Lookit! Listenit! (Yeah, yeah, listenit isn’t a word, but still…)
So the next Grimm book is due out next week. Time to start with the teasing!
Here’s the prologue. Watch out for Rob. He’s crazy. Probably crazier than Ren, and with good reason. Dunno if he’s getting a book or not.
“You can chase death a little too closely.”
Death was no stranger to the Grimm—men and women who dealt with the demons who managed to cross over into the mortal world.
The three men stood there, staring down over the edge of the building into the alley below, watching the bloody, brutal battle taking place. Will—their leader—watched the woman closely. Few others knew him by any other name. Their leader was rather closed-mouthed, especially about himself.
“Who is chasing death? Finn?” The blond at Will’s side cocked his head as he studied the Grimm with a knack for fire and fondness for firearms. “Or the baby Grimm?”
“Is it hard to figure out, Rob?” Will murmured.
Rob smirked in response.
No. It wasn’t hard, not for anybody with eyes. Finn fought like a hellion, but he fought like a hellion with a focus.
The woman, though…
“She doesn’t seem to care if she lives or dies,” Rob murmured. “As long as she kills things.” His eyes—the strangest eyes—glowed red in the dark, a sign he was either pissed off or amused. Neither boded well. Rob was the dangerous sort when he was pissed. When he was amused… Hell. He was the dangerous sort no matter what.
But he’d been the most dangerous when he’d chased his own death hundreds of years earlier.
The other man, Jacob, stood with his hands linked loosely at his back. His eyes were a cool, flinty gray and although they were nowhere near as odd as Rob’s, they were still unsettling. As he stared at the duo fighting in the alley below, he eyed the woman’s technique—it was flawless. She knew how to fight. She was green, but that was to be expected. She was still young—he could feel it.
He knew her name. Celine. A lovely name—graceful. It suited her.
Most of the Grimm this side of the Atlantic knew who she was. She’d crossed over nearly four years earlier and she’d gone through more trainers in those four years than any ten Grimm usually went through in the same time frame combined.
Sometimes new ones went through a rough patch and needed an adjustment period. Just not such an extensive one.
It wasn’t that she was a bad student. She learned fast, she trained hard and once she’d figured out what she was supposed to be doing, no demon put in front of her stood a chance.
Grimms were made to kill demons and she did it very, very well.
She just might become a legend among them. A legend among legends…strange, that.
If she survived.
That was a big if.
Her fight wasn’t about the mission. She hadn’t become the whirlwind he saw before him because she cared all that much about what they were doing. It was, to her, a means to an end. She fought like there was no tomorrow, because she didn’t want a tomorrow.
She fought because she wanted to die. It was all but etched upon her skin. Her problem was that she was just too damn good at what she did.
But sooner or later, that luck would run out. And as he watched, it almost happened—too fast for any of them to even stop it, considering how far away they stood.
A silver flash caught the faint light as a demon came up behind her. If it weren’t for her trainer, Finn, she would have been toast. Finn was pyrokinetic and he used that handy little talent for fire to eliminate the other demons who managed to surround them. As the flames ripped through the alley like an inferno, Finn stormed up to Celine, his face tight and angry.
Celine didn’t look like she appreciated the save.
“Will, what do you expect us to do with her?” Jacob slanted a look at Rob. “And are you actually expecting the two of us to work together with her?”
“No. But one of you will be the one to get through to her.” A faint smile curled Will’s lips and the simple silver disc at his neck glowed. “It will be one of you—because there aren’t many left who have the experience to guide her. She’s gone through most of the others I thought could help her. So it’s down to one of you.”
“Down to one of us?” Rob stroked a finger across one eyebrow. “So did you save the best for last or hope like hell you wouldn’t need one of us?”
Will’s mouth twisted in a humorless smile. “To be honest, I never thought it would be one of you. But today I…had a feeling.”
A feeling. Yes, Will’s feelings were another thing of legend. He had “feelings” and cities rose and fell, saints wept and angels bled.
The Grimm, usually. They were angels—of the guardian variety. And they could bleed. It wasn’t unusual for one of Will’s feelings to lead to bloodshed. The Grimm were a tough lot and they could heal just about anything short of losing their heads, which, all things considered, was a good thing.
“So this feeling,” Jacob asked, “did it say which one of us, or are we here just to see if you can have us both manage to be in the same hemisphere without killing each other?”
“You’ve both been in the same hemisphere for six years now and you haven’t killed each other,” Will chuckled. “No. I wasn’t sure which one. You’ll both be connected to something that’s coming up for her. I don’t know how. I can’t see that clearly. But I suspect the one who can help her will feel it.”
“That girl down there needs serious guidance, Will. Everybody knows what a mess she is, but you’re moving down the food chain.” The glow in Rob’s eyes glinted hotter, redder, as he crouched down, almost animal-like, one hand gripping the edge of the building. “I’m the biggest head case among a party of head cases. And that one?” He nodded at Jacob. “This chit’s problem is that she can’t stop living in the past, right? She’s only been one of us a few years. Jacob though? He’s still dragging his chains after close to two hundred years.”
“Will, bear in mind, if you expect me to work with that imbecile, I’m likely to use any chains I might carry to strangle him.” Jacob had worked with Rob. Once. Nearly one hundred and fifty years ago. It had ended in a bloodbath—for them. Not the demons. Jacob had spent nearly two weeks in stasis, the healing sleep a Grimm needed when the damage was too extensive. Rob had needed a few days of downtime himself, even though he was somewhat older than Jacob.
It was a well-known fact Rob and Jacob didn’t get along. At all. It hadn’t been a joke about keeping them in different parts of the world. For a very long time, Will had done just that.
“Don’t worry. I need to bring the girl down to earth—make her accept her reality. Only one of you can do that. And I think the right one already knows who it is.”
Jacob wore a silver pendant around his neck. The other Grimm wore one like it, a silver disc, etched with wings, upswept. And right now, Jacob’s pendant was pulsing, throbbing, heating from within. The medallion wasn’t just for decoration. It served as both a reminder, a connection to what he was, who had made him—and in times like this, it could be a silent nudge.
This time, though, he hadn’t needed it. He already knew.
He’d known the moment he saw the girl she was for him.
Memory stabbed at him—he was no good at saving people. He was good at fighting and excelled at killing things. Those were his talents. Oh, and reminding people of things they’d rather forget, stripping them bare of all defenses until they had to face things they’d rather die than accept. Nothing else.
Moving to the very edge of the building, he watched as Finn finished banking the fires he’d called. The woman stood off to the side, cleaning her blades and tucking them away, looking cold and unaffected.
She wasn’t, though. Unaffected. There was pain inside her. The power inside him, that monstrous power that had almost driven him mad, pulled at him, teased him… What lies behind the pain, let us see…
Jacob pushed it down. He wasn’t going there, not with a Grimm. Her pain was her own.
Turning, he stood with his back at the very edge of the building, the wind slamming against him. It was cold, the bitter edge of winter sharp in the air.
His eyes met Will’s silvery ones and he saw nothing there—no satisfaction, no interest, no curiosity. Not even that keen intelligence he knew existed.
“And if I can’t help her, what then?”
Something flashed in Will’s eyes. It might have been relief. But then Will lowered his lids, his gaze shifting away to linger on the woman down in the alley. “We don’t want that to happen, Jacob. It’s been a long time since we’ve lost one. Let’s not let it happen now.”