Yes, it’s time for our weekly hop, run by the delectable Miss Jasmine.
You can the other hoppers, here.
Today’s excerpt, once again, come from Last Call: Denouement.
The crowd of hunters roared as Mina ducked under Seth’s drunken punch. The red-haired hunter stood nearly as tall as Rick, which meant she barely cleared his shoulders.
She locked an arm around his waist, drove her hip into his legs, and twisted. She took every opportunity to punch whatever bit of him she could with her free hand as he flipped onto his shoulders and back.
Mina fell on him, grinding her knees into his ribs, letting loose a flurry of punches at his head and neck.
He wriggled around to his stomach. Even as he powered off the ground, she continued to pound on the back of his head.
Once he gained his knees, Mina rolled off. She landed on her back as Seth whipped around.
She kicked him in the knees, and then the stomach. He wobbled forward, and she planted a booted foot in his chest. He stumbled backwards into his sister.
Allison grabbed his arms with a glare. “Do yourself a favor and stay down.”
Seth snarled at her and fought to his feet. He swayed a step towards Mina, his blue eyes narrowing.
Mina crouched, fists up, when a loud gasp from the audience caught her attention. The rowdy monster hunters who had been cheering her on moments ago fell silent.
“I toldja, more’an once, you ain’t welcome here.” Rita’s snarling voice dropped into the lull. Mina smiled as she stepped around Seth.
Sure enough, the Trojan leaned against the wall, his trench coat opened to show his usual ripped jean and layered shirts. He grinning at Rita and opened his arms. “Isn’t it about time to bury the hatchet?”
Seth let out a cry and charged her. Mina dropped, and shot out a leg as she spun. She connected with the back of Seth’s legs, and he toppled over again.
When she got up, Rita’s scowl had grown darker. “I’ll bury a hatchet in yer skull.”
The Trojan laughed. “C’mon, Rita. It was years ago.”
“You trashed m’bar, ya jagoff.” The silver-haired woman shifted her anger to Mina. “Ain’tcha gonna yell at him, too?”
Mina shrugged. “We’re in a good place right now.”
“Oh, damn.” Rita rolled her bright green eyes. “Ya gone soft on me.”
Seth stumbled drunkenly to his feet once more. “C’mere ya dumb—”
“Watch it,” Mina warned him. His current drunken irritability was due to the anniversary of his parents’ death. That didn’t mean she’d let him get away with being disrespectful.
Seth nodded and sagged against a chair. “Maybe I’m done for today.” Behind him, Allison heaved a sigh of relief. As Seth and his sister stumbled past the Trojan towards the front door, Mina made her way to the bar.
“Yer bleedin’,” Rita grumbled. She handed Mina a clean cloth napkin.
Mina pressed it to the scrape on her knuckles. “Thanks.”
“You and that jagoff, really?” Rita asked.
Mina beamed. “He’s my jagoff.”
“Damn right I am.” The Trojan slipped an arm around her waist and his long, thin fingers worked their way under her shirt to caress her stomach.
Mina leaned into him. “Rita, you ever hear of a human that attracted monsters?”
Rita flipped her braid over her shoulder with a huff. “How do ya mean?”
“A person to whom monsters flock, abandoning their normal habits to chase and attack.”
Rita shook her head. “Sometimes a physical anomaly in the blood or an organ—”
Mina cut her off. “Jeff said the kid was normal.”
“And it’s not one type of demon.” The Trojan scratched at his beard. “There’s been at least three that I’ve seen.”
Rita’s eyes opened wide. “Now that’s… damn, no, I ain’t never heard of nothing like that.”
Mina tugged at her ponytail. “I was hoping it was a gift of mag—”
“Hush yer mouth, girlie.”
Mina rolled her eyes, but did as directed. Rita and her massive extended family were witches, and they genuinely believed that the monster hunting community had no idea.
Rita glanced at the ceiling before she shook her head. “I’ll make some phone calls, see what I can dig up.” She hesitated. “Where ya keepin’ this kid?”
“At our place.” The Trojan smiled. “Sam’s already attached.”
“That man is the biggest mother hen.” Rita chuckled.
Mina leaned against the Trojan’s legs. “So what’s for lunch?”
“Let me see what we got leftover.” Rita glared at her granddaughters, Courtney and Kelsey, sending them scurrying to work before disappearing down the dark hall.
The Trojan’s fingers bit into her skin, pulling up goosebumps. “Can I just say that I miss the business suits?”
Mina laughed. “So do I.” It had been almost two years since she’d quit her job as an accountant. She’d sold off most of her office wardrobe, only keeping a few pieces and high heels that reminded her of her old boss. “But really, Rita pays well, I get daily fighting practice, and if I need time off for hunting, it’s never a problem.”