Ready for your next Jane Yellowrock fix? Broken Soul is just a few weeks away, and I think it’s my favorite installment in the series to date. Today, a new collection of Jane stories is out (Black Water) –and we’ve got a sneak peek of Broken Soul to hold you over. If you’re a fan of the series, you don’t want to miss this one.
Leave a comment below with your thoughts on the Jane Yellowrock series for a chance to win your copy of Black Soul before you can buy it. (US Only.)
Leo was barefooted, wearing black gi pants of a style I’d see him fight in before, his upper body bare and smeared with blood that hid most of his white scars, his black hair plaited flat to his head, except for loose strands flying as he moved. He was vamped out, his three-inch-long fangs clicked down and his pupils black in scarlet sclera. Despite the vampy-ness, he looked in control. Barely. Drawing on my skinwalker abilities, I took a sniff to determine the pheromone level of his anger and aggression.
One of the twins was out, facedown, lying off the fighting mat, his chest rising and falling, so, still alive. The other twin was in play, but his face looked like he’d been used as a punching bag. Which he had been. There was blood all over his white gi, the cloth hiding bruises and torn flesh between the fang rents. The sounds of thuds and slaps and grunts resounded on the air, echoing brightly through the open space. The standing twin spun away and hit the wall. I felt the impact through the floor and my Lucchese boot soles. He slid down the wall, leaving a bloody smear on the painted cement block.
“Hmmm. Who else did you call?” I asked softly, as Leo screamed his triumph into the room, fists raised to the ceiling. My Beast peeked out and purred, and I shoved her down. This not the time, I thought at her.
“Grégoire. He’s on the way.” Wrassler checked his cell. “And Gee DiMercy should be here any minute.”
On his words, Gee DiMercy, Clan Pellissier’s Mercy Blade, walked through the door on the far side of the room. “Hallelujah, Holy Moses,” Wrassler murmured beneath his breath. It was a Southern Bible Belt phrase uttered by people in a certain age group, and though Wrassler looked too young to use it, he drank vamp blood, so he didn’t look his age, whatever it was.
“Your gramma say that?” I asked, as I watched Girrard DiMercy from a safe distance. The Mercy Blade was dressed in tight black pants and a billowing royal blue shirt, and he carried twin flat blades, both long swords with hand-and-a-half hilts for one- or two-hand fighting. His hair was back in a queue, tied with a narrow black band. The first time I’d seen him fight, he’d been saving my butt, and I hadn’t had time to admire his technique. Leo was focused on the approaching man, arms out, hands and talons ready, shoulders tensed, motionless as a crouching predator. Unbreathing, in that statute-still way of the vamps. Funnn, Beast murmured.
“Used to,” Wrassler murmured. “My mama. My daddy.” He added, his tone mesmerized, “Me.”
When he was twelve feet away, the Mercy Blade tossed Leo a blade, the overhead lights glittering on the steel edge. The vamp leaped high and whipped it out of the air, but the small swordsman was already moving. His blade left a long cut on Leo’s side. The Master of the City landed on the balls of his feet and slid away before the blade could bite deep, but his blood flowed fast from the slice.
Beside me, Wrassler tapped the mouthpiece of his headset and called for blood-servants to join him in the gym, his voice soft but demanding. Yeah. No matter what was going on, Leo was gonna be hungry; it would be wise to have donors on hand.
On the mat, the men danced with the swords, their bodies moving with deadly grace. Scarlet droplets flew on the air, the clang of steel so bright and sharp it hurt my eardrums. It was probably stupid, but I walked closer to get a better view.
The stench of pheromones increased and I rubbed a wrist on my nose to keep from sneezing. It was potent and heady, with the reek of violence and an underlying hint of wet feathers from the Mercy Blade and of raw power from Leo. But I’d smelled Leo fighting both ways: out of control and using his anger to power his vamp gifts. The difference was negligible, but it was there. Out-of-control Leo stank, an acrid taint on the air, tart as a rotten lemon. This was the other fighting scent. A show, controlled and planned, no matter how out of control and bloody it looked, no matter how bloody it was.
The fighters pirouetted away and back, the swords so fast they were a blur of light on steel and the clash of menace. Inside, Beast chuffed with delight. Down, girl, I thought at her. We’re not here to get sliced and diced. She huffed and turned her head away from me—a pointed insult.
The men on the mat locked blades and Gee grabbed Leo’s wrist, sticking out a leg and shoving his master across it. Leo landed with a thump. The point of Gee’s blade nicked Leo’s throat. The others in the room went silent, not even the sound of breathing echoing off the bare, white walls.