I've always had a thing for the dead - and before your sick mind wanders, no, I'm not into
the dead. They're more into me, if anything. But only because I could see them, feel them, talk to them, and raise their bodies from graves as easily as I could breathe.
As one, out of sixteen, necromancers in the United States, I'm a hot commodity. Only issue is I hated dealing with people - living, dead, half-dead. If I worked full-time as a necromancer, I could make a month's rent in a night. Unfortunately, that meant I had to deal with people. Grieving people, ninety nine percent of the time.
So I worked from home most days as an online medium, getting called fake when I tell them their Aunt Cathy, who died three weeks ago, wanted them to finish weeding out the flower beds.
Some ghosts didn't really want much, and Aunt Cathy was astounded when James decided I was a fake and Aunt Cathy wouldn't have cared about her flower bed because her so-called green finger was actually black and rotting.
I forgot to mention...her flower beds were literally only weeds.
I did work as a necromancer occasionally though, when my medium work was slower. Some handy work, let whomever talk to the deceased whomever, put the deceased back into the ground, get paid, and go home.
Some thought I lacked empathy. Truth was, my power made me uncomfortable, especially when I was raising people from graves.
So I wasn't sure why there was any surprise when the alpha of the Crimson Shadow Pack came to me to ask for my help and I declined.
He stared at me, golden eyes slightly narrowed as he took in my refusal. One I doubted he ever heard in his pack. I doubted he even knew what the word no meant. As the most eligible wolf alpha in the city - who would never in a million years fuck the likes of me - he had women lining up to be his Luna. All of which he declined, but happily invited into his bed.
I crossed my arms and watched the word bounce around in that head of his.
"Why not," he finally asked, his deep voice just above a whisper.
Fun fact. I was also a mix breed. Which led to this argument with plenty of people all the damn time.
Not only was I a necromancer...I was also part vampire. While normally that'd be impossible, apparently my father - wherever the hell he was - knocked up my mother right when he turned. Which meant all his goods were still working.
I'd never met the man, but I'd one hundred percent kick his ass if I got the opportunity. My mother should have known what he was, of course. So the blame wasn't all on him. But he did leave right after, never once looking back. I doubted he would even know I existed, if it weren't for the bond I was forced to have with him.
"Because," I drawled, "just because I am part vampire, does not mean I belong to Kieran. I belong to my father, and because I'm a half-breed, I don't need to be linked to the master of the city."
He stared at me, and when I met his eyes, his narrowed once again. I wasn't a wolf, but I knew I should have looked away. Lucian didn't take well to disobedience, no matter the race.
He still didn't take his eyes off of mine as he ran his fingers through his black hair, trying to catch me off guard, I guessed, by the way his muscles moved whenever he so much as twitched.
I didn't budge. Nor did my eyes leave his.
I was sure if anyone else was there, he would have asserted his dominance. As it was, he looked like he was starting to enjoy the game, with his lip quirking up ever so slightly.
What he was requesting was not something I did. I dealt with the dead, not the living. And just because one of his people were taken by a vampire, it didn't mean I'd drop everything to help him.
"But you're one of them," he said.
I shook my head. "No, I'm really not. They don't see me as a full vampire. They like me about as much as your kind likes me."
He puffed out a noise between a laugh and a sigh. "I doubt that."
I motioned towards my front door, which he so kindly burst open from its hinges in an attempt to either scare me or show me how dire the situation was. Either way, my door was broken.
"I'll get someone to come fix it," he said. I thought he'd turn away and leave, but he remained, his eyes still locked on mine in that game of his. "But only if you help me."
I shook my head slowly. "No, thank you. I can call the police and have them force you to fix my door, or pay for the repairs."
He leaned forward on my counter, still far enough away from me to where I didn't worry about my safety, but close enough to where I could see the stirrings of annoyance behind his eyes.
"Do you enjoy doing things the hard way?" He tilted his head. "Or am I just special?"
"I prefer it hard," I said.
He stared at me, unsure of how to take my words.
I took a step towards him, placing myself a couple inches away from the counter that separated us. But since his big frame was leaning forward, he was close enough that I could touch him if I wanted to.
"So," I motioned towards the door again, "feel free to leave."
"Feel free to stop looking into my eyes like you're above me," he countered.
I pouted. "That superiority complex would be a lot more attractive if you didn't use force to prove yourself."
"I'm a wolf," he said, like that was all the explanation he needed to excuse his behavior.
"All I'm seeing," I learned forward, "is a spoiled little pup who can't take no for an answer."
He was around the counter with his hand around my throat within seconds, pushing me back against the granite with so much force I would have cried out if it weren't for the fact that he was pouring pheromones out into my house like a smoke grenade. To his credit, he got me to look away from his eyes, which shifted to a brighter yellow as his anger took over his reasoning.
"I'd watch your mouth, Nova," he growled.
I narrowed my eyes. "I'm not sure what kind of women you deal with in your pack, but this isn't the way to get me to help you. I'm not a wolf. I don't need to bow down to you."
His grip around my throat loosened, like he finally realized what he was doing. The fact that he didn't completely let me go only served to make me angrier.
"I thought you preferred it hard," he said, the glow behind his eyes lessening.
My eyebrows shot up before I could stop them, successfully stopping my anger in its steps.
"Please," he finally said. "It takes a lot to harm my sentinel. If they hurt him enough to be able to transport him? I don't even want to know what they're going to do to him."
The great alpha said please. And to a measly mix breed, at that.
I felt his fingers twitch against my throat, which was hot against my abnormally low temperature.
"I can't start an outright war among my pack and their clan," he continued when I didn't say anything. "And I can't just walk in there and ask. At least with you, they know you're at least somewhat their kind. I'll owe you."
I didn't need anything from him, or his pack. I was about to say that too, but the realization that I may need him at one point in my life. And if I said no now, he would be reluctant to ever help me if I ever needed it.
"Fine," I said. "Get your hand off of my throat, get my door fixed, and we'll talk."