Wrapping up a series…

I’m just about done (probably will be by the time this posts) with the next book in The Grimm’s Circle series.

I bawled through the second to the last chapter. Something really rough happened-caught me by surprise. As I’m not a plotter, exactly, I didn’t see this coming, but knowing what I knew about this series, I’m not surprised.

I’ve been planning to wrap it up for a while and this puts me in the position to do just that. As sales were dropping off, it seems like the ideal time to get it done, but I didn’t want to leave it hanging–I don’t like doing that, but sometimes, you’re almost left with no choice. Fortunately, I can make the choice here and I’m hoping there’s one more go left in me.

There’s one line in it that left me really choked up…

He stole a bit of it, though, then and there, pressing his mouth to hers. “If I could have let myself, I would have loved you.”

Gah…

Anyway.  I’ll post more on what’s up with the book when I know.

To those who’ve been waiting, thanks for being patient.  If by chance you haven’t read it and you’re curious?  You can read a free story here on my site.

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A bend in the road

CrazedHearts72LGIt’s one of those… it’s decision time…points in my career.

Writing is full of them.  Many of these decisions suck.  The ones I’m making right now aren’t fun, but they have to be made.

Namely… about Grimm & the FBI books.

I’m probably going to be putting the Grimm series to bed.  When I have time in my schedule, I’ll write Will & Mandy’s story, but that’s probably going to be it.

The FBI series may be either over, or pushed to the side for the foreseeable future.

The Grimm series, as much as I love it, and I do love it… I have more fun with that series than any other one out there, save for the Kit books, but the books barely scrape by.  For some reason, it’s just never caught on well.

The FBI books are just slowly going…pffft.  I may not be shelving that one yet.  I’ll see how things go with the releases of The Unwanted and The Protected, but The Reunited and The Departed, two of the better books I’ve written just didn’t do all that well.  When you put your heart and soul into a book and the sales just aren’t there…sometimes it’s a good idea to move onto while you can.

I know ‘numbers’ aren’t a reader concern, but they have to be a concern for the writer.  As I’ve said when talking about the Hunters books…

In the end, I had to make a hard decision.  Writing can be full of them.  A writer’s daily life is all about the words…but in our business lives, if we don’t focus on something else…numbers and sales, we can end up being one of the writers who don’t keep writing for a living.

Since I kind of like what I do, and since my family kind of needs me to keep working…well, in the end, I knew what the right decision was, even though it wasn’t an easy one.

Does this mean I’m absolutely shelving these two series?

As far as the FBI books go?  Nah, not absolutely.  The Unwanted is a novella coming out from Samhain, an experiment of sorts.  It’s going to have a lower price and maybe that will appeal more.  If it goes over well, maybe it will just work better in that format.  It will require those who like print to wait longer to get the books, and I’m sorry for that, but sometimes you have to make those hard choices. I’m a prolific writer, but that doesn’t translate to high-selling.  It just means I write a lot.  People have heard of me, but hearing of me doesn’t mean they’ve tried me and some of the series that just aren’t catching on, well, it’s coming down to decision time.  Either they catch on, or I let them go.

I’ve got a few options with the FBI books, so I want to try those out.  But I don’t see that many options with the Grimm. I’m going to be honest, I’ll probably wind that series up soon. If something wild and crazy hits me for Rob or Finn, I may write those later down the road, but I’m not counting on it.

Those who enjoy the series, if you want to help keep them going, the best thing you can do, as I discussed yesterday… word of mouth & reviews.  Those reviews key into that discoverability thing and without that discoverability factor, it makes it harder for people unfamiliar with my work to find my books on retailer sites, namely Amazon and BN.

I won’t be making a hard and fast decision on the FBI books until I see how The Unwanted goes.  Maybe it will turn around.

Tomorrow…I have slightly better news.

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The Friday 56… the next #Grimm

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From Grimm Tidings

“What are you thinking?” he asked, lifting the hand on he’d laid on his belly and placing it on her thigh.

“Wondering just what to do about the fact that you’re in my bed.”

Black brows arched over his eyes. A smile slashed across his face and if she wasn’t mistaken, she would have sworn it was just a little wicked. “Just what do you want to do about the fact that I’m in your bed?”

Her breath caught in her chest and her heart started to race. Well, there were all sorts of things she wanted to do. But whether or not she should do it… Rolling to her knees, she went to all fours next to him, peering down at him. “Since it’s a dream, I can do whatever I want, I guess, right?”

If it’s your dream, I’d say that would be how it works.”

(It’s open on my PC cuz I’m editing, so it’s pretty darn handy)

About the Friday 56

  • Grab the book nearest you. Right now
  • Turn to page 56.
  • Find the fifth sentence.
  • Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
  • Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
  • Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

 

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The Friday 56…From Blind Destiny

… the next Grimm book…title still being debated.  (it’s still being written, so I have absolutely no info on release dates or anything)

:-)

“Oh?  On what?”

“What on wh…oh.  The documentary.  We’re doing a documentary on the Christou house.”

The woman wrinkled her nose.  “That old place?  Why bother?  It needs to be torn down. It’s a ruin.”

“It’s history.  It’s priceless.”  Some of her fear bled away, replaced by anger as she sat up.

About the Friday 56

  • Grab the book nearest you. Right now
  • Turn to page 56.
  • Find the fifth sentence.
  • Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
  • Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
  • Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.
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Now available…LOCKED IN SILENCE…

(The Grimm Giveaway contest winners will be posted by the end of the month.)

)

Silence’s mouth quirked in a smile. He put his glass down and signed, We all get the identities we need to move in this world. You’ll get one. Will probably already has one in place for you.

“Hmmm. And I noticed that wasn’t an answer.” She shrugged. Sliding off the couch, she said, “That’s okay. I kind of like Silence better than Eustache anyway. Still, I wouldn’t mind knowing your real name.”

“I don’t know my real name.” He turned away from her.

She froze, staring at him. She knew her mouth had fallen open, was vaguely aware that she was staring at him in numb, horrified shock. But she couldn’t help it.

Any more than she could help the pain ripping through her.

“You…” She stopped, licked her lips. Tried again. “You don’t know your name?”

He looked back over his shoulder at her. With a jerky shrug, he spoke quietly into her mind. “There is a name I was given at birth, but whatever it was, I’ve long forgotten it. Eustache is simply one of the names I go by when I must give a name. To those who matter, I am simply Silence.”

To those who matter, Vanya thought.

With a tiny smile, she murmured, “So, does that mean I’m one who matters?”

“Of course,” he said, his voice soft, quiet.

She started across the carpet, her feet sinking into it.

“After all, you’re my student. You matter very much.”

Those words slashed across her heart.

She almost stumbled. Almost faltered.

Student… Vanya stilled, staring at him as she repeated that word silently to herself. She was a student. His student.

Yeah, his lover too. But mostly, he just saw her as his student.

His responsibility.

Fuck.

She couldn’t do this.

BN | Amazon | Samhain

Dying is hard enough… coming back to life is brutal.

read more… 
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Saturday Snippet

Wheee…..

So, if my eyes aren’t bleeding out of my skull by the time I post this tomorrow, I’m planning on taking the day off.  Actually, a few days.  I’m taking my kids to the first major comic con in the Louisville area (that I know of) for quite a while.  (Maybe ever?)

And after that, on Sunday, taking off with my guy for three days.  Our 15th anniversary is coming up and we’re taking a couple of days to ourselves.

And I can actually enjoy those days. I made a little more progress to catching up. I just finished a book.  It’s Grimm # 6- don’t wanna discuss the title yet.  Too reveal-y.  But there’s a nice long snippet for a Saturday Snippet.  BTW, I have no information about release dates or anything-sorry!  I don’t even know for sure where this is going.  Once I know, I’ll let you all know.

~*~

“You can chase death just 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 for him.  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 that 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 chasing 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 his eyes were no where 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 still green, but that was to be expected.  She was 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 did go 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 how 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, just 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 wasn’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 that 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 for see if you can have us both manage to be in the same hemisphere without killing each other?”

Will chuckled.  “You’ve both been in the same hemisphere for six years now and you haven’t killed each other.  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 foodchain.”  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 headcase among a party of headcases.  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 almost 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 a hundred and fifty 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 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, to keep them apart.

“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 just like it, a silver disc, etched with wings, upswept.  And right now, Jacob’s pendant was pulsing, throbbing, and heating from within.  He didn’t need to the silent cue.

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 to 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 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 that he knew existed.

“And if I can’t help her, what then?”

Something flashed in Will’s eyes, then. It might have been relief.  But then Will lowered his lids, his gaze shifting away to linger on the woman fighting before him.  “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.”

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Interested in reviewing…

Locked in Silence, which is book 5 in the Grimm’s Circle series?

Shiloh needs a few book bloggers to do reviews on Locked in Silence

Dying is hard enough. Coming back to life is brutal.

Grimm’s Circle, Book 5

Vanya has been hunting and killing demons ever since one of them scarred her face and killed her sister. Correction—since she was forced to kill the demon possessing her sister.

Then some sort of angel offers her a deal she can’t refuse—that if she becomes one of them, she gets to kill even more demons. Tonight, she’s made that choice. The death she smells on the air will be her own—and she welcomes it.

Silence feels a darkness is looming. Change—something he has every reason not to welcome. The deeply hidden memories that robbed him of his past, of his own name, render him unfit to teach anyone the ways of the Grimm. Yet here he is in the dankest sex club in town, waiting to assume his charge—after he stands by and watches her die.

When Vanya awakes, their complicated, dangerous dance begins. And so does something else—a searing need that blisters along their unexpected mental connection. Silence shouldn’t be drawn to his student, but once they touch, he can’t think of a reason to stop. Even though acting out their darkest desires puts them in more danger than they realize.

Warning: This book contains sex-starved demons, lonely angels, demon-angel sandwiches, blood, violence, death and a happy-ever-after.

 

 

Then email me (NOT SHILOH!) at grimmhunter.shilohwalker(at) gmail(dot)com.  Make sure to include a link to your blog.  We’ll check them out and a couple of people will get digital copies of the book.  Also, if you could include in the subject line, Locked in Silence review request.  It’ll help me filter and keep track of you :).

Please note… this isn’t a contest.

This also isn’t a ‘Shiloh’s giving you a book, so you have to give her a good review.’  All she asks for is your honest opinion, posted to your blog either the week of last week of August or first week of September.

ETA: Also, the reviews have to be on a blog…you can also post to FB as well, Amazon, Goodreads, etc, if you choose, but the review must be on your blog.

Keep in mind that if you’ve received ARCs from Shiloh (or if you receive this) and you don’t get the review posted by the agreed time, you’re less likely to receive ARCs from her in the future.  This isn’t done to be mean, but she only sends out a limited number and those who get the reviews posted by the agreed date will be those who get first priority.

 

 

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Random

Oh. Pretty. Yes. I shall be sharing desert & Grand Canyon pics for a while.

grand-canyon-2011-35

Locked in Silence is up for preorder @ BN | @ Amazon.  FYI, although it’s not showing up there for preorder, if you preorder from Samhain, that’s where you’ll get the cheapest price. It’s like 35% the first week of sale, I think.

Also, lookit! Cover teasing begins! This is from If You Know Her

 

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Locked in Silence… #Grimm

Dying is hard enough. Coming back to life is brutal.

Grimm’s Circle, Book 5

Vanya has been hunting and killing demons ever since one of them scarred her face and killed her sister. Correction—since she was forced to kill the demon possessing her sister.

Then some sort of angel offers her a deal she can’t refuse—that if she becomes one of them, she gets to kill even more demons. Tonight, she’s made that choice. The death she smells on the air will be her own—and she welcomes it.

Silence feels a darkness is looming. Change—something he has every reason not to welcome. The deeply hidden memories that robbed him of his past, of his own name, render him unfit to teach anyone the ways of the Grimm. Yet here he is in the dankest sex club in town, waiting to assume his charge—after he stands by and watches her die.

When Vanya awakes, their complicated, dangerous dance begins. And so does something else—a searing need that blisters along their unexpected mental connection. Silence shouldn’t be drawn to his student, but once they touch, he can’t think of a reason to stop. Even though acting out their darkest desires puts them in more danger than they realize.

Warning: This book contains sex-starved demons, lonely angels, demon-angel sandwiches, blood, violence, death and a happy-ever-after.

“Can you see through my dress?”

Vanya tried not to snort as she finished up in the bathroom stall. When she came out, she automatically dipped her head so her hair—or rather the wig’s hair—fell and hid the scars that started at her temple and continued down along the left side of her face.

The wig was a necessity. The scars made her stand out too much. In the past two years, she’d convinced herself not to care so much about them, but the reality was that they did make her stand out and she couldn’t have that.

If she didn’t do something to disguise her looks, it would be far too easy to track her down.

And she still suspected it wasn’t enough.

Of course, tonight, it hardly mattered. These girls weren’t paying her any attention at all.

They were too busy staring at their friend’s dress.

“Oh, you can definitely see through it.”

Yeah. Vanya was hard-pressed not to roll her eyes as the girl clapped a hand to her forehead and dramatically cried, “I look like such a slut…why didn’t anybody tell me?”

“Well, we thought you knew…”

The dress’s transparency wasn’t going to add or detract from the girl’s would-be sluttiness. Maybe the fact that it didn’t quite cover her lacy boy shorts, her lack of a bra and her very real need for one—that might add to the slut image. Or the fact that she’d already had sex tonight—twice. Vanya had seen the girl going at it outside on her way in—and she’d also seen Ms. See-through Dress fucking a different guy in the bathroom here earlier.

Vanya noticed things.

Lots of things—particularly in places like this.

Places like this—rank, nasty dives that made her want to take a bath.

But she needed to be here.

Tonight.

Vanya didn’t even know why.

She just knew she needed to be here.

Even though it was screwing with her head something awful. Too much going on—too much sex, too much anger, too much confusion and chaos and depression and sadness and want and lust and greed…

All the thoughts pressed in on her and she couldn’t block them all out. It was as if she’d walked into the local Best Buy and somebody had jacked up all the speakers to maximum.

She hated it.

The noise, the chaos, they screwed with her shields something awful.

She did fine one-on-one, two-on-one, even ten- or twenty-on-one. But a few hundred angry, angsty young adults and not-so-young adults who were trying desperately to pretend they were…hell, it was enough to screw with any psychic’s shields. At least, she’d prefer to think so.

To say her shields were compromised was putting it mildly.

This wasn’t a place she wanted to be.

And if she listened to her instincts, she’d leave because there was danger in every corner here.

Death waited.

She could feel it, all but taste it.

She hadn’t tasted it this strong since the night her sister Irina had died—been killed.

The night Vanya had killed her. Killed her and the demon inside her. At least she’d hoped the demon died. She didn’t know enough about the demons to know for sure. After all, nobody would tell her. She suspected not many could. Those who could weren’t talking.

A giggle pierced the dark shroud of Vanya’s thoughts and she braced her hands on the cool porcelain of the sink, made herself think. Made herself focus. She needed to get out of here.

Back into the club.

Where they were.

The succubae and incubae.

The demons.

They were her main concern—the reason she was here.

She didn’t need to be worrying about a bunch of giggling, silly girls. Girls who were busy lamenting over a silly, sheer dress and whether or not any of them made a hookup tonight.

Vanya wished that were the biggest concern of her life.

That hadn’t ever been a concern in her life.

She rarely had time for it.

No—her biggest concern was currently centered around the demons who had selected this bar as a feeding ground. Even though they were stronger than her, faster than her…

Even though they could kill her with ridiculous ease.

Kill her—

But then again, that was her goal, wasn’t it?

She couldn’t really make any real progress until she died.

I’ve got a deal for you…

Like it was yesterday, Vanya could remember the night he’d come to her.

His name was Will. Or at least that was the name he’d given her.

He was one of the people who could enlighten her about demons. But he wasn’t too interested in sharing many details with her. At least not yet. In good time—that was his favorite line.

One would think he’d be more interested in talking to her, reassuring her. Considering he was trying to convince her to join him. And in order to do that? She had to die. Yeah, that was a real kicker. Some reassurance would be appreciated. But he never gave it, and oddly enough, she trusted him despite that fact.

She’d met him five years ago.

Five years ago—she’d been eighteen and alone, fighting against those things, like she’d been doing as often as she could, ever since she was sixteen when her sister had been taken over by them. Her sister, her friend, her only family.

Then…

“I’ve got a deal for you.”

He’d come out of nowhere. Dressed all in white, from the long, white leather coat, to the white leather shoes. On many men, it would have looked foolish. On him…it fit.

Vanya, covered in blood, still shuddering from the rush of adrenaline, had barely been able to keep the scream trapped behind her lips when the man practically appeared right in front of her.

Not that he had—that wasn’t possible.

But it sure as hell seemed that way.

With a sneer to cover her fear, she started to go around him. “Sorry, pal. If you’re looking to get laid, you’re looking in the wrong place.”

He caught her arm. “I’m not looking for sex, Vanya. I’m looking for fighters. And that’s what you are. An hour of your time, in public, and I’ll buy you a meal.”

The exact right words—he couldn’t have offered her diamonds with a better result.

Her belly growled. It had been more than a day since she’d scavenged up a decent meal.

Although she had the money she’d stolen from her latest kill, if this guy was willing to fork over the dough…hooking her thumbs in her pockets, she studied him.

“A meal and fifty bucks,” she said, lifting her chin.

He smiled. “Not a problem. Shall we?” He gestured toward the road.

But Vanya hesitated. She’d just killed two…things. They’d been human once and their bodies still looked human. That meant they’d bled…a lot.

And the police would think she was insane if she told them some story about demons and possession…

Plus, although the dark clothes she wore hid the blood pretty well, in the light, people would notice something.

“I’ll meet you. Someplace. Two hours. I’ve got a prior engagement,” she said.

“Ahhh. Yes. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to clean up, change your clothes, I imagine.”

The blood drained from her face—she felt it. Swallowing, she stared at his face. And although she didn’t like to do it, she lowered her shields, just a bit, prepared to jerk them back up in case he felt like…one of them.

What she felt was…

Weariness. Strength. And light—it was almost like she stood in the sunshine after years and years in darkness.

Hissing out a breath, she backed away, staring at him.

Judging by the look in his eyes, he’d known exactly what she was doing. He continued to watch her, waiting, a patient look on his face, as though he’d wait forever. As though he could wait forever.

Suddenly, she wasn’t so hungry and she didn’t think he was worth the fifty bucks or the free meal.

“Maybe not, but that deal I mentioned? It’s worth it,” he murmured. “You’ll end up dead, one of these nights, when you go out there. You’ll continue this quest, determined to kill those things before they take away somebody else’s sister, mother, brother, son…but this time, you’ll be the one to fall. The one to die. Or perhaps worse—you’ll end up one of them. It’s a risk and you know it. It’s a fear you live with. The nightmare that keeps you awake, even though you sleep only during the day when the sun shines bright in the sky.”

Terror squeezed her chest, her throat.

Shit.

Shit.

Shit—how in the hell—what the hell—

“Who in the fuck are you?” she demanded. “How do you know that?”

The smile curling his lips was sad. “Somebody not so different from you, sweeting.” He reached inside his pocket.

She grabbed her knife, brandished it.

And then felt very much the fool when he held out a crisp fifty dollar bill. “Yours…whether you meet me or not—the good Lord knows you could use a good meal or two on you. Your favorite restaurant. Be there. In two hours. Or not. But I mean you no harm.”

“What do you want?” she demanded.

“Meet me…or not. Like I said, I have a deal for you, Vanya. One that will make you faster, stronger…and you’ll be able to kill all the monsters you wish.. And they’ll never be able to take you over. That nightmare, the one that haunts you? You’ll be free from it. Forever. I promise you.”

He turned around and strode away. She stared at him, dimly thinking she hadn’t told him her favorite restaurant.

Free…

She shook her head, trying to make herself listen to common sense, and not that desperate, desperate hope. He’s just a quack, she told herself. One who hadn’t even asked her what her favorite place was, so how could he meet her?

“I’ll be there, Vanya. I promise. The question is…will you be?” he called out over his shoulder.

A quack—a freaking weird one.

One who…holy shit.

He’d fucking disappeared.

Right in front of her.

Kindle