This is from that UF I’m working on. If you want to read more of it, I’ve got like 15% of it up on Book Country and you can read it free. But you have to be a member. You can read some of it without being a member…just dunno how much. Membership is free, though.
“How did you get it in here, anyway? I saw you lock it up.”
I smiled. “Us trained killers have their tricks.”
And my sword was one of mine…she had been my mother’s sword. She would be there when I needed her, or if I thought I might. I wouldn’t be easily parted from her.
“Put it away,” he ordered. “Now.”
I pulled her onto my lap. “No.”
The last time I’d gone into the lair of one of the damned Alphas, I almost hadn’t made it out alive. If he thought I’d go into this one willingly and unarmed, he was out of his pretty skull.
The door opened.
Damon spun around and immediately bowed his head.
I remained where I was. As far as they were concerned, I was just a human—well, they did see me as a trained killer. At least they acknowledged that, but I wasn’t a shifter, and by Assembly law, I wasn’t required to follow their stupid laws. Nor would I.
So I stayed were I was, sword in my lap, and watched the lady of the cats came into the room.
Yes. Very unexpected. Diminutive and pale, her hair nearly as blonde as mine. Thick black lashes hid her eyes and her mouth was about as pink as it could possibly get and still be natural. Either she had a damn good hand without makeup or God had just been too kind. She was slender—small waist, petite, but well-enough endowed that I had to wonder if she didn’t use her ability to change shape to alter hers in other ways. Some of the stronger ones could do things like that for short periods of time. The Alpha definitely could do something like that.
Pretty as a doll, I decided. And probably every bit as vapid. I couldn’t even get a read on whatever animal she was, although I knew she was cat. There was just…nothing there.
It was almost as bad as looking at Jude, although I knew why I couldn’t read him. My ability to read people came from their souls. He just didn’t have one.
That wasn’t the case here. Vampires lost their souls over time after they were bitten, losing them slowly over time. They didn’t just feed on blood–they fed on the psychic energy that came with it, and reveled on the punch of emotion that came with the feeding, since they lost their ability to feel with the death of their soul.
This woman wasn’t a vampire. She was…inanimate. Kind of like a doll. Damon had more presence than she did, I remember thinking that.
Then she turned to face me and the power of her gaze almost sent me crashing to the floor.
I gripped my blade, harder, harder, until the grip damn near bruised my hand and it still wasn’t enough. She moved and I moved just a breath later. It almost wasn’t fast enough but I’d had to rely on my instincts to survive the training of my grandmother and aunts.
I was still holding my sword a moment later and Damon stood between us, his hands raised in that calming, easy gesture people so often used.
“My lady, you want to speak with the investigator. I brought her so she could talk to you about Doyle.”
She backhanded him—if I’d ever needed the evidence of shapeshifter strength, I had it now. He was over six feet and I imagined he weighed two-fifty, at the least. The Alpha? She was small than I was. I was five foot five, and she looked to be about three or four inches shorter. Save for the boobs, she was fluff all over.
But that single strike sent him flying across the room, crashing into one of the bubble-gum pink walls. He didn’t stay there. Even as she came for me again, he was there.
What the hell—
“My Lady, you’ll be very angry if you harm the one who can help you find Doyle,” he said, and his voice had a soothing tone that seemed out of place. But then again, if he was trying to calm her down, the smart-ass mouth he showed with me wasn’t the ideal, I figured.
“Damon, are you standing in my way?” she asked. She had a lovely voice. It was like bells tinkling.
Poetic. I was getting poetic in my near-death state.
“I’m just following orders, My Lady,” he said, bowing his head.
“You followed orders by letting her bring a blade in here? To threaten me?”
“How am I a threat?”
Damon shot me a dirty look. His left eye was black, his mouth was busted and blood tricked down his face. He was trashed, and he was pissed, and I guess I couldn’t blame him. But I didn’t look at him. Focusing on her, I asked again, “How am I a threat? I bring the weapons I normally carry on a job and if you weren’t prepared for that, then I’m sorry, but I don’t do my job unarmed, especially not when I’m working with shifters.”
“Are you implying I brought you here to harm you?”
Her head cocked to the side and I had the impression a snake getting ready to strike. Not a pleasant picture. If I lied, she’d know. And if I lied right now, as pissed as she was…damn it, why didn’t anybody see fit to mention that the cat alpha was missing a few marbles? Of course, it wasn’t surprising consider how fucking nuts all of them were. Maybe it was a pack thing and it all came from her.
Hmmm. Made sense. I understood now why I couldn’t read her. The pieces clicked into places and I figured it out. She wasn’t soulless. She was just a sociopath.
Keeping my voice level, I shook my head. Mustn’t enrage the antisocial monster standing five feet away. “I’m not implying anything. I’m treating this job the same I’d treat any other. I go into it knowing nothing—and that’s the way I’d prefer it.”
Her gaze, pale, pale blue held mine.
Then slowly, she nodded. When she looked away, I let myself breathe.
“Damon, look at your face…”
From the corner of my eye, I watched. She rose on the tips of her toes, touching his cheek, his nose, his bruised eye. “Oh, you poor thing. Does it hurt?”
I didn’t gape, but I wanted to. She’d knocked him into a wall…and she wanted to know if he hurt.
But of course, instead of saying something honest like Yes, bitch, it hurts, Damon just shrugged. “I’ve had worse.”
Ten minutes later, they were seated on the couch having tea and I was trying not to stare.
For Pete’s sake.
“Do you take sugar?”
I stared at the small cup. I’d rather not take it at all. “Please.”
Go meet more villains!