Reaping willow, p.1

Reaping Willow, page 1

 part  #1 of  Trappers, Inc Series

 

Reaping Willow
 


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Reaping Willow


  Reaping Willow (Trappers, Inc. #1)

  D.N. Hoxa

  Contents

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  Also by D.N. Hoxa

  Note

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Also by D.N. Hoxa

  Copyright © 2019 by D.N. Hoxa

  This book is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction or other unauthorized use of the material or artwork herein is prohibited.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

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  Also by D.N. Hoxa

  VICTORIA BRIGHAM SERIES (COMPLETED)

  Wolf Witch

  Wolf Uncovered

  Wolf Unleashed

  Wolf’s Rise

  SCARLET JONES SERIES (COMPLETED)

  Storm Witch

  Storm Power

  Storm Legacy

  Storm Secrets

  Storm Vengeance

  Storm Dragon

  STARLIGHT SERIES (COMPLETED)

  Assassin

  Villain

  Sinner

  Savior

  MORTA FOX SERIES (COMPLETED)

  Heartbeat

  Reclaimed

  Unchanged

  This story is loosely based on a book previously published by the author as A Soul’s Worth.

  Chapter One

  Most people go to shrinks and talk about their feelings when they have issues and problems to solve. Me? I’ve got my own shrink right here. (I’m touching my temple because obviously you can’t see me.)

  My methods are a bit more direct, so to speak. My problems require a much simpler solution than talking to a complete stranger about them, and my sessions aren’t anywhere near calm and relaxing. On the contrary. Despite what anyone tells you, killing is never calm and relaxing.

  But here, let me walk you through my last session so you know exactly what I’m talking about:

  My shrink usually begins with: Let’s start by telling me what’s going on with you, Willow.

  See? She’s a real pro, my shrink. Got a PhD in shrinkology and everything. She only annoys me sometimes.

  And here’s what I told her:

  Well, the club was packed, but that was no news. It was Midtown Manhattan, after all. I didn’t have a target yet, but if my instincts were right—and they were—that was about to change in the next few minutes. Most of the people surrounding me were already wasted. It was midnight and they were here to have a good time, just like me. Not their fault that their definition of good times was different from mine. Getting to the bar required a lot of pushing through with my elbows, but I’d gotten used to it. I’d been frequenting that particular club for almost a year now. I knew it like the back of my hand.

  The ceiling was high so the smell of alcohol and weed didn’t suffocate you, which was one thing I liked about that place. The other was the bartender, who could almost be considered a friend. He knew my usual and never even had to ask. That qualifies as friends, right?

  Anyway, as soon as Eric saw me, he prepared my bourbon on the rocks, and slid the glass on the polished counter right into my open hand.

  “What’s up, Willow?” he said, half his attention on the man ordering his own drink because he wasn’t friends with Eric. I took a sip of my drink, about to answer him when:

  How does that make you feel, Willow? my shrink asked me.

  Uh…special. Real special, I said, just to get her off my back for a sec so I could finish my story.

  “Couldn’t sleep,” I said to Eric. “What’s up with you? You weren’t here last week.”

  He hadn’t been, but the grin he gave me said he was glad I’d noticed.

  “I had a nasty cold, if you must know.” He moved off to fill other orders. When he got a free second, he stopped in front of me. “You look different.” He was even a little surprised.

  I smiled. “Really?”

  “I mean, not like usual. Everything okay?”

  My smile dropped. What an ass. Rolling my eyes, I drank some more of my bourbon.

  “Just because I’m wearing makeup doesn’t mean something’s not okay, Eric.”

  True, I usually didn’t bother with things like mascara and lipstick, but tonight I had. So what? I’m a girl, aren’t I? Not my fault that my large blue eyes look kind of scary outlined with black, or that my lips are too big to pull off red lipstick. I wanted to wear red lipstick, damn it.

  “Anyone you’re trying to impress?” Eric said with a laugh. He was one of the good ones, that guy. He’d saved countless women who were about to be roofied right there at his bar. I’d seen it happen myself.

  But this time, he hit right at home. “Maybe.” I grinned and spun around on my stool to check the dance floor once more. At least two hundred people were in there dancing, if you could call sex with clothes on dancing. I envied them sometimes. So carefree, so wrapped up in a single moment, a single night…so clueless as to what went on in the real world. And sometimes, I even—

  How does that make you feel, Willow?

  Damn it, my shrink again.

  I already told you: special, I snapped back, rolling my internal eyes.

  As I was saying, sometimes I even wished I was one of them. I’d shed a couple tears over this, too, though it was a long time ago. Lately, I’d just accepted that this was my life. My destiny. The hand I was dealt and all that bullshit, and I found, the more I killed, the better I felt. It made sense that I craved the feeling more, didn’t it?

  Just as I was about to turn back to Eric, my eyes caught something. A black hat, a way too tight yellow tank top, and leather pants the world would have been much better without. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the people in the club wore clothes like that—this was Manhattan, after all—but this guy had something that the others didn’t. He had shades on, though I didn’t know why he’d bothered. Normal people couldn’t see his eyes the way I could—their color so yellow, they’d put his shirt to shame.

  A smile broke across my face. Score one for Willow, zero for Satan. Things were about to get real dirty around here.

  “Catch you later,” I said to Eric without taking my eyes off Yellow Tank Top, and with my drink in hand, I began the struggle of elbowing my way through the crowd. This is why I never took purses with me. You never knew who you’d run into, and I didn’t need to worry about leaving a purse behind. I had everything I needed on my person.

  Yellow Tank Top was standing in between three girls, dancing with his face to the ceiling, a bottle of water in his hand. Wasn’t he a healthy one? I wondered, if he’d known he was going to die tonight, would he have ordered something stronger? I began to feel him when I was barely five feet away, and this time, I was prepared for when the question popped into my head.

  How did he feel, Willow?, my shrink said.

  And I told her: it felt like someone was sliding an ice cube down my back, in a totally non-sexual way. The ice slid right through my pores an
d reached my backbone, freezing me for a short second that had once been a very long minute. Practice makes perfect is what I say, though I wasn’t perfect just yet.

  I’d gotten used to the feeling. After all, I’d been dealing with it for almost seven years now. A girl could get used to a lot of things in seven years. Yellow Tank Top didn’t feel me the way I felt him, but he was about to. Sliding between two of the girls wearing skirts so short, you could see their undies, I casually reached out my hand and touched his chest. Nothing more vile than touching his kind, but it was part of the game and I was a player. Yellow Tank Top lowered his head for a second to see who’d touched him, and my half-open eyes that said I was as wasted as he would like me to be, didn’t raise any of his alarms. Neither did my swinging from one side to the other to the beat of the music. He smiled, showing me crooked teeth too normal to seem strange to anyone but me. He didn’t suspect anything was wrong, and that was what I was going for.

  Stepping closer to him, I had to casually push one of the girls dancing with him to the side. She wasn’t happy about it.

  “Watch it, freak!” she shouted, her voice barely heard over the music, but I heard it. Loud and clear. If there was one thing I hated to be called, it was freak.

  Pretending to ignore her for just a second, I continued to dance in front of Yellow Tank Top until he raised his head to the ceiling again. In one swift movement, I grabbed one of my knives from the back of my waistband with one hand, and the girl’s arm with the other. She bounced in place like a fucking ball, her dyed blonde hair covering half her face as she looked at me, now terrified. I pressed the tip of my knife to the side of her waist just a bit to show her what was happening.

  “Leave, now,” I said, as quietly as I could, but I knew Yellow Tank Top heard. His ears were much more advanced than ours, unfortunately.

  Chin quivering, the girl looked at me like I hadn’t just saved her life. If she only knew…

  She turned around and disappeared in the crowd, probably muttering every curse word in the book on her way.

  “A wild one, aren’t you,” said Yellow Tank Top, who was now looking at me again. I hid my hand behind my back as best as I could before he saw the knife. Just to get his mind off it completely, I pressed my boobs against his chest and whispered in his ear:

  “You have no idea.”

  Ugh. Getting so close to him was making my tummy turn in a really creepy way.

  Yellow Tank Top laughed, the sound vibrating through my entire body in a nasty way, but hearing his scream was going to make up for it.

  “Show me,” he said, no longer bothering to look at the ceiling, but focused on my face, my red lips. I bet he liked them—it’s why I’d bothered with the lipstick. Good thing he wasn’t a she; otherwise my efforts would have gone to waste.

  Now was the time to get really bold. Sliding my hand up his stomach, I grabbed him by the collar of his top and pulled him to me once more.

  “Here?” I asked in my most seductive voice.

  The other two girls dancing with him already disappeared from his mind. True, his kind liked a foursome as much as the next guy, but he was going to come with me because it was so easy to mistake the anger in my eyes for wild, sexual thoughts. People—no matter the kind—were going to see what they wanted to see.

  “What did you have in mind?” Yellow Tank Top asked, almost breathless now that my hands were roaming on his back and ass. I was searching for weapons, though they never really bothered with them, but I was also digging my fingernails into his back just a bit to take his mind off it.

  But when he tried to do the same to me, I had to let go and push his arms away. If he put his hands on my hips, he’d definitely notice the four knives I had in my waistband, plus the fist knife I carried in my back pocket, just in case. A big no-no. He’d know something was wrong.

  “Let’s get out of here,” I said with my seductive smile, which I’d learned from my mother. She was a real charmer, or used to be before my dad died. Now, she’s the woman who comes to my room to watch me sleep four times a night. Not ideal to live with your mother and her boyfriend at twenty-one years old. I got through it by telling myself that it would only last for one more year.

  Moving through the crowd and to the back door behind the counter seemed easier now that I had Yellow Tank Top with me. Now that I knew the night was going to be productive. Now that I knew I was going to sleep with a smile on my face, never mind that Mom would give me hell for not picking up the phone all night. She’d probably left twenty voice mails by then.

  I saw Eric watching me as I made my way to the back, hand in hand with Yellow Tank Top, who thought he couldn’t have gotten any luckier. I made it so easy for him to do what he came here to do. Take, take, take. Everything, anything he could get his hands on.

  Well, I was there to stop it.

  We walked through the back door, into the narrow corridor and out into the alley filled with people who were there to get some air, have sex against a dumpster, or just do drugs. Like I said, I knew the club like the back of my hand, so the crowd didn’t discourage me.

  “Right here’s fine,” Yellow Tank Top said, pulling me by the arm and slamming me against the brick wall.

  And to my shrink’s obvious question, I answered: angry. Very angry.

  I had a short temper, which wasn’t ideal in my line of work. Well, in my hobby, actually, because my day job consisted of me selling cakes for Cece fucking Mathers. But keeping the anger off my face was a skill I’d learned a long time ago for the sake of my mother. I brought my finger in front of his face and shook it.

  “I know some place better.”

  Some place better was up the fire escape stairs of the building on the other side of the alley that led all the way to the rooftop. The empty rooftop where I could do my killing in peace.

  I climbed the stairs like I was in a hurry, and that was my first mistake. Yellow Tank Top was dumb, and he had no reason to suspect anything was wrong until then, but even he wasn’t stupid enough to miss the fact that he was being lured away from everyone else. Lucky for me, he didn’t stop climbing the stairs, nor did he turn back to the club.

  All he did was laugh.

  We made it to the rooftop—the empty rooftop. The building was only four stories high and the one across was six, which meant we could be seen easily if someone was looking, but in those moments, I had other things to worry about. And if someone saw, there would be no dead body for evidence, so either way I would be fine.

  Or so I thought.

  As soon as I turned around, thinking to charm Yellow Tank Top with my fake smile, I found his hand around my neck.

  “You think I’m a fool?” He squeezed his fingers just slightly, but it was enough to cut off my air. I grabbed his arm with both my hands on instinct. To say I was surprised would be an understatement. I always had the upper hand in these things. I’d never been caught by one so early in the game, and to be honest, I thought I never would be.

  “Who told you, bitch?” he spit at my face. “Who told you?” His free hand grabbed a handful of my blonde hair and pulled until my scalp burned. I tried to reach behind me for one of my knives, but he caught my wrist.

  The game wasn’t over yet.

  Yellow Tank Top grinned. “You know, I was thinking about letting you live after I was done with you, but now, you’re going to die, little girl.”

  Just as he finished the sentence, I pulled my leg up and hit him right between his legs. He was stronger than me, much stronger, but he had man parts that hurt like hell, and that gave me the second I needed to reach for one of my knives.

  You see, my knives were special. The blades were made of bone, the bones of his kind, so that when I cut him, he was going to feel it. He was going to be in pain, and he was going to scream. Unfortunately for me, he recovered from my kick and stopped my arm before my knife touched him. Like I said, he was strong, so the knife slipped right out of my fingers and onto the floor. I barely had time to duck to
avoid his fist and kick him in the gut, but it didn’t do much damage. It didn’t matter though. I was going to kill him, right after I found out how he knew about me. God forbid word had gotten out. That would completely ruin everything.

  He tried to hit me again, but I was much faster than him now that enough air was making it to my lungs. Adrenaline kicked in, and I fought like I’d been taught to fight all my life—with my heart and soul. I kicked him in the face, and his shades fell off, revealing his eyes. If I’d have ever doubted my ability to sense his kind, this would have proven it.

  I smiled because to me, I’d already won. I’d kill him or he’d kill me—there was no in between.

  And then, he froze.

  “You don’t look surprised,” he whispered, more to himself than to me. That could only mean that he was showing himself, showing his yellow eyes for everyone to see, probably in hopes of scaring me.

  “You don’t surprise me, asshole.” Oh, he was much worse than just asshole, but I was too focused in the fight to think up more creative names.

  His thick brows shot up, his face changing completely. I could almost swear that he was surprised now. Very, very surprised.

  “What?” I asked, despite my better judgment. “What the hell did you think this was?”

  He’d known. I thought he’d known when he grabbed me by the neck.

  “I thought you were after my drugs,” he said, and he traded his surprised look for a very satisfied one. An evil one, so scary it would have made me pee my pants had I been anybody else.

 
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