Here’s a first glimpse of the opening scene I’m working on for BURN, book 4 in the Underground Encounters series.
A vampire on the run.
A shapeshifting bounty hunter hired to capture her.
Who will outsmart whom?
Layla Black flees London, on the run from a master vampire. She reinvents herself as Angelica, the singer of an 80s metal cover band in Boston, but her past soon catches up to her.
Devon St. Clair, bounty hunter extraordinaire, is in hot pursuit of a thieving vampire. Vampires, he hated them. Capturing Layla should be a satisfying gig that nets a nice profit.
But Devon wasn’t counting on spitfire Layla being his target, distracting him from his mission. Besides, shapeshifters and vampires didn’t mix. And more bloodsuckers are on their tail.
The hunt is on. But, who will be predator, and who will be prey?
Burn is the fourth installment in the Underground Encounters series, set in a club that attracts supernatural creatures. Step into Vamps, a thrilling new world of steamy paranormal romance featuring sexy shifters, thirsty vampires, wicked witches, and gorgeous gargoyles.
When I got the call from a vampire named Stefano, I considered hanging up. Vampires. I hated them. Cold, dead creatures stalking the Earth and sucking sustenance out of others.
Other acquisitions were just a job. Vampires were a vendetta.
Shapeshifters and vampires didn’t mix—unless they had to. I loathed dealing with those blood-lusting, walking corpses. This one was willing to pay twice my fee on hearing of my reputation as a bounty hunter. I swallowed my revulsion and took the job. It was easy to rationalize—I was being paid to take down a vampire. If he disposed of her, even better—one fewer vampire in the world.
All I had to do was hunt down a female vampire who stole from him. It sounded like an easy gig.
On the flight from London, I studied a road map to drive from Boston up to the nightclub where I was heading. It was hidden in the warehouse district in Caterina’s Cove, a little coastal village north of Boston. A brochure advertising condos described it as a quiet seaside setting, the perfect place to have access to the ocean without the typical tourist crowd that attacked most of the other beaches on the North Shore.
The brochure conveniently left out how Cat’s Cove, as it was called, was also home to an underground Goth club that attracted “freaks and weirdoes” as one regular had described it online. In my research, I discovered it also attracted a small but growing crowd of supernatural beings. Rumor spread it was once owned by a vampire, but that might have been provoked by the name of the club—Vamps. After a fire, the club was bought and rebuilt by the current owner. Many described him as tall, brooding, and mysterious; some speculated whether he was a vampire as well.
After we landed in the US and waited at the long lines at Customs, I found the car rentals. Earlier I had requested a black car with tinted windows and plenty of space in the backseat and trunk, either of which might serve as a temporary abode for Miss Costa. I’d told the rental agent I had a lot of luggage. I smirked at the visual of having that bloody vampire bound in the car. Then I drove north to Cat’s Cove.
Stefano knew better than to hire a human to find Layla. They relied on paper trails and online transactions, both which vampires kept to a minimum, especially considering their extended life periods. He needed someone like me, with abilities beyond a typical human’s. With those and the skills I’d learned in the British military, I had established a lucrative career as a bounty hunter. And I was one of the best.
Most of my targets were scumbags. They deserved to be caught and brought to justice. Not all, though. On a few occasions, I suspected the person whom I was hired to bring in might be innocent. But I had to stay objective. It wasn’t my job to judge a person’s guilt or innocence. I was hired to track them down. This time, my target was the thieving vampire Layla Costa.
Tracking her down wasn’t that difficult, but it did take longer than I had expected. I caught her scent all over Stefano’s place. It was rather sweet, reminding me of herbs and flowers, and not the smell of the dead I’d associated with most vampires. This distinctive scent helped me track where she’d gone next.
With her photograph in hand and scent imprinted in my mind, I asked about her at each location. This required more social engineering than scent tracking, but between the two, one location led me to another. Eventually, I discovered that Layla Costa was now portraying herself as Angelica Blackwell, a singer for a heavy metal cover band called Bloodlust Diamond. She’d changed her appearance dramatically, but I could still discern the same features.
With her large, almond-shaped eyes on a heart-shaped face, she was quite striking—both as the dark-haired vampire Layla Costa and the wild heavy metal singer with teased multicolored hair
What did her looks matter? She was just another job. I would simply grab her, take her to Stefano and collect my money.
The hunt had started and I closed in on my prey.
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