Pretty when she kills, p.8
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       Pretty When She Kills, p.8

         Part #2 of Pretty When She Dies series by Rhiannon Frater  
Page 8


  “You do realize most hunters don’t play nice with vampires. ”

  “You do realize most vampires don’t allow hunters to live. ”

  “Touché,” Jeff grumbled.

  “Jeff, your father and I kept Austin safe from a lot of very dangerous creatures over the last thirty years. We worked very well together. That is why you don’t have to spend your days trying to figure out where the latest nasty is hiding while trying to determine the best way to kill it. We kept the city clean. So you get to have a nice bookstore, go on ghost hunts, and occasionally deal with an ornery spirit. You also get to date my ex-girlfriend, who I would truly like to see live a long and peaceful life. If you’re going to live in my city and muddle in the affairs of the supernatural realm, then you had best realize that working with me is your best chance of survival. Otherwise, I’ll ship you off somewhere else with your merry band of hunters and deal with this myself. Santos and Etzli are brutal killers and it was only a matter of time before they made their move. Do you understand?” His Irish brogue was thick and he felt both irritated and weary of the conversation already.

  Jeff was very quiet on the other end, but Cian could hear him breathing.

  “Time to stop playing vampire hunter and become one, Jeff. ”

  There was a long exhalation before Jeff answered. “You’re right. I’m just. . . ”

  “Scared shitless?” Cian offered.

  Jeff laughed. “Yeah, exactly. ”

  Amaliya stomped past Cian again, puffing away on a cigarette. Cian’s gaze tracked after her. Her dark looks mirrored his feelings on the situation.

  “I have one more thing to tell you,” Cian said.

  Jeff sighed. “Hit me with it. ”

  “Rachon from New Orleans will be visiting the city. ”

  “Are you shitting me?” Jeff’s voice raised an octave.

  “No, I’m not. She may be my best chance to hold off Santos and Etzli. ”

  “Or she might be coming to kill you. She was The Summoner’s favorite!”

  “I am aware of all that. ”

  Jeff exhaled angrily. “So what do you need from me?”

  “We’ll talk tomorrow. ”

  “Fine. Where?”

  “Your shop. Midnight. Bring your crew. ”

  “Fine. ”

  “I’ll see you tomorrow then,” Cian said.

  “You’re a real dick,” Jeff grumbled.

  “Yeah. It comes with being a vampire. ” Cian hung up.

  Amaliya stalked past him. “She’s coming to kill us, Cian. ”

  “We can’t know that. ”

  “She’s up to no fucking good. Did you hear the fear in Jeff’s voice?”

  “Jeff is an unproven hunter. He has yet to make his first kill. He’s going to be afraid of anything with fangs right now,” Cian answered, shrugging.

  “Rachon loved The Summoner. She loved him, Cian! If someone killed you, I would fuckin’ rip their gawddamn head off and shove it up their ass. ”

  Cian chuckled. “Nice to know you love me that much. ”

  Amaliya angrily stubbed out her cigarette. “My point is that she’s going to want our heads. You can’t let her visit!”

  “We need her,” Cian said, shrugging.

  Amaliya leaned over him, gripping the armrests of his chair and glared at him. “Don’t be stupid. ”

  Cian couldn’t help but observe the swell of her breasts. He didn’t want to deal with the business of ruling Austin. He wanted to ravish her.

  “Ugh! Stop staring at my boobs!” Amaliya covered her cleavage with one hand and swerved away from him.

  Grinning, Cian watched her storm off. “I have important calls to make. Do you mind not stalking around so loudly?”?”

  Amaliya kicked off her heels, aiming them in his direction. One sailed over his head, the other nicked one of his computer monitors, toppling it. Cian just smirked as she stormed around him barefooted.

  “My phone is toast! I need a new one. Make Santos pay for it!”

  “I’m calling Rachon first. ” Cian dialed his blood sister’s number.

  Rachon answered after a few rings. “Ah, you’re alive. ” She didn’t sound surprised, but also not necessarily pleased.

  “He sent weak henchmen. It wasn’t much of a threat. ”

  “She raised the dead far from any cemetery. How did she do that?” Rachon asked.

  “Santos had someone spying on us, I see,” Cian said, not surprised at all.

  “Of course. It was a test after all. Now he knows she’s dangerous even away from the usual stomping grounds of the dead. Next time he attacks, it won’t be his weakest fledglings. He is aggravated about the witch though. Witches are so hard to come by. ”

  “Then he shouldn’t have sent her. ”

  “You used to always leave one person standing to deliver your nicely worded messages,” Rachon said, her tone mocking.

  “I didn’t feel charitable tonight. Plus, I was a bit hungry. ”

  Rachon laughed heartily. “Ah, maybe you did learn something from The Summoner after all. Now about that visit. . . ”

  “You may bring two of your people with you. No more. ” Cian’s tone was brisk, hard, and non-relenting. He knew how to deal with Rachon. It was best to not allow her an inch from the beginning.

  “Just two?” Rachon sounded annoyed.

  “My cabal is small. Two should be sufficient. ”

  “I’ll think about it. ”

  “You do that. I’ll call you tomorrow to negotiate the terms of your visit,” Cian finally said.

  “Excellent. ” Rachon’s voice was cautious. “Until tomorrow. ”

  Terminating the call, Cian stared through the windows toward the state capitol building.

  “Are we fucked?” Amaliya asked, her hands on her hips.

  “Not yet. ” Cian tapped the cellphone against his chin. “But Rachon is up to something. ”

  “Of course she is. She fucking hates our guts! We killed The Summoner!”

  “It’s something more than that. If she wanted revenge, she would have moved against us by now. ” Cian frowned, sorting through the knowledge he had of Rachon and his past dealings with her. “I wish I could figure out what she wants. ”

  Clutching her hair in tight fists, Amaliya growled. “Fuck! We should just run!”

  “We’ll be fine. ”

  “There are only two of us, Cian!”

  “We will be fine, Liya,” Cian said firmly.

  “But she’s dangerous, right?”

  “Absolutely. ”

  “How dangerous is she?”

  “As dangerous as I am,” Cian answered.

  “Which means?”

  “We’re very close to being fucked,” Cian admitted.

  “Well, shit,” Amaliya sighed.

  “Come here,” Cian said, holding out his hand.

  With a frustration sound, Amaliya slid into his arms. Tucking her head against his neck, she curled up, her feet resting on the armrest.

  “We’re going to die, aren’t we, Cian?”

  “Maybe. But not without a fight. We’re both powerful. We have the hunters on our side, too. ”

  “They’ve never killed anything before, Cian. ”

  “No, but I do think they can rise to the occasion. ”

  “Rachon is coming to kill us. We both know it. ”

  Amaliya’s lips were soft against his neck and he slowly stroked her long hair. Cian wasn’t sure of Rachon’s motives and he was sure that attempting to kill both of them was not out of the realm of possibility, but she tended to maneuver in ways that were mystifying.

  “You’re a badass necromancer that can call zombie hordes to your side in an instant,” Cian reminded her.

  “Yeah, if I spilled blood in the cemetery the same night. ”

  “We’ll deal with Rachon, then deal with
Santos and Etzli. ”

  “And live happily ever after?”

  “Of course. ” Cian grinned at her. “What else will we do?”

  “Die horrible deaths. ”

  “Pessimist. ” Cian kissed her soft lips lovingly.

  “Realist,” she answered.

  “Badass,” he whispered against her lips. Sliding his hand up under her shirt to rest against the small of her back, he said, “Now, to finish this night properly. . . ”

  The fear in her voice faded, replaced by desire. “Yes, please. ”

  Cian pressed her lips to hers and set aside his worries for another night.

  Chapter 5

  Rachon set her cellphone down on the battered kitchen table. A soft breeze ruffled the curtains over the kitchen sink and brushed against her cheek. The checkered dish towels, cracked black and white vinyl floor, and decor heralded back to another era. Rachon’s mother had rather liked the Forties and Fifties and kept the house suspended in time. Her mother, known to everyone as Mother Delia, was in the living room watching the late night talk shows with Prosper.

  Outside, children played in the moonlight, their squeals and laughter mingling with the boisterous voices of her neighbors. The Sullivans were having a family reunion that was running late into the night. The smell of the crawfish boil turned her stomach, but she rather enjoyed the sounds of the party. The music made her sway a little as she stood contemplating her conversation with Cian.
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