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Authors: Lindsay J. Pryor

Tags: #paranormal romance

Blood Shadows

BOOK: Blood Shadows
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Published by Bookouture

An imprint of StoryFire Ltd.

23 Sussex Road, Ickenham, UB10 8PN

United Kingdom

www.bookouture.com

Copyright © Lindsay J. Pryor 2012

Lindsay J. Pryor has asserted her right to be identified
as the author of this work.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publishers.

e-
ISBN: 978-1-909490-00-0

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places and events other than those clearly in the public domain, are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

For Moth

With special thanks to:

Anita

You’ve done more for me than you’ll ever know

Those who have been there whenever I’ve needed you:

Christine, Tracey, Michelle, Charlotte, Katie and Michele.

The person responsible for making this dream come true:

Oliver Rhodes

For your faith in these stories and me as a writer.

Team Bookouture are amazing.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

CHAPTER NINETEEN

CHAPTER TWENTY

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

CHAPTER THIRTY

CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

LETTER FROM LINDSAY J. PRYOR

BLOOD ROSES

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER ONE

S
omething was wrong.

Partially shielded behind her umbrella, Caitlin watched Kane Malloy from across the street, her fingers loosely entwined in her colleague Morgan’s as they feigned a lovers’ kiss goodnight.

‘We’re going to lose him,’ she whispered into her earpiece. ‘If we don’t move now, he’s going to be gone.’

‘Hold your position,’ Max replied. ‘Not all exits are secure. We still have too many unmarked alleys behind those buildings.’

Max had promised her he wouldn’t interfere, had assured her it was her case, damn it. Since he’d realised it might actually happen, she might actually succeed, it had all changed. If she lost this one opportunity…

‘How much longer?’ she asked.

‘Eight minutes.’

Caitlin’s eyes narrowed on her target as he stood outside the club. Both of the honey-trap girls with him were trying to outdo each other with suggestive body language so shameless she was starting to question just how focused on the job they actually were. But if Kane was falling for it, he would have had them by now. Instead he was stalling, using them as a shield to check out the street. And that meant one thing: the vampire was on to them.

‘Max, I’m telling you—’

‘And I’m telling you to hang back, Parish. You don’t have enough backup.’

Caitlin exhaled tersely. She glanced at Morgan frowning down at her before turning her attention back across the street. Caitlin Parish knew everything possible for any human being to know about Kane Malloy. In the six years she’d been with the Vampire Control Unit, the latter four had been tracking him. But it wasn’t only the countless unsubstantiated offences that frustrated her, or the inconclusiveness of some of his most heinous crimes – it was the fact that everyone knew his name and feared it, everyone knew his reputation and so reported nothing and, above all, everyone believed him untouchable.

Everyone except her.

Ever since her first day, when she’d seen the picture of him in prime position on the ‘Wanted’ board, she knew she had to take the case – even more so when she saw the smirks around the table when she’d requested it. From old and experienced to talented and ruthless, they’d all had a go at bringing down Kane Malloy. And she’d seen it in their eyes – no twenty-three-year-old slip of a girl newly in position was going to outdo them, seventh sense or no seventh sense.

She’d had everything to prove in the years since then, not least that she wasn’t as vulnerable and fragile as her physical appearance portrayed. Despite her extensive qualifications, she knew she’d never have landed the job if it hadn’t been for her gift. The VCU was the dark, murky corner of law enforcement where life experience was more defensible than any piece of academic paper. Penetrating the deadly streets of vampire-infested Blackthorn required a physical, intellectual and emotional mindset reserved only for the elite. Over half the district’s less fearful population were openly expressive of their views about VCU interference. To them, her unit was just another in a long line responsible for keeping vampires in their place – contained and forgotten in the over-populated, over-polluted, dense urban mass that humankind had abandoned along with its promises of better provision one day. Resentment was rife. So was retaliation.

History dictated she should never have passed the application stage. But lucky for her, shadow readers were too invaluable for them to turn her down. Her innate ability to delve into the soul-substituted shadow of the vampire, lycan or any of the other third species was too vital to her unit. Her sensitivity to the pulse of the detainees – an open door to every act, thought and emotion – secured a conviction every time, another case closed. The fact it could all be done in the relatively safe confines of the interrogation room was the step in she needed.

But Caitlin never had any intention of playing safe. Ever since she’d been a young girl, she had wanted only one thing – to be a tracker, out there on the field, in the thick of it, just like her father. And being the one to finally capture Kane Malloy would not only seal her career and silence every critic who had underestimated her, capturing Kane would at long last get her up close and personal with the vampire himself. Then she’d get what she really wanted: truths hidden deep in his master-vampire shadow – not least what had slaughtered her parents.

Kane was core to her vengeance and, moreover, core to her survival.

Either that or she was about to make the biggest mistake of what could be the last night of her life.

‘Time’s ticking, Max.’

‘Six more minutes, Parish.’

She closed her eyes for a moment before staring back across the rain-soaked street, compelling herself to obey her boss’s order. But when Kane exhaled one final steady stream of smoke into the night air, when he smiled assuredly to himself as he threw his cigarette to the ground, Caitlin knew he may as well have flipped up his middle finger and slid her perfectly manicured plan down onto it.

‘No,’ she hissed.

Before Max had time to question her exclamation, before Morgan had time to restrain her, she’d stepped off the kerb. She pounded through the puddles, Kane already disappearing back into the club.

‘Parish, get back into position!’ Max warned. ‘Do not go in there. I repeat, do not go in there.’

‘We lose him now, we lose him for good,’ Caitlin declared. ‘And I am not going to let that happen.’

‘You have insufficient backup. I repeat: insufficient backup.’

But Caitlin ignored his warnings as she followed every gut instinct she had, every moment of tracking experience she had gained hunting vampires over the years.

‘Damn it, Caitlin, that’s an order!’ Max barked. ‘There are too many people in there, too much interference. I’ll lose you.’

‘But I’m not going to lose him,’ she said, flashing her badge to ward off the bouncer who stepped in front of her.

She couldn’t lose him, not now.

‘He will have worked out the side exits are manned,’ she added. ‘He’s going to head up to the roof. Focus the team up there. I’ll drive him up or take him out before then.’ She reached inside her jacket to flick the latch off the tranquiliser gun.

‘Parish, you are in contempt of my orders. Get out of there now or face suspension!’

But the adrenaline took over, her heart pounding, her throat dry.

Two years of proving herself more than capable as a tracker, two further years compiling the Malloy case before finally taking over as lead, twenty months of intense planning and it was finally coming to this – a last-minute, poorly executed scuffle to detain him. But there was no way she was going to let him slip through her fingers, because if she did, it would be over. Now he knew they were on to him he’d be gone into the ether – gone from her jurisdiction, gone from her life.

And she wasn’t going to let that happen.

Couldn’t let that happen.

Tonight she would finally look Kane Malloy in those painfully cruel yet enticingly seductive navy-blue eyes and tonight he would look right back into hers. The thought terrified and exhilarated her, both emotions exacerbated by the buzz of the club. The pounding of the trance music evoked her blood to pump, the mass of milling, gyrating bodies making the room surge, the air thick with the scent of dry ice, smoke, alcohol, sweat.

Too many times she’d gazed into those penetrating eyes on paper, eyes framed with thick lashes as dark as his cropped hair. Too many times she’d dwelled on that sensual, masculine mouth as she pored over files at her desk until the early hours, paperwork spread across the lounge of her tiny apartment – yet another night alone in front of the TV.

BOOK: Blood Shadows
6.18Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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