We are taking book requests on our companion website. You can request books here. Make sure, you are following the rules.

House of Sky and Breath: Part 3 – Chapter 68

“We leave for the crystal palace tomorrow,” Ruhn snarled at Hunt in the great room of Bryce’s apartment. “At dawn.”

“Let me get this straight,” the angel said with maddening calm. “You’ve been meeting mind-to-mind with Agent Daybright—and dating her?”

Bryce sat at the dining table as she nursed a cup of coffee—which she needed desperately, since Ruhn had burst in at four in the morning. “Banging her, apparently.”

Ruhn growled at his sister. “Does it matter?”

“It does,” Hunt said, “because you’re suggesting that we break into the crystal palace not only to get into the archives, but to save your lady love. That adds a shit-ton of risk.”

“I’ll get her myself,” Ruhn shot back. “I just need to get in with you two first.”

“Absolutely not,” Bryce countered. “I get that you want to play rescuing hero, but what you’re talking about is suicide.”

“Would you hesitate to go in after Athalar?” He pointed to the angel. “Or you to go after Bryce?”

“You’ve known her for a month,” Bryce protested.

“You knew Athalar for barely more than that before you offered to sell yourself into slavery for him.” Ruhn snapped before they could speak, “I don’t need to justify my feelings or my plans to you. I came here to tell you that I’m going with you. Once we’re inside the palace, we’ll go our separate ways.”

“See, that’s the part that bugs me,” Bryce said, draining her coffee. “This whole ‘separate ways’ thing. We all go in, we all go out.”

Ruhn blinked, but Bryce said to the angel, “Honestly, you should stay here.”

Excuse me?” Hunt demanded.

Ruhn kept silent as Bryce said, “The more of us go in, the better the chance of getting noticed. Ruhn and I can manage.”

“One, no. Two, fuck no. Three …” Hunt grinned wickedly. “Who’s going to level you up, sweetheart?” She scowled, but Hunt plowed on, “I’m going with you.”

She crossed her arms. “It’d be safer with two people.”

“It’d be safer not to go at all, but here we are, going,” Hunt said. Ruhn wasn’t entirely sure what to do with himself as the angel crossed the room and knelt before Bryce, grabbing her hands. “I want a future with you. That’s why I’m going. I’m going to fight for that future.” His sister’s eyes softened. Hunt kissed her hands. “And to do so, we can’t play by other people’s rules.”

Bryce nodded, and faced Ruhn. “We’re done playing by Ophion’s rules, or the Asteri’s rules, or anyone else’s. We’ll fight our own way.”

Ruhn smirked. “Team Fuck-You.” Bryce grinned.

Hunt said, “All right, Team Fuck-You.” He stood and patted a hand-drawn map of the crystal palace on the dining table. “Fury dropped this off earlier, and now we’re all wide awake, so time to get studying. We need to create a distraction to make the Asteri look elsewhere, and we need to know where we’re going once we’re in there.”

Ruhn tried not to marvel at the commander mode Athalar had slipped into. “It has to be something big,” he said, “if it’ll buy us enough time to get into the archives and find Day.”

“She’s probably in the dungeons,” Hunt said. He added, as if reading Ruhn’s worry, “She’s alive, I’m sure of it. The Hind will be dispatched to work on her—they’re not going to kill her right away. Not when she’s got so much valuable information.”

Ruhn’s stomach churned. He couldn’t get the sound of Day’s panicked voice out of his mind. His very blood roared to go to her, find her.

Bryce said a shade gently, “We’ll get her out, Ruhn.”

“That doesn’t give us much time to plan something big, though,” Hunt said, sliding into the seat beside Bryce.

Ruhn scratched his jaw. They didn’t have time to wait weeks. Even hours might be lethal. Minutes. “Day said that Pippa is lying low—but she has to have something planned. Ophion has taken enough hits to its numbers and bases lately that they’ll likely let her do whatever she wants, either as some final-stand effort or to rally old and new recruits. Maybe we can prompt Pippa to do whatever she’s planning a little earlier.”

Bryce drummed her fingers on the table. “Call Cormac.”

Bryce was fully awake when Cormac arrived thirty minutes later, Tharion in tow. She’d called him, too. He’d started them on this bullshit—he could damn well help finish it.

Yet Tharion … something was off about his scent. His eyes. He said nothing when Bryce asked, so she dropped it. But he seemed different. She couldn’t place it, but he was different.

Cormac said when Ruhn had filled them in, “I have it on good authority as of last night that Pippa is planning a raid in a few weeks on the Pangeran lab where the Asteri’s engineers and scientists work—where they made that new mech prototype. She wants their plans for it, and the scientists themselves.”

“To build the new mech-suits?” Tharion asked.

Cormac nodded.

“And you were going to tell us this when?” Ruhn challenged.

Cormac’s eyes blazed. “I heard at midnight. I figured it could wait until morning. Besides, you lot haven’t bothered to loop me in on anything since the ball, have you?” He directed this last bit at Bryce.

She smiled sweetly. “I thought you were licking your wounds.”

Cormac seethed, “I’ve been dealing with my father, finding a way to convince him to let me remain here after the humiliation of my engagement being called off.”

Tharion let out a whistle at that. Bryce asked, “And did you?”

“I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t,” Cormac hurled back. “He thinks I’m currently trying to woo you from Athalar.”

Hunt snorted at this, earning a glare from Cormac. Bryce cut in before it could escalate to blows, “So how do we convince Pippa to make her move now? We’re not exactly on good terms with her.”

Tharion said, “What if she’s not the one initiating the raid?”

Bryce angled her head. “You mean … us?”

“I mean me and Cormac and whoever else we can trust. We carry out the raid, and Pippa and her cronies come running before we can steal the plans and suits they want.”

“And where does that get us?” Hunt asked.

“It gets us in a lab with Pippa and Ophion—and if we time it right, a pack of dreadwolves will arrive right after they do.”

“Solas,” Bryce said, scrubbing at her face. “How are you going to get out of that?”

Cormac smiled at Tharion, as if sensing the direction of his thoughts. “That’s the big distraction. We blow it all to Hel.”

Ruhn blew out a breath. “That’ll certainly get the Asteri’s attention.”

“The lab’s twenty miles north of the Eternal City,” Cormac said. “It might even draw them out to inspect the site. Especially if Pippa Spetsos has been captured.”

“You’re cool with handing over a fellow rebel?” Hunt asked the prince.

“I don’t see any other options.”

“Keep the casualties to a minimum,” Hunt said to Cormac, to Tharion. “We don’t need their blood on our hands.”

Bryce massaged her chest. They were really doing this. She got to her feet, and they all looked at her as she said, “I’ll be right back,” and padded into her bedroom.

She shut the door and strode to a photo on her dresser, staring at it for several long minutes. The door opened behind her, and Hunt was there. “You all right?”

Bryce kept staring at the photo. “We were really happy that night,” she said, and Hunt approached to study the photo of her, Danika, Juniper, and Fury, all grinning in the White Raven nightclub, drunk and high and gorgeous. “I thought we were really happy, at least. But when that photo was taken, Fury was still … doing what she does, Juniper was quietly in love with her, and Danika … Danika had a mate, had all these secrets. And I was stupid and drunk and convinced we’d party until we were dust. And now I’m here.”

Her throat ached. “I feel like I have no idea who I am. I know that’s so fucking cliché, but … I thought I knew who I was then. And now …” She lifted her hands, letting them fill with starlight. “What’s the end goal in this? Somehow, someway, overthrowing the Asteri? What then? Rebuilding a government, an entire world? What if it triggers another war?”

Hunt tugged her into his arms and rested his chin atop her head. “Don’t worry about that shit. We focus on the now, then deal with everything else afterward.”

“I thought a general always planned ahead.”

“I do. I am. But the first step in making those plans is finding out what the fuck Sofie knew. If it’s nothing, then we reassess. But … I know how it feels to wake up one day and wonder how you got so far from that carefree person you were. I mean, yeah, my life in the slums with my mom wasn’t easy, but after she died … It was like I’d had some illusion ripped away from me. It’s how I wound up with Shahar. I was reeling and angry, and … it took me a long, long while to sort myself out. I’m still sorting it out.”

She leaned her brow against his chest. “Can I admit that I’m scared shitless?”

“Can I admit that I am, too?”

She laughed, squeezing him tight around the middle, breathing in his scent. “I’d be slightly less scared if you were staying here, and I could go in knowing you’re safe.”


She pinched his ass. “Then I guess we’re stuck with each other, venturing into the lion’s den.”

“More like a sobek nest.”

“Great. Really reassuring.”

He chuckled, the sound rumbling into her bones, warming them. “Ruhn talked to Declan. He’s going to hack into the security cameras at the palace—turn away the cameras while we’re in there. We need to give him our route through the building so he can turn them without being noticed by anyone monitoring the system. Flynn will run support for him.”

“What if we wind up needing to take a different hall?”

“He’ll have backup plans, but … we’ll really need to try to stick to ours.”

Nausea roiled her gut, but she said, “Okay.”

Hunt kissed her cheek. “Take your time, Quinlan. I’ll be with the others.” Then he was gone.

Bryce stared at the photo again. She pulled out her phone from her bathrobe and dialed. Unsurprisingly, Juniper’s phone went to audiomail. It was five thirty in the morning, but—she knew Juniper would have picked up before.

“Hey, this is Juniper Andromeda. Leave a message!”

Bryce’s throat closed up at her friend’s lovely, cheerful voice. She took a breath as the audiomail beeped. “Hey, June. It’s me. Look, I know I fucked up, and … I’m so sorry. I wanted to help, but I didn’t think it through, and everything you said to me was absolutely right. I know you might not even listen to this, but I wanted you to know that I love you. I miss you so much. You’ve been a rock for me for so long, and I should have been that for you, but I wasn’t. I just … I love you. I always have, and always will. Bye.”

She rubbed at her aching throat as she finished. Then removed the photo from the frame, folded it, and slipped it inside her phone case.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


not work with dark mode