Book Description: Monroe, a vampire hunter, obsesses over locating a missing painter who he thinks is an Oracle blessed with visions from God. He knows Master Vallore wants to turn her into a vampire, and Monroe would do anything to prevent it.
Excerpt from CK #3: The Oracle’s Missing Sketchbook
Josh sat at the bar, a beer in his hand. His twin sister, Addison, left for Castile last week with her fiancé, the father of all vampires, Master Vallore.
He never thought she’d become a vampire, let alone the Master’s mate. The thought of that guy holding his sister scared him.
Josh didn’t think she was vampire material. She couldn’t take lives and survive on blood for the rest of her life. There was no way. Not Addison. The thoughts consumed him, and he couldn’t push them out of his head. It made little sense.
He picked at the label on his bottle, the paper moist but refusing to come off clean. His eyes burned into the logo, his brow furled. They turned the television up, a few guys on the other side of the bar watching a game.
It was dead tonight, few people in the tavern. Josh had a rough day at the manor because Monroe, a master vampire hunter, was in town and it riled up all the Elite vampires.
He killed the green Elites because the new vamps didn’t have much experience in the field. Monroe was Master Vallore’s biggest adversary and the strongest hunter out there. Josh was glad his shift was over when it happened, and he didn’t run into him.
But still, it was a close call and rattled Josh. Monroe never invaded the Caron manor before because only a dumbass would run full bore into a vampire’s den. They waited until the stronger Elites were out of the house, though. Then, the vampire hunters snuck in and trashed the manor searching for something, but no one had a clue what.
Samson, the head of the Caron Elites, installed new security systems at the manor and it shouldn’t happen again. Still, the thought of Monroe around was unsettling.
His phone beeped, Josh pulling it out of his pocket. He read the message.
What are you doing?
It was Addison. Hearing from her lightened his spirits. He responded with sarcasm.
What are you doing? The Master?
No. He’s working. We’re in Hanton today and he’s been gone all day. I’ve been in the hotel watching movies and doing sketches for the Master.
Sketches for the Master? What kind of sketches?
Ones he asked for.
So, you haven’t gotten to Castile, yet?
He saw a few men walking toward him. They weren’t normal-looking guys. They were a gang of bodybuilders or vampire hunters. He guessed the latter.
Even though afraid, he pretended he wasn’t. He moved his phone closer to his face, absorbing himself in his conversation.
He typed a message back to her.
Maybe you’re not going.
A man sat next to Josh and addressed the bartender. “Buy him another one of those.” His Pargon accent was thick which showed he wasn’t from around here.
Fuck, now he had a problem. They didn’t go away.
Trying to act tough, Josh sized the man up with a stiff lip. The man wore glasses and a baseball cap over his messy blond hair, his cocky swagger showing he was trouble.
The other guys with him flanked the man, blocking Josh’s exit. That meant the blond was their leader.
Josh fired off a sarcastic reply. “Guys, I think you have the wrong idea, you’re not my type.” He tucked his phone into his pocket and snatched the fresh bottle of beer. He shook it as he sent the man a crooked grin. “Thanks for the beer, though.”
The blond slammed a plastic badge on the wooden surface of the bar. He tapped it. “Where is she?”
Josh gritted his teeth as he stared at the picture of his sister on the ID. It was the security badge she wore when she worked at the museum. Forcing air out his nostrils, Josh narrowed his eyes on her face.
He took a swig from his bottle and picked up the badge. Josh’s eyes ticked to the blond’s as Josh shoved the ID in the front pocket of his baggy cargo pants. “Leave her the fuck alone. She doesn’t play games with you guys.”
Grabbing the front of Josh’s shirt, the man yanked him off his seat and out of the bar. No one came to Josh’s rescue, the others in the establishment glancing his way, but nothing more than that.
The blond slammed Josh against a brick wall in the alley. It hurt, Josh cringing as pain radiated throughout his body. He gritted his teeth and tried to pry the man’s hands off him.
“Where is she?” the blond hissed.
“Working.” Josh threw a glare at the man and stood up to him. Josh was small, but no one broke him. Ever. Even this fucking steroid-injected tool. “Leave her alone.”
“Where?” the man repeated.
“Why?” Josh stopped struggling, and the man loosened his grip. He released Josh, but because they surrounded him, Josh couldn’t escape.
“Because I’m looking for her,” the blond answered.
“Well, stop looking.” Josh rubbed his neck and sounded winded as he tried to calm himself. “She wants to be left alone. She’s not picking sides. She doesn’t play games with hunters and vamps, so respect—”
“I didn’t ask that.” The blond cupped Josh’s throat with his hand, pinning him to the wall again. “Now, tell me where she is.”
The man released him, Josh almost falling to his knees. Josh straightened. “I’ll tell you the same thing I told the vamps. I don’t know. She’s pissed at me, so she hasn’t called me in a few weeks. She’s paranoid about people getting her number. She won’t even give it to me, either. She calls me. I don’t call her.”
“Why’s she angry with you?” the blond asked, his voice softer.
“That’s none of your business,” Josh snapped.
“Where is she?”
“I told you, I don’t know.”
“Well, where was she last?”
“Somewhere in Pargon doing a commission. You seem to be stalking her, so go find her yourself.” Josh straightened his jacket and stiffened his lip. His back throbbed, but he bit back the pain.
“Find out.” The blond crossed his arms and glared at Josh.
Josh wasn’t sure if this guy bought his lie. “Why are you looking for her, anyway? She’s a good girl. She doesn’t want to pick sides, she—”
“I need to talk to her about this.” The blond held up a photocopy of a pencil sketch. Josh ripped it from his hand and studied the drawing in greater detail. He knew by the initials AC at the bottom it was Addison’s.
In the drawing, a female angel laid on a bed, a cloaked man hovering over her. A demon mask hid his identity as he bit the woman’s neck. She wrote a line under the sketch, but it was in a language Josh didn’t understand.
Narrowing his eyes, Josh glared at the picture. It was a sketch of a painting Addison saw. “Where’d you get this? This is from Addison’s missing sketchbook.”
The man plucked it from Josh’s hand. He folded it and stuck it back in his pocket. “This is me in the picture, isn’t it?”
“What the fuck are you talking about? That’s probably just a sketch of some damn painting she saw. She draws shit like that all the time,” Josh snapped as he wrinkled his nose and rubbed at it with a rough hand.
Josh tried not to let his fear show, a hardness in his features. No stranger to a fight, he was in several before. He wasn’t as big as them, but he wouldn’t let them push him around. He’d die before he told them where Addison was. “You’re like the vamps. Salivating after my sister like some horny—”
Monroe wrapped his fingers around Josh’s throat, pinning him to the wall. Josh struggled to breathe, but he couldn’t escape the hunter. “I’m not playing with you. So, stop the bullshit, you little prick. I will find your sister. Tell her that.”
Josh crawled the wall, his hands palming the rough brick as he tried to escape. His mouth was open as he choked.
Monroe squeezed harder, Josh’s eyes feeling like they would pop out of his head, and his face burning. “And when I find her, she’s picking sides. My side. I promise you that. I’ll never let the vampires have her. Ever.” He released Josh and pointed a finger at him. “Tell her game’s still on, and if she’s with the vamps, I’ll punish her.” With that, Monroe and the others walked away and left Josh alone.
Josh took out a cigarette and his hand shook as he lit it. Taking a slow drag off it, he peered down the now empty alley. He took out his phone and shot a text to Samson and Brandon.
I saw hunters on Henderson St., near Morrison’s. They look foreign, so they might be some of Monroe’s hunters.