Here’s a teaser from Red Hot Fury’s sequel, Green Eyed Envy, which I’m currently working on:
Barely an hour later I had ditched the hot pink negligee (and horniness) for my red leather Fury uniform. Scott and I waited for Harper outside the branch of the city morgue that housed arcane corpses. Her job for the FBI made her no stranger to after-hour telephone calls summoning her to check out a body, but this was the first time her duty was to ID the corpse rather than investigate its murder.
Of course, she didn’t know that yet. Neither Scott nor I had the heart to break the news over the phone, especially since she lived by herself. Way more tactful to just tell her I needed an assist on a case and give her the morbid news in person. On the selfish side, I was glad that it would be her to ID the victim, rather than his immediate family members. At least we could spare them that.
I don’t know who was more surprised—Scott or me—when Harper showed up so very not by herself. And, by the possessive way the black-haired, golden-eyed, dark-skinned Adonis held her hand, we could have broken the news to her over the phone with no regret. No way she’d been alone at her place when she got my call. And by the designer clothes Adonis wore like a second skin, I was willing to bet she hadn’t been at her place at all. Wait…dark skin and yellow eyes. Holy shit. Harp’s bagged herself another Hound!
This time, Scott won the “who’s more surprised” contest hands-down. He did a double-take when he caught a good look at Adonis’s face. His mouth and eyes widened comically before he managed to choke out, “Pen?”
Harper had her own moment of shock when Scott stepped forward from the shadows next to me. “Mutt?” She flushed and shot me an accusing look. “You didn’t tell me he’d be here.”
I motioned to Adonis—Penn with two n’s I was now assuming, since he definitely wasn’t a writing implement. “Pot? Kettle? Hello!”
Her normally tan skin grew even more flushed. “Yeah, well—”
The mysterious Penn seized the opportunity to get a word in edgewise by cutting in. “You do not seriously believe I would allow Christabel to leave my condo in the middle of the night to come to the gods-forsaken morgue alone?”
My lips trembled from the effort to hold back laughter as I switched my attention to Harper. “Christabel?”
She shot me a drop dead look while patting Penn on the arm. Down, boy, I thought with an inner sneer, but managed not to roll my eyes. Barely.
Scott spoke up again before Harper—oh, calling her Christabel was going to be way more fun than calling Elliana Ellie—could. “Do I even want to know why the hell you’re holding hands with my pompous asshole of a cousin?”
Oh, snap! Wish I had a tub of popcorn right about now…
Penn’s gaze zeroed in on Scott and he frowned, narrowing his eyes as he sized up the other Hound. Recognition suddenly hit. “Murphy?”
I couldn’t resist a sardonic, “And here I thought that was my special nickname for Scott whenever he pisses me off.”
Adonis nodded as if I’d confirmed something for him. “So. The mutt in charge of the Shadowmutts.”
Oh no he din’n’t! I flashbacked to a few months previous when Scott had to physically restrain me from kicking the shit out of Ellie for making a snarky comment about my missing best friend (and sister Fury), Vanessa. This time I was the one throwing myself in between Scott and one of his smartass cousins. I shifted Nemesis and Nike into physical form, drawing magic through them to amp up my Fury superstrength to keep Scott from leaping onto Adonis. Though with the other Hound’s decided lack of charm, tact, and self-preservation, I wasn’t 100% convinced he was worth the effort. Still, letting Scott rip him apart would mean a whole lot of paperwork that I just didn’t want to have to deal with in the middle of a murder investigation.
Harper had her own hands full holding Adonis back from Scott. She whispered to him fiercely, showing that she hadn’t completely lost her backbone as I’d suspected when she’d let Penn—who could be none other but the Pennington Banoub, Elliana’s eldest brother and the financial genius currently heading up the Banoub family dynasty—pull his macho man routine and call her Christabel.
Once certain that Scott wasn’t going to break my hold, I drawled, “Now, now, boys, don’t make me get out the water hose.”
My words had a similar affect to the threatened hosing. They both stopped struggling and settled for scowling at each other in that testosterone-laced way riled-up men have. Would have been sexy if I didn’t have other things going on. Like, you know, stopping a wicked insane arcane serial killer.
“Can we count on you two to behave yourselves, or do I need to break out the cuffs?”
They threw scowls my way but remained tight-lipped. I nodded at Harper, and we stepped back from our menfolk. She focused on me. “Not that I wouldn’t just love to catch up on old times standing on the street outside the City Morgue in the middle of the freaking night, but would you mind telling me what the hell kind of FBI help you need so desperately that I just had to come down here now?”
The part I’d been dreading. The hesitation in my stance must have clued Adonis in that I was about to give “Christabel” bad news, because he quickly settled his arm around her shoulders. She just arched a brow. “Harp, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but I asked you down here to ID a murder victim.”
She had trouble processing that for a second. Then her mouth drew open slightly and she let out a choked, “Ohhh.”
I rushed to reassure her. “He’s not a relative of yours or anything. But Scott thinks it’s a past—” feeling the heat of Adonis’s gaze on me had me amend my original phrasing to “—acquaintance of yours. From college.”
Harper steeled her expression and her spine, then nodded. “I see. Cat, then?”
“Yeah. The third victim of three, discovered just today.”
Her mouth widened again. “Wait. The third of three. You mean those other two Cat corpses we heard about—”
I nodded grimly. “Are definitely related to vic number three.”
“And I know—knew—the latest vic.” Not a question, so I didn’t give an answer. Adonis pulled Harper closer and leaned down to brush his lips against her head. The tenderness of the gesture had me revising my opinion of him ever-so-slightly upward. “Well then, let’s get this over with. At least I can spare his family having to see him before they can clean him up.”
Gods, was I ever glad of that. And if we had any chance in hell of sparing them the knowledge that his tongue had been ripped out, I would move mountains to make that happen.
“Come on. Sahana’s waiting for us.”