Max has lived as the Abomination for five years and this week is her anniversary. Like all vampires, she has to return to the point at which she was turned and relive her original attack and transformation. Max is prepared, but there is a little errand she must run for Gregori before the big night.
A panther shifter has asked for a bodyguard for his sister, and Max agrees to watch the woman as long as she can bring two friends.
Raven Dexter and Hellebore arrive in time to help the very pregnant shifter through a difficult labour while midnight elves wait to take the baby for their own.
After that, Max’s Turning Night is a bit of an anticlimax.
Max sat at her desk and pondered the calendar. Five years. It was as clear as the nose on the goblin rep’s face; it had been five years since she had been turned into the Abomination. She wondered if they made a greeting card for that.
Fifth anniversary, wood and silverware. She grinned as she imagined that party with a bunch of vampires. Two things traditionally used to kill them and they were obligated to offer them to her. Part of Max was delighted and part dreaded the party in two days.
Anthony knocked on the doorframe. “Apprentice, the Guild Master requests your presence.”
She grinned and got to her feet. “I really doubt that. Any news from Xander and Abby?”
“They are doing well and have renewed their offer of a gnome to call your own.”
Laughter bubbled up. “No, I think I will have to decline that offer. Gregori would probably try and eat it if it irritated him.”
“I do not think that try would be involved.” Anthony sighed and his ears turned pink.
“Is he whistling for me again?”
The Guild Master’s Major Domo nodded with a pained expression.
With a regretful sigh, Max pulled her earplugs out and tucked them in her desk. Her enhanced hearing was part and parcel of being the Abomination. The earplugs helped when Gregori was feeling particularly vocal.
She passed Anthony and patted his shoulder. “It is almost time for some meal.”
He nodded with relief and headed for the kitchen. It was the most soundproofed portion of the Guild Master’s estate.
The windows were being opened to let in the sunset. Gregori had only mild sensitivity to light and Max had none at all.
“Coming, Guild Master.” She wrinkled her nose at the etiquette that she had to obey. He was meeting with a panther shifter with a rather primitive attitude toward women. This was not where she wanted to be right now.
He quieted, so she knew he had heard her. He would have continued bellowing if she hadn’t answered.
Calling this huge place home had taken some getting used to, but now, she navigated easily through the halls to the formal audience chamber.
She paused in the doorway and inclined her head. “You called, Guild Master?”
He was seated at the round table with the shifter. “You took your time, Max.”
“I was not prepared for your summons.”
The panther snorted. He looked like he ate nails for breakfast and he had been in at least two territory disputes that had scarred his face. “Apparently. I thought she had all the strengths of a vampire, including her hearing.”
Max didn’t respond. She looked to Gregori.
“She tends to use earplugs to block me out, Rithak. She needs moments to herself and tries to keep her use of the plugs to daylight hours.” His lips twisted in amusement.