All extraneous thoughts leeched out of her as the hiss rolled down the damp alley. The dim lights of the city at rainy dawn gleamed off the bald head of the vampire. It slunk, cautious and deadly, along the shadows on the wall.
Chelsea scrambled out of her car, pulling off her beanie. It had been well over a year since she’d seen Amber, but it felt like a lifetime. She wasn’t sure she was recognizable as the person Amber knew, the failed debutante turned artist, but her bright red hair was freshly dyed.
“Look, I’m in a bad position here. I know everybody’s secrets, and why they’re keeping them. That includes Jackson Hawk, by the way.”
helsea nodded absently before taking a sip of mimosa. Finally, she got her thoughts together and swallowed. “Wasn’t the hunt last night about doing a favor big enough to get those secrets?”
When Chelsea had been told there was going to be a hunt in the tunnels under New York City, she’d created a mental picture of splashing through damp, dark sewer tunnels with flashlights.
While the air was uncomfortably damp and the walls shimmered with moisture, the floor was mostly dry and bright lights hummed on the ceilings as they passed through.
Chelsea rolled her eyes. “Cut the shit. Where’s my monster?”
A few chuckles from the rest of the team answered her before Andy did. “Jess has the map. Just follow her and stay alive.”
Chelsea dutifully followed orders, sheathed her axe, and headed into the dampness under the city.
The change from the woods to the concrete jungle of New York City put Chelsea’s teeth on edge. And somehow, the single room at Andy’s haunt felt like a cage, despite being only slightly smaller than her cabin. There definitely wasn’t room for even one easel, no matter what Andy had insisted.
His frown grew. “I thought you said Bob didn’t kill her.”
“He…” Chelsea sighed. “It’s not his fault that the nix fucked with his head, but he might be wrong, and I can’t leave until I know.”
As Chelsea parked her car in front of the weathered dock, a sense of deja vu washed over her. This was how the whole mess started. Heading out to fight a river monster without Bentley.
Her emotions didn’t settle so much as subside. She could feel the anxiety attack building, but she could hold it off for now. She hoped.
She pulled out the map Andy had printed for her. It listed potential attacks and areas the nix was mostly likely hiding.
There was an obvious bend to the river where she could sit and wait. “But how do I get out there, Bent?”
The big mutt whined from his bed as his tail thumped.