Inside the clubhouse, my nostrils were assaulted with the stench of various types of smoke. Wood, cigar, cigarettes, weed, and—hellfire. A big, round guy in the corner coughed and a puff of smoke popped out and over the playing cards in his hand.
O’Dell grinned. “We call that the fire-demon flu.”
“It smells like dead ass.” I wrinkled my nose.
“Which is why Colby is holed up in his office. Come on.”
I followed O’Dell through the bar-like front room and pulled up short. The not-looking at me thing was getting weird. “Why are they doing that?”
O’Dell glanced over his shoulder, to where every man in the building was looking down at the ground. The few women looked confused.
I passed under a large mural of fierce Norseman raiders storming a Christian monastery. One looked far too familiar for my liking. It’s amazing how very little Colby had physically changed.
“You are Colby’s woman, are you not?”
“Wow, definitely not.” I would have snarled, had I possessed any energy. Everything about being here was unsettling.
The reverence in O’Dell’s voice, on top of the way the others seemed to regard my presence, made me uneasy. A reminder of things he’d done and never made right, the dangerous and dark side of his past.
The twitchy, small man stopped at a large, oak door adorned with Viking insignia and grinned. “Part of me wants to stick around and watch the sparks fly with this one. I don’t think he’s as prepared for your ire as he thinks he is.”
I stopped again. “What? Why??”
“Because I know witches, and—well,” —he gave an impish shrug— “your kind is damn scary once you’re pissed off.”
One of the Northmen was afraid of me, my kind? And I wasn’t angry, not really. I laughed a little, and the warmth of it pushed away some of the anger and fear, easing the tension that gripped my shoulders and neck. “I don’t think Colby Jacobson is afraid of anything.”
“Whatever you say.” O’Dell gave me a conspiratorial smile and pushed open the heavy door.
But I’d assumed Colby was alone.