Authors: Lisa Emme
Thank you for purchasing this ebook. This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. It remains the copyrighted property of the author
and may not be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download
their own copy from their favourite authorized retailer.
Thank you for your support!
All Rights Reserved
Cover design by
The Scarlett Rugers Design Agency
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval
systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s wild and crazy imagination or are
used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Visit Lisa at
In memory of my Dad,
Not a day goes by that I don't miss you.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
-John Gillespie Magee, Jr. 1941
“Harry!” Tess’s voice interrupted my thoughts and I found
myself standing with an unloaded bolt in my hand. “Are you even listening to
“No, sorry.” I gave her an apologetic smile.
“Hmmph! Well, you better start paying attention. If Rigo
catches you daydreaming with a weapon in your hand, you can kiss range practice
Rodrigo Fuentes, Rigo to his friends and family, was Tess’s
uncle. He owned and operated the Rockford Gym & Range, named after his
favourite 70’s TV show. Tess, my best friend since forever, worked there too and
was supposed to be walking me through the use of the new self-cocking crossbow
pistols they had started to carry. It was the first projectile-firing weapon I
had ever been allowed to train with. Rigo, a werewolf like Tess, was of the
belief that battles should be fought either hand to hand or with the katana at
close quarters. Only cowards or norms – that’s you non-magical folk - used
guns as far as he was concerned. It was a prejudice shared by pretty much the
whole supernatural community, probably one of the few things werewolves and
vampires agreed on. Now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t really know any
witches or mages that use guns either. Why use a gun when you can hex
The only reason Tess was allowed to be certified in the
use of both hand and long guns was because she was my unofficial bodyguard and needed
to be proficient in any weapon that came to hand. I was pretty sure that I was
finally being allowed to learn how to shoot something as a sort of reward for
managing to stay alive (barely) the other day when I had been kidnapped by Elian
Navarre, a psychopathic Fae Prince. Not only had I managed to keep myself
alive and kill the deranged bastard, I had saved the life of Cian Nash, a
member of the werewolf pack.
So, I know what you are thinking. If I was that capable, why
do I need a bodyguard, unofficial or otherwise? Personally, I don’t think I
do, but try telling that to the Triad, the ruling council of the pack.
Although I was raised a witch by my grandmother, my powers are a little more,
how shall I put it? Freakish. I mean what else would you call someone that
can not only speak to the dead, yes like the
control them? I’m talking full on zombie apocalypse here. Obviously, you
can understand why they might be a bit concerned and want to keep an eye on
someone who could raise their own undead army, but the real kicker is that I had
the potential of being the secret weapon they needed against vampires, if the need
ever arose. Being that they are dead, or more accurately un-dead, vampires
fall onto the list of things I can bend to my will. Too bad I wasn’t that big
of a secret anymore. I had accidentally outed myself to Salvador Arroyo, the
Magister of the Cimmerian and the scariest, most powerful vampire in town, a
few months ago and then proceeded to demonstrate my powers several times in
front of an audience, mostly by accident. Now that the news was out that the
first ever necromancer in generations was living in Riverton, I pretty
much had a target on my back.
“Try it again, Harry,” Tess said, interrupting my thoughts
again. She pointed to the small crossbow pistol I held in my other hand.
“Just push the clip with your thumb and then crack it before slipping in the
I did as I was told, grasping the flange at the back of the pistol and
clicking the little button before placing my other hand at the front of the bow
and pushing down. The flange easily pivoted down as well. It was just
like I was cracking the entire mechanism in half. The bowstring was
automatically pulled back, cocking the bow. The flange popped back up in place
bringing the two pieces back together with an audible click. I dropped the
small, four inch bolt into the slot and aimed at the target at the end of my
“Hey!” I tipped the pistol to the side looking at it in
confusion. “Damn, I forgot the safety again.”
Tess rolled her eyes. “Maybe we should call it a day. I
don’t think your mind is on the task.” She quickly cocked her own pistol and
fired a bolt at the target at the end of her lane. It landed with a quiet
‘snick’ a split second later, right in the middle of the roughly man-shaped
target’s head. Show off.
“Just a couple more.” I thumbed off the safety on my bow
and took aim again. The bolt flew across the space and shaved the side of the
target’s head, landing in the whitespace at the edge of the black target.
Maybe it would have taken off his ear, just enough to piss my assailant off. I
rolled my eyes. I sucked at this.
“You’re squeezing the trigger too hard,” Tess said as she
came over to stand behind me in my lane. “Try it again, only this time instead
of pulling the trigger, press it.”
I gave her a skeptical look. “You know that’s the same
“No, it isn’t.” She shook her head. “When you pull the
trigger, you go too fast and the pistol moves. Think of pressing the trigger
slowly. There will be less movement and your aim will stay truer.”
I huffed out a breath with a shrug. Cocking the bow again,
I slid in a bolt and thumbed off the safety. I took aim and slowly brought my
finger to the trigger trying to press it rather than pull it. The bolt flew to
the target and lodged itself in the target’s left eye or where his left eye
would have been if he had one. “I did it!”
“Good shot, Harry. Now do it again.” Tess smirked at me.
“Prove it wasn’t a fluke.”
“Ha! You watch.”
Three more shots and I had mostly proven it wasn’t a fluke.
Obviously, I had a ways to go before I could be considered reliable with the
compact hand bow. Tess had been right though, my mind really wasn’t focussed. After
the last couple of days I’d had, you couldn’t really blame me.
My mind kept wandering back to the night before. I had
totally blown a gasket in the hospital where I had been recuperating from my
ordeal with Navarre and basically told a member of the werewolf Triad that
while I may have been screwing her son, the aforementioned Cian Nash, I
certainly wasn’t his mate. I had then encountered an old - and I mean positively
ancient - man that handed me a card to deliver to my father, a father that I
didn’t know existed. That would have been enough to distract anyone, but I
wasn’t done yet. No, I had a real trifecta going on. Just to top off the
night, I learned that my father was none other than Salvador. Did I mention
that I was a dhamphir - half-mortal, half-vampire? Yet another reason for the
target on my back.
When I arrived home from the hospital after my little
outburst, all I had wanted to do was take a long, hot bath. Instead, there was
company - and I’m using that term loosely - waiting for me.
“Salvador, it’s rude to just let yourself into other
people’s homes.” I scowled at him and kicked off my shoes. We have a bit of a
difference of opinion as to the current ownership of the old firehall I call
my home and place of business. Salvador had signed it over to me, after buying
it from the original owner, under duress I’m sure. It had been part of a deal
that unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control and totally
orchestrated by Salvador, had fallen through. We had renegotiated the terms,
but despite having already given the deed for the building to me, Salvador
considered it still his until our new deal’s conditions were met. Since that
meant it would be another six months before I was free and clear of him, I was
not a happy camper. It also meant that despite being a vampire and uninvited,
Salvador could enter my home. Damn vampire loopholes.
“Harry, my dear Harry! So marvelous to see you.” Salvador
clapped his hands together like a gleeful three year old. “You look
wonderful. None the worse for wear I see.” He rose to his feet with the grace
of a panther from where he had been sitting on my couch. He took a step
towards me and I admit it, I flinched. His smile faltered and was replaced by
a calculating look. “Ah, I see. The cat is out of the proverbial bag, is it
not?” He looked at Isaac who gave him a Gallic shrug. “Well, then,” Salvador
continued, his smile returning, “aren’t you going to greet your father properly?”
He held out his arms like he expected me to run and throw myself at him.
“No thanks, I’ll pass.” I stepped back, putting more
distance between us. I looked at Tomas, Salvador’s lieutenant and a fellow
dhamphir, who had also risen from his seat. His expression was shocked, his
normally ruddy Mediterranean complexion pale. I couldn’t help myself and I
laughed. “At least I wasn’t the last to know.” Tomas scowled at me. We have a
love-hate relationship. We love to hate one another.
Salvador’s face became expressionless. He held out his
hand, palm up, as if waiting to take my hand. He raised an eyebrow at me
expectantly. This was one of the concessions he had insisted upon whenever we
met, that he would be allowed to greet me like a gentleman, with a kiss on my
hand. I thought it was just some weird, out-of-date greeting that he used to
assert his dominance, but now I was beginning to think there was more to it.
I huffed out an exasperated breath and stomped over and put
my hand in his. He bent over my fingers as he had done a dozen times before.
At the last moment he twisted my wrist, presenting the soft, veined underside
to his lips. Before I could pull away or even voice a protest, his cool lips
touched my skin and the floor dropped away. I was frozen in his grip.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I registered the sight of
Isaac and Tomas struggling together as Isaac jumped to my aid and Tomas to his
master’s defense, but my attention was riveted on the scenes that flashed
before my inner eye as Salvador used his power and connection to my blood to
sift through my memories of the last couple of days. It was like watching a
rerun of your life in double speed. I inwardly cringed as Salvador forced me
to relive the death of Bellemare, reduced to an oozing puddle on the floor of
his very illegal research facility. The pixies barely earned a flinch, but the
redcaps with their woolen hats dripping blood down their craggy, sharp-toothed
faces made me weak in the knee. I felt tears running down my face as I experienced
the moments when I thought that Nash was dead all over again and then suddenly, it
was over. Gasping, I fell to my knees on the floor, my wrist cradled in my
“You fucking bastard,” I glared at Salvador and then angrily
brushed the tears from my face.
Isaac came to my side and helped me to my feet. “That was
unnecessary,” he said to Salvador.
Salvador shrugged. “It was expedient.” He turned and
smiled at me. “You did well, my
.” He seemed to relish using the
“Like I give a rat’s ass what you think of me…Salvador.” I
refused to call him my father.
Salvador feigned a wounded look. “Harry, Harry, Harry.” He
shook his head. “Will you let a little word come between us? I thought we had
begun such a wonderful friendship.”
“How long? How long have you known?” I stepped away from
Isaac’s support to stare at Salvador, hands on my hips.
“How long?” Salvador sat back down on my couch casually. “Why,
my dear Harry, I have known who you were from the moment you were born. Did
you really think that I would have a child alive on this Earth and not know about
it?” His voice had an edge to it.
I frowned at him. “You’ve known all along? Even before that first time at Dante’s?”
“But of course. We are connected, you and I, connected by
the blood that flows in your veins.”
“So then why…” I paused, not really sure what I wanted to
“Why didn’t I rush to your side when you were left orphaned
as a babe by the untimely death of your mother?” Salvador smiled wickedly.
“Well, yeah. Sure.” I crossed my arms petulantly.
Salvador arched an eyebrow at me in a most parental
fashion. “And raised you where? In the bowels of Dante’s among the pain sluts
and blood whores?” He gave me a ‘you can’t be serious’ look.
“No, of course not.” I shifted uncomfortably.
“Harry, my dear child.” Salvador leaned forward in his seat.
“Your grandmother was the only parent you needed and what a marvellous job she
did.” He smiled at me. “I had to keep you safe. As you can imagine, it would
have been dangerous for anyone to know whose child you really were.” His face
became more serious. “We must think on this new development and whether we
want it public just yet.”
“A little late for that,” I said with a scowl. “As you
said, the cat is already out of the bag.” I pulled out a small, white card and placed
it on the table in front of Salvador. “A strange man found me at the hospital
and told me to give this to my father. He acted like he knew exactly whom he
meant and expected that I would too.”
Salvador leaned forward and snatched the card from the
table. He looked at it with narrowed eyes and then flipped it over to see the
date printed there. “Tell me about this man. What did he look like?” His voice was harsh,