Hey guys! We're only a few weeks away from the release of Jamal and Angel's story!
So, I thought you might like a sneak peek into their story...Please remember, this is an unedited first draft, so forgive me if there are typos.
And don't forget to preorder and add it to your TBR list!
Tonight was the night. Tonight was the night I would leave.
I repeated this to myself over and over as I walked out of The Purple Fang, the male strip club my coven owned on Bourbon Street in The French Quarter of New Orleans. It was also where we performed, and where we fed. And the only place I felt like I didn't belong to anyone but myself.
It hadn’t been my choice to work there. We were forced into the club by the restrictions of the witches. However, taking off my clothes for an audience was my choice. The women I took into the back room were my choice. And the women I took it a step farther with were my choice.
Not anyone else's. MINE.
I pulled up the collar of my jacket as I checked out what was happening outside the club. Things could get a little dicey in this part of the city at night, and it was always good to know what I was about to walk into. Girls who'd traded their bras for beads after too many Hurricanes and now couldn't find their hotel? I was more than happy to help get them there safe and sound. Guys who couldn't handle their alcohol and were chasing each other up and down the street with busted beer bottles? Yeah, nah. Imma be getting the hell out of there quick. Let the cops handle those idiots.
It had started raining sometime in the afternoon, so Bourbon Street was relatively empty. And I was glad for it because I didn't bring the car. At least with no one around I didn't have to pretend to be human. I'd be home before the rain had a chance to soak my clothes. I could pack some stuff, my laptop, and my camera, and be out of there before Killian had a chance to stop me.
Because that's exactly what he would do. He wouldn't be able to help himself, no matter how much I told him I needed to go.
I started home, and then remembered I had told Lizzy I would stop by her shop for her. She'd left her dog's medication there, and rather than have her run out in the cold rain to get it, I told her I would stop on my way home since Killian—her mate—was going to be a while yet. Plus, it would be my way of saying goodbye.
I liked Lizzy, and I liked Wiggles, and not only because she kept Killian off my back most of the time. It was just nice having another woman in the house. It was nice to come home and have the house smell like whatever she'd cooked for dinner. I couldn't eat it, but it was still nice. And she was an easy person to be around. She made it comfortable there. Homey. So, for her, I'd trek an extra few blocks out of my way, and even get my clothes wet.
About half a block from Ancient Magicks, I slowed down, narrowing my eyes. Someone had just come out of Lizzy's store. Their back was to me, and all I could tell was that it was a woman. With a wave of her hand, she locked the door again—or so I assumed—looked up and down the street, and walked away, her hands shoved in her pockets and her bright red hair mostly covered with the hood of her black raincoat.
With my dark skin and clothes, it was easy for me to step into the entrance to a courtyard and not be noticed. But I knew that red hair, bright as a candied apple against her pale, white skin, like Leeloo in The Fifth Element. One of my favorite movies. As I watched her walk away, I let the witch put some distance between us.
Angel, that was her name. Angel Moss. One of the witches from the local coven run by Lizzy's aunt. I'd seen her around here and there over the last few years, but mostly I remembered her from the night we'd all been here to try to find Kenya, my best friend in the coven. Although, that night was something I'd rather try to forget.
When she was a good three blocks away from me, I started to follow her, curious as to what she was doing in the shop this late. I hadn't seen anything in her hands, but that didn't mean anything. She was a witch. She could hide shit easily. A fucking elephant could be strolling alongside her and I would never know it if she didn't want me to.
That kind of shit creeped out some vampires, and I was one hundred and fifty percent one of those bloodsuckers. It was strange, because I grew up with women—and some men—practicing voodoo they'd brought with them from Haiti when they were forced to relocate to this country. But what the witches here practiced was nothing like voodoo. Nah. That shit was a different beast entirely. And it made my skin crawl like roaches were embedded in the muscle beneath it.
Angel stopped suddenly in the middle of the sidewalk, her head turning slightly like she was listening to something. I ducked into a doorway, my own sensitive ears hearing nothing but the rain hitting the pavement and my own soft breathing. I waited for her to turn around and look right at me, but she didn't. After a few heartbeats, she crossed the street and headed toward the Garden District.
A few seconds later, I followed her, knowing I may not find out anything if she crossed into her neighborhood. It was warded by the witches. They would know as soon as I stepped foot over the line, and then there would be more questions than I was ready to answer. She walked two more blocks and turned a corner. Looking around to make sure there were no witnesses, I jogged ahead at vamp speed, slowing down only when I'd reached the street she'd turned on. I waited a heartbeat, and then leaned out around the corner. But she was fucking gone.
I walked around the corner, narrowing my eyes against the rain, but I couldn't find her anywhere. There was no way she'd made it to the next turn that fast. So she'd either gone inside one of these houses, or she'd known I was following her the entire time. "Dammit," I muttered.
"Why are you following me, vampire?"
I whipped around with a curse to find her directly behind me, hands in the pockets of her jacket, head tilted with curiosity.
She didn't bother to correct me, just stood there, waiting for an explanation.
“What are you doing sneaking around Lizzy's shop?" I didn't know the extent of her magic, so I figured being straight up was probably my best option here.
"None of your business." She went to walk around me, and without thinking I grabbed her arm.
A current of energy whipped up my arm, zapping me, and I jerked back, holding my hands in front of me, palms out. Baring my teeth as the hair rises on the back of my neck, I muttered, "Sorry, princess."
"Don't flash your fangs at me, vampire. I'm not afraid of your bite."
My cock twitched in my pants as I wondered if her blood was as spicy as her personality. "Keep your fucking magic in check, Leeloo. I just wanna talk."
"There's nothing for us to discuss," she told me. "I was in the shop. The shop once owned by our coven and still owned by my cousin. It's none of your concern why I was there or what I was doing. End of discussion. Now stop following me."
She turned to leave and I reached out to stop her again before I remembered myself and rushed around her to block her path. She stopped when I appeared in front of her, her face a mask of impatience, but she didn't try to go around me or zap me out of her way. "I'm getting wet," she said in a bored voice.
I knew what she meant, and still my mind immediately went there. A low growl rose in my chest, but I bit it off before she could hear it. My nostrils flared, searching for her scent. With the overpowering humidity of the rain it wasn't more than a wisp on the wind, but it was there. Earthy and full of spice, just as I remembered. It made my mouth water.
"If you have something to say, say it. Otherwise get the hell out of my way."
"Jamal," I told her.
"My name is Jamal."
She lifted one dark eyebrow, as if to say, "And?"
"Does Lizzy know you were in her shop?"
"Good gods, vampire, drop it already, will you? You've got nothing on me."
"Then why won't you tell me what you were doing there?"
"What were you doing there?" she asked me.
"Turnaround is fair play, right? You tell me what you were doing there and I'll tell you why I was there."
"I was getting Wiggles' medication that Lizzy accidentally left there when she locked up earlier today.” Crossing my arms over my chest, I waited for her reciprocate.
The rain started to come down harder, and she gave the sky a dirty look and then pulled her hood down farther over her face. "It was nice chatting with you, Jamal," she dragged my name out, “but I gotta go." She took a step forward, so close I could feel her body heat through the raincoat she was wearing. I stared down into her hazel eyes, moss green with streaks of golden brown, then dipped down to her ruby red lips, watching as her tongue wet her the bottom one. "If I stay here with you any longer," she purred, "I'm going to be completely drenched." She looked up at me, the corners of her mouth turning up into a feline smile.
I stood there, unable to move, as she walked around me and crossed the border into The Garden District.
To Be Continued...