Fire called to me, tempting me to bring it forth, to destroy my foe in one quick and easy strike. It would be too easy. There was something very wrong about this, about a newly made vampire walking the streets of downtown Spokane as if he were on a leisurely stroll. The change had to have been recent. Blood soaked his light-blue shirt, leaving a large stain over his chest and the left side of his body. If I’d had to guess, he’d been changed within the last few hours. His skin hadn’t turned the pale milky white associated with the undead yet.
Before I could think further, he struck. In a split second, his once jerky movements morphed into a flash of speed as he launched himself at me. I twisted out of the way but was too slow to avoid his second strike. He grabbed me by the back of the neck, flinging me across the road like a rag doll. My body collided with a parking meter, the near frozen metal splitting my cheek and knocking the air from my lungs.
I exhaled a vicious curse before drawing my twin daggers from the thigh sheath beneath my dress and jumping to my feet. My dress rode up, but I couldn’t have cared less at the moment. I was just grateful that despite the dress, I’d managed to wear the blades. Warm blood seeped from my cheek and my ribs ached with my movements.
He charged again, and this time I was ready. I allowed my attacker to get close, his hands brushing my shoulders right before I sank my first blade into the soft flesh of his stomach. My second pierced his chest, but I missed the heart. With my blades still imbedded, he squeezed my shoulder, the pain explosive. I heard a distinct pop before my left arm went limp.
My brain took a backseat as adrenaline flowed through my muscles. I kicked out with my left foot, the heel in my shoe sinking into his calf. His leg buckled under the assault and I pulled free, losing my heel in the process but retaining one of my blades. The other remained in his chest.
My left arm hung loose at my side. My right lifted and was ready with my dagger, dark-red blood dripping from its point. His eyes glowed an even deeper red, fangs descending farther to cover his bottom lip. You might as well put those back, mister. You won’t be making a meal out of me. Hot blood surged through my veins. I hastily kicked off my remaining heel, ignoring the discomfort of the snow and gravel beneath my feet. I needed to move faster.
When he struck again, I threw myself to the left, my right arm coming up and slashing his throat in a swift motion. A gurgling sound emanated from his throat, but I knew it wouldn’t last. He would begin healing almost immediately.
Damn vampire. I needed to disable him somehow without killing him. My fire was calling to me and I shoved it down with everything I had. I could not light him on fire. I was determined to find out who had turned him and why he’d been set loose. I moved to deliver another blow, a deep stab to his stomach once more, but just as I moved to strike, a deep growl echoed through the streets. Another predator making itself known. Like an idiot, I turned, and the moment of distraction cost me as I felt the vampire sink his teeth into my raised forearm. A scream escaped me, and then the growl turned into a thundering roar.
I watched in suspended silence as Declan tackled the fledging vampire, bringing him to the ground, the crunch of bone loud to my ears as his body hit the pavement. He’d taken a mouthful of my flesh with him when he’d gone down, and blood flowed freely from the wound, staining the ground red. I tried without success to staunch the bleeding with my left hand but couldn’t get my arm to corporate.
Before I could stop him, Declan brought his hands to the vampire’s neck and, in one quick movement, snapped it. The sound made me cringe. He rose from the body and kicked it once. He grunted in satisfaction when the body didn’t respond.
As though a switch had been flicked, I snapped out of my daze, fury and so much frustration rising to the surface. “What the hell did you just do?” I yelled at him. Don’t light the Alpha on fire. Don’t light the Alpha on fire. I repeated the mantra over and over in my head. It would not bode well for me to attack him right now. No matter how much he deserved it.
Declan looked taken aback for a moment. “I saved your life,” he said.
Urgh. Moron! “No, you didn’t. You ruined it. I cannot believe you just snapped his neck like that, without any thought.” My temperature rose and I had to take a calming breath to contain myself. It didn’t help much.
“Why would I think about it? He had his fangs buried in your arm. I’d expect a little gratitude here.”
I stormed past him and crouched beside the vampire, tearing my blade from his chest. I wiped the blade on the edge of my dress before sheathing it. It was already ruined so a little more blood couldn’t hurt it. I needed something else to focus on aside from Declan’s stupidity or I was going to lose what little control I had. I skimmed my hands over the now cold body, checking the pockets of his shirt and pants to find anything that may provide me with some sort of clue.
“What are you doing?” Declan asked, obviously annoyed.
Join the club, buddy. I was pretty damn annoyed myself.
“I’m looking for information,” I bit out. “It would have been much easier to just question the vampire but no, you had to go and snap his neck and be all ‘I am tiger, hear me roar.’” I threw my hands in the air in frustration.
He snarled beside me. “I saved your life.”
“No. You interfered. I’m a pyrokinetic. Don’t you think if I’d wanted him dead, I’d have lit his ass on fire as soon as he got close? I wasn’t trying to kill him. I was trying to disable him, and then you had to come out here all hot-headed and kill him.”