September Moon (Alexa O'Brien, Huntress #8)

September Moon (Alexa O'Brien, Huntress #8)
Trina M. Lee

Chapter One

There was a bite to the September night air. Summer faded fast in these parts. A layer of bright yellow and orange foliage coated the city of Edmonton. Fall moved in quickly with winter nipping at its heels. It would be nice if we could make it another six weeks without snow.

My hand crept to the dagger on my hip. The jade handle was cold and smooth, a reassuring comfort as I prowled the night.

“Feels good to be hunting again. I’ve been craving a good beat down.” Jez spun her favorite dagger between her fingers before palming it like a pro. “Although I gotta say I’m a little concerned. It’s not every night we hunt a demon hybrid.”

I nodded. It had been some time since the two of us had stalked the night seeking a target. Too long. But jumping back into the thick of things by chasing down some kind of demon spawn wasn’t quite how I’d envisioned this evening.

The residential street we walked was quiet. Darkness blanketed almost every house we passed. Everyone was asleep, as they should be. Everyone except us, the creatures of the night.

“I’m definitely overdue for a good scrap.” I scanned the night for anything amiss. “Best way to let off steam. Other than sex.”

“Ugh. Don’t even talk to me about sex. I’ll probably never have it again.” Jez’s red lips curved into a melodramatic pout. “Must be nice to have three men ready to please you at a moment’s notice.”

My jaw dropped, and I stopped walking to stare at her, aghast. “Care to rephrase that?”

“Did I say three? Oops. My bad. I meant two. Definitely just two.” She whistled softly. “Didn’t mean to hit so low below the belt there. I guess Kale’s always going to be a touchy issue, huh?”

“Just a little. Where is he anyway?”

Kale Sinclair had done his damndest to avoid me since I’d come home from a trip to Las Vegas a couple weeks ago. Even though he was supposed to be here with us, watching our backs, he was MIA, which was becoming the usual for him.

Our personal relationship was to blame. Too much had gone on between us, both good and bad. Maybe we would never overcome it. But I still wouldn’t have left him on a demon hunt without backup.

“No idea,” Jez said with a shake of her head, her golden ponytail bouncing. “He barely returns my calls these days. It’s his guilt, I’m sure. Keeping him locked in that room with endless women for days at a time. It’s not healthy.”

“I’m afraid for him.” I spoke softly, finding it hard to give voice to my concern. “I wish there was something I could do.”

Jez stopped dead in place, forcing me to do the same. Grabbing me by the shoulders, she gave me a shake that knocked my teeth together.

“You have enough shit to deal with right now without making Kale’s problems yours. He’s the one who can’t control himself. He’s the one losing his marbles. He’s the one who tried to kill you. Don’t you dare feel bad about that.”

She gave me one more shake, then released me. I frowned, irritated but unable to argue. She was right. I cared deeply for Kale, but we all had our own battles to fight. I couldn’t take his upon myself.

We resumed our pace, quiet and stealthy, toward the large brick schoolhouse two blocks ahead. There, we anticipated finding the thing we had been sent after.

Shya had insisted this was an easy hunt. So easy he could entrust the task to two mortals. A lesser demon had escaped a summoning and, after running amok, was now hiding out, fearing Shya’s wrath. Of course, anything Shya said had to be taken with a grain of salt. Not only was he the most powerful demon laying claim to this city, but he was also someone who wanted to use me as a living sacrifice.

I had a duty to protect my city, something I had just begun to accept. Yet duty was the main reason I was lurking around the old schoolhouse in the middle of the night.

After the first few days back in town, the relaxation and calm of being home had grown tiresome. Boring. Much as I hated to admit it, I needed this kind of action on a regular basis. I was nothing without the hunt.

“Any news on the vamps in Vegas?” Jez asked, pausing to glance down a side street as we passed. She raised her nose to the wind, sniffing the air.

I caught the scent too. Sulfur. I reached to feel it mentally, sifting through the strange energy patterns marking the demon’s path. It felt heavy and chaotic, creating a distorted mess of noise in my head.

“Other than Jenner’s continued insistence that we go f*ck ourselves? Not so much. I think he just needs to let off steam though.” I turned in a slow circle, taking in our surroundings. “Do you feel that? This thing feels deadly.”

Jez gave a nod; her lips curved into a small smile. “I do. Definitely a far cry from our usual vampire hunt. It’s kind of exciting.”

My skin crawled. An unsettling sensation followed.

My hand kept going to the hilt of the Dragon Claw where it sat securely in its sheath against my hip. A long leather jacket kept it hidden. The curved blade was longer than my forearm. It wasn’t an easy weapon to conceal.

“Let’s keep going. We’ve got this.” I forced myself to put one foot in front of the other. Taking deep breaths helped to clear my head and combat the seed of fear that had sprouted. Too many things feed off fear. The only time fear was useful was if it aided one in staying alive. Most of the time it just got one killed.

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