Read An Excerpt
Urban Fantasy, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
The only light was from the doorway behind us and the distant glow of a halogen streetlight past the alley entrance some twenty yards away. The odd lighting made the shadows deeper so that every recessed doorway seemed sinister, every dumpster perfect cover. I kept my eyes moving, scanning not only ground level, but the metal fire escape ladders and the tops of the flat roofed buildings. The door we’d come out of was the fourth down in the row of buildings, giving us about twenty yards to traverse to the main street if we went right, as opposed to almost a hundred yards if we turned left.
I stared down the alley, catching a glimpse of the front of the building reflected in the porn shop window display across the street. I didn’t see flashing lights reflected in the glass, nor any sign of a police cruiser. Before I could piece together what that might mean, a sound that made me turn.
A rat skittered. It was bigger than some of the more fashionable dogs, and had been startled by something. I didn’t fire, but it distracted me, costing me a valuable second of concentration.
As I turned back there was a wet, tearing sound ... then a grunt of pain. A shot rang out as a warm rain splattered my face and I smelled raw meat and fresh blood. Just that fast, Bob was down. I fired into the eye of his attacker that was visible above the throat where he was feeding. The entry wound was deceptively small, but blood, brain and bone splattered against the wall behind him, sliding in runnels down the rough surface of the brick. The vampire dropped Bob, lunging for me with (literally) mindless rage. I fired two more shots directly into its chest until he went down for good and I was sure there wouldn’t be enough heart left to stake.
“WE’VE GOT BATS!” I could barely hear my own voice shout warning to the other guards as I turned on instinct to fire at a shape moving at me with blurring speed from beside a dumpster. It shrieked, but kept coming, swinging a clawed hand at my head. I ducked the blow and waited for that split second when the momentum would swing its body around, then fired a pair of shots through the back at an angle intended to take out the heart.
He fell, like a puppet whose strings had been cut. I fired into his head. My last shot in the Colt.
My hearing was almost completely gone now, too much gunfire echoing off the metal of the dumpsters and fire doors, but if there were more vamps, they were holding off. I called for the others to cover me, holstered the Colt and grabbed Bob’s body under the armpits. I started dragging him backward toward the light still coming from the door to the strip club. He was hurt badly enough that he was going to die in minutes without help. A pair of dark shapes were closing in from either end of the alley, each moving with that eerie grace some of the older vampires have.
I was almost to the base of the stairs. Bob’s body wasn’t moving, but blood was still pumping, leaving a wet trail in our wake that was dark and all too visible as I backed into the light.
I risked a glance backward. There was a scuffle going on inside the door. I couldn’t see the young bodyguard, but I caught a glimpse of the prince. As I watched, the royal body began to shimmer, features moving as if made of badly molded clay until another man stood where the prince had been. He and the manager were firing steadily into the doorway where the refrigerator was still upright, despite the explosions of flesh and blood from his back.
Time slowed to a crawl. I had all the time in the world to watch the huge black man fall backward in slow motion off of the stairs to slam into the dumpster. As his body bounced lifelessly to the floor of the alley, the fire door swung solidly closed with an echoing clang.