Deidre's Death (Chapter Three, page 1 of 16)

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The night before, he'd left his dying mate, praying he was able to save her life. This morning, he left a perfectly healthy woman - who looked like his mate and wore the Immortal mating tattoo - and yet was distinctly different.

Gabriel was still reeling from the sudden, inexplicable changes in his mate and the admittance by Deidre that she had made a deal with Darkyn. Maybe he should've felt it. He noticed something … missing the night before, soon after he left her. The instinct was nothing more than a tiny warmth at the edge of his mind. He barely noticed it was gone until this morning, when it abruptly reappeared. He was able to sense her presence once more without knowing she'd been gone from his reach for an entire night.

What if she was in danger? What if Darkyn hadn't let her go? If he noticed her absence soon after it occurred, would he have been able to follow and stop her deal with Darkyn?

Right now, the only thing that made much sense was killing shit.

Gabriel hacked at the demon before him then straightened. Chest heaving, he gazed around the meat locker to assess how many bodies were present. Immortals and death-dealers battled the remaining demons at the warehouse-sized storage facility where the demons had been gathering the human dead.

There were hundreds of them. He sheathed his weapons, grim at the discovery. Rather than taking souls and risking a run-in with him or his dealers, the demons snatched the dead or killed whomever they wanted and brought them here, where they'd have more time for soul extraction.

"Clear!" one of the Immortals shouted from the far end.

"All good," Landon, Gabriel's second-in-command, told him.

"Count and collect," Gabriel ordered.

Landon issued the orders through the mind message system. Gabriel moved through the meat locker, unaffected by the cold after the half hour battle.

"Fifty four dead demons, three hundred dead mortals," Landon reported after a few minutes. "Fifteen dead Immortals, three dead dealers."

"Damn." Gabriel's attention was caught on a faint green glow on a table in the middle of the stacks of dead bodies. He crossed to it and saw a shallow bowl filled with water. The glowing green gems on the bottom were souls the demons had extracted. "This isn't three hundred souls. Maybe twenty." He lifted a small soul-tracking device off the table, a round compass whose edges were lined with symbols from a dead language too old for him to read.

"They're picking and choosing the ones they want," Landon said.

"Darkyn's after someone in particular," Gabriel said. "They got another compass. Unlike me, they can read it to find who they want." He studied the compass. It was a new one, recently made by the Ancient Immortal that Gabriel hired to help, indicating another of his dealers had defected. "Find out who this one was issued to."

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