- Author: Keira Blackwood
Book online «Exes and Exorcisms Keira Blackwood (best fiction books to read txt) 📖». Author Keira Blackwood
EXES AND EXORCISMS
FORBIDDEN FANGS, BOOK 2
The Forbidden Series
About Keira and Liza
Paranormal Chick Lit
Exes and Exorcisms: A Paranormal Chick Lit Novel
Forbidden Fangs, Book 2
Copyright © 2021 Keira Blackwood & Liza Street
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any actual persons, places, or events is coincidental. All characters in this story are at least 18 years of age or older.
“She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” serenaded customers sitting in their booths eating ribeyes bigger than their faces. The chorus garbled and cracked like the speakers were underwater. Along with the bloody aroma of searing meat, the air was filled with sweat, cedar, and humans.
“Whoever owns this place can’t spell, but they sure can fry up a fine slab of beef,” a middle-aged man said to his companion as I passed by their table. He tapped his finger on his napkin where the restaurant’s name was printed.
The man across from him tipped his cowboy hat and muttered something unintelligible, with his overstuffed cheeks puffed out like a chipmunk’s.
The Stakehouse wasn’t spelled that way because of a mistake. The sirloins were a front for the real business.
It would have been obvious to anyone who knew anything about vampires or weaponry. But none of the patrons ever seemed to catch on. Wooden stakes graced the walls—deadly decor arranged into peg art. One wall bore a configuration of stakes that formed an outline of the state map of Tennessee. Sadly, no one seemed to get that one, even though Tennessee happened to be the state they lived in.
Other displays were recognized more often, like one everyone guessed was meant to be a cow. When I looked at it, all I saw was the Cliffs of Insanity from my all time favorite film, The Princess Bride. Don’t ask me how a cow and a cliff look the same, but my guess was the cow was on its back, legs up in the air.
With a nod to the chef, I headed through the kitchen and straight into the freezer. Inside the walk-in were shelves of meats and fixin’s. The keypad I needed to access was behind the giant vats of pork ’n’ beans. The freezer hummed, blurring out the sounds of the kitchen and dining rooms. Even with my shifter hearing, all I could detect was my own heartbeat over the white noise. My breath looked like a stream of fog seeping away from my nose in front of me.
I reached back along the wall until my fingers met the upraised buttons. The combination was eight-zero-zero-eight-five, boobs on a calculator. Just like the pork ’n’ beans, and the stake pun for a business name, Clyde thought he was clever for coming up with the code.
The back wall was a secret door no one would notice if they didn’t know to look for it. As soon as it opened, I stepped through.
The room reminded me of a cave. Dank, dark, and damp. This was the true Stakehouse. It was little more than a lounge and an arsenal. As the headquarters for a ragtag group of vampire hunters, it was also the only place I’d felt at home in a long time.
There were other Stakehouses throughout the US, but this one was where I’d landed after tragedy struck.
The place was abuzz tonight, which meant more than one other person was present. Also, it meant some level of excitement beyond the usual stories of victory.
Three guys who had been around a while, but I only knew in passing, were huddled around Clyde. The big one—a bear shifter—was laughing, his barrel chest heaving up and down with a very Santa-like ho ho ho.
“Xavier.” Clyde waved me over. “You’re going to want to hear this.”
Chances were good I wouldn’t. Still, I joined the group, stepping in beside Clyde. His responsibilities mostly involved gathering information...and being a huge pain in my ass. He believed his knowledge gave him leadership qualities, which meant he was the most inept micromanager to grace the state of Tennessee. Regardless of his real skills, people called to tell him when there was a rumor about a bloodsucker on the eastern third of the United States, and Clyde passed that information along to one of us hunters. Some jobs paid, either by a town looking to clear a nest, or by the riches the immortal bastards collected during their savage existences. Those jobs were picked up quick.
I liked the other jobs—the ones no one else wanted to take. In those jobs, the only satisfaction was in the slaughter—and the slaughter was all I was really after.
They said revenge was a dish best served cold. That was true. It was also best served rare and bloody.
“Tell him from the beginning,” Clyde told one of the other hunters—a squirrely guy, with big eyes and a nervous twitch.
There was something cruel about the squirrely guy’s eyes.
“Xavier, right?” he asked.
“I’ve heard about you. Personal mission, secret motivation, right?”
I didn’t reply.
“Your type—it’s always something to do with a woman. Who was it that they killed? Mama? Sister? Your mate?” His lip curled, revealing a set of yellowed teeth.
Girlfriend. But I didn’t answer.
Clyde kicked him. “Stop being a prick, Austin, and tell him about the job.”
“Heard from a friend who knows a guy. Third cousin’s grandma’s sister’s kid’s uncle.”
I stared at Austin. Either he was trying to piss me off or he was just an idiot. I didn’t care which. I just wanted the details so I could get this interaction over with as quickly as possible.
“His best friend’s ex, twice removed,” Austin said.