“Listen, ass**le, I have been extremely patient thus far. But I assure you that I have reached the bottom of that barrel. It’s time to give me the answers I want.”


He leaned forward. “Or what? You’ll use your special magic on me?”

For an elder vampire like Damascus White, my mage blood meant I was automatically inferior. The fact I was the Chosen, selected by the mother of all the Dark Races to lead her children, didn’t matter to this guy. I leaned forward too. With a flash of fangs, I smiled. “I don’t need magic to make you bleed.”

He smiled then. “Is that a threat?”

“It’s a motherfucking promise.”

He laughed. “That shit might work on the faeries and weres, but around here it’s a declaration of war.”

I sighed. “You’d really go to war over a mage? I wonder what your followers would say about that.”

He paused.

“Just tell me who hosted the party and you can walk away with your pride intact.” He opened his mouth with a sneer, but I held up a hand. “If you refuse, my first step will be to call Nyx and inform her that you need to be removed from your post as coven leader. My second will be to introduce you to my friend, the sun.”

I could tell from the spark of fear in his eyes that he’d heard all about how I was able to walk around in the daylight.

“They call him the Reverend.”

“Who does?”

“Everyone.”

“Vamp?”

He shook his head. “Adamite.”

I frowned so hard an ache formed between my brows. “What the hell are you doing going to human parties?”

“The Rev knows all about the Dark Races. We’re his best clients.”

“Clients?” I asked. “Wait—he’s a dealer?”

Damascus nodded.

“Was Cadence there to score drugs?”

He shrugged. “She certainly seemed to be having a good time,” he evaded. “So much so that she captured the attention of many appreciative eyes.”

“Yours.”

He nodded. “And the Rev’s.”

I nodded, understanding. “You think he might know where to find her?”

He shrugged. “I don’t care.”

“Where was the party?”

He opened his mouth to lie again. I took my time removing my gun from my jacket. I hadn’t wanted this to escalate so fast, but he was seriously wearing on my nerves. “I’d advise you to answer the question.”

His eyes narrowed, promising that this was yet another reason he’d keep on considering me his enemy. “Near the Garden District. Lee Circle, I think.”

I lowered the gun and scooted out of the booth. “That wasn’t so difficult, now, was it?” I stood over him, waiting for the reply.

His lip curled and he looked up at me with the same expression someone might use for a pile of shit. “You’re a real bitch, Chosen.”

“Damn straight.” I smiled. “Bye now.”

* * *

I went straight from the bar to Zen’s shop. Turned out Brooks had plenty to say about this Reverend guy. “I’ve seen him around the Quarter. Everyone knows he’s bad news. Got a gang of vamp goons to watch his back.”

I sat back in a chair in Zen’s living room. “Damascus said he’s a dealer.”

Brooks’s eyes darkened. “Kind of. He’s more of a pimp, you ask me.”

Zen frowned. “Prostitution?”

Brooks shook his head. “He hooks vampires up with drug addicts.”

“Shit,” I said. “Blood junkies are the worst.”

Adam and Giguhl walked in then. I’d called them on the way over and asked them to join me so we could come up with a plan. Adam got one look at my face and obviously realized I had bad news.

“Tell me.”

“She’s taken up with a group of blood junkies.”

Adam’s face went pale. “Shit.”

“Blood junky?” Giguhl asked.

“Vampires who gets off on drinking blood from drug addicts,” I explained. “They get their blood and their drug fix in one.”

“And since Cadence is a mage, they’d get a third high from her magic,” Giguhl concluded.

“Where is she?” Adam demanded.

I told them what I knew about the house where Damascus had attended the party. Brooks nodded. “I think I know the place.” Judging from his tone, we weren’t headed to the Four Seasons.

“You guys stay here and I’ll go check it out.”

Adam cleared his throat and crossed his arms. “Like hell.”

“It’s not safe, Sabina,” Brooks said. “Those vamps she’s hanging with? They’re ruthless.”

I opened my mouth to respond, but Adam spoke up. He looked more pissed off than I’d seen him in a long time. “We’ll show them ruthless.”

* * *

The old Victorian might have been impressive back in its heyday, but now it looked like something out of a creepy horror film. Three stories of rickety wooden bones with paint peeling like decayed skin. Half the windows sported holes and the others were completely missing. Beer bottles, cigarette butts, and stray animal feces littered the weedy front yard. This place hadn’t just been abandoned. It’d been desecrated.

From my vantage point across the street, I could sense some movement inside. Giguhl sat on my shoulder in cat form. “What you picking up, G?” I asked.

He lifted his snoot and sniffed the air. “Besides body odor and the scent of despair? I’m picking up enough dirty copper smell to mean we’re dealing with at least six vamps.”

“How about you, Mancy? Getting anything?” Adam was on the roof of the house. He’d flashed up there shortly after we arrived. We’d borrowed walkie-talkies from Zen. Brooks was up there with him because he’d claimed, as Cadence’s friend, he should be allowed to help.

“Quiet up here.”

“Don’t go in until G and I are in position.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he said. I could tell by the tone of his voice he was looking forward to this as much as me. With all the worry and speculation, it was nice to be doing something active. The chance to kick some blood-junky ass felt like a play date in the middle of a shit storm.

“Okay, here’s the deal. I’m going to try this the polite way first,” I said. Giguhl snorted. Ignoring him, I continued. “If they don’t cooperate, we go with Plan B.”

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