Excerpt from Blood Feud
The stench of death assaulted my senses as I stood on the sidewalk, looking up at the sooty, tan brick facade of the warehouse. White paint obliterated the name of the business that had once used it, but I could make out the words Trading Company anyway. Graffiti covered the lower portion of the structure, a riot of color and symbols that meant nothing to me. Deserted roads, broken streetlights, and a full moon obscured by passing clouds made everything seem eerie.
Of course, it was just as likely that my unease was caused by what awaited me in the building—a demon and a dead vampire, the seventh member of my clan killed this month.
I glanced over my shoulder. For a moment, I thought about hopping in the Aston Martin DBS I'd left parked at the curb and racing off. That wasn't an option because my clan lord had been adamant that I handle this. His insistence puzzled me. Given my past, I thought he'd want to keep me as far away from demons as possible.
While it continued to bother me, I had to trust my ruler. And I could come up with one strong reason for choosing me—I might be his sole option. Chances were no other enforcer was willing to work with a demon, and if the murderer wasn't caught tonight, there might be an all-out war by sundown tomorrow.
It had taken more than three hundred years and cost countless lives before a truce had been negotiated between vampires and demons. Prejudice and hatred remained, but the peace had lasted nearly eight hundred years. Now, the entire thing might unravel before morning. It was my job to make sure that didn't happen.
Huffing out a breath, I extended my senses to scan the building. No sign of the demon I was supposed to meet, but they did have the ability to cloak themselves. Walking to the entrance, I opened the door and stepped inside. I gave my eyes a moment to adjust to the darkness. Slowly, things came into view—more graffiti covered the gray cinder-block walls, the dirt was deep enough on the floor to reach the toes of my black ankle boots, and piles of debris were scattered in random locations.
Since I would probably find my partner-to-be near the body, I scanned for it. With a bead on its location, I headed deeper into the warehouse. It was a large building, partitioned off into smaller spaces, but I took my time. And prepared myself for anything.
There'd been a pattern to the murders—three vampires killed on each of two separate nights at specific time intervals. There was every reason to believe that the demon who'd done it meant to take the lives of two more tonight. With no guarantee that this wasn't a setup to make me today’s second victim, I had to be cautious.
I was strong. Humans didn't worry me and neither did most vampires. But demons? They scared me. I might not hate them across the board like many of my clan members did, but I didn't blindly trust them either.
Yes, my clan lord had assured me that he'd spoken to the demon king himself, but it didn't mean there was no risk. Maybe the demon ruler was in on it, or maybe the killer was good enough to fool a vampire, either way I wasn't taking any chances.
As I neared the body, I slowed even further. Broken crates and pallets offered more places to hide and that had me on edge. Up ahead there was metal door hanging ajar and I knew I'd reached my destination. I slipped through, not wanting to pull it open any wider, and saw a pair of legs sticking out from behind a mound of refuse. The demon stood about twenty feet away, arms crossed over his chest.
Six centuries had taught me to hide my reactions and doing so now was instinctive. I didn't break stride or gasp even though it felt as if all the oxygen had been sucked out of the universe. It didn't matter. He would have sensed the way my heart sped up, how my pulse tripped when I recognized him. But then I'd felt his pulse surge as well. Leisurely, he lifted his head and looked at me. As his light blue eyes connected with mine, my body had another kind of reaction.
Every woman should have a demon lover once in her life. Seere had been mine.
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This excerpt is from Blood Feud
by Patti O'Shea