Home > Sleeper (Hunter #3)

Sleeper (Hunter #3)
Author: Lexi Blake

Chapter One

 

 

I knew the minute the world around me cracked and that horrible stench of brimstone and BO hit my nose that I’d fucked up yet again.

Eight months and I still couldn’t get it right. It was frustrating as hell, but the good news was I would probably get to kill something real soon. I always feel better when I kill something.

“What the hell is that thing?” Casey backed away.

For a vampire, he was pretty freaked out by anything that wasn’t human, and he was scared of some of those as well. Casey was a young vamp, having only turned two years before. In his previous life he’d been a wannabe pro skater and one of those dudes who thought he should express himself through song. While he no longer carried a skateboard around at all times, I could practically hear him writing a song about the nasty, twisting thing that had come through when my spell had gone awry.

Again.

I glanced over at the other two people who had joined me in forming the circle that should have produced the demon named Nemcox. Liv, my witch best friend, and my brother Jamie were currently on the other side of the room, forming a triangle outside the circle we’d created in an attempt to keep Nemcox trapped until I could kill him. And by kill him, what I honestly meant was slice that little fucker open, play in his entrails, and generally torture his nasty ass until his body couldn’t handle it any longer.

Nemcox. I’d known him as Matthew. My father had known him as Stewart, and my former lover and brand spanking new dark prophet, Grayson Sloane, called him brother.

I was going to murder him because he was the reason my true father no longer walked the earth.

Liv shook her head, a frown on her face. Her skin had gone pale, as though the act of calling forth the demon had drained her. It probably had. Before the last few months, she’d been all about the white magic and the loving goddess and shit. I needed a bad goddess, unfortunately. “I have no idea. I might have mentioned that calling demons wasn’t my major in witch school. I was really more about the white magic. That thing is definitely evil.”

She wasn’t wrong about that. Look, I’ve seen some ugly things that turned out to be quite nice. You can’t always tell a book by its cover in the supernatural world. Like the troll I had to go and talk to because he was scaring the shit out of tourists in Montana. Dude was simply upset because he’d gotten kicked out from under his nice, out-of-the-way bridge in Canada. Was he twelve kinds of nasty looking? Hell, yes. But after a chat and a couple of hot dogs that I did not eat because I’m pretty sure they were actually made of dogs, he turned out to be a pretty chill guy.

The thing in front of me wasn’t ever going to be anything but evil.

There was a terrible crack of thunder that seemed to shake the house to its foundation and then I heard the sound of something slap against the roof as the thing in the circle hissed and snapped its spiny tail.

Yeah, it was one fugly critter.

“Any idea what it is?” I asked, trying to view the situation from an academic standpoint. I tried to shove down the need to punch through a fucking wall. How was Nemcox managing to do this? I had his name. I should have been able to call the fucker to my hand, at which point in time I fully intended to use that hand to chop his head off and mount it on my wall.

Five attempts. Five failures. Nemcox had found a loophole in the demonic laws apparently.

“I’m trying to Google it.” Jamie had to yell because it sounded like there was a hurricane outside the house. He had his phone out. My big brother was damn cool under pressure, but then he worked as a consultant with law enforcement on some of the creepiest cases they saw.

“It’s an Ala!” Casey screamed. He’d gone even paler than usual. “I didn’t get it until the storm started up. It’s sort of a demon from Bulgaria and it likes to cause hail storms. Your insurance premiums are going to go sky-high. This is serious, Kelsey.”

Since I’d begun my campaign against Nemcox, Casey had been studying up because he liked to know what was going to murder us next. He was a technophage. At least that’s what I called him. Technically he belonged to a class of vampires called academics. Vampires develop talents over many years, but they tend to be born with their core talent. Some are impressive fighters. Some can control minds. Casey was incredibly talented when it came to all things electronic. He could hack most systems, fix almost anything, and in addition to those talents he could remember almost everything he ever read. It led to a remarkable amount of anxiety on his part.

You have no idea how many times I’ve had to explain to him that vampires can’t catch Ebola.

“It won’t stop,” Casey insisted. “Now that it’s here on this plane, it will try to build storms. It will attempt to destroy everything it can. Starting with us.”

Yeah, everything always wanted to start with me.

It was one of the hazards of my job. “Can you get rid of it, Liv?”

Liv’s hands were out, her eyes closed and mouth moving as she intoned in Latin. She was doing it super quietly though. It was probably one of those things where the “universe” heard her or some shit, but I had to hope the universe had some super sharp ears because it was getting loud up in here.

“What do we do if she can’t get rid of it?” Casey stood behind me. He wasn’t supposed to be here in the first place, and I would utterly deny his role in this party of mine if asked. Of course, the whole reason I’d selected today to try to get my kill on was the fact that my mentor and the head of the academics, Marcus Vorenus, was out of town on some kind of Council business.

Still, out of town or not, he would hear about this if the Dallas/Fort Worth area was suddenly inundated with supernatural storms. And he was smart enough to know exactly where to look. “I’ll have to kill it. You go out to the car. You can’t have anything to do with killing a demon.”

Unfortunately, Casey was bound by the Vampire-Demon Agreement signed many years ago and set to renew soon. One of the tenets of said agreement was for vamps to stay out of demon business and demons to do the same. Casey could get into serious trouble if he got caught.

I’ve learned a couple of things since I took on the job of Nex Apparatus. It’s sort of the supernatural world’s equivalent of a sheriff. At least that’s what Daniel Donovan would have us believe. He’s the king of this plane’s supernaturals, and for the most part he’s pretty cool. But like I said, I’ve definitely learned a couple of truths about my job.

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