Jager silently followed the lone wolf at a discreet distance. He kept his gaze locked on the other werewolf’s back while he wove through the people who shared the sidewalk in this busy section of downtown San Francisco. More than a few of the buildings that lined the street were restaurants, bars, or nightclubs. He had spotted the lone wolf at one of the nightclubs.
He’d gone to the Hot Spot—which had been anything but—after Leif, his brother-in-arms, had heard a rumor going around about a lone wolf trying to recruit other lone wolves for a new cause at this particular nightclub. Leif had come by that information from a bar he liked to frequent to pick up female werewolves who were unmated and wanted to share their beds for a bit of fun. Leif’s womanizing sometimes paid off when he came across a bit of information such as that.
The lone wolf ducked into an alley between two buildings at the end of the street where most of the crowd had thinned. Increasing his speed, Jager kept him in sight. Once inside the alley, Jager opened the front of his long, black duster and brushed it to one side as he reached for the hilt of his sword. It made a slight hissing sound when he pulled it free of its scabbard.
After taking a quick look behind him to make sure no mortals were able to see him from the opening into the alley, Jager stealthily walked halfway down the passage. It was quite dark, but with his keen werewolf sight, he could see just as well as if it were daytime instead of night. Only one weak, exposed light bulb shone above a door that opened onto the alley. His steps slowed when he caught the glint of light that suddenly flashed in his eyes. At the same time, he heard a sword being drawn.
A smile spread across Jager’s face. It looked as if this lone wolf wanted to play. And that he carried a concealed weapon on him—more than likely having been strapped to his back under his leather jacket—marked him as one of Miles’ recruits. The average werewolf didn’t carry swords nowadays.
The sound of a low growl drifted to Jager after he came to a stop a short distance from the lone wolf. He looked the other werewolf over. Like all of his kind, the lone wolf was taller than the average mortal, but he was about an inch shorter than Jager, which put him at about six foot eight. He was muscular as well, but Jager figured he had a few extra pounds of muscle on him that the lone wolf didn’t have. Strength-wise they would be pretty close, but it all came down to how well the lone wolf could handle his sword. Jager planned to beat his ass, but he hoped the altercation would last longer than a few seconds. There was nothing more that Jager enjoyed than a good sword fight. Just the thought of it made his blood pump a little bit faster.
“So, lone wolf, you think you’re man…or should I say werewolf…enough to take on the likes of me,” Jager said as he stepped closer. “I’ll give you fair warning. You point a sword in my direction, you’d better know how to use the damn thing.”
The lone wolf snarled and growled menacingly at the same time. “Let me guess. You must be one of the Protectors who watch over the foretold one. Miles warned us about you.”
Jager chuckled. “I’m sure he did. Yes, I’m one of the Protectors. And did dear old Miles tell you that he used to be one of us before he decided to go bad?”
“Miles told us how unfairly he was treated while he was one of the Protectors, and how he was given no choice but to leave and try to find the foretold one for himself.”
Jager snorted. The only way Miles had been treated “unfairly” was when it had been decided by his grandmother, who had brought all the Protectors together, that his sister, Saskia, would lead instead of him. Miles had been so enraged he hadn’t been chosen to be their leader he’d forsaken his sister and grandmother, swearing he would be the one to find the foretold one and use him or her for his own benefits. Now that Roxie had come forward and declared herself as the foretold one, Jager and the rest of her Protectors knew it would only be a matter of time before Miles made his move.
Raising his sword, Jager ran his gaze over the gleaming blade before he pinned a hard stare on the lone wolf. “Enough of the idle chitchat. How about we get down to business? The night isn’t getting any younger, and I’m itching for a fight.”
Instead of answering him, the lone wolf growled once more and took the first strike as he closed the distance between them. Jager easily blocked the blade and took a strike of his own. He felt a surge of hope that he might actually have a worthy opponent when the lone wolf circled out of range at the last minute. Grinning widely, he swung his sword up to meet the lone wolf’s next blow. Fun and games were definitely on.
* * * *
Daylen Reardon drove her police cruiser down the busy downtown street. She looked from right to left as she patrolled her regular beat. She didn’t expect any trouble, but given the bars and nightclubs on this particular road, there was always a chance she would come across a few patrons who had indulged just a little too much. If she spotted an individual weaving down the sidewalk, she usually pulled over to make sure they had an alternative means of getting home besides getting into a car to drive.
She’d been a cop for the last five years, and loved the job. When she put on her uniform and strapped on her gun, she knew she was doing a service for her city to help make it a better place. Not that she thought she did it all by herself, but she liked that she was doing her part.
Nearing the end of the street, she slowed the cruiser, preparing to take the next left in her circuit. Daylen happened to glance out the passenger window at an alley sandwiched between two buildings. What she saw had her hitting the brakes and pulling over to the curb.
After she turned off the cruiser’s engine, Daylen got out and locked the door behind her. As she slowly walked to the entrance of the alley, she pocketed the car keys and then pulled out her flashlight. She turned it on before she aimed the beam of light at what she thought she saw. The space was semi-dark, but she’d always had pretty good night vision. When the light hit the middle of the alley, she knew she hadn’t been imagining what she’d seen from the cruiser.
With the flashlight still held in her left hand, Daylen unclipped her holster in case she needed to draw her gun while she quietly approached the two men who were going at each other with a pair of swords. Now that
wasn’t something she saw every day on her patrols.
Daylen didn’t call out to the men, deciding to wait until she was a bit closer. She slowly walked nearer, and heard growling sounds that sounded all too animal-like. They were mixed in with the noise of the men’s swords clashing. They were big brutes. One had short, black hair, was well over six-and-a-half feet tall, and wore jeans along with a black leather jacket. He appeared to be the one making the growling sounds as he swung his sword at his opponent. The other had long light-brown hair pulled back in a ponytail, was just a bit taller than the other man, and wore a long, black duster over his dark jeans. She also noticed he wore an expression of glee, and a smile that seemed to get wider with each blow that came at him.
Daylen shook her head. They had to be a couple of kooks. At first, she thought the swords couldn’t be real, but when the black-haired man ended up catching the blade of the other’s across his cheek and blood welled, she had her proof that they were. Just what she needed, a pair of crazies whacking at each other with real swords.
Having come close enough to the two men that she would be able to catch them if they decided to take off running, Daylen aimed the beam of her flashlight at their faces. “All right, boys, time to put the swords down,” she said in her best loud-and-authoritative police officer voice.
Both men lowered their swords and turned to face her. Daylen opened her mouth to ask what the hell they thought they were doing when the black-haired man spun around, ran down toward the opposite end of the alley and disappeared into the darkness. She blinked. The man had run so quickly she’d had a hard time tracking him. She’d never seen anyone move at that speed before. She hadn’t even had a chance to yell at him to stop.
The other man hadn’t moved from where he stood. Daylen focused her attention on him. With her flashlight once again aimed at his face, she had to admit he was one good-looking kook. A male model came to mind when she took in his chiseled cheekbones, straight nose, and firm, full lips. Against her will, her gaze settled on his mouth for a few seconds longer than necessary. If he hadn’t been a crazy person, and she wasn’t on duty, she would have liked to get to know him better. She might be a cop, but she was also a woman, and right now, she found herself more than a little attracted to the man before her.
Daylen pulled her mind back to the task at hand, and said, “Put the sword on the ground and take a step away from it.”
The man’s nostrils flared slightly when he took a deep breath. His gaze latched on to her, staring at her so intently Daylen found herself reacting in a way she shouldn’t. His light blue-eyed gaze looked her up and down, leaving a trail of goosebumps under her uniform wherever it touched. Her breasts seemed to grow heavy, and her nipples tightened when his gaze settled on them. Her breath hitched at seeing the arousal that lurked in the man’s eyes. He made no move to put down the sword he held.
She cleared her throat and tried again. “Put the sword down,” she said, louder.
This time he slowly brushed the left side of his duster aside to reveal a scabbard that hung there. He sheathed the sword while he kept his gaze locked to hers. For a brief second, Daylen swore she saw his light-blue eyes glow mutedly as he closed the distance between them. With the beam of her flashlight still shining on his face, she had to think it was a trick of the light.
She put her right hand on top her gun. “Stay where you are, and put your hands behind your head. If you don’t, I will draw my gun.”
“What are you going to do? Handcuff me?” he asked in a deep, sexy drawl. “I may like that.” He continued to slowly come toward her.
Daylen had yet to fire her gun in the line of duty. She didn’t want tonight to be the night she had to, but if the man in front of her decided to pull out his sword again and think to use it on her, she would do whatever was necessary to take him down.
“Carrying a concealed weapon is a major offense. Resisting arrest will make it that much worse for you. Why don’t you just cooperate and make it easier for the both of us?”
A grin spread across his lips, and Daylen had to admit that made the man look even sexier. “Sorry, but I’m not going to let you arrest me,” he said.
The kooks never wanted to be taken away without kicking up some kind of fuss. Not wanting this to draw out any longer than it had to, Daylen waited until he came within range. She dropped her flashlight and grabbed him by one arm as she used a karate move to kick his legs out from under him. Having caught him off guard, she managed to get him down face-first onto the ground with his hands behind him. She sat on his back, pinning his arms between her legs as she reached for her handcuffs that were in a leather case attached to her belt. With her other hand, she kept the side of his face pressed to the pavement.
The handcuffs now out of their case, Daylen started to read the man his rights. “You have the right to remain silent. Everything—”
She never got to finish. One second she had him pinned, ready to cuff his hands behind him, and then the next, he’d bucked her off. With a move faster than she could react to, he had her on her back with his large body on top of hers. He manacled her wrists in one strong hand as he grabbed the handcuffs and tossed them away.
Now she was in trouble. Even though his grip didn’t hurt, Daylen couldn’t break free of his hold. She tried to buck him off as he’d done to her, but he was solid muscle and didn’t budge an inch.