Master of Ghouls will be out in less than a month, so I thought I’d share a little excerpt here today. In this scene, John and Caleb have been out clubbing, only to have their evening rudely interrupted when Gray scents a nearby demon.
The trail of corruption beckoned the way down the street, past a swanky hotel and into a parking garage. A normal human wouldn’t have been able to sense the smell of stagnant water and cold stone mingled with the sickly sweetness of rotting flesh. It made Caleb want to gag, but to Gray it might as well have been warm chocolate chip cookies or a sizzling steak. His mouth filled with drool, his teeth ached, and Gray wanted to run, damn it, run and hunt and—
Stop! Caleb stumbled as he fought to hold back. We’ve already freaked out John enough, don’t you think?
“The demon will escape. He would not wish it to.”
It was hard to argue the point, and he’d already left John behind by a couple of blocks anyway. Giving in, Caleb raced down the ramp to the parking garage; thank goodness, the tollgate was automatic, which meant one less person to get caught up in this if things went bad. He’d never in his life been at all athletic, but now he jumped the gate with ease. One of the perks of being possessed, along with no longer needing to wear glasses, seeing in the dark, and instant healing.
Not to suggest it made up for the weirdness and terror. Not to mention the fear of being completely subsumed, while Gray walked off wearing his body like an off-the-rack suit.
“You are distracting us from the hunt with your foolishness.”
The trail led down, past the wooden cross arm, before spiraling back up through the levels of the garage.
What kind of demon is it? Because he really didn’t want to end up in another fight with a lycanthrope.
A deep breath, tasting the scent of nitrous decay. “Ghoul.”
Which…didn’t make a lot of sense, actually. Not that Caleb knew fuck-all about demons, other than to not make deals with them, which still hadn’t kept him from getting possessed. Even so, he was pretty sure ghouls stuck to underground places when they could find them, or the lower floors of abandoned buildings when they couldn’t. A nightclub and a parking garage didn’t fit the profile.
“You are correct.” Flashes of memories flickered behind his eyes, like an old black-and-white film, which had jumped the sprockets. Centuries of encounters: in caves and catacombs and great cities of the dead.
You don’t seem concerned.
“There is no reason to be concerned. Ghouls are weak. We will feed.” Desire there, bordering on lust, because feeding was…different…in a living body.
The scent grew more intense as they climbed. Caleb struggled to spot any shadows lurking between the cars. Despite Gray’s indifference, he still felt nervous; what the hell was a ghoul doing up here?
There: movement…in a sedan, weirdly enough. Two women, one of them starting the engine, and the other slumped in the passenger seat, apparently passed out. And all around the vehicle, the thick scent of ghoul.
The driver glanced up—and froze as she caught sight of them in the mirror. Her eyes widened in fear. Did something inside her sense Gray, or was her panic human? The backup lights flared white, and an instant later the car hurtled backward.
Caleb yelped and jumped to the side. The car came to a halt inches from another vehicle, then, tires squealing, took off toward the exit.
“It cannot escape!”
Caleb didn’t know what was going on, but Gray was right. He took off after the sedan; under normal circumstances, it would have left him far behind. But there was nothing normal about Caleb’s circumstances anymore.
He kept up with the vehicle easily, as long as it was forced to slow down to make the turns leading out to the exit. But the moment it hit the straight stretch in front of the hotel, it would surely leave him behind.
“We will not let it get far.”
Gray had noticed a shortcut, and tried to angle them toward it. Caleb stumbled, feet tangling as they fought, his every instinct screaming Gray’s idea was crazy.
Gray strained against him, a feeling Caleb couldn’t have even begun to describe to anyone else, something inside him trying to push him out of the way. It was either go now, or risk losing control of Gray.
Trying not to think, just move, Caleb leapt onto a parked car with a single, easy jump. Even as its alarm went off, he jumped again, over the low wall its bumper snugged up against and into the night air.
The car had been parked on the second floor; Caleb landed on the pavement below like a cat. From behind him, there came the sound of shattering wood as the ghoul’s car hit the wooden cross arm of the tollgate and came roaring out of the parking garage and through the hotel lot. Caleb lunged to his feet and ran to intercept, waving his arms like a madman in hopes of forcing the driver to swerve into some of the parked cars.
Instead, the front bumper smashed directly into him.
Master of Ghouls will be released April 2nd!
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