Freak Show (Alexa O'Brien, Huntress #7)

Freak Show (Alexa O'Brien, Huntress #7)
Trina M. Lee

Chapter One

The loud clink of glasses was one of many sounds in the busy, fast-paced atmosphere. It was pushing three in the morning, yet the patrons of the Galleria Bar in Caesars Palace were nowhere near finished. I sat at a small round table with Shaz and Jez, trying to decide where I wanted to start. There was so much going on.

Jez held her cocktail up and with a bright smile, crashed it against my martini glass. “Cheers, wolf girl. Here’s to making Sin City our bitch.”

“I think you might have that backwards, Jezzy,” I laughed as the high-strung, erratic energy of the hotel’s occupants crawled over me. It was intense, intriguing and a little chaotic. “This city is going to chew us up and spit us out.”

I sat back in the comfy chair, running a hand over the soft material. The scent of cigarettes and perfume quickly became irritating, and I wrinkled my nose in distaste. Coming to Las Vegas had been Jez’s idea of a getaway, but it was more than that for Arys and me. This trip could prove to be downright deadly.

“I just hope I can keep up with the two of you.” Shaz sipped a beer, his jade-green eyes scanning the vicinity with the wolf’s calm curiosity.

I was happy he had come along on this trip. The time he’d recently spent in the mountains had been hard on both of us. Gone for about five weeks, his absence had been a gaping void in my life. I’d missed him desperately. Our relationship was complicated. Straightening it out was going to take time.

We arrived at the hotel well past a normal check in time, not that there was a whole lot of normal going on in Las Vegas. Arys had gone to the front desk to see about our rooms, while Jez had promptly led the way to the bar, bubbling over with excitement. She was an endless well of exuberance.

I watched her bounce in her chair as she tossed back the fruity drink. Though her enthusiasm was genuine, I couldn’t help but wonder if she was trying extra hard to leave her emotions back at home. Suffering the loss of a lover can really screw up a person. Of course, she needed to cut loose and leave the real world behind for a while.

“We should go hit the slot machines,” Jez said, abandoning her empty glass. She peered over the partition to the casino beyond. “It’s still early.”

I glanced down at the bags near our feet, glad I had packed relatively light. “Slow down there, wildcat. Lots of time for that. Let’s get settled into our rooms first. I could use a few hours of sleep before Harley’s crew knows we’re here.”

“Do you think they’ll be a problem?” Shaz picked at the label on his beer bottle, but his eyes were on me. “It’s not like you came here to make trouble for them. Did you?”

I squirmed a little under the weight of his gaze. There was so much going unsaid between us these days. Since he got back, neither of us had wanted to ruin the glow of his return by touching on past events.

“You’re asking the wrong person.” I shook my head and looked at a young couple falling all over each other in the corner. Anything to break eye contact. “Arys wasn’t willing to let me come here without him. That should speak for itself.”

“It does.” Shaz followed my gaze, spying the smitten lovers. He looked back to me and raised a brow, flashing me a flirty grin.

A blush warmed my cheeks. In so many ways, it felt like we were starting over. The anticipation of every look and touch was strong. Things had changed, but we’d been so close once. The love we had for one another still existed, beneath the remnants of the mess we’d made. Perhaps we’d find our way back to each other. Eventually.

“If I have to watch you two slip shy glances back and forth all week, I may have to poke my eyes out.” Jez groaned and pretended to vomit. “Just go bang your brains out already and get it out of your system.”

“Jez,” I admonished with a glare, flushing with the heat of embarrassment. A peek at Shaz revealed he was trying to suppress a laugh.

“Sorry,” she said but clearly didn’t mean it. “I’m just jealous and bitter. Seriously, though, somebody should be f**king like bunnies. Might as well be you guys.”

It was a touchy subject for sure. Shaz and I hadn’t been intimate in months. It wasn’t something I wanted to rush. It had to happen in its own time.

“This is Vegas.” Shaz spoke up. “I doubt it will take you long to find a sexy lady to rock your world, Jez. And if you’re not ready, that’s ok too. We’ll happily drink ourselves stupid with you. Right, Lex?”

I opened my mouth to reply, but nothing came out. The vampire that had just walked into the bar transfixed me. Shit. Where was Arys?

Bracing for the moment the vampire would look our way, I held my breath. His dark gaze fell upon me immediately, and I froze. He was tall and burly. Bearded with long, shaggy hair, his dark eyes were piercing. Our gazes met, and he stared into me with a fierceness that made me defensive. In a show of blatant disrespect, he felt me out, reaching out metaphysically to get a taste of my power. It was invasive and beyond rude. Instead of resisting his appraisal, I took the brief opportunity to do the same.

I barely tasted his power when a blur of images hit me, flashes of the memories that lived deep within my subconscious. Arys’s memories.

The vampire’s strong pull of energy oozed eroticism and violent pleasure. It promised to draw me in, to make me lust’s slave, to keep me begging no matter how bad it hurt. I knew that power very well; I possessed it. Whoever he was, he belonged to Harley’s bloodline, just as Arys and I did.

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