The Wretched

For your listening pleasure: http://t.co/vcGxDWZ

Both Trent and I vanished from my front step and appeared in the desert, near the compound.

Trent looked around the dark barren landscape, his eyes settling on the seven vamps in front of us. “It appears Oscar’s lost again.”

Danny shook his head. “I swear, that boy really needs to learn this shit.”

“Well, somebody go find the dumbass,” I snapped before whirling on Trent. “I’ve got it. What about a virus none of us can carry and that kills so quickly, there’s no chance anyone could escape?”

“Does that even exist?” Trent asked.

“Of course it exists,” I replied. “Don’t be ridiculous. We’re talking about our government.”

“Why are we talking about viruses?” Danny asked as he stepped up to us.

“Shawn wants to drop one into the compound,” Trent replied.

“Hey, you had the same fucking idea,” I said. “Don’t put it all on me.”

“Yeah, I know and I’m not, but you have Nico to think about,” Trent said, and he grabbed my left arm. “Thalia is a vamp like us and whatever we did wouldn’t hurt her, unless it had Rhenium in it, but Nico’s half human.”

“Fuck,” I grumbled and spun around to pace, pulling out of his grasp. “Okay, fine, we’ll just go shoot the goddamn place up.”

“Now, now, we need to consider that too,” he said and took a step forward. “They have the Rhenium coating their blades so it’s likely on the ammo too. We can’t just barrel in there like we would any other place.”

“It is on the ammo. I’ve already had a bullet in me.” I scratched my chin, and wondered how the Cabale would have known where I was for that job. Interesting. I’d have to look into that later. An idea hit me and I grinned widely. “Not to worry, twin. I’ve got a plan.”

Trent really didn’t like the smile on my face, judging from the expression on his. He thought it meant pain. I could see the worry in his eyes, but he should know me. I wouldn’t do anything that’d get him killed.

Usually.

Besides, if they killed my twin, I’d be hell-bent on revenge, and that’s sort of my trade. It wouldn’t be the best idea to place me in that position.

Danny appeared with Oscar at his side. I could see the boy was embarrassed as all hell, since he wouldn’t look at me, so I decided to embarrass him some more.

I pointed at Oscar. “Your new nickname is Nemo.”

“Like Captain Nemo?” he asked with a creased brow.

“No, like the fucking clownfish,” I said, “because we’re always looking for your lost ass.” I stepped closer to him, towered over him and leaned forward. “You need to learn coordinates—longitude and latitude. They’re really not all that difficult.”

“Hey, I was taught in the public school system here,” he said.

“That’s no goddamn excuse,” I said. “So were Trent and I.”

“Yeah, but you guys were in the military.”

I looked at Trent. “I’m tellin’ ya, it should be a fucking requirement.”

He nodded with a chuckle. “What’s the plan?”

“All new vamps need to go through some sort of boot camp, but as far as tonight goes—” I growled at Nemo and stepped into the center of their circle “—here’s what we’re going to do . . . .”

* * * * *

I crouched just outside the electrified chain link fence and studied the compound from a distance. I’d already described the area I’d been in previously to the others. So why’d the fucking place look deserted?

“Shit, I think they’ve vacated,” I said. The lights were still on, but I couldn’t see any guards in the towers or elsewhere.

Trent frowned. “Did anyone see you last time you were here?”

I slapped a hand to my face. “Mother fucker.”

“I’ll take that as a yes,” he said.

“I left the son of a bitch alive, and a few others saw me.” I stood up. “I just wanted to find Nico. Let me go scout real quick.” I vanished from the perimeter.

I appeared right in front of the last door I saw before porting to Ireland. Fucking thing was wide open. The vines were still there too. I stepped through the doorway and took a quick look around, listening for any sign of life. All I could hear was the hum of computers and the ventilation system . . . and the vines still crawling along the floor. At the rate they grew, the whole place would be covered in a few days. A large ivy plant growing in the middle of the desert? Yeah, try to hide that shit from the public.

Once I knew the place was clear, I linked with my brother. I need you or Danny in here.

His voice popped into my head. You need to be clearer than that. What do you need exactly? We have different skills.

I need someone who can hack into the Cabale’s shit. Which one of you can do that?

Danny’s on his way.

Fucking liar. I knew he could do it too. Then again, maybe he just wanted to make Danny feel useful. Poor little geek boy.

A second later, Danny appeared just outside the door. He ran a hand through his straight black hair, adjusted his wire frame glasses. He looked like a Japanese Harry Potter.

He whistled low. “What’s with the vines?” he asked and took a step inside, taking care to not touch the moving plant.

“Trystan was here,” I replied, and then pointed to one of the desks. “See if they’ve wiped the system.”

“No shit?” Danny walked behind the console and sat at the computer. “What was she doing here?” His fingers flew over the keys as he worked his way into the system. I took a look around again.

“Fuck if I know. They probably captured her. I’m gonna check some other areas,” I said. “I’ll have the others come over here first.”

I stepped outside and crept around the corner. When I could see them, I signaled Trent. Yo, it’s clear in this building.

The seven of them ported over to me and looked around, hands on weapons, just in case.

“Danny’s in this building, hacking in,” I said. “I’m gonna check the other buildings. Trent, you come with me. Oscar and Xander, go in with Danny and keep your eyes open. He needs to work without interruption, so that’s your job.” They nodded and walked inside. “Vinnie, Miguel, and Paul—you go check that small building. Don’t engage if you don’t have to. Just scout it out and report back to Danny.” The three vanished, and I had only two left—Atem and Scott. “I need you two to look at the building near the front of the compound, okay?”

Atem gave a quick nod and vanished before Scott could twitch.

“Well, don’t just stand there, Scott,” I said. “Go cover the man.”

“Sorry, he’s like a fucking phantom,” he said and vanished.

I shook my head and started walking toward the biggest building in the compound. “I swear, these newbies. Where’d he find them?”

Trent walked at my side. “Hell if I know, but the new ones are practically all we have left. I think you’re right about the training shit. If the Cabale are still here, those guys won’t make it out alive . . . except maybe Atem.”

I nodded. “Xander’s not too bad, though.” He agreed and we both ported closer to the building, materializing next to one of its walls. I signaled to Trent to go high and I’d go in at ground level. He gave a short nod and disappeared.

I held my Kimber up as I walked along the wall until I found a door. It was unlocked, so I pulled it open and peered inside. The place looked pretty dark, but my eyes could pick up even the minutest of details right down to the dust-covered shelves.

Looks like a warehouse, I said through the mind link as I entered quietly. Crates stacked high along the walls. I carefully made my way through the maze to the opening in the center.

Perhaps their weapons supply, Trent replied.

I grinned. We should blow it up.

Laughter filled my mind. I don’t think so, pyro. I thought you preferred the stealth shit.

I did until they kidnapped my girl. My eyes scanned the center, picking up its details—steel floor, which made me think there might be something below. You see this?

Trent appeared at my side. All clear up there, as far as I can tell. He looked at the floor. Looks like there’s a lower level.

We walked out carefully, scanning the area with our eyes and guns as we covered each other. Our movements perfectly opposite of one another—I’d step forward and he’d cover my back, the direction we came from; he’d move ahead and I’d take his place. That way we got a nice three-sixty view.

It fucking stinks in here, he said.

Burnt vamp flesh. Now we know what they did with Seth.

Trent growled low, barely audible to normal human ears, but loud enough in my ears to make me turn around. His glowing purple eyes met mine, signifying his anger and that the magic was ready to come out and play.

Anger isn’t going to help, big brother, I said calmly. Let’s see if we can find a door that leads below.

He nodded, spun around, and took a few steps away from me. It looks like a trap, he said in my mind.

It is, I replied right as the metal cages dropped on us and locked into place. I briefly closed my eyes, until I heard Trent stepped forward in his cage.

He grabbed the bars and yanked his hands back, but not before I heard the sizzle. Fucking Rhenium-coated iron. Shit.

Fuck! Can you—

I tried, but nothing happened. Apparently, Rhenium could not only burn us, but the fucking shit could trap us as well.

I think we’re fucked, I said. But I’m shooting the first fucker that shows himself.

Danny, GET OUT! Trent screamed through the mind link.

In the distance, outside, I heard the scream of a vamp. I hoped it wasn’t Danny. His twin, Dana—a vamp slayer—would kill Trent and me, if we survived this mess.

Mother. Fucker. Roberts was a dead man.

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Liberate

For your listening pleasure: tinysong.com/DEYT

Photo credit: Jinxie G

Around 5 a.m., Danny hit me with a text. He’d formed a crew, who were ready to go right before dawn. I really didn’t want to leave Thalia’s side, but Shawn and I needed to take care of the Cabale before they took out one or both of us.

“Be safe,” she said, her fingertips leaving a wake of goose bumps down my arm. She kissed my cheek. “I’d like you back in one piece.”

I grinned. “Of course.” I leaned over, ran my tongue along her smooth neck, and bit into the soft flesh.

Thalia gasped, and dug her nails into my shoulders. “I love it when you bite . . .”

I licked the two small punctures closed and pulled back to look her in the eye. “If anything happens and I’m not dead, you’ll be able to find me.”

“Because my blood’s in you,” she said.

“Yes.” I grabbed her shoulders. “But please, whatever you do, don’t do it alone, Thalia. Don’t come after me by yourself or with only a few.”

“Okay, Trent.”

“I’m serious,” I said sternly. “If they take Shawn and I down, you will need an army.”

She nodded, and her eyes held a touch of fear. “An army,” she whispered. “I wish I could come—”

“Absolutely not,” I said abruptly and shook my head. “Any other time, I might be okay with it after seeing you handle yourself with Roberts, but not for this. I’d rather know you’re here safe.”

Her eyes lowered, and I lifted her chin. “I’m okay with that, really.”

“I know you’re not,” I said. “But thanks for trying.” I winked and kissed the tip of her nose. “I’ll be back before you know it. Why don’t you go hang out with Nico in a bit? She’ll be in the same boat as you.”

“Sounds good,” she said with a nod, and kept a death grip on my hand.

“Baby, I need to go,” I said, trying to pry my hand from hers. “I promise I’ll come back to you.”

“You’d better, damn it,” she said. “We’re not finished with my Valentine’s present yet.”

I chuckled and kissed her again. “I love you.” I got my hand free and vanished to Shawn’s front door.

I waited only a moment before Shawn opened the door and stepped out. He was in his black leather duster; the same one I had on. I had to chuckle. We never intentionally dressed the same. It just always turned out that way. That’s what happened when you shared a mind and a soul.

Shawn lit a cigarette, drew in the cancer-causing chemicals, and blew the smoke out with a heavy sigh. “Thalia do the death grip on you?”

“Yep, my hand,” I said with a nod as we stared out at the horizon. “Nico, you?”

I caught his nod from the corner of my eye. “Wouldn’t unlock her arms from my waist.”

I smiled. “At least she’s not afraid of you now.”

His eyes flicked to meet mine as I turned to him, blue eye meeting blue; green doing the same. “Yeah, thanks for that. Now don’t butt in again.”

“You were going about it all wrong, you and your damn temper,” I said. “Besides, you fucking relented to me, asshole, so don’t tell me not to butt in.”

He punched me in the upper arm. “Well, I’m fucking tellin’ ya now.” He pointed his finger at me as he leaned forward. “Let me handle this shit from here on out; otherwise, what I am to her isn’t fucking real.”

Shock made me take a step back. “Holy shit, did you just say that?” I slapped my hand to my chest. “I think I might have a heart attack.”

Shawn looked at me and rolled his eyes. “You’ve been dead for fourteen years, fucker.”

“Yeah, whatever,” I said. “Let’s fucking go already. I’d like to see how Roberts is doing after Thalia knocked him on his ass.” I grinned at the memory. “Goddamn, that woman of mine. You should’ve seen it, Shawn.”

He checked his Kimber 1911, pulled the clip out, and slammed it back after looking at the ammo. “I’m sure you fucked her not long thereafter for the hard-on it gave you.”

“Hells yes, I did,” I said after patting myself down to make sure I had what I needed. “Did you grab that blade with the Rhenium on it?”

Shawn pulled it from his belt and flipped it up in the air. “Right here.” He caught and shoved it back into his belt. “Too bad it doesn’t work against humans. Maybe we need to find something that will.”

I cocked a brow at him. “There aren’t enough things out there that’ll kill them? Shit, all we’d have to do with these assholes is drop any infected living thing into their compound . . .”

We stared at one another as the idea hit us both.

“Ebola,” I said.

“Fuck that,” he replied. “Go stronger. Something that’ll fucking kill quickly.”

“Is there something that’ll kill quickly?” I asked, and he nodded. “Think you could get clearance?”

“Who the fuck needs clearance when we can teleport in and out?” A menacing grin slipped over his face. “And I’ve got just the one for it.” His eyes locked on mine and the grin vanished. “But we’ll have to keep it completely contained, meaning no one can leave the compound who isn’t a vamp.”

“Maybe we shouldn’t do it then,” I said. “I mean, because you fucking know someone will get out, just like in the movies. Not to mention the possibility that you could take it home to Nico.”

“Fuck, you may be right,” he said and ran a hand through his hair. “Let’s go meet Danny and the others, and I’ll think of something along the way.”

We both vanished from his front step and appeared in the desert, near the compound, and at the coordinates Shawn gave everyone. When it came to porting, we generally couldn’t port without having been at the location before or God knew how and where we’d end up. Unless we had coordinates. Those made all the difference because they gave an exact location. Being that Shawn and I were military veterans, and vamps on top of that, either of us could give an exact location for any place in the world.

I looked around, counting only nine of the ten Danny told me would be there. “It appears Oscar’s lost again.”

Danny shook his head. “I swear, that boy really needs to learn this shit.”

“Well, somebody go find the dumbass,” Shawn snapped before whirling on me. “I’ve got it. What about a virus none of us can carry and that kills so quickly, there’s no chance anyone could escape?”

“Does that even exist?” I asked as Danny stepped up to us.

“Why are we talking about viruses?” he asked.

“Shawn wants to drop one into the compound,” I replied.

“Hey, you had the same fucking idea,” Shawn said. “Don’t put it all on me.”

“Yeah, but you have Nico to think about,” I said. “Thalia is a vamp like us and whatever we did wouldn’t hurt her.”

“Fuck,” he grumbled and spun around to pace. “Okay, fine, we’ll just go shoot the goddamn place up.”

“Now, now, we need to consider that too,” I said and took a step forward. “They have the Rhenium coating their blades, so it’s likely on the ammo too. We can’t just barrel in there like we would any other place.”

Shawn grinned widely. “Not to worry, twin. I’ve got a plan.”

I really didn’t like the smile on his face. For me, it meant pain. Always fucking had, even when we were kids. Why did I ever listen to him?

 

Valentine (NSFW)

For your listening pleasure, a little love song: tinysong.com/q9hP

This is likely NSFW ‘cause I say shit like ‘fuck’, ‘cock’, and all manner of swearing . . . you know, the norm for me, only better. *grins* Hey, if you haven’t figured out by now that my posts aren’t safe for work, it’s your own damn fault.

A grin split my lips and I flashed fang at the woman I loved. “There you are. Fuck, woman, you had me scared for a minute there.”

She cocked a thin brow. “You, scared? That’s laughable.”

Just hearing the sarcasm drip from those lips had my cock twitching in my jeans. Her voice always sent a current of the shivers through me—the good kind.

“I know, right?” My arms slipped around her and I pulled her closer to me, eyebrows jumping. “Wanna play predator and prey?”

She trailed a finger down the side of my face as her head tilted. “Is that what you were talking about with the running?”

“Yes and no,” I said. “If you ran scared, it wouldn’t have been a game.” A flash of fear hit her eyes. “You should know that shit anyway.”

She smiled. “Yeah, I do, but that dude kind of fucked me up.” She rubbed her neck where Cianán bit her. “It’s like I can still feel his fangs in me, Shawn.” Her voice quivered a bit, the fear still lingering. A nice healthy dose of it hit my nose.

“Really?” My brow dipped. Okay, this was not cool and shouldn’t be happening. “So where do dhampyr go when they need fixin’?”

She snorted. “Well, cowboy, they get themselves all fixed up on their own.”

“How?” I’d been curious about this for some time now. I’d had an idea she was dhampyr, but didn’t know if she needed blood or not—at least, not until a recent visit—because she never took it from me. During that visit, I’d smelled and tasted the blood on her lips. It pretty much connected the dots.

She traced a line down my neck, over the large vein pulsing with immortal undead life and likely her blood. “You’ve already given me some.”

“Do you need more?” My cock pressed against the fly of my jeans, begging to come out and play.

She grinned and nodded.

Oh, it was so on . . . I let go of her and she slid off my lap. “Then I suggest you run.”

With a sly grin, Nico got to her feet and bolted around the corner. I counted one . . . two . . . three’s a good number . . . and jumped up. I ran down the hall, following her giggles around corners, through passageways and rooms. My loft wasn’t small by any means. It’s the one good investment I’d made recently.

It’s her fault. She’s got me thinkin’ all responsibly and shit now. Fuck.

Halfway down the hall, I removed my Roy Rogers and socks. I needed the stealth with this woman. She had vamp hearing. Yeah, I could just port, but where was the fun in that? I came around the last corner and drew in her scent, which mixed with the damn air freshener, throwing me off a bit. I crept into the room, ears perked and listening to any sound not associated with the settling of the foundation or the heat that just kicked on. Very faint breathing, in the corner, behind the door . . .

I jumped back and swung the door shut.

Nico screamed and ran to her right, across the room, but she didn’t get halfway before I snatched her up.

“Gotcha,” I said and threw her over my shoulder. I slapped her ass as she struggled and laughed. “You’re terrible at this game, ya know. We’ll need to practice.”

“Sorry, I’m not used to running from vampyres,” she said.

“Yeah, I know,” I replied as I carried her down the hall. “You’re used to running them through with your sword. That doesn’t kill them, you know.”

“I know,” she said and pinched my ass. “It makes them think before fucking with me, though.”

I jumped a little. “Hey, watch that.” A grin split my lips and my hand slid up her thigh, running around the back to the inner thigh.

She jerked. “Shawn!”

“What?”I said all innocent-like. I stopped in the hallway and looked around. It was like a fork in the road, essentially. “Where should I go? The bedroom?” I turned so Nico could look down the hall. “The rec room? Nah, we just came from that direction.” I turned again. “Or the patio on the roof?”

“Not the roof, unless you want the whole neighborhood to hear me,” she said.

“Patio, it is,” I replied and turned around to head in that direction.

“Shawn, no, it’s too cold outside right now.”

“I’ll warm you up,” I said and reached for the doorknob.

She kicked the door shut right as I opened it. “No!”

“C’mon, Nico, stop fuckin’ around,” I said and went for the knob again.

She pushed herself upright and slid through my arm, dropping to the floor. “I am not going outside!” A low growl came from her and she pushed me back.

My right brow cocked a second before I pinned her against the frosted glass door, grabbing her wrists and holding them above her head against the door. “How ‘bout right here, then?” She hissed and I pulled back to look at her. “You got fangs? Let me see.”

Her upper lip pulled back to expose little fangs.

“Aw, ain’t those cute?” I said.

Nico wriggled a hand free and slapped me. “Shut up. At least I can control mine.”

That, she could because I didn’t even know she had them until now. I chuckled. “Just teasin’ ya, babe, but hey, if you wanna get rough, I’m game.” I grinned. “Go on, hit me again.”

“You’re such a freak,” she said.

“Tell you what, I’ll let you go and you can run again . . . and hopefully do a better damn job of it this time.” I winked.

“Why would you need to let me go?” She pushed herself away from the door and slammed into me with her right shoulder. Then she pulled her other wrist free as I went down, and she jumped over me and ran down the hall.

I lay on the floor, laughing. “Well, shit.” Sly little minx, that one was. “Ready or not, here I come!”

I vaporized and appeared in front of her. She ran right into me, and I wrapped my arms around her and picked her up. “Ha! Gotcha again.”

“That’s cheating,” she said and slapped my chest.

I vanished with her to the bedroom. “We’ll start in here.”

Nico broke away from me, but when she backed up, her legs hit the edge of the bed and she went tumbling back onto the mattress.

I pulled my T-shirt up over my head as I laughed. “Well, that’s one way of climbing into bed.”

She licked her lips as she stared at my chest.

I leaned forward and grabbed her pant leg, tugging twice lightly before her fingers went to the button and zipper on her jeans. Once undone, I yanked her pants off as she slid back further on the bed. I climbed forward, over and between her legs. My head dropped low at her navel, and I took the hem of her T-shirt into my mouth and tugged with a growl.

She giggled and fell back.

Bitch was going to make me do all the work. Ah, fuck it, it was Valentine’s Day, right?

I slid my hands up her sides, catching her shirt between thumbs and fingers, and pulled the cotton tee off. I braced myself above her with one arm, and my other hand slipped behind her head and I pulled her up for a kiss. Her left leg slid up and anchored on my hip, and I pressed my groin against her. A soft moan filtered into my mouth. I nipped at her lower lip and made a trail of kisses and licks and nips down her neck. My hand slipped beneath her and unclasped the black lace bra, and I pulled it off and tossed it behind me.

Nico’s nipples were perfect. Dark pink, not too big or small, but I could seriously hang her bra on one of them. I loved that. My tongue flitted around one, drawing a gasp from her when I bit down and sucked.

Her back arched and my hand grabbed her side before gliding to her hip and working her lacey boy shorts off. I slid off the bed, pulling her with me until my knees hit the floor. My lips graced her inner thigh as I propped her legs right where I wanted them before my tongue flicked her clit.

She gasped and shuddered.

I grinned and slid my tongue along her pussy, savoring the way she tasted. Even that had sweetness to it, just like her blood, and man did I have a sweet tooth.

Nico writhed on the bed as I worked to bring her pleasure, my thumb placing just the right amount of pressure on her clit while my tongue plunged into her. My cock was so fucking hard by then that I damn near stopped what I was doing and dropped my pants. But I needed to do this for her, and I’d fucked up enough lately.

She moaned and clutched the bedspread. Then she looked me right in the fucking eye, which would be a huge turn-on for me if she was blowing me, so I had to wonder if it was the same for her.

Her back arched hardcore and I grabbed her hips tightly, burying my face in her so I could finish, until she screamed my name so loud I wished we’d been on the damn patio. Guess that answered my question.

I slowly climbed up, lifted her and carried her further back on the bed, and had to unlock her legs from around me so I could get my pants off.

“Just give me a minute, babe.” I hopped off the bed and dropped them, then crawled across the bed to my beautiful naked Nico. “Where do you want to bite me?” I grinned.

She held a finger to her lips while trying to decide. It was so damn cute. “I think the neck. I love your neck.”

I lay back and turned my head to the side. “I’m all yours, beautiful.”

“And when I’m finished drinking from you?”

I grinned. “If you leave me some energy, I’m gonna fuck you all night.”

She giggled. “Tell me what I want to hear, Shawn.”

I looked her in the eye. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Nico. I fucking love you.”

“I love you too, Shawn.” Nico leaned over me, and when I turned my head again, she bit into my neck.

Holy. Fuck. That felt fucking awesome!

Angel’s Wings

For your listening pleasure this post: tinysong.com/gqDx or http://blip.fm/~11t226

*ahem* This might not be safe for work, if you’re reading from there. Just warning you. *grins* Also, that’s a damn good song.

Thalia turned to me once we returned to our house. “I really don’t like leaving her there when she’s so scared . . .”

I knew why she didn’t want to finish the sentence. It would imply that my twin would harm the woman he loved. I figured if Shawn could say those words to Nico—words he hadn’t said in years—it was pretty much a done deal that he’d never harm a hair on the girl’s head.

“She’ll be fine,” I replied. “She’s had a rough go of it the past twenty-four hours. He won’t hurt her.”

Thalia stared at me, her lips pinching at one corner of her mouth just like they always did when she wasn’t sure about something.

“Trust me,” I said, trying to reassure her that Nico was safer with him than anywhere else in the world now. And damn, how true that was. I was still reeling from the dhampyr revelation.

She sighed. “If you’re sure.”

“I am.” I felt the tension between Shawn and Nico, and decided to help just a little, since my brother had a damn temper from hell. Once the calm washed over me, I opened my eyes to find Thalia staring at me. “What?”

“What did you just do?” She stepped closer to me, her fingers sliding along the hem of my T-shirt, sending chills over my body when her skin touched mine.

“They’re fine now,” I said with a wink. My hand slipped behind her neck and I pulled her to me. Her lips grazed mine and I grinned. “I believe we have something to finish.”

She linked her arms around my neck and hopped up, locking her legs around my waist as she kissed me, one of her fangs piercing my lower lip. I grabbed her ass and slammed her against the wall. She moaned in my mouth and I pressed against her. My lips trailed down her long neck as hands slipped under her short skirt and ripped her panties off. She gasped, digging her nails into my back.

“Shirt,” I said in a low growl.

She unlocked her legs and dropped her feet to the floor before yanking my shirt up over my head. Then she slid down the wall and took my belt buckle in hand.  Seconds later, she had my erection in her hand, delicately stroking as she flicked her tongue against the tip before taking me into her mouth.

I hissed. “Watch the fangs.” I moaned as the piercing on her tongue rolled along the underside of my cock, and I braced myself against the wall.

Social Distortion started playing from my back pocket, but I did my best to ignore it. I figured if it was important, they could fucking call back.

Thalia didn’t hesitate a second and had the muscles in my back bunching in preparation for my release. My cock twitched as she moved her soft lips up and down, her tongue moving in ways I didn’t think were possible. Another moan escaped me as she explored me with her hands; one stroked my shaft in time with her lips and tongue, the other hand fondled my balls—a place not enough women paid enough attention to, in my opinion.

The phone rang again. “Fuck.”

Thalia pulled back. “Do you want me to stop so you can answer that?”

I looked down at her, the devilish grin on her face and the sparkle in her eye telling me she didn’t want to stop. “Fuck no!”

She giggled, and then she took me into her mouth again. I pressed my forehead against the wall, groaning with pleasure. The pressure of my release built as my hips moved forward and back, Thalia’s soft full lips wrapping around my cock, her tongue massaging me. I shuddered and opened my eyes to look down. I found her staring up at me. It got me every goddamn time and I came hard, muscles tightening all over.

Once I caught my breath, I licked my lips in anticipation of tasting my beauty.

And my fucking phone went off again. “Jesus fuck.”

I felt her hand slip into my back pocket and she slid back up the wall and handed it to me.

“Answer the goddamn thing so we can fuck in peace and quiet.” She smirked as she ducked under my arm before sauntering down the hallway to our bedroom.

I chuckled and shook my head as I watched that ass sway. “I love you,” I said and hit ‘send’ on my phone as she waved a hand at me before vanishing through the doorway. “What?”

It was Danny. “Dude, what the fuck? You don’t answer your phone anymore?”

I cleared my throat. “I was busy. What do you want?”

“Cabale just took out Daniella,” he said.

“Whoa, really?” I replied. “When did that happen?” Daniella was of Cearbhall’s line, so I wouldn’t have seen it in my mind. Of course, Cearbhall’s master was Cianán, so I was kind of surprised I didn’t even catch a glimpse of it. I mean, some of us saw Kenneth’s death.

“About two hours ago,” he said. “Kylie saw it. Still trying to figure out how she sees anything, but whatever. We wouldn’t have known otherwise.”

“Shit, Daniella was the last of Cearbhall’s line,” I said.

“I know.” The sound of fingers tapping away at a keyboard came over the line. “You do realize that they’re working their way through Cianán’s line, right?”

“Kenneth and Daniella weren’t directly from Cianán, though.”

“No, but Cearbhall was and he was part of the first coven of nine,” Danny said.

“So what’s that mean? Is Grant next?” I chuckled. “Shit, I’d like to see them try to take him out. Have you seen him lately? Fucker’s huge now.”

“Yeah, I know,” he said. “Must be the Dasul coming out in him. I’m trying to narrow it all down and figure out who they’ll go after next. I know you and Shawn aren’t part of the original coven, but you’re damn close, so watch your backs.”

“Will do,” I said.

“I think Lorelei was the only one left of the original nine, and now that she’s gone, they’re coming after the second coven.”

“That’s Grant’s era, I believe,” I said. “Shawn and I weren’t until the nineties.”

“No matter, they’re getting closer to you guys,” he said.

“Already had a run-in with Roberts tonight,” I said. “He tried to take Thalia.” I looked down the hall. “Hey, see how many you can get together for a raid on their little compound. Shawn knows where it’s located and wants to attack soon.”

“How soon?”

“Like later tonight, I believe,” I said. “Hell, I’d even opt for morning or afternoon just to throw them off, ya know?”

“I’ll see who I can get for a day shift,” Danny replied. “You know some of them still freak about the sun.”

“That’s because they’re ignorant.” I heard Thalia softly call my name from the bedroom, a low seductive voice that had me erect instantly. “Look, I gotta go. Text me when you get a crew together.”

“No prob,” he said. “Say hi to Thalia for me. Later.”

I hung up, tossed my phone on the sofa, and jogged down the hall. I found Thalia lying across the bed on her stomach all pin-up girl style in the skimpiest damn red lingerie I’d ever seen. My brow arched and I quickly closed my gaping mouth.

“That’s new,” I said with a grin and walked into the room.

Her ruby lips parted into a smile, the red streaks in her hair now matching once again. They were purple just a bit ago. I still hadn’t figured out how she was able to change like that, but guessed it had something to do with the molecular shit Shawn and I experienced on certain levels . . . and maybe Kylie transferred some of her power to Thalia when she helped me changed her. I mean, she could change her clothes in an instant too. Even Shawn and I couldn’t do that.

“I picked it just for tonight,” she said softly. “I also picked up something else.” Thalia lifted her hand and dangled a pair of handcuffs from her fingers.

“Oh shit,” I said as I stepped up to the edge of the bed. “Are those for you or me?”

Eyelashes batted. “Why not both?”

I leaned over, snatched them from her hand, and then slapped a cuff around one of her wrists. “You, me, dinner tomorrow night. Wherever you want to go.”

She grinned. “I thought I was dinner.”

God, I love this woman. Happy fucking Valentine’s Day to me!

Entwined

For your listening pleasure: tinysong.com/nOra

When the back of the chair broke, I’d left the breakfast nook to go hit my heavy bag once or twice in one of the back rooms so I wouldn’t do anymore damage to furnishings. Seeing someone else feed from Nico proved a bit more than I could take, which pissed me the hell off too. She was a fucking healer. What was I going to do when she did her damn job with other vamps that weren’tfemale? What if that’d been my brother instead?

Fuck. This just had bad idea written all over it.

Trent and Thalia took off not long after I returned. I heard my twin trying to convince Nico I wouldn’t hurt her. But the fear was still in her eyes as she stood in the kitchen, unmoving or unwilling to move because she had to get around me if she wanted to lock herself in the bathroom again.

I stared at the broken pieces of chair on the floor. If I couldn’t fix this, those pieces would symbolize our relationship. “Nico, look . . .” I said as I stepped forward, over a piece of wooden chair.

She took a step back, shaking her head. “Don’t come near me.”

I stopped and cocked my head to the side. “Do you really think I’m going to hurt you?”

“I don’t know you anymore,” she said, the words nearly catching in her throat.

“Don’t know . . . ?” I took another step toward her. “Are you fucking kidding me? You find out one new little thing about me and it throws your whole world off?”

“I wouldn’t call being a goddamn assassin little.” She’s trying to hide behind anger. It usually worked for her, but I could still smell the fear.

I held my hands out before me. “Okay, wait. You’re fine with me being a vamp—who kills people to feed, by the fucking way—but you’re not cool with me doing that for a living? Kinda fucked up moral system you got there.”

“Fuck you,” she shouted and bolted to get past me.

I stepped in her way and caught her around the waist. “You forget I’m faster than you.” My lips peeled back, exposing my fangs. Running on her part was a really bad idea.

“Put me down, Shawn.” She struggled against me.

“I can’t do that,” I said. “You’ll run.”

The fear returned to her eyes briefly as she looked up at me. “What would you do to me if I ran?”

I pulled in her scent as I closed my eyes, savoring it to the point I’d licked my lips before answering. “I don’t think you want to find out.”

She struggled even harder to get away, and let me tell you, it wasn’t easy holding on to her. Nico was stronger than most. She knew at a young age she was quite different from the other kids. But fear was never really a factor for her before. It weakened her. Normally, she could put up a pretty good fight against any vamp. I’d seen evidence of it.

“Let go of me.” Fear irrationalizes everything. Nico’s a smart girl, but when terror was the overriding factor, all those smarts flew right out the goddamn window.

If she wasn’t dhampyr . . . “Nico, really, I’d suggest you calm the fuck down because this is doing one of two things to me right now.” I knew the scared dhampyr shit was because of her recent experience with Cianán—the fucker. I should kill him outright. She’d never put up with my shit before and she certainly wasn’t afraid of me then.

But to top off being a snack for the Druid master, she’d just become what dhampyr feared most—hunted by both humans and vamps. I saw the look in Cianán’s eye. It wouldn’t be long. And then it wouldn’t be long before others figured it out.

Which was the other reason I couldn’t let her go.

She froze, but trembled all over.

My gut twisted. Who the hell was this girl? Not my Nico, that’s for damn sure. I pushed her up against the wall and she let out a whimper. I grabbed her face.

“Open your eyes and look at me,” I said, a low growl rumbling in my throat.

She kept her eyes shut tight.

My hand flattened hard against the wall next to her. “Damn it, Nico, look at me!”

A tear ran down her cheek. My finger swept it up and I stared at the droplet.

Warmth flooded my mind and it dawned on me that perhaps I should be the one to calm down. I drew in a deep breath and relaxed my shoulders, letting my hand fall away from her face and dropping to one knee.

“Please, Nico . . . .”

I knelt before her with my head down.

“There’s a part of me, of my soul, that is so dark, it’s like a black hole; a void in space.”

She didn’t move, but I could tell she was watching me, listening to me.

“You’re the only light I have—” I swallowed hard, trying to choke down the words. It felt like Trent was the one talking instead of me. “—and I would die protecting you, keeping you safe.”

I knelt, still as a statue. She had to make the first move. Any movement on my part would send her careening around the corner and through the house . . . and it would kick start the predator in me.

Her fingers drifted through my hair, but I still didn’t stir. She needed to set aside her fears. They were new to her, so likely difficult to comprehend in her half-vampyre mind. Human fears she’d had yet to uncover in her twenty-five years.

I had to be a rock—her rock if she’d allow me. I realized that I wanted nothing more in this world than the beauty that stood before me. I wanted to tell her I’d stop . . . stop killing people for money, but the words hung in my throat.

“You won’t . . . hurt me?”

I grinned. “Not unless you want me to.” I tipped my head up to look into her chocolate brown eyes, and her hand fell, brushing the side of my face. I reached up and pressed her hand against my cheek.

The corner of her mouth twitched.

I stared resolutely into her eyes. “I love you, Nico.” I turned my head a little and kissed her hand. My nostrils flared at the scent of fear still lingering on her skin. Beneath that . . . chocolate. Nico was mine, and after watching two other vamps feed from her, I needed to mark her. I should have the last time I was with her. Cianán would have known then.

But that probably wouldn’t have stopped him.

She dropped to her knees and took my face in her hands. “Jesus, that must have been a real bitch to say.”

A grin split my lips, flashing fang. “There you are. Fuck, woman, you had me scared for a minute there.”

She cocked a thin brow. “You, scared? That’s laughable.”

“I know, right?” My arms slipped around her and pulled her closer to me, and my eyebrows jumped. “Wanna play predator and prey?”

“Is that what you were talking about with the running?”

“Yes and no,” I said. “If you ran scared, it wouldn’t have been a game.” A flash of fear hit her eyes. “Just remember not to run when you’re scared and all will be well with the world. You should know that shit anyway.”

She grinned. “Yeah, I do, but that dude kind of fucked me up.” She rubbed her neck where Cianán bit her. “It’s like I can still feel his fangs in me.”

“Really?” My brow dipped. Okay, this was not cool and shouldn’t be happening. “So where do dhampyr go when they need fixin’?”

She snorted. “Well, cowboy, they get themselves all fixed up on their own.”

“How?” I’d been curious about this for some time now. I’d had an idea she was dhampyr, but didn’t know if she needed blood or not—at least, not until a recent visit—because she never took it from me. During that visit, I’d smelled and tasted the blood on her lips. It pretty much connected the dots.

“Blood.” She traced a line down my neck, over the large vein pulsing with immortal undead life and likely her blood. “You’ve already given me some.”

“Do you need more?”

She grinned and nodded.

I let go of her and she slid off my lap. “Then I suggest you run.”

Cherry Bomb

For your listening pleasure this post: http://blip.fm/~104ukz

Shawn vanished from my left in an instant as I glared at the bastard holding a tainted knife to Thalia’s throat. Her skin turned red wherever the blade touched and Thalia hissed in response. My vision would be red in a moment.

“Let. Her.  Go.” My fists clenched as my body trembled with rage and the urge to rip Roberts’ head off.

He smiled again, one that twisted up only one side of his mouth and made him look more evil than any vamp I’d ever met, including the monster I’d just left.

“I think not.” His eyes darted to the right and he took a step in that direction, taking Thalia with him. “I could just take this one until he gives me the witch.”

Something snapped inside my mind and a ruby shade slid over my eyes. Movements around me slowed to a hum, becoming sharp and crisp images, allowing me to capture every detail.

Thalia’s fingers drifted to the arm over her chest. Then, faster than human eyes could have fathomed, her left hand grabbed the blade and she pushed it forward with the aid of her right hand. She bent over, lengthening her body, pushing that cute ass into Roberts and stretching her arms out in front of her.

My breath caught in my throat at the surprise. I remembered the night I showed her that move. A smile teased the corner of my mouth as the ruby tint faded. I’d spent so much time worrying about Shawn lately I’d forgotten that I’d taught my girl a few tricks … likely because those training sessions usually ended with sex. Damn good sex.

Thalia wrenched the blade away and threw her right elbow into Roberts’ side twice before slamming his face. Bone cracked and he stumbled backwards and fell to the ground. She flipped the knife into the air and caught the handle with her reddened hand. Then she cocked her head to the side and smiled at me, her purple lips splitting into a wide, breathtaking grin. Her eyes darted to her left before she looked at me again. I nodded. We both vanished a few streets over before Roberts could stand.

Thalia’s fine now, I told my twin through our mind link. Nico okay?

Yeah, she’s fine. I’m taking her to my place. I’ll talk to you later.

Okay, FYI, I’ve got the knife with that shit on it. Maybe Nico can study it later.

No prob. Oh wait, Nico wants to see Thalia for her wounds. Meet me at the place in Ahwatukee.

I looked at my girl. “Nico wants to see your neck and hand.”

She nodded silently and shoved the knife in her belt.  Then she looked at her hand as she held it open, palm up between us. “It hurts like a bitch.” She wasn’t talking about the already healing cuts from the blade.

“Yeah, Rhenium. Nasty stuff.” I looked closer. “Wait, it’s not healing as fast as it should.”

“It burns,” she said.

“And without going to see Nico, it’ll continue to burn. C’mon, let’s go.” I grabbed her other hand and we ported over to Shawn’s condo. We had to land in front of the door because he had protections up. We all used them, if we’re smart and had the ability. The protection was like a shield. Kind of sucked for those vamps without the magic. I’m not even sure what they did to protect themselves without their masters around. The masters all had the magic and protected the covens.

I raised a hand to the solid black door and knocked, getting only one hit in before Shawn opened it. He ushered us inside.

“She’ll be out in a minute,” he said. “She wanted to dress first and clean up a bit.”

“No problem,” I replied and walked Thalia over to the kitchen table. “Like what you’ve done with the place.” Shawn had very precise taste when it came to furnishings. Everything was simplified, clean and crisp. Straight edges, shining chrome, silver on black all sitting on teak hardwood floors. Looked like he purchased all of it at Ikea or something.

“Thanks.” He moved into the kitchen and pulled a glass from the cabinet, then filled it with water from the filtered tap. “Here, she might need this.”

I took the glass from him and placed it in front of Thalia.

“Nico’s okay, right?” I raised a brow and stared at him, throwing the other question without words or thought.

He grimaced and snapped his head side to side in a motion too quick and short for Thalia to catch.

Nico wasn’t okay; she was afraid of him. I wondered what happened after they disappeared.

“I’m seriously sorry, brother,” I said softly. “I thought she knew. I mean, how could she not with all your damn wounds?”

He shrugged. “Fuck if I know, but it doesn’t matter now.”

“Want me to talk to her?” Thalia’s voice rose up behind me. The girl’s smarter than anyone realized half the time.

Shawn peered around me to see her. “Don’t think it’d help, sweetie. She knows me well enough. If that won’t help, nothing will.”

I stepped out of his line of vision to Thalia so we could all see one another. “You two will figure it out. She loves you. Always has.”

He nodded slowly and looked at the floor. Then he spun to his right. “I’ll see what’s keeping her.”

When he disappeared around the corner and down the hall, I turned to Thalia and smiled. “I’d forgotten I’d shown you those moves.”

“Yeah, me too for a minute there,” she replied with a small giggle.

The giggle mixed with the images of watching her get herself out of that situation and I realized I’d never been more turned on by this woman. She could fucking protect herself. It wouldn’t stop me from trying to keep her safe, but maybe I could relax a little. Ever since her death, I’d been way over-protective. We’d even gotten in a few arguments about it, especially recently.

I blinked and Thalia stood in front of me, her right hand sliding down my chest, running over my belt and—

“Whoa, not here, babe!” I grabbed her hand, pulling it away from me.

Her half-closed eyes looked up at me with a seduction that melted me to the core as the corners of her mouth turned up. “Soon?”

I swallowed hard. “Oh yeah.” My breath became heavy, my mouth moist at the thought of tasting her. “Especially after watching what you did to that asshole.”

She giggled again.

Footsteps headed toward the kitchen—two sets: one soft, one heavy. Thalia moved to my side as they came around the corner.

Shawn waved his hand in front of him. “Oh for fuck’s sake. Do you two ever stop fucking?”

I had to laugh. “Well, not really.”

“Figures,” he grumbled and spun a chair around to sit down on it backwards. “Can we keep it over the sink, please, if she needs your blood?”

Nico nodded and moved to the sink after inspecting Thalia’s hand. She withdrew a knife from the butcher’s block along the way and beckoned my girl with a nod of her head. Thalia stepped around me and followed her.

Why was she being so damn quiet? I looked at Shawn. What the hell happened when you vanished?

Nothing.

Bullshit. Tell me.

I don’t have to tell you shit.

Maybe I can help, asshole.

He growled low. She’s fucking afraid of me, okay? As soon as I got her here, she ran into the goddamn bathroom and locked herself in. I had to practically beg her to see Thalia. I knew your girl wouldn’t be able to heal herself from that shit. I’ve had it inside me. Shit fucking burns.

Jesus, Shawn. I stared at him in disbelief of the culmination of what he’d just said. Then I came back to the present and left the past behind. I can talk to her.

No. He shook his head once in each direction. She needs to work through it on her own.

But Shawn . . .

His head moved swiftly back and forth again. It ended the conversation because even I knew not to press it with my brother.

Fine.

The sweet aroma of blood filled the air in the tight space of the kitchen, and it nearly knocked me over. “Holy shit, that scent—”

“Like fucking chocolate, huh?” Shawn said softly.

I nodded and turned toward the girls. Nico had slit her arm and let the blood drip onto Thalia’s hand. Then she told Thalia to rub it around the entire hand as she smeared her own fingers with her blood and covered the wound on Thalia’s neck. Once my girl finished with that, Nico raised her arm to Thalia’s lips.

“Drink,” she said. “It’ll heal from the inside as well.”

Shawn stared hard as Thalia drank from Nico, his hands gripping the back of the chair in a white-knuckled death grip. I waited for the wood to give under the pressure, but it didn’t.

“Can you close this for me, please?” Nico asked Thalia.

As Thalia leaned forward again, her tongue dipping out to lick the wound closed, the chair snapped and curses flew through the breakfast nook. I arched a brow at my twin and he stormed off, leaving the back of the chair in pieces.

I cleared my throat. “We should probably go.”

Nico’s eyes pleaded with me to stay or take her with us. Fuck.

“Look, Nico,” I whispered. “He’s not going to hurt you. He’d never do that.”

Her lower lip quivered. “You’re sure?”

I nodded and ceased speaking because I could hear Shawn’s footsteps nearing us once again. “Thank you so much for helping Thalia. We really appreciate it.” I paused, remembering that she charges for this kind of shit. “So, uh, what do we owe you?”

Thalia’s brow dipped in confusion.

“She’s a healer,” I said. “And she gets paid to do that.”

“Oh,” she replied. “I didn’t realize that was you.” She smiled. “Thank you.”

Nico shook her head. “No charge.  You were injured helping me.”

“Are you sure?” I asked, taking a step forward. “Because I can pay—”

“I’m positive,” she said, waving a hand at me as I reached for my wallet. “Please.”

I looked at Thalia, who looked like she didn’t want to leave Nico alone with Shawn. “We need to go.” Finally, she nodded, knowing I was right about what needed to transpire between them.

All I’m going to say is I’ll be damned if I wanted to be in that house when it happened.

Walk

For this post’s listening pleasure: http://blip.fm/~zw3st

I phased into the darkness of Nico’s kitchen, and surprised two slayers who happened to be standing on either side of the sink discussing the finer details of slayerdom. When they turned their shocked faces to me, I grinned.

“Hello boys.” They each took a dagger to the heart and dropped to the floor before either could radio for help. Not long thereafter, Trent appeared in the kitchen with Nico amidst the bodies as I cleaned my blades. He looked down at them, then back up to me and grimaced. I shrugged. “I surprised them.”

Yeah, that didn’t make him happy at all. He just shook his head and stepped over one of them.

“Go on, Nico,” he said. “Gather whatever you’ll need. You won’t be able to return, but you’ll need to make it light.”

I decided to step into that, since she was my girl. “I can come back for things if you need them.”

She looked from Trent to me, eyes a bit glazed over. “So, do I pack a case or just change? How much can you guys carry when you do that disappearing thing?”

“A backpack will be fine for now,” I replied. “Need help?”

She shook her head slowly, still in a bit of shock, I think. “No. No, I’m fine. I can do it.” Her eyes flicked to the bodies on the floor and then quickly back to me, widening a little in the split second they met my eyes. Great. My girl’s showing fear of me. This could be a bad thing.

I watched her walk out of the kitchen and down the hall. When my eyes fell on Trent, he stood glaring at me with his arms crossed over his chest. “What?”

He pointed to the bodies with a wave of his hand. “Did you have to kill them?”

I took a step forward, getting in his face, and pointed down at them. “These are the fuckers who killed Seth! What the fuck do you think?”

“Jesus, Shawn, she doesn’t need that shit right now,” he said. “Not after coming face to face with Cianán.” He spun around. “Where the fuck is Thalia?”

“How the fuck should I know? She’s your girl,” I snapped, but then went completely rigid. “Oh Jesus, Trent.” He scrambled for the front door, but I stopped him. “Not so fast, big brother. We don’t know what’s on the other side of that yet.”

He tried to get past me, but I was a goddamn rock. “Trent,” I whispered, just in case. “Just let me scout. You go check on Nico, since she seems to be afraid of me now.”

He stared at me, anger in his eyes. Fear. Then he blinked. “Shit, I wonder why,” he mumbled, but with full sarcasm.

“You know what? Fuck you,” I snapped, still whispering. He spun back in the midst of his turn, throwing his fist back and damn near hitting my face. I leaned back, but felt the wind as his hand passed. Then I locked my hand over his, twisted, and dropped him to his knees. The growl left my throat low and deep. “We don’t have time for this.”

“Fuck you,” he shouted.

Nico screamed a second after I heard the distinct sound of glass breaking. I picked Trent up by the throat and slammed him against the wall before running down the hallway. I pulled my knives again as I came up on her bedroom door, listening carefully to the sounds inside. Nico backed into my view. I had about three seconds before she saw me and gave away my position in her panicked state. One … a foot not belonging to Nico hit the floor as he took a step forward. Two … a click on a weapon, telling me exactly where he was. I jumped and flung a blade around the corner, hitting him in the center of his forehead. Nico screamed again. I was at her side with my hand over her mouth in two steps. “Shhh.” I looked down at her ever-widening eyes. “I’m going to remove my hand, and you’re not going to scream anymore. Right?” She nodded. “Good.” I did what I said and she remained quiet with exception to her elevated heart rate and rapid breathing. “Pack a bag quick.” I walked over to the man on the floor and pulled my blade from his head. I looked back at Nico and she just stood there staring at me. “Hurry, we need to find Thalia!”

Which brought my thoughts back to my twin. “Shit.” I ran down the hall to find the front door wide open and Trent fighting two slayers on the lawn. “Jesus. Fuck. Goddamn it.” I looked back down the hall. “Nico, fucking HURRY!” I couldn’t have her out of my sight for more than a second. Not with this many slayers around who obviously wanted her so bad. She bolted down the hall toward me, strapping the pack on her back, still wearing the fucking robe. Girl hadn’t even remembered to change … or thought better of it, considering the circumstances. I slipped an arm around her and vanished to the rooftop a couple of streets over. Once I set her down, I tipped her chin up. “I’ll be right back. Stay down low and don’t make a sound.” She nodded, and I stepped away and returned to Trent’s side in the midst of his fight.

I took out one slayer with a blade. Another with a gunshot. Trent was at my back. He hadn’t even turned when I appeared. Just knew I was there because he stopped covering his back immediately. We worked well together, flowing in a rhythm suited to twins who have both been trained to kill. As much of a geek as Trent was, the military had trained him to do the exact same thing I did for a living. He didn’t like it much, but he never forgot the moves. Training for us was like this. Testing, the same. They’d tested us together and separately. Of course, that shit was when we were human. Now, it was so much better with the vamp powers added to the mix.

Where is she? Have you seen her? I asked as I pulled a katana off my back and slit the approaching slayer’s throat. Several more appeared in his place.

No, but she’s around here, he said quickly in my head. I can feel her.

My eyes swept the area. Jesus, where are they all coming from? They’re like cockroaches.

I heard Trent’s katana open flesh. He’d always preferred the katana. I don’t know, but we need to find Thalia and get the fuck out of here. Nico safe?

She’s fine. On a rooftop several yards away. I cut across a slayer’s chest and grinned.

Trent’s voice drifted through my mind. You eat a heart in front of Nico and she’ll flip the fuck out, jackass.

Fuck. Asshole.

Hey, you’re the one who likes that shit, not me. I heard, and saw from the corner of my eye, a slayer lose his head as the katana blade sliced through flesh and bone. The entire time we fought, Trent attempted to scent Thalia out.

Haven’t fed from her in a while, have you? I asked through the link … where I discovered a block. A major one. What the fuck is that?

What’s what? And no, but I’m fixing that the moment I get her back. He spun sideways, kicked out his leg and connected with a slayer at one end while his blade impaled another on the opposite side. I knew this because I did the same thing at the same time. Must’ve looked like a goddamn ballet or something.

That fucking block in your head. What’re you hiding? Maybe there was more to what I’d picked up on earlier.

Shut the fuck up and fight.

Oh yeah, he was hiding something. We’ll discuss this later. “Fuck this.” I pulled my Kimber 1911 and started picking the slayers off quickly. They scattered like the roaches they were.

Trent slapped me on the back of the head. “What the fuck was that? What if they have Thalia in one of their vehicles?”

I holstered the gun. “Well, then you’re fucked because they’ve got some shit mixed in with the paint on their cars now and it fucking burns like a mother …”

“You are such a prick,” he said, punched me in the shoulder, and ran across the lawn. “Thalia!”

Yeah, he was right. I knew it. But I wouldn’t let them get away with his girl. The itch started in my chest and my sense of smell heightened. It was stronger than even my vamp sense of smell. My nostrils flared as I pulled in the surrounding scents. Jasmine hit my nose, but in oil form and not just the flowers on the vine across the street. Gotcha.

I took a step and vanished to her scent, and I came face to face with that mother fucker Roberts.

“Evening … Shawn, is it? Or am I speaking to Trent?”

“You’re a very stupid fucking man,” I said.

“Ah, Shawn. A pleasure to finally meet the legend.” He held a blade to Thalia’s throat.

“You do realize she’s a vamp, right?” I stared at him, watching his movements closely. Before long, Trent rounded the corner and was nearly at my side before I stopped him from passing me.

“I do, and this blade has a nice layer of Rhenium coated over it,” he said with a sadistic smile. Mother fucker.

Trent gasped as the metal burned Thalia’s skin. Then his body stiffened and his eyes turned to steel. “I’ll fucking kill you.”

“How about we make a deal?” Roberts said.

“Sure,” I replied. “Turn her over and we won’t kill any more of your men.”

“That’s not the deal I was looking for,” he said.

“Too bad,” Trent replied. “It’s the only one on the table.”

Roberts shook his head. “Sorry, that’s just not going to work for me. I want the witch back.”

“I don’t think so,” I growled and took a step forward. “I’d suggest you lower that blade and walk away now if you want to live.” Which won’t be long once the girls are safe.

“I could just have my men take her from the rooftop,” Roberts said. “It’s not like she can vanish the way you two do.” He grinned again. I wanted to kill him. I also wanted to go back to Nico to make sure she was okay.

Trent?

Fuck. Go. He knew I’d do the same for him.

I vanished without a single movement.

And Nico was right where I left her, safe and sound.

Then I heard Thalia scream.