The last thing Alpha Agent Mikhail Fallon wanted was a partner, and a human partner at that. His special powers as a Reaper were all he needed to get the job done. A human, even one with psychic powers, would only get in the way and especially so if she was a female.
Keenan McCullough took one look at the man with whom she was to partner and felt a chill go through her. It wasn't the deadly persona he gave off, the growl aimed her way, the way his eyes flicked at her with disdain. What scared Keenan was her immediate and overwhelming attraction to the tall, dark and hands-off killer. She wasn't looking for an attachment but one had just found her.
Fallon and Keenan come together like matches and gasoline--a heated explosion just waiting to erupt. Their bodies on fire with a need neither can satisfy anywhere else, it is only a matter of time before their passions will detonate. For them, primal lust is a time bomb waiting to explode.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Dancing on the Wind by Charlotte Boyett-Compo
"Do you have something that belongs to her, Fallon?" the Supervisor inquired.
Fallon shrugged. "A trashy romance novel."
"Give it back."
Another fatalistic shrug and Fallon peeled himself out of the chair, stood then reached behind him to the pocket of his jeans where he had stuck the book. He tugged it out and extended it to Keenan.
Loath to touch something the odious man had been sitting on, Keenan nevertheless took it then opened her shoulder bag and dropped it inside without a word of thanks.
"You're welcome," Fallon said as he took his seat again.
"Don't filch anything else of hers," the Supervisor ordered. "Is that clear?"
"Wouldn't dream of it," Fallon agreed, and shot his long legs out in front of him, threaded his fingers together over his belly and laid his head on the back of the chair.
"You were going to tell me what you know about drocht�irs, Keenan," the Supervisor encouraged.
"Well, if I remember what I read about them, they are a species of blood fiends. A bite from their serrated fangs will make you one of them since they inject you with some kind of venom when they attack. Bite victims will in turn infect others. The creatures completely drain the blood from their victims until the body is nothing more than a decimated husk. They spend the daylight hours in the ground and can only move around after sunset. Wherever the corpses of their victims are buried, nothing will grow around the site. The land will be barren and scorched for a hundred feet or so. The same holds true concerning any land over which the creatures move. It is believed the destruction of plant life is due to the poisons given off by the drocht�irs. According to what I've read, they leave a noxious slime in their wake that is particularly vile." She shifted in her chair. "They live in lairs deep beneath the ground in viper shape. When they emerge, they slither swiftly across the landscape in that form, but when they are ready to attack, they assume an animal shape. What kind of animal hasn't been recorded, but whatever it is has to be big enough to overpower a full-grown man."
"One theory is they merge with whatever animal they come into contact with so there is no one specific shape," Fallon put in. "They don't shape-shift but rather invade. They can't tolerate heat. Forty degrees to them is like a hundred to humans."
Keenan shuffled through the papers she held, reading quickly through the paragraphs. "And the only way to kill them is by incineration," Keenan said. "Their victims too."
"Burning is the only sure-fire way to destroy pure evil," Fallon stated. He stared into her eyes. "Could you use your pyrokinetics to obliterate a human target, leanabh?"
"What does leanabh mean?" Keenan demanded, thinking he was insulting her.
"It is baby in Scots Gaelic," the Supervisor replied. He gave Fallon a hard look. "Stop calling her that. It is disrespectful."
Fallon sighed loudly and the Supervisor moved from his desk to the windows. "In the papers Madame Gregorovich suggests drocht�irs are the seed from which Raphian, the Destroyer of Men's Souls, sprang." He clasped his hands behind him once more as he looked out across the landscape. "That will make this enemy you are to seek out and put down a very formidable foe."
"I've fought minions of Raphian in the past," Fallon said. "They went down easy enough, but she didn't answer my question. Is she going to be able to wiggle her little finger or her nose or whatever else she wiggles and burn up an infected civilian?"
"Yes," Keenan said.
"How many kills do you have to your credit?"
"My share," she stated.
Fallon snorted at her answer, shaking his head as though he didn't believe her capable of such a thing.
Keenan ignored him, concentrating instead on finishing her perusal of the notes from Madame Gregorovich. "It says here, she believes the creatures have gone to ground somewhere in a cold region where they will hibernate until winter."
"We believe that means Canada," the Supervisor said. "That is supposedly where they were before the Great Flood, so they'll most likely return to the original site."
"Well, that sure as hell covers a lot of ground," Fallon scoffed. "Do we just climb aboard a couple of dog sleds and start sectioning off each province?"
"I should be able to detect them easily enough. We look for contaminated land," Keenan suggested. "It's just a matter of where to start looking."
"My idea was to have Fallon pilot a chopper over specific grids across the provinces, working your way east to west over the entire expanse. Any place that strikes you as being a potential lair can be marked from the air and then reconnoitered on foot later."
"I could eliminate it from the air," Keenan stated. "It's just a matter of concentrating fire at their lair."
"And take out a few innocent fuzzy-wuzzy little beasties in the bargain," Fallon said with a snort. "We'll go in to reconnoiter before you start frying defenseless little creatures that never hurt anyone."
Keenan turned her gaze on her new partner to give him a narrowed look. "I would never hurt an animal just for the hell of it."
"But you'd fire bomb their little condos without a second thought," he countered.
"I would not! That's not what I..."
"We'll go down and scope out the burrows. If there's a blood fiend there, you can blast away 'til your heart is content," he told her. "I won't even try to stop you."
"And what if one of those blood fiends decides to a take a bite out of us, Fallon?" she snapped.
"I'll bite him first," he said with a nasty grin that grew wider when he allowed his fangs to erupt.
Keenan nearly broke her ankle springing from the chair and putting distance between her and her new partner. Her face drained of color, her eyes were huge as she stared at the double rows of viciousness that filled Fallon's mouth.
"You're a..." She put up a defensive hand to keep him at bay. "You're a..." She couldn't get the word out.
"He's a Reaper," the Supervisor said.
"I prefer the term hell hound," Fallon quipped with a wag of his brows.
"I..." She shook her head as though to clear it of the sight of those wicked teeth. "Those fangs can't be real!"
"They are very real, Keenan," the Supervisor assured her. "And quite lethal." He looked to Fallon. "Retract them. Now!"
Fallon grinned again and the fangs were gone. He winked at Keenan, his eyes flashing a red glow that stunned her.
"What are you?" she hissed.
"As I said, he's a Reaper," the Supervisor told her. "Part human, part wolf and..."
"I beg to differ. I am part hound, not wolf," Fallon clarified, "although most Reapers Transition to wolflike beings. I, on the other hand, Transition to a hell hound. There are one or two other differences between me and my lupine cousins."
"Are shape-shifters who are capable of finding their prey through blood scent," the Supervisor continued as though he hadn't been interrupted.
"In other words they drink blood like vampires," she said, her top lip quirking distastefully. "I thought that was a myth too."
"'There are more things in heaven and earth, little girl, than are dreamt of in your philosophy'," Fallon drawled. "If you can throw fire from your fingertips, astral-project yourself, I can change into a hell hound when the mood strikes." He wagged his brows. "The rest of the time I'm just a horny little devil, but then you know that, don't you?" His eyes glowed scarlet red for a moment.