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Copyright ©2017 B.J. McCall
He wanted more. His days of partying were over. He had money, but no company. He had free time, but had lost his father. Now those fishing trips they'd talked about would never be. Grant needed a new challenge, something that mattered, so what the hell was he doing sleeping during the day and spending his nights with Magan?
He glanced up and down the deserted street. The odds of finding a cab in this area of the city weren't good. Maybe a long, quiet walk was just what he needed to clear his head and think about a new path.
He hadn't gone three blocks when a woman stepped out of a recessed doorway. It was too dark to get a good look at her, but the woman had long hair and despite the cool night air she wore a sleeveless dress.
Her skin was pale and her voice husky. "Looking for a party?"
Grant kept walking. "No, thanks."
As he passed by the woman grabbed the sleeve of his jacket. "Let's have some fun."
Grant shrugged, trying to shake her off. "I said no thanks."
The woman's grip tightened. Surprisingly strong, she spun Grant around and shoved him into the dark alcove from which she had emerged.
"What the fuck!"
She released his jacket and grabbed him by the throat. Grant shoved back, but she didn't budge. One-handed, she held his one-hundred-eighty pound body against a metal door. "Divine doesn't like being turned down."
The woman grabbed him, cupping him firmly.
What was going on? Damn tired of being handled, he grabbed the woman's wrist. Her skin was cold. "Let go of me," he said, keeping his voice low and his tone level.
"Don't want to play? Too bad."
Although Divine let go of his package, she squeezed his throat.
Grant had never hit a woman in his life, but Divine was cutting off his air supply.
He swung, his fist connecting with her jaw. She took the punch without flinching and emitted a low hiss.
Her eyes glowed a deep red. "Don't make Divine hurt you."
Maybe it was the lack of oxygen that made him see red. She eased her grip and Grant sucked in air.
"I have two hundred in my wallet," Grant managed between ragged breaths. "Take it."
Her fingers slid along his neck. "I don't want your money."
"What do you want?"
Divine gripped the collar of his shirt. Long nails scraped his neck. She yanked, shredding the cotton fabric.
Grant gave her a shove and tried to get around her.
She clamped her hands around his forearms and pressed her body against his, pinning him against the door. He tried to move, but Divine was ungodly strong.
"What do you want?"
She licked his neck, then plunged something sharp into the wet spot.
Fear laced down Grant's spine. She'd stabbed him. He jerked his knee up, hitting Divine where it should hurt, but she just grunted and sucked noisily on his neck.
He felt no pain, but this was all wrong. His eyelids fluttered and he fought to remain conscious. Any second now, he was going to pass out.
"Divine! He belongs to me!"
Divine's head jerked. Pain ripped through his neck and hot liquid splashed his neck and face. What the hell? I'm bleeding.
"He's not yours, Magan."
Grant didn't recognize the commanding female voice, but Divine began to shake.
"Well, now, look who they sent after me. I'm flattered."
Who was Magan speaking to?
Grant called out, his voice weak, barely a whisper. "Magan. Help me."
A bright light flashed, illuminating the sidewalk.
"Let's do this." That voice again, feminine, but strong and determined.
Magan laughed. "You're too late, Arista. He's mine."
He didn't belong to anyone, but he damn well wanted to get away from Divine. He tried to pull out of her fierce grip. An engine revved and tires squealed as a vehicle sped away. Magan? Had she left him?
"Divine. Don't make me come and get you."
Divine released Grant's arms. Too woozy to stand, he slid down to the doorstep. Divine huddled against the wall. Light flickered on the sidewalk. "I can make it quick or painful. Your choice."
Divine rushed toward the light, then her head flew to the right and her body dropped.
Tremors raced down Grant's spine. "What the fuck?"
A tall woman dressed in black appeared. She wore a shiny belt on her hips and high-heeled boots, and she held a shining sword. She grabbed Grant by the front of his jacket, hauled him to his feet and dragged him out of the doorway. Her eyes were pale blue and her short, dark hair had blue streaks. Or was it the bright silvery light from the shining sword that tinted her hair?
The woman's gaze met his. "Did she bite you?"
The woman leaned in. "She got you."
Her breath was minty and her scent flowery and sweet, a total contrast to the command in her voice and the black getup. His head swam. If he didn't sit down he was going to fall down. "Where's Magan?"
"The bitch took off."
Dark splotches appeared before Grant's eyes, blocking out the bright silvery light. "Who are you? What are you?"
"Arista, your defender."