Baxter is on vacation, or at least, he’s supposed to be. Finding dead supernatural creatures put a wrench in that, but as soon as he finds out what’s going on, he’ll take time off.
Sloan never wanted the responsibilities of being the pack beta, but he can’t say no when his brother asks. Now he’s in charge of the pack and keeping it safe, which is a problem, since dead vampires have started popping up close to their territory.
Someone is trying to start a war between wolves and vampires, and they might just manage. Even if they don’t, vampires and wolves are dropping like flies, killed by a new drug no one knows anything about. The threat the pack is facing is new and more dangerous than anything they’ve ever had to deal with.
Sloan and Baxter have each other, but will they be enough to save the pack?
Baxter jumped, avoiding the chair the hunter he was running after threw back at him. It hit the ground, skittering across the cement. Baxter didn’t stop to look where it ended up. He continued running, his focus on the hunter.
The man hadn’t paused to check whether he’d hit Baxter. He was still running, aiming for an opening on the other side of the room. Baxter was pretty sure there’d once been a door there, but it was long gone, and the hunter would take advantage of that and throw himself outside before Baxter could catch him.
Baxter pushed on. He needed to be faster, and he was a vampire. It wasn’t hard for him to be faster than a human, even one who could one day become a vampire.
He finally reached the hunter. He reached out, grabbed the man’s shirt, and pulled. The man yelped as he stumbled, and Baxter let go so he wouldn’t fall with him. The man rolled on the hard cement floor, coming to a stop just in front of the opening he’d been gunning for. Baxter quickly reached him, but before he could, something moved in the darkness beyond the opening. He crouched in a defensive position, and his heart would have raced at the sight of what stepped in through the opening if he’d still been alive.
Baxter swallowed. One hunter, two, even three, he could take on his own. Five, though? And that wasn’t counting the one on the ground, who was getting to his feet. He wasn’t running anymore, and instead, he was grinning as if he’d won the lottery. Baxter supposed that he felt like he had. He didn’t have to run from the vampire anymore. He could attack Baxter and do whatever he wanted to him, and his friends would protect him.
But Baxter wasn’t without his friends. His team was around here, capturing and arresting hunters, and they’d find him. The problem was that he didn’t know how long it would take them to do that.
“Not so cocky anymore, are you?” the hunter Baxter had been pursuing drawled.
Baxter wasn’t feeling confident, but he forced himself to look and sound like he was. He arched a brow, hoping he looked amused. “You weren’t so cocky either before your friends joined you. What, you can’t take me one-on-one?”
The hunter snarled, exposing his human teeth. Baxter wondered if he realized what he was doing and that it was a typical vampire gesture. It certainly made more sense as a vampire than as a human.
“Shut that dirty mouth of yours,” the hunter snapped. “I could have taken you even if I’d been alone, but I’m glad we caught one of you.” He glanced at his friends, who appeared eager to start whatever they were planning.
Baxter wasn’t. He reached for the bud in his ear, hoping he’d manage to call the rest of his team before the hunters attacked, but he didn’t have time. The hunter he’d been running after launched himself at him, and Baxter could only defend himself.
It went well until the other hunters decided to throw themselves into the mix. Then Baxter had to avoid too many punches and kicks, and they started hitting their target. A hit to the head made him drop to the ground, but it didn’t put him down. He couldn’t allow it to, not if he didn’t want to die. That was what these hunters would do if they had the opportunity.
Baxter hadn’t been a vampire for long compared to some of the vampires he knew, but he had the same training the others had. He wouldn’t allow a few hunters to kill him in an abandoned warehouse.
He struggled back to his feet, but a kick in the stomach folded him in half. He was breathing hard and trying to swipe the blood dripping from his mouth when the first hunter crouched next to him. The man grabbed Baxter’s hair and pulled his head back, forcing Baxter to look at him.
“Any last wishes?” the hunter asked.
But Baxter could hear what none of the hunters could, and he grinned. “What about your last wishes?”
The man’s eyes widened as he understood what was about to happen. He shot to his feet, gesturing at the others to leave, but they were too late. Part of Baxter’s team ran in through the opening, and the hunters couldn't do anything but defend themselves.
Baxter stayed where he was, rolling to his back so he’d be marginally more comfortable. He wasn’t up to keep fighting, but he kept an eye on his team, just in case. If one of them needed help, he’d do something, even if it killed him.
Baxter needed blood. It would help him heal, and he’d be as good as new for the next mission.
The problem was that he wasn’t sure he wanted to go on that mission.
Baxter blinked at Oren, who was looking down at him. “Yes?”
“How are you?” Oren asked. He leaned down and offered Baxter his hand.
Baxter took it, relieved to have help to get to his feet. When he looked around, he noticed with satisfaction that his team had subdued the hunters. Two of them were dead, their bodies already starting to cool, but the other three were on their knees, their hands tied behind their backs, hatred in their expressions. The hunter Baxter had been running after was one of them, and when he glared at Baxter, Baxter winked at him.
“Baxter?” Oren asked.
Baxter turned to his team leader. “I’m fine.”
Oren didn’t look convinced, but he let go. Baxter wobbled, and Oren reached for him again.
“You lost blood,” Oren said.
“Maybe I can use one of these guys as a snack.” All three hunters tried to move away, but they weren’t going anywhere. Baxter grinned at them. “Kidding. I don’t like dhampir blood.”