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Stalk the Night (Book 2 EBOOK)

Stalk the Night (Book 2 EBOOK)

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Escaping your demons? Easier said than done, especially when yours revels in the swelter.

Picture this: a fire demon inside you, not just any fire demon, but one that thrives in blistering heat. That’s my daily battle. So, why live in a frying pan? I chose the icy calm of Alaska to keep my fiery companion on ice. Until now.

Grandma’s gone, and her last wish drags me back to Maxxan, Texas—my own personal inferno. Each scorching day is a fight to cage the beast within. I’m counting the seconds until I can flee this heatwave, back to my arctic sanctuary. But plans have a way of going up in flames.

Enter a SIA agent, as sizzling as the Texan sun, gunning to enlist me in his vampire eradication squad. He thinks I’ll stay for the hunt; he doesn’t know my vampire-slaying days are long behind me, a childhood memory at five.
The heat’s on, my inner demon’s stirring, and Maxxan’s secrets are starting to simmer. Welcome to my firestorm. Welcome to Texas.

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Give me a quick list: what can I expect?

  • Paranormal Romance
  • Cool Powers and Magic
  • Supernatural

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I had to hand it to Grandma—her trump card was pretty epic. She’d been trying to get me to return home to Maxxan for years, and I was adamant it wasn’t going to happen. Then she pulled this. Her trump card. She died. Now here I was traveling in a bus that reeked of body odor, mostly mine, and stale junk food, also mostly mine, on my way home to the one place on earth I did not want to be, to attend her funeral.

Resting my forehead against the window, the vibrations of the engine jarring me, I peered outside. We’d just passed the Maxxan city limit sign. Population twenty-one thousand, one hundred and eighty-two. Three long days, three different buses, four thousand miles. All bringing me back to the town that hated me. The town I’d sworn I’d never return to.

Maxxan is hot, just the way fire demons like it. Only I had always had trouble controlling my demon and had left Maxxan just before my eighteenth birthday — not of my own volition. The judge decided I was certifiably insane, and I’d been incarcerated in the Spirit Fields Psychiatric Institution for three long years. When they finally released me, I’d fled to Fairbanks, Alaska, the coldest place I could find. My plan? To keep my demon frozen. For if it loved the heat, it would surely hate the cold. And I’d been right. In Fairbanks, I’d led a relatively normal life. Until now.

On the empty seat next to me was the heavy coat I’d worn when initially boarding the bus in Fairbanks. It had been dark, but then we got very few hours of daylight. Already I missed the white landscape, the crystal forests, the biting cold. The air conditioner on the bus battled with the heat. The farther we moved into Texas, the hotter it got. I may as well have been traveling to Hell.

Navigating through the streets, the bus eventually pulled into the depot, a run-down gray building that was one lit lightbulb away from looking abandoned. The bus rumbled into the parking lot, drawing to a halt with a shudder and groan. The door swung open with a hiss, and the driver stood.

“Maxxan, Texas,” he announced. Sweat stained his once-crisp shirt, leaving dark patches under his arms. He looked from me to outside and back again.

“Thank you,” I replied. I was the only one disembarking here, which wasn’t unusual when you were in the ass-end of nowhere. Grabbing my backpack and coat, I made my way down the aisle, nodded at the driver, and stepped down onto the rough surface of the parking lot.

“Looks like you have a welcoming party,” the driver said.

“I wouldn’t expect anything less.” For there on the sidewalk, leaning against a post, arms crossed over his chest, was the sheriff. Why wasn’t I surprised? I’d never had a good relationship with law enforcement, and they clearly knew I was returning. What did take me by surprise was suddenly being grabbed from behind and swung face-first into the side of the bus, a male voice shouting in my ear, “Hands against the bus, Shelton! Don’t move!” and then being frisked.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” I could see the sheriff from the corner of my eye, saw him shake his head and straighten up before calling out to his deputy, “That’s enough, Harvey.”

“What? But, Sheriff, it’s her! That Shelton girl. You said she was trouble.”

“Deputy.” The growl from the sheriff was low, but held authority. The deputy released me, stepping back and looking to his boss for instruction. He was new; he had that fresh, eager-to-please vibe about him. But the sheriff, I remembered him well. We had not parted on good terms, maybe because I’d put laxatives in his coffee that one time. Or was it twice?

“Errr, any luggage?” The bus driver cleared his throat and stuck his head out the door.

“Nope. This is it.” I kicked the backpack I’d dropped when the deputy had pounced on me. “Won’t be staying long.”

“Okay, ma’am. Good luck.” The door hissed shut, and the engine revved before beeping, indicating he’d put the bus into reverse. Slinging my backpack over my shoulder and scooping my jacket from the ground, I stepped onto the sidewalk out of the bus’s path.

“We don’t want any trouble here.” The sheriff stepped in front of me, halting my progress. I blew out a breath.

“Am I being charged with something? Because riding that bus was punishment enough.” Sarcasm dripped from my tongue. It was a natural talent, one that continually got me into more trouble than I’d care to admit.

“Apologies for his over-enthusiastic greeting.” The sheriff bowed his head. As if that made everything better. As if they hadn’t been waiting for me for a reason.

“Say what you need to say and then get out of my way. I’ve got places I need to be.”

“Problem here, Sheriff?” Glancing up, I saw sex on two legs walking towards us. Suddenly, Maxxan got a whole lot more interesting. The newcomer approached, casual in jeans, work boots, a button-down shirt, and a baseball cap. But there was an air of authority about him, and my internal antenna started going berserk. He was law enforcement, had to be. He stopped, standing between the sheriff and me, so close I could smell him, and he smelled delicious. Musk and chocolate. He was tall, over six feet, with broad shoulders and muscular arms. His hair was obscured by his hat, but what I could see of it was brown. His eyes were hidden behind sunglasses, his jaw clean-shaven. I finished cataloging him, and I felt my lips curl in a smirk. A sexy lawman. Maybe things in Maxxan had changed after all.

“We don’t want any trouble here, and from what I remember, she’s trouble with a capital T.” The sheriff puffed, his cheeks taking on a lovely pink hue.

“I’m sure she’s not here to cause trouble.” The man cocked his head to one side, studying me. “Are you?”

“Not on purpose.” I couldn’t make any promises. Trouble did have a tendency to follow me around.

“I’ll take it from here, Sheriff.” The man dismissed the sheriff and his deputy, and judging by both men bristling at the dismissal, I could only assume this guy who’d just taken hold of my elbow and was guiding me out of the bus depot was superior to them.

“SIA Agent Jordan Buchanan.” He introduced himself, flashed a badge from his wallet before shoving it back into his jeans’ rear pocket.

“SIA? What’s that? A cousin to the CIA?” I tugged my arm out of his grip, and he let me go, keeping pace easily by my side as I headed down the street. Already the heat of the day pounded down on us, and I worked up a sweat.

“Supernatural Investigation Agency,” he replied. I stopped. Supernatural Investigation Agency? What the ever-living hell?

“That’s a thing now? Because, you know, they had me committed. They had me sent away. For telling about the vampires.” I narrowed my eyes and looked him over again. Was he a nutjob, like me, or was he taking the piss? I couldn’t decide.

“Yeah, it’s a thing. Only it’s not a thing most people know about. Take the local law enforcement, for example. They don’t know what SIA stands for, only that I’m in town working on a case, and they’re to give me their full cooperation.”

“Are you shitting me?” This sounded too far-fetched, even for me.

“Nope. I know about you, Rae.” The way he said it, complete confidence that he knew me upside down and inside out, had me bristling. I felt a momentary pang of sympathy for the sheriff and his deputy.

“You know nothing about me, Agent.” I began walking again. I didn’t like this, not one bit.

“I know you’re a fire demon,” he said conversationally. I glanced around to make sure no one had heard him. Thankfully, the streets were pretty empty.
“Part. Part fire demon,” I mumbled.

“And I know you killed a vampire when you were five.”

“I did no such thing.” How the fuck did he know this stuff? My heart rate picked up; my skin tingled. My demon was stirring, picking up on my agitation. The bloody heat wasn’t helping either. Clenching my fists, I ignored the small zap of static electricity that shot out.

“I know your cousins are also fire demons, but none of them have the unique abilities you do.”

“Listen.” I spun, placing my hand against his chest, halting him. “I don’t know where you got this bullshit from, but it ends here and now.”

“Deny it all you like, Rae. You don’t think the SIA knows about all supernaturals? Just because you’ve never heard of us doesn’t mean we don’t exist.”

“Why are you telling me this? I won’t be staying long. I’m here for my grandmother’s funeral, and then I’m outta here. I don’t want to be in this godforsaken pit hole any more than the townsfolk want me here, so let’s end this little charade, hmmm? I don’t have the time.”

Spinning on my heel, I walked away. I had a funeral to get to. One I didn’t relish. I’d been keeping a tight lid on the grief that was waiting for me, didn’t want to think about Grandma, remember the good times, for after the good memories came the bad. Fingers wrapped around my wrist in a steely grip, halting me, and I looked down at the tanned fingers against my white skin and then back up at SIA Agent Jordan Buchanan. He released me as if I’d burned him. Which I could have if I wanted to.

“I need your help,” he said.

“For what?”

“People are being killed. We think it’s vampires.”

“You’re the one working for the supernatural fancy pants agency,” I taunted. “I suggest you do something about it. Pretty sure you don’t need little old me getting in the way.”

“You’re right. Vampires I can deal with. But there’s something else.” Oh, how I wished he hadn’t said that, for immediately, I was intrigued. Something else besides vampires? I opened my mouth to demand he tell me everything, then closed it with a snap. No, I scolded myself. I am not staying. Don’t get involved. And don’t trust this man—if he’s who he says he is, where was this agency when I was labeled crazy and locked away?

“You laid hands on me. As did the sheriff’s deputy. With no cause. That could be classified as assault at the worst, intimidation at the least. I’m not here to put up with your shit. And believe me, if this harassment continues, you’ll get more than you bargained for with me.”

“Is that a threat?” He sounded incredulous, and I laughed out loud.

“A promise,” I said under my breath, not caring if he heard or not. SIA Agent Jordan Buchanan may be one sexy lawman, but one thing still remained. All lawmen were assholes who abused their power. I didn’t know what game he was playing with all this talk of vampires and other things, but I couldn’t let myself get dragged into it. I had a plan, and it was imperative I stick to it for my own sanity if nothing else.

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