of his beautiful bird with her long flowing hair, soft womanly figure, and pacing on this very veranda back and forth like a caged animal only a day ago. She was so hungry to be back on the hunt, but now that she was… could he keep her safe.
Nicolas sighed after taking a sip of his beer. “I was thinking, we didn’t use any caution when we took her tonight. We’ll have to watch for signs that she may be with child again. Chan said it could take about four weeks to start noticing the change if she’s pregnant.” He stated, and then swore under his breath at the silence. “Did you hear me Marcus? I couldn’t bear to lose another child.”
“Not to worry, she’ll be fine. That’s why I drank from her before we entered her.” Marcus told him absent mindlessly.
“What does that have to do with it?”
Marcus took a drag of his cigarette and glanced over at Nicolas. “I had a long conversation with Jamison over the mater...”
“What matter?” Nicolas asked.
“Of mixers and their fertility. He does have a child so he would logically have some ideas of the time of conception and possible informalities that could have taken place. So I decided to ask him about any changes he could think of, for my professional observations of course.”
“Of course.” Nicolas sighed.
“He found that when a mixer is fertile there is a change in the blood. He admitted it got sweeter when they are ripe to conceive. He realized this after Jamie took him back, and he found only a couple days of the month there was a different taste to her blood. He asked me if I had noticed the same thing as him, and when I thought back to Molly and how at times she had a different taste to her blood… but it only last a couple days, then it’s gone. That’s when I realized that’s when she was fertile.”
“Your just now tell me this?” Nicolas asked in amazement.
“You’re a wanker sometimes, you know that.” Nickolas growled.
But Marcus chuckled. “Tell me something, have you ever tasted Molly and the sweetness of her blood almost seduced you, making you want to make love to her, and the pull so strong you’d thought you could go mad if you didn’t? Because when I think back, there have been many times, that I’ve gone almost mad with lust after I drank... needing to make love to her, to where it was painful, but didn’t. Have you had that?”
“Yes, I have.” Nicolas admitted as he took a sip of his beer.“The day when we saw her again in the conference room... the smell of her was, intoxicating.”
“And she conceived. So Jamison was correct, and that is how we will know if our bird is ripe for conception, and whether it is safe for us to do so." Marcus stated.
"So, as I said earlier, she shall be just fine. Besides, we have many more things to worry about with our bird. Like, what’s she thinking and what’s she’s trying desperately to hide from us and why?” Marcus growled.
“Let’s see where to begin on the possibilities. Could it be because she can shoot like a trained assassin, keep her cool while a dozen or so men are out to kill her? Or perhaps it was the way a four-hundred-pound Minotaur ran away from our girl when she told him to leave, and then thanked her for it. Oh, and let’s not jolly well forget that bloody tosser Demetrius, who’s had our bird who knows how many times, all while we searched heaven and earth for her?! What more could she possibly hide from us?” Nicolas rumbled.
“You know, I’ll have to admit that the way she could handle that pistol, I found it quite… erotic.” He said with a chuckle.
“Good god…” Nicolas sighed.
“But I fear she’s hiding quite a bit from us, and it’s not just her abilities. She thinks she’s going to head out tomorrow and plans on leaving us behind. I believe that she’s afraid we’ll be disappointed in what our bird is and the things she’s done.”
“Do you really think so?”
“She is young and only sees herself and the darkness that dwells inside her. I do not believe she thinks our sins are equal to hers by any means. In other words, she’s terrified of her past meeting her present.” Marcus explained.
“Well that might be so, but she was almost shot in the head today by some bloody sod. God knows what would’ve happened if we weren’t there. I’m not leaving her on her own, even if she wishes for it.” Nicolas growled finishing his beer.
“Mmm, agreed.” Marcus answered but lost in thought once again.
“You're quiet, and that is never a good sign. What are you not telling me?” Nicolas asked sensing that there was more going on than he was being told. But then the sound of door opened and footsteps coming their way. He glanced over his shoulder and watched Lennox saying something to Ryklin with a nod, and then Ryklin make his way to the balcony.
“Where is she?” He asked with urgency.
“Asleep in the master suit.” Nicolas informed him.
Ryklin hurried off without another word, and Lennox came to the table with a beer in hand. “So you must have had a very interesting day if I get a call telling me she’s on her way to Red’s place.” He growled trying to keep his anger in check.
Nicolas laughed sarcastically. “It was very enlightening. Even having her little five-foot three frame is more terrifying to a six foot three Minotaur then Marcus and I put together. Then the beast thanked her for not killing him!”
“You met Bruno, and that means you met Demetrius.” Lennox nodded.
“Hell, we’ve known Demetrius for over a hundred years. What we didn’t bloody know was, the bastard knew our bird! All these damn idiots knew our girl when we were scouring planet the for her. As far as I’m concerned, Demetrius and any other tossers who was shagging our girl… there will be a price on their heads.” Marcus seethed.
A soft moan came from the backroom, as Ryklin woke up Molly for some affection after months of being apart. Lennox glance over his shoulder before turning back around and a hand went over his face lost in his own thoughts. “The timing couldn’t have been more worse for me. I have other obligations that have to be met each month… but I couldn’t let her go to Russia without me.” He murmured.
“What are you going on about?” Marcus asked.
“It’s nothing. So, tell me why she went to see that ass Demetrius, and why the hell is she now going to Hell’s underworld?” He asked crossing his arm.
“The other day she received a text and became very agitated. This morning after Chan came over and told her she was healed, Nicolas hadn’t even gone from the front room, and our bird was getting ready to leave. Going so far to hack off all her hair!” Marcus proclaimed snubbing out his cigarette, clearly unhappy.
Nicolas nodded. “Come to find out Georgie was given some information by him, that they found out was false. Then the arse spread a rumor that he was no longer in Cairo… which obviously she knew was a lie, and that’s what set our girl off.” Nicolas explained.
“Daft fool, why he thought that she wouldn’t go after him… and what about Red’s?” Lennox questioned.
“Well mate, you must understand more than we do. Demetrius couldn’t give our girl Mr. West, or his place of hiding, so he offered an alternative, a woman named Mississippi. But that supposed to give her someone named Sterling, and that was who could lead her to Mr. West.” Nicolas answered stretching his legs crossing his arms over his chest.
Lennox's mouth dropped then shut up tight. “He said Mississippi… and that would lead her to, sterling?” He asked again for clarification.
“Yes.” Nicolas shrugged.
“And he told her that Mississippi was at Red’s?”
Marcus set down his glass clearly getting irritated. “What the bloody hell, Lennox. Yes, he told Molly that this Mississippi was working the fights at a place called Red’s. What the bloody hell is Red’s?” He scowled.
“So it comes back to Mississippi, that’s just fucking fantastic. What the hell is she doing working the fights anyways. So that’s why she called, she knew she would have to fight once Mississippi saw her. Shit!” Lennox got up going over to the edge of the balcony looking out at the sleeping city deep in thought.
“Why don’t you explain what this Red’s is exactly and why it has you all bent out of shape over the information.” Marcus asked.
Lennox turned and shook his head. “Do you remember when Molly finally got out of bed after the miscarriage? She talked about, the fights, even described some of it to you. The fights where if the other mixer wanted to be especially nasty she could ask for the other mate, lover, or husband as a prize...”
“Those are the fights that she’s talking about?” Nicolas asked as his brows pinched together.
“Yes, and this Mississippi, she has a hatred for Molly that I can’t even put into words. The last fight Molly had, it was with her best friend. Where, as chance has it, me and Sterling were thrown into the kitty as a trophy for the winner to rub into the loser’s face…” He hinted.
“And Molly won this fight.” Marcus didn’t ask, but stated.
“Of course, she did. And she put on a performance with Sterling that is still burned into my memory to this very day.” Lennox scowled.
“And this is the same place?” Nicolas clarified.
“Yes, if Molly goes back to Red’s, she's going to have to fight. But there’s more to it than just that. Molly thrives in that world and she easily loses herself. These are cities entirely ran by mixers, and the way a mixer behaves can be very…primeval." Lennox warned.
“What does that mean?” Nicolas asked.
“It means, these women can be very dangerous. Maybe if a handful or so come at men like us, we could fend them off. But these are entire cities made up of mixers and they loath the creatures that made them. For men like us a banshee, vampires … you don’t step out of place or there could be some horrific consciences.” Lennox admitted.
“And what could these dangerous women possibly do to men like us.’ Marcus smirked unconvinced.
“They would destroy us, and we would never be found again.” Lennox explained.
“That’s rubbish mate.” He chuckled.
“No, it’s fact. I’ve seen it myself. You don’t even understand half of what you’ve created.” Lennox rumbled, making Marcus sit back deep in thought.
Ryklin came out onto the veranda awhile later very relaxed and completely satisfied. He had a cup of coffee in his hand as he watched Marcus and Lennox arguing with one another, again. He shook his head and sat at the table next to Nicolas and tried to see what this particular disagreement was about this time around.
“You will not come with us, especially with your attitude.” Lennox growled.
“How can I trust that only a banshee could keep my bird safe? No, where she goes I go and there’s nothing you can do to stop me mate.” Marcus seethed.
“Just watch me…” Lennox hissed as the air started to swirl.
Ryklin placed his cup down, then slammed his fist on the table breaking the tension. “I don’t know what is going on, but stop this fighting now!” He growled taking a seat with a sigh. “Don’t push him Marcus. It has been a long day, he’s come a long way, and there are things you don’t understand and I cannot get into. Do not tempt him for a challenge. The outcome does not bode well for you.”
Marcus eyed his friend, who he considered more of a brother than just a friend and then sat back when Ryklin cleared his throat. “But I do have some news. I was given some information by one of the parties you were seeking out. And no, I didn’t have Upton search her out, Sabeam came to me.”
“Well, what did she say man?” Marcus pushed.
“She said that the timeline can go in two directions, and the way we’re hoping for is the narrower of the two paths.” He replied.
“Bugger to hell, that’s just perfect.” Marcus scowled.
“It gets even better. She has told me that her guidance was at an end, and that it was up to us to set the chosen course. But when asked if that applied for Merlin as well, she cracked the smallest hint of a grin. So, it’s safe to assume that he is still involved, but he doesn’t plan on making an appearance either.” Ryklin informed him crossing his arms.
Marcus sat back in his seat outraged with the information. “That bloody fool! For over two hundred years we couldn’t seem get rid of the old bugger, and now when we actually need his advice, he’s nowhere to be found. I’ve searched high and low for that old man, for I don’t know how long to no avail. … You know, I bet he's evading me on purpose.” He growled.
“Whatever gave you that idea mate.” Nicolas sighed sarcastically.
“That sums it up. I’m going with you to Russia, that’s the end of it.” Marcus growled at Lennox.
“Galore! She’s not going to be in that kind of danger Marcus!” Lennox roared, but Marcus just sat back, lit another cigarette and didn’t say a word. “Ooch, Kyle mind Sassenach. Dafted Cailleach! Fine, I’ll somehow get Molly to agree to you coming to Russia with us.” Lennox snarled.
“What the bloody hell were you just saying?” Marcus scowled.
“My native tongue. That’s all you need to know.” He stated getting up from the table walking away.
“What was that all about?” He questioned.
Ryklin shook his head over the whole situation. “I’ll be leaving in a couple hours to head back to the Autumn Kingdome. There is trouble brewing with the winter queen. Lennox said he'll return for his search for Tipton when he returns from Russia. Until then, I’m heading to bed and spend some much-needed time with my queen before I go.” He sighed taking Marcus bottle of brandy from the table, and walking towards the back room to their sleeping wife.