Happy Friday! And welcome to another Fantasy Friday 🙂
I’m cheating a bit with this one, and spotlighting The Damned. I’m working hard on Tuck #3 as well as a slayer world book featuring different characters. There’s a giveaway at the end of the blog, so happy reading!
Eight years ago, slayer Tuck Houston lost two of her closest friends to a Damned vampire named Josef Dragos—a beast who traded the sun for darkness and blood. She’s been hunting him since the day she walked into the carnage he created. But Josef has hidden himself well in the underground, from both slayers and other vampires.
When slayers around the globe start disappearing in a familiar pattern—Josef’s pattern—she’s put on the hunt. And despite the painful memories and very real threat to her future that come with tracking him down, Tuck is certain of one thing: she is going to make Josef Dragos wish he’d never been born.
Tuck Houston casually strolled through the front doors of the ritzy hotel with a warm smile on her face, her hoodie and jeans soaked through from the rain. “Wasn’t expecting the downpour,” she said as she neared the front desk, cringing inside as her boots left a bit of mud on the expensive carpet.
The clerk chuckled as he regarded her. “I don’t think anyone was. Forecast didn’t say anything about rain.”
“Damn weathermen can’t be trusted.” She laughed as she made her way to the elevator and clicked the button.
When the elevator doors opened a few moments later, she said, “Have a good night, and sorry about the mud.”
“You as well, and no need to apologize.”
When the doors opened again, she made her way to her quarry’s room, letting herself in with the key she’d obtained the day before. Digital keys were much harder to obtain than the old metal keys smaller hotels or motels used. She’d charmed the male clerk into giving her a key so she could surprise her “lover.”
The room was empty, of course. As he’d done the night before, her target was having a “drink” at the bar before retiring to his room, courtesy of some idiot human. Even the Damned couldn’t kill everyone they fed from—got suspicious after a while, to humans and slayers.
Walking across the high-end hardwood floors spread over the entire room, Tuck sat herself down on a chair, kicking her wet boots up on the edge of the bed and placing her pure silver knives on her thighs, which had been sheathed at her waist under her hooded sweatshirt. They weren’t her favorite weapons, but they were best for close contact.
She’d been tracking Samuel Bellows for a little over six weeks, from Boston to San Francisco—the city she was now in. He was responsible for the killing of seven little girls, drinking them dry of blood then abandoning their bodies in the woods. She could practically taste his death on her tongue.
But those girls were not the reason she was after him. His power had lingered at the scenes of several missing slayers. She planned on having a nice, bloody chat with him about that.
Footsteps jarred the quiet about twenty minutes later. Samuel’s footsteps. No human would have heard his steps, but she was more than human. Slayers had a predators’ hearing, and she clearly heard the delight in his gait, and he was humming a lively tune. He had a new target, he had human blood on his tongue, and—she smiled to herself—he had no idea what was in his room.
The key card slid in the lock, the door clicked, and into the darkness of the room came Samuel Bellows; five-foot-ten, a bit heavyset, and reeking of glee.
He was a dead man.
She held her position patiently as he turned on the lights. The look of surprise in his gray eyes when he saw her was so comical that she actually laughed. “Good evening, Samuel. The name’s Tuck Houston. But you can call me Ripper, if you’d like.”
Samuel’s eyes widened in shock as the name registered, as well as the fact that he couldn’t scent her, which was something that came from how her bloodline started. He hissed, clearly not liking surprises so close to sunrise. Especially surprises that were armed with silver knives.
That wasn’t uncommon for his breed of vampire, him not liking surprises so close to sunrise. He was one of the Damned—the dark breed of vampire, the ones who’d traded their immunity to the sun for their bloodlust and savage need.
He took her in, eyes roaming her calm and relaxed position. The hissing ceased. “No scent, so you are a child with blood of the strigoi and a human. You must love that perk,” he said sarcastically, obviously trying to ruffle whatever feathers he thought she may have.
His words died as one of her knives penetrated his throat so fast he didn’t even have time to blink, not able to read her movements through her calm. She walked over to him as he pulled it out, a smile forming on her lips as one of his hands covered the wound. It wouldn’t kill him. The bleeding would slow and stop within minutes, but she’d severed his vocal chords, which is why she’d aimed her knife where she had.
“You know that won’t do you any good, Sammie-boy. You’re a vampire, not a human,” she said, amused, then promptly smashed in his nose. He fell back into the flat-screen television, not breaking the screen nor rattling it from the wall.
She moved quickly to keep his retaliation at bay, catching him by the throat with one hand and preparing to hit him with the other.
His left foot kicked out. She let go of his throat and grabbed his foot, kicking the side of his right knee as she did so, hearing a bone break. The kick caused Samuel to turn and fall to his stomach. He grunted softly when he hit the floor, hard enough that any humans nearby would hear it but not be alarmed. The soundproofing was top-notch in the hotel.
As he lifted up on his right side, she grabbed his left arm and twisted it, hearing several bones break and crush. She took several steps back as he growled—though it was garbled by his wounded throat, which was now healing— holding the limp arm with his good one. He staggered to his feet then fell to the ground a split second later.
The silver was beginning to drain his strength, making his muscles weaken and his skin twitch. Even the black of his eyes began to flicker with gray. He was done for. But she had made certain to only strike him once with the silver blade so that the poison was just strong enough to weaken him, not kill him.
Tuck hauled him off the floor by his good arm, pushing him roughly into the desk chair. Though his energy was waning and he couldn’t draw hard on his power, she took her silver handcuffs out of the left back pocket of her jeans and cuffed him to each side of the chair. She then turned the chair toward the window, and once that was done, she walked over and opened the curtains.
“It’s been, what, sixty years since you’ve seen the sun rise?” she asked, already knowing the answer. “That’s a lot of innocent little girls raped, tortured, and sucked dry.” She pulled another small chair in front him and sat down in it. “You know, Samuel, I had to practically rumble with a team of slayers that were hunting you in order to be here right now. See, I’m not after you for the girls, like the other team was. I’m here because of missing slayers.”
Obscenities filled her mind as he raged at her the only way he could, through his vampire-gifted telepathy. Sliced vocal chords took time to heal.
She blocked the words out easily, letting it go in one ear and out the other. “Those innocents deserve both justice and the right to rest peacefully knowing you’re dead, but I need answers, so I’m going to give you two choices. One, you tell me right now who you’re working for and why your power was at all the scenes of missing slayers, and I’ll kill you quickly. Or, two, you don’t speak and I torture you then let the sun do the job.”
He chuckled in her mind. “I’ll take the sun, slayer, but I wish I could be around to see what happens when you catch your kidnapper. The past is a terrible place to revisit.” He winked at her.
While his words set alarm bells off in her mind, Tuck showed no outward sign of acknowledging them, save how he’d chosen to die. A delighted smile spread on her lips as she replied, “Oh, I was sooo hoping you’d choose option two.” She stood and picked up one of her knives, then sat back down. “Now, where do I begin?” Tuck slowly moved the blade along the thigh of his broken leg. “How about here?” She sank the blade deep, slicing across to make a gaping wound.
In honor of the audiobook release, I’m going to give 5 COPIES of the audiobook, as well as 5 AUTOGRAPHED PRINT COPIES. All you have to do is comment on this blog telling me who you’re favorite vampire is. Or, you can CONTACT ME and let me know that you want to be entered.