Spirit Page 1


Hunter Garrity awoke to the click of a gun.

His grandparents kept a night-light in the utility room, but either it wasn’t working or someone had killed it—his basement bedroom was pitch-black. His breathing was a shallow whisper in the darkness. For an instant, he wondered if he’d dreamed the sound.

Then steel touched his jaw.

He stopped breathing.

A voice: soft, female, vaguely mocking. “I think you dropped this.”

He recognized her voice, and it wasn’t a relief. His arms were partially trapped by the sheet and the comforter; he couldn’t even consider disarming her from this angle.

“Calla,” he murmured, keeping his voice low so as not to spook her. He had no idea how much experience she had with guns, and this didn’t seem like the right time for trial and error.

“Hunter.” The barrel pressed harder into the soft flesh under his chin.

He needed her to move, to shift her weight. Right now, she was just a voice and a weapon in the darkness.

He let out a long breath. “How did you get in here?”

“I drugged your dog and picked the lock.”

It took great effort to keep still. He had a knife under his pillow, but going for it would take about three hours in comparison to the amount of time it would take her to pull the trigger. “You drugged my dog?”

“Benadryl in a New York strip.” Her voice turned disdainful. “You don’t even walk your dog on a leash.”

He never walked Casper on a leash. His grandparents lived on an old farm. Like he should have considered that psycho teenage girls might be leaving tainted steaks for his dog to find. “If you hurt him, I’ll kill you.”

“You know,” she said, ignoring him, “I thought about just burning this place down. Kerosene, match, whoosh.”

“What stopped you?” He slid his hand beneath the blanket, just a few inches to see if she would notice.

She didn’t. “Nothing. There’s still time.”

“I don’t believe you,” he said. “If you wanted to start a fire, you wouldn’t be here right now.”

“We want you to get a message to the other Guides.”

“I don’t know any other Guides,” he hissed.

Well, he knew one, but Becca’s father was just as far off the grid as Hunter was.

His hand slid another few inches, clearing the blanket.

“Come on, Hunter,” she said sweetly. “Aren’t you your father’s son?”

Her voice had grown closer. She was leaning in. The gun moved a fraction of an inch.

All he needed was a fraction.

He swung for her wrist, going for deflection, ducking under the movement. His other hand was free, flinging the blankets at her while he slid to the ground. He threw a punch where her knee should be, but she was gone already, somewhere back in the darkness.

He tried to slow his breathing, his heart, trying to convince his body that he needed to hear.

“Nice try,” she said.

He focused on the air in the room, asking the element to reveal her location more precisely, but it was never something he could force. He had to wait.

And the air wasn’t talking.

At least the darkness was working to his advantage. If he couldn’t see her, she sure couldn’t see him.

He slid a hand under his pillow, and the knife found his fingers, the hilt a reassuring feel in his palm. He’d never cut anyone with it, but he knew how to throw.

Then he heard her breath—or maybe he felt it. Close, too close. He lifted a hand to throw.

Something hard cracked him across the side of the head—a board, a book, something. He went sprawling, and for a painful moment, he didn’t even know if he was lying faceup. Now the room was full of light: stars danced in his field of vision.

She kicked him, rolling him onto his back. “Idiot,” she said. “You think I’d come alone?”

Rolling sent the back of his head into the carpet. It hurt. A lot.

His knife was gone.

“I should shoot you right now,” she said. “But we need you.”

“Go to hell.” He could taste blood when he talked. He slid his hand against the carpet, looking for his knife, but a booted foot stomped down on his fingers.

God, how could they see him?

The gun went against his forehead. “A message,” said Calla. “Are you listening?”

“Yeah,” he ground out. He still had a free hand, but he had no idea whether her “helper” had an extra weapon.

“We’re going to keep burning houses,” she said. “Until the Guides come.”

She was nuts. “They’ll destroy you,” he said.

“I don’t think so,” she said. “Tell them to come and see.”

“You’ll kill ordinary people—”

“No. Until they come, that’s on you.” She shifted the gun. “You like piercings, right?” The hard steel pressed into his bare shoulder. “How about a little bullet hole to convince you?”

Hunter whipped his free hand out to deflect again, this time rolling into the motion and trying to break her wrist.

She shrieked and dropped the gun.

He didn’t let it distract him—he kept moving and drove his fist into the leg of whoever pinned his other hand.

This time, he connected. He heard a male grunt of pain. His other hand was free. Movement filled the darkness around him, and he knew they were getting ready to retaliate.

Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies