Immortal danger, p.1
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       Immortal Danger, p.1

         Part #0. 5 of Night Watch series by Lauren DeStefano
 
Immortal Danger
Page 1

  PROLOGUE

  So this is what death feels like.

  Maya Black struggled for breath, struggled to fight the creeping cold that swept through her body. Jesus. She hadn't wanted to go out like this. Hadn't wanted to die in some damn dirty, stinking alley.

  She'd been born in an alley like this, and she sure as hell hadn't planned to die in one.

  "Ummm, you taste so good. " The sick monster above her licked his fangs, freaking fangs, and she noticed that her blood coated his lips. "Poor little cop, I think I've drained you dry. "

  Her heart was slowing, the hollow beat barely echoing in her ears. The ground was hard beneath her, the moon shining brightly over her. And hell looked back at her from the creature's eyes.

  A vampire. She knew what he was. She'd seen his kind before. Others thought things like him were just myths, but she knew better. She knew demons were real, knew the devil was real. Evil lurked in the world, she'd known that fact for years.

  "Beg me," the vampire whispered, leaning over her and gazing at her with his soulless black eyes. "Beg me to change you, beg me to let you live. "

  To change you. No, oh, hell, no. She didn't want to become a monster. And she would never, never beg.

  Not again.

  He slashed his wrist open with the edge of his fangs. Shoved the wound to her mouth.

  No!

  She turned her head away, trying to spit out the blood. Her hands fumbled in the trash beside her.

  Where was her weapon? The vampire had jumped her, thrown her against the wall, sank those razor-sharp fangs into her throat, and then had her on the ground in less than a minute.

  She'd dropped her gun. Where was it? Where-

  Her fingers closed over the barrel of her Glock. She pulled, struggling to bring the weapon closer. It felt so heavy in her hand, so-

  He laughed at her. Actually laughed. Then he grabbed the gun. Her fingers swiped out, clenched around the butt. He pushed the barrel dead-center against his chest and whispered, "Do it. "

  Without a moment's hesitation, she pulled the trigger.

  The bullet shot straight through his chest. He smiled at her.

  And her heart stuttered. The beat was slowing, slowing .

  "You can't kill me, bitch, not with your weak bullets, not with-"

  He broke off, gasping, and he stumbled away from her, raising a hand to his chest. Smoke rose from the wound, a long, thin trail of smoke. The scent of burnt flesh filled the air, combined with the stench of rotten food in the alley.

  Maya's lips curled as she stared at him.

  "Wh-what-" He fell to his knees, holding his chest. "Wh-what d-did y-you do?"

  She'd covered her bullets in holy water. She'd been doing that since she joined the force ten years ago. Since her first night, when a vampire had attacked her while she was patrolling the park.

  She'd barely gotten away from him. Maya had kicked, bit, fought with every ounce of strength she had. In the end, she'd been lucky. She'd managed to keep fighting him until her partner arrived to help her.

  She'd survived.

  But tonight would be different, she knew that. There was no backup for her tonight. She'd been working the case alone. Following a lead.

  Following death.

  The vampire lunged for her, grabbed her hair; and jerked her head back. His black eyes were rimmed with red. Tears of blood leaked down his cheeks.

  His teeth ripped across her neck, but she didn't scream. Didn't have the strength to scream anymore.

  Her finger jerked on the trigger, firing again, again, again-

  But he didn't stop. Didn't stop biting her, drinking from her, killing her.

  So this is what death feels like.

  Darkness surrounded her. Complete, suffocating darkness.

  "What the hell do you think got a hold of her?" A man's voice, shaken.

  "Dunno. " A woman, she sounded like she truly didn't give a shit.

  Her body was lifted. Pushed. A door slammed.

  Silence.

  Two more doors slammed.

  An engine started.

  "Did you see the blood?" The man's voice again. "That whole freaking alley was covered with her blood. "

  "Um. " The woman.

  "Had to be an animal, right? I mean, nothing else could have done that to her throat. "

  Maya frowned. Her throat didn't hurt anymore. In fact, nothing hurt. But she still felt cold.

  And it was so dark.

  What had happened to the moonlight? A crackle of static, then a hard voice blasted, "Second ambulance en route. Got a body three streets over-a shooting victim…"

  Shooting victim. The vamp? She hoped she'd killed his ass. Maybe he'd crawled away and died.

  But what the hell had happened to her? She tried to move, tried to lift her hands, but something surrounded her, trapped her.

  A growl of frustration and fear rumbled in her throat.

  "Did you hear that?" The guy's voice was nearly a shriek.

  Maya winced.

  "No, I didn't hear a damn thing. " But the woman's heart was suddenly beating faster.

  How the hell can I hear her heart? "Let's just hurry up and drop her ass off at the morgue, okay?" Mr. Shrill and Scared. "I swear, I-I think I saw the bag move. "

  The morgue. The bag.

  Shit. Suddenly, Maya knew exactly what was happening. Those idiots had tagged her, had thought she was dead. She'd even thought so, too, for a time. She'd thought for certain she felt the icy touch of death.

  But she was still alive. She'd fought, and she was still alive. Still– "I'm alive!" Her voice emerged as a scream.

  The squeal of brakes followed her cry. The vehicle swerved, fishtailed, then screeched to a stop.

  Maya squirmed, fighting the darkness that surrounded her. Her nails caught a thick, hard fabric, dug in, ripped, slashed.

  " Jesus Christ!" A jerk of a zipper. Then light, bright, blinding light spilled onto her. She blinked against the light and against the sudden, sharp stab of pain in her eyes.

  Then she saw the man. Young, with sandy blond hair and dark, wire-framed glasses. He was thin, lanky. The woman stood looking just over his shoulder. Her red hair flared around her and her green eyes were so wide they seemed to swallow her face.

  "Y-you y-you…" The chick's mouth opened and closed like a fish's. Her pulse beat madly in her throat. The thudding filled Maya's ears, made her mouth water.

  She shoved out of the bag, a damn body bag, and leapt from the back of the ambulance. She wound up soaring ten feet into the air and then she came back down to the ground with a thud.

  The woman screamed. Maya glanced back just in time to see the redhead's eyes roll back into her head as she fainted.

  The man's face turned completely white as the color bleached from his skin. "Wh-what are you?"

  As his heartbeat filled her ears, that tempting, wonderful beat, her canines lengthened, burned.

  And Maya realized she hadn't survived her attack.

  No, she hadn't survived it at all…

  CHAPTER 1

  Five years later…

  A dam Brody kept his eyes on his prey as she moved down the street. Her hair, dark, midnight black, gleamed in the moonlight, skimming just past her shoulders. Her body, slender but strong, moved fluidly as she ran through the night.

  He had been watching her for days now. Watching as she prowled the streets at night. Watching as she fed. As she fought. Even as she killed.

  Maya Black.

  There had been whispers about her for years. Tales of the vampire who hunted her own kind.

  The vampire who fought demons, shifte
rs, vamps-any damn thing that got in her way.

  There was a price on her head. But for five years, no one had been able to collect that bounty.

  Because Maya was one tough bitch to stake.

  She approached a ramshackle building, a building with boarded windows and red gang tags shining on the exterior walls. Her hand lifted, banged on the door.

  A man wrenched open the metal door. He took one look at Maya and stepped back, letting her inside.

  Adam caught the scent of blood on the wind.

  His body stiffened as understanding dawned. She'd just gone into a feeding room. One of the safe houses for vamps. A place to drink, to fuck, to do whatever the hell the vamps wanted with the humans who were unlucky enough to be inside. Often, the humans stumbled into the feeding room by mistake. They thought they'd just gone into a new bar, a trendy, secret spot. Then the vamps got then. Once the vamps took their blood, it was over for the humans. A vamp could link with his victim. It was so easy to slip into a human's mind after the bite.

  The bitten humans never thought about turning on the vamps, or revealing the feeding rooms to the authorities. They were too addicted to the vampire's power, and too under the vamp's control.

  Not that revealing a feeding room to the authorities would do much good, anyway. The cops had learned long ago how to hide the supernatural activities from the larger society. And the vamps…they were so good at blending in-hiding in plain sight.

  So they took their blood and they fucked, and they didn't care how many humans they hurt.

  He'd wondered when Maya would feed again. It had been two days since he'd watched her drink from a man. Two days since she'd pushed a young dumbass up against a wall and locked those red lips of hers onto his neck and shoved those sharp teeth into his throat. Even from fifty yards away, he'd heard the man's cry of ecstasy as Maya fed.

  He'd expected Maya to drain the man dry. To slash his throat and leave him dead on the street.

  But she'd lowered the guy onto the curb, whispered to him, and walked away.

  She'd left her prey alive.

  Damn odd for a vampire.

  Of course, the same night she'd cut the head off a level-five demon who'd made the mistake of jumping her.

  He sauntered slowly down the street, keeping his gaze on the feeding room, but listening intently for every sound on the block.

  Adam had never thought that he'd willingly offer himself up as food for a fucking parasite, but it looked like this might be the only way he could get close to Maya. And he needed to get close to her, for now.

  She kept her prey alive.

  So, it looked like he'd have to become her prey.

  He reached the black door. Didn't bother glancing at the red splashes of spray paint. He lifted his fist and pounded against the cold metal.

  A big, bald, ugly-as-hell guy with a twisted nose and a scar sliding down his left cheek, jerked open the door. "What the 'ell do ye want?" A thick Irish brogue marked his words.

  The scent of blood was stronger now. Moans whispered in the air, the faint pounding of drums, the light strum of a guitar. And then a scream.

  Irish put one meaty hand on Adam's chest and shoved back. "This ain't yer place, mate. "

  Adam glanced down at the hand, thought about breaking it. Just one quick snap. He took a deep breath and glanced back up into Irish's beady green eyes. "I'm here for the woman. "

  "No woman 'ere. " His lips curled into a snarl. "Now get your arse out of-"

  The hand was still on his chest, pressing a bit too hard, and it was really pissing Adam off. So he grabbed the jerk's wrist, twisted– not enough to break, not yet –and shoved Irish back against the door. "The woman you just let inside," he whispered. "I want her. "

  Irish shook his head. "Ye don't want 'er. " He jerked his hand back, clenched his fingers into a fist.

  "Oh, but I do. " And he wasn't leaving without her. Adam waited for the guy to attack. Waited-

  A hard crack of laughter filled the air. "Dumb bastard. " Irish stepped back, motioned him inside.

  "Yer funeral. "

  Adam walked down the long, dark hallway. Small, sputtering candles were on the floor, providing just enough light to see the passage, but shadowing the blood he could smell all around him.

  The hall ended in a large room. A band played on a small, wooden stage. A drummer. A woman who sang as she strummed the guitar. Adam could see the blood trailing lightly down their necks.

  Could tell by the glazed expression in their eyes that they were the slaves of the vamps.

  Damn. He fucking hated vampires.

  Parasites.

  His back teeth clenched as he glanced around the room. Doors led off in every direction. He already knew where all those doors would take him. To hell.

  But he needed to find Maya, so he'd have to go-

  "Don't screw with me, Armand!" A woman's voice, hard, ice cold. Maya.

  He turned, found her leaning over the bar, her hand wrapped around the bartender's throat.

  "I want to know who went after Sean, and I want to know now. " He saw her fingernails stretch into claws, and he watched as those claws sank into the man's neck.

  "I-I d-don't k-know. " The guy looked like he might faint at any moment. Definitely human.

  Vamps were always so pale it looked like they might faint. But this guy, he'd looked pretty normal until Maya clawed him.

  "Find out!" She threw him against a wall of drinks.

  Adam stalked toward her, reached her side just as she spun around, claws up.

  He stilled.

  She glared at him. "What the hell do you want?" She snarled, and he could see the faint edge of her fangs gleaming behind her plump lips.

  It was his first time to get a good look at her face. He'd seen her from a distance before, judged her to be pretty, hadn't bothered to think much beyond that.

  He blinked as he stared at her. Damn, the woman looked like some kind of fallen angel.

  Her thick black hair framed her perfect, heart-shaped face. Her cheeks were high, glass sharp.

  Her nose was small, straight. Her eyes were wide and currently the black of a vampire in hunting mode. And her lips, well, she might have the face of an angel, but she had lips made for sin.

 
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