Friday, September 4, 2015
Excerpt from Blood Slave (Realm Walker #3) by Kathleen Collins
Posted by: Kathleen Collins
There are zombies in the Dead Zone and Juliana Norris is sent to take care of the problem. And for there to be zombies, there had to be bodies. When vampires are found to be the culprits, Juliana is sent undercover in the red light district of Kansas City. Lying to her mate, Thomas Kendrick, isn’t something she wants to do, but she’s in another vampire’s territory and Thomas would not be pleased. Besides, she’s more than capable of doing the job and she needs to prove it to everyone. Most of all herself.
Charles Morgan is in control of the Kansas City area, making a rich living off his various enterprises. Juliana goes undercover at the strip club Lust and gets sucked into his dark, decadent world. More victims turn up and the Agency is positive they’ve got their man, but Juliana is not so sure. When the Agency refuses to listen, she reluctantly turns to Thomas for help. He intervenes but finds Juliana unaware of the danger she is in and discovers she may just be too deep for him to save.
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Early the next morning, Thomas drove into the parking lot at the Agency. Juliana sat beside him running her thumb over the spot where her engagement ring normally sat. She hadn’t been without it since Thomas had it charmed so she couldn’t lose it. There was no way Thomas hadn’t noticed its absence this morning, but he’d said nothing. She felt almost naked without it. Like she’d left something important at home. Sometimes her work really interfered with her being a girl.
She’d done everything she could think of to get him to stay home, but he insisted on seeing her off. And, as she couldn’t think of a good excuse to refuse him, here he was. She’d managed to send Nathaniel a text to warn him about her cover story, but since he didn’t respond she had no idea if he got the text or not. Cursed werewolf.
No sooner had she climbed out of the car, than Nathaniel rushed from the building and trotted over to greet her. He grabbed the duffel from her hand. “Let me get that, pup.” He winked at her and relief coursed through her. Surely that meant he’d gotten her message. Didn’t it?
“Mr. Kendrick.” Nathaniel greeted him with a nod. “Good to see you again.”
She snorted and they both turned to look at her. “Mr. Kendrick? Really? His name is Thomas, Nathaniel. You can call him Thomas.” She pointed at her mate. “And you. Don’t think I don’t know what you’re up to. His name is Nathaniel. You’ve known him long enough to use it by now.”
Nathaniel arched a brow but said nothing while Thomas just scowled.
Shaking her head, she headed for the building. “Men.” It seemed the men in her life were always jockeying for power, position, or authority. She just didn’t see the point of it. Respect others and they’d show respect to you. If they were disrespectful you smacked them around a few times and they fell in line. All this posturing was lost on her. She supposed she’d need to get over that as almost all vampires did was posture and intimidate each other.
“Idiots,” she grumbled under her breath but of course both the werewolf and the vampire heard her.
“Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning,” Nathaniel said.
“To wake up, she would have to sleep first.”
Surprise had her jerking her head in his direction. He’d given no indication that he knew she’d lain awake most of the night, unable to sleep. She’d remained in bed hoping slumber would claim her but her brain kept running an endless loop of all the things that could possibly go wrong with this assignment and how pissed Thomas was going to be if they did.
Several times she’d almost given in and just told him what was going on, where she was headed, but she stopped herself every time. While he’d improved, Thomas was still very ‘me-caveman-you-weak-woman’ when it came to her. If she started taking her mate on all her assignments, the other kids would make fun of her.
“They’ve got the portal mage waiting for us,” Nathaniel said as the three of them walked in the door. Juliana glanced at him out of the corner of her eye. They weren’t taking a portal into the city surely. If they wanted to blend in they needed to be like anyone else that hung out in the River Market. And those sorts of people generally couldn’t afford portal mages.
But then again, it would look suspicious if they didn’t take a portal to the conference. Damn Thomas. She stopped and turned to him. “There’s really no reason for you to come all the way to the portal room with us. It’s not like you haven’t seen one before.”
He studied her with those piercing topaz eyes. His hands in his pockets, he rocked back on his heels. “All right then.” He placed a warm but chaste kiss on her lips. After looking her over one more time, he turned and headed back down the hallway.
“He doesn’t believe you’re going to a conference, does he?” Nathaniel asked, once Thomas was out of earshot.
“Not even a little bit,” she agreed.
Above all I am a mother, then a wife and then a writer. All the other roles in my life filter in around those three things.