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.“The den,” James said between clenched teeth.Doug continued to look him over.“You will answer when I ask a question.”James flinched with another slap of his power.“Are you fucking her?”“No.”Doug smiled.“Do you want to?”James fisted his hands.“That would be wrong.”Doug lifted a brow.“Impressive dodge, now answer the question.”“Yes.”Doug laughed.“Unrequited love.How sad.”“Hardly.We just met.She’s attractive.I speculate you would also want to fuck an attractive woman you just met.” If Doug wanted to be crude, James could play that game.He had been raised by masters.Doug grunted.“Good point, though I’m wondering… can you?”“The only thing I lack is a heartbeat.”“And a soul.”James let the hound rise to the surface.“What are you doing, dead man?”“Memorizing your soul.That’ll make it easier to find.Later.”“You don’t scare me.”“Then you’re dumber than I thought.”Doug continued to watch him, a growing smile dimpling his cheeks.“Well played, grim.You’re no dumb animal.” Oddly, the compliment seemed sincere.Footsteps pounded down the hall, and they both turned as Elysia rounded the corner.She skidded to a stop, glancing between them, then turned her frown on Doug.“What are you doing?”“I found him wandering the halls.I was returning him to you.”Her frown didn’t lift.“Thank you, but that isn’t necessary.”“Have you bound him so tightly? You do know that he can travel to other dimensions and reenter the mortal plane hundreds of miles away?”Her brows rose, and she turned to James.“Is that true?”“Yes.” James struggled to keep his expression neutral.Would she forbid him to travel?“You’re so trusting, Ely.” Doug gave her a fond smile, then offered her a hand.“Send the dead guy to his room and take a walk with me?”Elysia hesitated, then to James’s surprise, she took Doug’s hand.Her eyes lifted to James’s, but she didn’t give him a command.“So trusting,” Doug repeated and led her away.James watched them go, then turned toward his room.She trusted him.Guilt squirmed through his gut at the thought of sneaking out.She would support his decision to go free, but her hatred of alchemists made him leery of telling her his plans.Better to ask forgiveness after than to have her deny him seeing Addie entirely.He opened the door to his room and stepped inside.Like the rest of the house, the room looked as if it had been decorated decades ago with its heavy, antique furniture and faded linens.There was an elegance to it, but the peeling wallpaper and thread-bare rug made it clear that no money remained for the upkeep.No doubt, Elysia saw that, too.But that wasn’t his problem.He removed his boots, then pulled off his T-shirt and tossed it on the four-poster bed.His jeans, socks, and underwear followed.He called the hound, but hesitated before shifting form.Walls were not a deterrent to the hound’s sight, only distance.He had no trouble picking out Elysia and Doug among the others in the big house.Elysia’s soul was a blinding sun beside Doug’s dazzling star.It appeared they had left the building for the garden out back.James frowned when they came to a halt and Doug moved closer to her.He did not trust the big necromancer.What Elysia had ever seen in him, he had no idea.Dropping to all fours, James slipped into the space between the mortal realm and the next.No more than a ghost in this world, he stepped through the walls and physical boundaries until he stood within the garden.“So, will you help me?” Elysia asked Doug, her voice carrying easily from the other side of the gazebo where the pair stood.“Free the grim? Only you would ask such a thing.” Doug chuckled.James stopped, his ears pricked forward, listening.He had come here to protect her, not to eavesdrop, but he couldn’t deny his interest in this conversation.“Your grandmother will be disappointed,” Doug continued.“You know he’s the reason she called me up here.”“Yes.”“That’s not why I came.”“Doug.”“Come on, Ely.I’ve done everything you’ve asked.Are you ever going to give me an answer?”Elysia moved a few steps away from him.“You don’t love me, Doug.Not the way you love your family.”“You’ve been alone too long.We’re necromancers; family is everything.I want you to be part of mine.” The man actually sounded sincere.James shifted his weight from paw to paw.He knew he should go, but couldn’t seem to make himself.“What about the curse?” Elysia asked.“I’ve only got four years left.”“Ely [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]