Authors: Delilah Devlin
Copyright © 2015 Delilah Devlin
To Super-cop Max Weir, the only good vampire is a dead one. Since his special police unit integrated with vampires, he’s had to suppress his natural hatred to work side by side with the undead to hunt down and terminate the deadliest killers. Now the unit’s hot on the trail of a new menace in town, a pack of werewolves prowling for vampires who don’t care whether humans get in their way.
When a stakeout goes awry, Max enters a bar looking for a fight or woman to help him blow off a little steam. What he finds is a winsome siren whose sexual appetites match his own.
Vampire Pia D’Amato is on a secret mission to take out Max—either by seduction or turning him. He’s become a liability to the Masters’ Council setting up jurisdiction in southern Florida, and she’s not leaving until she’s done the job. But Max is more man than she bargained for with a deadly secret of his own.
This book was previously published as Relentless but has been revised and expanded.
For more Night Fall Series stories, watch for these titles:
Night Fall on Dark Mountain
A Knight Living Dangerously
To those of you who’ve read me before—hello, friends! To new readers, welcome to my world!
A writer’s inspiration comes from the ether and blends with the happenings in her own life to produce a unique cocktail. My life’s been a little dangerous, a lot wacky, and chock-full of interesting people. I didn’t have far to go to find the inspiration for my hero Max, but I’m not telling that story here!
There was a second source of inspiration—a song by NIN called “Closer”. It fit my image of Max in bed with a woman he really desired and suited his true nature. You’ll understand if you’ve heard the song!
I love hearing from readers, and have a very active blog and Facebook friend page. I run contests, talk about my favorite TV shows, what I collect, what drives me crazy. I tend to ramble a bit. I’m doing it right now. But if you’d like to learn more about me and what I’m doing or writing about, be sure to check out the “About Delilah Devlin” page after the story.
And if you enjoy
story, please consider leaving a review on your favorite retail site or simply tell a friend. Readers do influence other readers. We have to trust someone to tell us whether we’ll have fun when we open a new story!
ith only slivers
of moonlight to guide his way, Max Weir crept through the saw palmetto and pine thicket toward a house curtained by vegetative neglect. He’d forgone the use of the night vision goggles that most of the human members of his team wore. On the prowl for a monster, he preferred his own senses, his own two eyes.
The Special Unit’s stealthy assault was aided by a wind that howled through the trees, bending the tops so pine needles pelted the team. A constant low roar, like the sound of the ocean, filled his headset. God or Karma was with the SU tonight. The wind blew away from the house and its occupants, disseminating the scents of gun oil and the uninvited humans—they’d never know what hit them.
A cancer grew inside the small, cinder-block house at the center of the property. Max had been in this line of work long enough to know what took place in the non-descript bungalow, but he’d never understand the attraction that brought humans willingly to the door of a vampire’s den.
Anger knotted the muscles of his chest. Not until the disappearance of a college student was linked to one of the parties hosted here did the SU kick into gear. This killing field should have been ringed with fire and its occupants consigned to hell when the den was first discovered and documented.
But that wasn’t how they operated now. It wasn’t simply enough to find a vamp and stake his heart to dirt. Now the vermin had to be proven guilty of crimes by the Masters’ Council before the team got the green light to strike.
“So Dylan, how’d you talk Emmy into sittin’ this one out?”
Max ignored the chatter in his headset. Not long ago, he would have joined the banter, which eased the team’s tension as they waited for the order to move on their target.
“We could sure use her tonight. Emmy’s got a ruthless side to her,” Phil Carstairs, one of the good guys—a human—continued.
“Toward a doughnut, maybe.” Darcy Albermarle snickered from her position in the command van. Darcy, once upon a time a friend, consorted with the enemy now—fucked one of the bastards on a nightly basis.
“Em would take offense to that comment,” Dylan O’Hara replied. “Her tastes have become a little more refined over the past months.”
Max’s shoulders bunched with revulsion at the sound of the Irish vampire’s dry amusement. The vamp and his growing coven didn’t belong in the SU—they belonged at the end of a stake.
“Yeah, she’s moved on from doughnuts to the Danish!” Phil said. “Although, I gotta admit, your wife has no conscience. She’d try to talk the bastards to death.”
Soft laughter followed. Emmy O’Hara’s penchant for running off at the mouth when she grew excited was a well-known fact.
Max’s lips twisted in disgust. They acted like the female vamp was part of “the family” now. Was he the only one of the original unit who understood how wrong it was to befriend the demons? And worse, let vamps lead a hunt for other vamps? As far as he was concerned, the only good vampire was a dead one.
“Get set,” Darcy said, her voice suddenly sharp. “Traffic barriers are in place. Mobile phone jam is on. No one’s driving in or calling for backup.”
Max’s hand tightened on his crossbow, which was already cocked with a steel-tipped arrow. The first of many, he hoped. He itched for a battle, something he could pour his adrenaline into.
“Captain says, move in,” Darcy said. “Good hunting, guys.”
“You heard it, men. Team One, circle around the back,” Dylan said.
From the edge of the seedy lawn, the first team raced across the clearing to nestle close to the house before circling to the back entrance.
After a few tense moments, Max heard a crackle in his headset. Then, “Team One’s in position,” Phil said.
“Team Two,” Dylan said, “wait for my command.”
As if the house sucked in all sound within its vicinity, an ominous silence settled around the clearing. There was no music, no shouts of laughter from within, even though a couple dozen people and vamps had to be inside, going by the number of cars lining the driveway and street. This was supposed to be a party—an orgy of sex and blood sharing.
From the corner of his eye, Max watched Dylan streak across the lawn and flatten his back against the wall beside the door. Unencumbered by a flak jacket or heavy armaments, the vamp held only a stake in his hand.
Max tensed, waiting for the signal to rush the door.
Dylan straightened, his head lifting to scent. “Something’s wrong.” His whisper broke the silence. “Do you get that smell, Quent?”
“Coming.” The second vamp, Quentin Albermarle rushed across the lawn in a blur of black, his blond hair shining silver in the moonlight. Flanking the door, he too paused and lifted his head. “That’s not something you find every day,” he said, his British voice even, yet hard-edged.
“Team, have your pistols ready,” Dylan said. “Safeties off. We’ve a different sort of monster inside.” Without further explanation, he whipped around, lifted a booted foot, and kicked open the door.
Max cursed. “Team One, the front door’s been breached. Go, go, go!” With his crossbow raised, Max charged toward the house, his heart pumping so fast blood roared in his ears.
“Maybe, we should wait for Dylan’s signal,” Joe Garcia said, easily keeping stride with them.
Max wished he could ignore the vamp beside him. A twinge akin to pain reminded him Joe had been his friend. “Why? So he can help them escape out the back?” he asked, without trying to mask the acid in his tone.
Joe didn’t respond. Since his “death”, he’d remained aloof. Probably knew Max could hardly stand the sight of him. Still, old habits seemed to die hard—even when one was undead. Joe looked and acted as he always had. He still wore the SU’s black uniform and used his issued weapons. The only difference was he’d left off the flak jacket.
Were all vamps arrogant assholes? A jacket could have protected him from an arrow or a stake. His cockiness could get him killed.
Not that Max gave a damn.
He reached the door, propped the stock of his weapon on his shoulder, and then stepped through the door. Sighting down the beam of his crossbow, he found the living room empty, save for clothing lying in piles among small hills of brownish-black soot. Vamp remains.
“Shit!” Joe said. “Did they leave us anything to do?”
Max caught himself before he smiled. Joe had always been eager for action. Something he’d always liked about him.
“There’s no way those hotshots took care of this alone,” Joe said softly. “What do you think happened here?”
Max barely heard him. Odors assailed his nose. Singed flesh—the vamps, he guessed. And something else, wet and musty. He tensed.
It can’t be.
A prickling unease raised the hairs on the back of his neck. He followed another smell—which grew more overpowering the closer he came to the source—followed the sound of muffled voices, Dylan’s and Quentin’s, he recognized as he drew closer. He stole down a hallway toward a brightly lit space that opened wide into a game room.
Once again shouldering his weapon, he stepped through the entrance. He found what his nose already told him was there. Human carnage in vivid splatters that dotted the ceilings and drowned the shag carpet. Opened carcasses with bowels unstrung like wads of yarn across the floor.
“Holy Mary, mother of God,” Joe whispered beside him. “No fucking way a vamp did this.”
Max’s body tightened in rejection of the horror he witnessed. For all his years on the force, he’d never seen carnage on this scale. Shit like this had never happened before the SU went soft on vamps. A monstrous evil had found Vero Beach’s leniency too inviting and was making itself at home. Once you negotiated with one evil…
Like hell he’d let it continue! His finger closed around the trigger of his bow. Dylan’s back was exposed as he knelt over one body. Damn, but he was tempted!
“Don’t do it, Max,” Joe said, his voice low, but firm. “My wife would never forgive me if I let you dust one of her new friends.”
Max trembled with outrage, but he slowly lifted his finger off the trigger and lowered his bow. Now wasn’t the time.
At Quentin’s nod, Dylan looked over his shoulder. His glance fell to Max’s crossbow, and he lifted one eyebrow in challenge.
“Good choice,” Joe said and slapped his shoulder as he passed him to squat next to his new buddies.
Max stared at the three of them, thick as thieves. Max could remember a time when Joe swore he’d rather die than turn—even asked Max to set him in the sunshine to fry if it ever happened.
“So what the hell did this?” Joe asked.
Dylan cast Quentin a wary glance, before replying softly, “Werewolves.”