Thanks to Cannd for checking this over and to Shenji for doing a quick read for me.
Thanks to all the readers that have decided to follow my blog and continue reading! I appreciate more than you’ll ever know. Now this is how quick I can post the next chapter. *press post* LOL.
Quick warning: This chapter is really bloody…in a kick ass kind of way but it’s still bloody and if you’re not cool on fight scenes, bloody vamp gore, and shotgun justice then you probably shouldn’t read this chapter. Just kidding. You should totally read this chapter! PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT OR OPINIONS WHEN YOUR DONE. I STILL LOOOOOOVVVVEEE TO HEAR FROM YOU!!!
~~~~Forty-five minutes ago~~~~
Ghost stuck to the shadows, hiding his form from even the smallest sliver of light. His new speed and strength only added to his natural element---that of an invisible man. Being a professional hit-man might have seemed risky to some, but not to Ghost. In fact, the golden skinned Guardian thrived on stealth and adrenaline, shining in his death dealing skills.
The Cuban born vampire, moved through the night jumping from rooftop to rooftop, and landing with barely a whisper under his tight laced, leather boots. Although the S.U.V. carrying Rowen’s precious cargo had escaped his sights, the conspicuously sleek Mercedes had not. He smiled, spotting the other decoy vehicle that had sped off down the alley in the other direction, loving this game of cat and mouse.
Eventually the pricey set of wheels would lead him to the SUV. His targets always slipped up at some point, or at least this time he was counting on it. Ghost’s luck came in spades as the platinum hued Mercedes rolled up to a stop light and what do you know, right next to it was the SUV. The windows rolled down on both ends, the drivers exchanging words quickly. An incessant beeping came from the side walk counter that ticked down from twenty seconds and Ghost whipped out his phone.
The camera came up quickly with the touch of a button and the vampire zoomed in for a shot of the plates with his android. With gusto, the SUV took off as he texted the plates to Knox and Ghost sneered. Shit, he sizzled inside at his lack of attention. Which direction did the fucking thing go? The Mercedes took a left onto Centennial and merged into the heavy traffic and right into the main hub of the city. Leaving Ghost with little choice but to follow the obvious decoy--- he hoped the driver was as dumb as he appeared and led him right into the heart of the beast aka more assassins.
He caught up to the two door coupe again. This time at the longest traffic stop in the city’s nightclub district. Hundreds of humans began crossing the streets and creating a barrier on either side of the mess of bumper to bumper below. Grinning, Ghost dropped soundlessly from his high perch and landed in a darkened alley.
The slowing rev of a smooth engine caught his ear and he turned. A Chinese delivery guy was just getting off a slick black Italian bike and pulled off a black on black helmet. Shaking out his long choppy locks, the man bent and adjusted his boot, giving Ghost a hell of view from behind. Judging by the guy’s attire and those ass capturing jeans, the young hot thing was probably just helping his papá out for the night but damn that bike---not to mention that perky backside had Ghost hard.
“Hey amigo.” Ghost parted from the dark, making himself known to the world once more.
The delivery guy startled, dropping his helmet to the ground with a thwack. “Hey man, I don’t have any cash on me, so just back off.” Brilliant golden eyes flicked around then widened as the hit man took a step forward. The smell of cardamom rushed forward as an exhaust fan kicked on next to them. Realizing the scent was coming from the exotic beauty in front of him, Ghost gathered the fear radiating from the delivery boy but being the creature he was, it only added to the man’s allure. Unfortunately the professional killer was short on time and Ghost wasted not another second in bringing his face mere inches from the flawless features of his prey.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” the Guardian’s rich accent filled the air, intoxicating his prey. Wobbling a little on his feet, the owner of those golden eyes moaned softly---his ass brushing the brick behind him for balance. “I need to use your bike, give me the keys,” Ghost purred and held out his gloved hand, instantly receiving his prize from the younger man.
“Gracias hermoso,” (thank you beautiful) he whispered in the guy’s ear and left a brush of lips against the human’s cheek. Leaning back and glancing at his phone, the vampire realized he had less than thirty seconds--- if that---until the traffic cleared.
“Véale alrededor.” (See you around) He winked and blinked, snatching the helmet from the ground and letting the Asian man’s mind return to reality but without time to even utter a shout to the man stealing his bike.
The key was in the ignition and Ghost was zipping down the alley in ten seconds flat, his target just heading through the six way stop and towards the water.
Nina Gerard might be the Blood Queen, but that title did nothing to give her piece of mind at the moment. What had started as a wonderful night out had quickly slid into a raging inferno of what ifs and how the fucks. Her son’s mate--one of her dear friends-- had been kidnapped and by her ex-mate’s mate? How much more dramatic could it get, Nina rolled her eyes and tapped her knee in irritation.
Besides that terrifying reality the new leader of the assassins had taken Jessica as well, leaving the safety of Frank and the little girls in their hands. If Nigel was the same as she remembered----absolutely corrupted in body and mind---he wouldn’t stop at Jess and Dan. No. He would get his hands on everything that was precious to their close knit circle, including the other Royals and possibly new street turns that hadn’t declared their loyalties yet. Nina let out a weary breath and closed her eyes in silent prayer. Lord, please be with our Guardians tonight. Help them to prevail over the evil that threatens to shed innocent blood. Please let the little ones be safe. Let them all be safe.
She opened her sky blue eyes and sat up straight. Upon eyeing the guards that surrounded her in the Escalade, Nina pulled out her phone and dialed the team leader in the vehicle in front of theirs.
“Are your men in place?” She asked without a greeting.
“They’re ten minutes out and we’re already pushing it on speed. I don’t want the humans involved your Highness.” A thick Russian accent greeted her.
“A little late for that old friend, this has become a war for three sides, not two.”
“We will do what we must to ensure their safety, my Queen.” She could hear the sincerity in his voice. Yuri would serve his people and his Queen with all that he was until every star fell from the sky and the earth was mere ashes floating through space.
“Then let’s start with the little ones, one step at a time.” Her voice was deep and calculating. If anything had happened to those poor girls no assassin would be safe from the Queen and her guards.
“Very good, your Highness. ETA is twenty minutes,” he replied and the line disconnected.
Nina sat back in her seat and looked at her phone’s background to see Hill’s handsome face. She had taken it two days prior when he had just woken up and had that innocent yet heated look in his golden eyes. A tug at her heart had the Queen pressing buttons and before she knew it her messages were opened to create a new one.
I would never choose. I love you too much. Hitting send, Nina couldn’t seem to calm the fear that something terrible was about to happen.
Dan dry heaved; a choking wretch that was caught in his throat. He couldn’t seem to make oxygen fill his lungs quick enough and his body flared with hatred. With his good eye, the human observed his sister lying on the stained concrete---her blood forming a puddle beneath her formerly butter-colored hair.
“Now I believe it’s time to start the fun,” Nigel chuckled, giving Dan a wink.
The chained human started to shake, Dan’s vision becoming fuzzy with memories, as the vamp before him took a different form. A form the blonde knew all too well. No, stay here Dan, hold on…. His good eye closed under the pressure of an incoming flashback and the world he currently saw swirled into something else entirely.
“Thought you would have a little fun did you? You really thought kissing the mayor’s son in public wouldn’t go un-noticed?” His father grabbed him by the chin and spit in his face.
“You are trash you little piece of shit. Pure garbage! Your little stunt cost me a big account and now you’re going to pay for it!” Dan’s father grabbed him by the back of the neck, his blunt nails digging deep enough into the skin to break it. The big man led him down the hall into the kitchen, where he flung open the basement door.
“No. Please dad! I won’t do it again…please,” Dan cried helplessly, his tiny body shaking with fearful anxiety.
The man before him scoffed, “I’ve heard that before. It’s time you spent some time thinking about what you’ve done. Maybe the dark will help you see the light.” Jeffrey Walker laughed and punched his son in the face.
Dan woke up later in pure darkness, cold concrete under his ass and against his back. He wheezed through the pain, his breath catching as he swallowed the blood that was trickling down his throat from his nasal cavity. How long would he be alone in the dark? When would someone come for him?
Rowe, his beautiful Rowe.
Dan came too, cold water splashed against his body. “Wakey wakey.” Nigel mocked encouragement.
“Now you only have about oh…” The copper haired vamp checked his lustrous Cartier timepiece. “I’d say around sixty seconds give or take before your sister here remains dead for the rest of eternity.”
“What?” Dan asked hoarsely, trying to clear his throat.
“Either you agree to become my plaything whole heartedly and in turn I will get the information I require or… your sister eats worms. Your choice Daniel, tick tock tick tock.” Nigel made a small noise of nonchalance---as if Jess’s death was nothing more than a boring side conversation.
“You’ll turn her…” the blonde choked. What other choice did she have? Those girls needed her. They loved her too much to let her go like this. Just tell this sick fuck what he wants to hear. They’ll come for us, he thought, they have too.
“Oh yes. Don’t you think she’d make a stunning vampire? I think so.” Nigel eyed Keith, who dipped a finger in the blood pooled around his feet and brought it to his lips with a grin.
“Just stop!” Dan screamed. He couldn’t watch anymore. It was too much, too many memories of her blood. “I’ll do it. Whatever you want, just please save her.”
“Now that wasn’t so hard was it?” Nigel beamed and waved at Keith who tore open his wrist like it was but a flesh wound and propped Jess’s neck onto his knee, letting a steady stream of red flow into her now opened mouth and down her throat. Nigel could almost hear the blood of his underling burrowing through the girl’s body and rushing into her veins. The organs would kick on in a minute and then it was only a matter of time before her muscles would heat up and strengthen. Forever altered, the new vampire would definitely be quite a prize to show the Guardians if they ever decided to show up. He grinned and turned to Daniel. Now he had three in his collection and after tonight the leader of the assassins would have more to choose from. Everything was unfolding beautifully.
Rowe gripped the dashboard, his fingers clawing through the unsuspecting plastic material easily with a crunch. His chest heaved with anger, his eyes narrowed, and his fingers itched for violence. Dan, he cried inside, where are you my love?
“Just keep cool bro. We’re gonna find him.” Cade clapped a hand to Rowe’s shoulder and the Prince let out a shaky exhale while the Original Guardian looked to Micah with a grave expression. Rowe was about to lose it in a serious way that none of his comrades could pull him back from.
“I hope so Cadence. I fucking pray we do,” Rowe uttered more like a pray to God than a response to the Guardian. A constant pain resonated throughout his body. Understanding the foreign feelings whirling inside of himself, the prince held fast to the knowledge that soon he would rip flesh from flesh to avenge his mate’s pain.
A chorus of growls resonated from the backseat in response to Rowe’s power and the back latch to the Hummer popped open to reveal Hill and Knox with duffels full of goodies and a few metal cases in their hands. Currently they were parked in a narrow back alley that smelled like rotting garbage and behind a pawn shop or that’s what it said on the outside. A tall thin man with a shock of cherry red hair and thick black glasses gave a quick wave to the Hummer with a lithe grace. His stare was penetrating and Rowe instantly knew him as vampire but couldn’t say he had ever seen the fucker before.
“Who is that?” Rowe growled, suddenly paranoid by the instilled image of the stranger’s dark eyes behind their innocent looking specs. Coming up out of the sub entrance completely, the red head stepped under the light in the alley way and crossed his arms. Dark jeans, thick leather utility belt complete with two shiny glocks, and a head full of spiky red hair that pointed in every fucking direction but down. Metallic black boots with enough buckles to keep up a dozen pairs of pants walked through a deep puddle with a splash and brought the stranger that much closer to their vehicle.
“I call him Blaze cause his head looks like it’s on fire but he prefers Jonah. Runs a street op in the basement and he’s scarier than he looks, so don’t get any ideas. Prolly has this entire alley booby trapped to the nines for when shit doesn’t run his way, ya feel me?” Knox boomed and pushed a three and half foot metal case under the seat and grabbed the last duffel from the ground.
“You good back here?” The tattooed vamp asked Hill.
“Yeah I’m peachy,” Hill replied and sat in the back with a few bumps and shakes to the Hummer.
“Watch your fingers GI Joe,” Knox snorted and slammed the back door into place.
“You coming or you just gonna stand there, Inspector Gadget?” The blue haired beast raised a brow and Jonah shook his punked-out mop in anger.
“Shut your god damn mouth and get in the car,” Knox cut him off and opened the side door for their new guest.
Cade, Micah, and King were getting antsy in the back seat and Knox just wanted to start hacking some assassin into teeny tiny pieces or shoot a hole the size of a head through their chests; whatever.
“You got everything?” Rowe asked with impatience.
“Yeah, just take some deep breaths. We’re almost there,” Knox tried to reassure the prince but was met with a killer’s gaze.
“Bloody tell me to take some deep breaths… I’ll fucking kill you mate if you don’t get the bloody mother fuck in this car and step on it,” Rowe growled, seeing his vision go red. Hadn’t he just fed from Daniel today? Although suddenly he was hungry again and combined with his violent temper at the moment, this was a very bad situation.
“Rowe? Should we stop and maybe get you something to…”
“Finish that sentence and I’ll rip your heart from your chest. I touch no one but my mate and I will die before I even consider it,” a chilling voice responded and Rowe almost didn’t know who was speaking until he felt every eye in the vehicle upon him.
“Got it. I’m going,” Knox looked…frightened? No, not possible, the prince thought. The red head sidled up to the front seat and put his heavily booted feet on the middle console and his elbows on the head rests next to him. He looked like a fucking demon perched and ready for action. Jonah felt the eyes on his back and slowly turned his pitch colored eyes to the back seat with a grin. The thick glasses he wore did nothing to hide his narrowed satisfaction and readiness for violence.
Planting a foot into the Hummer, Knox swung his body into the seat and heard a click followed by a small slow hiss as his weight settled behind the wheel. His fingers stilled and his heart all but stopped.
“What the fuck was that?” Hill hissed from the back seat and time seemed to stop.
“That was the sound of a pressure release explosive being triggered,” Blaze replied, his voice like death---cold and lifeless in tone.
A low but steady beeping started from under Knox’s seat and he turned his dark eyes to his best friend with a solemn vow and complete understanding. “I’ll get you there my brother. If it’s the last thing I do.”
Cracking his spine felt like torture but in some ways it was a relief to his back. After Jess had been fed and Keith had found a heartbeat within her chest, Nigel had directed for one of his little lap dogs to take Dan to the ‘room’. Whatever the hell that was, it happened to be far away from his sister’s still unconscious body and seemed more and more ominous at each turn they made in this underground concrete labyrinth. The human’s heart sank. It had been forever or so it felt like since they had been brought here in the first place and still there had been not even a hint that the Guardians were coming to the rescue.
“Don’t struggle.” The assassin taking him down the hall gripped his hair and Dan bit his lip to keep from screaming. His scalp hurt so badly he would probably have a migraine for the rest of his life if he escaped this place. Still in handcuffs, he shuffled his bare feet down the dirty concrete until the enemy guard stopped and punched a code into the pad on the wall.
For how disgusting this place seemed to be, they sure had the right technology. Dan had seen at least a dozen secure rooms and had even passed what looked like a control center of some type. They were monitoring the ground level from what he could tell and there had been a camera in the room where Jess still was. Yeah, Nigel was waiting for the Guardians to show up and when they did… That was the problem, Dan didn’t know what the assassin leader had in store and frankly he barely had the energy to be concerned about the big picture---favoring saving his and Jess’s life over conspiracy theories at the moment.
In the last ten minutes he’d made up his mind that it was every man for himself and his sister. He wouldn’t leave her behind but he was getting out of here. Dan didn’t care what he had to do. Nigel’s terrifying gaze lit up his thoughts and he shuddered to think what the vamp had in store for his human body but he would take it if that meant Jess was safe and he could go free in the end.
“I said get in there!” Dan was shoved into a dim room landing on his knees and then the side of his face as gravity pushed his body to the floor. He was so lost in his thoughts he hadn’t even heard the guard the first time.
“Your master will be back shortly. Make yourself at home,” the hooded assassin sneered and pressed a button, sealing the heavy door into place again.
Struggling to his knees, Dan fought the pain that screamed through his body and used the edge of the king sized bed to push himself up. He faltered a little, wobbling on his unsteady feet and then sighed when he was centered. Taking a look around the concrete bedroom of evil, he started to grasp the gravity of his situation. He was completely trapped in this room. No doors, no vents, not even a camera. Nothing but thick walls of stone and steel encompassing him on four sides and a ceiling that only God knew how many levels underneath the real world it was.
Shaking off his despair though, he tried to think logically. What could he do to better himself in this moment? Get the cuffs off and hide. Was that smart though Dan, he started thinking to himself. Where could he go? What would he use to unlock these things? If he got free, what could he use as a weapon? How does that door open?
“There’s no way out,” a cracked voice came from a corner of the room and Dan jumped with a gasp. Slowly, the blonde turned his wide green eyes towards the other side of the room.
“Hel…hello?” The human’s escape plan was deterred while he cowered against the closest wall, pressing himself as flat against it as possible.
“I am like you. Do not fear me,” the voice answered his unspoken questions but it wasn’t enough to make Dan move an inch. Nope. He had seen too many horror movies to know you didn’t go there. You didn’t go down into the basement with a kitchen knife and think you were armed. Or in this case, you didn’t go to the other side of the bed while you were handcuffed to see who that voice belonged to.
“Are you well? I can smell your…Never mind,” the stranger murmured and there was a wheeze to his voice that the prince’s mate knew all too well at this point. Dan’s conclusion that he had broken a rib or two earlier was wrong as he could still breathe--- although it was painful. There had to be internal bruising of some kind though and he shifted his arms a little to move the spot where the cuffs rubbed away at his wrists.
“I’m alright I think,” Dan whispered to the unknown and heard the rattle of chains. A high rise king bed with crisp white sheets was the only furniture in the room but it was also the only thing that separated him from whatever was on the floor over there.
“Are you…okay?” Suddenly brazen, Dan tiptoed over to his side of the bed and strained a little to try and get a peak. Not too close, he thought and craned his neck.
“No. Don’t come any closer. Your smell....” That was twice now that the stranger had mentioned his smell. Cocking his head in thought, Dan inhaled sharply through his nose with realization. Vampire. Vampire. Vampire. The warning bells went off like a high pitched chorus in his head and Dan found his back pressed to the cold concrete once more. He winced as he carelessly forced the cuffs into his back and deeper into his wrists. Leaning forward, the human took a few deep breaths and eyed the other side again, knowing that bad had just gone to worse.
“I’m Nova,” the voice coughed a little. “And I won’t hurt you. I am but a victim as much as you are in all of this.”
“Why is a vampire locked up down here? Shouldn’t you be out there with them?” Dan hissed and searched out the answering voice. He wasn’t gonna fall for a name and a pretty face bullshit backstory. He was about to be dinner and damn it if Dan was gonna be torn to bits lying down. Hand cuffs or no.
“You know of our kind then?”
“Yes. I am m…friends with your kind.” He didn’t want anyone to know about Rowen. He couldn’t be responsible for dragging his mate into this. What if this was a trick? It had to be a trick. Why was he even answering this asshole anyways? Dan’s eyes darted around the room again, looking for something…but what? Well he wasn’t quite sure on that part yet.
“Hmm. That is unusual. Relations between our species are casual at best and even then the humans know nothing of us. I’d have to be daft not to wonder why you are so special…I mean blood…” A loud cough and a few gasps for air. “I understand you are a resource of nourishment but to bring you to this place… Have you sorely crossed Nigel and he seeks revenge upon you? It is but the only explanation for this place is reserved for slaves of his personal pleasure and subsequently our torture.”
“That’s what you’re worried about?” Dan blanched. “Are you serious? I’m fucking handcuffed and bleeding in some sex slave resort from hell courtesy of a pack of psychos and you’re worried about my ‘relations’ with your species? Ah sorry buddy, but fuck you.” Dan was scared shitless at this point. Hearing about Nigel’s pleasure and torture, and all that not so happy shit, made his breath come quicker and his hands fold into tight fists. And when he had nowhere else to go, Dan went to his anger. That trippy little place inside of him that made him lash out upon the world; the place that had almost cost him Rowe back at the Wharf.
Thinking of his mate hurt too much. Every time he did, he swore he could feel emotions that weren’t his own inside of him. Something murderously feral coiled in his heart and Dan was beginning to think he was finally snapping. He was going to lose his shit in a room with a vampire and become the last supper to the great thinker on the other side of the bed.
“I did not mean to cause you any anxieties. I have prayed every day for help from the outside and forgive me but I am more than curious of your predicament for you seem to be the sign I have waited for.” A nasally inhale followed and Dan wanted to cry. The vampire had prayed for help? What would make a vampire pray for his life was a better question, Dan thought with fear.
“Are…are you okay over there? Hey, mister,” Dan whispered.
More metal clinking together; another wheeze then a dragging noise and a thump. Waves of dark black hair were illuminated in the dim golden emergency lights above them and black eyes met Dan’s as the vampire sat up along the wall with an iron collar and chains attached to his neck. A fresh gash colored an angry crimson was slit from the vamp’s scalp to his jaw on the right side and vivid marks in purple and yellow peppered down his face to his neck.
If that was any indication to what he looked like below Dan didn’t want to see the rest of Nova.
“May I know you’re name human?” Nova rested his head against the concrete wall behind him and Dan noticed the shake that flooded the vampire’s shoulders every time he took a breath. He was dying, Dan realized and it hurt his heart for some reason. The thing was chained to the wall, looking like the terminator had just raped the shit out of him. Of course he was enough of a man to sympathize with a fellow abuse victim.
“Dan,” the human answered, figuring it was the least he could do for the poor creature. Searching the battered face across the way, Dan had the strangest feeling that he had seen this man somewhere before but that was impossible.
Nova watched the male across from him with a study that had taken years to perfect; a quiet dignified manner that did not elicit fear or disgust…a simple stare that held no emotion and was only used to mask his careful calculation and gathering of information. The blonde male before him was beautiful even in his pain and agonies. He was strong of spirit as well, exceeding most human emotion in his handling of the crisis at hand. Even knowing---as he already must---that his doom had no doubt been sealed like the door had earlier, the green eyed male still searched for some resolute to his predicament.
Nova could appreciate this fight or flight instinct for at one point he too had been of the same mind. But now his fight was lost due to his body’s lack of strength and these shackles that had become a mere extension of his being rendered him immobile save for three or so feet. But the human seemed determined to the point that his eyes kept darting around the room and not out of fear. The blonde was looking for something to free himself, something of which even Nova himself knew wasn’t there. Or maybe he was looking for someone? My Lord, Nova thought to himself, the human was mated.
“You must be honest with me now Dan. Have you a mate outside of this place? A…vampire mate?” Nova perked up, hoping to his Lord and savior that this was true.
“I…I…” Dan stuttered. He couldn’t will the words to leave his mouth. Why would Nova care? Unless he was the enemy too, Dan thought with a grim conclusion. He was going to die here wasn’t he? Suddenly the human thought on his miserable life and how he thought with some foolish notion that he could have ever changed his future. His poor Rowen. Dan would never get the chance to know what they felt like together. He would never know that life of love Rowe had talked about. This was his future. This cold desolate piece of hell underground was his new place in the world.
“Dan!” Nova hissed with urgency, feeling the human’s emotions slipping into a horrendous state. Failing to get the answer he needed was not an option.
“What?” Dan resigned to answer. What was the point in refusing the vampire? He was just going to get up and unshackle himself and slowly drain Dan anyways. Kind of like surprise! I’m going to torture you now because that’s how we roll here in your worst nightmare.
“That was a strange slide of emotion friend. Where are you now in that head of yours? Or are you even there at all?” Nova hissed in pain and got to his hands and knees. His skin was raw but he had to face the human, for Dan to see what he too was in for if they did not work together.
Dark red blood trailed in small droplets behind the vampire as he slowly put one hand in front of the other, dragging his lower limbs closer to his upper half with each slow pull across the floor. Looking up from his corner of the bed, Dan gasped. Oh no, the human shook his head, oh God no.
“Do. You see?” The dark haired vamp sucked in deep breaths between words under the strain of his movements. “I. Do not. Wish this…” Another deep, painful breath sounded. “For you…” Wheeze.
“Oh Nova, what did they do to you?” Dan immediately felt a sorrow---closely akin to his sister’s throat being slit---for the vampire he didn’t know. “What are those things? Oh fuck, can you move any closer? Maybe I can…”
“Your hands are useless for such an endeavor…” A relieved sigh left him as Nova slowly fell to his side to rest. Feeling the metal instruments in his chest pinch and burrow deeper as his body shifted. “But you can help me and yourself human.”
Dan looked upon the vampire who was all but withered from the chest down. His muscles looked depleted, open wounds covered the tall male’s body, and small spikes of metal protruded from his chest and… Dan had to look away from the spot in between the vampire’s legs. How was he not screaming in pain? Gritting his teeth, the human shook from head to toe and tried not to shed any more tears.
“How? I need to get out of here. I have to save her.” The blonde asked with his eyes shut, knowing one hundred percent proof positive that this male was not the enemy.
“Save who?” Nova opened an eye, hoping to get a second’s rest from his two foot trip to the end of the bed.
“My sister, they have her. Or that Keith son of a bitch does. When she wakes up, I just can’t have her… She can’t go through that,” Dan seethed.
“The one they call Keith is a sick male. You do not know if she even lives any longer. Worry unto yourself first and then we shall see to her well-being if she still breathes,” Nova whispered.
“No. Fuck that, I know she ‘still breathes’,” Dan sneered. “They turned her you asshole and I won’t leave her here; Vampire or not.”
“They turned her?” Nova strained his head too quickly and let out a noise between a hiss and a sob of torture. “What purpose would she serve to them?” He grit out.
“If I don’t comply to Nigel willingly, they’ll kill her,” Dan spat and balled his fists at his back, completely ignoring the blazing sting of his wrists.
“Why are you important then? Nigel could care less for humans…unless your mate is important,” Nova concluded and looked at Dan.
Their eyes met and the blonde narrowed his greens. “I won’t let my mate come anywhere near this place. I don’t care why Nigel wants me or Rowe, but I won’t put my mate through this. Me? Been there done that, what’s a little rape on top of the rest of my life?”
“Rowe…” Nova’s eyes went wide with tears and his body locked up with emotion. It had been hundreds if not a thousand years since he had seen the prince. The last time he had laid eyes upon his superior was the night that Nova’s own father had fallen. A tear slipped from his eye and he regarded Dan with the respect that the prince’s mate deserved.
“Your grace, forgive me,” the larger male uttered with a sob.
“Hey whoa, I’m not… Wait. Do you know Rowe? Oh God, how? What?” Being human, Dan tended to forget that the vampires had been around since before Christ and that they sometimes happened to know one another in passing or…personally. Had Nova been with his…
“He is the Blood Prince and in another time he was my dear friend. As you are his mate, I will lay my life down to protect you as I can. You have my undying fealty your grace,” Nova continued and Dan was stunned. No, Nova couldn’t have been some bang to Rowe. The vampire was practically falling at Dan’s feet with respect.
“I’ve never heard your name before,” Dan murmured and scooted closer to the vampire.
“It isn’t wise to speak of the dead.”
“But you’re alive. I mean you’re still breathing and…” Dan shook his head. He didn’t need to follow up from there.
“But my race thinks me so…” Nova took a deep breath.
“Thomas and his followers did not see me when Rowe was finished with Avin that night. Their men were fleeing into the woods and I pursued on foot because I could not in good conscience let them live another day. Without my brothers, I tracked them to the other side of the forest---a good day’s travel easily. It was the next eve that by my own mishap they spotted me. I fought of course, with everything I had in me but by your own eyes, you see it was not enough.
Thomas and his people have kept me under lock and chain for many years as a slave and as a reminder of all that they seek to eliminate from this world. I will give my last breath so that you will never know this torture—that you will never feel this pain of body and soul.” Nova was weeping openly now and Dan couldn’t resist comforting someone so brave.
“You must call to him your grace. If not he come in body, he will be with you in spirit. He will send our brother’s in arms for you and your kin. Our prince will not abandon his own. Never.”
A thought occurred to Dan and he saw the vampire shy away from his approaching form. Dan slowly squatted and fell to his knees before the fanged man and sat back on his heels, taking a deep breath and then just coming out with it. “Nova? If I…if I fed you, would that help?”
The former warrior hissed and hit the wall with a smack to get away from Dan. “Do not speak of such things! You are claimed and I will not tarnish your body for my own needs. You are mated Royalty and are above my lips to your precious skin. Never speak of this again!”
“I think I can decide what I will or won’t do,” Dan narrowed his brows. “Will it heal you?”
“It is beside the point. I will not taste one drop of your blood for you are not mine to taste,” Nova exclaimed.
“Oh yeah?” Dan quirked a brow and looked around. This was his out. This vampire warrior was gonna fucking drink his body like a god damn juice box and get him and Jess out of here. One pissed off warrior of the Queen’s command was not something to take lightly. Fuck calling Rowe, if that was even possible. Rowe was not coming here with all these crazy motherfuckers running around spouting slavery and collectible conspiracies.
Eyeing the room for something sharp, Dan spotted a loose spring poking out from his side of the bed’s mattress and took a deep breath. Why him, he thought before he lifted his ankle to the wayward coil’s sharpened end and with a zinging exclamation drug the iron across his skin, catching much deeper than he had intended. Having to back track his foot to get the wire out from under his skin, Dan sighed upon its release from his limb.
Blood welled to the surface and he slipped his foot back to the ground. Rather than focus on the fact that he was losing his life juice rather quickly, Dan swung his leg over to Nova’s face and popped the closed eyed vamp on the forehead. Dark eyes appeared from behind their lashes and the red swirl of a hungry vampire danced around his irises. A hiss and the audible crank of Nova’s jaw snapping wide open was all Dan heard before the vamp struck with his fangs and sealed his lips around the wound.
Ghost’s phone call to his former boss was all of ten words and they were short, fast, and completely comprehended on the other end. Maybe he hadn’t had eternal ties to the East Coast Cartel but his former boss’s son J.J. was his friend until the end and the Cartel respected that kind of loyalty. If Ghost had let J.J. inside---past the thorns that guarded his heart--- maybe they would have been more than close amigos but after that disaster with fortune five hundred CEO Alexander Rutovsky and seeing the youngest of the Caldwell clan almost lose his male, the Guardian would sooner die than deal with a mate and possibly the loss thereof. He dealed out death, he wasn’t supposed to feel it.
Feeling the breeze and scenting the salty aroma of the water rush over him, Ghost leaned to the right and brought the bike around a tight turn where the docks were coming into view. He kept his bike low and zipped out of the curve at full speed sensing the tails behind him. It wasn’t like Ghost hadn’t felt his pursuers since he had first leapt off the club’s rooftop earlier, he was only rushing now because they were gaining numbers as he chased the Mercedes closer to the water’s edge.
Ghost glanced down at his cell which he had quickly suctioned to the bike’s gages after his little phone call to J.J. He had five minutes until the curtain went up on the night’s entertainment and he had to time that shit perfectly. The docks were becoming larger and the road was becoming shorter with their whipping speeds and Ghost saw no other way around it. He had to head off the Mercedes before it could get away and the driver---who was most likely informative---hauled ass back to his boss. With from what he could guess---there were around ten to twelve assassins at his back and they were approaching---from the scent of things, around ten more fanged nobodies. Some felt more powerful than others but none of them were leaders, none of them more powerful than he.
With pure intent, Ghost hit the red text button on his phone, signaling his friends that it was time and spotted an opening where the steep decline to the docks below, connected with pavement rather than open water. Gunning the bike at top speeds, Ghost shot the Ducati between two trees and ripped into the open air, guiding his transport with nothing but his hands to force a change in direction. His body felt weightless but the pump action rifle at his back was gloriously heavy.
Grace had met her match as Ghost swung the weapon around his chest, unclenched his thighs from the burning metal between them, and twisted mid-air. Lining the shot gun up with the Mercedes was like instinct and Ghost was the predator. With deadly aim, the Latin vamp let loose a powerful blast and popped the front tire like a fucking balloon and watched the casings fly out of the top of the gun and fall through the air as he pumped the reloaded weapon with a heavy click.
Out of control and doing over a hundred, the luxury car spun ---crashing through the gates of the warehousing facility up ahead and coming to a stop with the clawing sounds of twisted metal. All of the breath left his body as Ghost tucked his arms to his side and grasped the falling bike with his legs again, the rifle hitting his chest with a bruising smack. Rubber bounced violently underneath him and his hands shot out to take control of the handles. A screeching of wheels against asphalt and a few turns in the smoke left a fearsome vampire clinging to the grips under his hands.
Flipping his visor up Ghost straddled the beast between his legs and set his red gaze upon the makings of a full on Battle Royale. They began to drop from the opening in the trees he had come through and a few climbed over the tops of the barb wired fence with bloody fingers. The last and the weakest assassins lazily climbed over the stock still Mercedes wedged between the entrance gates. These vamps were out for death but they had not one fucking clue who they were dealing with.
Throwing his helmet to the ground, Ghost pressed a kiss to the bike that would give him wet dreams for the next year at least and patted the goods under his coat. All there, he smiled darkly and ran for the nearest cut between the two warehouses before him. A small open space lined with crates led to the docks but the water wasn’t what he wanted. Ghost wanted up and up he got. Gunning it, the Guardian spotted a set of stairs to a second story office.
Shots began to zip past him but the Ghost was quick, not like a bullet would really do much damage but then again he wasn’t positive on the ammo because he wasn’t facing the weapon. Deciding it was better to be safe than sorry, the hit-man let his inner whispers---as he called them---guide his body in the smoothest dance of its life.
His hands grasped the railing and Ghost swung his feet like a gymnast over his head. Using his body’s momentum he shot over the roof and slid across the aluminum sheeting, steady on both feet. Thunder clapped up above and the Guardian flung his dark hair back out of his face. That was the moment that the heaven’s opened up and the rain began to sprinkle down. Epic, Ghost grinned and waited for the lightning to silhouette the round house kick he planted in the vamp’s face right behind him.
Sure as shit, lightning crackled down from the sky and Ghost let loose a laugh that made the vampire with blood running down his face do a double take.
“That’s right. Rojo es su mina enemiga en color,” (red is your color enemy mine) the Guardian grinned while heavy droplets rolled down his golden face and dark lashes, simultaneously pulling a metal pole from inside his jacket.
Another vamp leapt over the roof top and Ghost clicked the center button on the stick and twirled it once, extending both sides into a full staff with a snap. The two vamps crept closer with raised guns and knives, supposedly ready for anything. But the Latin knew they had not a fucking chance in hell of taking him and clicked the last button on the stick, releasing a twelve inch blade on each end of his newly elongated weapon.
“What the fuck?” The Italian looking pussy in front of him hissed and Ghost winked before creating a dangerous six foot sphere of slicing blade between them.
“Come on you dumb shits. Come and get it,” Ghost blew them a kiss and it was on. One vamp cocked his Glock right in the Guardian’s face, gripping the gun with damp hands. Feet already unsteady on the slightly corrugated roof, the vamp shot off three rounds and lost his balance when the gun’s release pressured him backwards.
Ghost checked himself real quick and sent one bullet bouncing off the end of his blade like a hockey goalie and dodged the other two with his internal auto pilot. The vamp still standing got a big old slash to the face which caused the skinny blonde to blindly fire his Colt into the air and anywhere a bullet would fill some space. Falling onto his back, blood seeped into the freshly turned vamp’s eyes from the new opening in his face and he slipped and slid over the surface to find some balance. His hands frantically searched even ground as his personal crimson began to well in a puddle on the roof. Rain began to pour from above, splattering the vamp’s blood into a diluted pink.
Powerful engines crashed through the front gates, sending the Mercedes into the middle of a war zone and a choir of machine guns that bled into the sounds of the night. The cavalry had arrived, Ghost thought with enthusiasm and stabbed the young fanger in the throat and quickly made two pieces of him. A roar rushed behind him and the Guardian used the strength in his legs to keep his balance and throw the offending body off of him. A kick to the inside of the untrained vamp’s leg sent him tumbling to his side while trying to right himself but a boot to the balls from Ghost stopped him completely.
We may be vamps, Ghost thought, but we’re still men. “You’re dead you piece of…” his lowly enemy squeaked but it was too comical to let the new turn finish and the poor dumb ass was put on mute with a heavy steel toe to the jaw. Crunch… Oh that had to hurt, Ghost cringed but quickly recovered and spun his staff at the creak of more night crawlers scrambling onto the roof.
He activated his blue tooth, peeking over the roof and watched the crowd of new turns trying to get out of the line of fire from the Cartel’s rain of lead. Which just so happened to be right next to his bike, the vamp patted his pocket and made sure his real cell was there before speaking into his hands free device. “Boom,” he instructed.
His beautiful Italian ride burst into a mushroom of orange and turned a dozen or so vamps into dancing lanterns. Growls greeted his back and Ghost turned with a glint in his eye and a straight up hard on for violence in his pants.
“Hagamos esto,” (let’s do this) he hissed and whipped his coat off, letting it drift like a fallen bird to the wet ground below.
“This is it. I want everyone to pair up, Blaze you come with me. I don’t know you and I’m not about to send you out with one of mine by yourself. No offense.” Cade cocked his head and waited for a response from the silent vamp practically perched between the front two seats.
“For the last time,” the male spoke slowly and with perfect diction. “My name is Jonah.”
“What the fuck ever…Blaze,” Rowe hissed with a turn of his head. The fire engine red head seemed not to care though and eyed the road again.
“I’m only here to de-activate your little gift under there and then I have plans for the evening. Nothing more, nothing less,” Blaze aka Jonah turned his perfectly sculpted profile to the backseat and smiled softly to lessen the blow. He had decided to do a little recon work after he’d nipped the explosive in the bud, instead of fight with these assholes. Jonah knew a few people who would squeal like rats when he got a hold of them. If he didn’t get a handle on this new player in town then soon he’d have this macho kingpin demanding his services---because well…Jonah was the best.
With a grab of the red head’s collar, Rowe brought their faces inches from one another. “I am your prince and I command you by the blood of mine which runs through your measly body to fight for your Queen and my mate---who is your superior as well. You will go with Cade and you will fight with every last god damn breath you have, or I will do things to you that make death sound like a slow glass of wine. Do you understand me underling?” The blonde was breathing so hard it sounded like a raging bull was in the Hummer with them.
Short of the fact that bulls don’t have fangs, the analogy wasn’t so far from the truth. Blaze pushed his foggy glasses up his nose wordlessly and gave no indication that he was worried in the slightest. No, the son of a bitch merely pulled back and removed Rowe’s hand from his person finger by finger.
“You could have just asked nicely you know? Instead though, you have all done nothing but shout and cause a ruckus inside such a tiny space and heightened everyone’s already high blood pressure. Knox is most likely scared to death but in his stately glory he will remain ever the loyal warrior and give no such truth to you. Cadence, your Original back there has no idea what he’s walking into but I can respect the fact that he does not trust me with his warriors. I wouldn’t either, so brava Guardian; wise choice. Your other warriors will probably die tonight because you walk in there conflicted and with no plan but that’s okay with you because all you see right now is your mate. Besides your amazing grip there, my skills might help this group to remain competent in your little endeavor.
Now, I will help you and yours because as you so bluntly put it I am but an underling and I’m required to help my superior in his time of need. But know this. When we are done tonight, we are done. I am not your buddy or your personal warrior. I am simply Jonah or rather…let’s go with I am nobody to you. Are we in accord…your highness?”
“Deal. Now shut the fuck up,” Rowe hissed and Blaze rolled his eyes.
“You got shit on you or you need to use something from the back?” Knox asked Blaze calmly and the newest recruit regarded him with respect. How could Jonah not? The fucker was sitting on a bomb and driving the SUV like it was nothing more than a Sunday afternoon cruise.
“I am fully equipped thank you.” Jonah nodded and narrowed his gaze behind the glasses he wore not for his eyesight but for another reason entirely. Adjusting his specs again, his finger slid over the heat sensor at the side and activated the analysis grid to his eyes.
Heat signatures registered in reds and blues and everywhere in between from his darkening lenses. They were approaching the water which registered a sky blue in its frigid capacity and three old school, five or so story, brick structures that Jonah seemed to recognize immediately. Just last week he had sold some basic keypad lock systems to a shady looking fucker from the tribe Italiano in this very parking lot and the money had been too good to turn down---no matter who was paying.
“Let me understand this correctly, if I may?” He interrupted the silence.
“Go ahead, you’re just going to keep yappin anyway,” King snorted and shifted uncomfortably between Cade and Micah.
“This lot intends to take back the prince’s mate from the mob? With no back up and only the weapons we have in this vehicle? Is that correct?”
“Yes,” the entire car load returned with irritation and Blaze shut his mouth with resignation. Well there could be worse things to do tonight, he thought with a shrug, could be entertaining.
Knox pulled the car up to a curb across the street from the huddle of buildings sidled up to the docks. Staying hidden in the shadows Knox put the vehicle in park but didn’t cut the engine. If the gift under his seat was connected to the ignition in any way and he turned the car off it was boom city for all of them.
“I’m positive from the hiss we heard that the explosive is solely positioned under Knox’s seat and designed for him only. If he removes his weight from the device, it will trigger the bomb. If everyone would clear the vehicle, I can get a better look,” Blaze instructed with concentration, flitting through his knowledge to get a handle on what he would be doing next.
“How the hell did they do this? We’ve been in here the entire time,” Rowe growled with a shake of his head.
“Devices like these can be planted months in advance if the driver is unawares to it. With proper GPS and advanced monitoring technology, the person who planted the explosive can detect where you are at all times. There could even be video surveillance in here right now. Anyway, my point is that at any time of their choosing, the person on the other end can send a trigger signal to the device and turn it on from just about anywhere. May it be a coded program that only requires a password or a simple push button. It can be done and it’s rather simple actually,” Blaze informed the Guardians and the two Royals like he was reading a textbook.
“Oh,” Rowe softened his face and whispered. Knox could die. This was real and the prince was already fighting his demons to just breathe on top of his mate being kidnapped and tortured. He couldn’t let Knox go too. He just couldn’t.
“Knox we’ll be right outside,” Cade replied gruffly as if he was hiding his real emotions and popped open the door to the SUV. The other warriors followed suit, knowing the two friends needed a minute. Doors slammed shut and Knox swallowed thickly in the following seconds of silence.
“Mate, I just want you to know that…” Rowe gripped his knees until it hurt and swallowed back his emotions with a growl.
“Me too old friend, me too…” Knox looked up and grasped Rowe’s forearm and the prince returned the embrace. “Go get your mate and when all of this is done, you owe me a big fucking drink. You feel me?”
“I feel you,” Rowe sighed and leaned over to give his best friend and brother a stiff hug. “Later mate.”
“Later brother,” Knox whispered and turned away from Rowe because it was too hard to look into those violet eyes that had had his back for their entire existence together. He could very well die tonight and he didn’t want Rowe to see his fear.
“You are the bravest male I know Knoxtian, second son of Jorigh, and I will forever be in your debt for your countless acts of courage unto me. Know that you have blessed your people with your very presence among us,” Rowe spoke clearly and with pride in his heart before he departed from the vehicle, shut his door with an exhale of breath, and walked across the street before he was violently ripped in two from the pain he faced inside.
Seconds ticked by in silence for Knox and he took a deep breath with his hands gripping the rumbling steering wheel. A tear slipped down his cheek and he wiped it away. This was not his last night on this earth, he thought with determination and let out a slow breath. He rolled down the window and whistled.
“Blaze! Get your ass in gear. My backside’s crampin’ up you asshole,” Knox barked and crossed his arms to wait for the cat like red head to get to work.
The first sign that something was definitely wrong was the loud and continuous shots that could be heard through the bullet proof SUV. Nina loaded a magazine into the gun with a satisfying click and put it at the small of her back. Her blades lay on the lap of the guard next to her, which he handed over and she put at her back like she was merely putting on a coat. A ringing snapped her gaze to her own lap and quickly she slid the phone to answer.
“We’ve got company but that isn’t the crazy part. Be advised Frank has the girls on the roof and he’s shooting to kill. I have no idea what he’s packing up there but it’s heavy,” Yuri shouted through the phone and the SUV in front of them screeched to a stop and ten guards rushed out with weapons blazing. “Chloe is staying in the vehicle. She’ll take one of the girls and you’ll take the other with Frank. We’re going to split up and drive the round way back to the compound. I have teams in place on both routes for back up. That’ll eliminate any mass attack they have planned.”
“Got it. Let’s get them out of here Yuri,” Nina hissed. She was ready for battle.
“Your wish is my command, your highness,” Yuri growled back and ended the call.
Shot after shot lit up the night from above the small ranch style home on the hill and Frank pumped his shotgun, listening to the casings hit the roof with satisfaction. Emma and Hannah cowered behind him, tucked close to the ground as he balanced on his knees with rifle ready to go again.
“How are my baby girls doin back there?” Frank shouted with love and blew the head off another fuckin zombie or whatever it was. The thing splattered like a watermelon and he quickly reloaded from the open boxes next to him. Why did he have a gun with his babies around? Because he loved them---that’s why, he thought with a growl through clenched teeth and pulled the trigger again; this time blowing a hole the size of baseball right through a chest that was getting too close to the house. Okay, okay. He might have had the gun for a different reason but we weren’t getting technical here, he thought biting his lip.
“We’re scared daddy!” Frank finally heard a small voice reply and a little hand grabbed onto his ankle. If he hadn’t been so focused he would have cried but he was Big Frank and he didn’t sob like no pussy. But his little girls were all he had after Jess had called it quits. His blondie just wouldn’t let go of the past and let him have all of her, so she had driven them apart---blaming Frank for the split in her heart wrenching wake. Now? He ached for his baby all over again. Where the fuck was his Jess in all this apocalyptic anarchy?
Had she been infected by these things and grown fangs too? He cringed, eyeing another red eyed humanoid creature and lining up a shot. Would he have to raise the girls by himself now? Fuck, he sniffed with emotion and felt the tiny grip on his ankle tighten. With renewed determination he fired off another round before he heard his name being yelled.
“Frank!” The same voice called again. A petite blonde in a red corset and a leather jacket hauled off and kicked an approaching creature behind her---shooting it directly in the face to rid the earth of another member of the undead.
“Frank! Hand the girls down and get into the vehicle!” She roared and jumped back as one of the vamps was set ablaze buy a bald giant with a scalp tat. Who the fuck were these people and how did they know his name?
“Daddy!” Hannah screamed and buried her dark head in his side. Another scream and then a hiss made Frank turn around point blank one of the bastards that had managed to get up on the roof. Both girls started screaming in a way that only a terrified child could and Frank suddenly knew the people below were his only choice of providing lasting safety to his daughters.
“Okay my darlins. We’re gonna move to the edge now alright? Follow daddy but be careful.” Frank kept his gun steady as he shuffled to edge on his knees and spotted the bald bad ass right underneath him.
“Give them to me one at a time,” a thick accent instructed to Frank and the bar owner looked at his girls like time stood still. He smiled at them and kissed their heads---the twins ceasing to scream under their father’s affections.
“Come ere Hannah bear,” Frank coaxed and held his arms out for the oldest twin. She was the feisty one and had her arms around her sister to protect the shyer of the two. Being slightly more courageous, Frank felt Hannah would be okay without him for a minute. Emma? Not so much.
“S’kay Em. S’kay,” his eldest whispered and kissed her Emma. In that moment, Frank saw Jess stare back at him in her silent strength and reach for him. He shook his head of the image and embraced his Hannah before handing her down to the man that reached above to catch her.
“Incoming!” The stranger roared before taking off like a bullet through the crowd of bloodshed. Men formed two lines on either side of the man and Frank’s daughter to protect them from the fighting that surrounded them. In a blink the man slammed the door to the SUV from outside and the engine roared to life.
“Go, Go!” Yuri smacked the hood and the SUV took off before Frank’s eyes. Oh my God, where were they taking his baby girl! Frank started to scream for Hannah but the blonde woman appeared in front of him on the lawn and whistled.
“Come on Frank. Send the little one down and then jump. We don’t have time for anything else. We’ll be right behind her the whole time. I promise you!” She screeched the last part and arched a sword… A sword? Yeah, she swung a sword in front of her to connect with another zombie. Plunging her blade into the offending creature’s neck, the blonde point blanked a gun to the thing’s forehead and blew a crater out the back of his head. Brain matter splattered to the ground and against the siding but the woman was unconcerned and reached a hand up to Frank. Whoa. Being on the shadier side of life, Big Frank had seen some shit in his life…but that female had just blown his mind with her mindless brain blowing.
If that pixie could do this… He could do this, Frank thought. For them he could do this.
Running a hand through his sweaty black curls, the bar owner scooped up his youngest and pumped his gun, holding his baby girl tight to his other side.
“You are so brave Em and daddy is so proud of you baby,” he murmured in her ear and felt her little arms tighten around his neck. “Look at me baby girl.”
Emma looked at her father with watering green eyes and gripped her daddy’s strong arm tight, covering his pretty skull tattoo with her fingers. “I’m gonna give you down to the nice lady and she’s gonna take us to Hannah bear okay? Can you do that for me baby?”
The four year old looked around and flinched as another monster exploded in front of her tire swing and an arm rolled into her vegetable garden. She swallowed and shivered in her favorite baby blue jammies before nodding to her daddy. Emma needed her sister and the only way they could be together was to go get her. She lifted her head off her daddy’s shoulder as he set her to the edge of the roof and the tiny girl looked down at the pretty blonde lady…covered in blood. Emma backed into her daddy’s chest but for some reason the lady’s eyes became bigger and prettier.
The lady with princess curls had blue diamonds for eyes and they swirled and danced for Emma. She reached for the lady and… Long dark curls blew in his face and Frank blinked. That was all it took to watch his little girl leap off the roof and into the blonde’s arms. His heart stopped momentarily and restarted only when the woman’s arms were secured around his youngest. Emma seemed in a daze and stared up at Frank with glassy green eyes.
“Yuri!” The woman screamed and the bald bad ass snatched up the tiny girl within seconds. “Come on Frank! Jump damn it!”
Not having to be told twice, the hulking biker jumped off the roof and landed roughly in the grass. His knees stung from the impact but he quickly recovered from being on the same level as a dozen of the undead and hopped to his feet with his gun at the ready.
“To the SUV.” The strange woman grabbed his arm and pulled him along. “Got him,” she shouted to no one in particular but ten seconds later he heard a whiz go past his ear and Jess’s house exploded into a million pieces; along with twenty or so undead bodies. These people were cleaning house, whoever they were. Frank had done enough dirty side jobs to know what that looked like. Only these guys were taking it to a whole new level.
“In the car big guy,” the bald dude barked and clapped him on the back before swinging into the driver’s seat and taking the wheel. Frank jumped into the car and was immediately attacked by Emma. The poor thing was shaking from head to toe and she burrowed her small body into him as much as she could.
“Are you sure you got all those fucking zombies? They just kept coming out of nowhere… Oh sorry baby. Don’t repeat that.” Frank kissed Emma’s hair and smoothed her sweaty curls away from her face.
“Zombies?” Nina turned and asked, completely out of breath. “What are you talking about?” And then she caught the look on Frank’s face. His mouth opened and closed while he clutched his daughter and scooted into the door.
Yuri glanced into the rearview mirror and caught sight of Nina’s swirling eyes and descended fangs. No big deal to vamps after a good fight but to a human…yeah… Zombies, got it.
“Who the hell are you people?” The father of two whispered looking between the two Royals in the front seat. Slowly turning his head towards the rear of the SUV, Frank gasped as eight pairs of swirling eyes looked back at him.
This was all too easy, Micah thought with suspicion. From the moment they parked at the curb all the streets had been clear. No late night hustlers out on their usual corner prowl and not one box dweller had pitched a bed near this shit hole? Yeah, something smelled like trap.
“We’re walking right into their arms aren’t we?” Cade’s mate quietly asked his partner Hill.
The Queen’s mate regarded the dark haired Guardian with a smirk. “They may be able to see us. In fact I’m sure they can because we’ve passed three motion sensors so far. See that small red light low to the ground. Once we pass by that beam the device will send a notification to their security detail or whatever they have.” Hill grunted.
“How did you see that?” Micah was kind of stunned. The red beam seemed like the tiniest thread in the dim light.
“How did you not?” Hill returned and shrugged. “But this is a good sign for us.” The Guardian pulled his night goggles closer to his forehead in case he needed them and readied his MP5SFA3 semi-automatic carbine personally fitted with an under barrel flashlight and holographic sight for his boner-ific pleasure. Yeah, Hill’s little friend had a range of a few hundred meters but imagine the immediate and carnal damage it did up close. With his drum magazine full and the detachable clip locked on, the Guardian was ready for anything.
And in case that didn’t work? Well he always had the dig at his back which was a short hack shovel that could decapitate an assassin just as easily as a maelstrom of lead.
“Holy…” Micah whispered and then grinned.
“Yeah…” Hill replied with a smile of his own and nudged Micah who lifted his own piece of metal, like a kid at Christmas.
A gorgeous beauty in liquid black was loaded and ready to go in Micah’s arms; his very own assault rifle. The Guardian had practically drooled in the street when Hill had opened the case. And the former Navy Seal saw an instant romance bloom between weapon and vampire right before his very eyes. Wordlessly he had handed the rifle to Micah and watched as the dark haired vamp smoothed his hands over it like it was Cade’s body under his fingertips. It was sexy to say the least and Hill was totally into women, so that was saying something.
Clearing his throat, Hill spoke up, “we just went sub level which means electronics will be shotty and up to date electricity will be lacking at best. This isn’t exactly Pentagon material, so think thrown together. They’re using hand held sensors see? So that means there won’t be any camera’s around here. And they’re ground based so we have the advantage of stepping over them undetected.”
“Still too easy,” Micah returned, shaking his head.
“I didn’t say anything about it being easy after that,” Hill snorted then froze as a growl bounced off the walls of the dark basement hall they had just infiltrated.
“So, no cameras huh?” A click from his gun finished Micah’s little joke.
Rowe could smell the blood---his mate’s blood---above all the other gallons that had been spilled in this concrete palace already. The scent drove him forward, uncaring of the obvious watch Nigel’s people had in place. He could feel them nearby, sense their feeble power. Let them come to me, Rowe bared his fangs with thought. So that I may introduce you to the beast you’ve only heard about in hushed conversations. I’ll you show you my father’s killer.
“That is some heinous voo doo you got goin on over there bro. You might wanna reign in the Son of Sam routine for just a minute or they’re gonna feel that freaky deaky coming for miles my man,” King blabbered but Rowe didn’t give a shit from a unicorn what he was going on about.
“This way,” he growled and pulled a black zippered bag from the back of his loaded pack. “This will be the closest in and I don’t care what the fuck is on the other side.”
“Dude are you really gonna like… I mean for real? Holy shit Lord Badass!” King hissed and looked around. They were becoming more sitting ducks after splitting up into teams, well his team anyway. Rowe was hard to control the closer they got into the building. I mean how could he not? King had scented Dan’s blood the minute they set foot inside this underground garage. And it was not good.
The place looked like Shawshank went and bought an office building in the middle of a gang turf. Lights were blinking like a warning from above and graffiti in faded script was plastered over every available surface. The place was completely silent. As if they had already bit the dust and were standing on the other side of things and King had the feeling that at any moment he was gonna have to pull a Bruce Campbell and start blowing zombies to bits. Or newly turned mafia employed vampires. Whatever.
“More wire,” Rowe lisped, biting a piece of coated wire in between his teeth and stuffing another one’s end into a tiny piece of cut clay. King knelt behind his prince and unzipped Rowe’s pack to pull out another piece of wire. Damn that Blaze guy really knew what was up on the breaking and entering front. Yeah, they were vamps but even they had their limits when it came to doors made of a foot of reinforced steel. It was like the well poised, crazy haired vamp was technologically psychic for the occasion or maybe Jonah aka Blaze really was more than met the eye. Where the fuck had this Nigel guy found the old rusted thing before them; the Titanic?
Zeroing in on nothing but saving his mate, Rowe mechanically put the pieces of the explosive together as if it were nothing more than writing a note or drinking a glass of water; so everyday did his task seem that even he had to take breath to calm the beast that stirred in satisfaction while he cocked his head with a slight chill. Whatever, he exhaled like the sound of the heat kicking on and placed the last of the wire into the circuit and twisted it together.
“That’s it. This goes here,” Rowe looked down at the small black index card that had white writing on it from Blaze. He pushed the quarter sized transmitter into the last piece of clay and completed the circuit. “Get back.” Rowe stood with the now empty case and the detonator in his other hand.
“Put this back in here. You’re on ammo duty. I’m in a blade mood,” the prince hissed and gave King the case, which he put back into Rowe’s pack. “When the door blows, we kill everything on sight. Don’t even think about anything but Dan. If it doesn’t look like one of ours or my mate…kill it. Understood?”
King nodded and inhaled the stale air of the parking garage. He couldn’t believe how much his life had changed in such a short time. He had always been a soldier, whether it was with the army or with the police…it was in his blood. But now, this was different. He was going against the enemy on a whole different paranormal kind of level and hell he was the big bad beastie now. The thought should’ve scared King but for some reason it exhilarated him and pulling his shiny new machine gun from his side and loading the ammo around his torso only added to his little boy like excitement.
“What?” King snapped to and Rowe already had his twenty four inch blades grazing the floor.
“I asked if you were done molesting that gun with your eyes? Are you ready to use it?” The prince narrowed his violet gaze like the predator he was and a neon red began to swirl under his lashes. Fangs descending, Rowe turned his attention back to the archaic door currently bordered with some serious boom.
“Three,” King began.
“Two,” Rowe countered.
“One,” King whispered and Rowe pressed the button---blowing the door and most of the surrounding wall right in their direction. Both males jumped for either side of the parking garage and landed in a crouch as brick, rock, and shrapnel filled the air.
“Valjana?” The prince called out and came to at his full height with his blades at the ready.
“Yeah, we’re good,” King called back and coughed through the settling dust.
Both men growled, sensing the approach of a group of assassins. “Cut em off inside. We need to get down there! I can feel Daniel close by and something is…oh fuck no,” Rowe leapt over a chunk of wall and made for the black hole up ahead.
“Shit! Rowe, wait up bro!” King pointed his gun into the unknown and took off after the prince. A ferocious battle cry hit his ears before he permeated the solid pitch of abyss but the blood spatter sprayed across his face just fine.
“You will all die!” The roar was so loud that King---a Guardian ---had to cover his ears.
“Boss, all our humans have evacuated the club. I can’t believe the serum really worked. I mean, I know Nova conked out every time we tested it but poking that many guards wasn’t easy. The actual kill jobs were much easier than putting a needle in a vamp. Who knew?” Nigel’s technician swirled around in his seat in front of the monitors. “We left the manager alive. He’d been tampered with of course and the Queen’s people came by and cleaned up. They took that tricked out Escalade and the Porsche with em,” the dusty haired man announced, working the outside camera feeds and watching the Guardians break down doors or blow em up before their very eyes.
They weren’t worried though. In fact, Nigel wanted the Guardians alive and he had the means to do it. The numbers he’s acquired within his underground sanctum were more than enough to take down a stupid pack of mongrels. He toyed with the metal spike in his hand that carried Nova’s tissue sample in it. If a simple Royal’s DNA was powerful enough to continue with his little plan…then the Guardian’s tissue was going to be god-like in its magnificence. Not to mention Nigel was going to enjoy torturing Rowe’s very soul out of his body.
“Sir, I recommend we take your…uh guests and head to the dock. The boat will be here soon,” the asian man relayed. “Just in case things get out of hand…”
“Not yet. Have they been able to deactivate the device?”
“No sir. But we do have another situation…” the Asian man looked at the tablet in his hands and slowly turned it to his leader. “The troupe we sent to retrieve the children… Their tracking devices are, well they are…”
“Let me see that!” Nigel hissed in irritation and snatched the pesky tablet from his minion. Sure enough a map of Bennett Wharf was zoomed in on---onto Jessica Walker’s residence in fact. Twelve red dots with code numbers turned to ten and then to six…and then…
“Contact them immediately!” Nigel chucked the device against a wall and didn’t bother looking at the broken pieces. He stared at Knox’s former lunch date with pure venom behind his eyes.
“We…we already did…your grace…”
“Nothing…” he was cut off as Nigel picked him up by the neck and snapped his head right off his shoulders. The broken doll of a body hit the floor with a heavy thud and the assassin’s leader stepped over it with a deep breath, resuming his casual demeanor.
“Ten minutes and I want that SUV blown to the heavens. We’ve got all our humans in the city then?”
“I will and yes sir…” the control manager trailed off and pulled up strange movement in the holding room---Keith was standing right inside, yapping on his phone. His back was to the camera as he shouted something into his android.
“What?” Nigel barked and stomped over to the monitor like an angry child, not enjoying his up and down mood.
“That’s not possible…” the minion vamp whispered in fear and awe. Jessica Walker sat up like the bride of Frankenstein and silently swung her legs off the dirty mattress underneath her. Blood covered her body and matted her hair as she slowly stalked to where Keith was engrossed in his conversation.
Nigel whipped out his phone and began dialing his second in command. “Pick up, pick up!” He screamed and his breath left him as voicemail answered. Turning back to the monitor, Nigel and his minion watched in horror as Jessica Walker took Keith down from behind and ripped into his back and neck like he was made of Jello. The larger vampire didn’t even have a chance against the nightmarish new turn.
Her body was painted red with the life essence of her snack as she slowly rose to standing. Her eyes were the color of blood as they met the camera and in a mere blink she was gone. Both males leaned in close to search the screen for her and jumped back in utter terror as her petite yet horrific face appeared within inches of the lens. Jess’s eyes narrowed and she smiled, long sharp fangs dripping with Keith’s blood.
“There are worse things than Guardians,” Nigel breathed and met the terrified face of his tech.
“Like what?” The technician choked.
“Like murdered new turns out for revenge…” Nigel swallowed a little and turned back to the screen only to find it really empty this time.
TO BE CONTINUED…….