Read Night Blade Online

Authors: J. C. Daniels

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

Night Blade (7 page)

BOOK: Night Blade
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Damon took a step closer.

“I want the fucking Alpha!”

“Kit. Introduce him to the third problem,” Damon said, crouching down by me.

“Sure.” I twisted the blade again. “You sure you don’t want to just kill yourself, rat?”

He spat in my face.

“Oh. That was stupid. But hey, it’s your funeral…” I stood up and wiped the saliva from my chin, jerking my blade out of his skinny chest. I watched his injured form melt back into his human one. “Meet your biggest problem.”

As Damon moved forward, I smiled. “This is the new Alpha. He’s also…mine.”

 

* * * * *

 

The body of the dead rat was carried out of the bar a few minutes later. I guess maybe I could have done the kind thing and killed him while I had my blade buried in him.

But he was a shapeshifter, he’d come onto shifter land and fucked with shifter rules. That was Damon’s territory, not mine. Especially since he was still settling in here as Alpha.

The big guy was howling and crying like somebody had taken his toy away. Damon eyed him narrowly but I think we both realized the same thing. Something wasn’t completely right with that one. Whether or not Damon had to do anything about him was yet to be seen.

Chang and the others muscled him out the door as Damon turned to stare at me.

“That wasn’t my fault,” I said, lifting my hands.

“Did I say it was, baby girl?” A faint smile tugged at his lips.

And me, stupid, idiot hormonal me? I stood there and felt my heart jump up to dance around in my throat like it had wings.

“You do realize I had this entire problem handled, right?”

“Oh, I can tell that. Believe me. I’m still fucking pissed off.” His hand cupped the back of my neck for a moment before stroking it down the back of my shirt. “You’ve got a pretty new shirt on…and there’s blood on it.”

I sighed and glanced down. “Blood on me, too. So much for a date, huh?”

He nuzzled my neck. “Go wash up. I’ll have some food put together and we’ll just eat at your place.”

I wanted to argue.

But I had blood on me. I was dirty…I couldn’t stand to be dirty.

 

* * * * *

 

Five minutes in the restroom at Drake’s wasn’t enough to make me feel clean, but it helped.

I had the blood off my arms, off my hands. I’d washed my face and inspected my pretty new shirt…Damon had liked it, noticed it was new…I could get the blood out. The surplice styled neckline kind of hid the fact that I wasn’t exactly generously endowed and it softened the lean lines of my body, so I was pretty damned glad the shirt wasn’t going to have go in the garbage.

I lingered a few more minutes to try and calm my spinning brain. Mentally, I was in knots and I even knew why, but I had to get it under wraps or I wasn’t going to have a very good date night. It was already screwed-up considering my boyfriend had just killed a rat.

Rats. I grimaced. I swear, rats in my life were never good omens. The last time one had showed up my life, the relatively calm existence I’d created for myself had been disrupted and I’d never gotten it back.

Of course, if I’d been living
that
life, I wouldn’t have found Damon.

Or rather, Damon wouldn’t have found me.

Oddly enough, that thought managed to undo a few of those knots in my brain and I was able to smile a little as I left the bathroom.

As I was crossing the floor, I noticed the tables had been pushed back into place. One of the girls cleaning up the floor glanced up at me and I was startled to see a faint grin on her face as she saw me.

Startled enough that I stopped and just stared at her.

None of these people smiled at me.

They
ignored
me. On occasion, when they did look at me, it was usually with a faint sense of bemusement like they couldn’t figure me out. Every once in a while, one of them was stupid enough to look at me with outright dislike, but that hadn’t happened in a while, or if it had, they’d gotten better about hiding it, because
those
looks pissed Damon off. I just ignored them.

But they didn’t
smile
at me.

Well, Chang did, sometimes.

Damon smiled at me. Even before we’d gotten together, he’d smiled at me. When I wasn’t frustrating him or pissing him off, I’d amused him. Actually, I still do that.

But the rest of the shifters, I know they don’t have much use for me and if it wasn’t for Damon, I doubt they’d tolerate having me in here if I wasn’t on business.

Still, that was definitely a smile on her face.

Okay.

I was about ready to smile back at her when Damon appeared at my side and stroked a hand down my back. “Food will be ready in another five minutes.”

“That’s quick,” I said, looking away from the girl.

Forget the confusion of her smile.

I had the pleasure of his now.

He flicked one of my earrings. “Were you here long?”

“Nope. Not very. Five, maybe ten minutes.”

He glanced over to where Chang was sitting. “And Chang was here.”

I sighed. “We can talk about this later, right?”

“Nothing to talk about, Kit,” he said.

But he wasn’t being entirely truthful.

I knew it as well as he did.

One of the shifter cats—I think his name was Grayson—approached and I was glad. I didn’t have to find something else to talk about, or try and act like I wasn’t aggravated with him if he suggested that I should have let his good buddy Chang handle things.

“Alpha.”

I squeezed Damon’s hand. “I’ll wait at the bar.”

He didn’t let go. “I’m rather engaged at the moment.” He was staring at Grayson, an unyielding look in his eyes.

“It won’t take long,” Grayson said quietly, ducking his head respectfully. “I could buy the girl a drink and—”

“The girl has a name.” Damon’s eyes were gleaming now, and I knew that gleam meant dangerous things.

I tried to tug my hand away again, discreetly. When he didn’t let go this time, I gave up.

“I came here to have dinner and couple hours away with my lady,” Damon said, not bothering to keep his voice low or even polite. He awarded the entire bar a dark look. “It’s kind of been shot to hell, as you all can see, but that doesn’t mean I don’t plan on salvaging it. If anybody has business with me, they can see to it in the normal way.
Not
when I’m trying to have a fucking meal.”

He paused and looked back at Grayson.

The man had gone pale, the skin around his eyes all tight and he was twisted a ragged old baseball cap in his hands in a way that made me think he was going to shred it if he wasn’t careful.

“Is that understood?” Damon asked, this time directing the question at the man in front of us.

“Yes, Alpha.” He nodded, the gesture jerky, nervous. I started to feel bad for him but as Damon went to guide me away, I caught the look he sent me from under his lashes.

Yeah, the resentment I saw simmering in his eyes was enough to smash any sympathy I might have had. I would have been fine giving him a few damn minutes. If he wanted to get his tail in a twist, he could get mad at Damon.

Like
that
would happen.

“Got your food ready, Alpha,” Drake said from behind the bar.

As the two of us crossed the floor, I noticed that hardly anybody was looking at him, at either of us, really.

“Does anybody call you by your name anymore, Damon?” I asked as he pulled some money from his pocket and tossed it on the bar.

“Sure. Smart-assed little hired killers do.” He slid me a sidelong smile as he grabbed the bags from the counter. “Thanks, Drake.”

“Well,
I’m
not going to call you Alpha.”

“Yeah. Hell would freeze over. I’m aware.” He glanced around and caught Chang’s gaze, nodded shortly.

Chang inclined his head.

It seemed the two of them could carry on entire conversations with just a look. Sometimes it weirded me out. Like now. And when I was already nervous and edgy from what had happened earlier.

When I was nervous, I tended to run my mouth.

Falling into step alongside Damon, I glanced over at him. “By the way, I’ll have you know, I hardly ever take on contract killings.”

He paused in his tracks and then looked at me. “Contract killings. Shit.” Then he shook his head. “I don’t want to think about that.”

“Hell, how did you
think
a hired killer did it?” I shrugged. “It’s not like I can just stand on the side of the road and hold up a sign…
Will kill for food
.”

I thought I heard somebody snicker somewhere out in the bar.

Damon skimmed a look around and that snicker died a strangled death in the person’s throat.

I acted like I hadn’t noticed as I slid my hands into my back pockets. The weird glint in his eye almost had me confessing a small truth. In the past six years since I’d opened up Colbana Investigations, I’d actually only taken on
three
cases that involved contracted killings. The men had deserved it, one I’d done kind of pro-bono, and the other two had been team jobs.

I did come from a long line of assassins, but it had never been the best fit for me. Too much human blood in me, I guess. I could do it—and do it well, but I never
liked
doing it.

I didn’t see any reason to explain that to him right then. I gave him my most charming smile as he opened the door for me. “So you see, I’m not really
that
much of a hired killer.”

“Well, calling you a hired-pain-in-the-ass just doesn’t have the same effect, does it?”

Judging by the look on his face, he didn’t know if he wanted to shake me or laugh.

I think I had that effect on him, a lot.

As we stepped out into the hot, humid air of the Orlando evening, a band I hadn’t even been aware of slowly released from around my chest.

“Well,” I said brightly. “That was fun. We should do this more often.”

“Sure.” Damon slung an arm around my neck and hauled me close. The feel of his lips on my temple caused this odd little lurch, right square in the center of my chest. “Maybe next time you can start an interspecies riot, baby girl. You up for it?”

The bad thing was…knowing me? I could probably do it, without even trying.

“Now…just out of curiosity, how
many
contract killings have you done?”

I slid him a look. “Why do you sound so aggravated? You’re the one always popping off with the hired killer bit.”

His arm fell away and we headed to the car.

It wasn’t until we were inside that he said, “I knew vaguely what you were, that it had something to do with assassins and shit and that’s what Annette had always called you.” He shrugged and slid me a look. “There wasn’t ever really any confirmation or anything that you
took
such jobs. But you have to admit,
hired killer
sounds better than plain old
investigator
.”

“Yes.” I slumped in the seat and started to root around the bag for some French fries. I could smell them and my mouth was watering. “It does. And since it’s not off base, it’s not an issue, either.”

He started the car. “It’s not off base.”

“No.”

“Nobody has ever said anything about this…and I would have
heard
,” he said, his voice oddly flat.

I nipped a bite of French fry and smiled. “No, you wouldn’t have. In order for you to
hear
, somebody would have to
talk
. And Damon…this is going to come as a surprise to you, but there are some things that I’m just that good at.”

I paled in comparison to my family, there was no denying that.

But when it came to sneaky little killers, well…it was what I’d been made for, trained for.

His hand came over and curved around my neck. “Kit, it doesn’t surprise me. Worries me, maybe. But very little about you surprises me anymore.”

 

 

Chapter Five

 

 

The date hadn’t been a total bust.

The meal was still mostly hot when we got home and even though I had to take a quick shower before I could touch the food, it still tasted pretty good. The mostly hot meal was followed by sex that had been totally hot, and Damon spent the night curled around me with his hand spread over my belly and the warmth of him heating my back.

It was sheer bliss, really.

But then the nightmares started.

It wasn’t one of the bad ones.

Some of the bad ones were just…hell.

I was an orphan.

I don’t know who my father was, only that he was human. My mother had raised me until I was five, but then she died. I don’t know what happened to her—they never told me. I just knew she was died and I was left alone, left to be raised by my grandmother and aunts. It wasn’t a happy thing…for any of us. They hated me. I feared them.

To this day, I still have nightmares and the bad ones are lessons in pain, in humiliation, in fear. Up until a couple of years ago, I’d wake to find myself hiding in my bathroom. I was finally over that, but the nightmares still came.

Nightmares where I’d find myself tied to the whipping post again, as the lash tore into my naked back, over and over again.

Sometimes I dreamed about when my grandmother had broken my arm. An aneira warrior
never
lowers her guard. And I might be a useless waste, a paltry excuse for a warrior, but I had her blood in me and she’d make me stronger if it killed her.

It had almost killed
me
, more often than I could count.

But it wasn’t one of those times.

I was just…trapped.

Down in the hellish hole where she’d thrown me when I was fifteen. Trapped, huddling against the cold stone wall, scratching at my filthy skin and praying, crying, desperate for it all to end.

I was just trapped.

Cold—

So cold.

I cried and somebody wiped my tears away even as I heard her voice, Fanis, my grandmother.

Such a weakling…crying because you’re cold. If I had any sense, I would have strangled you the moment I saw you
.

“Kit.”

I shivered, cringed away from her voice.

“Kit…”

BOOK: Night Blade
4.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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