Just a bit of a piece I hope to pitch to St. Martins Press at the Lori Foster event in June.
The longer he waited, the more of them would come. As natural as breathing it was the order of things. The centuries of instinct to fight were already pushed aside. Pushed aside and thrown to the wind because he wanted them to come. All of them, as many as he could get in one place.
He needed them to wipe away the vision. The blond hair and that face, fuck, that face contorted with ecstasy as he touched her. It swam in his brain and all he saw was red. Red and death.
Probably his and that was fine.
And they did come. More and more every minute. He took them as they attacked, his sword moving in an arc cutting bone from bone, flesh, blood, scales and pieces of unnamed things that defied description. His movements came easily with no real thought or effort behind them. He killed in silence, the perfunctory action just mechanics to drag it out a little longer, slaying only enough to not let it end just quite yet. The destruction wielded at his hand felt no more satisfying than knowing his death would neither end his torment, nor change a damn thing.
Pain welled, so long held back, so long denied it flooded him, making him tear away the ironclad control he’d taken centuries to build. Every piece of his body ached, burned. The lie he’d constructed, that he was cold, emotionless, ruthless, burned through him the most. Knowledge that he had no resistance, no real control, that he felt every damn breath of life when it came to her was the final blow to the walls he’d built to preserve his sanity.
As they crumbled, so did he.
Ford lifted his arms open wide. Sword pointed to the heavens, the gun in his other hand silent. Empty and still as he felt. Let them come. This would be a fitting way to die, shredded into nothing, shredded and torn and lost like his soul already was.
Through the grinding pain of teeth and claws he heard a strange buzz, distant, like the whine of a motor. Whatever. If someone had come they were too late and he was glad of it. With one last ragged breath he felt the teeth of a demon at his throat and he smiled, death came more welcome than the burning hell of torment he’d been living.
Brilliant glowing green shot with red, blood red, tinted her eyes.
Steel flashed, gunpowder flared. But most of all, she raged like the Fury within her.
Fangs. The idea of them didn’t repulse her as it should. The uncanny ability of her mind to float freely and consider the idea she had just sprouted fangs at the same time her body continued to fight the horde with deadly accuracy, was not even odd. Just part of the package. One she happened to enjoy. If it hadn’t been for the rage blinding her to everything but the need to destroy every creature in site.
Wrenching flesh from bone, the steel in one hand sliced through whatever it contacted while her Walther pulsed in recoil in the other. Demon skin flayed from the seething creatures. Her eyes glazed with blood lust. Still, she raged.
Ford, lay dying mere feet away. The pain rent her soul, left her bleeding, screaming in her head helpless. It was this and this alone that caused her to move on her own through the gathering crowd of the damned. Those bent on taking Ford down, killing the master hunter now that he was vulnerable. There was no Fury, no quick flash of cleansing. This would be death in all its bloody carnage. Destruction at her hands was a singular desire. Her mate lay dying, and nothing short of tearing flesh from limb with her bare hands would even begin to penetrate the primal rage that came from that.
It didn’t matter whether he loved, or hated. It didn’t matter if she did. They were mated, his pain an instinctual call for her to fight to the death regardless, and she did.
She moved through them like a storm, a blackness, thrashing with lightening that was cold steel and the flash of bullets, and blood. Red, red blood flowed from them all, and she gloried in it, bathed in it. At the last she ripped at them with her hands, her teeth, those damn fangs that she had no idea she possessed until now, until she had needed them. For Ford.
It lasted only minutes. Drenched, muddied, looking for all the world like the creatures she’d ripped limb from limb she dropped at his side. Knees in the dirt, grime covered hair hanging low over her face like curtain she put her hands on him, felt his chest, his blood. Felt for a heartbeat.
His nostrils flared, slightly. The vampire within him scented the blood on her, the blood of many, most of all the blood coursing like a pounding rapids in her veins. He fought it, she could feel him, could feel him trying to gain the energy to bring the necromancer to bear, to control the death that crawled through him like a haze. He didn’t have the strength, she knew it. He knew it.
“Feed, or you die.”