Retribution in Blood

an excerpt

Chapter One



They were hunting him and if that didn't suck bad enough, by Micah's estimate, they'd catch up to him in the next two minutes. Desperate to put off the confrontation for as long as possible, he ran down the eerily deserted street. Night had fallen on the city of Detroit a few hours ago and the darkness of the sky gave way to weak streetlights and a thin, pale crescent moon. The air reeked of garbage, humans and smog. The only sounds were his harsh rasping breaths and the thumps of his military boots stomping on the pavement. Behind him, he could hear similar footfalls, only doubled since there were two Pure Born vampires giving chase. Then another noise reached his ears. This one was sinister enough to make his skin crawl. A high-pitched laugh followed by a voice.

"Running only makes it more fun for us. Just ask all the other Drones we've killed."

With the exception of an irritated grunt, Micah stayed silent. If they thought he'd start pleading and sobbing for his life, they were in for a sad disappointment. He did twist around long enough to flip them off as he continued to run. His boots sloshed through what may have been a puddle of rainwater, but he wouldn't be surprised to find it to be something more foul and organic. Since this was Detroit, one could never be sure what exactly collected in the street.

"Micah! Micah, come out to play. We have all kinds of fun things to show you," one of the Pure Borns chanted like some bad parody of a bad guy in an action movie.

Surprised at hearing his name, Micah jumped and missed a step, nearly making a face plant on the pavement. The already high level of fear went up another notch as he finally broke and let out the softest of groans. How in the hell did they know who he was? The city was full of Drones like himself. Since the city was a haven for those who worked under the Drone Rebellion, the fact the Pure Borns had singled him out of the group and had actively tracked him down made his blood turn to ice. Even before the war, nobody wanted to attract the attention of the Pure Born- run government.

Out of habit, he tried to reach up and key his ear mic so he could contact his clan. When his fingers found nothing but air and his own flesh, he cursed under his breath. Fear had made him temporarily forget that he'd lost his communication device ten blocks back when he'd been engaged in an earlier battle with a different opponent. Something told Micah that this new pair would be a whole lot harder to beat than the last guy he'd tangled with, too.

Fuckity, fuck, fuck, this was not good. He'd got himself into plenty of messed up situations, but this one had to rank in the top five. Why had he so eagerly agreed to this stupid assignment? If he ever got out of this alive, his clan leader, Eric, was going to have his ass.

Just as he got ready to turn around and confront his enemy, he sensed it, the now-familiar scent that marked his mate. Micah smiled to himself as he realized the assholes behind him were in for one hell of a nasty surprise. Spurred on, Micah decided to push forward.

The Pure Borns were so close now, Micah could literally feel them breathe on his neck. His own fangs elongated as he got ready for the upcoming confrontation.

Just as he sensed one of them reaching out for him, he dodged to the side and bolted up the steps of one of the many abandoned houses dotting the rundown neighborhood.

One of the Pure Borns let out a whoop of delight. "He's making it so damn easy. Drones are so stupid."

Ignoring the barb, Micah pushed open the warped, wood front door and stumbled into the house. Empty except for numerous used syringes and crack pipes, it would be a perfect place for the Pure Borns to corner him...and that is just what Micah wanted them to think.

The Pure Borns followed him in, which is exactly the way Micah planned it. They were about to get a hard lesson on who was truly the stupid one. Turning around, he let out an exasperated, "What do you want?"

Both of the Pure Borns stopped, identical looks of shock on their faces. Clearly, they had expected fear, maybe even a little bit of crying. His annoyance seemed to take some of the air out of their gonna-get-you sails. One look at them confirmed his worst fears as to their identity. Both of them were dressed in the Pure Born uniforms of all black from their sharply pressed pants, to crisp button up shirts. Even the rifles they had pointed in his face were Vampire Regulation Force issue. It seemed the Pure Borns fear of entering the werewolf-controlled city had ended.

"Micah Cooper," the taller of the Pure Borns spoke with a certainty that showed he already knew who stood in front of him. He had short dark hair slicked back in a style that'd gone out of vogue years ago. But then again, since his kind had been vampires since birth, he'd probably been around a century or two, so he no doubt thought he was styling.

"Yes, that's me," Micah replied calmly. Not seeing any sense in denying it.

"Son of the humans who call themselves Margaret and Adam Cooper?" the second one demanded. He had a short blond military buzz and cold gray eyes.

Micah fought to remain cocky and at ease, even though his heart pounded painfully. The mere thought of his mother's name resting on a Pure Born's lips made Micah see red. Instead of giving them the satisfaction of seeing his anger, he slowly shook his head as he made a tsking sound. "Did you really just say son of? That's just so clich├ęd, it's sad."

"Just answer the damn question?" the dark-haired one snapped as he gripped the butt of his rifle.

"Yes...no...kind of," Micah hedged, loving the looks of confusion and annoyance his answer generated. While aggravating the vampires was fun as hell, he also hoped to bide for more time so Ozzie could get there to help. It wouldn't take long. With each passing second, he could sense his mate drawing nearer.

"What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" Blondie sneered, his disdain clearly marked on his handsome face.

Nothing new there. All Pure Borns looked down on their Drone counterparts. They thought since Drones were made transformed from humans they didn't deserve to have the same rights and privileges as those who were born vampire.

"Well, my dad is dead, so he's not exactly calling himself anything these days." He scratched his head, making a big show of acting like a dumbass. "I mean, I guess he could if he were a zombie or a ghoul or something. But last time I visited his grave, it looked intact, so I'm pretty sure he stayed dead. Although if he were a ghoul, I doubt he'd be going around shouting, My son is Micah. Last I knew, ghouls are pretty selfish and all they care about is feeding off rotting flesh. Since I'm not dead, he'd probably just ignore me. Which would make for one sucky family reunion if you ask me. Of course, if he--"

The taller one let out a low growl and then made a slicing motion for silence. "We have a warrant for your arrest."

"Really? For what?" Micah cocked one brow. Again, not surprising since the Pure Born Vampire Regulation Force, or the VRF as they were called, had a bounty on nearly every member of Eric's clan. The only shocking thing was that they had the balls to enter Detroit to try to arrest someone. Before tonight, the VRF were content to cool their heels and hope that they'd catch any Drones foolish enough to venture outside of the city limits.

"You're wanted for murder, theft, arson and terrorist acts."

"Ah, I see." He gave an understanding nod before he did the scratching thing again. "Which arson?"

The Pure Born paused, clearly thrown off by Micah's question. "There was more than one?"

"Well...yeah." Micah shrugged. Now, he wasn't just bidding for time, but having a blast. God, he'd almost forgot how much fun it was to bait VRF meatheads. "There was the farmhouse where I was held for a year as a living snack for some ferals, the railroad car a couple weeks ago that was transporting some Drone prisoners and the truck in the VRF convoy. That one was just last night." When a tick developed in the dark-haired vampire's jaw, Micah knew he'd finally succeeded in completely messing up their night. He was just getting started, too. "Oh wait! There was also the bar incident, I almost forgot that one."

"You burned down a bar?" the smaller Pure Born cut in.

"Well technically a warlock did, but I may have egged him a bit by betting him he couldn't juggle three fire balls at once. Plus, we didn't completely torch the place. We just singed it a bit. They never even had to close down for repairs. Within an hour, it was business as usual. Although Alonzo had a few hairs missing from his head."

"Alonzo?" the blond let out a small sound of confusion as he slowly shook his head. The other one started to grind his teeth and was slowly caressing the trigger of his rifle.

Frankly, Micah was surprised they'd let him yammer on so long. "Yeah, that's the zombie who runs the bar. He's always had a real aversion to fire. Do you think all zombies are afraid of flames or is he just a special case because we keep torching his business?"

As one, both the Pure Borns primed their rifles.

Okay, so fun time was over.

"How about we just agree the warrant is for all the arsons and leave it at that?" the dark-haired vampire informed him in clipped tones. "What do you have to say for yourself concerning the other charges?"

They were actually asking him for more commentary. It didn't get better than that. "Oh, I did them all."

"You did?" the vampire paused, seeming to lose some of his bluster at Micah's easy confession.

"I sure did. Every last fucking one and I enjoyed them so goddamn much I had a boner the entire time." Micah gave a grin that he knew was cocky. He even added a wink just to add more fuel to their anger.

"And did you also help to manufacture a weapon know as the Sunlight Grenade? Thus developing the capability of wiping out countless numbers of vampires?"

Micah tsked again. "The only ones I'm interested in killing is you Pure Borns."

The vampire raised one dark brow. "So, you're admitting that you've taken up arms against your government?"

"No, I took up arms against an organization that has enslaved and murdered my fellow Drones. I've refused to follow leaders who would take away all my basic rights and leave me with shit. What's more, I haven't felt one bit of remorse over any of it," Micah spat. While he knew, even if Ozzie didn't get there in time, they may still try to rough him up and arrest him, he realized they wouldn't kill him. Ever since they'd mentioned the Sunlight Grenade, he'd known they'd do anything to make sure he was taken in alive. For as much as the VRF feared the weapon, they coveted it and he was one of the few who knew how to manufacture the damn thing.

"You don't have to make this hard on yourself. If you just drop your weapons and turn yourself over to us, we won't harm you," the smaller Pure Born bargained.

"Yeah...the last time I was in the protective custody of Pure Borns, I found myself locked in a cellar so I could be a fuck and suck toy for over a year. Call me crabby, but I don't find myself willing to go in for a repeat of all that."

The dark-haired one curled up his lips as his fangs dropped down in preparation for a fight. "I was hoping you'd be difficult."

With a grin, Micah pulled out a twin set of daggers from the holsters strapped to his back. "Yeah, well I can't make it too easy on you. What would be the fun in that?" he said before he dropped down on one knee.

"Do you honestly think you can take us on by yourself?" the tallest one asked.

"Nope," Micah replied simply, seconds before the sound of claws skittering across the filth- encrusted floor reached them.

The Pure Borns took a step back, but they were already too late. A huge brown wolf jumped over Micah's head and landed in front of him. The animal crouched between Micah and the vampires in a protective manner. Arching its back, the wolf let out a low growl as it flashed its long, sharp canines.

One of the Pure Borns let out a soft whimper, while the other whispered, "I've never seen a werewolf that big before."

"That's because it's not a normal were. It's the half-breed, freak," the first one said as it stared at Ozzie in wide-eyed horror.

Micah neither felt, nor showed any fear of the huge wolf. Instead, he just cocked his head to the side. "It took you long enough to get here, Ozzie." The wolf turned around and let out a huffing sound that came off as an I'm here now, aren't I? So, stop your bitching.

"Did you have to wait until the last minute?" Micah retorted, more than a little ticked. A part of him knew Ozzie took his sweet time in hopes of proving a point to Micah.

Ozzie let out a low growl. This time, it sounded more annoyed than angry, but then again he aimed the growl at Micah.

The Pure Borns looked at each other, no doubt wondering how they managed to get saddled with an idiot Drone and his sidekick mutt.

Just as Micah was about ready to give them the chance to give up and leave, one of the vampires had to be stupid and get aggressive. It really wasn't that much--just a finger tightening on a trigger, but the move let Micah know the time for mercy had ended. "Damn! You assholes would have to make this violent," he said as he brought up the blades.

One of the Pure Borns shot at Ozzie. While vampires were always much quicker than werewolves, this jerk had a real surprise coming his way. Ozzie was in a class of his own. Since he was half-vampire, half-werewolf, he'd been lucky enough to get the best talents from each. He jerked to the side, avoiding the bullet. Before the vampire could even defend himself, Ozzie had him pinned to ground.

The other enemy let out a choked cry of fear as he stared in horror at the attack. When Ozzie let out a growl, the vampire jumped, the gun falling from his hands and clattering to the floor. Suddenly, he seemed to remember that Micah was still there. Pulling out a dagger of his own, he fixed Micah with a gaze that was equal parts panic and anger. He no doubt assumed it would be easy to take Micah down--that he posed no real threat. Micah may be a vampire, but he still had a small, slender build compared to other paranormals.

The Pure Born let out a yell as he swung his weapon in a long, downward arch.

Micah brought up his weapons, crossing them over his head so they caught the other vampire's blade. For one heart-pounding moment, they stayed that way, frozen in battle while they waited to see who would make the next move.

Then the other vampire let out a gurgling cry. His opponent glanced away long enough to see what was happening, which gave Micah the opening he'd been waiting for. Sweeping one foot around, he took out the vampire's feet. It didn't knock him completely to the ground, but it unsettled him enough to make him drop his guard.

Micah took immediate advantage. With one, quick practiced move, he plunged one of his blades deep into his enemy's chest. As soon as the metal pierced his heart, the Pure Born's body vaporized with a blinding flash. In less than a second, Micah reduced the vampire to nothing but a pile of ash.

Another bright light let Micah know that Ozzie had his finished battle, too. Micah stared down at the pile of ash at his feet. Despite his earlier boast to the Pure Borns, unwanted remorse momentarily choked him up and he blinked several times. It didn't matter how many times he'd gone into battle, he always felt that small twinge of regret whenever he had to kill.

A small woof was his only warning before a heavy weight hit him square in the chest and brought him down to the ground. Micah ended up on his back, gazing up into the wolf's amber eyes. It had only been recently that Ozzie had regained his ability to shift into his wolf form and it still struck Micah as odd that it was actually his mate inside all that fur and teeth.

"I'm fine. Let me up," Micah groused as he playfully batted at the wolf's head.

The wolf let out a snort before it slowly moved away. Micah scrambled to his feet and by the time he finished brushing the dirt off his clothes, Ozzie had transformed back into his human form.

Micah paused, hands in mid-brush as he took in the pure raw sensuality of his mate. Even though they'd been together for several months now, Micah still felt a jolt of arousal at how Ozzie's tall, muscular body filled out his black cargo pants and shirt in a way that put all the other males in their clan to shame. The uniqueness of his short hair that seemed to be every shade of brown at once. His amber eyes, which never seemed to miss any detail, no matter how small it may seem. Micah didn't think there was a male out there that was even half as hot as his mate.

Ozzie slowly shook his head. "Don't you dare give me those fuck-me eyes. Not when I'm so pissed at you."

Micah ran the tip of his tongue over his lips as he continued to drink in the image of Ozzie. Damn, he really did love that body. The best thing was, Micah knew how every inch of it tasted, was intimately familiar with every dip and crevice.

"Don't be mad at me," he pleaded, even though he realized he probably deserved it. It had been foolish to go off without backup.

Ozzie moved in closer so his taller body pressed against Micah's thin frame.

Micah shivered the first time he'd been intimidated by Ozzie's daunting build. Now, a thrill went through him whenever he faced the prospect of Ozzie overpowering him.

"I'd have thought that you'd know better than to go off on your own." Ozzie took a couple of steps forward, forcing Micah to back pedal until his spine was pressed against the wall. God knows what kind of crap coated the shredded wallpaper, but at the moment, filth was the last thing on Micah's mind.

Micah tilted his head up so their lips were inches apart. "I knew you'd eventually track me down. Besides, I may be small, but you know I can take care of myself."

"What if it had been a half dozen Pure Borns instead of just two?"

Micah nibbled on his bottom lip. Ozzie did have a point there. It was on the tip of his tongue to admit the true reason for his solo jaunt out, but he refrained. If Ozzie knew his true intention, he'd find himself dragged home, then tied to the bed, and not in a good way.

Just the thought of ropes, with him at Ozzie's mercy, set off Micah's arousal again. Nothing felt better after a good fight than a nice hard fuck--the perfect combination to the adrenaline high that always came from combat.

All the fear, anxiety and stress from the night melted away as Micah leaned in closer so he could better drink in Ozzie's scent. The warm, spicy smell that marked his mate always served to soothe Micah even as it set his body on fire.

Micah rocked forward on the balls of his feet so his body could rub against Ozzie's larger more muscular one. Ozzie tensed and, for a second, Micah thought he'd pull away and start yelling again. Instead, Ozzie went still and seemed to hold his breath.

Even though Micah knew they should go right back to headquarters--that more VRF soldiers could show up at any moment, he was helpless to his need. Hell, he didn't even care they were still in the filthy house. All that mattered was getting Ozzie's cock inside him.