The Chameleon’s Bite
Jade Carver planned on getting completely drunk. For a vampire like her, however, there was only one way of getting there. She plied the human male at the bar with seven straight shots of whiskey–he was ready. But she couldn’t bring herself to drink from his vein just to get a buzz off him. She only fed out of necessity; feeding meant she wouldn’t be able to control herself.
Jade looked up into darker-than-life green eyes. “Aeron Blake.” Aeron Blake, the Paranormal Assassin Guild’s most deadly assassin. There was only one reason to be looking into those twinkling, inhuman eyes. “You’ve come to kill me.” It wasn’t a question.
“You should be flattered,” Aeron said. “They don’t usually send me for one little vampire.”
Very flattering. “A Dark Elf assassin. I am a lucky girl.”
A smile danced across his handsome face, his very handsome face, Jade noticed. With those insanely green eyes and a heroically chiseled jaw. It wasn’t only his face that caught her attention. The rest of him wasn’t bad either. Almost of their own volition, her eyes moved down over his broad shoulders and toned abs to his tapered waist, and then...She managed to stop them from travelling any lower–just.
She’d fallen for a handsome assassin before, and it had nearly cost her everything. She wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice.
“It should be an interesting fight,” Aeron observed mildly.
“I agree.” If only it weren’t to the death.
Aeron slid onto the barstool next to her as if he had all the time in the world. “Is it true what they say?”
“They say a lot of things.”
“They do,” he said giving her an amused look. “I’m referring to the rumor you summoned a vengeance god to kill the Master Vampire who made you.”
“Yeah, that one’s true.” It hadn’t been one of her finer moments.
She’d been one of the Guild’s most successful assassins, building up a body count rivaled only by Aeron. Until the Master of the local vamp nest, tired of having his vampires assassinated, decided to make an example of her. He might have killed her. She wished he had. Instead he condemned her to a fate far worse than death. He made her into a vampire.
Jade’s solution was to call up Vidar, the Celtic god of vengeance. The Master Vampire had ruined her life after all; she couldn’t very well slay vampires if she was one. So she sent the vengeance god to kill him, which he did, thereby freeing her from his control. And that was great. But then he asked for something in return, which Jade had stupidly agreed to.
“They say the vengeance god had a favor to ask in return,” Aeron said as if he could read her thoughts.
“Vidar got it into his thick, godly head that it would be fun for me to feed on him. He’d seen how happy such play made the human blood slaves at the Master’s nest. The afterlife was proving to be a bit slow in the halls of Valhalla. Apart from the odd jaunt back to earth when summoned, every day was pretty much the same. He wanted to try something different.”
“Who were you to argue with a god?” Aeron agreed.
And he was a hunky, tall, and extremely buff Nordic type, after all (another example of why she shouldn’t allow her hormones to make her decisions for her). He looked like good eating. So she did it. And it was fun.
Jade knew the Paranormal Assassin’s Guild might not trust her as a vampire, but she didn’t think they’d try to kill her for it.
“I’ve never killed a part god, part vampire before,” Aeron declared.
She wouldn’t be his first, not if she could help it.
Aeron drew an elfin throwing blade from each sleeve. He was right; things were going to get interesting. Elf-blades were magically connected to their owners from birth. Throwing a blade wasn’t the end of it. The blade continued to answer an elf’s mental commands long after leaving their hand. She watched one such blade stab a man twenty times all while its elf owner stood by.
The few patrons of the bar scattered at the sight of Aeron’s weapons. Aeron was the type to unleash his twin blades and then sit back with a box of popcorn to watch the show.
He looked her up and down. “Tell you what, I’ll make it easier for you, shall I?”
“What are you going to do, tie one hand behind your back?” He could have tied both behind his back; the blades would do all the work for him.
He grinned. “Shall I close my eyes?”
Jade had about enough of his cockiness. “I could close my eyes.” So she did. She pulled her shirt over her head, glad she had a tank top underneath, and wrapped the material around her head.
Aeron muttered hastily, “Okay, okay, me too.”
Jade heard what sounded like a shirt being removed. She peeked under the blindfold. Wow. Dark Elves certainly had a nice glow to their smooth, tanned skin, didn’t they? And nice six-packs. And nice biceps. And...she snapped the blindfold back in place. Not looking at his naked torso was definitely a good idea right now.
There was a whisper, inaudible to human ears, as Jade unsheathed her blade. The Dark Elf would have heard it. The blade was known as Skraela Svero, or screaming sword, because it let out a cry that got louder as the danger increased. Jade didn’t see why she couldn’t have a weapon called a sweetly, singing sword that let out a nice warning melody instead of the nails on chalk board sound this one made.
“What’s that?” It was his turn to peek. “Oh, you have a sword. Hum, I didn’t notice.”
The Blade didn’t show itself. Not unless it wanted to be seen. As soon as she placed it in the sheath down her back, it melted away. Despite its size, the large Katana seemed to weigh very little—most of the time, unless it was itching for a fight. Like this moment.