Warrior (Relentless #4)(11)

by Karen Lynch

The other two males kept silent, apparently content to let their leader do all the talking. He studied me for a long moment. “What information do you hope to get from the vampire?”

“I hope he can lead me to the vampire who got away from me last night.” I saw no reason to keep anything from them. Mohiri and werewolves were not friends, but we had a common enemy.

The man’s expression told me he knew exactly what vampire I was referring to, but he wouldn’t speak of it. Werewolves were almost as secretive as my own people, and if Sara was a friend of the pack, they would protect her as if she was one of them. Would they feel the same way when they learned what she was?

“We’ll give you thirty minutes with him.”

I nodded. “Fair enough. We’ll send him out the back when we’re done.”

The man stepped aside, despite the muttered objections of his young pack member, and Chris and I walked past them to the entrance of the pool hall. Chris opened the door, and loud music assailed us along with the smell of sweat and beer.

The interior of the club was dimly lit except for the lights hanging over the pool tables. Along one wall ran a long bar that was already crowded, and small tables filled the rest of the floor. It was only nine o’clock and the place was over half-full.

It took me less than thirty seconds to locate our target. He stood at the end of the bar near a dark hallway, talking to a brunette in a low-cut blouse and a short, leather skirt that left little to the imagination. She might as well have rung a dinner bell. The vampire was practically salivating over her.

My eyes met Chris’s in silent communication. He nodded and began to make his way around the room, while I set off in the other direction. Fortunately, the vampire was too wrapped up in procuring his next meal to notice us. He wasn’t a match for either of us, but the less attention we drew, the better.

The vampire looked up when I was six feet away, and something in my expression spooked him. Fear flashed in his eyes, and he took a step back, but Chris came up behind him and grabbed him by the arms.

“Not a word,” I heard Chris whisper to him.

I smiled at the female. “Would you mind giving us a few minutes? We have some business to discuss with our friend.”

She tossed her hair over one shoulder and looked me up and down. “Baby, I’ll give you anything you ask for.”

I slapped on the bar to get the attention of one of the bartenders. He came over, and I handed him a twenty. “Give the lady whatever she wants to drink. Keep the change.”

“Thanks, man.” He turned to the brunette. “What’s your poison?”

She leaned against the bar, putting her breasts on display. “I’d love a White Russian.”

Chris made a noise and smirked at me over the vampire’s shoulder.

My lips curved, and I nodded toward the hallway that led to the restrooms and the back exit. Wordlessly, Chris forced the silently struggling vampire to the end of the hallway.

Once we were away from the humans, I pushed the vampire against the wall, easily holding him there. “I’m going to ask you some questions. Whether or not you walk out of here will depend on how you answer them.”

He swallowed convulsively and nodded.

“Where is Eli?”

“Wh-who?”

I shook my head slowly. “Wrong answer.”

He hissed in pain when a knife suddenly appeared in my hand, the blade pressed lightly against a spot under his ear. It was barely touching him, but the silver made a wisp of smoke rise from his singed skin.

“Let me ask that question again. Where is Eli?”

“I don’t know,” he squeaked, trying to lean away from the knife. I pressed harder and he whimpered. “I’m not lying! I haven’t seen him since last night. No one has.”

“Who is no one? How many of you are here?”

His eyes were fixed on the hand holding the knife. “T-ten.”

Ten vampires was an unusually large group to be travelling together. Something important had drawn them to Maine and had made them willing to risk discovery by the werewolves. There was much better hunting to be found in larger cities like New York and Philadelphia.

I thought of the four missing human girls, and then another face filled my mind. I remembered Sara’s terror as Eli held her against him. If I’d been just a few minutes later, she might have suffered the same fate as those other girls.

The thought of her at Eli’s mercy made my hand tighten on the knife. A thin rivulet of blood ran down the vampire’s throat.

Chris laid a hand on my arm, and I eased the pressure on the knife. A dead vampire could not answer questions. And I had promised the werewolves the kill. As much as I hated letting a vampire walk away, I was a man of my word.

“What are you doing in Portland?” I asked harshly. “Your kind isn’t usually stupid enough to walk into werewolf territory.”

His eyes widened, telling me he had been unaware of that fact. “Eli didn’t tell us why we’re here. We just go where he tells us to go.”

I wasn’t surprised by his answer. Most vampires worked together out of necessity, not loyalty. “How long have you been in Portland? Why are you here?”

“We got here three weeks ago, and we haven’t done much but hide out in the place Eli found for us. He goes out with Joel, but I don’t know what they’re doing. He….”

“He what?”

The vampire cleared his throat. “He brought some human girls back to the house, but he kept them to himself.”

I knew the answer before I asked my next question, but I had to ask it anyway. “Are the girls still alive?”

Terror flashed in his eyes. “No. Eli killed them, not me!”

Experience told me I wasn’t getting anything useful out of this one - except for maybe one thing. “Where are you and your friends holed up?”

The vampire stared at me but didn’t answer. I suspected it was fear for his own life and not loyalty to the other vampires that kept him quiet.

“Here’s the deal, and it’s the only one you’ll get. You tell us where your friends are, and we’ll let you walk out that door. Or you can choose not to answer, which is not in your best interest. Trust me.”

Doubt and hope filled his eyes. “You’ll really let me go?”

I lowered the knife. “I give you my word as a warrior that you’ll walk out that door unharmed. But if I see you again, you won’t fare as well.”