Jo is fed up with playing games. Hiding and running away can’t protect her from the Cartel’s stalking. She decides to raise the stakes and venture herself on a search for the ruling board of the worldwide-operating crime ring. But her enemies don’t play by the rules. They play a special card, and Jo must face her death.

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Cover Art by Carmen Waters

Claw? Automatically, I checked my fingertips. No, there was no trace of my golden claws, only ten ordinary if perhaps too long and pointy fingernails. So the blond young man in leggings and long tee shirt only saw a hot young woman in me?

Young—yes, of course. I could account for forty-one springs now, and that it didn’t show surely wasn’t owed to my way of life. With my short one-and-a-half meters and my toned body, I’d pass as twentyish, and my braless tits had always attracted male attention.

Okay, so I was a hot claw for this guy in front of me, who could well be my son. For that he deserved a smile. “Yes, sweetie.”

With one hand, I pointed to the free chair at my table. He placed his coffee mug down and let himself drop on the seat. Sitting with slightly spread legs, he easily showed me his swollen cock inside the thin and skin-tight pants. “I like you, Claw.”

“I see that, sweetie.”

“Well, and what about us?”

Good question. The most recent rapes by the cops lay only one day behind. Was I already interested in sex again? Or at least ready to tolerate a firm rod? Tolerate mentally, that is, because I could always be wet and ready—another side effect of my enhancement.

To my amazement, I discovered, yes, I was ready. Yes, I wanted to live. Yes, I wanted to feel my aliveness with all senses. Yes, I wanted simple, unrestrained sex without domination rituals and without the subtext of a useful partnership, without the unpleasant circumstances of a rape, and without the business context of my primary profession of prostitution, but simply out of a spontaneous feel of affection.

I glanced straight into his eyes. “Are you ready for unconditional passion, sweetie? For lust without mercy? For the ride of your life?”

He returned my glance with expectantly widened pupils. “Claw, if you’re looking for this kind of ecstasy, I’m your man.”

“Claw, you’re Dragon hot.”

“And you’ve got quite some stamina, sweetie.” My fingernails cautiously ran across his slightly limp penis, a bit sharp, a bit gentle, until I sensed the hoped-for reaction. He moaned.

“A break, Claw, please!”

“Well, okay.” After a last poke at his glans I granted him a rest.

“What do you do, Claw?”

Stealing. Like Robin Hood, I took from the rich and gave to the poor—that is, to me. Fucking for money. Poker. Always alert, always on the run from the Cartel that mustn’t learn about my true identity. And more recently, also hunted by Japanese Dragon cultists. But all that applied until yesterday.

I’ve had enough of running away from the Cartel and the cultists. A life lived in fear is a life never lived. What good had it done me? Could I feel safe? No. Did I live well? No. Often, I had enough money for lunch, for clothes, for a decent hotel bed—but did I sleep peacefully? Did I have friends? A home? Comfort, security? A future?

There were no safe places left for me, so I didn’t have to look for them.

“Some people have bothered me. Perhaps I should bother them back.” I read doubts in his features. “I’m good at bothering people.”

“Okay, I won’t say a thing. Angry April wasn’t taller than you, either. Well—who bothered you then? I have a friend with the cops, so perhaps I can do something for you?”

“The cops are at the very top of my list.”

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