ExcerptKeeping Score: Two Down
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Copyright ©2012 Julia Talbot
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There was only one thing Janus hated about being a hunter more than downtime. Oh, downtime was horrific, especially when you had trained most of the waste-of-space young hunters trying to horn in on your territory. It sucked. Made him want to break things and growl at folks and eat fifty pieces of apple pie in a single day...
Worse than that, though, was protective detail, and he'd just been assigned to it for the first time in maybe ten years.
You would think, at his age, and with his experience, some other asshole could do it. Noah. Jax. The high and mighty Laurent. Hell, that chick with the facial tattoo. But no. He was on his way to assfuck nowhere in the 'Glades to pick up some high-poobah psychic and keep him from getting dead.
At least his car was bitchin'. This would suck harder in a POS Ford. Janus grinned a little. There were times when people (mostly cops) thought a man with an eye patch shouldn't be driving. His good eye was better than twenty-twenty, though, and his reflexes were slammin'. So there.
He followed the tinny voice of the GPS lady into the darkest, dankest, most moss-ridden place he'd ever seen. There had to be gators and shit waiting to rip his appendages off. Why the hell Noah hadn't been pegged for this one... Well, okay, he did know. Noah had hooked up with Rhys.
Hunters. As a couple.
That was, basically, rule number one. Fuck buddies, sure. But if it got serious, dump and run. It was for the best. It was right.
Right. Shit. The GPS gave him no fucking warning, and he almost slid off the narrow track into the fucking swamp. He managed to keep it on the road, just in time for his headlights to hit a tall man, fighting some kind of lizard-type dude. The man's long blond braid was like a whip, the man's cane sword flashing.
Well, hell. Looked like Janus was late to the tea party. He squealed to a stop, hopping out while the car was still rocking on its springs. His machete was out in a heartbeat, and he waded into the fray.
The dude was making decent headway, driving the scaly thing back into the swamp. Why he didn't move it into the lights, Janus didn't know. It would blind the creature, give the guy an advantage.
"Hoots! Avast! Scaly dude! Come get the fresh meat!" He did just what he'd been thinking the other guy should do, and it worked. The lizard-brain looked his way and froze, the lights in his eyes.
The man turned, sword cane slicing the thing in half, the torso sliding away from the hips. Cool. That was a wicked sharp sword. Janus approved. He liked the guy's look, too, even as dark as the night was.
"Honestly, Janus. Avast? Is it 'Talk Like a Pirate Day'?" One white-blond eyebrow lifted, the man's icy blue eyes staring into the headlights. "What do you want?" Cillian, his ex-lover, stood there, as tall and pale and fine as ever.
And of course, Janus stood there with his mouth hanging open like an idiot. Cillian. God, it had been years. Long years, and Janus didn't figure he looked a fraction as good as he had back then. He instinctively sucked in his gut.
"Well, I'm here for a retrieval and protective detail." Janus sighed. "I'd bet that's you."
"Retrieval? Pardon me?" That white eyebrow climbed even higher.
"Someone is worried about you. Thinks you need to come closer to the fold."
"I'm not interested," Cillian snapped.
Like a hunter could do that, just be uninterested. "Tough shit. I got orders." Something pulled the hair up on the back of his neck.
"I said no. Tell your bosses I'm not under their employ." Cillian's head tilted, those pretty lips twisting.
"Why won't you fucking look at me?" Janus moved around, out of the light, so Cillian might be able to see him.
Cillian's answer was a soft chuckle. "You don't know. Oh, sweet boy, who did you piss off to get this assignment?"