A professional thief by choice, Robyn keeps her heart under strict lock and key. An orphan human raised by a vampire. Brandon works tirelessly to keep the creatures of the night a secret from the normal world. Things get a little complicated, however, when the one woman he hoped to never see again gets blamed for a crime he knows she didn’t commit.
Robyn has always loved Brandon, but doesn’t know if she has the willpower to accept Brandon and everything being a vampire entails. Will they be able to mend their relationship before she becomes the killer’s next victim?
A thick layer of clouds wafted over the moon, dimming the expanse of the backyard. Robyn Hood sprinted across the freshly cut lawn. The now-covered full moon hid her shadow. There was no sound. Not a whisper of wind, no rustling leaves. She was a silent figure lurking in the night.
Dressed all in black, she crept up to the door and peaked inside. Met with darkness, she smiled with satisfaction and pulled her lock pick out of her back pocket. Using both hands, she stuck each piece inside the door and maneuvered it around just so. When she heard the lock click open, she twisted the knob, slipped quietly inside the home and found the alarm system on the wall. She took her equipment out of her bag, pried off the cover, and attached the correct wires. On the green florescent panel, she watched as the six-digit code materialized one by one on her screen.
She keyed in the code and waited for those magic words-system disarmed. “Works like a charm every time,” she whispered.
She had it on good authority that the owners of the house were out of town on vacation, so she leisurely looked around, taking in the beautiful surroundings.
They had a large kitchen with crisp white cabinets, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. The house had been empty for at least two days, but the aroma of pine and ammonia still hung in the air.
In the adjoining family room, there was a big screen plasma TV mounted on the wall, surrounded by cabinets filled with books, DVD movies and small items she was sure they had collected on their many travels. A large room, the moonlight cast a glow over the plush, chocolate leather furniture and oak tables. She traced a gloved finger over the edge of the pool table, then sat and twirled around in one of the chairs at the large poker table in the corner. “Now this is how to live.”
The small refrigerator behind the bar was filled with an assortment of beer and soft drinks, and a collection of crystal wineglasses gleamed above her head.
Out in the foyer, a large chandelier twinkled from the ceiling. She passed an office on her way to the spiral staircase, which took her upstairs.
Robyn quickly found the master bedroom. The blueprints she’d “borrowed” from the state registry office revealed there was a secret room hidden behind the large mirror on the far wall. She found the correct remote control off the coffee table in the sitting area and clicked it to open.
“Un-freaking-believable,” she murmured as the glass slid quietly into the wall. She tugged the strap of her bag up and over her head so it slanted across her breast. Then she pulled out the other bag she’d tucked inside it and went to work.
She opened one drawer and found several Rolex watches. After dropping them in her bag, she found another had diamond necklaces and bracelets. “He might be an ass, but he sure has good taste.”
A third had diamond, emerald, sapphire and ruby rings. She found pearls in a fourth, and almost screamed when she opened one with several bundles of cash in it. “This is so going to make up for the crap that man put me through the last few months.”
Finished, she looked around to make sure she’d shut all the drawers, then stepped out. She picked up the remote, slid the mirror back into place, and placed it exactly where she’d found it on the table.
When she stepped into the hallway, she paused, flattened herself against the wall and waited. She thought she heard voices. After several seconds of silence, she crept down the steps.
It sounded like someone was in the office she had to pass on her way back to the kitchen.
Shit. This house is supposed to be empty, damn it.
Her black tennis shoes made no noise as she slinked across the room to the wall. Her fears were confirmed when she heard two men arguing. But she blocked out their words, hoping she could get past the room unseen. She dipped her body low. Just as she was about to go by the room, she saw an unusual green flash of light out of the corner of her eye.
Unable to ignore it, she turned to look. Her eyes widened in horror as she saw a man dressed similar to her holding a dark stick pointed toward the other guy. A long sliver of energy struck the other man in the chest, and he went flying against the wall, knocking over a lamp and two winged back chairs along the way.
A scream split from her throat at the same time the man slammed into the wall, breaking a mirror. The attacker turned toward her, and she saw his evil red eyes narrow. A table went sailing through the air as he came in her direction.
Robyn twisted around and bolted for the exit. She flew around the island in the kitchen and ran out the door, not even bothering to shut it as she jumped over the four steps to the grass. She sprinted across the lawn as green flashes of light missed her and hit bushes and trees instead. “Oh my god.”
Her backpack, full of the jewelry she’d “borrowed”, thumped against her back, almost making her fall. She jumped at the wall surrounding the property, but slipped and fell to the ground. An energy pulse hit it, sending several of the bricks tumbling to the ground. She scrambled up, used the hole he’d made for support and clamored over the top.
She hit the concrete with a thud, scraping her knee and elbow as her body smacked the ground. Ignoring the pain shooting through her limbs, she got up and sprinted down the street to her car parked on the next block.
Robyn heard his feet hit the pavement with ease as he chased behind her. She rounded the corner and made it to her car. She dug in her pocket for her keys, unlocked the door and jumped inside. When she stuck the key in the ignition and turned, nothing happened.
“Not now. Don’t do this to me now.”
She pumped the gas and tried again. Nothing.
When she looked up, he was running full speed toward her, his wand raised. Yes, she knew what he held and what he was. She’d promised herself ten years ago never to return to that life.
“Please, please work,” she cried, turning the key again. The engine purred to life. “Thank you, thank you.”
He was almost on her as she gunned the engine, sending the car wheels spinning in reverse. Her right side window shattered as he aimed the weapon at her again. She sent the car into a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree turn, yanked it into drive and sped down the street. The last thing she saw was the man standing in the middle of the road and green flecks hitting the ground.
* * * * *
Robyn pushed the control button above her head and shut her garage door. Finally able to release the pent up breath she’d been holding, she let the fear in her heart slowly subside. Not all the way, just enough to pull her out of the daze she was in after what happened at Mr. Howard’s home. He was dead. Someone murdered him. She still couldn’t believe it. She got out of the car, taking the black backpack out of the passenger side seat.
Unlocking the door, she heard the familiar beeping sound of her alarm and keyed in the ten-digit code. No four-digit code for her. She’d broken into enough businesses and homes to know better. The longer the code, the harder it was to break.
Of course, if you were someone with her skill, it could be done, with time. But the truth of the matter was, there was no else with her skill. That’s why her company landed all the big corporations. Testing their systems had made her company practically a household name in the business.
Now her unique ability was probably going to get her killed.
She made a round of the house, double-checking all the windows and doors, and made sure all the curtains and blinds didn’t let in a hint of whether or not she was at home.
Robyn knew it wouldn’t take him long to find her. She dropped herself and the bag on the floor by the front door and picked up the mail she hadn’t bothered to read before she went out on her job to the Howards’.
She reached up and yanked on the door again, making sure it was locked. She knew she needed to get up, pack a bag and leave immediately. But she couldn’t do it just yet. A logical thinker, the need to calm down and come up with a good plan was first and foremost in her mind. Sifting through her mail would help her do that. A task so normal and menial was just what she needed to clear her mind.
Her heart still raced at the thought of being found. She didn’t stand a fighting chance against that wizard. Yes, she knew what he was. If it weren’t for the fact that a vampire had raised her ex-boyfriend all his life, she’d be just like the rest of the world. Blissfully unaware that the world was not only filled with humans, but witches, wizards, vampires, shape-shifting werewolves and so much more.
That shimmer of green still flashed in her eyes.
The sight of his body slamming into the wall still replayed itself in her mind.
The sound of his death still echoed in her ears.
She closed her eyes on a shudder.
Absently she shifted through the bills and junk advertisements until she got to a plain white envelope with no return address. She flipped it over and back, looking at the neat handwriting of her address.
Had he found her already?
Was this a warning?
Her hand trembled as she opened it.
What she pulled out surprised her. It was a tarot card.
Who in the hell would send her a tarot card? It was black, trimmed in red, a shadowed face of a man on the front. Eerily, if it weren’t for the piercing blue eyes, it almost looked like the man who killed Mr. Howard. In the bottom left corner was the word, Rebirth.
On the back there was a dark image of black with a V and delicate scrollwork above a reddish glow. What the hell did it mean? Her mind weary, she didn’t have a freaking clue. She had a few friends who delved into this type of thing, but she’d never gotten into it. Instead, she left the meaning of life, love and friendship to itself. She didn’t need anyone to read her palm or flip a card and tell her the future.
She made her own choices and decided her own path. And right now, that path led the hell out of Decatur, Georgia. Robyn got up, separated the bills from the junk and went to dump them in the trash but hesitated. Something about that card made her want to keep it and find out a little bit more. So she stuck it in the small purse she’d left sitting on the kitchen table, threw the junk into the trash and tossed the bills in the basket on the counter.
The only thing she wanted to do right now was leave. She knew without a doubt that a killer was on her trail, and she had no plans on being found.