Marked (Book One of the Marked Saga)

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Sun Walker

I shouldn’t be here.

The thought kept crossing Regan’s mind, and she continued to fidget in her seat as she and Caíl waited. He, as always, was calm and collected. Or, at least he appeared so. If it wasn’t for the anxiety and fear rolling off of him, she wouldn’t know the difference.

After they had killed the hunters, Regan and Caíl had run as fast as they could, away from the cliff. They reached a nearby town, and from there they boarded a bus to New York. when they arrived in the city, Caíl led Regan to southern Brooklyn, where he said help was waiting.

Of course, he had failed to mention that the “help” was a group of vampires, and that they might not even give the two wolves their aid at all. When Caíl told her of his plan, she had said, “Why vampires? Even if we do need help infiltrating Duncan’s estate, why do we need the vampires?”

“Because,” Caíl had said as they crossed into vamp territory. “They’ve lost a lot of their own to Duncan. More than the werewolves, or faeries, witches, and the like. They’ll want revenge, just as you and I do.”

So, she followed him. Just as she always had.

They arrived at a gothic mansion, where two vampire sentries were standing guard. After they had stripped the revenants of their weapons, they led them into the house and up a flight of stairs. They were shown to a large room, a cross between a study and a library, and the door closed shut. Seconds later, Regan heard a click.

“Vampires,” Regan muttered. She was sitting on a red leather couch, slouching with her arms crossed over her chest. She shook her head and turned to Caíl, who was standing before the bookshelves with interest. “Remind me again, what are the myths with vampires?” She h learned when she arrived at the Wolf Valley House, but had since forgotten all she had learned.

“Crosses, holy water, garlic, and mirrors are myths,” Caíl replied. “Fire, decapitation, and a wooden stake through the heart will kill them.” He turned away from the shelves, joining Regan on the couch. “They can enter hallowed ground, but they need permission to enter a human’s home. Any other supernatural being, however, and they are free to come and go as they please, whether or not they have permission. They need human blood, and they cannot survive off of animal blood. In fact, it only makes the Hunger worse. The sun burns them, and they can never go into the sunlight again.”

Regan nodded, storing the information away into her memory. She would never forget those facts again.

Before long, the door flew open. Two vampires entered, one male, and one female. The male vampire looked like the typical bloodsucker—pale skin, dark hair, dark eyes, and too-red lips. The female, on the other hand, didn’t look like a vampire. She had tanned skin, chestnut brown hair, and silvery colored eyes. Regan inhaled deeply, almost gagging at the stench that rolled off the male vampire. She was able to bear it, though, thanks to the smell wafting off the female vampire. She smelled like warm, summer evenings with the fresh aroma of mountain wildflowers kissing the air.

Regan shook her head, clearing the thoughts away. She and the female vampire made brief eye contact, and then Regan turned her gaze to the male.

“Caíl McAlister,” the vampire drawled. “It’s good to see you again, my old friend.”

Caíl shook hands with the vampire, then gestured to Regan and said, “This is Regan MacEntyre. Regan, this is Vladimir Ardelean, and Leah Akadi.” He gestured to the female vampire, who lowered her chin briefly in respect.

At the mention of the white wolf’s name, Vladimir and Leah’s eyes widened. “MacEntyre,” Leah said, “as in MacEntyre Enterprises?”

Regan nodded. “Yeah,” she said.

She nodded, and Regan felt both sad and furious. Great, she thought. Even the vampires know who I am.

“What can I do for you?” Vladimir asked. He and Leah took a seat on the couch across from Regan, and Caíl rejoined her.

“Duncan’s estate,” Caíl said. “I would like some help in infiltrating. Regan and I plan on killing him.”

Vladimir stared at him a moment. Regan almost thought he would start laughing, but instead he said, “Why ask me for help? Why not any of your fellow revenants?”

Caíl narrowed his eyes. “Because you’ve lost more of your kind than any other supes,” he said. He smirked and said, “Do you really think any of the revenants would help us? No Kuren would dare defy Duncan Carter.”

“Except for your lovely self, of course,” Vladimir purred.

“And the Mejhan are hunting us,” Caíl continued. “More specifically, they’re hunting her.” Caíl gestured to Regan. Leah followed his gesture and narrowed her eyes slightly, scrutinizing the white wolf. A part of Regan wanted to back away, to hide in a corner. But another part of her, the wild animal inside her, threatened to snarl in the vampire’s direction.

Vladimir nodded, his eyes flicking back and forth between the two wolves. “And what do I get out of it?” he asked. “How do I know that this is going to be worth my while?”

Caíl smiled, but it didn’t reach his eyes. He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. In a cool, dangerous voice, he said, “What you’ll get is a menace leaving you alone. For good. Duncan will hunt you and your own down for his own amusement. He doesn’t care for anyone but himself. With him dead, he won’t terrorize you anymore.”

“No, but the next Kuren will begin. And then the one after, and the one after. Trust me, i’ve been around long enough to see this happen.” Vladimir’s eyes were narrowed, and his hands were clenched into fists on his lap. Leah’s eyes flicked to him when she heard the tightness in his voice, but then returned her gaze to the revenants.

“But Duncan will be taken care of,” Caíl simply said. Vladimir stared at him a moment longer. He let out a breath, and Regan knew he wouldn’t agree.

“I won’t help you,” Vladimir said, “because I haven’t been to his warehouse.”

Caíl frowned, and was about to say something when the vampire held up his hand. “But,” he said, turning to smile at his companion. “The lovely Leah has.”

Caíl and Regan shared a look, and then black wolf looked at the vampire with a new kind of light in his eyes. “How did you escape?”

She smiled, and though she spoke to Caíl, her eyes were on Regan. “Duncan’s men terrorized the vamps, all day and night. We were trapped in a warehouse, locked in by spells at night. And during the day, we had to avoid the open doors and windows. My last day, Duncan’s men came in during the day. They pulled the roof open, and my brothers and sisters died all around me.”

Caíl narrowed his eyes. “But not you,” he murmured. Then he grunted and leaned back against the couch, crossing his arms over his chest. “You’re a sun walker.”

Leah smiled. Regan frowned and moved her gaze between the two vampires and Caíl, waiting for an explanation. Finally, she growled in frustration and said, “What is a sun walker?”

“A vampire,” Caíl said.

“Gifted with the ability to walk in the sun,” Leah proudly stated.

Caíl sighed, turning his head to look at Regan. “Sun walkers are extremely rare, and anytime the world forgets of their existence, one of them will show up.”

“Duncan knew a sun walker was stalking the streets of New York in both dark and light,” Vladimir said. “But, until the other night, he didn’t know their identity.”

“But he does now,” Regan said.

“Unfortunately,” Leah grumbled. “But,” she said, “it won’t be for long.” She stood, rolling her shoulders and neck. She sighed and said, “I’ll help you guys.”

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