There’s a new Ancient in town … and he’s out for blood.
Thirteen years ago, Ahnya Fahre fought for her life on the mean streets of Chicago. Tonight, she’s on the run again, this time with a newborn vampire who may be a child of prophecy, destined to destroy the entire Ancient civilization.
Desperate to save the child from vengeful enforcers sent by the Ancients’ high elder, Ahnya forms an uneasy alliance with the vampires’ deadly enemy: A bounty hunter intent upon killing every elder of every clan left on earth.
But when evil comes to her door, Ahnya is forced to choose between the man she’s come to love and the child she promised to protect. The choice can either save the Ancient’s civilization and her own, or serve as the catalyst for the destruction of both worlds.
The hunter took the thick-armed chair behind the desk and gestured for Ahnya to sit facing him. She laid Karina on an identical chair beside her.
“I have to say, I don’t often see women like you coming in here, with or without babies,” Griff said. He moved a file folder to the side, and leaned toward Ahnya. His elbows rested on the desktop, his hands steepled. “Usually they have expensive lawyers who take care of things. Do we need to talk before we fill out these papers?”
Ahnya glanced at the closed doors, then back at the man staring unblinkingly at her. His face was a study of sharp planes and a closed countenance. His eyes were shadowed, as if he’d seen too many bad things too often. She suspected any compassion he might once have possessed had leached from him long ago, seeping out as he dealt day in and day out with the dregs of humanity. For all she knew, he already knew Karina’s heritage and was on the verge of killing them both.
Which should worry her. Yet where else could she go? Even a slim chance with this man was better than no chance with the elders.
“I’m afraid I lied.” She straightened in her chair, leaning forward slightly. “My name is Ahnya Fahre, and this isn’t my child.” She glanced over at the sleeping Karina. “Her mother gave birth shortly after the sun rose this morning. To her, this baby would be a monster, a hideous creature no mother could love.”
Folding back the blanket, she said, “Look. She’s beautiful, isn’t she? Those pink cheeks, that tiny rosebud of a mouth, those perfect little fingers. Her mother would pull away with tears, wondering why she’d been punished. She’d mourn because her daughter’s skin isn’t as pale as fine linen, that she has no tiny blood fangs protruding from her gums and no pointed fingernails to scratch whoever holds her.” Ahnya slowly raised her eyes to Griff’s and said, “Her blood is as pure as any Ancient. Yet she’s like you and me.”
“Lady, you’ve got one hell of an imagination.” Griff’s lips turned up in a slight smile. “Or maybe you’re nuts. It sounds like you’re talking about vampires, and we both know they don’t exist. No creatures of the night, no turning into bats, no slinking around sucking blood. Whatever your game is, I’m not playing.”
Made bold by anger, Ahnya forgot her years of training to remember her place, think before she spoke, call no attention to herself.
“It’s no game. I’m a feeder. Spent the last thirteen years as one, anyway. My charge went through her changing two nights ago.” Undoing the top button of her blouse, Ahnya slid the silky fabric to the side to show Griff the row of old fang scars.
He shrugged. “Self-mutilation and role-playing taken to the extreme. Doesn’t prove a thing.”
Ahnya slammed her hands on the desktop, frustration building. The man was a jackass.
“Look, I don’t have time for this. They may already be hunting for us, and you’re the only one who can protect her.”
Griff frowned. “Protect her from who? The mysterious ‘they’? I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Oh, yes, you do.”
“Really? What makes you think I believe in vampires and conspiracies?”
His eyes locked on hers, daring her to say more. She knew what he wanted—he waited for her to spill information about the Ancients so he could decide whether she came for help or as a spy. Silence stretched between them, taut and unyielding, broken at last by Karina’s cry.
You can pick up Out of the Shadows HERE.