Cursed By Destiny Page 25

Twins. Fantastic. Just what we needed. Our mission had just doubled in size, viciousness, and ugly. Their faces were similar to that of rhinos. Tusks protruded over their drawer-sized snouts. Silvery reptilian scales covered their skin like body armor. And, funny thing, the last rhino I saw didn’t have long leathery wings, glowing yellow eyes, or fangs the size of yardsticks.

We charged on pure instinct. There was no command, no hesitation. I dodged a barrage of swings from arms as thick as tree limbs and grabs from meaty fingers tipped with six-inch nails. Five of Misha’s vamps weren’t so lucky. Blood splattered my face when the Tribemaster I fought ripped them in half. I fell to a crouch and dug my claws into his stomach, attempting to tear it open. They stuck in his thick belly and I couldn’t break free . . . until he hauled me up by my hair. He jerked me with such force my head snapped painfully back and two of my nails stayed embedded in his stomach.

He lifted me to his face. “Vení, muñeca, te quiero besar.”

It was bad enough that he called me “doll” and I wasn’t lovin’ the fact that he wanted to make out with me, but it was his dark demonic voice that made my skin crawl.

His tongue reached out to kiss me. I brought both my fists down to his snout. My claws raked down his chest when he dropped me, allowing me to shift him through the cement floor.

I plunged him deep into the earth, so only his neck and head were exposed. “Shayna!”

Shayna’s head whipped toward me. She sprinted from the fight with the other twin. Her opportunity had arrived. And damn it if I wasn’t going to let her take it.

Chunks of concrete burst upward as the Tribemaster punched through the floor. I dove on his free arm and ducked, allowing Shayna to sever his head in one clean swoop. His insides spewed like a volcano and sprayed my back in quivering chunks. I lurched to my feet, ignoring the remains crawling down my legs, and bounded toward the other twin.

Shayna chased the head she’d disjoined to finish off the brain. I heard her hacking through the skull behind me as I reached the remaining Tribemaster. The last of Misha’s vamps covered him like a swarm of insects. The Tribemaster roared with pain. But Misha’s family wasn’t enough to cripple him. He ripped them off and tore their limbs as if shucking corn. I propelled myself into the air and into a jumping spinning kick. He caught my leg and crushed my ankle.

My screams turned to roars. I changed, knowing my human body wasn’t enough to make the kill. I maneuvered my body and went for his throat. My fangs accomplished what my claws could not; I tasted his blood as I ruptured his larynx and pulled it apart. He heaved my body and threw me into the wall. It was like a Bugs Bunny cartoon. I crashed to the floor and looked up to see the perfect outline of my body dented into the cinder block. Too bad we never made it to a commercial break. I could have used the opportunity to remember how to breathe and to stop my bleeding.

I struggled to get up. Shayna appeared, twirling her sword with dizzying speed. She cut the Tribemaster’s legs off at the knees. Hank jumped onto his shoulders and wrenched his jaw back while four vampires buried their fangs into his arms. “Kill him!” Hank hollered.

I stumbled to my four paws, gaining momentum with each step I took. My claws scythed through his neck as I tackled him to the ground. His scale-skinned neck split near the torso. I thought we had him until what felt like a bomb exploded beneath me.

I remembered flying, then falling . . . rather ungracefully and painfully against a pile of rubble. The shock of the impact forced me to change back. When the black smoke and dust had cleared, the Tribemaster was gone. Shayna lay sprawled a few feet away, a giant shard of glass embedded in her chest. I crawled to her side, coughing from the dust layering the air.

Her breathing was fast and ragged, and a delighted smile lit her dirty face. It freaked me out. I thought she was going into hysterics. I tugged out the glass and quickly covered the site, but there was no blood. There was no oozing. There was . . . nothing. I removed my hand to examine the wound closely. My lips parted with shock. It had already sealed. She sat up by herself and grinned even wider. “I may not be able to howl at the moon, Ceel, but lookie what I can do.”

Despite the agony vibrating through my organs in painful rushes, I smiled back. Koda wasn’t able to turn her into a wolf, but he’d given her the perfect gift: the ability to heal.


Maria held someone’s severed leg and waved it as she spoke. “Whose foot is dis? Oops—sorry, Celia,” she said when blood from the limb splashed me in the face. “Hello, I’m trying to sort here.”

“I think it’s mine,” a vamp mumbled. He lay draped in one of the truck beds, on top of two other vamps.

Maria huffed. “It cannot be. You are already holding two.”

He lifted one leg in each hand. “Yeah, but these are both lefties. And see, now I have an extra knee.”

The rest of Misha’s vampires had returned after tracking the enemy weres who’d tried to escape. The Tribemaster we’d fought remained at large. The vamps had found only more caged villagers. They’d released them following a light snack. I wasn’t pleased, but what could I say? Saving the world worked up an appetite.

Agnes Concepción, Edith Anne, Hank, and Tim were among the few in our group still completely functioning. Most of Misha’s other vamps were in bad shape and needed blood to regenerate.

“I guess you should get to the village so you can find something to . . . eat.” My suggestion bothered me, but if the injured vampires didn’t feed soon they’d develop bloodlust, making their appetites voracious and uncontrollable. The last thing Nicaragua needed was a bunch of blood-ravaging limbless vampires crawling around.

Shayna and I inched away from the vamps. We were team players and all, but no way in hell were we offering our blood. I left the healthy vamps to tend to the others. Vampires weren’t known for their patience. They gave up trying to arrange the various missing appendages and piled the injured and all their body parts into three trucks and left for the village.

Edith carried me to a Tribe jeep and drove us to the hotel, where my sisters and the remaining Catholic schoolgirls anxiously waited. “Later,” Liz said the moment she saw us. She and Maria flounced by us without so much as a “Thank God nothing with horns munched on you, Celia.”

“What?” Maria asked when she caught my glare. “We are hungry.”

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