- Author: Emma Hamm
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Black BloodA Series of Blood
Copyright © 2017 by Emma Hamm
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.
Cover by: Mirella Santana - www.mirellasantana.com.br
Stock images by: Depositphotos & Shutterstock | Male model from ©Marcus J. Ranum
Created with Vellum
To all the fans who made it this far and to the journeys we have shared.
To my family for sticking with me through this adventure.
To my friends who let me talk (nonstop) about books.
Thank you all for believing in me.
About the Author
Also by Emma Hamm
200 years ago
Pitch’s honeyed voice fell dull and muffled in the silence of his office. The warm wooden hues of his desk offset rich red curtains. Bookshelves stretched to the ceiling, holding hundreds of leather bound books. Crimson light splashed upon the floor from a crystal chandelier swaying overhead.
Windows behind him provided a glimpse into the club below. Strobe lights turned the dancing bodies violent colors of red, orange, and gray. The light bounced off his body, creating a dark silhouette of midnight.
He raised his hand to hold a small vial up to the pulsing colors. A leather cord threaded through the top of the cork which was all that stood between freedom and the vial’s silvery captive. As though it heard his voice, the glow intensified.
“You’re energetic today,” he commended the soul. “It’s good to see you happy. It’s been a long time.”
The light swirled and danced. He held its vial with gentle hands, as it contained the most precious substance in the world. His beginning, his end, and his reason for existence.
Pitch leaned forward and pressed his lips against the cold glass. “You used to say we started in the middle. I still don’t know what you meant by that.” The light reflected in his eyes as he pulled away. “But I think I’m about to find out, aren’t I?”
His fist clenched around the vial as harsh banging against the ornate door of the office startled him. Whoever disturbed him was a lucky man. If the glass had broken, he would have ripped their head from their neck.
“Come in!” Pitch shouted.
The door creaked open, revealing an odd-looking man. He had the distinct whiskers of a cat drooping from his upper lip and brushing against his jaw.
Two years had passed since the dimensions collided, and Leo was affected more than most. His creature had taken to the human body, molding it like clay, until he was more cat than man. Leo's nose was a sloping bridge of bone, wide and flat, smoothing his features into feline characteristics. Slitted pupils expanded underneath heavy brows while a fine dusting of fur covered most of his skin.
Pitch thought of him as a glorious homage to the old days.
“Pitch,” the Shifter began, “the numbers you requested?”
“Yes, yes bring them here, Leo.”
Leo hesitated for a brief second before Pitch raised a hand and twitched his fingers forward. The man would never dare move without a direct command. One of the many traits Pitch admired about his assassin. He had learned long ago to be thankful for blind loyalty.
Pitch pocketed the vial as Leo dropped a stack of papers onto the desk. The assassin’s misshapen hands made movement difficult, but not impossible. His fingers were blunted nubs that looked harmless until he flexed them. He did so, and ran a long, deadly claw down the papers to point out key information.
“The numbers from the club continue to improve as usual. We’ve had almost five hundred guests tonight and those numbers will double. Most of the creatures appear amiable and I feel confident there will be no issues. Unlike last night,” Leo informed.
Pitch scrubbed a hand over his chin and nodded. “And the Juice sales?”
“They're better than most nights. People are beginning to realize Juice is not just illegal. It's enjoyable.”
“Are you partaking?”
“You know I never do.” Leo shook his head.
“All right,” Pitch cleared his throat. “And the recruits?”
“No good news on that subject.” Leo ran his finger down to a tiny list.
“We’re having difficulties finding people who will trust us. Word has spread on the streets you’re a dangerous man to work for.”
Pitch leaned back in his chair and propped his feet up on the edge of his desk. Steepling his fingers, he looked at his lead assassin with calculating eyes. “And what do you think?”
“I think I’d rather work for the dangerous man. I don't particularly enjoy being hunted.”
“And that’s why you have a job,” Pitch waved his hand. “Now go on. Watch the club tonight and take it easy.”
“If the recruits aren’t coming to us, then I shall have to go to them.”
Leo turned on his heel and hurried out of the office.
Pitch waited until the door closed before he stood. His glass windows vibrated as the club throbbed with music, dancing, and emotions. People plastered against each other and ground their bodies while otherworldly music played. There were few who showed physical changes though horns and scales glinted through the crowd.
The old days were long gone. Pitch missed seeing creatures who were half monster and half alive. He remembered powerful men and women who could have burned through this dimension. But they were no more.
He pulled the vial from his pocket and held the light up to the window again. “Do you see them Sil?”
She never answered him, and he didn’t expect her to. She had no mouth to speak, no eyes to see, but he liked to pretend.
Sil would have hated being surrounded by dark creatures searching for a moment of oblivion at the bottom of a bottle. This was