Series: Vampire Guard Book #2
Author: Elizabeth Noble
Publisher: DSP Publications
Length: 200 pages
The members of the Vampire Guard—Jonas Forge, spy and soldier turned cop; computer hacker extraordinaire Blair Turner; Declan, thief, con man, and ex-pirate; and medical examiner and werewolf Dr. Lucas Coate—face a dangerous and elusive enemy.
And this time, it’s personal.
Over the course of three hundred years, a man has touched each of their lives in ways they are only just realizing. When a hunt for a psychotic killer in the present resurrects memories and clues from the past, they discover how they have been affected and are bound by the existence of a ruthless vampire criminal. Now, while preventing a heist at a high-tech art show and thwarting several large-scale explosions, the team must employ their unique blend of science and supernatural abilities to put an end to the machinations of the man toying with their lives.
This time, he won’t slip through their fingers.
This time, it’s more than a case. It’s a hunt, and Forge, Blair, Declan, and Lucas won’t stop until they’ve captured their quarry.
Southern California, Present Day
Declan sprinted into traffic and across the street, dodging cars effortlessly as he ran. Blair bolted after him.
Cars were speeding through the street, horns blaring when they were cut off by other vehicles traveling in from intersecting thoroughfares. Squealing tires followed almost immediately in the wake of all the various tones from the horns. The noise was ear-shattering, and the commotion caused by traffic lights out of control was almost impossible to comprehend. Blair was running after Declan at such a high rate of speed that headlights and streetlights appeared as streaks crossing his path. It was dizzying.
One car swerved wildly, and Declan was cut off, nearly running right into its bumper. The cacophony of horns and tires increased trifold. Blair was willing to bet most of the drivers never saw Declan weaving through the pandemonium since he moved so quickly. “Bastard,” Blair grumbled.
Blair was a vampire, the same as Declan, and could see Declan’s actions though human or werewolf eyes weren’t able to. Too bad Blair couldn’t mimic Declan’s smooth moves. A car careened around a corner and right into Declan’s path. He jumped up, slid across the hood on his ass, and hit the pavement running without missing a beat. Blair hated him.
Blair’s actions were less than smooth, and trying to keep up, even though he was the faster runner between them, made him feel horribly inept. His attempt at Declan’s move over and around the
cars resulted in Blair’s face narrowly escaping an intimate meeting with the pavement.
Growling, he shoved off the ground and raced after Declan. They were chasing a human; it shouldn’t be this hard to catch the guy. The man was smart; he was using the flow of traffic, or, more precisely, manipulating the traffic to stay ahead of Declan and Blair. Whether he knew he was being chased by vampires, or even believed they existed, Blair had no idea. Now wasn’t the time to figure it out either.
Where the hell was Forge? Shouldn’t Blair’s soul mate be dropping from a rooftop or charging from some alleyway to tackle this asshole they were chasing about now? It was Forge’s usual MO, and Blair suspected Forge liked doing things that way.
Trouble was, he wasn’t doing it now.
They were separated by enough distance it wasn’t possible for Blair to hear Forge. The transmitter in his wristband wasn’t working. They were both vampires and soul mates, so they shared a very powerful emotional bond, each experiencing the other’s emotions. Their bond wasn’t going to help with details on their exact position, however. Blair suspected the traffic-light hack wasn’t the only hack going on right now. Their wristbands relied on radio frequency, as well as Bluetooth, and something was being used to jam their transmissions.
Blair would have to figure that little detail out later. He was preoccupied with keeping up with Declan and their suspect right now. Maybe he and the fourth member of their team, Lucas Coate, a werewolf bonded to Declan, were more reliant on the technology they used daily than their mates, but Jonas Forge and Declan had been born long before the use of electricity, let alone wearable wireless communications. They’d worked together as intelligence operatives without such tools and without the Internet. Blair really wished they’d get on with showing off those skills about now.
Declan rounded a corner, and Blair raced after him. There was less traffic on this street.
Surely they’d catch up to the man they chased. The guy hit the fencing around a construction site at a full run, leaping halfway to the top and scrambling over the top before he jumped to the ground.
Barely breaking stride, Declan bent his knees and cleared the fence in one bound, landing neatly—and on both feet—on the other side. Blair heard him mutter something in French that sounded very unkind. The fact that they couldn’t catch a human who was slower and weaker, with worse eyesight in the dark, was clearly pissing Declan off.
Those details were certainly pissing Blair off. “Any time now, Forge,” he mumbled. The frustration he felt from his mate told Blair that Forge and Lucas weren’t close by and were struggling to get a fix on their location. Didn’t that just make their situation even better?
Blair tried to hurdle the fence Declan-style, but his leap fell short, and he slammed into the top rail, doubling over it with a grunt. He grabbed it and swung over but didn’t land nicely on his feet. Instead he dropped into a disorganized heap in the dirt. Blowing out a growl, he got to his feet and sprinted after Declan again.
Declan stopped at one end of the site. It looked like some sort of upscale apartment complex and appeared to be one of those places with stores, wine bar, restaurants, and loft apartments—all with a convenient parking garage underneath. Blair remembered seeing them referred to as lifestyle centers. “Where’d he go?” Blair was a bit breathless.
Declan held one hand up and cocked his head, saying, “Shh… I think….” He pointed out a direction. “Over there. Hear him?”
Blair nodded and ran with Declan through the partially built complex. Thuds and pings echoed around the area and bounced off varied textured surfaces. It was difficult filtering the exact location of the sounds, but Declan seemed to be following a determined path. Blair followed Declan. Blair was the guy who did the research and ran the tech end of their team. He was stay-inthe-surveillance-van guy, not go-out-into-the-field guy. Those roles belonged to Declan and Forge.
Blair liked the van and wanted his job back.
Being in the van was going to have to wait, for now he had this job. Everything had gotten mixed up and out of whack with this assignment, which was what left Declan and Blair chasing an annoyingly slippery human through a construction site.
The trail Declan followed took them up an escalator or, more to the point, where an escalator was in the process of being installed. When they reached the top, Declan waved Blair to the right, and he took a left. Blair didn’t question Declan’s instincts and concentrated on the sounds around him. Footsteps: his, Declan’s, and two other sets, not one.
“What the crap?” Blair muttered. The footsteps were going in two different directions, which was why Declan had them split up. Blair stopped and glanced around. It was dark in here, but vampire sight didn’t require much light. Up one level and farther to the right, something moved. Blair sprinted in that direction. He gave up on Declan’s fancy leaping and bounding moves and took the stairs.
Halfway up he stopped and turned around. Holding his breath, he stood and listened. Forge was always telling him to utilize the strongest sense a vampire had—his hearing. Right now what he was hearing didn’t make sense. Blair might never be the warrior Forge was or the spy James Bond wished he was, like Declan, or a man such as Lucas who adapted to and was comfortable in every social situation. But he wasn’t without his own skill set.
Warning bells were ringing in his head. It took him a few seconds to narrow down the cause:
a series of clicks and a barely audible whine. Blair checked his wristband again. Still no signal. He turned in a slow circle. Now he heard no footsteps other than Declan’s, and he had slowed to a walk. No one was speaking, but Blair did hear breathing. Three distinct patterns. One he recognized as Declan. The other two were in close proximity to each other, and at least one of them was the man they’d chased in here. The layout of the building and the materials used were making it difficult, since sounds were bouncing off partially constructed walls.
He looked down at the main level. Declan had come back into view and was gazing up at Blair. He shrugged and spread his hands wide.
Another series of clicks and a buzz.
Blair tried his wristband a second time. Neither that, nor the earbud he wore, was working. He had no signal, but someone did, and it was a private system—that much Blair had already figured out. Noise from the transmission came to Blair in bits, but nothing he could make sense of. Yet he felt he should recognize the noise.
After moving down the stairs a few steps, Blair stopped and listened again, then shook his head very slightly.
A different noise, a snapping sort of sound, made both him and Declan look to the left. Declan held up his hand and stalked silently in the direction of the sound. Blair knew the sound but couldn’t place it. “Shit,” he said, only loudly enough that Declan was the single person who would hear him. Blair started running down the steps. The hair along the back of his neck rose, and a shiver worked down Blair’s spine. Whatever that noise was, it meant danger. He was sure of it. Another click.
Blair shouted, “Declan!” He dove off the side of the steps and launched himself at Declan.
Declan turned in time to catch Blair. At the same time, a low rumble started beneath their feet. The floor vibrated, and the low rumble erupted into a deafening roar.
“What the—” Declan hissed as Blair wrapped both arms around his shoulders and used his momentum to shove them both backward.
The flooring several yards from them opened up. Brick, metal, and glass dropped through to the parking level below, creating a deafening roar. Dust and dirt billowed up from somewhere beneath them. Declan pushed off the floor and spun them around and away from the blast. A brilliant flash of light struck, and then dust and debris turned everything hazy and dark. The stores and wine bar disappeared as Declan and Blair were plunged down, along with chunks of cement, into the cavernous depths of the parking garage.
Elizabeth Noble lives by the adage “I can’t not write”. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t make up stories and eventually she learned how to write them down. A part of every day is spent living in worlds she created that are filled with intrigue and espionage. Using a real love of scifi and urban fantasy highlighted by twisty plots she crafts stories taking place in a slightly altered version of our world.
When she’s not chronicling the adventures of her many characters Elizabeth is a veterinary nurse living in her native Cleveland, Ohio. She shares her little brick house with an adorable canine princess and her tabby cat side-kick. Elizabeth is a fan of baseball, basketball (go Cavs and Indians!) and gardening. She can often be found working in her ‘outside office’ listening to classic rock and plotting her next novel waiting for it to be dark enough to gaze at the stars.
Elizabeth received several amateur writing awards. Since being published two of her novels have received honorable mentions in the Rainbow Awards. Her novel Jewel Cave was a runner up in the 2015 Rainbow awards in the Gay Mystery/Thriller category.
The Vampire Guard:
The Vampire Guard website: http://elizabeth-noble-thevampireguard.weebly.com/