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#SampleSunday

Here's another unedited sample from my upcoming book, Warrior's Heart; the first one you can read here. It's the second book in the Two-Natured London series. This one features two vampires, Jasper who is a Crimson Circle warrior, and Philippa who is a DI in the Metropolitan Police Service. Here is their first encounter. It isn't very auspicious.


Jas noticed an unmarked police car to pull over outside a three story residential building on the other side of the street to the club. He thought that they were here for the melee, but although two of the three persons exiting the car – human males – paused to take a look, the third, a vampire woman, headed straight into the building without so much as a glance. Of course, being a vampire, she didn’t actually have to use her eyes to check out the situation, just as he didn’t have to be close to her to know what she was; that was what the scanning was for.

The sight of her – small, fit and pretty – distracted Jas briefly from what he was doing and the human man he was trying to calm down got a chance at lunging at him. Almost distractedly, Jas blocked the attack and subdued the bloke with more compulsion than was absolutely necessary while straining his hearing to find out what was happening in the building.

What he heard froze his blood. An enraged man, shifter by the sounds of his still-human roaring, was trashing a flat there, scaring the shit out of some woman in there with him. And into that the vampire woman was heading. Alone.

Before he realised what he was doing, Jas had dashed across the street and to the building. “Are you seriously letting her do all the work,” he growled at the older of the men standing by the door.

The man lit a cigarette as if nothing was a miss. “Relax. She can handle it,” he said, but Jas didn’t listen. He got in and rushed up the stairs two at the time. He could already hear the woman knock firmly on the door, and since the noise inside the flat silenced, she had been heard.

“Metropolitan Police. Open the door, please.” And the shifter did.

Before Jas’s horrified eyes, the door opened, revealing a tiger-shifter so enraged he was a hair’s breadth from shifting. The three-dimensional, living, holographic manifestation of the shifter’s tiger, visible only to two-natureds, was stretching so far out of his chest it easily reached the woman. It attacked her instantly.

She didn’t even flinch. Shifters’ auras couldn’t hurt anybody – insubstantial as they were they simply went through any concrete obstacles on their path – but it took some nerve not to flee when a tiger attacked you. Standing her ground, she reached out her hand towards the shifter’s chest and yanked, and the man dropped on the floor unconscious, his aura disappearing.

Since Jas had felt what she did, he wasn’t as surprised as the twenty-something woman who crawled out from under a coffee table where she had taken cover. “What did you do to him?”

“I blocked his access to Might,” the vampire detective answered.

Jas knew it was the simplest explanation, but actually she had sucked all Might from around the shifter, creating a temporary void, thus cutting his access to the energy vital to the two-natured; an extremely difficult stunt to pull alone, as Might abhorred vacuum and constantly rushed in to fill it. Shifters couldn’t shift without Might, but the bloke had probably good enough reserves to shift even without a direct access. However, on the edge as he had been, the sudden loss of contact had caused him to pass out.

“He’ll wake up soon enough so I suggest you vacate the premises before he does.”

“I’m sure he wouldn’t harm me,” the woman said contrary to the evidence. The flat was trashed and there were pieces of broken furniture everywhere. She wasn’t injured, so the shifter had taken out his rage on inanimate objects, but that didn’t mean she was safe. Jas had to shake his head. Humans.

“You cheat on your shifter mate and expect him to just take it,” he growled, startling both women. He was sure the vampire had known he was there, had in fact felt her scan him when he approached, but the other had had no idea, all her attention on her downed mate.

“I did not cheat on him,” she claimed defiantly, crossing her arms over her ample chest. “And anyway, how would you know about it?”

The vampire woman snorted before Jas had a chance to answer. “You positively reek of the other guy.”

“But I showered,” the human woman began and then covered her mouth hastily with her hand.

“You’re married to a shifter and don’t know that their sense of smell is far superior to yours? Or understand that shifters mate for life once their beast makes a choice and his has chosen you. And this is how you repay him? By cheating?”

Jas had once thought a human would make a good partner to him, but he had learned otherwise the hard way. With shifters, the difficulties were even more obvious and the consequences more dire. Their tightest bond was created by Might pulling the two people together, but since humans couldn’t sense Might, they didn’t react to it. As a consequence, the human partner wasn’t similarly physically incapable of cheating on their mate as the shifter was. As evidenced, the shifter would react really badly when their human mate was unfaithful.

“I don’t see how this would be any of your business,” the woman started angrily, but the vampire woman interrupted her.

“If I have to come back here tonight, it will most definitely be my business, and I will arrest both of you.”

“What would you arrest me for?”

“Stupidity.”

The answer made Jas laugh aloud, but the vampire just shot him a disgusted glance, before turning back to the shifter’s mate. “You can’t stay here. There’s no saying he won’t attack you again once he wakes up. I’ll wait here until you’ve packed your bag. Hurry up.” It was said with such authority that the woman complied, no charm needed. Jas was about to compliment her on it when she turned to him.

“Who the bloody hell are you and why are you here?”

But Jas was too busy admiring her to answer, now that he had a good look at her. She wasn’t quite as small as he had originally thought, perhaps five foot four, but she was delicately built, which made her appear smaller and more fragile than she undoubtedly was. She was wearing a suit that didn’t show much of her body, but he could imagine shapely legs and round buttocks inside her trousers, and the cut of her jacket revealed the curve of her small, round breasts and narrow waist. Her face didn’t follow the delicate theme though. It was well-defined and stubborn with fine cheekbones, pert nose and straight dark brows. Her mouth was set in a determined line and her eyes were large and green. And very angry. To cap it all, her blond hair was cropped near to her scull in a pixie style and while he favoured long hair on women, he thought it suited her perfectly. Very feminine instead of manly she probably wanted it to be.

“Well, answer me or do I have to arrest you too.”


Philippa couldn’t understand where the large vampire male had come from, but judging by his outfit, he had either been at the club or about to go there. That didn’t explain why he was standing on the landing behind her, looming over her like a bodyguard.

The immediate impression of him was that he was huge, but decades in service had taught her to estimate heights and she thought he was a little short of six foot tall. He seemed larger because he was all tight muscles and large bones he had put on display in a form hugging silk shirt, and he carried himself tall. On top of that, the air of authority around him one didn’t question gave him some extra height.

His face was equally strong and full of arrogance the older vampires oozed without even trying. She couldn’t say how old exactly, because his shields were up so tightly that her scan couldn’t penetrate them, but that alone belied age. Angular chin covered with stubble, prominent nose, strong dark brows over cold brown eyes and a cleanly shaven head that revealed an old scar on the right side of his head; it must have been a horrible wound. He wasn’t actually handsome, but he was so manly looking she could barely turn her eyes away. If she had to hazard a guess, she would say a face like that belonged to a Circle warrior.

Bugger.

He was saved from answering by the return of the idiotic shifter’s mate. Philippa opposed violence against women on principle and years in service had made her abhor it in practise too, but sometimes she had to wonder if a good slap around the face wouldn’t drive some sense into some people. Couldn’t they at least teach humans some basics before they let them mate shifters? Did the woman really think her mate wouldn’t find out that she was cheating on him? Never mind that his reaction had been over the top even for a mated shifter. Their flat was demolished.

“Do you have a place to go? Mother? Best friend?”

A moment alone had given the woman some time to reflect what had happened and she was more subdued. “I guess I could go to Steve.”

“Is he the other bloke?” When the woman nodded, Philippa shook her head disgusted. “How stupid are you anyway. Your mate will follow you there and then there’s no saving either of you. You’ll go to your mother.” She didn’t even have to charm her; the woman just nodded.

The shifter was lying across the threshold unconscious and Philippa leaned over to push him inside so that she could close the door. But before she managed to do it, the vampire male had handled it for him. “I had it covered, thanks,” she said annoyed. She wasn’t so small she couldn’t have moved a two hundred pound shifter.

“I was glad to help,” the bloke said, as if nothing was amiss. He stepped aside to let her and the shifter’s mate descend the stairs before him, but she sensed him scan the perimeter well before them for anything that might harm them.

“Relax, big boy,” she sneered. “It’s just my partners downstairs.”

“Who let you handle an enraged shifter on your own,” he said with a frown.

She snorted. “Like they could have done anything about him.”

“It’s the principle of it.”

“Yes it is,” she conceded. “She who can, does.” He didn’t say anything to that, but she could sense his disapproval. A big surprise. Vampire males hadn’t really reached the twenty-first century yet when it came to gender equality. All the more reason for her to work among humans, even if they annoyed her with their short lives.

Back on the street, Simon took charge of the woman and Adrian came to her. He hadn’t been happy when she ordered him to wait downstairs, but Simon had convinced him to stay. He sized up the vampire and she had to admire his nerve. Or pity his stupidity. “Who’s the civilian?”

She actually didn’t know so she turned to the vampire, only to see him staring arrogantly down at Adrian. A feat, considering they were about the same height; the vampire only seemed bigger. “He’s too young to look after you,” the vampire growled and she stifled an urge to punch him in the arm. If he was, indeed, a Circle warrior, nothing good would follow from it; they weren’t exactly known as forgiving fellows. So she rolled her eyes instead.

“And you’re too old for pissing contests.”

His mouth quirked, softening the hard face. “A man is never too old for those.”


***

If you liked the sample, the first book in the Two-Natured London series, the Wolf's Call, is available on Amazon. Check the side bar for links.

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