Immortal ties, p.1

Immortal Ties, page 1

 part  #4 of  Hearts on Fire Series

 

Immortal Ties
 


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Immortal Ties


  Table of Contents

  Back of book stuff

  Introduction

  Acknowledgments

  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

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  About the Author

  Also by Jane Hinchey

  Immortal Ties

  Book 4 - Heart’s on Fire Series

  Jane Hinchey

  Contents

  Introduction

  Acknowledgments

  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

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  About the Author

  Back of book stuff

  Also by Jane Hinchey

  Immortal Ties © 2018 Jane Hinchey

  This work is copyright. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

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

  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of the publisher, nor to be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published without a similar condition, including this condition, being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

  Created with Vellum

  Introduction

  There was one thing I’d sworn I’d never do. Fall for my best friend and SIA partner, Carter.

  Despite the growing attraction between us, I was determined to stay focused on the job at hand. Hunting rogue paranormals.

  Until I became the hunted.

  With an unknown enemy intent on my demise, human bodies dropping around us, and the realization that the threat is closer than I could ever imagine, my own hope lies with overcoming my emotionally scarred past and putting my trust in Carter. Will he be my salvation…or will he lead the wolves to my door?

  Acknowledgments

  This has been one of my favorite books to write so far, I had an absolute ball with it, but as per usual it’s not just me who brings these stories to the world, I have other people to thank!

  Alicia (iproofread and more) for your incredible editing talents and making me a better writer than I am. Thank you.

  Fantasy Book Designs your cover is simply stunning – thank you.

  To my reader's group, Jane’s Little Devils, you guys are always there to support me, encourage me, win awesome giveaways from me lol. You are my peeps and I love you.

  And my family…thank you for believing in me. I know you don’t read my books, because, you know, sex, but you support me anyway and ooh and ahh over my covers, what more could an author ask?

  And for my readers…I do this for you. Thank you for taking a chance and picking up this book.

  1

  Boots splashing on the wet pavement, I rounded the corner, squinting through the rain. There, just ahead. Little weasel thought he could lose me, well, I've got news for him, and none of it's good. With a burst of adrenaline, I picked up the pace, ignoring the cold, wet trickle down my back where my hair had soaked through my collar. I was gaining ground, legs pumping, lungs heaving. Ahead of me, he turned another corner. Stupid mistake. I knew this city like the back of my hand, and my friend ahead had just turned into a dead-end alley. Seconds later I swung into the alley behind him, skidding to a halt when greeted with his growl.

  He was cornered and not happy about it. His lips curled back in a snarl, revealing elongated k-nines. Yep, a werewolf. He beckoned me toward him.

  "Bring it, bitch."

  "Oh come on," I chided. "Really?"

  "Really."

  I kept my stance loose, hand resting on my pyre-gun. I flicked my long trench coat open, making sure he could clearly see my SIA badge. Seems he wasn't impressed, judging by the sneer on his face.

  "Supernatural Investigation Agency? Gotta be a fake 'cos you sure as hell aren't no paranormal." I could see his nose twitching as he sniffed the air, trying to identify my scent.

  "I'd love to stand around and chat all night, but to be honest, it's pissing down, I'm cold and wet, and I've got better things to be doing. My shift ends in half an hour and I fully intend to have you bagged, booked, and in a cell by then."

  "You ain't no SIA agent, bitch." He lunged for me, claws at the end of his fingers going for my throat. I knew a slice from those mean babies would cut my throat open, maybe even remove my head. Holding up my right hand, I threw my power at him.

  "Freeze!" I demanded. "You are under arrest." I almost laughed. I'd frozen him, literally, mid change. He'd started to turn wolf as he'd leaped, but my interference had him suspended, part man, part wolf, unable to move.

  "Oh, darlin', that's gotta sting." Approaching him with a grin, I reached for the cuffs on my belt. I read him his rights as I slapped a cuff around his wrists. Keeping him frozen, I tapped the comms unit on my wrist.

  "Black here. Got him. In the alley just off Main and Magnolia. Bring the collar."

  "Roger that," my partner Carter responded. Another trickle of rain worked its way down my back and I adjusted my collar in irritation.

  Lights flashed and I heard the steady grumble of our patrol SUV approach. Carter stopped at the end of the alley, headlights on, windscreen wipers flapping against the downpour. Leaving the engine running, he jumped out and jogged to where we were waiting.

  Carter fixed the collar around the wolf's neck then stepped back. Pulling my energy back to myself, I released him. He fell to his knees, groaning.

  "See, sugar, all that could have been avoided if you'd just stopped when I asked you to," I told him sweetly, patting him on the head. With the silver cuffs and collar, his transformation had receded and he was back to his human form. Changing from man to wolf was painful: bones broke, organs rearranged themselves. To be frozen mid change just prolonged the agony, because when you were on the receiving end of my “gift” you could feel and hear everything, you could still breathe and sometimes speak, you simply couldn't move. Not supernatural, my ass.

  Carter dragged the wolf to the back of the van and shoved him inside. A custom-built cage in the back with reinforced silver bars kept our more violent supernaturals under control during transportation to SIA HQ. The SIA had been formed twelve years ago to manage rogue paranormals, those killing or harming humans in any way. For a while, the stubborn humans thought they could control us and wasted precious years tying thems
elves up in bureaucracy before admitting they were ill equipped to deal with rogues. They barely managed to keep humans in check, let alone manage any supernatural element when the supernatural community came out twenty-five years ago.

  I climbed into the passenger seat, dripping water all over the seat and floor. A rumble of thunder accompanied the slamming of the door and I glanced up to catch a flash of lightning over the night sky. I loved storms, but running around in this freezing rain was the pits. Cranking up the heater, I put my hands out, rubbing them together and trying to instill some warmth.

  "Good tag." Carter grinned at me from the driver's seat.

  "Thank you. You weren't so shabby yourself."

  While I'd been chasing after the wolf, Carter had bagged his two mates. He'd called backup and they'd already been loaded and were on their way to HQ.

  "Fucking human hunt," he muttered, shaking his head as he reversed out of the alley and swung the car out into the street.

  "Sick, isn't it? The humans don't stand a chance."

  "Hey, we buy them fair and square!" our prisoner piped up. I turned in my seat to eyeball him.

  "Fair and square? You idiot, you can't BUY humans."

  "That's what you think."

  I tried to grill him further, but he clammed up. I met Carter's gaze —someone was selling humans.

  After dropping the wolf off at the holding cells, I slumped into my chair, wet coat and all. My hair hung around me in dripping strands. It had been a long night and I was cold and tired. Carter shrugged out of his jacket and took the seat at the desk opposite mine. We were four stories underground, so I couldn't hear if the storm was easing, but the lights flickered, so I took that as a no, Mother Nature wasn’t done ranting yet.

  "You look beat," Carter observed critically. No doubt noticing the dark shadows beneath my eyes. Given my pale skin, the slightest shadow or bruise showed up beautifully, like a grease mark on a white shirt.

  "You know, candle both ends." I waved my hand around vaguely. "Don't start fussing. You know I don't like it."

  "Well, someone has to. Honestly, you don't take very good care of yourself."

  "Hey, I do so. I've been looking after myself almost since birth. If you don't count those years when I was learning to walk and talk and all that infant stuff." I'd been abandoned at a church as a newborn. The nuns had taken me in and named me Raven on account of my head of black hair. The human government had whisked me away, given me the surname of Black because they're imaginative like that, and I'd grown up in a series of orphanages and foster homes until I ran away at fifteen, waiting out those last three years until I was eighteen and in charge of my own destiny on the streets. Carter worried about me because I had no family, no mom to fuss and tell me I looked tired. So he graciously stepped into that role, whether I asked for it or not.

  "Raven," he sighed, rubbing a hand over his face.

  "So, selling humans eh?" I interrupted before he started one of his lectures. It worked, he dropped his hand and logged into his computer. I stayed slumped in my chair, content to let him do the work.

  "Nothing’s coming up. We need to liaise with the Redmeadows PD and get a list of their missing persons."

  Pulling myself together, I sat up and shrugged out of my coat, leaving it to fall inside out over the back of my chair. Logging in, I began searching our recent cases that involved humans turning up dead. If people were being sold, then there'd have to be some planning involved, time factors for buyers to be notified. Did they target a human first and take them, or simply steal some that suited their needs and offer them up for sale? How long would that take? A couple of days? A couple of weeks?

  Any cases where the person had been reported missing within twenty-four hours of their death, I ignored. Unfortunately, in my line of business, once a human was missing, if it was a supernatural who'd taken them, then they were dead. Rogue supernaturals viewed humans as food, and it was our job at the SIA to put a stop to the rogues. I'd always thought the deaths were attributed to vampires because, obviously, they drank blood. But what if the wolves were playing their own hunting games? Maybe this went a whole lot deeper than anyone realized.

  2

  The sun was peeking over the horizon, painting the dawn with streaks of yellow, orange, and pink as I pulled into the underground garage of my apartment building. The twelve-hour shifts at SIA were killers, but rogues didn't work the same hours as humans. The majority of activity was between seven in the evening and seven in the morning, necessitating two twelve-hour shifts a day. We rotated on a two-week basis, two weeks of nights, two weeks of days, four days off between shift changes.

  Slinging my bag over my shoulder, I crossed the parking garage to the side door that led directly into the foyer, stopping to check my letter box before taking the elevator to the third floor. The building itself was an old hotel originally built in 1912 that had been renovated into boutique apartments. I'd bought my two-story, two-bedroom place three years ago and I loved it. Twelve-foot ceilings, hardwood floors, exposed brick, granite and stainless steel kitchen, luxury spa bath, and a skyline view just blocks from the river. My apartment was my refuge from the world, and I guarded my privacy with great zeal and a state of the art alarm system.

  Disarming said alarm, I dropped my bag on the coffee table by the door and leaned down to unzip my boots. I breathed a sigh of relief as I kicked them off, leaving them where they fell by the front door. Padding to the kitchen, I grabbed a popsicle from the freezer and headed upstairs, unzipping my jacket as I went. A narrow walkway ran the length of the upstairs area of my apartment, consisting of two bedrooms with a gorgeous-sized bathroom sandwiched between them. Besides my bed, my bath was my most favorite place to hang out. Placing the popsicle on the wooden stool next to the bath, I flipped on the faucet, leaving the bath to fill as I stripped out of my clothes on the way to my bedroom.

  There she was, my goddess of a bed, a magnificent creation of wrought iron with a white tufted headboard. The covers were a mess, a tumble of white comforter, silver sheets, and bronze pillows. I rarely bothered making my bed, a small rebellion against the years at the orphanage and the rigorous rule we were under. I tossed my clothes on the old armchair in the corner where they hung precariously on top of the bundle of clothes already there. Stepping out of my underwear and unsnapping my bra, I tossed them in the laundry hamper. Okay, I admit it, I treat my underwear with more respect than the rest of my clothes. I'm hooked on matching sets, any color, lace, push-up, bandeau, you name it, I have it in my collection. It's my secret little pleasure the rest of the world doesn't need to know about.

  Hitting the remote for the stereo, Nonono's “Pumpin Blood” filled the room, the electro-pop beat holding a hint of darkness. I pinned my hair into a messy knot on top of my head and cranked the music up louder, dancing around the room, losing myself in the music, gyrating down the hallway to the bathroom. My reflection in the bathroom mirror caught my eye and I stopped for a minute to eye myself critically. At five foot eight, I was leaning toward the tall side of average. Thanks to years of training with the SIA, my body was fit and lean, breasts not too big or too small, a perfect B cup. My skin was paler than I'd like, but then I was either working nights or inside a lot of the time, so I didn't get to spend a lot of time basking in the sun's glow. I could see why the nuns had called me Raven. My hair was literally jet black, so dark that in places where the light hit it, you would swear it had indigo highlights. My brows were equally dark, as were the thick, long lashes I'd been blessed with. Everyone got distracted by my hair, but I thought my eyes were my best feature by far. Not just green, but an emerald green, and with how thick my lashes were it looked like I permanently wore eyeliner.

  I'd copped a lot of shit from the other kids when growing up. I was pretty and I attracted a lot of attention because of it. Then they found out I was different and the attention changed into something darker, uglier.

  Filling the bath with hot, scented water, I eased myself in, fl
exing a foot to flick the taps off. Neck resting on the rim, I leaned my head back, staring up at the ceiling as the steam wafted around me. Thoughts drifted through my head, replays of the day, old memories, plans for the future, all mixed up with no patterns or order. I remembered the first time I'd ever had a bath. I was twelve years old and the foster family I'd been placed with had a bathtub. Prior to that, I'd endured lukewarm, bordering on cold, showers at the orphanage, and while I'd worked my way through quite a few foster families by the time I reached twelve, they were the first ones I'd been with who'd had a bathtub. The sensations had been delicious, sinking into the hot water, feeling my muscles relax. It was soothing and comforting and I was hooked.

  I'd only stayed with them a month. Their biological daughter, a year older than me, felt threatened. Again I think it was because of my looks. All the kids were scared their parents were going to love me more than them. I could have told them it would never happen, but kids can be cruel. She'd hacked off my hair when I was asleep. When I woke and discovered what she'd done I'd levitated her into the air and held her there, my fury powering my abilities to extraordinary levels. Her parents had burst into the room at all the screaming and understandably freaked out. And off I went to the next foster home.

  Annoyed at the memories, I pulled the plug and stepped out of the bath, wrapping myself in a large fluffy towel. Drying off, I finished my popsicle and slipped into bed, naked. I couldn't be bothered wearing nightclothes; I tossed and turned so much I always ended up so tangled they cut into me painfully, pulling me awake. I closed my eyes to the sound of the city around me—traffic starting to hum outside, voices, the noises of a world waking up. I was used to sleeping during the day. The day-to-day of everyone else's life had become my white noise. With a sigh, I let slumber take me.

 
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