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Vortex blues, p.4

Vortex Blues, page 4


Vortex Blues

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  Mitch’s dark brows furrowed, and he glanced back at the remains of the victim sitting on the bed. “So, all the goo is left over digested body parts?

  “As well as waste secreted through the succubus’ skin. If the digested body parts contain any waste or toxins, the succubus won’t ingest those, she will just shed them through her skin eventually. But that doesn’t start happening until about ten to twelve hours of straight sex.”

  Mitch whistled long and low.

  “How ‘bout it, Molly?” Officer Turner, the first officer she’d partnered with when she’d joined the department said from behind her. She turned to see him leaning just inside the doorway. “I’m up for a good four or five hours.”

  Mitch stiffened beside her, but she allowed her lips to curve at the good natured banter—since she knew very well Turner was happily married to a local mermaid with five kids and another on the way. Banter was just part of life as a cop, and couldn’t be taken as anything other than that. “As I’ve already told you, Turner, that much ego gives me indigestion. I’m afraid I’ll have to pass.”

  Turner stepped forward, his tall lanky build and pale coloring a striking contrast to Mitch. “You must be Guthrie.” He held out his hand and after a slight hesitation, Mitch took it, his face a mask.

  “I assume you’re Turner.”

  Turner smiled, mischief lighting his soft brown eyes that always reminded Molly of a basset hound’s. “I may be able to help you, although not as much as Detective Beck here.” His voice laced with innuendo, he cocked his chin toward Molly. “Cleo said you were a sensi-freak, and that you’d be able to offer some additional insight into the case. Just try to make sure you stay out of trouble or we’ll end up finding your dick on some goo-covered bed somewhere. The SPOOK Squad isn’t the safest place to serve for someone with no experience.”

  Mitch’s jaw tightened at the mention of him being sensi-freak, but he continued to study Turner. “I have plenty of experience with obnoxious uniformed human assholes, Turner. I don’t see how the supernaturals could be much worse than that.”

  Turner laughed, taking no offense. “I like you, Guthrie. Try not to piss off Molly, will ya? She’s one of the good ones, but don’t tell her I said so.” He winked over at Molly before turning his attention back to the bed. “Something’s just fucked up about a case where the coroner has nothing to autopsy but some guy’s wedding tackle, if you know what I mean.”

  Molly touched Mitch’s arm gently as the coroner pushed past, seeing her best chance to get away from the scents assaulting her. “Why don’t we step outside and let the coroner work? I can show you all the reports, and we can go by both coroners’ offices later to introduce you around.”


  Molly nodded. “The coroner’s office is at the county level, and since Sedona has the unique distinction of being in two counties—Yavapai and Coconino—the crime’s location determines if it goes to Flagstaff or Prescott. The county line is on Cook’s Hill.”

  “Great, two coroners with cocks in a box.”

  The others snickered and guffawed at Guthrie’s comment.

  Mitch nodded toward Maddox, who had so “helpfully” identified the body part earlier. “Has the rest of the scene been processed?”

  “This room is done. We’ll do the rest, but if it’s like the previous scenes, we won’t find a damned thing except what’s on the bed.”

  “Let’s talk outside and let them work,” Molly said softly as she pivoted and headed toward fresh air. At this point, she didn’t care if Mitch or the other officers thought she was squeamish or weak. She had to get away from the damned scene. Too much temptation in close quarters since at least six men with bodies intact still milled around inside.

  As soon as fresh air hit her face, she gulped it in, coming dangerously close to hyperventilating. She stepped off the sidewalk, then headed to her right, over the grass and toward the car. Better than having a feeding frenzy at a crime scene!

  She’d been to the six other scenes, all at Cleo’s request, and not one of them affected her like the one today. What the hell was going on? She’d done all out thrall before and it hadn’t kicked her ass like this. It had to have something to do with the kiss earlier—the one that still rocked her entire system every time she thought about it. But Mitch was a human. Why would he affect her? After all, in the greater scheme of things, he was just food. He should’ve given her a boost, not an energy drain.


  She turned and just the sight of him smacked her like a punch to the gut. The wind teased his dark hair, ruffling it and making her want to plunge her fingers into the wavy mass while the faint stubble of his five o’clock shadow chafed her soft skin—preferably her inner thighs. The vivid thought and the resulting sensations caused a rush of moisture between her thighs and a small groan to escape through her lips. Her blood turned to lava, and pure energy whipped through her body, leaking out of her pores and causing the hair on her arms to stand on end.

  Her thrall struggled to break free, and she ruthlessly shackled it into submission, taking quick short breaths of relief.

  In an instant, Mitch hauled the length of her body against his, making the situation worse, not better.

  “Hey, Molly, speak to me. Are you all right?”

  Genuine concern swam in his gaze, and she nearly smiled. What could she say? I need a really good fuck or I might start snacking indiscriminately on the good Sedona citizens. She closed her eyes and fought for control of her raging emotions before speaking. “I need to get back to the Vortex. Please.” She swallowed hard. “And I don’t think it’s a good idea if you keep touching me.”

  His eyes widened, but he didn’t step away from her. “You need to feed?”

  She nodded, surprised at his quick deduction. “The other scenes didn’t affect me like this. I’m not sure what’s wrong.”

  “We’ll worry about what’s different with this scene later. Right now we need to get you some…food.”

  “Damn, you’re right. This scene had to be different somehow than the others.” If she hadn’t been so busy obsessing over her reaction to Guthrie, maybe she would’ve noticed something.

  “Molly, look at me.”

  She hadn’t realized she’d closed her eyes, but she blinked them open and almost immediately drowned in the concern that etched his chiseled face.

  “Molly, listen to me.” He gripped her shoulders and shook her lightly. “Is sexual energy enough, or have you waited too long already?”

  Her body screamed for her to say she’d waited too long, but her mind reminded her sex would be dangerous right now. What if she couldn’t stop?

  He took the decision out of her hands when he crushed his mouth to hers. A tidal wave of sexual energy buffeted her and she could do nothing but brace against the storm raging through her body.

  Guthrie’s fingers threaded through the hair at her nape, molding her against his taut muscles as he devoured her mouth as if she were a rare delicacy. His erection dug into her belly, and she ground against him, causing a groan to rumble deep inside his throat.

  She greedily swallowed the sound as sexual energy flowed through her veins energizing her. Each cell of her body tingled and buzzed as the life-giving power filled her. She savored Mitch’s aura and the taste of his energy almost as much as the decadent spicy taste of his mouth. His aura was sweet with pure unadulterated power. It made her think of the first time she tasted champagne and how it made her lips tingle and her nose fuzzy.

  Slowly her senses returned, while the molten lava in her veins flowed faster and her thrall pressed tight against the bars of her resolve.

  When Guthrie’s large hand cupped her breast, she nearly cried out in frustration from wanting his callused hand against her bare skin. She wrapped her arms around his neck, unable to get close enough. He grabbed her ass pulling her tight against his swelling erection and spiking another taste of his powerful aura through her.

  “A little post crime s
cene snack, Molly?”

  Turner’s voice hit her like a cold rain and she jerked away from Guthrie, fighting against the molten arousal that still flowed over her.

  Guthrie gently pushed her behind him and faced Turner. “Did you need something, Turner?”

  Molly stepped away from him, not willing to stand behind him like a high school girl caught making out.

  “Apparently not as much as you.” Turner’s smile split his thin pale face, his muddy brown gaze dancing with amusement. “Cleo just called. She said to meet her at the Vortex as soon as you can get there. She said it’s urgent.”

  “Thanks, Turner.” She resisted the urge to lick her lips to capture the last of Guthrie’s taste.

  “You’re a brave man, Guthrie. Trying to recreate the crime scene like that.” Turner chuckled as he headed back inside the hotel.

  Guthrie clenched his jaw, then faced Molly, gently placing his hands on her shoulders. He searched her face for a moment before speaking. “Are you feeling better?”

  She laughed at the irony of the situation. “Well, I suppose that depends on your definition of better. But I’m no longer in danger of snacking on half of Sedona’s finest, if that’s what you mean.”

  His sculpted lips curved into a reluctant smile. “Glad I could be of service.” Then his smile relaxed, and he studied her for a long moment. “I think we need to discuss this in more detail later.”

  She swallowed hard. Something had definitely happened between them, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to examine it too closely just yet. Then a sudden realization hit her—she’d never tasted power like that without her thrall turned on. Humans, especially, didn’t know how to freely give that much energy. She’d always taken it by force, and she’d never almost lost control. Feeding had been just that—feeding. An activity to meet a physical need. But Guthrie made her want things she had sworn off long ago. She closed her eyes to gather her scattered thoughts.

  He must’ve read her expressions correctly, because he said, “We will discuss this later, Molly. And not only because your reaction could be relative to the case.”

  She squared her shoulders and pushed everything else to the side. “What do you mean?”

  “I’m not exactly sure how this whole ‘sensi-freak’ thing works yet, but when you said the aura didn’t taste right in there, it gave me a good way to explain it. I met Cleo just this morning, but when we were in there, it had almost an aftertaste of her, if you know what I mean.”

  Molly’s brow furrowed as shock slapped at her. She reached out with her senses and tasted what Mitch had right away—Cleo. It was very faint, but definite. “Why the hell didn’t I notice that?”

  She knew, but didn’t want to admit it. She’d been too caught up in her own tidal wave of emotions and reactions to pay close attention to the scene.

  “Molly, is there any way Cleo could’ve left an energy signature in there without…digesting part of the victim?”

  She crossed her arms over her chest as several unappealing possibilities flowed through her mind. “Let’s head to the Vortex. I don’t like the idea of anything threatening my place.”

  At Mitch’s look of surprise, she nodded. “Yes, I own the Vortex. And I’d better warn you, it’s more than it appears, so if Cleo’s summoning us urgently, I’m just hoping we don’t have another crime scene on our hands.”

  Mitch opened his mouth to argue and she placed her finger against his lips. “Cleo is a pain in the ass, but she’s not a killer. You’ll just have to trust me.”

  Chapter Four

  Molly’s words still rang in Mitch’s ears as he walked through the front door of the Vortex. Just what else was the Vortex? He was almost afraid to ask knowing Molly’s nutritional requirements.

  A gloomy light illuminated the bar from the closed blinds, and Mitch was surprised to see only Rocky inside the bar. Apparently, just before lunch wasn’t their busiest time.

  Molly stopped in front of Rocky with her arms crossed under her breasts. She glared daggers at him until he held his large grey hands up in front of him. “I didn’t eat anybody, Molly. I promised ya and I meant it.” Rocky’s chiseled face seemed almost sheepish and his low rumbling voice sounded pleading. “That tourist last month, well, he had it coming! He told me I was dumb as a box of rocks. Besides, no one will even miss him.” The gargoyle’s face darkened at least three shades, and his large stone teeth gnashed together reminding Mitch of nails on a chalkboard. “He thought he was clever, but he didn’t even taste very good!”

  “He’s kidding, right?” Mitch glanced back and forth between them looking for some sign of the joke.

  Molly’s glare softened and she shook her head, but didn’t answer. “I believe you, Rocky. I know you don’t make promises lightly. Now, where’s Cleo?”

  “Downstairs. Someone tried to take it too far with one of the munchies.”

  Molly’s face turned stormy and Mitch’s stomach constricted as the probable translation of Rocky’s message hit him like a sucker punch. “Let me guess, downstairs is some sort of succubus brothel?”

  Molly’s spine stiffened, and she rounded on him. “You might want to remove the dripping disapproval from your voice since you just took care of my sustenance a short while ago, Detective.”

  Her jab hit home, and the floorboards under his feet rumbled. Both he and Molly glared at the gargoyle, who pretended not to pay attention.

  When had he stopped thinking of her as a supernatural and started thinking of her as a woman? The first time you laid eyes on her! his inner voice insisted, and it was right. Something about Molly had called to him since they met, and he was less able to deny it after the few kisses they’d shared—if you could call what they’d experienced something as tame as a kiss.

  “Molly, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it to come out that way.” He placed a gentle hand on her shoulder, surprised when she didn’t flinch away. “Before we go down, are there any more surprises? I’m trying to process a lot in a short amount of time. Any upfront information would help.”

  Her grey eyes flashed, and for a long moment, he was sure she was formulating a scathing sarcastic response, but then she shrugged and pinned him with a bland stare. “The first floor of the basement is staffed with half humans who service the succubus and incubus population for pay.” She held up a hand to forestall his question. “Half humans are still digestible, but are stronger and can take more damage than humans. I told you, some of our kind enjoy domination and pain—as do some of the half humans we employ. No one is down there against their will.” She sighed. “The second floor of the basement is a store room, and the third is the gateway to the main vortexes.”

  Mitch’s brow furrowed as her last sentence erased all thoughts about half-human dominatrixes. “The main vortexes? Those things are real? Just how many are there?”

  “You really haven’t had training for this post, have you?” Without waiting for an answer, she continued. “There are twelve major vortexes around the world—eight of them in Sedona. That’s why there are so many supernatural beings here as well as all the red rocks. There’s a high concentration of magic here. Over the centuries after the vortexes formed, the magic seeped into the surrounding landscape imbuing it with power and magic. It’s not coincidence that so many magic users and magic beings congregate here or come here to rejuvenate.”

  Mitch rubbed a hand over his face. Vortexes and succubi and bartenders made of stone. This day just kept getting more confusing. But for now, his new boss, who’d left her energy signature at the last crime scene, apparently needed them downstairs.

  He trusted Molly’s judgment—which shocked the hell out of him. But his gut insisted he could trust her completely, and that scared him more than he wanted to admit. Besides, his own first impression of Cleo brought him to the same conclusion. However, at the same time, doubt gnawed at him and told him not to ignore the facts. So much for straightforward. He rotated his shoulders to relieve some tension. “Okay, I appreciate the Reader
’s Digest condensed version. I may have more questions later.”

  She placed her palm on the security pad mounted beside the door, and when the indicator flashed green, she motioned for him to do the same.

  The security pad, warm to the touch, tingled against his skin as if it tasted him. Great image, Mitch. You’re letting all this supernatural crap get to you! A small indicator light strobed green, and the door clicked open.

  “Well, at least Cleo’s right. If you weren’t supernatural or had some affinity—as in being a sensi-freak—I’d have to override the security to let you through.” She started to walk forward and then stopped and looked back at him over her shoulder. “There are high birth rates of sensi-freak and magic humans in vortex areas too, you know.”

  He’d been born in Phoenix, maybe that explained it. Although he still wasn’t sure what the hell being a “sensi-freak” actually meant. Either he was starting to accept it, or he just didn’t mind when Molly said it.

  As soon as her foot touched the first step, illumination flowed to life around them, but try as he might, Mitch couldn’t find the source of the light. He shrugged and followed her down the red stone staircase that appeared to be chipped out of the rock rather than fashioned piece by piece. The staircase itself was wide enough so that three gargoyle bartenders could walk down side by side, and had an armpit high railing made of the same red stone.

  The rest of the cavern was enormous. In fact, he couldn’t tell how far the walls extended off into the distance—it could’ve been one mile or thousands. They shimmered even as he tried to guess at a measurement.

  The damp coolness of being inside a cave closed around him as his footsteps echoed in time with Molly’s. He expected the tang of mold on the back of his tongue, but instead, the air tingled with almost a sweetness, as if they walked through a field full of flowers and honeycomb.

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