Blaze of Secrets (Asylums for Magical Threats 1) - Page 19

She looked at Jaxton’s palm, but didn’t reach for it. “Why would you commit to so much effort when I probably will never be strong enough to fight like

you or your men?”

Jaxton wiggled his fingers. “The second rule of self-defense: have confidence. If you falter for even a second, your enemy will spot it. So I need to know if you’re going to keep doubting yourself or do you believe you could become the most arse-kicking, magic-free first-born in the world?”

Chapter Eight

James Sinclair sipped his whiskey while he waited for his security guards to finish patting down his latest visitor. Geoffrey Winter wouldn’t be the first person who’d tried to sneak in a recording device or a weapon. Not everyone understood Sinclair’s vision.

Collins, his chief security officer, gave the all-clear and stepped aside, letting Winter into the room before closing the door. Sinclair waited for a red light to turn on above the door, signaling that the jamming device was engaged, before he gestured toward the paper at the far end of the table. “I need you to set up a meeting with the people on that list, at one of the pre-approved locations, within the week.”

Winter scanned the names. “What reason should I give?”

“Tell them I have information that will impress their superiors.”

Winter looked up. “Does MI5 know about the information you’re going to share?”

“No, and it’s going to stay that way.” Even from across the table, Sinclair saw Winter clench his jaw. He could tell that the man was close to breaking after all these years, so Sinclair placed his drink down and decided to remind Winter who was in charge. “I hear your daughter is doing well in school, Winter.”

Winter clenched a fist at his side. “Leave her out of this.”

Sinclair ignored him, needing to make his point, and continued, “Children grow up so fast, and to think, the little half-Feiru will hit magical maturity before you know it. ”

“My daughter won’t have any elemental abilities.”

“Ah, but her mother was Feiru, and you know the ability passes through her. What would your superiors think if they heard one of their chief Feiru liaisons had slipped and dallied with one of his charges? Even you realized the mistake, tossing away the poor Feiru woman to marry a human.”

Pain and anger flashed across Winter’s face. “Malia understood the circumstances. We did what was best for our daughter.”

“Tell yourself that, if it makes you feel better. All I care is that you keep this information private and secret from the MI5. My eyes and ears will alert me if you slip up. You don’t want to waste the few remaining years you have left with your daughter, now do you?”

Winter said nothing and Sinclair smiled. All it took was a reminder of what Winter had to lose and the man morphed back into one of his more cooperative contacts. Whenever Sinclair threatened his daughter’s life, Winter understood that Sinclair wasn’t bluffing—one of Winter’s co-workers had tried to outsmart Sinclair and was now spending a life sentence inside a mental health facility.

Sinclair’s methods and staff may be unconventional, but they did their jobs. Unlike the human intelligence agencies around the world, where petty arguments and internal battles for power overshadowed efficiency, Sinclair’s people believed in the bigger picture and realized it would take patience to achieve it. Each and every one of his staff had something riding on the success of his R&C—Repeal Article I and Contain First-born Magic—campaign.

Winter stood up straight, his face once again emotionless. “Anything else?”

“Do you have any news on the concentration of DEFEND activity in the North of England?”

Winter shook his head. “We know they have a training facility there, but we haven’t pinpointed its location. A few agents are undercover, working their way through the pubs in Manchester. There’s talk of a subterranean network, near the Manchester Arndale shopping center.”

Sinclair’s reports had said the same thing, but he’d wanted to test Winter’s coerced loyalty. He’d passed this time. “How long before you can gain access to the underground Manchester and Salford Junction Canal tunnels?”

“Many parts of the former canal are deemed unsafe, so it’ll take a few more weeks, maybe a month.”

Sinclair needed access to the sole DEFEND training facility in England as soon as possible, but in the scheme of things, a few weeks would be soon enough. “Fine.” Sinclair waved his hand in dismissal. “Let me know when you have access so I can send my people up north. You can go now.”

Winter nodded. He knocked at the door and Collins escorted him out, allowing Sinclair’s assistant, Phuong, into the room. She handed him a folded note, sealed with wax. An old method of security, but combined with the hidden ink pocket that would release when the wax seal was broken, it had proven an effective one.

He slid his finger under the seal, careful to let the ink absorb into the paper and not his finger, and read the note: D.K. on board. Tonight, 9 p.m.

Sinclair smiled. With five local councils now on his side, he only needed ten more before he could start Phase II of his campaign.

Chapter Nine

When Kiarra finally placed her hand in Jaxton’s, a jolt of heat shot up his arm, but disappeared as quickly as it had come. He’d learned with Garrett as a teenager that elemental fire left behind a burn, so the heat couldn’t have been real.

Her response earlier, to his reasoning as to why she’d tried to commit suicide, had been genuine. At least she believed it to be truth. Her blood would either confirm or deny it, creating even more questions.

Tags: Jessie Donovan Asylums for Magical Threats Paranormal
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