Noah thinks Rhys is a stud, even if the man never can manage to make a kill on his own. He also knows that there's safety in numbers, and that two can be better than one. Can he convince Rhys that being alone isn't good for anyone before one of them gets hurt?
"Julia Talbot packs a lot in small number of pages - hot sex, true love and intriguing monsters. "
-- 4.5 Stars from Elise, Sensual Reads
Keeping Score: One Up
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Copyright ©2012 Julia Talbot
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God, Rhys hated the full moon.
It wasn't just the weres that drove him crazy, though that was enough to make any hunter want to pull his hair out. No, all sorts of crazy shit came out on the full moon, especially the ones around the autumnal equinox.
Lifting his head, Rhys scented the wind, catching a whiff of decay. Not garbage or architectural waste; this was human. Shambling. Zombie.
He pulled his machete out of its scabbard. The best way to deal with zombies was just to move fast. Otherwise the stench just got bad, and things got gooey. This should take maybe five minutes, and then he'd have his quota for the night. After that he'd head back to the boarding house and get some shut-eye. Sleep was his one indulgence these days, and Rhys loved to wallow in it.
The smell got stronger, and he flipped his blade end over end a couple of times, just waiting for the thing to turn the corner. Maybe he'd get a bite to eat, too. Tiana had said she would make meatballs. There was nothing like a crazy Yemeni/Italian lady to make amazing lamb meatballs with this insane tomato-feta sauce.
The scrape of a shoe sole on concrete came from just around the way, and Rhys took a ready stance, ready to incapacitate and decapitate.
The thing came into sight, pieces of flesh and goo hanging off it, and Rhys shook his head. How did people not see this shit? Oh, he knew about the whole Veil of Sanity thing, with all of its random capitalization, and he knew he had a special psychic sense and all, but man, this thing smelled bad.
He raised his machete, his arm muscles smoothly obeying the command from his brain. Too bad he was too late. The sound of steel slicing through rotted flesh sounded all right, but not from Rhys' blade. No, the head of the zombie landed at his feet, and Rhys looked up the length of a flashy katana blade into the smiling face of another fucking hunter.
"Hey, man! Sorry if I stepped on your toes. All I could smell was this guy."
The guy had a deep voice, a pair of deep dimples and a bushy head of blond hair. Hello. Asshole, but pretty.
"I had this." Rhys was no closer to his damned quota now. Fuck a duck.
"I said sorry." The guy's high-wattage grin faded a bit, but he gamely held out a hand. The one not holding the big blade covered in gore. "I'm Noah."
"Rhys." They never gave last names. Hell, he'd bet Noah was no more this guy's real name than Rhys was his. He didn't even think his real name anymore, at least not that he knew of. Maybe somewhere deep in the recesses of his mind he knew it, but it would take a lot to dig it out. More than most vamps or psychics were willing to do, anyway.
He did shake Noah's hand, at least. That was a mistake, because a little shock ran up his arm and his cock jolted awake, giving a nice little surge. Damn. Being attracted to a civilian could be a disaster. Being hot for another hunter was more like suicide.
"So, are you working this part of town, or are you just passing through?"
Rhys raised a brow, trying not to snarl. Hunters didn't answer personal questions. "I live here."
"Right here?" Noah cracked up, waving his blade. "Sorry, I crack myself up. We ought to get this out of sight, huh?"
"Your kill, your mess." Turning on his heel, Rhys walked away, his shoulders hunched. He needed to get his damned quota.
Then maybe he could go have a meatball or two.
* * *
Noah stared at the mess on the street and sighed. At least with a decapitated zombie clean up was easier. The demon virus that reanimated them started eating itself when the head was no longer attached, and the limbs were spongy enough to remove easily.
It took him ten minutes to get the thing in a dumpster, and by the time they emptied it there would be a few scraps of clothing and some fingernails.
Once he'd gotten all the remains in the big trash bin, he decided he needed a place to wash up and something to eat. He took a deep breath, ignoring the rot smell from the dumpster. He had an idea about where he could find a place to wash up. He just sort of had to open up his senses a little and find that hot hunter.
Rhys. It was a good name as names went. It was Welsh, and sometimes meant "dragon," but he would bet Rhys wasn't Welsh. Maybe Irish-Italian. Pretty, though. Very pretty, and really uptight. There was the lickable thing, too. Yummy. Honestly, if this Rhys had anything close to a shower, Noah could make the man smile.
Noah opened up, let his senses guide him. He wandered down an alley, through an intersection holding a used bookstore and a convenience store, and headed toward a leaning brick building that had to be a boarding house.
Excellent. The air buzzed with hunters, but he ignored the lot of them, focusing on a single bright light. Noah slipped past the sleepy-looking lady at the front desk, which was a little counter that had been put in by the stairs. The stairs led him to a back bedroom, set at the end of a hall, next to a window with a fire escape. Smart.
Here, kitty, kitty. Come play with me. I have this itch.
Noah was reaching for the doorknob when the door flew open, a crossbow aimed at his head. "What do you want?"
"You." Honesty was the best policy, right?