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Paranormal hunter box se.., p.13
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       Paranormal Hunter Box Set, Books 1-3: Sonnet Vale, Phantom City, & Demon Touched, p.13

           Gena D. Lutz
 
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  Sonnet hadn’t a clue who or what had created this wonderful city of big bad boogies. But that mystery was one of the reasons why she was there, to figure out its origins, as well as to uncover who was behind the VV filtering into her city.

  Excitement scurried over her when she caught sight of Immortal Ink in the near distance—a tattoo parlor that her new friend, Bree, owned and operated. Bree, a werewolf, was one of the most beautiful women Sonnet had ever laid eyes upon, with luscious black hair and amethyst eyes.

  During one of her talks with Bane, who’d given her the CliffNotes version on most of Phantom City’s colorful cast of Paranormals, Sonnet found out why her new friend exuded such otherworldly beauty—it was because the she-wolf was also half Ensorcel demon. The hybrid of wolf and demon was extremely rare, considering werewolves were known to strictly mate with their own kind.

  Tingles traveled up her spine. “Let’s stop and visit Bree.”

  He smiled, his full lips parting. “How about we check into our room first, and then we can go wherever you want.”

  She sat back in the seat and nodded. “Are we staying at Nightshade or Eternal Slumber?” She hoped for the latter.

  “I booked us a suite at Eternal Slumber. I figured you’d want to be as far away from Remy as un-humanly possible. I still need to check in with him after we’re settled, though.”

  Her expression soured. “That’s right, I almost forgot, you’re his lackey.”

  She didn’t mean to sound rude, but she had plenty of reason to be upset and suspicious. He still hadn’t told her exactly why he had to run around doing the demon king’s bidding, other than the flimsy excuse that he was beholden to him. So in her opinion, the attitude was deserved.

  A bitter tang of frustration laced her thoughts. There was just something about Remy that set her teeth on edge. Maybe it was the fact that she couldn’t get a clear bead on the guy. Leaving her with the perplexing mystery: Was Remy good or was he evil? She had a hunch that he was a little of both. And to top it off, the insufferable bastard had bargained with her for her blood. Even worse, he had yet to tell her why he’d wanted it in the first place, or what he’d learned from drinking it.

  Yes, she was certain of at least one thing…Remy was a son of a bitch.

  After a short while, they pulled into an underground parking garage. Sonnet peered around. A scant few people were wandering about, either heading in the direction of the hotel entrance or strolling to their parked cars.

  Bane pulled his sleek Mercedes into a spot by the stairwell. He sat staring out the window, into the shadows. After a short silence, Sonnet searched his distant expression and asked. “Is everything alright?”

  He smiled at her, his features relaxing as he looked deep into her eyes. “Everything is fine. I just thought I saw something.”

  She grinned back, enamored by the way his eyes seemed to always blaze when he looked at her.

  He curled his fingers around her neck and kissed her, long and deep. She tipped her chin up and gave herself over to him completely.

  “You’re bogarting it, man!” a squeaky voice whined. “Pass it over.”

  “Not happening, it’s cashed.”

  “You smoked it all? Not cool, not cool at all, asshole.”

  “Shut the hell up, dude. We’ll just roll a couple punks and buy some more.”

  Sonnet yanked herself back, eyes blinking, her thoughts tangled with lust.

  A string of profanities flew from Bane’s lips.

  They looked at each other. And then Bane swung his car door open. “Grab your gun, and keep your distance. Your stake is all but useless against these demons because you’ll need to be up close and personal to use.”

  Confused and pushing hair from her face, she sat up straight. Wha…demon? Demon!

  Her hand flashed to the gun tucked at her waist and she focused on the sound of boots banging off the pavement, getting close.

  Bane sped from the car.

  “Just empty your pockets, man. No one needs to get hurt.”

  Panic lodged in her throat. “Bane!”

  Where they seriously being mugged?

  Scowling, Sonnet pushed the passenger-side door open and hopped out.

  There was a downside to drinking Bane’s blood—it weakened her hunter instincts. That, with a healthy dose of lust added, was exactly how the two demons towering over Bane had gotten the drop on her. But she still had her enhanced strength and senses.

  Motherfucker. If anything were to happen to Bane…

  She hurried over to the trio, gun in hand, stopping to stand with Bane. Even standing several feet away, she had to glance up at them. In a casual tone she said, “Hi guys,” as her mind struggled to make sense of what it was seeing.

  Both demons were massive, well over eight feet tall. Aside from their incredible mass, the two men appeared to be young, maybe in their late teens, early twenties. One had short black hair streaked with white, the combination reminding her of a skunk. He was the tallest of the pair, wearing dull, nondescript clothing. The second had long hair the color of sea foam, the darker sides pulled back out of his pale face. He wore a pair of ragged gray sweats with a black t-shirt left untucked. Both of them were barefoot. And judging by the size of their feet, she didn’t have to wonder why. No store she’d ever heard of carried size 50 shoes.

  Bane had already told her about this class of demon. They were the Colossal; a humanoid species that boasted great size and strength. She remembered them easily, because she was grossed out by the fact that they were the only class of demon that stripped the flesh, and then ate the bones, of their prey.

  Just like all supernatural creatures, not all giants participated in barbaric practices. Only the evil ones killed. It made her curios as to which side of the line these two skirted. The species was also known for having very high IQ levels. But judging from the stench of VV wafting from these two, Sonnet seriously questioned their intelligence.

  Skunk blinked down at her, totally out of it, and with a voice that echoed through the garage, said, “Give us your money, bitch. So I won’t have to crush you like a bug.”

  Bane’s mouth opened to show his fangs as he hissed, “Watch your tongue, vile creature, lest I cut it off and shove it down your throat.”

  The other giant chuckled. “Big words for such a tiny man.” His gaze jumped to his buddy. “Should we clobber him first, and then take his stuff, Gable?”

  Skunk, err, Gable, ignored them both. He had only one thing on his mind—his next fix.

  Part of her felt a healthy dose of terror that urged her to hand over her money just to avoid a skirmish with the behemoths, but another part, the part that didn’t give a goddamn how big and scary these ass-hats were, screamed fuck that!

  She shoved a hand down her front pants pocket and pulled until the white cotton insides hung out. Shrugging, she said, “Sorry big guy, I’m all tapped out.”

  He blinked at her, frowning. Oddly enough, he hadn’t even flinched at the gun she had pointed at him. “Then give me your jewelry.”

  She held up her hand. “All I have is this ring.”

  The giant’s eyes latched onto the precious gem that sparkled on her finger. It was the phoenix ring that Bane had given to her for protection against any rival vampires. It signaled to all who dared try to drink from her that she was claimed by him and him alone.

  Clumsily, the giant licked his lips, frothing spit collecting at the corners. “Give it to me.”

  That spurred Bane into action. He moved around both giants with blurring speed. All she caught was the silhouette of a figure attacking, as Gable staggered back as if he was taken blow after blow. His tree-trunk arm swung out and he scrambled to latch onto his friend for support so he wouldn’t fall.

  “Screw the money; we’re gonna fucking eat you now!”

  It was hard to take Gable’s threat serious when he had his fist desperately clutched on to his friend’s long green hair, yanking down so hard it made his thick neck cr
ane to the side. All the while, he swung a fist at the space around him.

  “Let me go, man!” the other giant hissed.

  Bane appeared next to her.

  “I thought you said Colossal demons were supposed to be smart?” she said with a smirk.

  “It would appear that vampire venom dumbs them down a bit.”

  She shrugged. “So it would.”

  Dumb or not, they were still incredibly strong.

  Gable’s grinding voice cut through their conversation, both giants poised to attack. Sonnet realized maybe it was she who wasn’t so bright for not taking the looming threat of the giants more seriously.

  Green Hair’s voice boomed, “Get them!”

  The earth quaked as they charged.

  Oh God…

  Sonnet felt her body relax, loosening up for a fight. Her fingers curled around the trigger, and then she took aim—pop, pop, pop—sending three slugs flying in the direction of Gable’s skull.

  Thwap, thwap, thwap…all three shots hit their target in rapid sequence.

  Gable’s head lurched back with each hit. After a short second, black blood oozed from the holes.

  Then just as quickly as they’d entered, the bullets emerged, pushed out of the wounds as the skin around them knitted itself back together.

  The bullets dropped, plinking off the concrete. They bounced at the giant’s feet, even more useless than before. Gable continued charging without a moment’s hesitation.

  Sonnet leapt into the air and landed on the giants back. She’d forgotten how good it felt to be stronger, faster, just more when she was in Phantom City. And it was all due to the fact that being there bolstered her abilities somehow, making her an even more capable hunter, a more effective hunter. She had no clue why the place had such an effect on her—but she wasn’t complaining.

  The bad news, however, was no matter how strong she was, she didn’t know how to take the massive beast down. But every monster had a weakness; she just had to find it.

  Sonnet snaked an arm around his throat and held on for dear life. Pain reverberated through her bones as the giant wrapped its beefy fingers around her forearm and squeezed.

  “Bane, I could use a little help!” she yelped out through the pain.

  No answer.

  She glanced around frantically. When she caught site of Bane, he was zipping around his opponent like a blurry tornado, delivering blow after blow, systematically backing the giant up against the wall.

  Gable was unrelenting as he wrenched down hard on her arm. Muscles burning, bones close to breaking, Sonnet lost her grip. In the next second, he pulled her of his back with one hand, sending her careening through the air to crash into a wall on the other side of the lot.

  Pain sizzled as the back of her head thwacked against a hard obstruction. A moment later, something damp began to spread down the back of her neck. The tips of her fingers tingled. Her head throbbed.

  “Oh my goodness, child, are you okay?” came a hallow voice from out of nowhere. A blurred image of a woman stepped into her sightline.

  Sonnet slumped against the wall, shaking. While trying to come to her senses, she blinked up into a set of unique yellow eyes.

  The golden orbs belonged to an older woman with blonde hair. Sonnet’s head wobbled forward and she found herself sluggishly staring down at a pair of black high-heeled pumps, and then her gaze raked up over a pair of high-wasted, tight leather pants, with a light blue V-neck top that was tucked so far down the woman’s pants, her large chest made the shirt tent over her stomach.

  And then everything came flying back.

  Bane!

  With some effort, Sonnet’s gaze flicked over the woman’s shoulder to the giant, who was advancing.

  Afraid for the woman’s life, Sonnet mumbled, “Run…”

  The lady laughed as she dipped a hand inside her shirt. “You’re the one who just got Hulk-smashed. And you’re afraid for me? Awe, that’s cute.”

  Sonnet forced herself not to cringe at the truth of that. In the battle between hunter and Colossal demon, the demon had annihilated her. She really hated being that vulnerable.

  With a wink at Sonnet, the woman yanked something from between her ample breasts. It was a large oval pendant connected to a silver chain strung around her neck. Confusion flitted across Sonnet’s face, her spotty vision jumping between Gable and the stranger who was standing before her.

  Thumbing open the locket, the woman twirled around, and just as the giant came barreling down upon them, she inhaled deep and, with a hard blow, sent a plume of pink smoke sailing toward Gable.

  In no time at all the smoke engulfed him and, eyes wide with terror, he froze in place.

  Sonnet’s jaw dropped.

  The woman closed the locket, turned to face her and said, “A little spell is all it takes to tame one of those big boys.”

  Crash!

  With a shaky hand, Sonnet pointed at the battle raging between Bane and the second Colossal demon. “Got any more of that magic juju?”

  Keen eyes followed Sonnet’s gesture. “As a matter of fact, I brought plenty enough stasis dust for two.”

  It was hard not to notice how fiercely brave the woman was as she tore off in the direction of the battle without hesitation.

  As for Sonnet, she remained flat on her ass, dazed, thinking about how clever it would be to add a few magical items to her arsenal so she never had to experience this kind of pain and, most of all, humiliation, ever again. This beat down would serve as a reminder of why she always went to great lengths to prepare for the worse.

  Damn giants.

  Chapter Six

  The owner of Eternal Slumber was of average height, thin, and looked to be around forty years of age, with the fashion sense of a 1950s greaser. And as it turned out, she was also a witch.

  After blowing her magical dust at the blue-haired giant, she’d introduced herself to Bane and Sonnet as Alice Winter. And as reparation for being attacked on her property, she’d offered them the penthouse suite at a regular room rate. She made sure to assure them that her hotel was normally safe from the threat of drugged-out vagrants.

  Sonnet stood and watched as Alice and Bane secured the men with iron chains at the wrists and ankles. It would seem colossal demons did have their weaknesses: crafty witches and, as it turned out, iron.

  Alice cleared her throat sharply. “I’ve already summoned the authorities. They should be here any minute.”

  Gable stood motionless, his eyes throwing daggers at the witch. “That’s fucked up, Alice.” Apparently, even though his body was frozen in place, he could still move his lips enough to talk.

  “And trying to eat my customers isn’t?” She shook her head. “You just had to come back here after I ran you off the first time, didn’t you?”

  She knew these jerks?

  “This is our home.”

  “Correction. This was your home, until you took up with those good-for-nothin’ druggies. Now just look at’cha.”

  “You fucking gave up on us. What else could we do?” That was mumbled from between the lips of the other demon.

  “You could have quit the venom like I told you to, Danny. The both of you would still be working here if you had.”

  Sonnet’s voice lowered an octave as she sent a question toward the giants. “Who do you get your venom from?”

  Bane sauntered over to stand next to her. “Why is that important?”

  It was time to come clean and tell him the other reason she’d come to Phantom City. “I’m working a case.”

  That caused him to chuckle. “I wouldn’t expect anything less.”

  Sonnet’s brows hopped. “You’re not mad or disappointed in me? This was supposed to be a romantic getaway for us, after all.”

  He actually rolled his eyes at her. “Asking you not to kill monsters is like asking a dog not to bark. It’s futile.”

  “Fuck you,” Danny hissed.

  That ended Sonnet and Bane’s bantering.


  Alice strolled over. “Don’t waste your time. Neither one of them will rat out their dealer. I’ve already tried getting a name out of them.”

  Sonnet’s eyes grew bright with an idea. “It’s easy to get a junkie to talk, especially when they’re feening for their next fix.” She unzipped her jacket and pulled out the tin box full of VV she’d taken from Ryker. “You just need to dangle the right bait.”

  Sonnet moved forward and stopped in front of Gable, who she’d reasoned was the alpha between the two. If she could get him to cave, she wouldn’t have to worry about Danny—he’d fall over like a domino.

  Gable’s eyes sparked with hatred as she raised the tin and showed him its contents. All at once, his nostrils flared and his gaze latched onto the VV as though it was the answer to all his prayers.

  The stasis spell was holding strong, his tongue barely poking from between his teeth, making every word he uttered come out with a lisp. “Be cool man and give me a taste. That’s all I need.”

  With just a whiff of his preferred drug, a giant capable of crushing a man with his bare hands was reduced to nothing more than a pathetic shell of himself. She almost felt sorry for the guy—almost.

  Sonnet pulled the pills away from his face.

  “Who is your supplier?”

  Gable’s eyes got so big she thought they’d pop from their sockets.

  Danny let out a pained groan. “Just tell her, man.”

  His gaze jumped around, from Danny, to the pills, to her, and then they froze on the VV.

  He made a noise of defeat. “I get my shit from Spiros.”

  She suppressed a victorious grin. That was easy.

  She pocketed the VV and turned to Bane. “Ever heard of the guy?”

  He shook his head. “No.”

  Her gaze wandered over to Alice. “How about you?”

  She folded her arms and shook her head. “Sorry.”

  “Where’s my hit? You said if we came clean you’d hook us up.”

  “Yeah, we need it, lady, don’t hold out.” Danny’s whiny voice grated on her.

  She glanced around the lot and spotted a van as it drove swiftly down the ramp to enter the garage. It was white with PCPD written in red across the side.

 
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