*Read an excerpt below for Blood Squad:
Copyright Rae Monet, Inc.2005, Blood Squad, unedited ARC excerpt, contracted workChapter One - top
Sangerian Coven Blood Rule number one: Turning a human who is not within the book of the select willing donors is punishable by death.
Now it had.
Her ears rang with the deep chatter of their kind, the vampires, and it nearly drove her crazy. Nothing concrete, just a constant buzz. It wasn’t enough to see their psychic trail light up like the annual Christmas tree in New York City or have her neurons constantly screaming at her, there’s one, there’s another one. No, now she had to hear them, too.
She shook her head. Christ.
Killian Gray shut the door to her AP--auto piloted--vehicle and took in the scent of industrial Oakland, oil mixed with ocean, a strange combination. She could see the edge of the port in her limited vision and beyond that she knew the Bay Bridge led to the Golden Gate. Every once in a while the blast of an outgoing turbo-freighter’s horn would echo across the area.
She popped a couple of Neurontin nerve pain killers into her mouth like they were breath mints. Twelve hundred milligrams could knock out a Halmo Wrestler, but these days even that prescription teetered on ineffective. Still, the drug would dim the voices and her pain to a dull roar and give enough relief to get her through this crime scene without her head exploding.
The biggest problem now was the sunrise peeking over the horizon.
The light bothered her optic nerves, so she came to work in the dark and left in the dark. Made the other agents think she was mysterious, but to her, it was the perfect persona to maintain for the leader of the FBI San Francisco Violent Crime Specialized Homicide Unit.
She picked up Wana’s harness and pressed her knee to the furry body to indicate it was okay to move forward. Wana complied. “Okay girl, with only one good eye left, I’m relying on you to get me through the day and keep me out from under the next flying vehicle,” she joked. Wana gave a whine and trotted forward.
The breeders had said Wana wasn’t calm or pure enough to be a guide dog for the blind. Guide dogs were no longer needed, they told her. Why not purchase an artificial companion to help? Killian had laughed and purchased her anyway, then had Wana trained specifically for her needs. She didn’t want any stupid synthetic idiot as her buddy, no thanks; her driver was bad enough. She wanted something alive and a little wild; like Wana.
“Dr. Gray, shall I remain here?” Her android chauffeur’s mechanical voice stopped her. Where else did he think she would have him go? She gritted her teeth.
See, this is why she had Wana.
“Yes, that’s fine.” She acknowledged his request. He was a driver, nothing else, no emotional chips, no interactive programs. The only data he held in his wires and neutronic syntax were the streets. She liked it that way. She didn’t have to chatter with him. Besides, he wasn’t the fastest processor off the line. He was on sale, a bargain credit purchase. The Federal Government always went for top of the line- not.
From the outside, the industrial park district was a clean place. The average law abiding civilian had no idea what was really going on behind the closed doors of these big buildings, crazik narcotics labs, turbo chop operations; name the crime and she could guarantee it was happening here. The city never seemed to grow up from its dark past, leaving a cesspool of criminal elements remaining.
The local policeman guarding the crime scene glared at her until she eased out the FBI badge hanging around her neck and displayed it.
“Special Agent Killian Gray. I’m here to process this crime scene per your request,” she leaned down and read his tag, “Officer Riggs.”
“Oh, yes, Agent Gray, from the Blood Squad. Thanks for coming down so quickly. We really appreciate your help. This is beyond us, a real weird one. They say this is your area of expertise.”
Riggs raised the yellow “do not cross” force field high enough for her and Wana to walk through. He sent up a single brow and his forehead wrinkled as he stared at her. Killian didn’t need two perfect eyes to know skepticism filled his face. Ignoring his silent criticism, she walked into the building. She could tell he didn’t think a partially blind woman and her scruffy dog could process a crime scene.
“Welcome to crimson hell. Never seen anything like this.” The officer gestured at the bloody carnage in the warehouse.
“Yeah, I’d say,” Killian responded without thinking about it, her mind mapping the crime scene; the vastness of the empty building with it’s peeling, gray-painted walls, the abandoned, scattered industrial machinery, and the overflowing garbage bins.
Nothing left but the vampire bodies and plenty of vampire leavings, way more than she had ever witnessed before; a no-no in the vamp world. Vampires weren’t supposed to exist to normal humans. There were fourteen bodies lying in one perfect row. Each with a severed head placed carefully above the neck, showing at least a six-inch space in between it and what was left of the body. Of course, the police officer couldn’t recognize what they were. Officer Riggs saw normal dead bodies. Except for their teeth, dead vampires appeared the same as dead humans, and right now she didn’t see any of them with their mouths wide open.
Killian was going to have to talk to Byron. Usually, they cleaned up their messes. And this was a mess. Surrounding the row of bodies, blood and body parts were thrown all over. Obviously, the vamps had fought hard to live prior to this neat display as evidenced by the chunks of torn flesh, pools of blood, and dark, vertical wall spatter. Then, they were simply laid out on the bare, concrete warehouse floor like slabs of disposable meat. The murderer or murderers had planned this exhibit. She just wasn’t sure what else their plans entailed.
She hadn’t seen so many murdered vampires in one place since the Vamp Wars, and only a hunter would have those unpleasant memories.
It was going to take hours to weed through this crap. Cold enveloped her and she rubbed her hands together.
“Would you be kind enough to grab my tactical on scene kits from my APV, Officer Riggs? The yellow and grey ones?” She gave him a sweet, sugared down, sloppy smile she knew would bring action. She was attractive and she recognized it, even with her dark sunglasses. She didn’t hesitate to use her femininity. With her health waning, she needed every advantage she could get.
He gave a toothy grin back to her. “You bet. Be right back.” He jogged off toward her APV.
She wiped away her smile as she tried to track the vampire blood with her optic ability and identify DNA signatures. But the rivers of red bled into each other causing signatures to mix and blur.
She sighed and ran a hand through her hair. It was going to be a long night.
Killian glanced up at the windows of the building and the coming daylight. In four hours the sun would begin deteriorating the lining surrounding her optic nerves, blinding her even more. It was warm, the June heat beating down on her. Another harmful factor for her disease, it never ended. She couldn’t let the frustration of her limitations get to her right now, she thought.
Time to get to work.
“Here you are, Agent Gray.” Riggs set down several of her crime scene and evidence kits.
“Thanks so much. Now if you would secure the crime scene again and let me do what I do best, I would greatly appreciate it. No one enters unless they’re authorized by me. The Feds have this one, now. Understand?”
“Understood.” He gave her a single nod and headed back to the building entrance.
Killian surveyed the mess. The smell of death hung in the air like a morgue. She grimaced at the headache lurking behind her temples, preparing to make its appearance while unhooking Wana.
Death. Just another day at the office. Will I ever get used to this? She hoped she didn’t, then she’d really be in trouble.
“Go relax, girl, you can’t help me here right now.” Wana sank down. Resting her head between her paws, she waited close by, ready to help if needed. Killian recognized, as she always did, Wana would shadow her through the next few hours and make sure she didn’t misstep. Wana was her savior. The guide dog let out a huge sneeze and shook her head.
“I know girl, smells icky, doesn’t it?” Killian wrinkled her nose. “What have you vamps been up to now?” she murmured. I need to talk to Byron about proper maintenance on the vampire killing field. But first, I have to get these bodies to the morgue.
She flipped her Comm open and punched a button. “Blood Squad,” she said and voice recognition dialed for her.
“Knight here.” Sie Knight’s somber voice answered on the other end. “Sie, I need you to call the squad, meet me at Embers and Seventh, Industrial park, Oakland. We’ll have to get in the Imagegraphers as well as the Coroner, everyone. You know the routine. We’ve got a live one, well, more than one.” She grinned at her own internal joke. Sometimes injecting humor into the most gruesome of circumstances, made it not so horrific.
“Right, boss, I’ll page them up.”
“And have Jinx contact my vamp source, Byron Sangerian. I want to meet with him tonight-- midnight, the usual place.”
“Got it, boss, see ya in twenty.”
“Thanks, Sie.” She reached down to feel for the Braille on her evidence kit, then placed her thumb on the pad next to the catch. A mechanical puff of air told her the kit was functioning. With her left eye, she watched it slide open.
“Good evening, Dr. Gray. Please identify your requirement and I will assist you.”
“Well, it’s actually daytime, AIGU.” AIGU was the Artificial Intelligence Gathering Unit that assisted her in evidence collection. Basically, a high tech computer that could see. At night, she needed AIGU more, because she couldn’t make things out as well. For now, she was okay.
She reached in and gathered her latex spray, covering her hands and feet. Wouldn’t do her any good to leave her own trace evidence.
“Time to get to work, AIGU. Stand by.” “Yes, Dr. Gray. Standing by.”
Vampires, who needs them?
Copyright Rae Monet, Inc.2007, Blood Game, unedited ARC excerpt,
work - top
“How can you like the sun so much? You’re a vampire. It’s unnatural.”
Byron smiled, showing full fangs. “What can I say...I’m not your average vampire. Besides, the S-Coven medical center has come up with some great drugs to block the sun and there are a lot of misconceptions about vampires, like we can read minds, don’t I wish. It would have made negotiations on the vampire/human faction treaty a lot easier.” He shook his head. “And I’ve spent too much time with you pesky humans. Picked up bad habits.”
She rolled her eyes. “That’s for sure.”
“Come on,” he tugged her off the towel. “I want to see you wet.”
“Oh man. I’m a horrible swimmer.” She laughed as he pulled them into the ocean. The heat of the water surprised her.
“What? I thought the beach was one of your favorite places. How can you not know how to swim?”
His question shocked her into temporary silence. How could she tell him she hadn’t walked in nearly decade? That she hadn’t actually felt water on the skin of her legs for so long she couldn’t remember what it was like. That how she was going to feel physically from day to day was like a toss of the dice. “It’s complicated.”
Byron drew her into the water so far she had to grab onto him. He was so tall she was a foot under the water when it only reached his upper chest.
“Byron, not so far,” she clutched at his shoulders.
“Relax, Sara.” His arms slipped to her waist, one hand rested against her ass as he floated her against him. “I won’t let you go. Trust me.”
Sara willed her muscles to relax.
“Don’t furrow.” Byron set his forehead against hers.
“You furrow when you think negative thoughts. Don’t want you furrowing right now. Want you enjoying.”
“Enjoying. Got it.”
As he treaded water, he swung them in a lazy circle. She enjoyed being in his arms--too much. The safety of his embrace was addicting, the hardness of his body pressed close to her. How long had it been since she felt the strength of a man like Byron seep into her bones? Much to her surprise, she felt his erection pressing against her stomach. She raised a single brow in question.
He grinned and swam them backward until he was on solid ground and she wasn’t; to stay afloat, she still had to clutch at his shoulders. “What can I say, Sara. You turn me on. In a big way.”
“Um, yeah I’m feeling that.” She reframed from wiggling her hips to prove her point.
“How about you feel this.” He leaned in and aligned their lips. God, he was so close, if she just tilted forward a little. She could smell him, his unique scent of zesty man mixed with the outdoors; the combination made her lightheaded.
“This is dangerous.” She trembled as he ran one hand up her body and buried it into her hair.
“Danger doesn’t really stop me,” he whispered against her lips.
“Yeah, I’ve heard that about you.”
“You make it sound like we’ve met.” He nibbled at her lips, a small peck but the emotions he evoked were instantaneous; desire, deep and rich jolted through her body, her nipples peaked as they rubbed against his hard chest, the sensations were staggering. Good thing she wasn’t standing because she would have pooled into a wet puddle of jelly.
“Nope.” Sara answered with a nibble of her own, a small kiss at the corner of his lip then trailed to his mouth.
“Yeah. Didn’t think so, because I’d remember you beautiful, Sara. I’d remember you well, wouldn’t let you get away so easy.”
He claimed her mouth, no more nibbling this time; his kiss was all consuming, tongues and lips met, hands grabbed and Sara swam in sensations of heat and fire. Sara crawled her arms around Byron’s neck, sifting in the wet silk of his hair. He pressed against her, thrusting his lower body in combination to his kiss; reminding her of what could come after, his hardness twitching restrained between them. The burn of his touch singed through her skin, down to the nerves, spiking bolts of electricity into her veins and pounding heart. He released her mouth and Sara gasped in a breath of shock. Holy shit, she’d never been kissed like that before. She let out a single word on the tail end of her exclamation, “Wow.”
“Oh, sweet Sara, I knew it would be like this between us. Together we make fire.” His ran his lips and tongue down her jaw, to the slope where her neck and shoulder joined. “You think that was hot, feel this.” He opened his mouth and sank his teeth into her neck. The first suck of her blood sent pain, then blinding rapture roared through her body. Sara arched into Byron, anchoring his head to her throat with her hand. She dropped her head back wanting nothing restricting him and literally screamed out her pleasure. And just like that...she was gone.
Sara jolted awake to the rapid beep, beep, beep, of the clinic monitors. She slapped her hand to her neck and blinked a few times to clear her vision. Jamie was standing over her unhooking electrodes.