Читать онлайн "Dark Symphony" автора Фихан Кристин - RuLit - Страница 6


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!” Antonietta was shocked. “I may be blind, but I assure you, Byron is not. I don’t think he can attend me in my bath.”

“I want her protected. Suppose they come back?” Don Giovanni ignored his granddaughter’s protest. “You stay with her at all times.”

“It will not matter, Don Giovanni, whether they come back or not They will never again put their hands on your granddaughter.”

Byron leaned into Antonietta, and for the first time she felt his body tremble. Rage was a living, breathing entity in the room with them. The air thickened into a heavy mass, a dark cloud of roiling energy until it was difficult to breathe.

Deep inside Byron, the demon roared for release, called for retribution. Demanded he take her away where no harm could possibly reach her. “It is far safer in your bath alone than with me standing guard at the moment,


. Allow me to attend your grandfather in peace.” His voice hissed out between his teeth. A promise. A vow. An absolute conviction.

Trying to be dignified with her teeth clacking together and her body shivering uncontrollably was difficult, but Antonietta was a Scarletti. She lifted her chin. “The authorities must be notified. I think there’s a body on the cliffs.”

“A body?” Don Giovanni sank onto a chair while Byron gently removed his saturated shoes and socks. “Whose body?”

Byron shrugged casually. “One of them was trying to throw Antonietta into the sea. I may have wrenched him a bit too hard. I was angry and afraid for her, and I was not thinking of my own strength.”

Don Giovanni shook his head. “Better the body go into the sea, and we know nothing of what happened to him. You, struggled, he fell. It is better not to take chances with the authorities in the matter of death.”


!” Antonietta was shocked.

“If you keep standing there with wet clothes, shaking like a leaf, I am carrying you up to your bath and putting you in it myself,” Byron said. “I will not be responsible for what happens after that. Do not make the mistake of thinking I am jesting.”

Her heart jumped, began to pound at his words. She did her best to look irritated before touching her grandfather’s hand as she swept from the room.

“You never take your eyes off of her,” Don Giovanni said approvingly. “That is good. I wanted a man like you for her. She’s strongwilled, Byron.” The red-rimmed eyes regarded him steadily. “You could hurt her.”

“Not me, Don Giovanni. Never me.” Byron helped the old man to stand. “Lean against me, and we will make our way to the shower.”

“I’m too weak to stand by myself,” Don Giovanni admitted, ashamed.

“I will not drop you, old friend,” Byron encouraged gently. He allowed the man to take staggering steps to cross the room to his private bath rather than arbitrarily lifting him. Instinctively he knew Don Giovanni’s pride would insist on that small independence, even if his body were too weak to walk without assistance. “It has been quite a night. You are aware, of course, that both your life and that of your granddaughter are in danger. She needs protection, as will you.”

Don Giovanni sighed as he reached with gnarled fingers for the glass door to his shower. “She’s a stubborn one. I’ve relied too heavily on her, and she feels responsible for all of us now. She won’t want to hire a bodyguard.”

“I know.” Byron helped the old man shed the last of his clothing and adjusted the temperature of the spray. “But it will be necessary. I cannot be here during most of the day. Why would someone want you both dead?”

Don Giovanni turned his face up to the spray while jets of water helped to heat the rest of his body. Byron was very matter-of-fact about standing with him in the shower, allowing the old man to hang on to him while the water poured over them. He waited until the don had stopped shivering so violently before he turned off the hot jets of water and enfolded the elderly man gently in a towel.

Carpathians regulated their own body temperatures, and it took a heartbeat to dress in dry clothes. The don hardly noticed as Byron helped him to put on his pajamas and crawl into bed. “Go to her, Byron. See that she comes to no harm.”

“I will,” Byron assured. “Sleep now, and do not worry.” He used his hypnotic voice to persuade the don.

“What of the others? My other grandchildren? You were going to check on them for me. And my great-grandchildren?” Don Giovanni slurred his words.

“Sleep now.” Byron gave him another gentle push with his mind. He drew the covers up to the older man’s chest

Because the elder Scarletti was restless even in his sleep, Byron chanted the ancient healing ritual aloud as he worked on ensuring all traces of poison were driven from Don Giovanni’s body. It took longer than Byron thought it would, mostly because he worked on strengthening internal organs. “You cannot die for many years, old friend,” he murmured as he rose. He looked around carefully, allowing his senses to flare out and reach the corners of the suite of rooms. “I have only recently met you, Don Giovanni, but you are important to me and to your granddaughter. I have great respect for a man such as you.” He leaned very close, put his lips close to the don’s ear. “You will live and be strong.”

Someone had been in Don Giovanni’s room recently. Someone who may or may not be of Scarletti blood. The scent permeated the room. Byron took his time, thoroughly canvassing the room for anything that could be lethal to Don Giovanni. He detected no living thing, not even a poisonous spider. The intruder had dragged the don from his bed. It would have taken only moments to overpower the old man. The intruder must have returned to the room after he had flung Don Giovanni from the cliff. And he was either a family member or servant, sleeping in the palazzo, although the scent wasn’t familiar, or the intruder had left immediately after returning to the room, which didn’t make sense.

Byron shifted shape, taking the form of a large wolf with dark reddish-brown fur. He lifted his muzzle to scent the room again. At once his lips drew back in a snarl. The odor was subtle but there. Wild. Feline. A predator. That explained the quick escape. Was a vampire involved in some act against the Scarletti family? A vampire would have taken the old man’s blood, not simply thrown him into the sea. Vampires were wholly evil, wanting those around them to suffer endlessly.

The wolf began to search throughout the palazzo. How had the intruder come into the house without triggering the elaborate alarm system? Byron simply became mist in the way of his people and streamed through a partially closed window in one of the many unused rooms. Any vampire could do the same. The wolf trotted up the curving staircase on the east side of the palazzo where Antoinette’s cousins made their home.

Antonietta shoved open the door to her rooms with the flat of her hand. She had moved much too quickly and was grateful the children hadn’t left their toys out where she could trip over them. Ordinarily, they were very good about such things, but little Vincente sometimes forgot. More than once Antonietta had suffered a minor bruise and damaged pride stumbling over one of his trucks. Once, she would have tumbled down the stairs if Justine hadn’t been with her to catch her. Vincente denied he was playing with his toys on the forbidden stairway, but his father. Franco, had punished him all the same. Marita, Vincente’s mother, wrung her hands together and wept aloud for the terrible treatment of her son, but for once, Franco prevailed, furious that Antonietta had nearly tumbled down the marble stairs.

Thoughtfully, Antonietta closed the heavy door to her suite and leaned against it as it occurred to her that Vincente might have been telling the truth. Someone else could easily have put his toys at the top of the stairs in the hopes of causing an accident



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