Vampires Dead Ahead - By Cheyenne McCray

PROLOGUE

It was a night made for danger. A night made for passion.

A night made just for her.

The sports coupe hugged the street as Monique took the steep San Francisco hill a little too fast. She loved to drive the silver Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. It was impossible to beat human technology despite the norms’ lack of magic.

Among the Light Elves, Monique was a being of great magic, but she still enjoyed human innovations. Why simply use the transference when she could enjoy the power of her vehicle, the sleek elegance of it.

Tonight she needed an outlet, and flying through nighttime traffic in this fashion was one of her favorite ways to relax. What she had planned next was an even more exciting way to let herself go.

It was a chilly January night, a trying night, and the Vampire tragedy she had come upon in the Haight-Ashbury district had topped it off quite unpleasantly. The Soothsayers still had the crime scene frozen until the Paranorm Task Force cleaned up any paranormal aspects of the crime and wiped out the memories of any human witnesses.

What a great asset to have when trying to keep the general population from freaking out at some of the bizarre sights they saw when paranorms were inhabiting the city with them. Humans would never understand. How could they?

Monique had barely made it back to her home in time to change into a short, strapless little red dress with a matching jacket that had a mandarin collar. She added decadently high red heels. At her throat and on her ears, wrists, and fingers were glittering diamonds and rubies mined, fashioned, and warded in the belowground realm of the Dark Elves, in Otherworld.

Males of every race of beings loved her exotic looks. She’d let her long dark curls float free around her face, hiding the delicate points of her ears.

Light Elves were generally apathetic when it came to norms and paranorms alike. She and Rodán, however, were among the rare few who believed that their people had a duty to protect those who could not protect themselves. And that included all paranorms as well as norms.

The majority of U.S. Proctors left most of the dirty work to the Night Trackers. Monique preferred hands-on leadership. That practice and the power of her magic were two reasons she made such a good Proctor and why she was chosen to lead all Peacekeepers in San Francisco. It is also why she had the respect of the Trackers who worked under her.

Her cell phone purred through the speakers in her car. She glanced at the navigation screen as the caller identification came up. She recognized the number as Rodriguez’s.

“Answer,” she said out loud, and when she heard the soft click she said to her lead Tracker, “Hi, Michael.”

“The cleanup on Haight is finished.” Rodriguez’s voice was deep and smooth, like warm caramel, one of her favorite human treats. If she weren’t Rodriguez’s Proctor, she’d have had the Shifter male in her bed already.

Monique pushed a handful of curls over her shoulder. “Anything else to report?”

She heard the shrug in Rodriguez’s voice. “The usual. Harley and Jonathan had to rein in a few rogue Werewolves.” Monique glanced up at the full moon as he spoke. “Lee ended up with two of the beasts on her hands.”

Monique swung the car around a corner and reached the St. Francis Hotel in Union Square. “Great job tonight, every one of you.”

Rodriguez gave a low laugh. “That’s what you always say, Mo.”

“Because I have the best Trackers a Proctor could hope for.” Monique smiled, but it faded as she narrowed her brows in concentration. “Let everyone know we’re meeting tomorrow night before you head out to track.”

“You’ve got it,” he said. “Sweet dreams, Mo.”

“I’d wish the same for you,” she said, “but I have a feeling you have other things in mind.” Like she did. “Have fun.”

As Rodriguez ended the call, Monique turned the car into the parking garage of the St. Francis and pulled up to the curb just outside the rear entrance. She opened the sports car’s doors and slipped out her long legs while allowing the attendant to assist her in stepping into the cold.

Being Elvin she was naturally protected from changes in temperature and from the generally cool environment of San Francisco. She barely noticed the chill night air as it brushed her skin.

She tipped the man before he valet-parked her car, then gave a slight inclination of her head to the doorman as he held

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