Authors: Jacqueline Rhoades
Tags: #vampires, #paranormal, #love story, #supernatural, #witches, #vampire romance, #guardians, #pnr, #roamance, #daughters of man
Copyrighted 2012 by Jacqueline Rhoades
Cover design: Heather Rhoades
Smashwords Edition, License Notes:
This ebook is licensed for your personal
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and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work
of this author.
To all those who encouraged me to write
To all those who were willing to read it.
Bless each and every one of you and your kind
Table of Contents
It was done. At the suggestion of her
Captain, she’d taken a six month leave to think it over and today,
six months to the day, it was done.
“I don’t like doing this, Justice,” Captain
Murray told her as he accepted her letter of resignation. “You said
you’d talk to Dr. Afton.”
“I did. It didn’t change anything.”
“It might have, if you’d gone more than
twice,” he growled.
The shrink wanted to talk about her past and
John’s death and JJ wasn’t going there. The truth about either
subject would do nothing but earn her a medical leave and maybe a
stay in the local psych ward. No matter how confidential the shrink
claimed to be, word would get out and no cop wanted to share the
front of a black and white with a nut case. JJ didn’t blame them.
She’d feel the same way.
“Look, Captain, this isn’t about John’s
death. It’s about me. I’ve felt this way for a long time.”
That much was the truth. For the past two
years, the only reason she’d stayed with the force was John and
he’d been gone for six months. It was time she left, too. And so,
it was done. No gun. No badge. No cop.
Her mind still back in the Captain’s office,
JJ dumped her things in the chair by the foot of the stairs. She
had taken two steps up when her attention was redirected by a muted
clank from the kitchen, followed by another and a soft thud. She
was down behind the chair and reaching cautiously for the personal
Glock she kept in the drawer of the small entry table when the cat
strolled into the dining area from the kitchen, the door swinging
closed behind it. It sauntered through the living room, paused long
enough to hiss and flatten its ears at the sight of the gun,
clearly stating its opinion of firearms, and continued on to the
front door where it sat calmly on the small braided rug. It stared
at the knob as if expecting the brass ball to turn on its own.
“Damn. I thought I threw you out.” She set
the gun on the table. “I could have shot you, you know.” The cat
didn’t look impressed. JJ looked closer at the pint sized tigress.
“Did you just roll your eyes at me?”
The yellow cat had shown up two weeks ago in
the pouring rain, yowling on her porch until she took pity on it
and let it in. She’d given it a saucer of milk and shared the can
of tuna that was meant to be her sandwich supper. Her mistake. The
wily feline kept sneaking back into her house no matter how many
times she threw it out. She’d searched high and low for the way it
got in, but she’d had no luck finding it.
The little tabby sniffed and continued to
look at the door.
“Fine.” She unlocked and opened the door. “Go
home and don’t come back. There’s no place for you here,” she said
as the cat brushed past her legs.
The cat looked back, flicked its tail twice
and continued on its way. It would be back and they both knew it.
There was a ten pound bag of kitty kibble in the kitchen that
insured its return. JJ closed the door and ran up the stairs.
Fifteen minutes later, she was ready to roll.
Black leather pants as soft as butter melted over her long thin
legs. Her full sleeved black poet’s shirt was topped by a leather
vest with four latch hook closings. She would have liked to
complete the look with a pair of spike heeled boots, but they were
impractical in her line of work so she settled for the combat style
that laced up over her ankles. She grabbed her keys and headed out
to her car.
Twenty minutes after that, she pulled the
Mustang into a slot just vacated by an erratically driven
Volkswagen. As soon as she was out of the car, she removed her
leather jacket and folded it neatly away in the trunk. No need to
tempt passersby by leaving it on the seat. She’d be cold without
it, but there was nothing unusual about that. She’d been cold for a
very long time.
She beeped the lock and tucked the key
securely in her pocket before taking off at a near run into the
heart of the warehouse district. She slowed to a walk when she
started to come across people walking the other way.
JJ recognized the three young men in the
group coming toward her. She didn’t know their names, but she’d
seen them around and one of them had tried to hit on her or
whatever they called it these days. Was he trying to add an older
woman to his list of conquests or did she look like she was only
twenty? She hadn’t talked to him long enough to find out. Snarling
one of her usual cutting remarks, she’d sent him on his way to the
great amusement of his friends.
The group passed with her would-be date
self-consciously looking the other way. A dark haired young woman
smiled and nodded her head as if in recognition. JJ returned the
nod, but didn’t smile. She wasn’t in the habit of encouraging
There was something odd about the group,
nothing overt, but every time she saw them or others like them, her
cop’s sixth sense always niggled at the back of her mind. Their
clothes were too new, too put together, almost like costumes taken
from a movie set. They weren’t comfortable wearing them, either.
The girls were always tugging at the hems of their short skirts;
the guys always reaching for ties that weren’t there. JJ thought of
them as ‘others’ when she thought of them at all.
She shook her head at her own distraction.
When had being too clean cut become a crime? Tonight she was on the
job. Not her official cop job, but a job nonetheless. She needed to
keep her head in the game.
JJ knew she was headed in the right direction
as the music increased in volume and something sweet was added to
the usual smell of oil and grease and rusted metal that permeated
the district. If a substance could be smoked, it was being smoked
right here. Once you were in the area, the aroma alone would lead
the way. A miasma of herbs, spices, and the always available
marijuana floated through the narrow alleys, the Hansel and Gretel
breadcrumbs of the rave scene.
Rizzo was on the door tonight and he waved
her in without bothering to collect her ticket. Tall, broadly built
with the face of an angry bulldog, he was one of her street
acquaintances and he winked as she passed by. A blast of heat hit
her as she entered and she was glad she’d braved the cold and left
her jacket behind. This party had started hours ago and between the
drinking, frenzied dancing and the side effects of certain drugs,
the place was a furnace of body heat.
JJ paused just inside the door to allow her
eyes and ears to adjust to the pounding noise and flashing lights
inside. Bodies writhed to the heavy techno beat; in pairs, in
groups and alone. Laughter, shouting, squeals and shrieks combined
with the music to echo off the uninsulated ceiling in a cacophony
of chaos. She wove her way carefully through the crowd, saw, as she
always did; enough drug buys to keep a cop buried in paperwork for
a month and finally squeezed through the throng packed around the
bar to snag a beer from one of the overworked bartenders.
From there she worked her way around to the
edges of the crowd and began to circle the room constantly scanning
for something only she could see. The hunt was on.
Nardo hunched into the turned up collar of
his jacket and stuffed his hands back in the pockets. “I hate
“The professor says it’s not really winter
until the solstice, whatever that is.” The cold didn’t seem to
bother Dov. He walked with his jacket thrown open by the wind,
showing off the wide chest that stretched taut the fabric of his
“I don’t care what the date is. It’s
twenty-eight degrees out here. It’s winter. Fuck the solstice and
the professor too.”
“I don’t think you want to do that,” Dov
smirked. He and his twin, Col, were the youngest members of their
House of Guardians, and while the lilies emblazoned on their left
pectorals along with the ribbon of banner that read ‘Paenitet me’-
I repent, announced them as adult males, neither had the black
skull and red tears proclaiming them to be full Guardians of the
“Do what?” Nardo asked, only half listening.
He was thinking of cutting off the pony tail that hung halfway down
his back. It was hard to keep his collar up with it sticking out
and was uncomfortable when he tucked it inside.
“Fuck the professor.” Dov deadpanned. He
shuddered. “I got this picture in my head and it wasn’t
Nardo laughed and playfully shoved the
younger Paenitentia into the nearest wall. Laughing, Dov threw his
hands up in surrender.
“Hey, I’m just saying…”
“Where is Broadbent, anyway?” Broadbent’s
preference for tweed jackets, a pipe, and long winded explanations
had earned him the title of professor and he was scheduled as
Nardo’s partner for tonight.
“Had to meet his father in New York. It was a
last minute thing. The guy called Canaan like the professor was
twelve or something.” Dov puffed out his chest and deepened his
voice. “I say, old chap, have a stop-over in New York and I need to
see the heir. You’ll send him along, won’t you? There’s a good
Nardo snorted at Dov’s dead on imitation. “He
probably went through Canaan because Broadbent would say no. The
old man calls him once a week wanting to meet with him about
business or anything else that might keep him away from us.”
“Canaan thought he’d be back in time for his
shift what with it getting dark so early, but when the professor
didn’t show, Fearless Leader said I had to.”
Nardo punched Dov’s arm, this time none too
gently. “Show some respect.”
Canaan was their Liege Lord and they served
at his command. They lived and worked in his House of Guardians
along with four other members and three of their mates and Nardo
still had trouble calling him boss, as Canaan preferred, instead of
the traditional “My Lord”.
“I got respect.” The blonde giant danced
around Nardo boxing the air. “So, you gonna to tell me why we left
the docks halfway through the shift to come over here?” He waved
his hand at the acres of warehouses.