“There’s nothing in the world I wouldn’t give to go home with you.” The drunken slur came heavily into her ear. She rolled her eyes. This guy had to be kidding, right? It couldn’t be this easy. After all, she had only stood there for about an hour, waiting for her prey to show up. But this time, he came to her.
“Really?” She turned to face the troll that stood beside her. His teal skin glowing against the fluorescent signs of the bar. Apparently, from the looks of his stance, it was. He was drunk. She fluttered her eyelashes at him. “Tell me,” her voice kept low and seductive as her fingers traced his bicep. “What would you give to me if I said yes?” Her bright blue eyes glowed a vibrant flash of gold as they glanced up at him. His lips parted, and she could see some drool coming out. The troll’s eyes dilated, surprised at her response.
“Anything.” He growled. “I’d give anything to fuck a faire, especially a dark one.”
“Well then,” She glanced down at his shirt, sucking in her bottom lip. “You might want to put your hands behind your back.” Her blue eyes flashed gold once more, and this time, the troll found himself bound by golden chains. They covered his legs and arms, glowing with their scripted spells in the dark. He hit the floor with a solid thud. It happened so fast that the troll barely knew what hit him.
With a flip of her lavender locks, she placed her hands on her hips. The troll growled, but it was useless. With the chains made of magic and faire magic at that, it was difficult to break out.
“You fae bitch.” He growled at her. She rolled her eyes at his response as she pulled out her phone. Typical. “You’re a bounty hunter?”
“Seriously, Bangor, you need to stop drinking and sleeping around. It makes you far too easy to find.” She replied as she pulled up the number on the phone.
“Jexanna?” The curt voice of her brother came through on the line. “This better be good.”
“Well, that’s a nice greeting for me.” She chided him playfully, glancing down at her prize that was trying to wiggle his way to freedom. Jexanna’s lips frowned as her eyes glowed once more. This time, the 400-pound troll found himself falling through a circle of golden light on the floor. He screamed and shouted as another circle immediately opened in the ceiling of the bar. Bangor came down with a boom. “I’ve got Bangor.”
“You bitch!” He growled at her. In response, Jexanna gave a swift kick to his arm.
“Of course you do.” His voice was kept even. “I’d expect nothing less. Do you need me to send any assistance?”
“Please.” Jexanna snorted at him, before giving Bangor another swift kick as he tried to wiggle away. “Just give me the coordinates of the cell he belongs in.”
“Fine.” He replied with the sounds of typing following. “Sent.” Her phone chimed immediately. “Jexanna, come in this time after you send him over.” Jexanna raised a brow at this. Typically her brother wanted her to come in as often as hell froze over. She was a nuisance to his position on the force, since she was his half-human half-sister. He preferred her to stay separate from his existence, which was difficult when she was a private investigator and bounty hunter.
“Alright, Aerin.” She said, “Is everything okay? Did Risa catch you with a mistress?”
“Please, don’t joke like that.” He scoffed. “Everything is fine. There’s something we need to discuss in person sooner rather than later.” Aerin replied, not betraying any emotion as always.
“Fine.” Jexanna sighed. “I’ll be there soon.” She hung up and looked over at Bangor laying on the floor. The coordinates were in her notifications, and immediately she held out two fingers into the air. The fingers drew out the coordinates, dancing gracefully before her eyes glowed once again. Bangor was swallowed into a light of gold, vanishing before her eyes. But not before he shouted one last yell, “Next time I see you-”
Jexanna rolled her eyes. She could only imagine what the next words would be. It wasn’t her first time. Her gaze went over the empty bar. Seriously, Bangor had to be the dumbest mark she ever had. What guy fell for an after-lunch-hours coupon in an email for a bar? Who had even heard of after-lunch-hours? Jexanna looked around. The only people that remained were the bartender, herself, and the one drunk in the corner of the bar that practically lived there.
“Soo,” The bartender leaned over the bar, drawing the word out playfully. “What’s my cut?” The bartender, Lewis, smirked as he looked at Jexanna. His bright green eyes full of mischief met her ice blue orbs. She rolled her eyes.
“Let’s see,” Jexanna slid onto a stool at the bar, pulling out her phone, checking the email regarding Bangor. “His bail was $45,000, and there was a prompt delivery of the scumbag. So...$750?” Jexanna pulled up her cash application, showing the amount to send to her partner on the screen.
“Please. We both know if it weren’t for the email, your bounty wouldn’t even be here.” Lewis snorted, as he pushed his large curls out of his face and Jexanna gave a grin.
“Caught me.” She adjusted the amount to his proper cut. Lewis’s phone buzzed in his pocket to see the notification stating he received $1,200.
“Good.” He nodded. “Now, what does the dipstick want?” Lewis passed Jexanna a mug of coffee, loaded with sugar, just as she liked it.
“Don’t know.” She sipped, meeting his gaze. “It’s not like him to be vague typically. If it were a bounty, he would have just emailed me.” Her gaze went down to the mug. There was something that Aren wanted, but it wasn’t in his pride to admit it over the phone. After all, that would require a bit more familiarity between the two. Their relationship was amicable at the very least, but it was hardly the close relationship that most siblings had. And while Jexanna preferred to tease her older brother, he would always keep some distance between the two. She wasn’t full blood, but the result of a fling that their faire mother had with a human.
“Have you ever visited him at his office?” Lewis frowned, stiffening his body fully aware of her remembering the larger of her inadequacies.
“No.” She murmured before she took another sip. She frowned, trying to steel herself. Jexanna tried to keep her family’s complex relationships quiet amongst friends. But Lewis grew up with her. He was there when she faced bullies for being half-blood, not only amongst the fae community but the humans as well. They took one look at her appearance, seemingly of a dark faire with her pale skin, lavender and lilac locks, and ice-blue eyes, and thought the worst of her. It was the reason why she kept her true identity a secret.
“Then it must be big,” Lewis sighed. “Or it’s possible Parisa has put some common sense into his head.”
Jexanna smirked at the thought. His mate, Risa, was not what anyone expected Aerin would end up with. She was human, not only that but also of mixed blood. She was one-fourth a vampire. But since she and Aerin bonded, Aerin found himself leaving the old-fashioned prejudices of the past, especially concerning those of his own family. But even if the siblings’ relationship got better recently, Aerin still would never have called her to his office.
“We’ll see.” She replied before taking another sip of coffee.
The Fae Law Agency was not for the faint of heart. Fae were known for being a very fickle species, and they were among the most powerful creatures to roam the earth, if not the most. Because the species split into two factions, light and dark, there was a long history of interspecies conflict. The light fae were the ruling class within the species, due to their preference for high morals. They determined when someone stepped out of line, and dark fae had a long history of doing that. That pattern caused problems within not only the fae community but the other species as well. So the council established the FLA as a source of law enforcement, not only to take care of those interspecies problems but to be an army of sorts when needed. Over the years, it became more of a police force for the community, given the fact that there weren’t many wars anymore. It eventually merged with other law enforcement from other species, managing not only fae but the other species as well. Humans were particularly grateful for the law enforcement merge, given how hard it was to handle larger species such as trolls. But they still held a reputation for being cut-throat. So given its history and reputation, the building of its headquarters was equally cold and frightening. Jexanna had grown used the exterior of the building, however. The marble columns shined in the light as the building towered over her with its thirty-something floors.
Jexanna breathed in, fiddling with the ends of her sleeves. She had changed before portaling to the front of the FLA Headquarters. After all, she couldn’t show up in her basic honey trap decor. Instead, she opted for the uniform that she had developed. Black jeans that had a few rips strategically placed, a pair of black knee-high lace-up boots that held a few secrets, a white shirt that clung to her figure loosely tucked in, and a navy blue leather jacket. It wasn’t professional per FLA standards, but considering her position as a free agent, she figured it was good enough. She could move in it swiftly, that was what counted. As she made her way to the door, she found herself reaching for it at the same time as another individual. Slender hands pulled the door open before she could, and she rolled her eyes as the man held the door open for her with a smirk. His lilac eyes trailed down her body, and Jexanna frowned as shivers went down her spine.
“Coming in, half-breed?” He was much taller than her, with cheekbones sculpting his face. Jexanna knew very well that he was baiting her, as he grinned at her.
“Yes, Lieutenant Garine.” She bit back her retort. It wasn’t the first time that these two had crossed paths. Every time, the man had managed to irritate her to no end.
“Please by all means.” He held the door open for her, and she knew he was taking the opportunity to look at her ass. Their animosity for one another stemmed from the fact that Jexanna refused to sleep with him. Garine believed that Jexanna owed him a night of pleasure for just opening the door for her. It wasn’t his fault entirely; the archaic culture of full-bloods promoted this mentality that women were there to be of service, especially those less than full blood. And as far as those jackasses went, Garine wasn’t the worst. But it still wouldn’t mean she would oblige him. This was after all the twenty-first century.
“Thank you, Lieutenant.” She flicked a strand of hair out of her face before taking his offer, ignoring where his gaze lingered.
“You rarely come into Headquarters, what brings you here?” Garine asked.
“I have a meeting with Commander Trellius.” She chose her words carefully, not to reveal her relationship. Jexanna knew that Aerin loved the fact that they had separate surnames and preferred if she used them as regularly as possible.
“Really? I didn’t know he was looking for help from a bounty hunter, more than just the usual runaway or two,” Garine raised a brow, genuinely surprised to which Jexanna just shrugged her shoulders.
“I received an official summons via departmental email.” She pulled up the email to show him, thankful that the darn thing appeared right after she left the bar. It made it much more official than saying, ‘My brother called me on the phone to come down here for reasons unknown.’
“Well, I’ll escort you to his office in that case.” Jexanna almost bit her lip, wanting to peel herself away from him as soon as possible. But priority demanded that she bite her tongue.
“Thank you, Lieutenant.” She replied as the tall man led her up the main corridor staircase. FLA Headquarters was always a marvel, once someone got in deep enough. The main corridor staircase had a unique feature of knowing what floor its passengers wanted to go to, so it would rise to that floor. It was a glorified elevator in Jexanna’s opinion.
“I’m glad that I’ve run into you, Jexanna. I wanted to see if you would be interested in sparring with me a little later this week.” His eyes darkened as they trailed down her body. Jexanna’s eyes narrowed as she took a step forward, trying to get above him and his gaze away from the cleavage that peeked from her shirt.
“Sparring?” She almost snorted. Garine was known for having a slow response time for a faire, something that Jexanna had taken advantage of quite frequently. “Didn’t you learn anything from the last time?”
“I found your straddle pin to be quite effective. And your use of the bondage magic was remarkable, to say the least.” Garine’s voice dropped an octave before adding, “I wonder what else you could show me with your binding magic.”
Jexanna breathed in, struggling to keep her emotions in check. This guy was always a little creepy, but today was just thick with innuendos. If they were in the gym, she would easily be able to justify making this guy fall through a portal, knocking him on his ass with a twist of his arm, or even binding him to the balling hoops. She could brush it off and say that she was intentionally treating him like a troll because he had asked her to spar. But here? She’d be arrested.
“Lieutenant Garine, what a surprise that you’re asking Jexanna to spar with you again.” A voice came from above and Jexanna relaxed at the sight of the man dropping down onto their staircase. His dark hair flying as he jumped from one staircase to another. His golden eyes glowed with laughter at Garine whose fists clenched.
“Captain Shou. What brings you here?” Garine’s teeth ground together despite his twisted smile to seem friendly.
“I heard from above that you were challenging our dear bounty hunter to another match. I wanted to prevent another humiliation on your part, Lieutenant.” Shou flashed a smile that showed off his pearly white fangs. “After all, she is my prodigy.” Garine flinched as Jexanna tried to keep from laughing. Shou was a dhampir. Being both of mixed-species blood, the two found each other as kin. He took her under his wing and trained her very well. So well that Jexanna was the only one who could go toe to toe with Shou outside of his unit, which was no small feat. The dhampir was tall with muscles that rippled with every single move he made.
“I just thought that she could teach me some new holds, Captain.” Garine stumbled while speaking.
“Anytime that you want to learn some holds, you request a lesson formally from my team. I’m sure that Quinne would love to demonstrate some effective chokeholds.” Shou waved him away and then turned to Jexanna who kept biting her lip during the whole exchange, trying to keep her tongue in place. “Why don’t you be a dear and open a portal for the Lieutenant?”
“I was escorting her to Commander Trellis.” Garine spat out in shock.
“And I’m ordering you, as Captain of the Knight division, to go and find Quinne. I can escort Jexanna here to the Commander.” Shou narrowed his eyes at Garine who was flinching once again at the use of the man’s aura. Shou was powerful. He was the leader of the FLA’s Knight division, the most elite and dangerous members of the FLA. These were dangerous hybrids, these were former rogues, these were out-of-control individuals that wreaked havoc. And Shou had a reputation of being the most dangerous of them all. “Jexanna, dear?”
“Of course, Captain.” Her eyes glowed as a portal appeared below Garine’s feet. The man fell through quickly with a yell. Jexanna smirked.
“And as always, you never fail to disappoint my dear.” Shou laughed.
“Did you want me to make a portal he could step into or fall in?” Jexanna leaned against the rails of the stairs.
“Falling through was always the intention. The damn bastard.” Shou grinned. “He gets what he deserves.” After all, he shouldn’t even try to go after my niece-in-law. Shou added in a telepathic link between the two.
“Well, I’m always happy to oblige, Captain.” Jexanna sent him a smirk as the staircase finally reached its floor.
“So to Commander Trellis, then?” Shou offered an arm to her, displaying his real age. While the man looked like he was well into his late twenties, Shou had stopped aging in the 1930s. He was a gentleman, most of the time, and always treated women with respect.
“Of course.” She took his arm with ease as the two started down the hallway to her brother’s office.