Mistrial declared in corruption case against ex-Los Angeles sheriff UK health minister says will simplify approach to local COVID-19 restrictions

She grinned, taking my hand and holding it between her soft, paper-thin skin. For a long time, we did nothing but study each other. Her face was softer now, and she’d let her dark hair lighten completely. But there was this look of mischief in her eyes that was so uniquely hers, I felt myself choke up at the sight.

But then you must understand what I’m going through, I pushed. Wyatt took a hit that was meant for me . . . right after taking bullets that were meant for me. Please?There was another moment of silence, and I started to think I’d gone too far. But then Lex sighed and said, I could send Katia.

Jesse and I exchanged a surprised look. Lex’s biological aunt, Katia, had come to LA a few months earlier as a sort of involuntary henchman for a man named Oskar, who had been seeking revenge against Molly. Oskar was dead now, and as part of a deal with Lex’s boss, Maven, we’d sent Katia to Colorado. I hadn’t thought to ask what had happened to her afterward, even when I was right there in Boulder. Stupid Scarlett.But Katia did have boundary witch blood, like Lex. What’s she up to these days? I said. Best to be cautious.Right now, Maven has her traveling around Colorado as a sort of vampire ambassador, checking in with various communities. She’s in . . . There was a pause, like Lex was checking a calendar. Grand Junction today. But I could probably get her on a flight this afternoon.

I forced myself not to jump up and down quite yet. Will that be okay? Will you get in trouble?There was a pause, and Lex cleared her throat. Actually, Katia is—understandably—hesitant to swear an oath of loyalty to Maven, given what happened with Oskar. She helps with things on a freelance basis, but it can get . . . tense. It might be good for everyone if she takes a short trip to LA. Maybe she can clear the air there, too.

Oh. Right. Katia had kind of terrorized the city a little bit. I took about two seconds to ponder whether I’d get in trouble with Dashiell for bringing her back to town without consulting him, but decided I didn’t care. If Lex trusted Katia, I did too, and if she could help Wyatt, it was worth the trouble.

That would be amazing, thank you. I gave her Hayne’s phone number and asked her to have Katia call him as soon as she arrived. I didn’t know where they were keeping Wyatt, but Hayne could arrange the blood donation. Before we hung up, Lex said, Listen, I was going to call you today anyway. Maven remembered something else last night, about the little girl in Azad.Safi stared at the Empress’s swelling, purple face, and she nudged at her Truthwitchery for some sign of the woman’s sincerity. It seemed impossible that Vaness would offer something so vast … Yet beneath all of Safi’s blazing pain, her witchery shimmered its confirmation.

A triumphant smile curled on the edge of her lips—although that might’ve been a pained grimace. It was hard to tell at this point.I want trade with Nubrevna, she said. I want you to send an envoy to Lovats, and I want you to negotiate the export of food in exchange for … for whatever it is Nubrevnans have to offer.

Vaness arched a bloodied eyebrow, and a breeze sent her wet hair flying across her face. Why would you want that?Same as you. Safi tipped her head back toward the city—then wished she hadn’t. She was losing too much blood for quick movements. Or for any movements, really. I’ll dirty my hands for the people that matter to me. I’ll run as far as I have to and fight as hard as I can. If that’s what it takes to help them, then that’s what I’ll do.