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Authors: cassanna dwight

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BOOK: Prey
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Chapter One


Nae eased around the trunk of the
tree. In the distance, the gleam of the dying sun’s rays reflected
off the handle bars of various motorcycles parked in front of a
bar. ‘Trots’ was painted white across the plate glass window with
everything else blacked out. Nothing could be seen through the dark
barrier. She pressed her back against the old oak. Hair from her
ponytail caught in the rough bark, and the muzzle of her gun
pushing against the small of her back reassured her she could take
down the felon she’d been sent to capture. She’d tracked the bail
jumper across eight states and ended up in the middle of bum-fuck
Oregon. The idiot had stolen a bike from some buy-here-pay-here lot
in Utah. Nae dug papers from her pocket. The worn sheets curled at
the edges as she opened up the folded pieces and compared the
pictures. One photo was from her boss, Amos, at A-One Bail Bonds,
while the other was from the surveillance camera at the car

Until this assignment, she’d only
hunted small time crooks with no creativity. And, she usually
caught them within hours of their missed court appointment. But
this guy, Eldridge, strolled into a local jeweler’s store, bagged
millions of dollars’ worth of gems before sauntering out to where
he parked his car a block away. Then he called the police to turn
himself in citing a change of heart. The man could have gotten
away. Police were crawling all over the place like chickens with
their heads cut off, as if they were unsure where to start. The
case was one large cluster fuck and she had no clue why Amos even
bothered to bond the thief for bail.

There was also the question of why he
would give her the jacket on the jumper. As her newly chosen
profession she’d only been at the job for a little over six months.
Not that she would look a gift horse in the mouth. The bounty on
the guy was sweet at twenty-five thousand. It would give her a hand
up in getting the office and equipment she needed. But, she
couldn’t help but wonder why her boss had chosen her when he had
other, seasoned, bounty hunters at his disposal.

Her hunt started in Reno, Nevada, and
for a minute she’d thought she’d lost his trail, until she came
across the local news in Salt Lake City. While sitting in a shitty
motel room which cost more than it was worth, she watched the local
news. They were showing a clip of the asshole on the tiny
television screen, busting the lock on a gate to a small car
dealership. It was the lead she needed. With a description of the
bike he stolen, she had her cousin, who was her partner and
personal computer specialist, track the cycle through sightings on
highways and closed circuit cameras mounted at the toll road

She glanced at the name on the report.
Eldridge Khune. Funny, he didn’t use an alias, almost like he
wasn’t trying to hide. She sighed. This was too easy. The sun
dipped below the tree tops, and inky darkness replaced the fading
rays. An owl hooted somewhere in the woods behind her. She’d
watched the one room shack for hours; no one went in, but no one
came out in all that time either. Hell, she’d read horror stories
with similar beginnings. Nae blew out a breath and bent at the
waist to pull her baton from under her jeans leg. Making sure it
was secure in her boot, she pushed off the tree trunk, rolled her
shoulders, and hiked toward the structure. She ignored the niggling
feeling that slithered down her spine; something wasn’t right. She
crumpled the papers in her fist and continued to approach the

She stopped at the bike on
the farthest end of the long line and rubbed the two
across the seat
to straighten them out. Then, she angled the second
under a flood light
attached to the corner of the building. A quick read of the cycle’s
description had her circling the bike to confirm it was her
target’s machine.

Secure in the knowledge
that the vehicle matched the description, but she still needed
visual confirmation that he was indeed the rider. Nae stuffed
in her
side pocket and dropped her head back to stare at the rising moon.
Clouds drifted across the
sky and
blocked the twinkling stars, breaking up the
darkness and partially concealing the giant white orb. She blew out
a breath, shook out her arms, marched to the front door, and yanked
it open.

She stepped over the
threshold and into a smoke filled, dimly lit room. Silence greeted
her as she glanced around the area. The
of balls bumping into one
another filled the quiet. She looked over to see several men in
similar leather vests bent low over a pool table at the back of the
space. Slowly, people resumed talking amongst themselves while the
others watched her as she ambled over to the bar. She nodded at
those few individuals who sneered as she passed.

A polished wood bar curved in a half
circle from the corner. Most of the stools were taken. She squeezed
through two burly men who wouldn’t budge. One guy spun around and
eyed her up and down before he turned his back. The other fella
leaned in and took a long sniff at her neck.

Nae stood her ground while angling her
torso away from the invasive act. The butt of her gun pushed into
the small of her back as she was shoved up against the hard wood.
She raised her hand, prepared to shove him away. “Is there
something I can help you with?”

A slow smile lifted the corners of his
mouth, but his lips never parted. The man tilted his head and
stared at her with cold bleak eyes before he spoke. “You smell
nice, a word of advice little human. You might want to sashay your
ass out of here before some of the others catch your scent. This is
no place for your kind.” He twisted on his seat and offered his
back again.

She read the words on his
leather jacket, Pride Riders.
the hell does that mean?
She tapped him on
the shoulder and yelled over the crowd. “Excuse me I’m looking for
Eldridge. Can you tell me where I might find him?”

The two men swiveled around to face
her. Curiosity lit up the eyes of the man who’d spoken to her. He
glanced over at the guy beside her and nodded. His eyebrows climbed
his forehead as he eased off his seat. Unable to watch them both,
she grudgingly turned her head to watch where the man who had been
beside her slinked off too.

What do you want with
El?” The first fella picked up his tumbler from the bar and tossed
the amber liquid back.

I ran into him in Nevada
and he … ah … invited me here.” Nae peeped at the glass he slammed
on the rutted surface of the counter.

Funny he didn’t mention
you. Come to think of it he hasn’t left town in for a few

Maybe he didn’t want you
to know he skipped off to another city for a bit.” She kept her
face devoid of emotion and continued in a dry tone. “ I can see why
he might want some time away.”

The big man snorted. “Now that would
be interesting.”

A commotion from the back of the room
drew her attention and a visceral scream filled the air. Suddenly,
a woman with white streaks in her blonde hair jumped on a table,
knocking bottles down. They tinkled as they bumped against each
other before tumbling to the floor. The chick on the table top held
her arms away from her body with curled hands, and long nails
protruded from her fingertips.

The biker next to her shook his head.
“Well, shit just got stupid. Here I thought you might actually get
out of here unscathed.” He rose from his seat. “Oh, by the way, El
isn’t here but Zima there used to be his lover. Sometimes, I think
she believes she still is. Good luck with that.” He rose and pushed
through the growing crowd forming around them.

Nae glanced at the departing man’s
back before turning her sights on the woman with a definite height
advantage. Ah hell. She held her hands up, palms forward. “Listen,
it’s not what you think. I’m looking for El to complete a business
transaction. You can keep him all for yourself.”

Zima flipped off the surface and
landed a few feet from Nae who narrowed her eyes, keeping track of
the woman’s movements. She eased around one of the two columns in
the center of the room, staying out of Nae’s direct line of vision,
while easing in close. Nae dropped her hands and exhaled. Every
time she turned to face the woman, the chick moved. She chewed the
inside of her cheek, debating on the baton or gun. Perhaps if she
could get the crazy lady to chat, she might be able to talk her way
out of the situation.

Nae tried again. “Listen…” She caught
sight of the woman charging her in her peripheral

Nails grazed her cheek, and she raised
her arm to deflect the blow. Pain seared up her bicep as the
woman’s claws sliced through her skin. Nae dropped to her knee and
extended her leg, swinging it through her attacker’s limbs, to send
the woman stumbling back. She grabbed the club from her boot and
rose to her feet. The baton protracted with a flick of her wrist.
Nae spun in a circle trying to keep her eyes on the agile

The second blow came from the opposite
direction. The sound of scraping metal filled the room as Zima’s
nails slid along the iron rod. Nae dropped her arm and turned her
body to the side, swinging her weapon at the woman’s belly. Zima
grunted, bent at the waist and stumbled forward. She stopped short
of tumbling into the crowd. Nae danced out of the way as Zima spun
and lunged for her, she met the woman’s gaze. Hate filled the
bright gold eyes. With a flick of her wrist she brought the baton
down on her opponent’s fingers. A wail ripped through the silence.
When the woman opened her mouth Nae swore she saw fangs. Quickly
circling her foe, Nae thrust her arm down, slamming the steel bar
against Zima’s calves. Her opponent dropped to her knees. Nae
twisted around and kicked up, aiming for the woman’s nose.
Lightning fast, Zima grabbed her around the ankle and shoved her
away. Nae slammed into the linoleum floor, flat on her back. She
scrambled to get to her feet, watching as Zima rose and crossed her
line of vision.

BOOK: Prey
13.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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