Blood Promise (A SkinWalker Novel #4)

By: T.G. Ayer

(A DarkWorld SkinWalker Novel)


CHAPTER 1





I FROZE AGAINST THE WALL, my fingers grazing stone slick with blood, my heart punching angrily against my ribs.

Why in Ailuros' name had I agreed to take this case, again?

I had a limited time offer from the Elite High Council, the overseeing body of all paranormals, the older oldest and most respected group in our known history, and I'd wasted five of those days thinking. And right now, I was leaning heavily in their direction. Beats the hell out of working for the peons, which was what Sentinel and Omega were.

A glance to my left confirmed Sentinel Agent Cassandra Monteith was still hunkered down beside me, the metal of her comms glinting in the weak light as she slammed her own bloodied fingers against the screen of her tablet. She'd been doing that for a little too long now.

"Where the hell is he?" I threw the question at her between clenched teeth, held that way because the cold, the intermittent rain, and the elusive vampire-demon were sufficient to chill any girl to her bones.

It was two in the morning and we were standing, backed up against the wall of a house at the edge of a village, huddled there beneath the low eaves of the thatched roof. The meager protection against the drizzle was a relief against the rain. Not that it made me any less wet as drops slithered down the back of my neck, making their way down my spine and into my shirt, dampening what little warmth I had left in my body.

I edged closer to the corner of the wall to peer out across the Scottish moors, and snorted through a nose already partially Panther. "And here I thought your outfit knew what they were doing." A sniff of the wet air produced nothing. As frustratingly nothing as the last time I'd taken a whiff of good Highland air.

"We do. It's just this damned blood."

Behind me, rough fingertips scraped against the fabric of her jeans as Cassandra tried to wipe off the still-slick blood. The mess belonged to the vamp-demon we'd spent the better part of the last day tracking.

Unsuccessfully.

Cassie had gotten off a shot with her fancy demon-revolver, but had only managed to spill some of his blood. And all that got us was confirmation of what his species was, not to mention fingers stained with his disgusting blood. Vamp demons were a strange sub-species, their hemophiliac condition only amped up by their vampiric cells - cells which consumed them from the inside unless they fed regularly.

I grunted, more than a little pissed off. "Freaking demon's got a sixth sense or something." I glared at Cassie as if it was her fault. "He seems to know where we are, and when we're about to grab him. Disappears like a freaking ghost at the last minute, every single time."

Cassie narrowed her eyes at me. "I thought you'd amped up your demon-tracking skills thanks to your sister's visit to the Greylands?"

She had a point. Saving Greer from the demon lordlings who controlled the dead world had enhanced my awareness of my own skills. Probably the reason Sentinel wanted me on the job in the first place.

And here I was thinking it was my winning personality.

Too bad for this demon that I wasn't just a wraith-hunter anymore. He could run, but he couldn't hide. Not from me.

"It looks like it's time to break out the big guns." My voice, though grim, fell flat on the moist Highland night. I straightened and leaned my head back against the cold stone.

Cassie rose from her crouch and faced me, her usually straight blonde hair frizzed by the wet air.

"What exactly do you mean?" Her steel-gray eyes flashed a wary, what-the-hell-are-you-thinking look.

I unzipped my sodden parka and dropped it on the driest patch of ground I could find, then knelt to unlace my hiking boots. "We're just wasting precious time. My panther can catch him faster. With all this rain, my nose alone isn't up to the job."

Cassie squinted at me. I ignored her as I unzipped my jeans and slid them off my hips, hissing as the air slapped a coat of icy wetness over my pasty thighs.

She made an odd strangled sound in her throat and looked away. "I'm particularly glad I'm not the one bare-arsed naked in this bloody weather."

She slid past me, swapping places as I wrangled my black jeans off my bare feet and began to slide out of the dark turtleneck sweater which was my last barrier against the climate.

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