Authors: Abby Blake
PUP Squad Alpha 1
Skye Hastings was content with her life. It was predictable and maybe a little dull, but she was happy to go with the flow and not ask for more—until she witnessed a brutal murder. Now she wants answers.
As elite members of the Paranormal Undercover Protection squad, Benjamin Carrington and Samuel Eldridge are quite happy. Okay, life isn't exactly one long party, but they get the job done and they know the people they're protecting are better off not knowing what goes on around them.
But when they find Skye dying, the only survivor of a brutal attack, it's a single decision that changes all of their lives.
Thrown into a world she doesn't understand, surrounded by creatures that aren't supposed to exist, Skye finds herself clinging to the men who saved her. But can she trust her emotions when the rest of her world is dissolving?
Note: There is no sexual relationship or touching for titillation between or among the men.
Ménage a Trois/Quatre, Paranormal, Vampires/Werewolves
PUP Squad Alpha 1
Siren Publishing, Inc.
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A SIREN PUBLISHING BOOK
IMPRINT: Ménage Everlasting
Copyright © 2012 by Abby Blake
E-book ISBN: 1-61926-704-7
First E-book Publication: April 2012
Cover design by Les Byerley
All art and logo copyright © 2012 by Siren Publishing, Inc.
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PUP Squad Alpha 1
Copyright © 2012
Skye Hastings took a quick glance over her shoulder, saw the foyer still empty, and turned back to the table. She couldn’t explain why she’d agreed to meet her sister in this poorly lit, overly loud dance club. Jennifer knew how much she hated socializing. If her being late was some kind of plan to get Skye out and meeting people, her sister was in for one very short, heated response—hell, no!
“Hello, beautiful,” a man said as he slid onto the stool beside her.
“Hi,” Skye managed to force past her lips as she tried not to gag. She’d met overconfident sleazebags before, but this guy took the cake. Just the tone of his voice set her on edge. Trying very hard to not show her distaste—maybe he’d mistaken her for someone he knew—she turned to face him with a polite excuse on her lips. He was tall, very tall. Even with him sitting she had to tilt her head way back just to make eye contact. “I’m…um…waiting for someone.”
“And now I’m here.”
Ack! Did that line ever work for him? Feeling claustrophobic with the wall behind her and the man towering over her in front, Skye tried very hard not to show her panic. Being cornered in a nightclub was not her idea of a good time. She tilted sideways, trying to see around the man, and hopefully catch a glimpse of her sister.
The guy mirrored her movement, blocking her line of sight. “It’s okay, beautiful,” he said, leaning over her to run a finger down her cheek, “you and I are going to get better acquainted.”
Skye shuddered at the unwelcome contact and managed to force out the word “no.” She shook her head quickly, and then, giving up all pretense of being polite, slid off the stool and tried to push her way past him. It was like trying to push through a solid wall. The man laughed, obviously very aware of Skye’s fear.
“Sit down. Be quiet,” the man said in a mild voice. Unbelievably, Skye did exactly as she was told. Still trying to understand why she would react to the man’s order the way she had, her eyes almost rolled into the back of her head when the man leaned in. At first it looked like he might try to kiss her, but all he did was lower his face to the side of her neck and breathe deeply. “Yes, beautiful, you’re going to taste as good as you look.”
She wanted to ask what he meant, but her mouth didn’t seem to be working. She wanted to leap off the chair, scream for help, and thump the guy until he let her past.
But she did none of it.
She sat on the stool, staring at the man, her heart pounding a wild, terrified tattoo as her body seemed to somehow disobey her commands.
“About time you showed up,” the tall man said to a painfully thin guy who broke through the crowd and took the stool on the other side of the table.
The new man shrugged. “Thought I saw someone I knew,” he said without taking his gaze off Skye. After eyeing her for what felt like an eternity, the new man licked his lips and leaned forward to press a wet, cold kiss to her neck. Internally shuddering in revulsion, Skye still couldn’t explain her physical outward calm. She hoped like hell this was a nightmare because she really,
wanted to wake up.
“Said he’d meet us out back. Had his eye on some redhead.”
Both men laughed as if they shared a joke and then turned their attention back to her.
“I gotta say, you sure know how to pick ’em. She’s real pretty.”
The older man smiled. “And she’s O-neg, healthy, obviously takes care of herself—she should taste mighty fine.”
The younger man snorted, but nodded in agreement. “Hell, yeah. Way better than some stick-thin redhead with freckles who supposedly looks a little like his ex. When the fuck is he gonna get over his obsession with someone who’s been dead for decades?”
“Don’t know,” the tall man said with a laugh. “You’d think seventy years would cure him of the need for revenge. But hey, if it means we don’t have to share the prime catches, let the guy have his fun.”
“True,” the skinny man said with a laugh. “Come on, bitch. I’m hungry.”
The tall man held out a hand to help her off the stool. Practically screaming inside her mind, but unable to force her body to work, Skye watched dumfounded as her arm lifted and she placed her hand in his.
“Smile,” the other man said as he came up behind her. The tall man led her through the crowd toward the back of the club as she smiled serenely on the outside and screamed in terror on the inside.
The cold wrapped around her as they stepped into the alley, but even though the chill attacked her skin like a thousand little needles, she didn’t even shiver. She could still feel the stupid smile plastered on her face, the unwanted expression even more agonizing by the fact that no one inside had noticed that she was leaving against her will.
She heard a couple of people approach and for one brief moment prayed for rescue. A pale man with straggly blond hair and a painfully thin red-haired woman with freckles wearing the exact same smile as Skye stepped into the tiny circle of pale light. Skye felt tears well in her eyes. Obviously this was the man they’d been talking about, and not the help she desperately needed.
“Shhh, none of that,” the older man said as he wiped away the lone tear that managed to escape. “I promise you this won’t hurt.” But he ruined his reassurance by adding, “Of course I can’t promise the same for her.”
And then as they watched the third man torture the silent red-haired woman, they stood behind Skye, caressing her frozen body with their cold hands. After several minutes of sheer terror, one of them threaded a hand into her hair and pulled her head back until she was staring into the night sky. A cowardly part of her welcomed the reprieve, unable to watch the young woman being tortured a moment longer, but then both men bit into either side of her throat and reality lost all meaning.
* * * *
Benjamin Carrington followed his squad partner into the busy nightclub. Thomas was the best tracker in the business, but with so many vampires clustered in the one small area it was proving harder than expected to track them all down.
“Fuck,” Thomas whispered quietly enough that only Benjamin would hear him. “I’m getting at least eleven different scents. We’re going to need backup.”
Benjamin pulled out his cell phone, texted the details to the rest of his squad, and nodded at Thomas to continue. They wandered about the club casually, acting as if they belonged there, trying to get a read on where each of the vampires was located. If they could take them out one at a time they might be able to pull it off, but two against eleven meant they were seriously outnumbered. It didn’t help that they were literally surrounded by civilians. The squad’s main objective was to do their jobs without the people around them ever knowing about it. Taking on eleven vampires in a single crowded club was not going to help keep their secret.
“I’ve got three scent trails that lead to the back exit,” Thomas said quietly as he turned to head down the dark corridor. Benjamin moved as quickly as he dared. Vampires in the back alley most likely meant they’d already chosen their dinner. At least by confronting their targets outside they wouldn’t need to worry about witnesses.
He smelled the blood long before he pushed open the heavy door to the back alley. Despite some of the horrifying things he’d witnessed in his lifetime, the scene was one of the worst he’d ever had to deal with. Just like the reports had warned, the pieces of yet another innocent woman lay strewn all over the alley.
Thomas growled low in his throat, following the scent trails to the end of the alley before doubling back to Benjamin. He shook his head just once, his anger and his grief that they’d gotten here too late to help obvious in every stiff, jerky movement of his limbs.
Benjamin almost didn’t notice the blonde woman lying in a crumpled heap between the trash cans. He leaned over to see her face, expecting her to be as dead as the other woman, and nearly dropped to his knees when he realized she still lived.
“Thomas,” he called over his shoulder as he lifted the severely injured woman into his arms.
“She’s been drained,” Thomas said quietly, assessing the situation quickly. “Even if we get her to a hospital, she won’t survive. I can already hear the damage to her heart.”
Benjamin brushed the tangled blonde hair away from the woman’s face and considered doing something he’d never in his lifetime thought he’d do. Thomas must have been thinking along the same lines because he nodded in approval as Benjamin licked the woman’s spilled blood from her neck, lifted his own wrist to his mouth, bit into the vein with his incisors, and pressed the warm liquid against the woman’s lips.
“Come on, baby girl,” Benjamin said under his breath. “Swallow.”
* * * *
Samuel entered the club where Benjamin and Thomas had reported at least eleven vampires. It was never a good idea to have so many vamps in the one area, but this small coastal village seemed to have been overrun by them.
He pushed through the gyrating, sweaty humans on the dance floor and followed his squadmate, Alex, to a small group of vampires sitting in the corner. To a human they would have looked like any other group of people in the place, but Samuel and Alex knew better.
And judging by their reaction, the four males and two females recognized who they were also.
The vampire who seemed to be in charge of this little coven stood up and held his hand out with a friendly smile. Sensing no attempt at deception, Samuel took the man’s hand and shook it briefly.
“Daniel Seacombe,” the man said by way of introduction. “You’re the second pair of PUPs in my club tonight. Is there a problem?”
Samuel tried not to take offense to the affectionate nickname, but reducing what he and his squad were to a cute acronym was one of his pet hates. They were members of one of the elite Paranormal Undercover Protection squads, yet the tag made them sound like inexperienced, prepubescent canines. At least their full title, “PUP Squad Alpha,” sounded more official. He glanced at Alex, but he showed no signs of having taken offense.
“This is your club?” Samuel asked, trying to get back to the mission.
“Yes, Sir,” the vampire said in a deferential voice. “I’ve owned this little piece of paradise for about forty years now. Fortunately with the ever-changing clientele I haven’t found the need to move on.”
Samuel nodded. It was one of the biggest problems paranormals faced in the modern world. With the advancements in technology it was getting harder and harder to hide in plain sight. Samuel glanced at his partner, who nodded to his unspoken question, and then explained their presence in the man’s club. Their job was to help hide the existence of paranormals from humans, not harass paranormals trying to live peacefully.
“We’re currently tracking a paranormal serial killer. Have you seen anyone new in town?”
“It’s a tourist town,” the guy said with a grimace. “There’re always a couple of unknowns in the crowd. I think I counted five earlier but it’s been a busy night, and I really didn’t have a reason to take too much notice.” Samuel nodded. Counting these six, the total number of vampires matched the number Benjamin had texted earlier. “I did see your squadmates heading out the back entrance a few minutes ago. Maybe they noticed something I missed.”
“Thanks,” Samuel said, handing the man a plain white business card with only a cell phone number on it. “Call that number if you see anything suspicious.”
“Of course,” the club owner said.
Samuel turned to see that Alex was already heading toward the back of the club. A few moments later they both stepped into the alley.
Benjamin held a pale woman cradled in his arms, his wrist pressed over her mouth as he force-fed the unconscious human his blood.
“Is it working?” Samuel asked as he moved to his friend’s side at preternatural speed. It was a surprise to find his best friend trying to make a vampire, but it was obvious by the sickening evidence of violent death around them that she was likely a witness. If they could change her into a vampire and save her life, maybe she’d be able to identify the vamp or vamps who’d done this.