Home > The Bitten (Vampire Huntress Legend #4)(4)

The Bitten (Vampire Huntress Legend #4)(4)
Author: L.A. Banks

"Damn, sis," Yonnie muttered as he strolled to the edge of the roof and peered down at the small specks of humanity beneath him.

"Enough to give a brother wood." All he could do was shake his head as he wondered what it would be like to become a second-gen vampire, or even a master.

Yonnie chuckled to himself. Maybe if Carlos remained in a particularly generous mood he might share his new lair kitten. Yonnie quickly banished the thought. Not a strong female like that - she was destined for a throat mate-marking, for sure. No sense in a man getting his heart ripped out by the boss over wishful thinking. But to be able to transform into pure vapor and fuse with the blue haze of the moon... To be able to attract all the females that the master had no further use for, have them trembling for one vein hit.

Yonnie shook his head as he balanced on the drain gutter, tempting his good fate. Rivera had been cool enough to give him Club Vengeance and let him run the other clubs in the network; pushing his luck farther to ask for more would not be wise.

He turned his head and looked at the metal door leading to the club. He could sense the approach of a guard. He smiled. That was odd. As a third-level, he had some precognitive skills, but he had never been able to sense another third-gen like this.

"Yo, man, what's up?" Yonnie said, thoroughly amused by his new strength.

"We just got back from Philly," the guard said, shaking his head and raking his fingers through his ragged Afro.

Yonnie allowed his gaze to roam over the thickly built vamp. His boy's army fatigue vest was in shreds, his jeans were dusty, his Timberlands were crusted with mud and old blood. None of which was a good sign. Old human blood, yes. Black blood from the empire, no. Stack's normally deep brown color was dull, which meant he'd been in battle and hadn't stopped to refuel. Stack had been in a hurry. What had gone down in Philly? His euphoria quickly faded. If Rivera came back and found out that he and his boys couldn't hold it down... He didn't want to think about it.

"What the f**k happened, Stack?" Yonnie said, walking up to his friend. He smoothed the front of his electric-blue suede jacket and hitched up his black leather pants. "Man, we just got this promotion. You know the boss's rep," Yonnie warned, speaking low and firm. "You f**k this up and there's no tellin' - "

Stack stepped away from Yonnie. "It ain't like that. You shoulda been there. We was checkin' on the Philly clubs, like you said. We was up in North Philly - where they have all them damned row houses stuck together so you can run a whole block roof to roof, if you get in trouble. But you have to be careful, because the humans got storefront churches in them houses, so some of the roofs are hot, and - "

"Aw'ight, aw'ight, I get the picture. So, you was up in the badlands. The humans got outposts, so who hit us?"

Stack stared at Yonnie for a moment and then looked away. "Humans."

"What?" Yonnie was incredulous. "The Guardian team is in LA, man. How you gonna tell me that - "

"No, man," Stack said, grabbing Yonnie by both arms. "Can't you feel it in the air? We were in one of our clubs, everything was going smooth, the girls were dancing the poles. We were about to do a little dinner theater - chick about fifteen or sixteen. You know, blood sacrifice for the crowds, when the f**king door blew in and these big, burly, black motherfuckers came in and lit the joint up. Rowdy black giants, and shit, are what they call themselves."

Yonnie opened his mouth and closed it. Stack dropped his arms and walked away.

"Lost three of our boys. They have one about the size of Damali's big man, Mike. And a smaller version of Shabazz. Like ten or eleven of 'em, and they roll fast, combat-style, then be gone. We got our asses kicked, man. They drew us to the rooftops. We thought we could escape, but that's their backyard. Lost one of our boys on a disguised roof - was hallowed ground and he torched on impact. Then that big Hannibal-looking guy threw a hammer at our other boy, and the way it hit him, it dazed him, and he fell wrong off the roof - two of them got him on the ground before he could get up. Third one got wrapped up in motorcycle chains - pure silver dipped in holy water - strangled to death. We was out."

"You sure they were human?"

"Man, they bled red blood, okay?"

Stack let his breath out hard and leaned against the metal door and shut his eyes.

For a moment, Yonnie didn't move. He became so still that he didn't even breathe, sensing the atmosphere.

"You feel like you're getting stronger?" Yonnie whispered to his friend.

"That's the crazy thing about it," Stack said quietly, peering around nervously. "We felt strong as shit going in. Every one of us was on top of our game. We were drinking toasts to you for getting us aligned with Rivera, and they were saying that even back in the day under the old regime, we'd never had the blood flowing like this. At one point tonight, it was like the females were all in heat. You could feel it in the air."

"Yeah, I know, man," Yonnie muttered as he began to pace. "That's what's so freaky about humans taking you out like that."

Both vampires looked at each other for a long time but said nothing.

"If we're getting stronger, it has to be because he's getting stronger." It was more a question than a statement.

"Then, it makes sense," Stack said, but his voice seemed unsure. "If our side just kicked up a notch, then the light maybe kicked up a notch?"

"That has to be it." Yonnie continued to walk back and forth, running his palm over his jaw. "See, you guys probably ran into a regulation Guardian team - there's like a hundred forty-four thousand of them bastards in hidden cells scattered throughout the globe. So, what happened in Philly was good. We'll explain to Rivera that you tracked down a splinter Guardian unit in his territory. Cool?"

"Right. Makes sense. We tell him that we were holding down his club, and we drew fire. Then, we can ask him if he wants us to take a small army back there to deal with the Philadelphia problem."

Yonnie was walking in circles now, perspiration making his black silk shirt cling to his body. "Yeah, man. That could work."

Stack wheezed as he pushed himself away from the metal door.

"You need to eat," Yonnie said with concern. He slung his arm over Stack's broad shoulders.

"Let it go, man," Yonnie told him. "We've gotta take this shit like men. We'll feed, get laid, and be merry since tonight might be our last night once Rivera blows in here."

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