Authors: Christine Edwards
Tags: #'vampire, #deep south, #georgia, #plantation house, #alpha male'
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ey, Colton! How’s it going,
man? You close up shop over at Macpherson’s?”
I cross the fog-enshrouded street toward Alex, who’s
busy locking up Bale’s Tank House.
“Yup, just shut everything down tight. Another wild
Saturday night for us. I’m completely wiped. How’d everything go
for you guys?”
He pulls his set of keys out of the top deadbolt and
turns to face me as I close the remaining distance between us.
“You know how it is,” Alex grumbles. “Same old
wise-ass college-age assholes thinking they can hold their liquor
like men. My bar-back spent half his fuckin’ shift cleaning puke
off the men’s room floor. We also had a minor bust-up that added to
the chaos. Thankfully it happened early on. Tossed both of ’em on
their asses to fight it out in the street. Other than that, we made
total bank tonight.” He shoves his hand through his hair and
Christ most of these loaded
parents send their kiddos off each and every semester with Mommy
and Daddy’s credit cards. Wonder if they have a
how much booze it buys their little scholars? Regardless, makes me
a happy man. How ’bout you? Earnin’ those benjamins for the boss
man, or is
bar the only place people wanna’ hang?” He
grins deviously. “Thinking the latter.”
I press my lips together to fight a twitch. Alex is a
former ranger, like I am, and lives for order and containment. He’s
also funny as fuck; that is, when he chooses to be. Regardless,
stupid shit doesn’t go down well with him. Things go his way.
Period, zero exception and that’s the only method that works for
him. Especially when it involves work.
“Yeah, you can say we did all right tonight. Had to
kick out a party of fine-ass bachelorettes earlier, though. Damn
shame, too. ’Bout the extent of our excitement.”
He slides his keys into the front pocket of his jeans
and whistles low between his teeth. “Bet they were fuckin’ hot,
huh? They local? You guys always get the sweet pussy over there
with all your Irish music and bullshit. So why’d you toss ’em
“Whatever, jackass. You gonna answer me why you
didn’t send that sexed-up party of eye candy our way? Would’ve
brightened the boys’ night for sure.”
I cough out a laugh into my fist and am about to go
into detail on their scanty attire and blatant flirting with
anything sporting a cock when I hear something unusual that
immediately gets my blood pumping. I hold my palm flat and nod my
head in the direction of the sound: a low, distinct growl, closing
His brows snap together as he turns his attention
toward the curved, cobblestone incline that leads up to Bay Street.
There’s still no sight of the motorcycle but the sexy purr is
growing louder by the second.
My eyes meet his and I ask quickly, “You hear that
“Yeah, a cycle. They’re all over this town. So
My head shakes slowly back and forth, “Nuh-uh ….
, my friend, is a Ducati, and I’m guessing from the
smooth rumble of the engine that it just might be a 1299 Panigale
fucking rare and one of the fastest street-legal
rides on asphalt.”
“You are one crazy dude, Colton, thinking you can
call out a ride from the sound of the engine alone.”
“Fact, brother. Know my engines. Always researching
the latest online. Would bet money on it. Check it out, here it
The dual beams from the inverted, cat’s eye-style
headlights slice through the black haze of dense fog as the sweet
crimson cycle emerges and begins the steep downward descent,
recklessly bumping along the damp rounded cobblestones.
I strain to see the bike clearly as the rider pulls
into a lone space about a hundred yards away from us.
Alex grumbles, “Crazy bastard to be riding at that
speed down here on these slick, ancient fucking streets. Paint job
alone must cost a whack on that thing. There’s my girl pulling up
now. I’ll text you on Sunday. Maybe we’ll catch the ball game and a
pint together over at Brew Nation. Later, brother.”
Completely distracted, I reply with a quick murmur,
“Yeah, sounds good. Take it easy, man.”
I’m not missing the rare chance to scope out one of
these outstanding bikes in person.
I observe the rider, who’s covered head to toe in
black leather. A matte helmet with a closed visor conceals his
How the fuck can he see anything with that tinted
I haul ass, quickly making my way up the narrow
street, watching as the rider dismounts. My steps nearly stall out
altogether as I realize that the fine, sculpted ass I’m staring
directly at can only belong to a woman.
Not many men could handle a powerful, tricked out
Ducati, especially not on these uneven, pitted streets.
With her sleek back to me, she pulls off the helmet,
and a pool of black velvet hair cascades down, the glossy locks
stopping just short of her tapered waist.
Holy fucking shit.
As I move in closer, I’m about to say something. I
don’t want her to think some son-of-a-bitch is about to assault
Keeping her leather-clad back to me, she beats me to
the punch with a smooth, “Get lost.”
My mouth slams shut. The educated, overtly feminine
room for misinterpretation.
Jesus, no wonder. If her face remotely lives up to
that ridiculously perfect body she has going on then she’s got to
be harassed 24/7 by the opposite sex. Talk to her. Show her you’re
not your typical grade A asshole.
I start slow and casual. “Easy there. Just wanna have
a look at your outstanding ride. That work for you? Besides, a
woman shouldn’t be down here alone at this hour. Dangerous.”
She slowly and deliberately places the expensive
helmet down on the leather seat. With one palm still planted on top
of the thing, she pivots around to face me. My brain instantly
seizes up, like a branch shoved hard into a moving spoke. Her
beauty is intoxicating. I feel like I’ve just BASE jumped from the
lip of the Grand Canyon and I’m now in a complete, euphoric
free-fall. My jaw slackens and my lips part. She’s mesmerizing.
I’ve never seen anyone like her. Didn’t know that level of human
perfection could walk the earth. I can only stare in wonder.
She gazes at me with narrowed, crystalline eyes,
before saying in a menacing, clearly pissed off feminine whisper,
“And what could
ever know of danger?” Not giving me time
to form a response, she continues in open annoyance, “Now, for the
second time, do us both a favor, and
Staring down at this stunning woman, I’m about to set
her straight, to let her know that she’s dead wrong on the danger
front, when she suddenly whips back around and tenses up. For a
second I wonder if I’m missing something; then I hear it. From deep
within the shadowed brick alcoves not fifty feet away from us, I
hear a low, menacing growl. I know animals, and even though I can’t
see what’s lurking in the inky shadows, the lethal sound alone is
enough to register that it’s massive … and very fucking pissed
I swiftly unzip my Carhartt and reach inside to grip
the handle of my Glock. Before I can grab her arm to pull her
behind me and out of harm’s way, she rounds the back wheel of the
bike and begins powering straight toward whatever is concealed in
My voice booms through the humid air, “Hey, hold up!
You fuckin’ crazy, woman? That thing could be rabid! Don’t take
I sprint after her and can barely manage to keep up
as she closes in on the thing with the fleetness of an
No time to ponder that bizarre shit.
Suddenly, with inconceivable swiftness, a massive
gray wolf leaps out at her.
“Jesus Christ … run!”
I’m awestruck as she catches hold of the thing by its
neck, flipping it around to pummel its face down against the
Impossible. It must have over a hundred pounds on
her. No time to waste. Can’t just stand and gawk. Gotta help
“Fuck! Get away! Lemme get a clear shot!”
I’m barely aware of the words leaving my mouth as a
hefty dose of adrenaline pumps through my veins with the ferocity
of a dam that’s just given out.
There’s no time to dwell on why she’s thrown herself
headlong at this anomaly of nature, but if we both want to walk
away without being torn limb from limb, I need to keep my shit
tight and act on instinct.
Using its weight and mass, the creature manages to
turn over beneath her and is now furiously trying to bite her.
She’s clocking the crazed beast over and over again in its face and
chest and it’s a damn miracle that her petite body can even pin it
down for a single second, much less kick its ass.
Clutching my gun tightly in my sweating right palm, I
lean down into the bloody chaos and grip her shoulder, trying to
pull her back and away so I can fire at it.
“No, it’ll bite you!” she yells furiously. She’s
astride the powerful animal and her gaze never leaves it.
She shrugs me off and in a blur of motion her right
arm slices back through the air, the brutal blow coming
unbelievably fast and hard. I’m catapulted backward, my back
slamming into the brick wall ten feet away. Dazed, I stagger to my
feet, wondering why the fuck she would resist help as the savage
fight roars on.
My eyes nearly pop out of my skull as she suddenly
uses her right hand to push its head to the side while leaning down
into the thing like she’s gonna kiss it or some shit. As her face
disappears into the hollow of its gray fur, it bellows out an
unmistakable cry of agony. It’s desperate to heave her off, using
its bulk as leverage. Seconds pass and its movements eventually
slow and then finally cease altogether. All I can do is stand and
stare in absolute shock and revulsion, wondering if this is it, if
this is the exact moment I’ve completely lost my ever-loving mind.
Too much war and death
Did I finally hop
the bus to crazy town? Jesus Christ. What. The. Fuck?