A christmas surprise, p.11
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       A Christmas Surprise, p.11

           Jana Leigh
 
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  The New Council, they were her only choice. She wondered what they would do when a human showed up asking for sanctuary. She had always had protection from Adolfo, now she was going into the wolves' den, literally, with no protection. She only hoped they were as human as they seemed.

  Excerpt from The Mating Call

  The Drekinn Series Book One

  By Jana Leigh

  Chapter One

  Calli knew she was going to die before her time, but still, when the time came, she was surprised. Having lived for more than one hundred and thirty years, Calli had seen and done a lot. Her wolf was clawing at her to fight, defend herself, but whatever they had given her knocked her out and made her weak. If she had even an ounce of her normal power, she would shift and kick these guys' asses. At least, she assumed they were men, because she could smell the stench of body odor and no respecting female shifter would not have put on her deodorant if she were going to plan an abduction.

  She looked around trying to figure out where her friends had been taken. Rissa and Cherri were not going to be any happier than she was. They were down at the square when whoever it was took them. She could only hope the tracking system they put in her when she was hired all those years ago still worked. Calli shook her head; she knew it didn't work. The new tracking chip sat on her bathroom counter in the syringe that Rissa had given her. She was in charge of the program and finally convinced the higher-ups the first employees had the old version of the tracking chip. It only had a short-range and life span; the new one could reach anywhere in the world at any given time. It also would tell the computer operator if the agent was in distress, like she was right now.

  The Drekinn Agency, where they all worked, was the only regulating agency in the world, and in the year 2554, it was important to keep up with technology. If she got out of here, Calli was going to have to inject the updated version of the tracker so the geeks who watched this shit on the computer could find them.

  Things were changing fast. The shifters and magical people came out of the closet over thirty years ago and still there were people who wanted to kill them. Calli had been kidnapped more times than she could count by radical humans, dumb ass mutant shifters, and your basic crazy assholes. The humans thought the shifters were trying to take over the world. Hell, if they wanted to they could. But as it was, they had more to worry about than the economy. The mutants, called the Ulfer, wanted free reign to do what they wanted. And the crazy assholes are just that. They thought if they could capture a shifter, they could get changed into a shifter. Not true.

  The Drekinn Agency was founded in order to regulate the magical community. The misunderstandings from the humans had been huge. They thought they could just put garlic on their doors to keep them away, as well as the sale of silver and crosses had been enormous. At first, the Drekinn Agency promoted understanding and knowledge about the magical world. Now they were a governing entity among the world community. If someone in the magical community screwed up, had a grievance, or generally needed help, they turned to Drekinn.

  There were all different divisions of the Agency. Calli and her friends worked in the Enforcement section. They were high-ranking officials and were known throughout the community as serious badasses. But her childhood was what shaped her into what she was today.

  As a child, she wanted desperately to show her friends her wolf, but she was told by her parents that it was a secret. Then as she grew she understood. Humans did not live as long as they did, they were scared of the paranormal, and the television shows she watched had shown werewolves and vampires as monsters. They could be cruel and vicious to things that were not the norm for them.

  So she had to make it work for her. As she grew, she found that humans could be frightened easily. So although she couldn't act like she had superior strength or speed because she had to hide her true nature, she could still stand up for herself. She longed to join the teams that were made on the playground, but she couldn't, and because she acted like she was clumsy and awkward, she was teased. She loved to shift and howl at the moon outside of her nemesis, Judy Ann Baker's house. It freaked her out. She remembered the girl coming to school and telling anyone who would listen that she had a wolf in her back yard. Since they lived in New York City, that got her labeled a freak. Calli loved it.

  That was where she met Cherri and Rissa, they had been best friends since childhood, through college three times, and then they joined the agency together. Of course to help the shifter community, but also they thought they could find some hot men working for the Enforcers. They had been right, but they were all assholes. For some reason, all the men thought she needed to be sitting by the phone waiting for their phone call after she screwed them. In what world did they live in? If Calli needed an itch scratched, that's what she did. Who gave a shit if they called her afterward? She'd already moved on.

  They all lived in their posh penthouse on Fifth Avenue. Calli had three degrees, with one in biochemistry that seemed to help their bank accounts. Granted, Calli used her degree to create explosives to use in her job, but who was watching? Rissa had a degree in computer design; she made all their cool toys. And Cherri was the doctor, which came in handy in these situations. If they were together, her friend would have had the shot to flush whatever the hell they gave her out of her system.

  Their families would be pissed right about now. Tonight was supposed to be her little brother's concert in the park. That's where they were going when someone snatched them off the street. She could almost feel her mother's disapproving look when she said she missed another family event because she had been kidnapped. Maybe if she did get killed, Calli would at least get a reprieve from her mother's disapproving stare. She hated her job and all that it entailed. In fact, all of their mothers hated their jobs; it was the daily phone call telling them that they were too smart to be in this line of work that clued them in.

  Their mothers had become good friends just as the girls had, sometimes she didn't know if it was a blessing or a curse that she could call any of the older women and find out the gossip on the street. That was one thing they all agreed on, all of their parents had not moved at all since the magical community came out. Thank goodness, they already lived in New York at the time in a small suburb called Bay Ridge.

  It was a largely middle-class neighborhood. With its strong family presence, it wasn’t uncommon to see third or fourth-generation families living in the region. Until the early 1990s, Bay Ridge was a primarily Irish, Italian, and Norwegian neighborhood; the dragons usually were from this area. Today, Bay Ridge maintains a sizable Irish, Italian, and Greek population with many different shifters moving in. But like other areas in South/Southwest Brooklyn, late in the 20th century it saw an influx of Russians: the Bears and the Vampires. Bay Ridge had many international restaurants and bars, especially along Third and Fifth Avenue, its main commercial strips. Many refer to the community as "Brooklyn's Gold Coast." This was where they grew up, and their families still resided. Only the girls had actually moved from the borough; their mothers were pissed. Now they tried to visit often enough to keep face. Also, their information was always good—the place was a beehive of gossip.

  Now they had a system to hide from their mothers; they had them figured out. They tried to switch things up and call at different times to try to catch them, so they could get the daily lecture in about not having grandkids. But no matter how hard they tried, it was all still a pattern, and it surrounded when their fathers left the house. None of their fathers would dare tell them he was not proud of them. Hell, they were Enforcers for the largest agency for shifter regulation, and all of them had risen through the ranks to hold the title of Commander. What father wouldn't be a little proud of their daughters being able to kick men's asses on a regular basis? Cherri's father said it made him feel safer because his daughter could handle herself if a man got too fresh. After that comment, they were all sure their dads thought they were still virgins and began to act sweet when they were
around so they didn't spoil the assumption. But their mothers knew and glared at them every opportunity they got for lying to their fathers.

  But none of their siblings went into the agency. Just the three girls, so their mothers cut them a little slack. Calli thought it was because they secretly took credit for their jobs, telling their friends they taught them everything they knew. This was part true, because their mothers could be some mean bitches.

  Calli strained her neck trying to see exactly where they were. No one was in the room with her; she had been half-awake the last time someone had come into the room. But she had been too out of it to scent what they were. If she had to guess, she would say hyena. They were the only ones low enough to actually steal the three of them together. It had never been done before. They were proud of that record. Now she was going to have to suck it up and take the razzing she was going to get. Wait, she could be killed, and then they would all feel sorry for her.

  "Hello?" Calli yelled as sweetly as she could, waiting to see if her friends were close, or if the assholes that kidnapped her were intelligent enough to see she was awake, come in here, and tell her what the hell was going on.

  In the distance, she could hear her friends cussing. Cherri's voice came out the clearest as she screamed, "Muther fucking assholes, come back in here and show me what kind of men you really are. PUSSIES!"

  Well, someone woke up on the wrong side of the drug-induced coma. Calli wanted to laugh hysterically. If any of them got free, they were going to kill their captors, or seriously disfigure them.

  "Cherri shut the fuck up. Where the hell are we?" Calli yelled and waited while her friends, who were obviously together, argued.

  "Cherri, seriously, answer her, you have got to stop the screeching," Rissa said calmly. Calli wanted to laugh, because out of all of them, Cherri was the most levelheaded, unless she was given drugs, it pissed her off since she was a doctor. She lectured them constantly on putting foreign chemicals in their bodies. Like caffeine, Calli had to have at least three cups of coffee in the morning as well as a shot of caffeine in the afternoon. They didn't make it like they used to, she thought. Coffee had been deemed bad for you, so therefore, the days where you could get a double shot of espresso were gone. Now when you ordered a cup of coffee, you were lucky if you got a slight nervous buzz from it.

  So many things had changed over the years. When the Breyting, or magical community, came out of the closet, suddenly everything changed. Besides the fact that Central Park was overran with shifters running in the open, the humans thought they could control things. They just didn't realize that they had been around for a lot longer than humans. So they did what any normal race would do, they tried to fight them. That lasted for only a few years until the Drekinn Agency stepped forward and compromised. The damage was done though. Caffeine was labeled bad for shifters just because one stupid dragon had gone crazy on a caffeine buzz. Really, if anyone drank twelve cups of coffee to stay awake for a midterm, they would have reacted the same. However, the college had not appreciated their classroom being torched just because the guy was jittery and misinterpreted the guy next to him handing him a test for an attack.

  It was the little things that pissed off the humans. Calli heard a door open and swung towards the door. They may have her chained to the wall with silver, a big misconception by the way, but if she could get free, it wouldn't even leave a mark. Silver only drained the shifter's powers for a little while, but it wouldn't kill them. No, the only way to kill a shifter was the normal way, a bullet through the head. And that was only if you were a good shot. Most shifters were too fast and could react, but they couldn't heal from a bullet to the brain. In other words, whoever took them had a purpose. One Calli didn't think she was going to like.

  The door opened to the cell she was in and her heart sank a little. Yep, she was going to die. Calli hung her head and shook it in resignation. She could hear the murmur of voices outside the door. Great, when she was done with this asshole, she had to kill the others. The man was strangely proportioned with a large body and small arms, though his hands were huge. His long, greasy, unwashed hair added to his disgusting appearance. She totally would not fuck him, even if she were paid. His face was the ugliest thing she had seen in a long while, with brown, dirty teeth and a thin mouth.

  "Seriously, you fuckers are gonna pay for this," Calli growled and then pulled against the chains. They had her chained against a wall, spread eagled, with her hands and feet bound and then chains crisscrossing her chest. Her feet weren’t even touching the ground, so she couldn't get any momentum to move.

  The Ulfer were the red-headed stepchildren of the shifter world. They had a following, yes, but most of them were bat-shit crazy shifters that needed to be put down. That was what Calli and her friends did, but in a nice way. They had never tortured and killed one of the Ulfer, no, they simply killed them quick. And in the new world, that wasn’t a crime.

  "Yeah, keep telling yourself that, bitch. The Bondi King wants your head on a silver platter, and I'm the one who's gonna give it to him," the large hyena grinned.

  The Bondi King was the leader of the Ulfer, and no one actually knew who he was; many had guesses, but as of yet, no one could pin it down. It was driving everyone in the agency crazy. The Ulfer had recently had a surge in membership. It made her boss wonder if the Bondi King had been replaced by a stronger shifter. One that was not afraid to be so bold, attack the humans, and attempt to build their power.

  A little-known fact the humans could not grasp, the Breyting were born. Anyone with even a small amount of magical blood in them could have a child who was Breyting. About ten years ago, some strange and crazy human doctor said he found the antidote to stop the Breyting from changing humans. All of them rushed to the doctors to get their shots, and all it did was give them a headache. The Breyting could not change a human, and rumors about biting and all that shit were just that, rumor. Calli and her friends always laughed when the subject of changing was brought up.

  Humans would always fear the unknown. Vampires, though they liked to drink blood, did not have to have it to stay alive. And the sun thing, they were allergic to the sun, that was it—no bursting into flames if the sun touched them, although, she had seen a Vamp that had fallen asleep on a park bench, and the black skin had taken days to re-grow. And they couldn't change people into Vampires; they actually had an extra DNA strand that created them. All the shifters and magical critters did.

  Now if a wolf and a bear mated, well, that was just freaky. Their children tended to have very large bodies and very small feet. But other than that, mating was sacred, special, happy, and a pain in her ass. Something the humans could not figure out either. Mating for all the Breyting were for life, once you found your mate, there was no other. And blah, blah, blah, happily ever after. Some things were just better left unsaid.

  The Ulfer were different. As Cherri would say, there were not too many branches on their family tree. They had the same DNA strand as the magical community, but there were holes in it. The humans tried to make all the shifters and whatnot take a DNA test so they could figure out who was evil and who was not. Like that really worked, but you can't blame them for trying. No, the Ulfer fit into society, that is, until they decided to go mental and began to kill people. That's where the Drekinn Agency came in. They responded to Ulfer problems and handled them. Calli and her friends were the best handlers in the Agency. That was probably why the Bondi King wanted them dead, it would solve a lot of his problems. No one was close to their knowledge or skills—then again, no one tried.

  Just recently, their boss asked them to train the younger ranks. Calli and her friends thought it was an honor to be able to pass their knowledge along. Unfortunately, they had just begun to interview candidates and classes had not started. It would have been great if they had had some back-up.

  "Now, why would he want me dead? I have never done anything to him, personally," Calli said, forcing a tear from her eye.

&nbs
p; The hyena rolled his eyes, "I'm not that stupid, bitch."

  "But you do admit to being mentally challenged, right?" Calli sneered.

  She grinned when he pulled the gun up and aimed it at her head. If she was gonna go, she was gonna go in style, she thought.

  "Hey, besties. Are you done arguing yet, ‘cause I have to tell you good-bye. It's been fun, but I have a gun pointed at my head, and I think that possibly we're gonna have to re-evaluate the rent. You all are gonna have to pay more," Calli called out, and grinned at the shifter in front of her who was frowning.

  Did he expect her to cry, cower? It wasn't in her vocabulary, and she refused to go out without at least a fight. She knew her friends were trying to get loose, if their arguments that drifted down the hallways were any indication; they couldn't shift either. She needed to try to bide some time, or maybe she should take it like a woman...Nah.

  "So, self-proclaimed slow boy, what exactly are your plans here, so I know what to expect," Calli said calmly.

  She could feel the drugs beginning to wear off, but the silver was still affecting her. On a normal day, she could have probably found a way out of this cluster fuck. Calli was a wolf, and a damn good one. Standing five feet eight, she was not a shrinking flower. Her taunt, muscular form made men sit up and take notice. Her black hair and blue eyes matched that of her wolf, and when she was pissed, there was a sparkle to her eyes—they must be fucking glowing about now. No one would say she was beautiful, but her breasts were an eye catcher. She used to hate them when she was younger, but as she grew, Calli realized that most of her prey fixated on them, so she used to them to her advantage. Her friends called her 'GI Bombshell' as a joke. But it wasn't far off the mark since her daily attire usually consisted of military style, black cargo pants, and a black tank top. Her long, black hair tied into intricate braids around her head and then clasped in a ponytail. She never wore make up, because with her coloring, she didn't need it.

 
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