And so, it has arrived. The time I dread. BACK TO FREAKING SCHOOL. I know…lots of parents love when their kids go back. And it’s not school that’s the depressing part. It’s back to driving, to hockey. To aerial arts, tumbling…lunches and homework. To all the things that suck up time and drive me to the brink of sanity. Sure, I’ll love the few hours of quiet in the house, but honestly…I already had that. Teenagers translates into vampires. So I had mornings of quiet already, lol. Now…now I’ll be driving to school and scheduling all my stuff around their stuff.

Anyway, that’s not the topic of the blog. It’s actually another picture flash fiction. An interesting photo this month…and once I started writing, I realized it’s a quick peek into a story that will release next Halloween—the second book in a series that starts this year. A collection I’m doing with some fab ladies from here. I don’t have titles folks…titles are hard, but…here’s the pic and the story.

09-2015 - KeyInHand

“What the hell is that?”

Piper Collins couldn’t quite crush the roll of her eyes as she stared at Tanner and Garret, their joint expressions making her wish she could slug the cocky smiles off their faces. Hunters. Christ, if she never had to deal with another one as long as she lived…

She released an impatient sigh. “It’s apparently ignorance masquerading as a key.”

Tanner snorted. “I know it’s a key, Piper. I’m not fucking blind. What I meant was…why the hell are you giving it to me? Because unless it opens some magical box that’s going to save our hides, I don’t see the importance of it right now.”

“It’s iron.”


Piper pursed her lips to stop the groan from breaking free as she made eye contact with Garret. “Please tell me you’re the brains of this twosome because I’m about ready to stab your partner with his own damn stake.”

Garret frowned. “We hunt werewolves, not vampires. We don’t use stakes.”

“For the love of…” Piper hissed out her next breath. “I know you hunt werewolves. I was trying…forget it. The key is made of iron, which means it repels ghost. Faeries, too.”

“Faeries? Seriously?”

“They’re real. Trust me. And they deserve respect.”

“Even if that’s so—and I really doubt it—I hardly think they’re a threat. Aren’t they like the size of an insect or something?”

Piper shook her head. “Just take this, okay? I have two extras. You both need to keep one on you. Wear it around your neck or in your pocket. Anywhere you can get to it quickly.”

Garret’s frown intensified. “Need I remind you, we’re hunting a weres—”

“Just humour me, Garret, okay?”

The man sighed, taking the key then handing the next one she held out to his partner. She nodded her thanks, despite the fact the look he gave her clearly indicated he thought she wasn’t quite sane. She chuckled inwardly at the thought. If only he knew how close to the truth that was. Not that she was crazy. She wasn’t. But more than a few people perceived her that way, especially considering her abilities.

She glanced away. As far as they knew, she was merely an information gatherer who’d stumbled upon a possible lair when she’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time. A reluctant guide of sorts. And the less they knew about her, the better—especially considering the way they made her feel. As if she was the prey they were stalking instead of a wolf. She’d heard about their unique partnership—that they shared more than just office space—and the last thing she wanted was to be another notch on their bedpost. Another creature they’d conquered.

Woman. Not creature.

But fuck, she sure didn’t feel completely human. Not with her skin practically glowing from the evil she felt residing within the abandoned hospital before them. Whether it really was a werewolf infestation, she couldn’t tell, but there was definitely something hiding within the walls—an evil the other half of her sensed on an intimate level. And given the body she’d found—the feeding she’d interrupted the previous night—it made sense. Except for the uneasy feeling in her gut that told her this was far more complicated than a simple werewolf problem. That what hide in the shadows was older—more dangerous. She jumped when a hand landed on her shoulder, jerking her head around to look at Tanner.

He frowned, cupping her arm as he stepped closer. “You okay?”

She feigned a smile. “Of course. It’s just the sun’s going down. That gives evil the advantage.”

Tanner glanced at Garret, then back to her. “Look, you’ve done your part. You got us here. Why don’t you just go wait in the truck? We’ll take a look around, deal with any threats—”

“I’m coming in.”

Piper cursed the impulsive reply. She hadn’t meant for it to sound like a mixture of desperation and determination. That there was no way she’d accept no as an answer. But she’d learned to trust her instincts—her heightened senses. And they were clearly telling her the boys might be walking into more than they bargained for.

Tanner arched a brow. “Aren’t you a desk jockey?”

She firmed her stance. “I’ve had field training.” She scoffed at their joint groans. “I can handle myself. Besides, I didn’t find the body out here. It was in one of the rooms. Thinking you’ll want to see the kill site for yourselves, and I can’t really explain how to get to that room. I’ll just know it when I see it.”

Tanner inched closer. “I’m sure you’re a real badass, but—”

“I’m coming. Period. And if you refuse, I’ll just follow once you go inside, so…which is it, gentlemen?”

Garret huffed. “God, you’re a pain in the ass. Fine. You can tag along…” He closed the distance between them, hovering within reach of her lips. “But I swear, if you so much as put a finger in jeopardy doing some lame-ass attempt at hunting, I’ll tan your butt.”

Her body heated at his words, the thought of having his palm redden her ass having a strange, arousing effect. She raised her chin, not willing to look away. “Wouldn’t dream of stealing your thunder.”

Garret shook his head. “Women. Okay, Princess, after you.”

She walked forward, glancing at them over her shoulder. “Everyone at the centre warned me you two were arrogant jerks. Who knew they’d be right.”

Tanner snagged her wrist when she tried to take her next step. “There’s a fine line between arrogance and skill, sweetheart. You’d best remember that.”

“There’s also a fine line between bravery and stupidity. That might be one you two should pay close attention to.” She tugged her arm free. “You boys coming?”

She thought she heard Garret mumble something that sounded like, “not soon enough,” but she ignored it. If she wasn’t convinced there was something other than a werewolf lying in wait inside, she’d have gladly stayed in their damn truck. But she wasn’t willing to risk their lives just so they could play heroes.

Garret fell into step behind her, moving silently as she picked her way through the building, heading for the room on the far side. Uneasiness prickled her skin, the hairs on her nape warning her they were being watched. She pushed forward, finally arriving at the doorway. She pointed to it. “The woman was inside—ripped to pieces. I tried to heal some of the wounds but…” She shivered. “There wasn’t anything I could do for her.”

“Heal?” Garret looked at her. “You mean treat, right?”

She cursed under her breath. Damn, it wasn’t like her to make that kind of a slip. “Treat. Right. I tried to treat her wounds, but she was already too far gone. Not enough soul left to save.”

Garret snorted. “Has anyone ever told you that you talk funny?” He held up his hand when she glared at him. “Don’t worry. It’s kind of cute.” He motioned behind him. “Might be best if I go first.”

She merely waved him forward, keeping watch behind them as Tanner motioned for her to follow his partner. She walked into the room, looking away from the large red stain on the floor, bits of cloth still littering the scene.

Garret moved over to the area, crouching as he took a few swabs. “Must have gruesome. Can’t imagine how helpless you felt. I’m sorry for that.”

She furrowed her brow. Was he actually being sincere?

Tanner brushed her arm, gaining her attention. “What Garret said. I’m sure it was horrific. But what I don’t understand is how you even heard her all the way over here. I mean…shit, it’s on the other side of the building.”

Piper stilled. Damn, she hadn’t thought that part through, and she was pretty damn sure the truth wouldn’t help the situation. “I guess her voice carried with most of the building being empty. And once I ventured inside…it wasn’t that hard to pinpoint.”

Tanner’s expression indicated he didn’t quite believe her, but he nodded, walking around the place. “Betting she was jumped outside, then dragged in here. Can’t imagine most folks would come in here for fun.”

“Unless she was a ghost hunter or something.”

Tanner scrunched up his face. “She was an amateur if so. One who had no idea ghosts were the least of her worries. There’s been a lot of activity lately. Almost as if the paranormal side has awakened. Not sure I want to know what from.”

“Maybe it’s more of a gathering.”

She cursed again when Tanner gazed over at her, brow furrowed. Shit, she was doing a lousy job at hiding that she was far more intimately aware of unnatural creatures than a mere scholar.

Garret nudged her. “Are you sure you’re just a reader? Because you don’t talk like someone who only studies these things from the safety of a desk.”

“Pretty sure…”

Her voice trailed off as the air around them charged, the energy raising the hairs on her arm. She glanced at the door, inhaling when a misty form phased through it, hovering off to one corner. It didn’t come any closer, its silhouette constantly flowing from one shape into another.

Garret’s hand landed on her arm. “Piper? You okay? All the colour just washed out of your face.”

She tried to look away but failed.

He shook her. “Piper?”

She shifted her eyes so he’d know she’d heard him. “Don’t you see it…”

He looked expectantly at her. “See what?”

“In the corner…there…” She grunted when he glanced around but shook his head.

“I don’t see anything. Maybe you should tell us what you see.”

She back-pedalled. “Nothing. Must have been a trick of the light. Maybe you guys were right. Maybe I should wait…”

Her breath stuck in her throat when the spirit stopped shifting, forming one solid shape. The grisly creature bared its teeth as it slowly moved forward. Garret spun, eyes widening as if just now seeing the animal. Tanner followed suit, immediately drawing his weapons as he stepped in front of Piper. He motioned for her to get down as he fired off a shot, the bullet impacting the wolf-like animal without having any effect. Tanner swore, releasing another round, yelling at Garret to get her out of there.

Garret tugged on her arm when the animal lunged at Tanner, knocking him back, a series of marks gouged across his chest, the red lines already starting to bleed. Garret, moved in front of Tanner, blocking the creature’s way. The animal snarled, snapping its jaws at them as it continued to stalk forward.

“Stop!” Piper held out her hands, allowing her power to surge to the surface. “One more step and I’ll be forced to destroy you.”

Both men glanced at her as her voice resonated through the room, the lilting quality to it impossible to miss. Their eyes bulged impossibly wider as they took in the angelic glow of her skin that seemed to suddenly fill the room with a light. The creature turned toward her, shrieking in seeming pain before coalescing back into a mist and disappearing out the door.

She turned to them, ignoring the panicked look in their eyes. “We need to leave. Now. Before it comes back. Despite my threat, I’m not sure I can kill it.”

Tanner didn’t speak as Garret helped him up, shouldering the other man’s weight as Piper led the way. They backtracked through the building, breaking into the growing darkness. Her skin seemed even brighter as she picked her way to the truck, gasping when Garret grabbed her arm and spun her to face him.

His expression hardened, a silver blade in his hand. “It appears you have some explaining to do. What the hell was that thing? And more importantly…what the hell are you?”


That’s it for me folks. Go on over and read the awesome stories from the other ladies.

Bronwyn Green  |  Jessica De La Rosa  |  Kayleigh Jones

Kellie St. James  |  Paige Prince


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