Adi's paranormal life has already been turned upside down, and now she finds her normal half sinking into the shadowy world of ancient gods and villains.
It all begins with a chance encounter with a frantic man and his fear of rabbits, and the problem escalates when the man suddenly dies on her. Permanently. The police are summoned and she finds herself suspect number one in the man's death.
All that mess leads her to the one person who knows about such troubles, and with address in hand she finds herself at the gates of Eric's manor. The mystery piques his interest, as does she, and together the pair set off to discover what happened to the stranger. Along the way they discover a trail of corpses, a few rare immortal beings, and a blossoming love that can't be ignored, even if their more feral natures would let them.
I had my private life, and then I had my companion life to the rich and powerful vampires and witches. They never mingled.
Well, until that one fateful night.
“How could I forget the milk?” I grumbled to myself as I traipsed through the biggest rainstorm of the year.
A plastic bag hung from one arm and my hands were tucked tightly into the pockets of my slim coat. The heavy rain beat mercilessly against my bare head, making my hair cling to my head like limp spaghetti. I tried adjusting the collar of my coat and my reward was to have a small river run down the back of my neck.
I yelped at the feel of the chilly wet kiss against my skin, and my voice echoed down the dark and lonely road. Too dark. I paused and looked around. The lampposts still burned as brightly as I remembered, but there was something off about their glow. It was like a shroud covered the bulbs, dampening their brilliance so that new shadows sprang up around me.READ MORE
The rain was forgotten as I clutched the collar of my coat and drew it tighter around my neck. Being a companion to an undead didn’t provide complete safety from others in the supernatural world, but it did remind me that more than spooks lurked in the shadows.
I continued onward, but had only made it a few steps when footsteps darted out of the shadows of an alley to my left. The only problem was there wasn’t anything to go with those footsteps. There was only the tiny feet padding through the puddles without a body to go with the splashing. As the feet disappeared, so, too, did the shroud over the lamps and light was soon fully restored.
The disembodied footsteps was followed by a horrible cry from inside the alley. I stepped forward and peeked inside. At first my eyes couldn’t see anything but dark shapes, but then something moved. A figure rose from behind a crate and stumbled toward me.
They stepped into the light and I saw it was a middle-aged man. He wore a gray suit that was once crisp, but the rain and his sitting on the wet ground had caused it to hang limp about his trembling body. The man sported a heavy beard shadow on his face and his short dark hair was full of knots.
His wild eyes fell on me, and the man flung himself at me. He grasped my shoulders with such a grip that would have made a mad man jealous. “The rabbit! Did you see it? Please tell me you saw it!”
I tried to free myself from his grip, but it was no use, so I just shook my head. “I-I don’t know what you’re talking about-”
The man loosed such a howl that the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. He threw himself away from me and slumped onto his knees over a nearby broken crate. His body shook with terrible sobs and I could only catch a bit of his words.
“Only a few minutes. . .can’t let it happen.” He slammed his fist against the wood. “Damn it! Why’d I have to be the substitute?” His head shot up and showed his wild eyes. “A substitute! That’s it!” He turned his head around and his crazy gaze fell on me. A smile curled onto his lips as he climbed to his feet. “You can be my substitute! Nobody would miss you!”
My jaw dropped open. “What the hell does that mean? Of course somebody would miss me!”
The man rubbed his hands together as he eased himself closer to me. “Really, miss? Name one person. Go on, name them!”
I wracked my brain as I backed away from him. “My, um, my employer!” Maybe.
The man threw back his head and laughed. “Your employer? Oh, the delicious irony!” He stopped and stretched his arms out on either side of him as he lifted those wide eyes to the dark sky. “Sweet karma! You rear your ugly head again!”
I tried to quicken my speed out of there, but the man jerked his head down and glared at me. “Where are you going?”
I pointed over my shoulder. “I’m going back to Sanity-ville.”
His face twisted in disgust and anger, and there was more than a touch of desperation. “You’re not going anywhere!”
He leapt at me and wrapped his arms around my body. I yelped and dropped my bag of milk into a puddle. The man lifted me off my feet and spun around to face the dark depths of the alley.
“You’re going to take my place whether you want it or not!” he screeched as he carried my flailing body into the abyss.
I felt the familiar tingle of Vanar magic over my face. The mask hadn’t come out since my adventure with the skinwalkers some weeks past, and I couldn’t have been more glad to see it then. Or rather, not see much as the mask obscured my vision.
Its appearance also made the man stop dead in his tracks and gape at my new accessory. “What the-”
I slammed our heads together and he bore the full brunt of the hardened, um, whatever it was made out of. He yelped and stumbled back, dropping me in the process. I landed on my feet and slid around a bit on the damp surface before I caught my footing.
The man wasn’t so lucky. He clutched at his face and blood dribbled down his nose. The back of one heel hit against the broken crate he had mourned over and he was sent sprawling backward. The wood shattered beneath his weight as he collapsed onto the ground. A terrible gurgling noise escaped his lips before he slumped in the puddles.
I crept up to the still man and stretched my neck toward him. “H-hello? Sir?” No reply.
There was, however, a large stake sticking out of his chest. Blood poured out of the wound and covered his shirt and the ground beneath him. I swallowed the lump in my throat and willed the mask back into my body.
Sirens in the distance initiated my flight protocol. I dashed past the dead man and reached the alley just in time to meet the police car at the head. An officer stepped out and surveyed my pale face. “There were reports of someone screaming out here. Are you-” He stopped as his eyes looked past me to where the dead man lay.
My heart sank as his expression hardened. He turned to his partner and jerked his head toward the man. “See if he’s alright. I’ll detain the woman.”
“I-it was an accident!” I assured them as the other officer passed me and soon knelt over the man.
The driver grasped my arm and guided me over to the back door. “We’ll have to look into this, miss, but in the meantime you’ll have to come with us to the station.”
“Howard?” the other officer called back. “This guy’s dead.”
Officer Howard pursed his lips and his sharp eyes flickered over to me. “How?”
“Looks like he tripped and fell onto this wood box, but we’ll have to wait for homicide to come check it out.”
Officer Howard turned his full attention back to me. “I’m afraid we’ll have to detain you until they figure out what happened.”
My heart sank, and the rest of my followed suit as the night’s adventure overcame me. At least I fainted into the man’s arms.COLLAPSE