Hunting Season (Aurora Sky:Vampire Hunter, Vol. 4)

By: Nikki Jefford



A brisk ocean breeze slid up my bare arms, leaving goose bumps in its wake. Fane had an unnerving way of inching up to my side as we closed in on Henry’s ornate townhouse in Bootleggers Cove.

He propped a hand against the door, fingers splayed, blocking me at the threshold.

“Ready to do this?” he asked. “It could get rough.”

I raised my chin. “Promise?”

Fane shot me one of his half-smirks as his hand balled into a fist. He pounded on the door.

Here’s hoping Mason hadn’t beat us.

If Noel, Fane, and I were to succeed in capturing Jared, we required bait. Using Jared’s wayward daughter Giselle was out of the question, leaving us with Option B: The Setup.

Jared wanted Giselle. Melcher wanted her finished off. All we had to do is start a rumor that Giselle would appear at a certain place at a certain time. And for that, we needed a venue in which to lure Jared—a trap he couldn’t resist.

That’s where Henry came in.

A few seconds later, the unsuspecting vampire answered the door dressed in slacks and a polo.

Fane pushed him backward before he had time to react to our arrival.

We were quick, Fane and I, busting inside Henry’s home and slamming the door behind us with a crack that reverberated across the immaculately clean living room.

Henry barely regained his footing before I took three swift steps across the tiled entry and punched him in the face, relishing the burn across my knuckles on impact.

Henry howled as I shook out my hand.

His face contorted. He started toward me, but Fane stepped in his way.

“Not a good idea, mate.”

I looked Henry up and down, lips curling back. We might need him, but that didn’t change the fact that he’d drugged me the night before. He’d accused me of being a vampire hunter and Marcus’ killer. Okay, yeah, I was in fact a vampire hunter and I did kill Marcus, but that didn’t forgive his methods or the fact that in order to throw him off my trail, Fane had bitten me. It had turned into a minor sex show starring Aurora Sky: College girl by day, paranormal porn star by night. Not a chance!

The jackass was lucky we had use of him and had arrived in time to save his uppity ass. Melcher’s orders were for Mason to haul Henry back to base. Good thing we got there first.

Fane leaned into Henry’s face. “I’d say you had that one coming. What do you think, Aurora?”

I dropped my chin, zeroing in on Henry’s groin—another area just begging to receive bodily harm.

“I think we should make him bite himself, but I suppose I’ll have to settle for punching him in the face.”

Henry’s non-swollen eye widened in alarm.

“I told you that was business,” he said. “Six months of investigating Marcus’ death and I keep hitting dead ends. Richard Stanton is getting impatient. Not to mention all the evidence pointed to you.”

“My red scarf?” I asked incredulously. “You’re grasping at straws.” I glanced at Fane. “We need to go.”

He nodded, hand shooting out, grabbing Henry by the arm. Henry tried unsuccessfully to break free from his grasp. It was comical to see his attempt to dip down and pull back. Not much of an effort, as he probably didn’t want to wrinkle his fancy shirt.

“Look, I apologized. I won’t bother you again.”

“Save your apologies,” Fane said. “There’s a vampire hunter on his way to grab you right now. It’s time we split.”

Henry stopped struggling. “Marcus’ killer?” he asked.

“Your killer if you don’t shut up and come with us,” I said.

Good thing Mason hadn’t shown his face already. He wasn’t as fast as his partner, Levi, who had taken Dante’s dog Tommy before Fane or Daren could make it in time. The only thing Noel’s suck buddy Daren had managed to do is provide me with a quick blood rush, immediately quashed by the reality check that came with it.

Ten months ago, my life had ended. Jared hadn’t just run me off the road, he’d removed me from the human race. Time could not touch me, and neither could sickness or starvation. Eating was optional. All my body required was a fresh supply of human blood. As with mortals, blood provided the undead with key nutrients essential to our survival.

Melcher kept his agents’ hearts pumping the scientific way—through transfusions. I could understand why vampires preferred the direct approach. Nothing quite beat the high of drinking it from the source, whether it originated from a vein or a blood bag. As it slid its way down my throat, my senses had become supercharged, my state of mind euphoric.

Melcher could try to control his agents all he wanted, but in the end instinct always prevailed. At what point would he admit what he’d done to us?

Fane grasped Henry by the collar, easy enough given Fane’s superior height. I led the way out, casting a quick eye down the road for Mason’s Hummer. Once I’d verified that the coast was clear, I charged down the walkway to the Pontiac Catalina idling along the curbside. Noel sat at the driver’s seat, waiting.

I held open the back door as Fane shoved Henry inside and climbed in behind him. Once I’d given it a firm slam, I sat beside Noel up front.

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