A Cry in the Night
Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Paula Calloway
Word Count :24419
Publication Date :2011-06-19
Series : #
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-55410-810-7
Love gentles the bite of the beast.
Long before man knew of their existence, a bond formed which allowed vampires to protect the bitten and destroy the beast so the were and humans survived.
When his bitten beloved turns into a beast and is murdered by a cold hunter, Talen continues as a gatherer. When a bitten stirs his heart, moves his soul, and ignites his blood, he fears a repeat of the past, but fate tightens his grip.
Liana longs for someone who will love all of her, plumpness included. Never in her wildest dreams did she ever imagine something like the handsome boss her company stuck her with.
The ring of the cell phone on his belt scattered the pack back several yards. Talen zeroed in on the oddity of the sound. Only one number ever called him and annoyed his alert ears with that particular resounding tone. With the remainder of the meat tossed in a scattered pattern for the small pack, he stood, drew the little device from his side and flipped it open. He exited the enclosed area and shut gate. “Yes?”
“Nice to hear from you, Sirus.”
“The missing beast from the last full moon was located and killed an hour ago. I hate when they slip past you guys. Makes me lock my door. Good thing their bite heals in mere minutes. The growl froze her, but the hunter wasn’t close enough to intercept the attack. Her injuries are minor. She’s lucky Seth made the kill, closed her wounds, and obliterated the incident from her memory as fast as he did. I hate when a bitten retains enough to drive them insane during their change.”
Talen despised what a bitten suffered in a transformation. It pained him to witness a human lose to the beast should the were or wolf fail in strength. Many times he answered fearful cries of a bitten fallen to the pull of a lunar cycle. A glance at the moon ascertained its phase. He shifted his stance. “Feed me, Sirus.”
“Um, Talen, I think you forgot I’m the human computer geek and said particular phrase is highly disliked. Please stop chuckling so I can get back to business. Thank you. Liana Jennings is a twenty-eight-year-old single woman who, on Friday nights, frequents a place with variety music called Night on the Town. She’s not the type to jump in bed. A bit on the plump side for me, but then I always did like women little enough to tangle with and golden-haired—”
“Sirus.” Tempted to reach through the phone and strangle the young human, he merely pursed his lips.
“Sorry. Started thinking about that blonde and her redhead sister.”
Agitated, Talen expelled a noisy breath. “Meanwhile I’m losing valuable time and gaining an appetite.”
“Sorry. Bred, born and raised a city girl, this five-foot-four, one-hundred-forty-pound tanned beauty is curvaceous with full breasts and rounded hips. Waist-length, light chestnut-brown hair, usually braided and no accessories, not even a necklace. Her nails are long, so be careful you don’t get clawed in all forms. She’s a receptionist at Aero Tech industrial park and lives at one ninety-seven Arbor Drive. Not much chance of her making it with the full moon in less than two weeks.”
“Don’t remind me, Sirus.” His preference of simple encounters with a bitten, often three casual weekend meetings, served enough to build the needed bond without the possibility of attachment. He found it easy to mind link with a willing woman and plant a pleasurable one-night stand without his actual participation. He glanced at the sky. My lack of time for her adjustment forces a more direct approach. “Can you get me high up inside AT and transfer her as my personal assistant?”
“Already completed. Check the fax coming to you there. You start tomorrow as an exec whose last assistant left him disorganized files. Liana will get her notification tonight on the phone. The counsel expects her to rip apart in the change or remain too wild to keep. Hollis offered his ranch if the wolf emerges in the shift and Ditmyer holds the contract to eliminate the beast. He’s guarding her now. Talen, you dislike the concept, but I don’t see you winning this one. Especially with a city girl who doesn’t sleep around.”
“I won’t lose another. Consider neither needed.” Talen turned off the phone and shoved it back in the case on his side. Less than two weeks left him little to work with to gain a bitten’s confidence before their life tumbled into chaos. Seldom did a beast escape, but if one succeeded, it put every hunter and gatherer on the prowl. He settled his gaze on the alpha laying on the other side of the gate. “She’ll be difficult, Jasper.”
As the large gray head swung around and ochre eyes locked on him, he welcomed the tail wag and pivoted. His mind drifted back in the past, and the moment in time he learned a hard lesson at the hand of another life. He only ever lost one bitten to transformation, and that beauty died in his arms mere moments after it tried to kill him. Angry with the huntsman, he attacked until his enemy died splayed on the ground in a pool of blood. In time, reality seeped in and made it clear none saved all were, but his record bordered on close.
Disapproval of the looming threat to shoot any uncontrolled creature prodded Talen into the position of head zoologist at the local zoo, which after his persuasion, added a preserve for the protection of the feral animals from the world’s cruelty. In a decade or so, another nightwalker would carry the torch.
In the office in mere strides, he retrieved the waiting fax, picked up the phone and dialed his replacement’s number. He scanned over the printed message in his hand until the sleepy voice on the other end yawned a greeting. “Dennis, I need to leave town for an emergency. I’ll be absent at least a week, maybe two, and don’t wish my back office disturbed. Can you take over until I return?”
Dennis yawned again. “Yeah, sure. Uh, when do you have to leave?”
Talen needed to ascertain the bitten’s predicament and situation. “Tonight. I fed the pack their early snack.”
“Give me a minute to yank on my clothes, and I’ll be there within an hour.”
“Thanks. I’m heading out.” He hung up the phone and collected his gear. Yanking on his leather jacket, he exited the office and checked on the wolves. “Hey, Jasper, Dennis is taking over for me. Be nice.”
A slowly wagged tail accompanied by a soft whine and an ochre stare earned his smile. Talen trotted to his motorcycle, secured his gear on the back, and donned his silver helmet. With the face shield slapped down, he mounted the sleek silver machine, turned the key, and pushed the ignition button. The powerful motorcycle growled into life.
He opened the throttle and sped toward his destination. In a short time, he slowed, turned onto Arbor Drive, and scanned the picturesque area. The small, but quaint houses, situated in perfect little rows, seemed displayed, but cute. He smirked at the number one ninety-seven on an arctic white mailbox.
Too cute. Talen assessed the little powder blue Cape Cod house as he passed. The hair on the nape of his neck prickled. He homed in on the source. At the end of the street, he circled the cul-de-sac, drove back, pulled over and parked under a large oak tree that sheltered much of the road.
He turned off his bike and lifted his face shield, then looked up into the tree above him and leveled his gaze on a young nightwalker he didn’t trust. “Evening, hunter.”
“The icy gaze does you justice, gatherer.” With a slight nod of recognition, Ditmyer turned his head toward the woman’s house. “Looks like our prey isn’t happy with her caller.”
“She isn’t anyone’s prey and she is my charge, not yours.” Talen disregarded the shrug and focused his attention on the young woman across the street.
The redheaded vampire landed with almost no sound. “Little heavy for my taste. Cute nightshirt though. She’s your problem. Don’t let her become mine.”
He narrowed his eyes. “Your threats are not welcome, nor will your services be needed. Hunter.”
Ditmyer proffered a wry grin. “We’ll see.”
Talen growled. “Stay away, hunter.”