Gerard was destined by blood to become a vampire, but chose to become a werewolf in an effort to escape the sadistic vampire clans. When Morgaine, the queen of the vampires, tricked him into drinking her blood, he was burdened with the powers of both races. He thought he was rid of Morgaine after their final battle but now, after a year of peace, she’s invaded his life again. Her actions draw the attention of a vampire hunter named Chris, whom she soon entangles in her schemes. She tries to separate Gerard and Chris and changes the rules of the game every time she makes a move. Both men find it increasingly difficult to work together and protect those they love as Morgaine draws out her seductive games in an effort to possess both of them.
Chris sat in his car and watched Bella drive away. Quentin stood outside for a moment then went back in. It was just after six, and Chris knew if the girl was still in the house, Gerard would be awake. From what he knew of Gerard, he was very rational and in general a good guy, very normal and even nice, considering what he was.
Chris had been trained to hunt vampires since the age of eleven. He’d never had a problem with werewolves, but he’d been skeptical when he heard about Gerard. His father had told him about the old werewolf lore, but both he and his father had been amazed when a destined vampire actually chose to become a werewolf. They’d worried it might be a trick of some kind, but over the past year Gerard had definitely proven himself. His wife was just like him, both vampire and werewolf. Chris had actually exchanged a few words with her in a coffee shop once. She seemed kind and sweet, unlike any other vampire he’d ever encountered. Very unlike the bitch who’d almost killed him.
He shook his head and ran his hands through his brown hair. He’d wasted enough time tracking Luna. He was much more interested in Gerard now. If anyone could handle what seemed to be coming, Gerard could. Or so Chris hoped. He had no desire to face Morgaine himself because he knew he probably wouldn’t live, but if these people needed his help, he was going to give it to them.
But he wasn’t sure how to go about it. He’d been content to lay low, but when the zombie had actually gone straight to Gerard, he’d known it had to be Morgaine. He’d known the girl was a zombie because she’d gone into Magnus’ house and come back out unharmed. That didn’t usually happen with humans, even with Magnus dead. She’d been alone there, no sign of Luna at all. He’d known Luna wasn’t the one controlling her though, since she wasn’t turned yet. He’d been able to see how powerful the hold on the girl was because unlike other zombies she seemed to be very much alive and normal. He’d only known for sure she was a zombie when he’d seen the look in her eyes. They were completely vacant until someone got near her or looked at her. Then she would smile and become animated. When no one was around, her face was a blank. That wasn’t mind control. The change was too distinct. He’d followed her very closely, but she’d taken no notice of him. Whoever was using her felt unthreatened by him. Since he had no psychic powers at all, it had been hard to tell who was controlling her. Now he was sure. The rumors of Morgaine’s interest in Gerard had died down over the past year, but with Magnus gone Chris didn’t think this could be anyone else’s work.
He got out of the car and completely disarmed himself. Gerard might be nice, but he knew the man would never trust him or let him inside if he came armed. He walked up to the door and took a deep breath before knocking.
Quentin answered the door. “Can I help you?”
“I need to speak with Gerard. It’s important.”
Quentin looked back down the main hall, but Gerard was already making his way to the door. Chris had never seen him this close before. He looked very young, even though Chris knew he was in his late twenties. His long hair and soft features made him look innocent and sort of feminine to Chris, but his eyes sent that impression out the window very quickly. They were bright blue, but at the moment they were glaring at him suspiciously.
“You’ve been out there about an hour. I’ve seen you before. Who are you?”
“My name is Chris. I’m a vampire hunter. I followed the girl here. And she’s a zombie, in case that hasn’t become obvious yet. I readily admit I know who all of you are, down to your names and everything. I promise I’m here to help.” He took a breath, hoping he didn’t come off as a babbling wannabe. He’d never had to have a conversation like this with a supernatural creature. He wanted all his cards on the table right away. Being as honest as possible right away might save his life, especially since he already knew Gerard was a powerful psychic.
Quentin’s eyebrows went up as he looked between the two of them. “Humans really hunt vampires?”
Chris nodded. “A few do. Not very safe or profitable, but it’s something that has to be done sometimes.”
Gerard was still looking at him, and Chris assumed he was reading his mind. He must have been because he stepped aside and motioned Chris in. He closed the door and turned to Quentin. “He’s telling the truth. He might be able to help. We have discovered she’s a zombie, but it’s still a little hard to grasp for the most part.”
They all walked into a large dining room.
“Have a seat,” Gerard said. “I’ll go get Simon.”
But at that moment, Simon entered the room. “I think you all need to come upstairs,” he said in a rush before turning back toward the hall and heading for the stairs.
Gerard dashed ahead of all of them and went into a small room. His wife stood in the doorway, looking a bit green and nauseous. She moved aside quickly, hardly glancing at Chris at all. He wondered what could have happened, but then he smelled something familiar. He didn’t even have to look, but he did anyway. The room turned out to be a bathroom, and the tub was full of thick, dark red liquid. The vile substance also dripped from a rope tied to the faucet. Gerard had obviously already discovered the girl was a threat to them.
Whoever had been controlling the zombie didn’t need it anymore. They’d destroyed it, making the blood boil and liquefying the body. It was a good way to dispose of the unneeded body, but now they had no way of finding out who she was. He felt as if it was his fault. He should have stayed on her and tried to do something last night. If he’d taken her picture, he could have given it to his brother, who worked as a police detective.
Chris looked at Gerard. “How did you know she wasn’t alive? That she was a zombie?”
Gerard nodded. “Bella and Simon thought so. I hardly know anything about them. I’m guessing you do?”
“I followed her here. She seemed very powerful, so I thought it might be something big. She even went into Magnus’ house. Normally I just try to stop them from harming anyone and find out who they are so their families can find them. They never last long. My brother’s a detective, so I feed information to him. When she came here, I was reluctant. I knew you might not need help from a human, but if it was Morgaine, I wanted to hang around in case there was even the smallest thing I could do.”
Gerard stared down at the floor, then looked up. “You know who Morgaine is then?”
“Who and what. She dropped off the radar last year, and that freaked me out more than her sudden appearance had. She’s never been awake in my lifetime, according to my research, and I’d hoped she never would be.”
“So you don’t know anything about what happened last year between all of us?”
Chris shook his head. “I don’t have any connections like that. If I don’t see something happen, I don’t know about it usually. News gets to me slowly.”
“You took quite a risk following the zombie here,” Quentin said.
“I know, but it’s the only really big thing that’s ever happened since my father died. I was trained by him, but I had no idea what to do on a day-to-day basis. I muddle through and keep my eyes open, though I don’t want to take too many risks usually. It’s just me and my brother, so I’m all he’s got.”
Gerard shook his head. “You’d have been crazy to try to do anything about her. She’s too strong, especially for a human.”
“I know, but I try to protect others whenever I can. It’s a cheesy story, I guess, but my dad got into this because my mother was murdered. He was a detective, but he found a new purpose when he found out how she really died.”
“Vampires?” Gerard asked.
“Yeah. Magnus, actually. Very glad to see him gone for good.”
Simon cleared his throat. “As are we. Maybe you can help us with something.”
“Is anything else happening with the vampires? Do you know anything we might not?”
He shook his head. “They’ve closed ranks so much, I hardly hear anything anymore. That worries me.”
“It worries us as well. We’ve tried to contact someone we thought could help, but we can’t reach him. Would you be willing to go with Gerard to find out what’s happened?”
“No!” Gerard said. “It’s too dangerous! I have to go alone.”
“But that’s dangerous too. I think Chris was meant to find us.”
“So if he dies, was that meant to happen?”
Chris didn’t say anything. Gerard and Simon obviously had very different points of view. Gerard seemed stressed and frustrated, but Simon stood in the hallway calmly as he made his suggestion. In a way, this felt like an old argument between the two men.
Simon smiled patiently. “I’d be willing to bet he can fight better than any of us, even if he is mortal. He’ll be the best companion for you.”
Gerard shook his head. “I can go alone.”
Aria spoke up. “But I don’t want you to.” She turned to Chris. “I don’t know you, but Gerard must trust you if he let you in after what happened last night. If you’re willing to help, I’d be very grateful.”
“I’d be glad to. How far is it? I can get us there fast if we have to fly. I’m a private investigator first and foremost and can get things rolling quickly.”
“I can get there faster myself,” Gerard insisted.
“Not necessarily,” Simon said. “You can move faster over land once you get to Romania, but this might be better. You’ll be less noticeable. Over there, people look more than twice if they see a big wolf running around.”
Gerard sighed. “Fine.” He looked down at the mess in the bathtub. “I have no idea what we’ll find there.”
“That’s okay,” Chris said. He pointed to the tub. “Vinegar will actually clear all that away. It shouldn’t damage the pipes. It’ll just smell bad for a few days.”
Aria had been staring at him. “I’ve met you before,” she said.
Chris looked at her, but he felt Gerard’s eyes on him. He swallowed. “Yes. I sat down next to you in a coffee shop. You two had me very worried when I first heard about you and what you were. Protecting werewolves is one of my priorities, so I didn’t trust you two at first. Nothing personal. But you seemed so nice and happy, I thought the things I’d heard about you had to be true. The good things, that is.”
He looked over at Gerard. “I’m not psychic. I don’t personally know any werewolves or vampires or even people of the blood. It’s dangerous to try to make contacts, so I take the safe chances when I can.”
Gerard smiled, and it made Chris feel much better. “I know you’re sincere,” Gerard said. “I’m just overprotective.”
“I don’t blame you.” Chris hadn’t tried to have any kind of relationship for over a year. He knew how much responsibility Gerard felt for those around him.