Authors: Marianne Morea
Tags: #werewolf, #werewolf and vampire, #werewolf family, #werewolf paranormal romance, #werewolf romance vampire romance paranormal romance thriller urban fantasy, #werewolf romance werewolves and shifters, #werewolf and vampire romance, #cursed by blood series, #urban fantasy suspense, #werewolf saga
Coventry Press Ltd.
Coventry Press Ltd.
Somers, New York
This is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s
imagination or are used factiously and are not to be construed as
real. Any resemblance to actual events, locations, organizations,
or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2012 Marianne
All rights reserved, including the
right to reproduce this book or portions of thereof in any form
whatsoever without written permission.
First Edition: Coventry Press Ltd.
Cover Artist: Fantasy Frog Designs with
Editor: Melanie Nowak, WoodWitchDame
The Love of My Life…
NEW YORK CITY
February 9th, Four
Fuck! It’s cold,”
Detective Ryan Martinez muttered, blowing on his hands. He stepped
lightly, picking his way through the shattered glass and wood
covering the street. Even to an untrained eye, it looked as if the
bar had exploded from the inside out.
He shook his head, his lips pressed
together in a grim line, watching as CSI began their initial
investigation inside what was left of the bar. Most of the victims
had their throats ripped open, and there was so much blood and
debris, it looked like a gangland war zone.
Outside, three victims lay prone on
the sidewalk, their bodies bent and unnatural in the dirty snow.
The red glare of flashing patrol lights gave the grisly scene a
surreal appearance. Nobody in their right mind wanted to be out
tonight, least of all for a mess like this.
Patrol had already cordoned
off the area, but the ghastly scene attracted rubberneckers even at
this ungodly hour.
God bless the city that
he thought grimly, while
uniformed personnel busied themselves with crowd
Martinez caught sight of his dour
faced superior. Detective Sergeant Michael Shaw flashed his badge
and crossed the police barrier, nodding to the uniformed officers
operating the perimeter. He crouched under the yellow police tape,
stepping carefully to avoid the frozen footprints dotting the
sidewalks like potholes. With a grunt, he stood up, straightening
his coat. “Whadda we got, Martinez?”
The young detective flipped his
notebook open, his breath puffing out in clouds of wet smoke.
“Multiple homicide, Sergeant. Nine bodies, six inside the club and
three out on the sidewalk. Injuries appear to be severe with
possible D.O.A.s. The triage paramedics are still calling
Wind gusts cut down the street like a
razor, slicing into the back of his neck and setting his teeth to
chatter. He turned his collar up and brushed the snow from his hair
and shoulders, leaving his shearling suede coat dotted with damp
splotches. Melting snow had mixed with freezing rain, turning most
of the East Village into a gray, slushy puddle. Plummeting
overnight temperatures had left the normally vibrant streets coated
in black ice. If the cops weren’t careful, some of their own would
head to the hospital along with the victims from this latest
Inside what was left of the bar, the
CSI unit sifted through the rubble, recording evidence, and a thick
tension pressed down on everyone while they waited for additional
ambulances to arrive. It was a sure bet, a call was put out to more
than one EMS Corps based on the look of things.
Any witnesses or
statements yet?” Shaw asked, stepping over broken glass and bodies,
careful not to step in any of the blood. Dark smudges were evident
under the Sergeant’s eyes, despite wind-reddened cheeks and at
least a day’s worth of stubble. His mud brown hair looked as if
frustrated fingers had raked through it a hundred times.
No, not one, and the
bartender’s dead too. No security camera either. It’s as if someone
came in and went postal on the whole damn place, then disappeared
without a trace. Inside, it’s tore up pretty bad as well, blood
everywhere except in each vic…” Martinez stopped short.
At Shaw’s raised eyebrow,
Martinez cleared his throat. He wasn’t being a wiseass, nor was it
mere speculation. He
the victims had been drained dry. The young
detective frowned, wincing a bit at what Shaw would think after the
medical examiner’s final report confirmed what he let slip. How
would he explain himself? A good guess? He didn’t think
Martinez’s hand went to his
mouth, and he gagged slightly.
What the hell was that stench?
He knew it
was more than just the blood and gore. It was happening again.
There was something underlying all this, something beneath the
obvious that didn’t seem to register with anyone else.
Hunches were nothing new in police
work. Most detectives had a blue sense, a gut feeling when it came
to solving difficult crimes, but Martinez’s uncanny abilities went
way beyond hunch. Things had been curious on and off for the last
six months, ever since Martinez made detective. He had been one of
the youngest officers promoted to the squad in quite some time, and
from that point, his sixth sense, or whatever it was, had shifted
into overdrive. Sometimes it was a blessing, like when his squad
located that missing six-year-old last month. Other times, not as
Either way his extrasensory
revelations made certain members of his squad a bit nervous. They
already thought of him as half a freak, referring to him as
behind his back
because of the things he could sense. However, unlike bounty-hunter
and reality TV star, Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman, it wasn’t out of respect
for his skills.
The hair on Martinez’s neck
and arms stood on end, but there was no way he was saying anything
else to Shaw about what he sensed. He’d heard it all before. “Hey,
Martinez, maybe you should put in for the canine unit… we heard
they add a lifetime supply of dog chow to your bennies when you
Ha. Ha. Ha. No, thank
Remarks like those taught Martinez to
keep his cards close. Tall and handsome, with piercing green eyes
and dark wavy hair, he carried himself as if he could own the world
if he wanted, but the truth was, he was a loner, and preferred it
The shrill sound of sirens shook him
out of his passing reverie. The ambulances had arrived along with
the Medical Examiner. As the man stepped out of the car, Martinez’s
eyebrows shot up. Their Duty Captain had clearly called in the big
guns. He watched as the man greeted the chief M.E., calling Shaw
over to give the brass a run through of what they had found so far.
The M.E. nodded, before heading inside with his team. As per
protocol, the injured were assessed and then transported to the
nearest hospital, with D.O.A.s going directly to the main morgue at
Bellevue. Of course, Martinez already knew there were all
A uniformed officer pushed past the
others and walked toward him, urgency written all over his face.
“Detective, you’d better come with me. CSI found another victim.
He’s still alive, if just barely,” he said, pulling Martinez’s
attention back to the scene.
Where?” he shot back,
shoving his notebook into his breast pocket.
Behind the bar,” he
The man led the way through the blown
out door, his face pale against his blue uniform. His underlying
green pallor made his rookie status patent, and the poor cop kept
wiping his nose and mouth with the back of his hand.
The two moved past CSI photographers,
to stand just behind the crisis unit, as the medical team prepped
the victim for transport.
Can he talk? I need a word
with him before you take him,” Martinez asked, leaning over the EMT
lieutenant as he worked.
The lead EMT shook his head. “I doubt
it. His throat’s pretty torn up, and he’s lost a lot of blood. If
there’s any chance at saving him, we’ve got to move now. Either
talk as we walk, or ride with us to the hospital. Your call,
The victim’s hand shot out grabbing
Martinez’s arm. His eyes were wild, and he clawed at the oxygen
mask over his nose and mouth.
Take that thing off his
face!” Martinez yelled, but no one moved to take the mask
The man’s fingers clutched at the
Detective’s coat, his mouth working beneath the clear plastic
trying to form words.
It’s going to be all
right, sir. We’re taking you to the hospital,” the EMT said,
shooting Martinez a dirty look. “We’ve got to go, NOW!”
The injured man wouldn’t let go of
Martinez’s coat. He opened his mouth again, his eyes pleading, but
a series of gurgled rasps were the only sound that
EMTs pried the man’s hand from
Martinez’s coat, and then moved like triage lightning out the door,
loading him into the waiting ambulance.
Shaw walked back. “Did he make a
Martinez’s gaze followed the
ambulance’s flashing lights as it turned the corner, the telltale
whoop-whoop of its siren echoing in the air. “Yeah. It was garbled,
but I managed to make out what he said.”
The detective took a deep breath and
turned to face his superior. “He said it was the devil,” Martinez
answered, his eyes trained on the sergeant.
The corners of Shaw’s mouth pulled
down, and a disgusted sound escaped his lips. “Great. Just what we
need, another crazy complete with hallucinations,” he said,
stamping his feet for warmth. He shoved his hands into his pockets
again. “It’s gotta be drug related, either that or he’s psychotic.
Lowlife mutt probably knows he’s gonna die and is panicking about
paying the devil his due.”
Martinez frowned. “Maybe. Except it
didn’t look like drugs or psychosis to me. The guy was terrified.
Whoever or whatever did this scared the crap out of
Look, I’m sorry for the
guy, but it doesn’t really matter. Unless he spouts something that
will actually help, I’m not wasting man-hours collecting gibberish.
You know how I feel about that kind of supernatural
Martinez nodded, but kept his mouth
Sticking a piece of gum in his mouth,
Shaw shook his head at the bloody mess mixed with the dirty snow
around their feet. “Heard from dispatch on the QT that this case
follows the same profile as two others this month. Been talking to
the other squad leaders, and there’s a pattern to these homicides,
Martinez, at least that’s what headquarters is thinking. In my
eyes, the fact that O.C.M.E. brass is here tonight confirms it. I
don’t see how they’re going keep the lid on this much longer, and
the Captain’s already breathing down everyone’s neck about not
having any leads. Don’t know exactly how we’re going to handle
Martinez wrinkled his nose and
coughed. He had no idea either.
What Do You Mean You Have
No Leads?” Police Commissioner, Stan O’Neill, yelled as he paced
back and forth behind his desk, his normally ruddy complexion
getting redder by the minute. Sweat glistened beneath his receding
hairline, and his usually impeccable appearance was unkempt, his
suit as rumpled as his demeanor. “I thought we found a survivor. Is
he able to talk? Why hasn’t his statement been taken?”
He didn’t make it, sir. He
died while in route to the hospital,” Shaw said, drawing his meaty
hand across his forehead.
This is a nightmare, a
fucking nightmare. I didn’t spend thirty years of my life being all
about the job, to have this sort of thing happen on my watch.”
Rubbing his temples, O’Neill exhaled.
With his back to his deputies, he
faced the windows, his hands folded across his chest. One Police
Plaza and the grounds of Park Row had always been a symbol of the
interconnectedness of the NYPD and New York’s five boroughs. But
even the river, steel gray and foreboding in the distance, seemed
to mock that premise this morning, instead mirroring the anxious
faces of the men sitting around the office.