Cynthia Eden returns to the realm of the Other, where the supernatural bounty hunters of Night Watch work hard and play harder. . .
Sandra "Dee" Daniels is a vampire's worst nightmare. Sure, she couldn't get up to five-six in the highest heels money can buy--not that she ever wears heels. But the monsters in her past and the stake in her boot are enough to keep most bloodsuckers interested in staying undead out of Baton Rouge.
But there are changes afoot on her turf. Rumors of a Born Master in town--a vampire so powerful he can make the streets run with blood. And a new face in Dee's dive bars and alleyways--Simon Chase, a strong, sexy shadow with a haunted past of his own. Simon knows a lot about the dark side of Dee's work. He knows even more about how to make her body spark with desire. But the hot lust shimmering between them is only the beginning. Because Simon also knows a secret that will change Dee's life--if she can live long enough to uncover it.
"I dare you not to love a Cynthia Eden book!" --Larissa Ione, New York Times bestselling author.
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June 29, 2010
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Excerpt from I'll Be Slaying You by Cynthia Eden
As far as Dee Daniels was concerned, too many idiots with death wishes filled the world.
She stared into the darkness of the night, caught the whispers on the wind, and saw the shadow of the two lovers as they ducked behind the side of the beat-up building. Shaking her head, she reached for her weapon and followed.
They didn't see her when she rounded the corner. The guy had the woman pinned up against the wall, his hands shoved under her skirt, and his face buried between her very, very ample breasts. He groaned and grunted and she moaned and twisted against him.
Dee blew out a hard breath as she waited. Not for them to finish, but for the monster to show itself. Probably in about ten more seconds, maybe less, cause they were getting pretty hot over there and--
The woman, a long-legged redhead, opened her mouth wide. Thanks to the spill of lights from the building's second story windows, Dee got a great view of that mouth.
And of the woman's two-inch long fangs.
Fangs that were currently heading right for the idiot's neck as the vamp prepared to rip open his throat and guzzle his blood like a frat boy enjoying the cheapest beer in town.
Death wishes. Would people never learn?
Dee cleared her throat. "Ah, excuse me?"
The shiny white fangs froze over the guy's neck.
"What the fuck?" From the idiot. The man still didn't know how close death was to him. Judging from what Dee could see, it looked like death was about, oh, an inch away.
He swung around to face her. Early twenties, preppy, with a face that she judged as handsome, if kind of bland. Dee smiled at him. "Hi, there."
His gaze raked her and the vamp hissed.
Vamps always got pissy when their food was taken away.
"I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave," Dee
murmured. The fangs were too close to his carotid artery. The vamp might get twitchy and decide to take a bite, and, well, Dee's shirt was white and when she snatched the dude free, she'd ruin her shirt with that dark red splash. Not that it was anything fancy, but . . .
She really hated doing laundry.
"Get. The. Fuck. Away." Bland/handsome snarled at her.
Ah, now some people could almost deserve a bite from a vamp, but--no, she was being paid for this gig.
The vamp smiled at her. "You heard him. Leave, bitch."
Dee lifted her weapon. Not her gun, that was still holstered
at her side, but the wooden stake was an easy and familiar weight in her hand. "Just how long do you think it's gonna take me to shove this into your heart? A minute? Less?"
"Jesus Christ!" The guy's eyes bulged. "You're crazy!" Debatable.
"Come on, Karen, let's get the hell out of--"
The vamp grabbed him and twisted the man around. Using him as a shield. Why did the vampires always do that with their prey? Like a human shield was ever going to stop her. Dee just shook her head.
"You take so much as a step, and I break his neck." She could do it. Vampire strength. She'd snap him in half a second, but . . . "I'll be on you before his body hits the ground." The man whimpered.
The vamp's eyes flashed to black. "Who are you?"
"Just a woman who was hired to do a job." This wasn't a kill mission, but if there was no choice, she'd bring her prey down any way she could.
Besides, vamps were already dead, so it wasn't like she was really breaking the old bring-'em-in-alive rule, anyway. Not that the Night Watch Agency really followed that rule. Not when the bounty hunters were after dangerous supernaturals.
"I'm getting bored," Dee said, "let him go and come with me."
The guy was crying now. Sobbing. Hell.
The vamp's gaze darted from Dee back to the edge of the street. Desperation there. Fear.
Time for the takedown. "Let him go," she repeated, voice lashing out, and then, Dee heard the faintest sound.
A soft rustle. A footstep?
The fear faded from the vamp's eyes and a smile tilted her lips.
"Take the bitch out!" The vampire screamed and Dee knew that the person behind her wasn't just some innocent bystander drawn in by morbid curiosity. Not innocent at all. Shit.
She spun around, ready to face another vampire, ready to--
He lunged at her, hitting her hard and fast and slamming her ass right down to the ground. At that same instant, she heard the shot. A crack of fire that would have taken her out.
Had her ass not been on the ground.
A hard cry broke the night. Pain. Fear. Not her cry, because she'd learned long ago not to cry out.
Dee stared up at the man before her. Darkness.
Black hair, hair much longer than her own. Sharp-edged, hard features. Cold, gray eyes, thin lips. Cheekbones that jutted too sharply.
And his body . . . his weight pinned her to the ground. His body was tight with muscle, heavy with strength.
He felt hot against her. His flesh so warm and--
Ah, fuck it.
Dee rammed up with her elbow, catching him hard and fast in the chin, sending his head snapping back as she scrambled beneath him, twisting, jerking, and punching.
"Stop it! Shit--I just saved your ass!" He clamped down harder on her, freezing her movements. "Woman, someone just tried to shoot you!"
And some big and thick asshole had tackled her.
But the crack she'd heard had registered in her mind now and the cry of pain--
If it hadn't been hers, then it had been . . .
Damn. Her neck craned and she glanced back. The idiot lay on the ground, moaning. Not with passion anymore. Pain. Blood soaked his shirt and pooled around him.
The vamp was gone.
But was the shooter? Only one way to find out. "Get off," she gritted.
His jaw clenched but he rolled to the side. "Your funeral, babe."
She'd lost her stake. Whatever. She had plenty more in the car. Dee jerked her gun free of the holster. She scanned the buildings, the darkness.
It was at times like these when being a human was a real vulnerability for her. The shifter hunters who worked for Night Watch would never have been caught off guard like this. They would have caught the shooter's scent on the wind, heard him creeping up for the shot.
Even the demons would have gotten more warning than she had.
But when you played with the big boys, you didn't get to piss and moan about the extra senses you didn't possess.
So she scanned every building. Every shadow. Then, staying as low and keeping as much cover as she could, she went to the idiot.
"Help me! I'm dying! You've got to--"
Her gaze darted over him. A lot of blood. Huh. And the vamp had run away from that? Who ran when the buffet was free?
"Help me! I can't die like this, I can't--"
"You're not dying." Jeez. She yanked out her phone, then pressed the button that would send an SOS to the surveillance team at Night Watch. "It's a flesh wound, moron." She'd sure had her share of them.
"Dispatch." A soft, modulated voice flowed over the line.
"Need an ambulance." She didn't identify herself. Why bother? Stella would recognize her voice. "Four fifteen Brantley. Human down and--"
Sirens wailed in the night. Of damn course. The shot would have attracted attention.
Her fingers tightened around the phone. "Never mind."
Time for explanations.
Or, okay, lies.
"What do we say?"
The deep, rumbling voice came from the left. From Mr. Tall, Dark, and, yeah, Sexy, who'd tailed her over to the victim. She spared him a glance. "You can get out of here. I'll handle the cops." She'd had lots of experience with the Baton Rouge PD. Most of the uniforms owed her, anyway.
One black brow shot up. "It's okay, you don't have to thank me." A grin flashed, one that showed a lot of strong, white teeth. "I was happy to save your life. Really. Think nothing of it. Yeah, I nearly got shot, but I'm okay. No need for concern." His right hand lifted and gingerly rubbed his chin.
A patrol car rounded the corner, screeched to a stop, and Dee clenched her teeth. "Thank you," she managed.
"Not very gracious, are you?" he murmured, and he knelt, his hands going toward the moaning guy's wounds. "You should work on that."
Her eyes slit. "I didn't need saving." Cops were approaching. She could see them from the corner of her eye. Their guns were up, their steps slow.
"Yeah, you did."
She almost growled at him. Any minute now, the cops would be saying--
"Put your hands up! Nice and slow and--"
Ah, good. She recognized that voice. "Harry, we've got a gunshot vic here. He needs to be routed to Mercy General."
"Dee?" Not real surprise. More like horror.
"Yeah. Be careful, the shooter could still be around."
Harry and his partner immediately crouched. Harry jerked out his radio and barked some commands.
"Why am I not surprised that the cops know you?" Dark and Sexy murmured.
She spared him a withering glance. Then she leaned in close to the victim and whispered, "If you want to stay out of the psych ward, don't say a word about the vampire."
He blinked once, then gave a quick, jerky nod.
Good. Because the cops on scene didn't understand the paranormal score in this town, and if the vic started rambling about Dee trying to take down an undead bloodsucker, things could get tricky.
She eased back into her crouch. So much for an easy bag. The guys at Night Watch would be giving her hell about this one for days.
And who'd been out there with the gun? Why had the shooter been aiming for her?
She'd find out. As soon as damn possible.
Because no one took a free shot at her and got away. No one.
Sandra "Dee" Daniels was small, grubby, and she really, really shouldn't have been attractive.
Her blond hair barely skimmed her chin and it looked like the woman had taken scissors to it herself--leaving the hair in short, twisted layers. Her nose was a little off center, her bottom lip a little too big, her chin a little too pointed.
No, she shouldn't have been attractive.
The jeans she wore were ripped and faded. Her white T-shirt clung too tightly to her small breasts, and her black boots were scuffed pretty much to hell and back.
But she was damn sexy. Maybe it was the eyes. So big and dark. Chocolate. Once upon a time, he'd loved the stuff.
And that mouth. The lips were lush, soft, so red. Okay, so maybe he liked her mouth.
She had her hands balled into fists on her hips. Cops were everywhere, running like ants as they searched the scene. He'd already been questioned three times, and both he and Dee had been given the all clear to leave.
But the woman wasn't moving, and if she wasn't moving, neither was he.