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Authors: J. C. Daniels

Tags: #Romance, #Fantasy, #Vampires, #Tagline… A knife in the dark

Night Blade (14 page)

BOOK: Night Blade
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I was feeling violent enough that I almost looked forward to confronting them.

 

* * * * *

 

“You sure you wanna talk to them on your own?”

The massive man in front of me was Goliath. He didn’t come by the name lightly. He was nearly seven feet. I’d once seen him crush a person’s skull in with one meaty fist and I’d also seen him rip off heads like he was just crunching his way through peanut shells.

His strength would be scary if he was human. But he was a werewolf and even for one of them, he was staggering. The sight of him tearing a person’s head from his shoulders was still one that gave me bad moments, but the first time he’d done it, the man in question had been in the middle of trying to do terrible things to a woman, so I didn’t hold it against him.

Still, it wasn’t a sight that I’d ever forgotten.

In all honesty, I wouldn’t
mind
taking Goliath with me.

I couldn’t, though. For one, he’d tell TJ. And while I knew it wouldn’t go anywhere but her, I wasn’t exactly keeping things confidential if two other people knew what I was doing. Also, I didn’t even know if the fucking oath-spell on me would
allow
for it.

TJ heard
everything
and if she heard about this, and somehow heard about what I was doing when I started questioning others…yeah. Not happening.

Besides, Goliath wouldn’t go anywhere until his counterpart showed up to cover the door. That wouldn’t happen until nightfall.

Since I wasn’t waiting around, I was going solo.

Smiling, I patted his forearm. It was about as high as I could reach on him without stretching. “I’ll be fine.”

He bent down, staring into my face. “I don’t like it, Kit. Dunstin and Rick ain’t the problem, but they hooked up with a new piece of work and he’s nasty. Name is Bonner and the three of them started dealing with new players that sell dirty Torque and any time somebody goes after them, they end up dead.”

I grimaced. Torque was bad enough. Dirty Torque? Even worse. “What are they cutting it with?”

“Not sure.” He straightened back up as a car came rumbling down the road. “Somebody said it might be strychnine and silver. The drug’s so potent, it covers the stink of silver. And you know TJ, she don’t let anybody deal in her place.” A big hand curled over my shoulder. “Wait until dusk. I’ll go with you.”

“I can’t.” The worry in his eyes made me smile a little. “I’ll be okay.”

I patted his hand and eased away. “The wolf Alpha know about these bad wolves?”

A sneer curled his lips. “We handle our own here, Kit. You know that.”

I waited.

He just smiled. “We’re working it. Just taking care. Gotta make sure we get all the players.”

“Huh.” I had a feeling he’d be swinging those sledgehammer fists again soon. Technically, Wolf Haven fell under the territory of MacDonald, but TJ was a law unto herself. Wolf Haven was a law unto itself. No man’s land. MacDonald would came in when and if he had to, but he’d come in force and there would be a lot of bloodshed before it was over. TJ and Goliath would probably be a lot more precise, and a lot more effective. “Have fun, then.”

His big, moon-sized face was still sober, tight with worry as I headed back to my car. “Kit, anything happens to you, you know TJ is going to have my ass.”

“Hey, I’ll be okay.” I shot him a quick look over my shoulder. “I managed here for a long time on my own, right?”

 

* * * * *

 

Famous last words.

Walking in on a drug deal gone wrong hadn’t been the problem.

The problem, in the end, had been Dunstin. He knew I was friendly with TJ and Goliath;
that
had been the big problem. I’d planned on just paying them to answer a couple of questions and then I’d get the hell out. Unfortunately, Dunstin and Rick were already nervous—they had apparently figured out their days were numbered and they thought I had been sent after them.

For his troubles, Dunstin was dead.

For my troubles, I had a bloody ragged hole in my gut where he’d tried to take a chunk out of me. With his teeth.

I had my blade up as Rick and another wolf pressed closer. Was this Bonner? Maybe. There was still somebody else off in the shadows, too. Don’t know who that was. Didn’t care. Had to survive this, then worry about that one.

I really should have waited for Goliath.

“Who told you about the drop?” the one on the left growled. That one was a problem. He had a decent kick to him. Some power in him. Yes. A problem.

“Nobody,” I said for the tenth time. “I came in here to ask a couple of questions about Silas and the day he died, fuckhead.”

He snarled and snapped at me.

I got my blade up just in time, jabbing it into his neck and twisted. He yelped and fell back a few feet.

“You lie,” Rick said. His eyes were yellow and angry. So angry. “I know you. See you talking to TJ, Goliath. You’re one of the fucking Banner bitches.”

“I’m not with Banner. I’m an independent investigator, you dumb ass.” I had about ten feet to get to the door. If I could get outside, I could scream loud enough that Goliath would hear. If it wasn’t for the fact that too many shapeshifters like their homes and businesses nice and soundproofed, he would have already heard me.

But if I got outside, I could get his attention.

I knew that.

I just had to make it happen.

Had to—

I slipped in the pool of my own blood and it cost me precious seconds to keep from going down. Pain ripped through me and I felt another hot wash of blood running down my side.

Rick’s nostrils flared and he smiled, lunging for me.

“You’re bleeding bad, stupid bitch.”

This time, I didn’t get my blade up in time and blackness danced in front of me as my head slammed into a brick wall. The good news—I was closer to the door now.

The bad news: I was trapped between Rick’s body and the wall and I was dizzy, barely able to move, plus I was bleeding. Couldn’t move and there was a predatory creature who had me pinned up against a wall. I knew what the look in his eyes meant, even if my head was spinning round and round like a child’s toy.

This was bad. Very, very bad.

“Fucking cunt,” Rick muttered. “I ought to have some fun with you before we gut you. Leave you on that crippled bitch’s door step—”

“Oh, that would be smart.” I couldn’t use my sword now. He was too close. I banished it and focused on getting my hand into my vest. I had blades there. Silver blades. The one nestled at my back was another charged blade—it had silver nitrate coating the blade, held in place by a thin veil of magic. Too bad it wasn’t the one coated in Night, but it would do.

The only thing that would nullify that spell and let the silver seep free was shifter blood.

If I could just…

Blackness swirled closer as I pulled the knife free.

“Boys. You might want to step back.” That voice…knew that voice.

Hot blood pumped out of me as I summoned the last of my strength to tear the knife from its sheath. Rick shot a look to the side. “Fuck…take care of that punk,” he snarled. “Now or he’ll–”

His words ending in a horrible, awful howl as I pulled my blade free and shoved it, deep, deep, deep inside him. His blood spilled out over both of us and I smelled the stink of it—his flesh burning as the silver nitrate began to work on him.

He shoved back from me and I slapped a hand over the bloody, ragged hole in my side, panting for air.

Something flashed between us—silver.

There was a scream.

“Burn, baby, burn,” I heard somebody say.

But I didn’t have the strength to look and see who it was. I just stared at Rick—as his flesh blackened, smoked. Damn…

Rick writhed on the ground, screaming and clawing at his side. Fur flowed across his skin, but melted away in the blink of an eye. Silver—blocking his shift. It was a nauseating, sickening sight. His eyes flashed gold as his head whipped around, his gaze locking on me. “Kill…you…” he snarled.

My hand was clumsy as I reached for the gun I strapped to my thigh. I hated guns, but yeah, sometimes they were handy. A few seconds later, his head exploded in a mess of blood and bone and I rolled my head around. There was another, wasn’t there?

No.

Just a smoking pile of…something. A screaming something…and…was that Justin?

 

 

Chapter Nine

 

 

“Damn it, Kit. I told you I’d fucking see what I could do.”

Yes. It was Justin.

That was the only clear thought circling through my mind when I came to. I didn’t know how much time had passed, but I was still light-headed. I was still losing blood and that had to mean the hole in my side wasn’t closing. Wonderful.

Also, I was still in Wolf Haven.

Justin wasn’t an idiot. Banner cops weren’t going to loiter around here for any longer than they had so if he was still here it was because I wasn’t safe to move.

“Just…” that was about as far as I got.

“No talking, Kit.”

I cracked open an eye and saw Goliath staring down at me—no. Wait. I groaned. “Why are there two of you, Goliath?”

“Shit, she’s got a fucking concussion,” Justin muttered.

“She’s alive. All that matters.” Something cool and soothing was pressed against my side. “Come on, Kit. Be still. Let Goliath get the bandages on.”

TJ. That was TJ. But what was she talking about? Bandages? I tried to focus, but vision was still wobbling in and out of focus. “Two of you, TJ? Two Goliaths. Two TJs. The world can’t handle that.”

“Ha, ha, smart-ass,” she said and her voice was so tired, even I heard it.

The dizziness intensified as the healing pulsed and spread through me and I closed my eyes to keep from seeing the room spinning in circles around me. That didn’t block out the voices.

“She needs to get the fuck out of Haven until I clean up this mess; that will be a few days. And she can’t be alone.” TJ—as tired as she was, she was also pissed. I could hear it.

“She can stay with me,” Justin said.

“No.” I managed to think past the pain enough to know that was a capital bad idea.

“You need firepower if those wolves come gunning for you. Enough of them know who you are,” Justin snapped. “You want to take this to Green Road? They don’t need this mess because you were too stupid to wait.”

“Lair.” I swallowed the knot in my throat. “Take me to the Lair.”

He swore.

The world spun around me as I forced my eyes to open. My head pounded but that was okay. I could handle an aching head. Now…I just had to sit up—
that
didn’t go so well. Goliath stopped that nonsense by pressing down on my shoulder with one big finger. “Stay down, Kit.” He smiled a little. “Don’t want to make me hold you down, right?”

I reached up and gripped his wrist. Every word was a struggle, but I couldn’t go with Justin. That would be
bad.
So very bad.
“Lair, Goliath. Take me?”

“I can watch you for a few days, Kit,” Justin said again.

“Boy…don’t you know who she’s with?” TJ said, her voice a low, amused chuckle.

“I’m just trying to help. He’s gone half the time or still dealing with the fuck-ups from the old Alpha.”

“And if she stays with you, you put her in a bad place…
and
you. She needs to be with him. Goliath, you head out. I’ll be fine—”

“Screw it. I’ll take you to the fucking Lair.” Justin looked about as happy as I felt.

 

* * * * *

 

“Is he there?”

At least I think that was what Justin said. Hard to tell over the pounding in my head. The ache. The bandages plastered on my side were soaked through and I needed medical attention. Bad.

“Justin…don’t let anybody do anything…about that order…” I mumbled.

“I’m working on it, Kit,” he said quietly. “Where in the fuck is he?”

I forced my lids up and stared out my window.

We had cats gathered all around the busted-up excuse for a car I drove, but no Damon.

That most likely meant Damon wasn’t here. Any time I drove up, it was like he heard me coming. And he probably did.

I didn’t see him.

But I did see one person I recognized. Doyle was running toward me, a grim look on his face and he jerked on the door so hard, I thought I heard metal screech. “Kit, what the hell—?”

“Problems.” I all but pitched out of the car and would have done a nose dive if he hadn’t steadied me. If I hadn’t been hurting so bad, the care he took might have surprised me. Doyle wasn’t the best person to ask for help, though.
Damn
it. Where was Damon? “I need a place…”

That annoying black cloud swarmed up, swamping me again. It wasn’t complete this time. I could hear Doyle and Justin. The words
drugs, Torque, outnumbered
and
Haven
came up.

The pounding in my head made it hard to think, made it hard to focus on anything. It was sheer will that kept me from curling up in a ball right there. “I just need to crash for a while, Doyle. I—”

“It’s cool, Kit.” Doyle’s hands steadied me. Or maybe I was dreaming. Dead? Doyle couldn’t be being
nice
, could he?

Then I stiffened as another voice cut through the pain of fog and nausea—concussions. Fuck, they sucked, but this one was
bad
.

“Doyle, what in the hell?” A woman’s voice, unfamiliar.

I shuddered as gentle arms lifted me. Tried to get my mouth to work, but I couldn’t.

“She’s hurt. Had a run-in on her job and needs a place to stay. I’m taking her to Damon’s quarters.” Doyle eased me up against his chest.

I whimpered as my side came in contact with his body.

“Sorry, Kit. I know it hurts.”

“The fuck you are!”

The woman’s voice again. Angry and hard.

Doyle snorted. “You can’t say she isn’t allowed, Sam. You know better.”

“I can damn well tell you that you aren’t taking her to the Alpha’s chambers,” she growled. “Take her to the damn medical ward.”

Dimly, I felt the power, the presence in her voice. It was an angry prickle on my skin. “Medical ward is fine,” I mumbled. Or that was what I tried to say. I think I managed,
“Meh—

BOOK: Night Blade
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ads

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