Munro (Immortals After Dark #18) by Kresley Cole

            “Is it hidden? I couldn’t tell because it’s so easy to find,” Nïx said. “Anyway, I didn’t send her. She’s very powerful now.”

            “Present tense? I thought the taste of her own medicine might have brought her down.”

            “Your Wendigo salt secret is as secret as your ‘hidden’ kingdom. And what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

            Then La Dorada was a fearsome adversary indeed. Which meant Lothaire was more legendary than even he supposed. Measure me by the caliber of my foes.

            When the corridor they traversed intersected with another, Nïx took a right.

            Lothaire ran a finger along the stone wall. “As soon as I defeat and subjugate the Horde, I intend to make improvements to this place.”

            “Naughty Lothaire, planning to steal what rightfully belongs to your brother, the legitimate heir.”

            “Half brother.” Few knew that he and Kristoff were related, and Lothaire intended to keep that card close to the vest for a while longer. “And just because Helvita rightfully belongs to Kristoff doesn’t mean he’ll ever possess it. How can he fight for what’s his if he never leaves Dacia?” Kristoff was trapped there—by his own thirst for knowledge.

            Ah, that thirst must be a family trait.

            “You still let him believe you know where Furie is?”

            Lothaire had been the one to dump her in the drink, but seismic rifts and unpredictable currents had swept her away like a fragment of a seashell. Oops.

            Nïx had only forgiven him for that because he’d had no choice in the matter. He’d been sworn to obey the old Horde king, a crazed regent who’d wanted Furie punished. “Upon my Bride’s urging, I told Kristoff that no one knows where Furie is, but he won’t believe me. Me! A vampire who can’t lie.”

            “I know where she is.” Nïx’s eyes grew silvery with grief. “Her location was recently confirmed.”

            “Let me guess. You’re leaving Furie to rot, just like you did me.”

            “I’m not to rescue her. It mustn’t be me.”

            “It’s supposed to be Kristoff, isn’t it? If he rescues her, then she’ll fall at his feet with gratitude.” Lothaire frowned. The two of them united would bring new meaning to the term power couple. A disagreeable development.

            “Oh, if only the world followed Lothaire logic.” Eyes clearing, Nïx met his gaze. “Be warned, Enemy of Old, one day your brother will know a great many things. His garnered wisdom will equal even yours.”

            Lothaire scoffed. “Impossible. Do you know how many I had to drink to become the most learned vampire in this realm?”

            At another cross corridor, she took a left, then backtracked to go right. Not a good sign.

            “You look exhausted,” he said. “Should we go ahead and surrender to the Møriør? Or talk about a replacement general for the Vertas? Asking for a friend.”

            Nïx’s bat screeched its outrage, the sound echoing. Lothaire and Nïx froze.

            The Bloodroot Forest of his nightmares lay outside these very walls. Lothaire stifled a shudder, grating, “Muzzle your flying rat, Valkyrie.”

            Nïx glared. “Bertil can’t be contained. Also, you don’t have friends besides me.” She had alternately been his nemesis and his boon companion over the millennia.

            She resumed her way through the maze, taking them closer to the mystery prisoner.

            “You’ll never get a mate if you don’t lose the fanged accessory,” Lothaire said. “The cockblockage is strong in that one.”

            “So harsh toward a fellow bloodsucker? And on that subject, what do you know about scârbăs?”

            Used to haphazard segues from Nïx, he said, “A handful of Horde elders once knew a spell to make vampire hybrids out of demons. Outcasts among the Lore, scârbăs belong to neither demon nor vampire factions—yet are more powerful than both species put together.”