Here is an excerpt of THE ARENA for your reading pleasure 🙂
copyright@October Weeks 2018
The opening chords of Godsmack’s “Stand Alone” jarred Tuck Houston out of much needed slumber. She tried to move closer to the nightstand but the arm around her tightened in protest.
“Leave it,” Tristan Baudin grumbled.
She laughed softly. “You know better than that, Tristan.”
The phone stopped, but Tuck had a strong feeling that quiet wasn’t going to last.
Tristan slid his hand up the side of her torso and across her chest to lightly grasp her breast. “See?”
She sighed, and a shiver of desire ran through her. “Three, two—”
The phone started up again.
Tristan mumbled something about “bullshitery” and loosened his grip.
Tuck wasn’t fond of moving out of his arms, but whoever was calling wasn’t going to let her stay snuggled up.
She grabbed her phone and lay on her back. The screen said Lucia. Concern swept through her as she swiped the screen. “Lucia?”
“Tuck. I’m sorry if I’ve woken you.”
“It’s all right. What’s going on?”
Vaguely, she heard Tristan mumble, “Fuck me,” and then he rolled over and snuggled her against him.
“A few days ago we found a nest of vampyr just outside of Tombstone. We killed them, but they had fifteen human bodies in the basement of the house they were squatting in. The whole area felt off. Once we veered off the main road, the desolation was immediate.”
Tuck did not like the sound of that. “How far out from the house did that start?”
“Shit,” Tuck said as she sat up.
Tristan did the same, a look of concern on his face as he watched her.
“We’re tracking another group now, one we picked up on once the house and bodies were dealt with. That same feeling is following them—all the way into New Mexico. When we get close, the feeling deepens. I’ve never felt anything like it, Tuck, but I know what that could mean—Vampyr and Damned don’t have the ability to mask themselves that heavily or for that long of a distance. Not even the oldest ones.”
No, they don’t.
Vampyr and Damned could hide from humans quite well, but that power only stretched out so far, even if there was more than one vampire involved. The farthest that power could spread was roughly one mile. More times than not, Vampyr and Damned would only mask the area they rested or lived in. The farther out their power reached, the weaker it became.
Only one breed of vampire could mask the way Lucia was describing—strigoi. Tuck understood why Lucia had phoned her.
“Your dad said you and Tristan are in San Diego.”
“Yes, we just finished our hunt a few hours ago. Where are you right now?”
“About an hour outside of Las Cruces, but this group is headed farther into the desert and away from civilization. One of us will go back to Las Cruces and wait for you and Tristan.”
“We’re on our way.”
“Thank you, Tuck. I have a bad feeling about this one.”
In DiGregorio terms, that meant whatever was happening was beyond the pale, and that sent the spike of urgency already forming in Tuck’s gut all the way up her spine. The DiGregorios never called in backup unless something was very wrong.
“Be careful. If something looks too easy, don’t move forward. Wait for me, please.”
“We will,” Lucia promised, and then ended the phone call.
Tuck ran a hand over her face and then told Tristan what was happening. “We need to hustle. I don’t want Lucia on this hunt without me if strigoi are truly involved. If we leave in the next half hour we can be there by mid-afternoon.”
He kissed her shoulder and then nuzzled her neck. “Take a shower first. I’ll get the gear packed.”
She thanked him with a kiss and then quickly got into the shower.