Authors: Abby Blake
PUP Squad Alpha 2
Kali Jenkins was just an ordinary, boring, working-from-home proofreader still hiding from her latest romantic disaster. At least, she was until something paranormal came to kill her.
Ronan Deeks hasn't been able to get Kali out of his mind. Their one-and-only date had been a complete train wreck, but when her brother rings asking for help, Ronan knows he'll do anything to protect her. When he learns the threat is paranormal, he calls in the one man he knows he can trust over all others, Alex Clements.
Alex, a long-time member of PUP Squad Alpha, usually isn't attracted to humans, but the confident and sassy redhead seems to be the exception. It's obvious that Ronan has feelings for her, but maybe there's room in Kali's life for both of them.
But their happiness could be short-lived if they can't save the woman from an invincible assassin.
Note: There is no sexual relationship or touching for titillation between or among the men.
Ménage a Trois/Quatre, Paranormal, Vampires/Werewolves
PUP Squad Alpha 2
Siren Publishing, Inc.
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A SIREN PUBLISHING BOOK
IMPRINT: Ménage Everlasting
Copyright © 2012 by Abby Blake
E-book ISBN: 1-61926-705-5
First E-book Publication: April 2012
Cover design by Les Byerley
All art and logo copyright © 2012 by Siren Publishing, Inc.
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Copyright © 2012
Officer Dave Jenkins threw the file down and rubbed his tired eyes. Three murders in two days and they still had no idea how the victims had died. The only thing they had in common was their age, all twenty-seven, their sex, all female, and the way they’d died, all somehow burned.
Even the coroner, a man with over forty years’ experience, had never seen anything like this.
All of the women had died as if they’d somehow been put in a giant microwave. There had been no obvious struggle, no fingerprints, no blood drops or foreign DNA of any kind. Just a dead woman burned from the inside out.
Even their circumstances had been different. One had been single, unemployed, and died at home. One had been a mother of three young children and had died in her car. And the third had been a workaholic lawyer and had died at her desk. None of it made sense.
Dave slammed his hands on the table in frustration, dislodging the pile of file folders in the process and dumping their contents on the floor. Growling at his own frustrated behavior, he bent to gather the scattered papers. A photocopy of one of the women’s driver’s licenses caught his attention, and he lifted it to look more closely. The date of her birth seemed vaguely familiar, and he wracked his brain for an explanation. He lifted the other two files into his hand and searched for the women’s birthdays. He found exactly the same day, month, and year for each victim.
Excited to have found something the three women had in common, and maybe a direction to take the investigation in, Dave gathered the files and headed into his boss’s office. At least they might have a way to identify the next potential victim. Half an hour later their team was working on a list of women born in the area on that day twenty-seven years ago.
But as the excitement of a break in the case seeped away, a niggling suspicion wound through his brain. He quickly reached for the phone and dialed home. His wife answered on the second ring.
“Kate, honey, when’s my sister’s birthday?”
“January twelfth,” she answered indulgently. He was always forgetting things like that. “You didn’t miss it this year. Remember, we took her to dinner and you tried to set her up with that old army buddy of yours. Even I could see that was a disaster waiting to happen. I mean, seriously, what were you thinking?”
“Kate, I need to go. I’ll explain later.”
He immediately dialed his sister’s number but hung up before she could answer. How was he supposed to explain, over the phone, that she was possibly a serial killer’s next victim? Instead, he grabbed his cell phone, scrolled down to a number he hadn’t used since before Kali’s last birthday, and waited impatiently as the phone rang and rang and rang.
Ronan Deeks was a hard man to find. He did that deliberately. Anyone who truly wanted to talk to him would leave a message, and if he wanted to, he’d call them back. When the phone rang, he didn’t bother to stop his workout—it was his favorite part of the day after all—but he did turn down the music volume so he could listen to the answering machine as it clicked on.
The deep voice was familiar and one he hadn’t heard in quite a long time, but it was the tone of underlying fear that caught his attention. Dave Jenkins was not an easy man to frighten, but it was clear in his voice that he was very worried for his sister’s safety. Ronan turned off the treadmill, grabbed a towel, and snatched up the phone before Dave could hang up.
“Dave,” he said calmly. Whatever had his friend rattled seemed to be serious.
“Thank God,” Dave said fervently. “I need your help. All the victims share a birthday. Kali’s birthday—day, month, and year. We’re working on a possible list right now, but I need you to protect her while I track down this asshole. I’ll pay you whatever it takes.”
There was no way Dave would be able to afford Ronan’s services on his cop’s salary, and Ronan had no intention of charging him anyway, but it was a measure of the man’s very real worry for his sister.
“Hang on. Back up a minute. What victims? Which asshole?”
The explanation was chilling.
Even if the birth dates were a coincidence—and with all three victims being born on that particular day it seemed unlikely—statistically speaking, there would be many, many female babies born on that day also. The chances of Dave’s sister, Kali, being one of the killer’s targets was probably slim but certainly not something either of them was willing to overlook.
But it was the manner of death that convinced him that this was no ordinary serial killer. As he gathered what he would need for this mission, he dialed a number he knew from memory. He nearly laughed at the grumpy greeting but got straight to the point. “Remember that favor you owe me, asshole? I’m calling it in.”
* * * *
Kali Jenkins watched with glee as her aim proved accurate and the Angry Bird destroyed the final stone tower and dumped the last little pig on the ground before it disappeared. Finally, after millions of attempts—okay, maybe fifteen—that level was done. She pressed the button to continue, intending only to look at the next level before putting her phone away and getting back to work, but the level looked too interesting, and she decided to try just once.
Ten or twelve attempts later she was interrupted from her little war against green piggies when someone knocked on her door. She glanced at the clock, surprised to realize more than a half hour had passed since she’d decided to take a break. Hell, being her own boss really had its drawbacks sometimes.
She plastered on a smile and opened the door, hoping that whoever stood on the other side wouldn’t take forever to get rid of. But the annoying, oversized, and very familiar Neanderthal pushed past her and stepped into her foyer without even saying hello.
“What do you want?” she demanded, hands on her hips, foot tapping in annoyance.
“I want you to close the door, lock it, and then sit down so we can talk.”
“Look, you and me,” she said, waving her hands between them, “have nothing to talk about.”
“Turns out that’s not exactly true.”
She rolled her eyes, stomped her foot in annoyance, and considered using her phone for something besides playing Angry Birds—like maybe calling the police.
The thought was only half formed when her brother stepped through the open doorway, gave her an annoyed look, and then turned to lock it like Ronan had ordered when he first walked in. Of course, simply the fact that Ronan had ordered her to do it in the first place was a good enough reason for her to leave it open. That and the fact she wanted the obnoxious man out of her house.
Seriously, one horrible, tragic, pathetic double date with her brother and his wife should have made certain that neither of them wanted to be in the same room ever again.
“What do you want?” she asked her brother. Maybe she’d get a straight answer out of him.
“I want you to listen to Ronan. He’s going to keep you safe.”
The words “what the fuck?” were bouncing around her head, but since she tried not to swear in front of her big brother, she swallowed them and turned her gaze on Ronan. It didn’t help her anger levels that the man was still good looking, hard in all the right places, and built like any woman’s wildest dream.
Just because she’d fantasized about him a time or two—okay, at least a couple dozen—it didn’t mean she wanted to put up with the man’s obnoxious personality. Hell, if he could maybe get a personality transplant, he might actually be the perfect man.
But none of her mental meanderings explained why her brother and his annoying army buddy were standing in the middle of her living room. Through clenched teeth she asked for an explanation one more time. “What makes you think I’m not safe?”
“It’s just a precaution,” Dave said, suddenly acting like nothing was wrong. Again the words “what the fuck?” where bouncing around her head, and at this rate they were liable to bounce right out of her mouth, brother or not.
“A precaution for what?” Her jaw was starting to ache from the effort of holding back her temper. It had been obvious when her brother walked in that he was very agitated about something, so the nonchalant act wasn’t fooling her.
“I’ve got to go,” Dave said and moved to press a kiss to her forehead. “Listen to Ronan. He’ll keep you safe.”
“Uh-huh,” she said, not wanting to commit to that course of action. Seriously, the guy didn’t even smell pleasant. Had he come straight from the gym? God, she hoped so, because having a man who smelled like that all the time was seriously going to overtax her potpourri. And, well okay, it wasn’t exactly an unpleasant odor, more of a clean, sweaty, hot man smell rather than a full-on stink, but this was her house. Shouldn’t she have the final say in what smells—delicious or otherwise—should be allowed in?
With a final nod in Ronan’s direction, Dave left, pulled the door behind him, and used his own key to lock her deadbolt. She turned to Ronan, put her hands on her hips, and issued her demand. “Explain.”
She growled low in her throat and wished she had the physical strength to toss him out of her house. Maybe if she’d gone to the gym instead of playing games on her cell phone she would have been able. She glanced at the man-mountain with legs as thick as tree trunks and dismissed her fanciful thinking. It wouldn’t have mattered how many times she visited the gym, she’d need three of her just to shift his stubborn ass.
“Are you hungry?” he asked as he headed toward the phone in her kitchen. “I’ll order something for delivery. What do you feel like?”
“I feel like I want a straight fucking answer.”
He gave her that arrogant look she remembered from their “date”—if that disastrous dinner and what happened afterward could even be called that—and wanted to smack him upside the head. Shit. So much for her claims of being a pacifist. One minute in this guy’s company and she really,
wanted to hit something.
She doubted she was the only one to feel the urges he inspired. He even looked like he was about to say something that would really piss her off when the front door chimed.
What the hell was this? Grand
“Stay there,” Ronan said as he headed toward the front door. The only thing that made her not do the opposite of what he said was the memory of her brother’s agitation. He’d been very worried, and whatever was going on, she wasn’t silly enough to discount the seriousness of it. “Good timing,” Ronan said to whoever was at the door. A moment later he walked past her and headed toward the hallway. Just before he stepped out of the room, he turned back. “This is Alex. Do what he says. I’m going for a shower.”
Flabbergasted didn’t even begin to describe how she was feeling at that moment.
She turned to the man, correction, the stranger in her kitchen and wondered what the hell to do now.