Locked in Silence [Grimm's Circle, Book 5] [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Shiloh Walker
eBook Category: Romance/Fantasy
eBook Description: Dying is hard enough. Coming back to life is brutal. Grimm's Circle, Book 5 Vanya has been hunting and killing demons ever since one of them scarred her face and killed her sister. Correction--since she was forced to kill the demon possessing her sister. Then some sort of angel offers her a deal she can't refuse--that if she becomes one of them, she gets to kill even more demons. Tonight, she's made that choice. The death she smells on the air will be her own--and she welcomes it. Silence feels a darkness is looming. Change--something he has every reason not to welcome. The deeply hidden memories that robbed him of his past, of his own name, render him unfit to teach anyone the ways of the Grimm. Yet here he is in the dankest sex club in town, waiting to assume his charge--after he stands by and watches her die. When Vanya awakes, their complicated, dangerous dance begins. And so does something else--a searing need that blisters along their unexpected mental connection. Silence shouldn't be drawn to his student, but once they touch, he can't think of a reason to stop. Even though acting out their darkest desires puts them in more danger than they realize. Warning: This book contains sex-starved demons, lonely angels, demon-angel sandwiches, blood, violence, death and a happy-ever-after.
eBook Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd., Published: 2011, 2011
Fictionwise Release Date: October 2011
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4 Reader Ratings:
"I've got a deal for you."
He'd come out of nowhere. Dressed all in white, from the long, white leather coat, to the white leather shoes. On many men, it would have looked foolish. On him...it fit.
Vanya, covered in blood, still shuddering from the rush of adrenaline, had barely been able to keep the scream trapped behind her lips when the man practically appeared right in front of her.
Not that he had--that wasn't possible.
But it sure as hell seemed that way.
With a sneer to cover her fear, she started to go around him. "Sorry, pal. If you're looking to get laid, you're looking in the wrong place."
He caught her arm. "I'm not looking for sex, Vanya. I'm looking for fighters. And that's what you are. An hour of your time, in public, and I'll buy you a meal."
The exact right words--he couldn't have offered her diamonds with a better result.
Her belly growled. It had been more than a day since she'd scavenged up a decent meal. Although she had the money she'd stolen from her latest kill, if this guy was willing to fork over the dough...hooking her thumbs in her pockets, she studied him.
"A meal and fifty bucks," she said, lifting her chin.
He smiled. "Not a problem. Shall we?" He gestured toward the road.
But Vanya hesitated. She'd just killed two...things. They'd been human once and their bodies still looked human. That meant they'd bled...a lot.
And the police would think she was insane if she told them some story about demons and possession...
Plus, although the dark clothes she wore hid the blood pretty well, in the light, people would notice something.
"I'll meet you. Someplace. Two hours. I've got a prior engagement," she said.
"Ahhh. Yes. It wouldn't be a bad idea to clean up, change your clothes, I imagine."
The blood drained from her face--she felt it. Swallowing, she stared at his face. And although she didn't like to do it, she lowered her shields, just a bit, prepared to jerk them back up in case he felt like...one of them.
What she felt was...
Weariness. Strength. And light--it was almost like she stood in the sunshine after years and years in darkness.
Hissing out a breath, she backed away, staring at him.
Judging by the look in his eyes, he'd known exactly what she was doing. He continued to watch her, waiting, a patient look on his face, as though he'd wait forever. As though he could wait forever.
Suddenly, she wasn't so hungry and she didn't think he was worth the fifty bucks or the free meal.
"Maybe not, but that deal I mentioned? It's worth it," he murmured. "You'll end up dead, one of these nights, when you go out there. You'll continue this quest, determined to kill those things before they take away somebody else's sister, mother, brother, son...but this time, you'll be the one to fall. The one to die. Or perhaps worse--you'll end up one of them. It's a risk and you know it. It's a fear you live with. The nightmare that keeps you awake, even though you sleep only during the day when the sun shines bright in the sky."
Terror squeezed her chest, her throat.
Shit--how in the hell--what the hell--
"Who in the fuck are you?" she demanded. "How do you know that?"
The smile curling his lips was sad. "Somebody not so different from you, sweeting." He reached inside his pocket.
She grabbed her knife, brandished it.
And then felt very much the fool when he held out a crisp fifty dollar bill. "Yours...whether you meet me or not--the good Lord knows you could use a good meal or two on you. Your favorite restaurant. Be there. In two hours. Or not. But I mean you no harm."
"What do you want?" she demanded.
"Meet me...or not. Like I said, I have a deal for you, Vanya. One that will make you faster, stronger...and you'll be able to kill all the monsters you wish.. And they'll never be able to take you over. That nightmare, the one that haunts you? You'll be free from it. Forever. I promise you."
He turned around and strode away. She stared at him, dimly thinking she hadn't told him her favorite restaurant.
She shook her head, trying to make herself listen to common sense, and not that desperate, desperate hope. He's just a quack, she told herself. One who hadn't even asked her what her favorite place was, so how could he meet her?
"I'll be there, Vanya. I promise. The question is...will you be?" he called out over his shoulder.
A quack--a freaking weird one.
One who...holy shit.
He'd fucking disappeared.
Right in front of her.
"So...did I pass the test?"
Vanya swallowed as he slid into the booth across from her. Yeah.
He'd passed her very strange test, but she wasn't about to tell him that. In the past one-hundred-and-eighteen minutes, she'd showered, changed her clothes and hit two different restaurants--the first one had been her favorite.
This one had been her sister's favorite.
What she wanted to know was how he knew that, how he knew to be here.
He's following me, that's all, she thought.
"I'm not following you. You were at the roadhouse for a while and left, though I know it was your favorite." He smiled and leaned back. "You were last here with your sister. On her birthday, three weeks before she died. You bought her dinner, spent your entire paycheck on it. It meant a lot to her."
Tears sprang to her eyes.
"How do you know that?"
He glanced around, a casual glance, one that probably nobody else would have noticed.
She wouldn't have thought anything of it, if she hadn't felt a prickle across her skin.
Goose bumps rushed over her skin. She'd felt something...similar. The same, but not, when she was the presence of those things.
Terror rushed through her, and suddenly, she was very, very glad she'd strapped a knife on before she'd left the little, hellacious hotel room where she was currently staying.
"You won't need the knife, Vanya. I'm not going to hurt you," he said quietly. "And I'm not one of the demons."
She licked her lips. "Duh...demons?" Yes, she knew they were demons. It was the only thing that made sense, but nobody else seemed to believe her. She'd even tried talking to a priest at a Catholic church, and although he hadn't said it out loud, he'd been convinced she was either on drugs or mentally unbalanced--she'd seen that in his mind. "Demons. You believe in demons, old man?"
Old man--he didn't look old. Despite the silvery hair, despite the look in his eyes.
He stared at her, a strange smile on his face. "Don't you? The kind you killed earlier were incubae--male demons who thrive off sexual energy. Their female counterparts are succubae. They seem very drawn to you, and you've got a knack for sensing them out. I think it's because of your sister. There's a strange bond there."
Demons. Incubae--he'd called them a name. And he was talking about them just as causal as can be, right here in the middle of O'Charley's where anybody could hear them.
He grinned. "Nobody can hear us. That's what you felt a moment ago...I was muffling everything. They'll hear the hum of our voices but no actual words. A handy little gift I have."
She blinked. "You're crazy."
"No. Would you like me to prove it? We can be as loud as we want, talk about whatever strange things we wish and nobody will notice."
"Go ahead, try it out."
The waitress appeared then, smiling at them, that professional, polite smile fixed firmly in place. "What can I get you two?"
"Ah...a Coke," Vanya said, intentionally talking a little louder than necessary...and watching as the waitress's smile wobbled a little. "And the appetizer platter. Make the wings extra spicy." He was buying, crazy or not, she was getting as much food as she could.
"Just ice water for me," the man said, keeping his voice level.
As the waitress walked away, Vanya looked back at her very strange companion and said, "Well, there's the proof I needed. She heard us just fine. And she thinks I'm either a moron or deaf."
"Because we spoke to her. Try screaming at me. Nobody will hear." He waited, a brow cocked, a challenging grin on his face.
She hunched her shoulders, glancing around. Shit, she was in the middle of O'Charley's with a lunatic.
He started singing.
Loudly. He had a great voice, she noticed--she didn't know jack about singing voices, but he sounded like he belonged on a stage somewhere, and that deep, mellow voice carried. Although she wasn't quite sure that "Henry the Eighth I Am" was going to win him any record deals.
Blushing hotly, she shot a look around. "Would you..."
But nobody was looking.
Not a soul.
He stopped singing. "They can't hear me, Vanya."
"Ahh..." She licked her lips. Feeling very much like an idiot, she screamed. It was a weak, chirping little sound, but definitely loud enough that somebody, like the people behind them should have heard. Nobody so much as peeked at her. "Okay. This is weird."
Shifting her gaze to him, she asked, "What in the hell are you?"
He smiled. "I'm a guardian angel."
He sat there like he'd expected just that response, his silver eyes vacant, that polite smile remaining firmly in place. Something about the way he sat there, so unaffected, killed her amusement very, very fast.
"You really want me to believe that."
"It's the truth," he said, lifting a shoulder in a lazy shrug.
"A guardian angel."
He leaned forward and now the look in his eyes wasn't vacant and he was no longer smiling. He wasn't angry, she didn't think, but the look on his face was...intense.
"You believe in demons, Vanya. And don't bother answering that--I already know the answer. I sense it, I feel it. You're psychic and your shields are excellent, especially considering how young you are and the fact that you're untrained. How can you believe in demons...but not angels?"
Staring into his eyes, she decided that was a very, very good question.
She licked her lips, uncertain how to answer. Looking away from that intense gaze, she found herself staring at the little girl at the table across from theirs.
A pretty little fairy, she thought absently.
The girl smiled and waved, showing her a gap-toothed grin. Automatically, she dipped her head, hiding the scars on her face, not smiling back.
"You can smile at her, you know...children don't care about scars the way adults do. Your scars don't bother her. She just wants a smile. She's not afraid of you."
"Like I care," Vanya muttered. But, despite herself, she found herself trying to smile. "I don't ever know her."
The little girl's smiled widened and she went back to scribbling on the coloring book in front of her, babbling to her mother.
"If you didn't care, you wouldn't be so worried about scaring her," Will said quietly.
Shame and sadness wrenched her heart and she looked back at him.
He stared at her, his eyes locked on hers. Looking at her, not the scars.
They were ugly--three raised, ridged marks running down from her temple, down along her cheek--scars her sister had given her. Right before Vanya had killed her.
In the days following, an infection had settled in, almost killing her. Vanya had been living on the street and it wasn't until she'd collapsed that she'd gotten medical attention. Of course, she'd also almost ended up in foster care, would have, if she hadn't read the nurse's mind and run away only an hour or so before she would have been put into the care of the state.
"I don't like having people read my mind," she said, bolstering her shields as she studied his face.
"I'm not reading your mind. I just...know you. I've been watching you for a while. Keeping an eye on you, making sure you weren't in over your head."
She curled her lip at him. "I can take care of myself."
"Of that, I have no doubt. Which is why I'm here. About that deal..."