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I took all three of my dogs for a
quick walk outside before I left to get a bite to eat with Beth and Julie. We
hadn’t done lunch in a long time and we were eager to catch up. It was a last-minute
idea we came up with while chatting on the phone. The birds chirped and the sun
shone brightly. Suddenly, my dogs took off across the well-manicured lawn. I’d
give them a couple of minutes before reigning them back in. So I sat down on a
concrete bench and enjoyed the lush garden that burst with vibrant color all around
me. I loved the gorgeous fragrance, it was like I was running in a field of
flowers. The fountain and reflective pool Al had installed were so calming,
tranquil, and relaxing.
My gaze drifted off in front of me.
I stared at my magnificent castle. I couldn’t believe how happy I was. While
fairytale castles are more often associated with medieval Europe, I had my very
own right here in the good old USA. I lived in a safe, impregnable fortress
that had stood longer than the United States had been established. I was truly
blessed. Slayer barked. I laughed as my dogs gleefully romped and rolled around
in the soft grass to their heart’s content.
never been so happy.
I sent a text to Logan, then looked
down at the time on my phone. I better get the dogs back in and check on Beth.
When I stepped back inside, I
called up the stairs to Beth. “Are you ready yet?”
“C’mon, girl. It shouldn’t take
“That long? You only told me we’re
heading to lunch what, twenty minutes ago?”
“A little spontaneity never hurt
anyone,” I hollered up at her with a shrug.
“Don’t lecture me about being
come-what-may. You know the things I’ve seen! I’ll be down in a minute.”
“Hey, did you let your hubby know
you’re going to lunch?”
“He’s helping Mr. Peterson put up
some drywall in his shop in town. The poor guy is seventy years old and doesn’t
have anyone to give him a hand.”
“Aw. That fella of yours is a
saint,” she said.
A grin spread across my face. “And
that’s why I love him.”
A flash of yellow light brightened
the room as our friend teleported in. “Hello, ladies!”
My little dog, Slayer, barked as his
nails clicked across the marble floor. My hellhounds just wagged their tails.
They all greeted Julie with a warm welcome.
I rushed over and gave her a hug.
“Julie! It’s so great to see you.”
“It’s wonderful to see you too.”
“Hmm,” I said, staring curiously at
her camouflage attire. “Is this some sort of new trend I didn’t know about?”
“Oh. About that…” she said, looking
down at herself.
Before she could finish her
explanation of the military garb, Beth walked in wearing a cute dress with
ruffles, looking like she’d just stepped off an episode of Overgrown Toddlers and Tiaras.
“Uh, I’m sorry, but that frilly frou-frou
is just not gonna work,” Julie said, shaking her head.
Beth frowned. “Why not, Miss G.I.
My brow raised. “What, exactly, do
you have planned? I was told we were just going to grab a quick bite somewhere
She handed us some power bars. “There’s
been a change of plans. So here’s a snack.”
“But I wanted real food.”
Beth smirked. “What was that you just
told me? A little spontaneity never hurt anyone.”
“Hush, you,” I scolded, pretending
to be irritated.
“No worries, girls. Munch on these
snacks. We can get a bite afterward.”
“After what?” Beth said with a
“Oh, nothing much, just a little
raid,” Julie said.
This time Beth sighed. “Look, my
stomach’s growling, and I’m dressed to kill in this cute little number I found
at that boutique. I’m not doing any raids unless it’s a boxer shorts raid at
the local frat house.”
Julie laughed. “It’s not exactly
fitting for taking down a house deep in the woods and arresting all the
“Arresting them? What for?”
“They’re vamps who’ve been feasting
on humans, breaking immortal law. The Council thought it might be good for both
of you to accompany us, for a little training and experience.”
“I’m intrigued,” she said. “Let me
just change really quick.”
“Change quickly? That’ll be the
day,” I whispered to Julie.
“Hey! I heard that,” Beth said
before she ran up the stairs. “I may not be immortal, but my ears still work,
I laughed and clapped Julie on the
shoulder. “I’ll be right back,” I said. I then hurried upstairs to my room,
threw my hair into a high ponytail, and changed out of my little skort and tank
and into my trusty camouflage skinny jeans and boots. When I ran into Beth in
the hallway, she was wearing an army-green jacket, black skinny jeans, boots,
and a hat.
“Much better, you two. Now you
really are dressed to kill!” Julie said.
We said goodbye to our furry
friends, then we were transported to California, where we were briefed about
the upcoming mission.
was definitely postponed. The next thing I knew, I was lying on my belly in the
bushes, peering through the riflescope and watching for any signs of movement
in the house in front of us. I felt like some sort of military sniper. I’d even
been fitted with a bulletproof vest, and I had a tactical earpiece headset to
allow me to eavesdrop.
satellite on the house?” a voice asked.
Our drone’s up and running, and there are definitely signs of life in there.”
sure about that?” the voice said. “I mean, technically speaking, vamps are—”
yeah. You know what I mean.”
total, one on the south side, two on the east, and another on the west…er. Hold
up. They’re moving. Looks like they’re movin’ the party to the living room.”
living room? Nice.”
funny…but there’s nothin’ nice about it. We’ve been made!”
right. Proceed as planned.”
peeked through the bushes and watched a smoke grenade sail through the air,
right into the open window of the family room.
time, girlies,” Julie said, then tapped Beth and me and motioned for us to
weapons drawn, we crept behind her.
pointed at the door. “Sophie, why don’t you do the honors?”
nodded and grinned, then gave it a swift kick, splintering it down the center.
Sometimes, I didn’t know my own strength. But I was super strong, maybe even
stronger than one of these immortals here with us.
again, Julie took the lead and leapt in, sweeping her gun back and forth in the
smoky house. With my heart racing, I followed, with Beth right behind me.
Windows crashed, and more immortals from our team flew in, bursting through the
smog and commotion. Shards of glass peppered the floors.
out!” Julie yelled, giving me a shove to save me from doom as glass flew past
a shuddering breath, I stumbled against the wall. “Thanks. That was a close
one,” I said.
gunfire filled the air, coming from friends and enemies alike. Chunks of
plaster separated from the wall, and screams echoed around me. I blinked and coughed,
trying not to inhale too much of the sulfuric stench.
I was trying to breathe and ignore the burning sensation in my eyes in the
aftermath of another explosion of bullets next to me, a vampire pounced. The
undead thing growled like some rabid beast as it savagely bit the neck of a
nearby police officer. Beth’s ammo hit it more than once, but it was too strong
and powerful to be taken down so easily, and it quickly turned its attention to
her. Fearing the worst, I ran over to help, but by the time I got there, Beth
had everything under control and emptied her clip into the vampire. It fell
down, twitching, then closed its eyes.
burst of machine gunfire was next on the menu. Fortunately for everyone on my
side, I could give Superman a run for his money when it came to being faster
than a speeding bullet. I simply held up my hands, and the shells stopped in
midair, then clattered to the floor.
I was disarming the spray of gunfire, strong arms wrapped around me and lifted
me high in the air. Before I could even turn to see who it was, I was flying
over the table and crashing into a mirror. Stunned, and with pain filling my
body, I jumped to my feet. My head spun, and I couldn’t seem to force my eyes
thudding of heavy boots and the crunch of glass underfoot alerted me that
someone or something else was coming my way. I squinted through the swirling
smoke and made out a man with long, red hair and razor-sharp teeth. With a look
of disgust on his face, he raised his automatic rifle at me and fired. As a
shiver ran up my spine, I threw up a wall of energy to defend myself. I was
highly relieved when the bullet bounced back and embedded itself deep in the
the redheaded vampire picked up the table, as if it weighed nothing at all, and
violently swung it around in the air. His wicked gaze never left me, not even
when he sidestepped to avoid the blazing energy ball I hurled his way. The wall
exploded behind him when the fireball hit, but I concentrated on conjuring up
another one. I took better aim with the second onslaught, and that time, I
didn’t miss; with all the accuracy of an NFL quarterback, I knocked that
creature right on his end zone, slamming him into the china cabinet.
your weapon!” Julie shouted at him. “Now!” Then, as soon as he complied, she threw
the vampire up against the wall and cuffed him.
was on my way over to help her with the brute when a woman came out of nowhere
and clamped her hand around my throat. Her black nails were so long that I felt
them graze my earlobes, and she came at me with such momentum that it sent us
both rolling, till we collided with the dining room table. I lifted my arm and
threw a fireball at her, and she let out the scream of a banshee in labor as
she flew back and connected with the wall.