Rowan: Branch 1 of the Tree of Life
Lion shifter Adrian and vampire Simon are best friends and business partners. When they discover Rowan, each wants her for his own. Rowan does her best to dissuade them, for a supernatural matebond means the end of her freedom.
Then demons begin hunting sidhe and Rowan is a prime target. She agrees to exchange her freedom for survival. But which male will Rowan accept? And can she survive when one of them dies in a battle to keep her?
“What are you?” he asked, his voice just a little raspy.
“Tonight I’m your waitress,” I said dispassionately. “Please allow me to pass.”
He looked at me, at the dead thug, and back at me. He did not move. Then he raised his hand and ran a finger down my cheek.
“Pretty,” he said and smiled.
“Poisonous,” I replied coolly and touched the ornate necklace of linked silver medallions that circled my throat.
He sneered, but pulled his hand away. He hadn’t noticed the necklace of linked silver medallions until I pointed it out, which indicated to me that he was very young, very hungry, very stupid, or all three. The way he moved, with his reliance upon speed and stealth, also indicated his recent conversion from human to undead. The inexperienced ones tended to stalk and pursue their prey, using concealment, speed, and ambush techniques—rather like cats, I always thought.
Oddly enough and despite the similarities, I like cats.
Vampires, not so much.
“You’ll have to lick the pavement if you dither much longer,” I prompted him.
He growled, yanked the necklace so that the links shattered, and yowled again as the silver burned him. (Yes, that was another bit of true vampire lore: silver is toxic to vampires; faerie silver even more so.) Faster than I could get away, he grabbed my hair, forcefully tipped my head to expose the vulnerable neck, and bit down. He gulped once, twice, a third time, and then started screaming as the faerie silver of sidhe blood coursed through his body, burning him from the inside. His face began to char at the mouth, beginning with his lips that were yet smeared with my blood, the undead flesh shriveling and sizzling. I sank to my knees and a scrabbling hand found a silver medallion from my necklace. I wiped it against my dirty, bloody skirt and then pressed it against the wounds on my neck. I felt and heard and smelled the sizzle of my own flesh as the silver burned away the poison of a vampire’s saliva. Those three gulps had been long, deep, starving ones and I was weak and unsteady. Yet still I pulled sufficient energy and strength from deep within myself to heal the wounds and leave no scar. Then I sat there, nearly unconscious, for far too long.
And that’s where the police found me.
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
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