I’d love this to be a regular feature, but I’m afraid I’m not a prolific enough writer to keep giving you teases about books 😛 This looked like a fun little thing, so I’ve decided to share the completely unedited opening chapter to Infernal Bonds book two in my Infernal Hunt series. Although it’s book two readers can jump in here, or start with book one, the novella Infernal Ties.
Without further ado!
The rough blurb:
Not only is it a blood moon, but there’s a rare celestial alignment that means the veils between the worlds are far more fragile than usual. That allows chaos to reign over the city for one night. Shades play pranks on tourists, redcaps take advantage and run wild, and two sinfully sexy hellhounds slip through.
The redcaps are easily wrangled, the shades are mildly amusing, but the hellhounds are another thing entirely. They evade capture and remain in the city once the moon sets. Two hounds, with two entirely different agendas. One wants freedom. The other wants to bring about hell on Earth. And he has help.
Hunters had come from all over the country for the blood moon. Prague was an old and powerful city, there was a great deal of magic within its boundaries, and that made blood moons interesting to say the least. Even more so given that the planets were in an unusual alignment making everything more potent than it had been in a century. Some of the hunters were there to make a profit from their kills, others just wanted to keep the innocent humans safe. Us? Prague was our home, we had to keep to safe, but we do still have bills to pay.
We’d gathered with other hunters to split the city up into zones to stop arguments over bounties and profits. Quin and I were covering Old Town Square, where we stood facing down a small collection of blood thirsty redcaps. The drunk tourists they’d been stalking had slipped away to safety, but the redcaps had crossed the line and killed three humans that night. They had to be put down, of course if I had my way, redcaps would be wiped out of existence. They were vile creatures who served no purpose outside of selling their parts to alchemists for money.
The leader, Red, although all redcaps are called Red, glared at us. They’d even put on shoddily made red hats for the night, for tradition’s sake I assumed. The caps started the evening out white but the redcaps had dipped them in the blood of their victims turning them red. They truly were vile creatures, and it wasn’t very easy to tell apart in the semi-darkness. They all had slightly yellowed skin, yellow pointed teeth and filthy long nails that had started to curl. The leader had blood drying around his mouth, that was currently twisted into a snarling grin, and a missing ear. It turned out that one of the tourists from before we’d arrived was quite feisty and put up a good fight, it was a shame they got overwhelmed and lost in the end.
I glanced to Quin who had his pouch of iron filings in his hand, he gave me a small nod and we pushed forward. Iron is poisonous to fae, which given how difficult they are to kill without it, is useful to know. I’d coated my blades in iron filings, they were stuck to the blade by the thick viscous blood of Red’s brothers who were heaped up against the old stone wall of the tower. The leader lunged forwards at Quin who laughed heartily and threw the filings in his face. The smallest of the group slashed at me with his twisted nails, I blocked the clumsy attack with my forearm and plunged my blade into his stomach. He screamed, an animalistic blood-curdling sound that echoed around the square.
I dragged the blade down and pulled it back as Quin took the legs out from under the leader with a heavy kick to the back of the knees. The leader’s knees crunched under the impact before he landed in a kneeling position. The final redcap was desperate. He screamed and ran at me with his fingers extended. He feinted to the left, I didn’t move quickly enough and felt those cursed claws cut through my jeans and sink into my thigh. I refused to give him the satisfaction of screaming. Instead I hacked at his bicep causing him to leap back.
Quin punched him in the temple that made him stumble before he slit his throat. “Really sis, you shouldn’t play with them like that.”
He flashed me a rogueish grin. Blood covered my jeans and the pain cut through my thoughts. It wasn’t the only injury I’d incurred that night but the sun was rising, the night was over, and we had enough bounty to live well for a few months. We set about gathering as much blood from the redcaps as we could into the vials and jars that we had on us. We stripped out their teeth, hair, and claws. The alchemists would pay us a small fortune for everything we’d managed to gather. The bodies disintegrated and left nothing more than small black puddles after some half an hour. The fluid would evaporate leaving no trace of the night by the time the tourists got up. I’d never understood what caused fae to vanish like that but it made my life easier.
We pulled on our backpacks full of clinking glassware with varying disgusting odds and ends that the alchemists would coo and grin over. My thigh was hurting more than I wanted to admit, I couldn’t help but limp a little. Quin flashed me another grin “Don’t worry Ev, I’ll fix you up like new.”
I squeezed his shoulder and returned his grin, it was contagious. “It was a good night, worth a little pain.”
I wasn’t keen on him dabbling in alchemy, but he used it to help keep us safe and kick creatures’ asses so I couldn’t complain too much.