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Back in Black

Back in Black

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BOOK TWO: BACK IN BLACK
Vampire detectives Jimmy Black and Greg Knightwood investigate a series of assaults plaguing the alleys of Charlotte, North Carolina. The string of hate crimes becomes personal when Jimmy’s just-maybe-main-squeeze Detective Sabrina Law’s cousin is attacked. Helping a lady out could get the boys killed when they end up in Faerie. Before long, they’re up to their butts in trolls, dark fae and a grand battle royale. The odds are against them, but to the boys, this is just another day on the night shift—if the night shift included a steel cage match of supernaturals.











BOOK TWO: BACK IN BLACK
Vampire detectives Jimmy Black and Greg Knightwood investigate a series of assaults plaguing the alleys of Charlotte, North Carolina. The string of hate crimes becomes personal when Jimmy’s just-maybe-main-squeeze Detective Sabrina Law’s cousin is attacked. Helping a lady out could get the boys killed when they end up in Faerie. Before long, they’re up to their butts in trolls, dark fae and a grand battle royale. The odds are against them, but to the boys, this is just another day on the night shift—if the night shift included a steel cage match of supernaturals.





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Published by: BelleBooks Publishing House on Dec 26, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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09/29/2013

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Chapter 1
 A vampire and a cop walk into a bar . . .I so wish that was a joke instead of my agenda for the evening, but we really were pulling into a
bar parking lot. There were a lot of Harleys lined up out front of the club, and while that‘s usually agood sign for me, this wasn‘t my usual hangout. My comfort level was already low—this visit wasn‘t
my idea, and my escort for the evening was Detective Sabrina Law, the exceptionally attractiveinvestigator for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department who had helped me save the world
from plunging into Hell a couple of months ago. And, until today, I hadn‘t heard from her after our
bout of hero-for-hire. Not so much as a peep for eight weeks and four days, not that I was counting.I looked around the parking lot, taking note of the still-running limo parked at the front doorand the
click-click-click
of the cooling Harley engines parked behind it, and pulled my coat tight
around me against the January chill. I didn‘t feel the cold—vampires don‘t feel cold
, but nervesabout whatever mess Sabrina had gotten me into were giving me a chill or two. I took a deep breath,
held out my arm for my ―date,‖ and started across the asphalt toward our oh
-so-sleazy destination. The strip club formerly known as Heaven on E
arth had been renamed Fallen Angel‘s when the
last proprietor got his express ticket back to heaven punched. The apostrophe was in the correctplace on the sign, but nobody knew that outside a select few supernatural types. Phil, the last owner,had really been a fallen angel, and Lilith, the immortal whatever-she-
 was who took over Phil‘s
business operations when he left, had a wicked sense of humor. And a wicked sense of everything else. When Phil had been around, the club had been pretty upscale as strip clubs went. A strict dress
code had meant that Greg Knight, my partner in Black Knight Investigations, and I‘d had to do
laundry whenever we were on surveillance there. Under the previous management there had beenmore luxury cars in the parking lot than p
ickup trucks, and the girls had looked like they‘d stepped
off the pages of 
Playboy.
 
Phil‘s attention to detail had helped set the tone, garnered the ―classy‖ strip
club customers.
More than the name changed when Phil left the place in Lilith‘s unwilling h
ands. Apparently the
original ―other woman‖ had lost a bet to Phil, chaining her to his business interests for five hundredyears. I was around when Lilith figured that out, and she hadn‘t been happy. So she had surrounded
herself with people more to her l
iking, which meant that Fallen Angel‘s catered to a slightly different
clientele than it had when it was Heaven on Earth.
I looked at the bar and then the woman who‘d be going inside with me.
One of these things is not like the other 
. Detective Sabrina Law was going to stick out like a banana in a smokehouse, a fact thatI tried to impress upon her when she showed up in my bedroom, yanking me from a particularly 
pleasant and very specific dream featuring her, a case of whipped cream, and three Daleks. Don‘t
 ask.
She shook me awake and waved her badge in my face, leaving me no doubt that I‘d been talking in my sleep again, and that she‘d heard me. She wasn‘t smiling when she looked down at me andsaid, ―I need to see Lilith. You‘re going with.‖
 
I wasn‘t reall
y any happier, because my best friend, roommate, fellow vampire and businesspartner chose that exact moment to barge in without so much as a knock on my suddenly revolving bedroom door.
Greg wore kneepads, a gas mask and an apron that said ―Bite the Chef‖
with little cartoon fangson a yellow smiley face. He topped off the outfit with elbow-
length welder‘s gloves and thick rubber
boots. Greg looked at me, then at Sabrina, held his toilet brush high above his head and announced
 
in a muffled voice, ―Bathroom‘s clean! We got a case! Be ready in a jiff!‖ Then he turned and
 waddled off into his bedroom to change out of his haz-mat gear and into his crime-fighting costume. An actual crime-fighting costume.I watched my portly partner not close the door behind him
and looked up at Sabrina. ―Sinceyou‘re obviously not here for a social call, you wanna wait for me in the den? There‘s beer in thefridge.‖ I grabbed the corner of my sheet and started to sit up to get dressed.
 
Sabrina‘s eyes widened, and she turned to the door. ―I‘ll be waiting. Don‘t screw around, thisone‘s important.‖
 
Like the last one wasn‘t? Like a case where we saved Charlotte from becoming a literal Hell onEarth, wasn‘t important? I threw on a pair of jeans and a faded X 
-Men T-shirt, and a few minutes
later we were rolling to Fallen Angel‘s.
 Greg and I looked over the crime scene photos on the way to the club, and we agreed with
Sabrina‘s instincts— 
it looked like there was a supernatural baddy running around Charlotte, and thebest place to start looking was with Lilith. I kept trying to talk Sabrina out of coming inside as wepulled into the parking lot, but for a human, she was really, really obstinate.
I was crammed into the backseat of Greg‘s Pontiac GTO and really looking forward to getting 
ou
t of the car. ―Please don‘t stare at anyone, or anything. Just keep your eyes on the floor, or on thegirls. That‘s usually safe. This isn‘t like the clubs you‘re used to visiting.‖
 
―I don‘t frequent many strip clubs, Jimmy, but I think I can handle myself,‖ she said.
 
―No, you probably can‘t. Leave the badge and the guns here. Greg will keep the car running in
case we need to make a quick getaway. The back door is to the left-hand side of the stage. It opensright out onto Morehead Street. If things get ugl
y, we hit the back door running. We‘ll cross the
bridge on Morehead and meet Greg in the Time Warner building parking lot. You good with that,
partner?‖
 
Greg nodded. ―Got it. I don‘t like that place.‖
 
―I don‘t either, but we gotta talk to Lilith,‖ I replied. ―If everything goes well, we should be outin fifteen minutes.‖
 
―And if it doesn‘t go well?‖ Greg asked.
 
―Keep the car running.‖
 Greg shifted into neutral, and Sabrina and I got out of the car. She put her Smith & Wesson .40service weapon in the glove box, along with a revolver she wore strapped to one ankle. I tossed my Glock 17 into the backseat, then followed it with a Ruger LCP in an ankle holster of my own. Ireached under my jacket and stripped off a belt with two daggers in it, then unfastened the Velcrosheaths from my forearms and tossed those knives into the backseat as well.
I turned to see Sabrina staring at me. ―What?‖
 
―Nothing.‖ She shook her head and turned to go into the club. We walked across the parking 
lot, and I watched Greg pull out onto the street. He turned right at the corner and drove a couple of blocks to the cable company parking lot. It was about a quarter-mile sprint from the back door of 
Fallen Angel‘s to the car, and I really hoped we wouldn‘t have to test my legs.
  A pair of behemoths that looked like former NFL linebackers flanked the entrance, and one
opened the door for Sabrina as we approached. ―Serious bouncers,‖ she whispered.
 
―Those weren‘t the bouncers,‖ I said. ―Those were just the doormen. The bouncers are inside.‖
  We walked down a narrow hallway that was only dark if you were human. I could see the videocameras following our every move, and the two-way mirror along one wall. The hallway opened intoa largish reception area with a dark wood desk in the center of the room. A small human woman satbehind it at a computer, a pretty blonde with not quite enough makeup to hide the bruise on hercheek.

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