Midnight Bite(4)

By: Cynthia Eden


He laughed. Laughed. The dark sound was oddly sexy. She was so messed up. Always had been, though. Hadn’t her mother warned her, time and time again, that she had too much of a fascination for the beasts? Hadn’t she been punished because she hadn’t been hard enough on them? Because she hadn’t always gone straight for the kill?

But his laughter faded, and he seemed to stiffen. Devereaux sucked in a deep breath. His hands fisted at his sides. “Get in the limo, now.”

He was being way too bossy. Turn-off. “Seriously? Do I look like I have a death wish? There is no way I’m getting into that ride. My mom taught me long ago to never get in a car with a stranger. Especially a strange vamp. That’s asking for trouble.”

“I’m sure your mother taught you all kinds of things.”

Yes, she had.

“But I’m afraid she told you some lies, too.”

What? Lark’s eyes turned to furious slits. “Did you just insult my mother?”

His hands were still fisted. “I need you to choose me. Get in the car.”

Wow. Again, with the bossy bit. Did being arrogant go hand-in-hand with being a vamp prince? He’d obviously confused her with one of his vamp subjects. Unlike them, though, she didn’t give a damn about his orders. “Since you make it sound so appealing…” Lark drawled. Then she yanked out her back-up stake. “No. I’m not in the mood for a ride with you, and if you try to come near me, I’ll shove this guy into your heart.”

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.

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