Fade to Black
Sarah Vargas Series, Book 1
by Heather Kuehl
eBook ISBN: 978-1-92670-4-692
Print ISBN: 978-1-92670-4-777
Werewolf bounty hunter Sarah Vargas has only one goal; to kill the Were that attacked and changed her. However a slew of werecreature murders send Sarah and her partner, Jared Fontaine, on the mission of their lives, ending with a discovery about Jared’s past that might destroy them both.
The night is dark, full of violence and mystery. The cycle of the moon rules all. I stand outside, gazing at this thing that controls me three days a month. Once upon a time I thought werecreatures and vampires were in fairy tales, alive only in books and in the imaginations of humans. Now, I hunt them for a living. My tiny fortune grows daily with every kill.
My name is Sarah Vargas, and I am a werewolf. But I wasn’t always a Were. Five years ago a werewolf attacked me and tore my throat out. I was clinically dead, but by some “miracle” I survived. I knew something about me was different. I just didn’t feel human anymore. That day my human side was killed. Although I am alive, I hardly feel like it. I have one goal: to pay back the Were that killed me.
But first, there is business to attend to.
I am in an alley in Boston, Massachusetts. Not a good place for a girl to be alone, especially at night. I cross my arms, letting my hands slide over the knife sheaths on my wrists. I’m starting to get impatient while I wait for my partner. I don’t really know what his deal is. All I know is he has a vendetta quite like mine. I take a drag on my cigarette, impatience starting to get the better of me. As I exhale, he turns the corner, walking purposefully toward me.
Jared Fontaine is the epitome of a bad boy rocker. Numerous tattoos cover his arms. His eyebrow is pierced along with his lower lip. Today he wears black jeans tucked into his boots. A blue muscle tee shows off his perfect physique. A black leather duster hides his many blades and guns. His wavy brown hair is pulled back into a ponytail, exposing scars on the left side of his neck. He is heavy metal hot, and he knows it.
“Who does the BMC want us to kill today?” he asks. His thick British accent still makes my knees weak, even though we have worked together for the past six months.
The BMC, or the Blood Moon Corporation, is a group of bounty hunters and politicians. I joined them soon after I was turned into a Were. They consist of just about every type of supernatural creature, and even a few humans. According to rumors, the BMC was originally called the Blood Moon Guild. It is said that a vampire, Were, witch, and shifter formed it during the Black Plague. The Blood Moon Guild formed to try and keep the rouge Weres and vamps in line. Note the word “try.” The founder of the Blood Moon Guild hired bounty hunters into their payroll once they realized their attempts weren’t good enough. By 1928, the Blood Moon Guild dropped the title of Guild and added on the title of Corporation. It is much like a corporation now, with locations all over the world. We get assignments to kill. For the right price that is. Some of us have preferences. I don’t like killing humans unless they are pure evil. I’m not sure if Jared has any stipulations about killing. I’ve never bothered to ask.
“Our assignment is to go Charleston, South Carolina and eliminate two vamps,” I say. I don’t bother with a greeting. It is straight to business with us.
“Do we have names?”
“Jackilin and Jerrikin Skyner.”
“Aren’t those the vamp twins? Didn’t the BMC have a hit out on them before?”
I take another drag. “Yes, but they killed the last bounty hunters that crossed their paths. They want us to give it a go.”
“Any reason?” Jared asks.
“Werecreature murders. A lot of them.”
Jared smiles. He knows I don’t like Weres “Why agree to this?”
I narrow my eyes. I hate to be reminded of my dislike for my own race. “The price is right.”
Jared nods, his eyes showing that he really doesn’t believe a word I say. I don’t care. Jared’s just my partner, and I don’t give a shit about his opinions.
“When do we leave?”
“Within the hour. We’re taking a red-eye flight out.” I toss the still smoldering butt on the ground and turn to walk back toward my apartment. I feel Jared’s eyes watching me as I walk. He reminds me of a hawk watching its prey. I feel like an insignificant mouse.
I’m so preoccupied with Jared that I almost miss it. The faintest scent of a wolf. Not just any wolf, but the one that attacked me. I stop dead in my tracks and sniff in the scent. It isn’t much, but it’s enough to tell me he’s nearby. My breath catches in my throat. Am I really this close to my goal? My newest assignment surfaces in my mind. “Damn,” I mutter. In a matter of hours, I’ll leave this creature to ruin more innocent lives. I close my eyes, taking the scent to memory. I vow that when I return home, I’ll find and kill him. He’s lucky this time, but his luck is about to run out.
I stand in front of my apartment door, keys dangling in my hand. I close my eyes and send my wolf instincts to search my home. Not my literal wolf of course, just the essence of my Were self. I smell and taste the air. I listen. When I’m certain no one is inside, I unlock the door and let myself in.
My apartment is small; perfect for little bounty hunter me. The kitchen, living room, and dining room are all open. A one bed, one bath abode. My apartment looks like that of any other female in her late twenties lives here. Lavishly decorated and fully stocked with food. My bedroom, on the other hand, is anything but. Blades cover the walls. It is my workout room. My death room.