Midnight Bite(4)

By: Cynthia Eden


His stare dropped to the stake. Lingered. “How many of those do you have on you?”

That was the last one.

“Guess some habits die hard, hmmm…hunter?” Devereaux murmured.

She wasn’t a hunter. That had been her mother’s thing. Lark just wanted to be normal. “Stay away from me. As a general rule, I don’t go out looking for vamps to stake.” She was no Buffy. “But tonight, the vamps sure seem to be looking for me.”

“The vamps aren’t the only ones who’ll be looking for you.” He rolled back his shoulders. “If you won’t get in the car, then at least…run.”

Come again? “What?”

He lunged toward her. “Run!”

Shit. She did. Lark turned and ran as fast as she could, and as she ran, she realized that her feet had gone absolutely ice cold. She wore tights, but that hardly helped with the bitter cold, and she couldn’t even feel the sidewalk beneath her feet as she fled.

A howl split the night. A long, desperate, pain-filled howl. Lark spun around and saw the vamp prince. Only he wasn’t alone. A giant, black beast of a dog had tackled him to the ground.

Oh, hell, that’s no dog.

The beast lifted its head. Its glowing, yellow eyes locked on her as saliva dripped from its mouth. A mouth that was exploding with razor-sharp teeth.

A werewolf. One that was fully shifted and running through a human city. Had the whole world gone mad? Why were the paranormals hunting so boldly?

The wolf flew off the vamp and rushed toward her. Her wooden stake would do zero damage against him. She needed silver, and, luckily, she was wearing silver earrings. Not much of a weapon, but better than nothing. Lark dropped the stake and grabbed for her earrings, ready to drive those babies straight into the werewolf’s eyes. The pain would stop him long enough for her to plan another attack.

But Devereaux grabbed the wolf from behind. Caught him with that super vamp strength and there was a terrible crunch of bones. The wolf let out a whimper as Devereaux tossed the beast through a nearby window. Glass shattered. An alarm sounded.

Lark took her cue. She grabbed for her stake, held tight to her earrings, and she hauled ass. She knew when she was in over her head, and she was way, way out of her league. She rushed as fast as her frozen feet would carry her, and when she rounded the corner, the beat of music reached her ears. Lark saw lights blazing from a bar up ahead. Humans were filing in and out of the place. Laughter teased her ears, and she remembered another lesson from her youth…

There’s always safety in numbers.

Paranormal creatures looked for humans alone. Stragglers who were weak. They never went after a crowd. She ran toward the bar and fought her way inside. The music pounded. The lights flashed. And she prayed that the vamp prince would stay the hell away from her.

So far, this New Year’s Eve…sucked.

***

Devereaux Mancini adjusted the sleeve of his tux. The damn wolf had gotten blood on him. What an annoyance. Now he’d have to have the tux dry cleaned.

“Sir?” His driver cleared his throat. “I believe your prey got away.”

Devereaux glanced over at the fellow.

The driver—pushing ninety but still as agile as a man half his age—pointed down the street. “She fled that way. I don’t think she was wearing shoes, so I imagine her feet are quite frozen by now.”

Devereaux growled.

“Will you be going after her? Or shall we call it a night?”

No, they weren’t calling it a freaking night. And, yes, of course, he was going after her. “Keep the limo running, Helsing. I’ll have her back in ten minutes.”

He bounded after—

“Midnight will fall in ten minutes, sir. Think you’ll be the one to claim her by then?”

If he didn’t know better, he’d think Helsing was taunting him. “Bet on it.” Because he hadn’t waited all of these centuries to find his queen…only to lose her in the final stretch of the race.

Lark Kinsley had been meant for him ever since she’d drawn her first breath. And he didn’t care how many werewolves, vamps, or demons he had to battle that night…

She was going to be his.





Chapter Two


New Year’s Resolution Number Two: Don’t be afraid to meet new people and try new things.

Too many humans were out celebrating on New Year’s Eve. The club was filled to over-flowing. Champagne was sloshing everywhere, and if one more person got in Devereaux’s way before he found his queen…

Devereaux had to fight the urge to sink his teeth into the humans around him. He didn’t have time for this. And since he didn’t have time to waste, he just leapt on the bar. The higher vantage point gave him a far better view of the place.

“What in the hell are you doing?” The bartender glared up at him. “Get your drunk ass down, right now!”

Devereaux turned his head, stared into the human’s eyes, and simply said, “I need to find Lark. Lark must be brought to me.”

The guy’s gaze went completely slack.

Devereaux turned back to the crowd. “Look at me!” His bellow cut through the music. Most of the humans immediately turned toward him. He let his power flow hot and hard through his veins. “I need Lark. A human female, dark hair, green eyes. She’s here, wearing a long, red coat.” His favorite color. “I want her brought to me.” He sent her image into their minds. All it took was a little psychic push, and then the crowd was moving as one. They turned. Rushed toward the back of the club.

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