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Two years ago, Deidra Montague royally screwed up with Guinevere. Now, Dee secretly works for the fae council, breaking up potential zombie swarms, while Ginny—a mortal—attends grad school, preparing for a career helping survivors of zombie attacks.
Even apart, Dee still watches over Ginny. How could she not, after learning that the woman she betrayed has been blessed as her mate?
Now, students from Ginny's school are dropping out in alarming numbers and turning up infected with the zombie virus. When Dee finds out, she decides it's time to extract her mate from the mounting peril. Only she arrives to find Ginny in the thick of things, trying to solve the problem herself. Just like old times.
With drugged-up zombies everywhere, casket sales on the rise, and saccharine bubblegum pop music constantly playing in the background, Dee decides it's time to lay her heart on the line. Because she's the only one who's going to capture Ginny.
When you're fae and your ordained mate is a former mortal lover, rescuing her from zombies is the easy part . . . .
Deidra silently ran up the concrete stairs in the rear of the library. Last time she'd been on a university campus, the story behind the zombie virus had just broken and anti-military sentiment ran high. After a hellish day fending off protestors and the media instead of recruiting for ROTC, she'd sworn up and down she'd not set foot on campus again. But that was before students at this school—Ginny's school—began dropping out to become zombies, voluntarily. She'd had no choice but to go back on her word.
Her old army buddies would have ribbed her mercilessly. Good thing she now worked for the fae council instead.
Regardless of the ribbing, Dee would have come. Guinevere took her MSW courses here. She lived on campus, in one of the dorms, for who knows what reason. With the school a powder keg waiting to blow, naturally Ginny stood right in the middle.
Deidra couldn't sit by and watch the explosion. She needed to get Ginny out of there.
Huey, a hulking Viking of a man with a Were's leadership tattoos on his temples, waited on the landing. Four of his packmates flanked him.
"You want me to go ahead and secure the area?" he asked.
Deidra nodded. "Stay out of sight of our target. I'll disable the floor's sound system, then join you."
Unlike some of the fae and fully turned zombies, she could survive the subsonic waves piped along with the music. She didn't want the constant distraction, though, not tonight. In the service stairs, she quickly located the recently added wires and cut them. The students here were lucky the school could afford to rewire the building and install the special speakers. State schools did not fare so well.
The insistent buzz across her bones ceased.
Huey stuck his head out the door. "We're set. Just a heads up: she has company."
"Some leggy blonde who looks like the suburban idea of a rock whore."
Crap, the description fit Lilah Dantowitz to a tee. Deidra needed to get Guinevere away from her before the shit hit the fan. Behind Huey, the sound of the women's voices drifted.
"Make sure you detail someone to fix the wires when we leave," she whispered, before heading into the maze of bookshelves.
She followed the chatter, halting the moment Guinevere's voice became clear. The soft alto brought back too many memories. A shiver of desire raced through Deidra, leaving her flushed.
"I have a bunch of stuff I need to get done so I can spend tomorrow with you. Why don't you text me the time? I promise I'll be there," Ginny said. "Besides, I see Brad on his way, and I'm pretty sure he's going to want your attention for the rest of the night."
What was Ginny getting into? Deidra took a deep breath, her heart racing. Then she took another. Faint but distinct, the fetid odor of a zombie permeated the air. She moved closer, to get a good view and a better scent.
The blonde bimbo sauntered away, tucked under the arm of a brute. The rotting-flesh smell emanated from one of them, and she'd bet that meant Lilah. She had to be close to fully turned to smell like death, but she didn't look it, and none of the reports or videos had shown her acting like it.
Papa Dantowitz could afford drugs strong enough to keep his daughter "normal," even at this stage.
In spite of all their surveillance of the Dantowitz crime family, she'd seen nothing to indicate one of the children was infected. Having a family member with the virus was an interesting development, especially if the family actually was recruiting students.
Guinevere shut her laptop, then slid the slim rectangle into her bag. Ready to leave? That wouldn't do at all.
Deidra settled herself atop a desk out of Guinevere's sightline and away from the rancid smell.
"Still hanging out with young'uns, I see."
Guinevere froze in place. Then, slowly, she turned her face to Deidra. Those eyes, those impossibly cornflower blue eyes, gave her a thorough once over. "I've kept worse company."
Deidra tried in vain to stop the blush heating her cheeks. Seeing Guinevere redden as well didn't help her feel any less pricked by the jab. The Goddess had given her a hard task, to repair the breach between them. She bit her tongue to keep from saying anything, knowing Guinevere's Southern charm would impel her to fill the silence.
But Deidra caved first. She heard herself say, "Ilona explained to me what you were doing."
Shit, she hadn't meant to blurt that out.
Guinevere closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "As I recall, I did too."
"You certainly tried, but I wasn't listening." Stupid, stupid to bring this up now. Her group likely hung on every word.
Guinevere lifted her head and glared at Deidra. "And whose fault was that?"
They held each other's gaze, but Guinevere didn't respond.
Deidra knew this wasn't the time to explain herself. She looked away first. "I didn't come here for that. Well, I did, but there are more pressing reasons."
"We have had a security breach, and your father's unit has been targeted. Zombies are being used en masse to break into homes and kidnap families."
With an oddly pensive look, Guinevere flipped her blond hair out of the way before sliding on her backpack. "How long do I have?"
"Give me a couple of days, and I'll text you the time and location." Deidra gave her a hard look.
"Don't do anything foolish this weekend. Stay on campus until we can extract you."
Guinevere raised her eyebrows. "Do I do foolish things?"
"All the damn time," Deidra said, with an exasperated sigh. "Will you stay on campus?"
Deidra lifted her wrist to her face, still keeping an eye on Guinevere. Entirely for show, as the Weres could hear every word, she pressed a button on her large wristband. "Amazon Two, we're out of here."
"Congrats on the group," Guinevere said.
Surprising. Oh, wait, she didn't know what kind of group Deidra ran, just that she was giving orders.
"Thank you," Deidra replied, and then, because she couldn't help it. "This group's okay, but I've had better."
The surprise in Guinevere's eyes counterbalanced the snort of a Were behind her. Good thing Guinevere couldn't hear the muffled laugh. Time to go. Stepping back, Deidra ducked behind the nearest set of shelves and then hurried to the rear stairs. On the way, she pulled out her phone and typed in the text message that would carry the spy program for Ginny's cell.
"You're looking great." Definitely the truth. Two years of grad school had been good to Guinevere. No longer on the thin side of lean and with her glorious blonde hair down past her shoulders, Guinevere looked content. Unfortunately, her contentment was about to be shot. Deidra couldn't keep her safe here anymore. She needed to get Ginny off campus.
Not to mention being without her mate led Dee to make poor decisions. Not safe for herself, much less for the men she now commanded.
"So that's her," Huey commented.
"Yep. Hands off," Deidra said, flinching as they hit the stairs and the humming music resumed. "The tall, leggy one you can have."
The Weres made various retching sounds. They'd smelled the decay caused by the zombie virus too. They staggered out the rear door of the building, holding their noses and throats and bellies.
Laughing, she shushed them, not wanting their group to draw attention in the frozen tundra of the parking lot.
Once everyone had settled in the van, with Huey at the wheel, one of the Weres grinned toothily at her. "Next time, boss, remember we like them when they don't smell like maggot-food."
"And we like them stacked."
"Nah, more than a handful is a waste. Me, I like a nice, round ass."
Traveling across town, Deidra listened to their increasingly ribald qualifications, wondering if she'd become one of the boys or if they were simply testing her limits. Finally, her phone vibrated, letting her know Guinevere's recent messages had downloaded. She checked them over, carefully shielding the light to protect the Weres' night vision.
"Guys." Her sharp voice stilled the discussion on how to tell if a woman might give good head. "We need to go over and stake out Smithbrook Coffin Company."
She looked over the group, their faces now serious; these days, caskets and zombies went hand in hand. "Looks like the Dantowitz kid and Ginny will be heading over there in the morning. I want to check it out before they arrive."
A series of grunts acknowledged they understood.
"Food first?" one of the recruits asked, as they pulled into the Were-owned strip mall where they'd left their cars.
Goddess save her from young Weres and their grocery bills. "Food first. We'll need to pick up extra munitions as well. Plan to meet back here at oh-two-hundred hours."
Huey turned off the engine and cracked open a window. They all took a deep sniff of the freezing air from the early March night. No zombie stench—they were clear. The Weres exited the side doors en masse before scattering to their rides.
"You heading back with me? Ezzy would love to see you," Huey offered.
Ah, she didn't think so. Given the pheromones he shot off right now, he'd prefer to be alone with his wife. "No, thanks, I need to make a report and get some specialized weapons. Tell Ezzy I'll catch up with her later."
As soon as she closed the door, the van took off. She ran to her car and headed out too. She had just enough time to get to her private stash of weapons and back before they were to meet up again.
By then, hopefully, she'd have figured out how to convince Guinevere she was sorry and that they should be together. Forever. The Goddess clearly didn't believe in easy paths.