“Good to know.”
“I’m surprised you managed to lay her out, frankly. Not that you’re not capable, because clearly you are, just that it can be done. Vampires tend to be pretty high on the tough scale.”
“Kettlingr packs a wallop.” She lifted her sword up a bit, admiring the blade. It really was a beautiful piece of craftsmanship.
“Apparently.” He stared at Evangeline’s prone form. “How long do you think that wallop will last?”
“At best she’ll be out an hour or so.”
“Good. Long enough for her to be taken into custody. The sheriff should be here soon.”
“And your brothers are on their way?”
“Do you want to go to the hospital then? Check on Greaves? I can wait here and keep an eye on her.” She didn’t want to be separated from him, but her needs were unimportant at the moment, although she very much wanted to know that the rook was all right.
“We’ll both go as soon as this is taken care of.” He went to her, closing the gap between them. “You drew your sword for me. Thank you. I know that wasn’t easy for you.”
She managed a small smile. “Easier than I thought it would be, actually.”
“It seemed to me that you contained your temper very well.”
She shook her head slowly. “There wasn’t much to contain. I was very angry, but it never took over. Instead it seemed to direct me. All these years, I’ve feared the return of those emotions. I thought that there was a part of me that was uncontrollable. Now, I don’t know if that was ever true. Maybe everything I was afraid of was just…youth.”
“Perhaps it was.”
She stared down at Kettlingr. “I feel pretty foolish.”
He caressed her cheek with the backs of his fingers, his touch light and sweet. “I spent my life watching over the woman who just tried to kill me, wishing for many of those years that I had been enough of whatever she needed to keep her at my side. If you’re a fool, so am I. I guess we’re perfect for each other.”
She laughed. “Maybe.” Then she lifted her sword. “This is Kettlingr.”
He smiled. “It’s as beautiful as its owner. May I hold it?”
“Only with my hands on it.”
He nodded. “Whatever your conditions, I’m happy to oblige.”
“They’re not my conditions. They’re part of the magical protection built into the sword. Watch. Hold out your hands and keep them flat.”
He did as she asked, palms up.
With great care not to nick him, she balanced the blade on his hands, keeping hers on the hilt.
“Now watch when I let go.” She took her hands away.
The sword shimmered and disappeared.
Sebastian frowned. “Where is it?”
“Where it belongs.” Tessa realized she meant those words as she reached back and drew it free again.
He smiled. “So without your touch, it sheaths itself?”
“Not exactly.” She walked to his desk and set the weapon down. It gleamed in the light almost as though it was pleased to be seen. “Pick it up.”
With a curious expression, he joined her there, hefting the blade with great admiration in his eyes. “Amaz—”
His hands were empty. He looked at her. “Let me guess. You have it again?”
“I do.” She laughed. “The only person who can wield a valkyrie’s sword is a valkyrie. The same goes for the swords of the berserkers.”
He rubbed his chin in wonder. “I’ve never seen anything like it. Extraordinary. And very fitting that a woman of your caliber should own such an incredible weapon.”
“Thank you.” He bowed his head. “I owe you a debt I will probably never be able to repay. You saved my life.”
“You would have done the same for me.”
“In a heartbeat. If my heart still beat, that is.”
“Sebastian.” The voice called out from the hall. Hugh, Tessa guessed.
“In the office,” Sebastian responded.
Julian, Hugh and Delaney walked in a second later, the men in tuxedos and Delaney in a pretty dress of navy lace. Their wedding attire.
Julian walked over to where Evangeline lay sprawled on the floor. “How about that.” He looked up at them. “Does this mean the wedding’s off?”
Sebastian ignored Julian’s question. Of all the good things that had come out of the day’s events, not marrying Tessa wasn’t one of them. Even though he knew it was for the best, he was curiously disappointed. “Evangeline was after my amulet.”
Hugh’s eyes held a warning expression. “Sebastian.” He glanced at Tessa.
“She knows about the amulet,” Sebastian said. “And if she hadn’t, this incident would have led to it.”
He grunted. “Fine, I suppose, but how did Evangeline know about it?”
“She didn’t know about the amulet specifically. She just knew that I, that we, could daywalk. She was here to figure out how and gain the ability for herself.”
Julian put his hands on his hips and stared down at Evangeline. “What happened to her?”
Sebastian grinned. “Tessa happened to her.”
All three of them, Hugh, Julian, and Delaney, turned to look at the valkyrie.
Delaney’s brows shot up. “Nicely done. I will never turn books into you late ever.”