I gunned my bike ahead of Shad's at the bottom of a long hill, and the snarl from my exhaust smacked back at me from the stone walls edging the empty Pennine road.
Shad growled alongside effortlessly. His heavy Triumph cruiser didn't have scary g-force acceleration like my Suzuki, but it was more comfortable for a long haul and definitely better suited to his giant frame. In his open-face helmet and flying goggles, he looked like he'd been born on a big bike. He bared his teeth at me in a fierce challenge as he pulled ahead.
We tore up the slender ribbon of road and crested the hill side-by-side.
Sheep-grazed fields rolled away across the moor to the horizon in every direction, and ahead of us Rivington's sandstone buildings glowed under a pink September sunset. We swung right at the next crossroads and lost sight of the village.
Our first day of the new job had been a long one, shifting a house-sized mound of earth and rubble in a scrap metal merchant's yard. I ached, but it was a good muscle ache and we'd made a satisfying dent in the mound. Plus, the money was okay. As good as could be expected for two strangers looking for casual work with no questions asked.
And the commute was going to be a joy.
My earpiece trilled. I tapped the phone button on my helmet. No need to check who was calling. Only Min knew my number. "We'll be home in ten minutes."
A muted female voice said something in the background at her end. Either Tae or Vua.
"I'll call you back in a sec," Min said, and the line went dead.
Probably found something interesting online. They trawled weird and wacky websites every day, searching for anything that might be a mention of Tyac. We'd heard nothing of the monster since that terrible night in June when he'd killed half of the Axe werewolf pack, including lovely Anya, who was Shad's wife and Tae and Vua's mother. But he was out there. He would never give up the hunt. Sooner or later he would find us again.
We weren't ready for him. One day we would be, and I guaranteed he wouldn't know what hit him, but until Min recovered her song magic we were missing a vital weapon from our armoury. So we'd spent the whole summer running and hiding.
We preferred cities and big towns, where normally it was easier to be invisible, but we'd hit trouble in an east coast town the previous week and left in a hurry. An outlaw biker gang ran the town. We moved on as soon as we found out about them, but not soon enough to avoid their biggest bastard picking a fight with Shad, who did what came naturally to him and beat the hard man into a puddle of blood and snot. In public.
We could have taken the whole gang any day. After my experience of hand-to-hand fighting in the battle for Quarter Square, I had no problem dishing out violence right back to anyone who offered it. But fighting a stupid turf war wasn't part of our "lay low and keep quiet" plan, so we crossed the Pennines to the West Moors and rented an old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere.
Where, all things being equal, there would be a big dinner just about cooked and ready for Shad and me to make it disappear.
My phone trilled again at the same time as an air horn blew two loud notes right behind us. We both glanced over our shoulders. It was a flashy pick-up truck with a four-seat cab, all metallic red paint and chrome and spotlights. The driver waved a "Get out of the way!" demand.
Born before man recorded time, I lived for thousands of years believing myself to be something I’m not.
Someone I’m not.
Lied to and betrayed by gods, Daimons and Dark-Hunters, I’ve struggled to find my way in a world where I’ve been cursed since the moment I was prematurely ripped from my mother and planted into the womb of an innocent woman who thought me her son.
Trained as a slayer and predator, I learned to fit in and stay low. To become a tool for evil. Until I was sent to kill the one woman I couldn’t. My hesitation cost her her life.
Or so I thought. In an act of betrayal that makes all the others pale in comparison, I’ve learned that this world is an illusion and that my Phoebe still lives.
Now I will have to travel into the very pits of Hades to try and save her, even as everyone around me attempts to steal what little soul I have left. There’s only one person at my back and I’m not sure I can trust her either, for she was born of an enemy race. Yet sometimes the road to redemption is one that singes us to our very core. And if I fail to find the answers I need to save Phoebe, more than just my wife will die.
We will lose the world. Both human and Daimon.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.