Authors: Colleen Vanderlinden
Tags: #Urban Fantasy
Published by Peitho Press
Detroit, Michigan, 2016
© 2016 Colleen Vanderlinden
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, email the author at
Dedicated to my own personal super team of beta readers and crusaders. You guys are the absolute best.
“On your right,” Caine’s voice said over the comm in my ear. “He’s about to let loose again.”
“Copy.” I swerved, turning back to the right and finally catching sight of the most recent powered dumbass Caine and I had been chasing. This one had been popping up all over the region the past two weeks, damaging buildings and injuring people in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Indianapolis, and then boasting about it on social media. If I had to guess, I’d say he was in his early twenties, probably. Tall and skinny, jock-looking type. He didn’t bother with a uniform or costume of any kind, unless you counted black skinny jeans and a 1980s-era studded black leather jacket. He could fly, and he was able to breathe fire.
He called himself, predictably enough, “The Dragon.”
Caine and I had spent most of a day trying to chase him down the last time he’d shown up in Detroit, with the rest of the team backing us up. He shouldn’t have been as difficult to catch as he was, except that in addition to the flying and fire, he had the ability to camouflage himself. If you were anywhere where there were buildings or trees or anything like that for him to blend into, you were screwed.
Over the past hour or so, we’d managed to draw him out near the river and toward Belle Isle. It was more open there, and there were no skyscrapers for him to blend into.
I got ready to move, and the phone I kept in one of the pockets on my belt rang. Again. I rolled my eyes. This was the fifth time in maybe ten minutes.
“Shouldn’t you answer that?” Caine asked as I hoisted him up and started flying toward the island.
“Not right now.”
“What if it’s your mom or something?”
I shook my head. “That’s not her ring. It’s Killjoy’s.”
Killjoy. Who I hadn’t heard a peep from in over a month, since the day he’d come to visit me in the hospital wing after my fight with Maddoc. I’d told him to stay away from Command, because I didn’t trust Alpha not to try to take him in. But that wasn’t an issue anymore and if he’d bothered calling or messaging or something even once in all that time, he would have known that.
I dropped Caine on the beach at Belle Isle, where he could get a good shot off if I wasn’t able to take the guy down. He wasn’t getting away from us again.
“Ready?” I asked him.
“Go get him,” he answered, pulling the stun rifle off his shoulder and aiming it. “If he starts taking off again, he won’t get far.”
I nodded, then rose into the air again. I knew by now, about a month after Portia had assigned Caine as my partner out in the field, that when he took a shot, he didn’t miss. The problem was that we didn’t get as many shots as we’d like, and superpowers, unfortunately, sometimes reacted strangely with the stun gun, so we had to make sure that we were somewhere where the chance of civilians getting hurt was low.
I also knew, because he’d told me the second we got our partner assignments, that his real name, secret identity or whatever you wanted to call it, was Ryan Lucas. To me, he was still Caine.
Superhero life. It’s complicated.
I raced toward Dragon, who hadn’t spotted us yet and seemed to be surveying the area below. Either looking for us or deciding which random structure to set fire to next. It really didn’t matter, because he wouldn’t get the chance to do any of it. Everything was a blur as I pushed myself toward him. His back was to me, and I had the perfect chance to get the jump on him, take him down before he even saw me coming.
And, at that moment, my phone rang again. Killjoy’s ring.
Dragon spun and kind of did this funny mid-air version of tripping in surprise. I was already going at him full speed, so I just kept going, and I was lucky that he wasn’t exactly a quick thinker. I barreled into him, got an arm around his neck, and flew with him back down to the ground. Even if he managed to take in enough air to blow fire, there was nothing on the beach to set fire to. I landed, and he struggled and fought against me. I could see Caine further down the beach, running toward us. Dragon kept struggling and trying to get out of my grasp, and I tightened my hold around his neck, his head under my arm.
And my phone rang again.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” I muttered. I used my free hand to dig my phone out of my belt pocket and answered.
“Hello?” I asked, well aware that I sounded like a bitch.
“Well hello to you too. I was wondering if you were ever going to bother answering,” Connor’s voice said over the line. Dragon started struggling again, and I yanked him back toward me.
“Little busy just now,” I said.
“Yeah. Busy with Caine, huh?”
“You two are always together. I see it on the news.”
I was seriously tempted to throw my phone into the river. “I’m working. I literally have an asshole in custody right now and he’s trying to get out of my grip and you’re giving me bullshit about my patrol partner? Are you kidding me with this right now?”
“I— ” he began, but now I was on a roll.
“And what business do you even have saying anything about anything? I haven’t heard from you in over a month and I would have been sure you were dead except that I keep seeing you on the news.”
“You told me to stay away.”
“Oh kiss my ass,” I gave Dragon a hard yank when he tried to get free again. “That has nothing to do with dialing the damn phone once in a while.”
Caine met up with me and started putting the dampener over Dragon’s neck while I held him still.
“So you’re not going to say anything about Caine then?” he asked, and I held my phone away from my head and glared at it. Caine raised his eyebrows at me, oblivious to what was going on, and I shook my head.
“You can call back when you decide to stop being an asshole. I have things to do.” I hung up and shoved the phone back in my pocket just as Caine activated the dampener.
“Everything okay?” Caine asked.
“Don’t know who that was, but it seems like pissing off the chick who breaks buildings for fun isn’t the brightest idea.”