#ForeverFrightNight #Halloweek PART TWO by Karina Halle
“Fine,” he muttered. “But if he acts like a douchecanoe again, he’s getting my boot up his ass. Michael Jackson had weapons for feet.” The singer’s ability to moonwalk aside, Zach had put on some sharp black cowboy boots to go along with the costume.
Reluctantly, he got to his feet and held his arm out for Willa like a gentleman. As usual, she shunned his chivalry and got up on her own accord. Still, as they walked, she shot him a sly glance that hinted at unfinished business.
Zach hated that his loyalties were always to the Volkov clan first, himself second. That made him a prisoner of sorts, tied to ancient blood and all the evil and misunderstanding that came with it. He was sworn to hide his true being and protect humanity from any knowledge of the Volkov, but that also meant keeping himself in check. They were all so powerful and feared and yet no normal human really knew why.
He’d never had the courage to admit to Willa how he felt about her, partly because he was afraid of rejection and ruining their friendship, and partly because any sort of sexual, um, attention could cause him to turn into the clawed, fanged furry beast that he was. Even though Willa knew about his secret—it was hard to hide it from someone as observant as she was, not to mention the fact that they knew everything about each other—she never really understood the extent of it.
It’s probably for the best, he thought, as he often did. Though, sometimes, he had the nagging suspicion that she was keeping a few secrets of her own.
As they walked down the streets, past the houses done up with hackling electronic witches and flickering jack-o’-lanterns, his hand brushed against hers. It was enough for him to get hard and once again he was lamenting the fact that he was wearing a pair of red-leather pants that did more than showcase the goods.
Andrew Whalen’s house came much faster than he had anticipated. Zach was hoping for some more alone time, on this night of all nights when a frightened young woman could jump into his arms with no real excuse, but that wasn’t to be.
Tall and imposing, the Whalens’ house was like a plantation estate on meth. The columns in front stood out like fangs and the white finish glowed starkly under the waning moonlight. There was a steady beat of music coming from the inside, and the drunken laughter of partygoers, but the house still had this sense of foreboding, like it was waiting in the dark to swallow you whole.
Zach suppressed the shiver that wanted to rip through him and he found himself reaching for Willa’s hand. She walked away just in time to miss it.
“Well, here we are,” she said and immediately stopped. She started rubbing her hands on her arms.
“Are you okay?”
She nodded, looking confused. “Yeah, it just got real cold all of a sudden. Like, fucking freezing.”
He grinned at her. “How about we switch outfits? Leather can keep you warmer than pink fluff.”
But the truth was, Zach felt the air change, too, and that terrible tense of unease kicked up a notch.
The Whalens weren’t normal human beings, and they weren’t even Volkov like Zach was. They were…something else. Even though there had been books and stories about this clan, harking back to the days before Christ, no one had seen them in their true flesh. To everyone—Zach included—the members of the Whalen brood looked like your average Joe, though perhaps more on the ridiculously handsome side. They had never transformed into the mythic beasts they were reputed to, never showed the modern world the monsters that they were, yet the Volkov knew they were the real deal and not to be trifled with.
Andrew Whalen was president asshole, always had been ever since he attended grade school with Willa and Zach. To Willa, he was just the arrogant playboy and wannabe politician who was always trying to get in her pants. To Zach, he was a privileged shit disturber, something to hate and something strange to fear.
On this night of all nights, Zach felt like the secret revolving around the Whalens was about to come to a head. He couldn’t really explain it, but that feeling was there, as sure as the tight leather around his crotch.
“Aren’t you coming?” Willa asked, and then she did something she hadn’t done before. She held out her hand for him, her eyes wavering with a sheen of fear. It was almost like she wanted Zach’s protection.
He couldn’t help but be drawn in by her vulnerability. Hell’s bells, he couldn’t help but be drawn in by every inch of her. He took her hand, warm and soft, and squeezed it comfortingly.
Together they walked up the long gravel driveway, the rocks crunching unnaturally loud under their feet, past the live oak trees with their weeping limbs that seemed to sink under the moon’s weight, and all the way to the front door.
It was the last chance that Zach had to tell Willa they should leave, that this was a bad idea. He thought about taking it, too, but there was commotion on the other side of the door, and it slowly creaked open even before Willa could knock.
Andrew Whalen peered through the crack, his face half hidden in shadow, a smug twist to his lips. He was dressed as some sort of creature in black, with the hint of wings protruding from his back, his eyes glowing a fiery red.
Somehow Zach knew those weren’t contacts.
“I thought I’d see you two,” he said in his long, luxurious accent.
“Hey Andrew,” Willa said brightly and quickly dropped Zach’s hand. It felt empty and cold without her. “I was hoping it was okay that I brought Zach.”
Andrew grinned at her like a prowling wolf. “I said I thought I’d see you. I didn’t say it was okay.” He looked over at Zach and gave him a dry once-over. “‘Thriller.’ How cliché. How about you run along to your little friends, Zach, and leave Willa here with me? She was the one invited. Not you.”
Normally Zach would have given him the finger and stalked off, but he couldn’t do that tonight, not when every instinct was telling him to display his claws and protect Willa as best he could.
He cleared his throat but refused to look away from Andrew’s hypnotic stare. “I’m sure there is always room for one more.”
Andrew grinned again and it chilled Zach to the core. “Normally that would be true. But you see, Zach, this is a party for a certain type of…being. You don’t belong here. But Willa? Gorgeous, decadent Willa…she does.”
Suddenly Andrew reached out and grabbed her arm and pulled her into the house. “You see,” he said, as she struggled in his grasp, “she’s one of us.”
Read the whole story! Follow the links below to all 5 parts.
Part one: Dear Author
Part two: Under the Covers Book Blog
Part three: Paranormal Cravings Reviews
Part four: Paranormal Book Club
Part five: Shh! Mom’s Reading
Today we have two giveaways for you to enter!
One winner will get a copy of all these books by Karina Halle (US/Canada only)
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