It was brought to our attention that Comey is testifying, and, for the love of all that’s holy, a snippet is needed. It is here for you, when you are ready for a real life break.
“I agree,” Bern said. “We’re not doing that.”
“We can fight,” I said. “Victoria has more money, more troops, and more of everything.”
“But Rogan would help us, right?” Arabella asked.
I struggled with the right words. “Yes. But we can’t always count on Rogan.” Strictly speaking, that was a lie. Rogan would do anything and everything to help me.
“We shouldn’t always count on Rogan,” Mom said.
Everyone looked at her.
“This isn’t his problem,” she said. “It’s our problem.”
“If we let Rogan save us, we’ll be tying ourselves to him,” I said. “We’d be viewed as his vassals. We’d have his protection, but we would inherit his enemies, and he has some powerful ones.”
“And if your relationship with Rogan sours, things will get complicated,” Bern said.
“So we don’t want to give up and we can’t fight the Evil Grandma. Is there a third option?” Arabella asked.
“Yes. We can become a House.”
My sisters and cousins stared at me. I’d brought up this possibility once before, but we were kind of busy at the time trying to solve a murder and accomplishing other important things like not getting killed.
“Whoa.” Leon blinked.
“No,” Mom said. “There has to be another way.”
I leaned back. “Becoming a House would grant us provisional immunity from any attacks by other Houses for three years. That’s long enough for us to establish a power base.”
“Would Victoria follow that rule?” Catalina asked.
“Rogan says she will. It’s in everyone’s best interest to protect emerging Houses, because otherwise inbreeding would become a real danger. Apparently, this is one of those rules Primes won’t break under any circumstances. It would buy us time to build up our power base and make alliances and do all the things Houses do.”
“You can’t be serious,” Mom said.
“She isn’t going to obey any rules. That woman is a monster. You can’t be that naive, Nevada.” I met my mother’s gaze. “Yes, she may still attack us. But she will have to do it in a way that can’t lead back to her. Becoming a House would make it much harder for her to hit us.”
And once we became a House, we could make alliances as equals.
“You’re filling their heads with visions of being a House. Why don’t you tell them what it’s really like? Tell them about Baranovsky.”
“Mom is right,” I said. “Houses are vicious. You remember that charity gala I went to in the black dress? It was very exclusive. The man who hosted it, Gabriel Baranovsky, was drinking champagne at the top of the stairs in the ballroom. David Howling froze the wine in Gabriel’s throat. He turned it into a blade that sliced Gabriel’s neck from inside out.”
“Badass,” Leon offered.
We all looked at him.
“It’s elegant,” he said. “The ice melts, and there is no evidence. There are no prints, no murder weapon, there is nothing.”
I had to tell him about his magic. There just wasn’t any escaping it. That’s the way his mind worked and there was no way to rewire him. Maybe I could just get it over with now.
My mother cleared her throat and hit me with a warning stare. It’s like she was telepathic or something.