As I mentioned last week, for amusement – and perhaps some nostalgia – I re-wrote Cat and Bones’s first meeting from Bones’s point of view (if you haven’t read it yet, it’s HERE.) Then I posted it, thinking, “The handful of readers who still remember this book might enjoy this.”
Over five hundred of you left comments across my social media pages saying the equivalent of “MORE!” For comparison, I normally get only a few comments per blog post. I can’t tell you how touched I was reading them. After seven novels, two novellas and a book-size outtakes collection, I was pretty sure that readers had had enough of Cat and Bones. Looks like more than a few of you would disagree :). Group hug, Night Huntress fans! And, as you requested, here’s more.
Now, it’s not a lot more because (1) I write slow and (2) I still have to work on the book that I’m contracted to write or my editor will literally kill me. But here’s the rest of the that first meeting from Bones’s point of view. Same disclaimer as before: It’s unedited so there are probably spelling and/or grammar errors. It also might not read the way YOU think Bones would see things because I don’t think I could ever match what’s in people’s minds when they think of Bones. But again, I hope you enjoy it :).
Copyright Jeaniene Frost. All rights reserved.
Chapter One, part two
Bones followed the redhead back to the club, where she returned Devon’s vehicle. Smart; now it wouldn’t be traced to her murder scene. Then, she got into an old Ford truck and drove to a cherry orchard in a small, rural town about an hour away. Once there, she buried Devon on the far edge of the orchard, and then went inside the lone house on the property and slept so soundly Bones could hear her snores from his nearby tree perch.
He didn’t sleep. He spent the rest of the early morning hours looking up everything he could find on the mysterious redhead. Thanks to the orchard’s name painted on a faded sign in front of the property, it was easy.
Catherine Kathleen Crawfield appeared to be a normal college girl whose only oddity was her utter lack of social media presence. The only online images Bones could find of her were yearbook pictures and an old family photo on the Crawfield Cherry Orchard’s official website. The orchard was owned by Catherine’s grandparents, who were as boring a couple as Bones had ever researched. Nothing interesting popped up regarding Catherine’s mum, either. On paper, they were no more than a family of cherry famers going back five generations.
Yet Catherine was a vampire killer. If he hadn’t seen it himself, let alone smelled evidence of other kills also buried in the family orchard, he wouldn’t believe it, but there it was. How did Devon fit in? Catherine had only focused on him after Bones rebuffed her. Had Bones been Catherine’s intended target all along? Or had Devon? They were both blond male vampires; she could have confused one of them for the other.
Or had she been after both of them? The head of the shadowy cabal Bones was investigating could have found out that Bones was after Devon. Perhaps he’d decided to get rid of them both as a precaution? If so, a human woman seemed a poor choice of assassins, though Devon would doubtless disagree.
Well, if the lady wanted to kill him, he’d let her try.
Catherine went to the same club the next night. As soon as she entered, she did what Bones realized was a sweep of the premises. When she didn’t find what she was looking for, she sat at the bar. Bones was behind her before she could order a drink.
“I’m ready to fuck now.”
A line offensive enough to send all except a person with ulterior motives running. Last chance to show you’re a lamb instead of a wolf, Catherine.
“What?” she gasped out, spinning around. Then, the outrage in her expression died as she recognized him. Oddly, she flushed as if embarrassed by remembering what she’d said. Then her chin lifted and determination filled her gaze.
“Ah, yes, well…drink first?”
“Don’t bother,” he said, waving away the bartender she’d started to hail. “Let’s go.”
“Now?” She looked startled.
“Yeah, now.” When she hesitated, he said, “Changed your mind, luv?” and turned as if to leave.
She grabbed her purse and practically lunged toward him. Not a lamb at all, then. “Lead the way.”
As if he’d turn his back on her even once tonight. “No, no.” His arm swept out. “Ladies first.”
She glanced over her shoulder at him so much, he was surprised she didn’t trip on her way to the parking lot. When they were outside, she opened her mouth as if to speak, but he beat her to it.
“Well? Get your ride and let’s be off.”
“My ride?” she all but stammered. “I-I don’t have a ride. Where’s your car?”
“I drove a bike here,” he lied. “Fancy a ride on it?”
“A motorcycle?” she said with such obvious consternation, he stifled a laugh. Was she imaging how difficult it would be to transport his body on one of those? “Um, we’ll take my vehicle instead,” she offered. “It’s over there.”
She began to walk toward the old Ford, staggering after a few steps as if remembering that she was supposed to act drunk.
“Thought you didn’t have a ride?” Bones called out after her.
She turned around, her expression saying “Oh shit” louder than words. Sweet bleedin’ hell, she was terrible at this. If he hadn’t smelled the other vampire bodies in her back yard, he’d swear she was too inept to be a killer.
“I forgot it was here, is all,” she said in a too-bright tone. Then, she started to slur her words. “Think I drank too much. You want to drive?”
“No thanks,” he said at once.
Anger flashed across her features before she covered it with a sloppy smile. “Really, I think you should drive. I’d hate to wrap us around a tree.”
And be distracted while she launched a new attempt to murder him? Not a chance. “If you just want to beg off until another night…” he said, turning away again.
“No!” she replied with such obvious desperation, he almost laughed. She must have realized she’d revealed too much because at once she tried to backtrack.
“I mean, you’re so good-looking and”-her brow furrowed as she quickly tried to think up more flattery-“I really, really want to get it on.”
This time, he couldn’t stifle all of his laughter. She blanched and he almost pitied her, except her awkward seductress routine must be another act. She’d twist silver into his heart the first chance she got.
His tongue traced the inside of his lip as he stared at her until she flinched. But then he said, “Right, then, let’s be off.” Relief filled her face until he added, “You’re driving.”
With that, Bones climbed into the passenger seat of her pickup truck. Your move.
She shifted on her feet for a few moments. Then, decision made, she got into the truck.
Bones didn’t take his eyes off her as she drove. She must have felt his gaze, but she didn’t look at him. Instead, her breathing hitched, her heart rate sped up, and her scent wavered between fear and resolve. Didn’t she know vampires could scent emotions? She should have worn perfume. The harsh chemical odor would’ve helped mask her true feelings.
Ten minutes into the silent standoff, she said “What’s your name?” in a sharp, tense tone.
Trying to verify your target? “Does it matter?”
She finally looked his way. Uncertainty filled her features before an almost desperate determination tightened her jaw.
“I just wanted to know. Mine’s Cat,” she said as she left the freeway for a gravel road.
“Cat, hmm?” he mocked. “From where I sit, you look more like a Kitten.”
She shot him an irritated glance. “It’s Cat. Cat Raven.”
“Whatever you say, Kitten Tweety,” Bones drawled.
She slammed on the brakes. “You got a problem, mister?”
I don’t, but you do. Temper, temper. “No problem, pet. Have we stopped here for good? Is this where you want to shag?”
She flushed again before looking away. Perhaps this part wasn’t an act. His would-be murderess was a prude? Priceless.
“Um, no,” she said. “Further up. It’s prettier there.”
And well off the main road so no one could stumble across them. Prude or no, she was still doing her level best to kill him. Pity he’d have to disappoint her.
“I just bet it is, luv,” Bones said with a chuckle.
After a few minutes, she stopped at the edge of a lake. Bones didn’t move. He only watched with more amusement as she fidgeted and kept glancing at the pocket on her right thigh. Even though her trousers were oversized, Bones could still see the outline of her weapon inside it. She couldn’t pull it out without being obvious, and without the element of surprise, he could snatch it from her before she could raise it to stab him.
She had to know that. How would she attempt to distract him? She couldn’t play the helpless, frightened victim if she wasn’t being attacked. Frustration nearly boiled off her as the minutes ticked by.
Bones hid his smile. She had no idea what to do now, did she?
“Don’t you want to go outside and…shag?” she said at last.
Bones didn’t attempt to conceal his grin. “Oh no. Right here. Love to do it in a truck.”
He could hear her teeth grind as she said “Well…” while doubtless searching for an excuse to leave his sight long enough to pull her weapon. “There’s not much room in here,” she settled on, and began to open her door.
“Plenty of room, Kitten,” Bones replied. “I’ll stay here.”
“Don’t call me Kitten,” she said, anger sharpening both her tone and her scent.
Lucifer’s bouncing balls, she had to be the worst faux-seductress he’d ever encountered! Devon should be spinning in his grave over letting her slay him.
“Take off your clothes,” Bones said while raking her with a gaze. “Let’s see what you’ve got.”
Now the red in her cheeks was from rage. “Excuse me?”
“You weren’t going to shag me with your clothes on, were you, Kitten?” he taunted her. “Guess all you’ll need is your knickers off, then. Come on. Don’t take all bloody night.”
She shot him a look of pure hatred before her expression turned crafty. “You first.”
She thought modesty would be his downfall?
Bones grinned. “Shy bird, are you? Didn’t peg you for the type, what with walking up to me and practically begging for it and all. How about this? We’ll do it at the same time.”
Her expression mottled with more fury, but either she gave up on her attempt to kill him, or she continued on with the seductress charade. She chose the charade and began to unbutton her trousers. When Bones undid his and pulled up his shirt, her fingers actually shook.
Once again, he almost pitied her. Then he saw her hand slip to the weapon in her pocket. As soon as she touched it, her trembling eased. She wanted him dead so much, the prospect of it calmed her.
She’d made her move.
My turn. “Look here, luv, see what I have for you,” Bones said, pulling his cock out.
Her cheeks flamed as she looked away. It was all the distraction he needed.
His fist shot out and connected with her head. She slumped into his arms, her right hand still curled around the weapon she’d tried so hard to murder him with.
Bones pulled it out. A wooden stake? That wouldn’t kill any vampire…wait. It was heavier than it should be.
Bones broke off a piece of the wood…and smiled. “Well,” he said to his unconscious companion. “Aren’t you full of surprises, Kitten?”