Authors: Trina M Lee
Through my passion induced haze I thought I saw jade green eyes for the briefest second before they disappeared into the shadows among the trees.
* * * *
I couldn’t believe I’d been doing this for years already. In many ways, it felt like just yesterday that I’d met Veryl and my colleagues. Killing vampires and Weres had never struck me as something I shouldn’t do. There were far too many that were simply too careless and stupid to be allowed to walk the earth. All it took was one wrong move to expose us all.
I preferred a challenge when I hunted to kill. If it was too easy, it wasn’t any fun. Of course, I wasn’t quite the thrill seeker that my vampire companion Kale was. It was this fact that had me asking myself why I’d agreed to accompany him tonight.
“I promise, it will be the easiest way to lure him out. No big deal. You get him out of the building and I’ll be waiting for him.” Kale sounded so sure of himself. I guess after centuries of proving yourself, that came naturally.
“And what if he decides he wants to rape and kill me first? What then?” The look Kale gave me clearly stated how ridiculous he thought that was. The fact that his eyes were two different colors made the look eerie but intriguing. It didn’t take much for those eyes to captivate.
He’d been born that way, a gene condition that he detested. I didn’t see why. He could use it to his advantage due to the extraordinary beauty of having one dark brown eye and one amazing blue one. I was a little jealous. My brown eyes and ash blonde hair weren’t nearly so eye catching.
“You’re joking, right?” Kale asked, running a hand through his short, dark hair. “You’d tear his arms off before he could do that to you. This won’t be dangerous. I promise.” It was my turn to give him a look. “Bullshit. Every time you say that to me, it ends up being incredibly damn dangerous. How about you just stop saying that altogether?”
“Fine. Now get your ass moving so we can nail this bastard.” I would have slapped him if he’d been anybody else. But Kale’s friendly grin erased any seriousness his words carried. He was the only vampire I knew other than Veryl that I trusted and actually considered a friend.
I stared at the dark building, knowing a potentially deadly vampire dwelled within. I didn’t sense anyone else but that didn’t mean they weren’t there. I didn’t have a good feeling about this. Why was I letting Kale talk me into something my instinct said was all wrong?
“Kale … something doesn’t feel right. Are you sure he couldn’t possibly know we’re here?” I glanced at the building, then back at Kale. My hand was frozen on the door handle of his black Camaro.
“Well, anything is possible, Alexa, but I really don’t think so. He slaughtered four teens partying in a graveyard. He’s a fucking coward that preys on kids. We have to stop him before he does it again.”
I nodded. I’d seen photos of the aftermath of that slaughter. It was enough to make me nauseous. I didn’t understand why some vampires went for such weak prey. I’d imagine they would prefer more of a challenge. Maybe that was just me.
“Fine. But I still don’t see why you don’t just come in there with me.”
“It makes more sense this way. If he’s not alone or if he pulls a fast one on us, I’ll have a better chance of coming in after you. If we’re together, we could both be put at a disadvantage.” I sighed and tried to resist the urge to ask him why he couldn’t be the one to go in first. I knew what he’d say. But I asked anyway.
Kale frowned and studied me hard. He thought I was afraid and I hated that. I wasn’t afraid. I was wary.
“Come on, Alexa. You know that you have a better chance at distracting him than I do. I don’t have any reason to believe he plays for the other team. Use your womanly wiles and work some magic.”
I laughed bitterly and stuck my tongue out at him. “Right. Magic. Sure. Here I go. Don’t you dare let him kill me.”
“Cross my heart,” Kale replied with a wink.
I shoved the car door open and got out without a look back. I stared straight ahead at the old, long abandoned building that had once housed a law office. Now it was home to a vampire unworthy of being either supernatural or human.
There was no point knocking politely and waiting for an invite. Taking a deep breath, I strode up to the front of the building and kicked the door open. The sound of wood splitting was music to my ears. Adrenaline rushed through me and my trepidation slipped away. I was ready to tangle with this guy.
What I wasn’t ready for were the four vampires awaiting me. Each of them wore an expectant expression. The one that I was after looked absolutely delighted. He reached for me and I reacted, instinct driving me to throw my hands up and blast him with a hot shot of pure energy.
It wasn’t the greatest reaction. It resulted in every other vampire lunging at me, the one closest took me down hard and fast. The breath was forced from my lungs as I hit the floor with his weight on top of me. I sure hoped Kale had seen this from the car or I was fucked.
“Fucking stupid werewolf,” the vampire pinning me down sneered. “You might have power but it’s never going to be enough.”
“I can’t believe you thought you could take me.” The one I’d come for laughed as he moved into my line of vision. He motioned to the one holding me, indicating he wanted me up.
They jerked me to my feet and pain shot down each of my arms. I bit back the urge to make a pained noise. My power wasn’t nearly as strong as theirs but it was all I had. I waited though, wanting to plan any attack carefully. Once I used up my strength, I’d be screwed.
Kale’s sudden appearance in the doorway was no surprise to any of them. They turned to him eagerly. Nobody wasted time talking. Kale lashed out with both power and physical assault.
“Get your fucking hands off her.” The vehemence in Kale’s tone sent a chill through me.
It was so dark, so evil. I was much more used to his calm, quiet side.
Two of the four vampires returned his attack with their own. Their metaphysical ability wasn’t as strong as his. That was reassuring. They resorted to tag teaming him, the sound of fists flying and making contact was painfully loud.
The one that we had come to destroy was on me with fangs bared. I slammed the palm of my hand into his nose, the resulting crunch was both sickening and satisfying. Blood poured from his shattered nose and I moved to follow up with another blow.
He made a sound that was a strange combination of a shriek and a snarl. The power he hit me with burned and I went down hard on my ass gasping for breath.
Kale had his hands full with the other three vamps. They had all forgotten me, something that happened often as I was never seen as the threat that I truly was. It never ceased to piss me off.
I scrambled to my feet, ready to blast him but he was faster. By the time I realized what happened, his fangs were already buried deep in my neck. My blood poured out. I was disgusted and shocked as he greedily drank it in. I struggled against him but he held tight.
The sound of anguish and pain reached me as Kale dispatched one of the vampires. He was a blur out of the corner of my eye, spinning to slam a stake into another that rushed him from behind. The remaining vampire tried to run for the open door. He didn’t get very far.
The power that Kale threw at him was massive. It caused my skin to prickle with its intensity. The vampire exploded in a cloud of ash and dust. Kale whirled to find me in the clutches of our target, fighting uselessly to free myself.
He jerked my attacker off me so fast that I stumbled and fell forward, onto my knees. My hands instantly went to my bleeding throat. Fury drove Kale and he literally tore the head from the other vampire with one amazing twist. The sound of flesh tearing and bone splitting turned my stomach.
Kale was on his knees before me, pulling my hand away so he could get a look at my wound. My fingers were stained with blood but it didn’t drip as steadily as it would had it been life threatening.
“Let me see it, Alexa.” Kale forced my head to the side to get a better look. I had a moment of fear when I sensed the sudden rise of his hunger.
“No, Kale. Don’t. It’s ok. I’m ok.”
“I’m not going to hurt you.” He easily overpowered me, holding me so that I couldn’t have escaped him if I tried. “It doesn’t look too bad. You heal fast. The bleeding is already slowing. Come on, let’s get out of here.”
Hooking his arms under mine, he pulled me to my feet. I was shaky but managed to steady myself. I wasn’t afraid of Kale, not truly. Yet, I did have reason to be cautious around him. His past contained more horror and brutality than I could clearly imagine. I couldn’t be sure how much it would take to push him over the edge.
I knew for damn sure I wasn’t imagining it when Kale’s energy grew thick with bloodlust. I could feel it like the itchy prick of a thousand mosquitoes biting me all at once. I had to resist the urge to scratch.
“Kale?” Was the anxious tone in my voice as obvious to him as it was to me?
“I’m fine,” he spoke through clenched teeth. “And so are you, now let’s go.” I let him drag me along to the car. The blood flow from my neck had already slowed considerably. Kale was right. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been. The wound ached, a throb that wouldn’t let up. I cursed myself for letting it happen at all. I knew better. If I’d just been more aggressive.
“Fuck. I’m sorry, Kale. I screwed up. I should never have let him get the drop on me like that.”
“Forget it. It’s not like this hasn’t happened before. You can take it. Just … try not to bleed in my car.”
* * * *
When I got back to Raoul’s house, I felt like all kinds of crap. I was tired, sore and more than a little pissed off at how everything had played out. Still, it was a job that allowed me to be what I was. A werewolf with the power of a vampire. Where else could I get away with that?
Before I even walked through the door I could feel the immense werewolf energy inside.
It was when I swung the door open that I was slapped with hot sexual energy. My stomach dropped and I knew what was going on before I saw Belle slither down the stairs, wrapped in one of Raoul’s robes.
I hated her. I had hated her since the first time I laid eyes on her. And I hated him too.
She cast a scathing glance at me as she swept into the kitchen. I kicked my shoes off, glaring at nothing as I listened to her digging around in the fridge. I paused at the bottom of the stairs and looked up. Raoul’s bedroom door was closed.
Belle returned with a bottle of wine in one hand and two glasses in the other. The urge to grab that bottle and smash it over her head was strong, almost too much for me to resist. It was Shaz that prevented it. He entered the room at just the right moment.
“Rough night?” Belle asked with a smirk, eyeing my filthy attire and tangled hair. “You look like something the cat dragged in.”
“How hard did your brain have to work to come up with that?” I snapped.
Belle’s smile grew wider and she paused halfway up the stairs. “Don’t blame me because you can’t hold Raoul’s interest, Alexa. You were nothing but a new toy. I guess the novelty has worn off.”
With that, she flounced up the stairs without a look back. With fists clenched, I moved to follow her and Shaz quickly intercepted me.
“Don’t, Lex. She’s not worth it.” He forced me to meet his eyes. His gaze slid to my neck, taking in the scabby vampire bite. “You’re hurt. Are you ok?” I was hurt alright. The pain came from the inside, my physical troubles forgotten. I felt sick to my stomach at the thought of Belle and Raoul together. I should have known better.
It wasn’t the first time he’d done this. What else did I expect? We weren’t together. Not the way I wished we were. I hated myself for longing for that. It wasn’t going to happen. Raoul made it clear. He wanted what he wanted and made no apology for it.
“I’m ok.” My words came out on a sigh.
Shaz steered me into the kitchen where he poured me a straight shot of whiskey. He didn’t bother with any words of false comfort, no pitiful “there there”. I adored him for that.
I accepted the glass of dark bronze liquor that he pressed into my hand. It burned a fiery path down my throat but the resulting glow that spread throughout me was numbing and welcome.
I wanted nothing more than to storm up the stairs and tear Belle’s throat out. The bitch would be sorry. It was just a matter of time. She was married to a rich, elderly man who knew nothing of her true nature or the fact that she was nothing more than a trashy slut. Karma had to come for her at some point.
The reality of the situation was crushing. Just a day after he’d been with me and now he was with her. I felt so used. I was nothing to Raoul.
“Lex?” Shaz studied me closely and I was both grateful to have such a sweet friend and embarrassed that my pain was so evident. He was a sweet kid. One day, he’d make some lucky lady incredibly happy.
“Let’s go sit outside. Get some air and just relax.” I held my empty glass out for a refill, giving him a look when he didn’t fill it high enough. A genuine smile spread across my face when he took the glass from my hand and passed me the whiskey bottle instead.
I followed him out the patio door off the kitchen and to the swing in the backyard. Shaz’
warm, wolf energy felt comforting and I clung to that feeling, knowing it was temporary.
Taking a large swallow of the potent whiskey, I laid my head on his shoulder and let him swing us. We didn’t need words to fill the quiet. It wasn’t uncomfortable and everything we could possibly say seemed to pass between us anyway.
After a long silence, I said, “I can’t be here anymore.”
“Yeah. You need to go. He’s going to ruin you. And I don’t want to see that.” Shaz reached to stroke the back of my hand with a gentle touch.
I raised my head to look at him and he leaned in, pressing a soft kiss to my temple. I was falling apart inside. It felt like my entire world was falling down around me. I had put so much hope into Raoul. Like a fool, I’d fallen hard for him and been naive enough to believe those feelings might be returned.
When I was alone later, I might cry. But right here and now with Shaz, I didn’t feel the need. I only felt the driving urge to make a change, to walk out of this place and never look back.