Outcast and running free but without a pack or home to call his own. It’s a heartbreakingly foreign concept for Remus Reese. More so after the death of his twin.
Angry, determined, and hot on his trail, Ava Martine is on her own crusade. She’s been tasked with bringing Remus in; and as one of the Hunters it’s her sworn duty.
But all is not what it seems… Will Ava find reason to betray her life’s cause? Will Remus be able to work with the enemy, injured, alone, and constantly at odds? When these two are forced to work with each other, will opposites attract? Or will worlds collide to devastating effect?
I watched the television as I slid bullets into a fresh magazine. The volume was off, but I didn’t need to hear. The room was awash in the alternating flashing red and blue lights from emergency vehicles on the local eleven o’clock news. A pretty reporter, mixed race, spoke into the microphone, lips moving with a sense of urgency as the black closed captioning boxes scrolled up from the bottom of the screen, the white type rolling along to fill them.
Words like ‘brutal attack’, ‘several men’, ‘blunt force trauma’ and ‘no eye witnesses’ flitted along before new ones appeared in their place. It was the same story everywhere we’d been.
I’d nearly had him in St. Louis. Missed him by an hour in Huntsville. Fucker moved around a lot, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. Scum of the earth? Yeah. But they were still worth more than his sorry carcass. I slid the magazine home and pulled back the slide, jacking a round into the chamber. I moved with the practiced ease and precision that all Crusaders were trained with and it felt good. Calm, and full of assurance. I popped the magazine back out of my weapon and topped it off before sliding it back home with a satisfying click.
He wouldn’t be getting away this time. Failure wasn’t an option. I slid my weapon, a Glock 23 with an attached tactical light, into the holster along the outside of my thigh. The attack on the news was just outside New Orleans. I’d been here a couple of days already on the hunt. If he was willing to draw this kind of heat from the mundane authorities then he was moving on, and if he was moving on, then so was I. I picked up my riding jacket. A Joe Rocket with Kevlar lining and slipped it on, zipping it midway up my chest.
A final check of my riding boots and I snatched up my knapsack and helmet, heading for the door. I made sure my credentials as a licensed bounty hunter hung in plain sight from the bead chain around my neck. Made the gun, not so much less noticeable, but more understood.
It really was my day job. When I wasn’t hunting one of them, I spent my time getting paid tracking down your good ‘ol, garden variety, human criminals. It kept me sharp for the hunts that mattered. The hunts like this one.
“Sorry, Sweetheart,” I said and dropped my pool cue on the table. I’m afraid I’m going to have to decline.” She blinked, startled and for a second I thought I saw a flash of anger burn through her eyes, but it was gone as quickly as it came and I couldn’t honestly be sure it had ever really been there in the first place.
“Well,” she said with another distracting shrug. “You can’t blame a girl for trying.” She winked again and turned to saunter away, a distinctive sway in her hips.
“You’re a fucking moron, Remy Dulcet,” I grumbled to myself and turned back to my solo game of nine ball.
I finished the game and downed the last of my beer in record time before I grabbed my jacket and headed for the door. With nothing else to do I decided to head back to my motel to crash for the night when I felt a finger tap my shoulder.
I was tired. I was buzzed. I was a little depressed too, to be honest. So I was more than a little surprised when I turned and found the hottie from the bar standing behind me. I was even more surprised when she pressed the barrel of a gun under my chin.
“I tried to be nice,” she said with mock sorrow. The glinting humor in her eyes gave away how much she was enjoying this. “I really did try to get you out here without threats.” She paused and her head cocked to the side slightly. “Well, honestly I guess it would have ended in a threat at this stage either way so…” she shrugged again.
“I knew there was a reason I didn’t like you,” I muttered, anger starting to build in my chest. “I couldn’t really smell the gun oil over all that cigarette smoke. But I must have caught enough of it that I didn’t feel right about you.”
“Well you’re an animal. What do I care how you feel?” she snapped. The beautiful jade of her eyes suddenly became as hard and cold as the stone they so closely resembled. Shit. I was starting to realize just how dangerous this chick was. Bad news didn’t even begin to cover it.
Somehow, I didn’t feel too upset about getting killed. I didn’t welcome it, but somehow I wasn’t as angry as I thought I would be.
“So are you going to put this dog down or not?” I snapped after we stood there for almost a full minute with the gun digging into my flesh. “If not, I’ve got other things to do.”
“You’re not going to die here, Remy Dulcet. Mathias Young extends an invitation. He wants to talk to you.”
I wasn’t afraid of dying. I wasn’t afraid of fighting. But that put a tingle of fear into my spine. I wanted nothing to do with the Hangman; he had proven himself to be nearly as insane as Romulus was, and that information was the galvanizing force for what I did next.
My hand came up and slapped her hand to the side. Her finger jerked spastically and the gun went off, a bullet whizzing past my face so close that it burned a line of fire from my jaw all the way to my temple. I staggered to the side, my left ear ringing loudly from the explosive sound of the gunshot going off practically right next to my head.
I grabbed her by the jacket, spun hard and tossed her as hard as I could. Admittedly, off balance and with my head ringing like a church bell, ‘as hard as I could’ meant that she flew a yard or two and rolled expertly across the ground coming up on her feet like an experienced acrobat, gun whipping around to point at me again.
I was already running down the street. My balance was fucking shot and I swallowed back a wave of nausea that was, thankfully, already starting to recede. With every step the pain in my ear faded as it healed. The pain in the side of my face, however, failed to get any better. In fact it seemed like it was getting worse.
Fucking bitch was actually using silver coated bullets!
Text Copyright © 2016 A.J. Downey & Ryan Kells
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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