Valerie lingered at the edge of the roof, watching the sunlight flood the city below her. Her eyes watered as she watched stared into the light, but she couldn’t stop—it had been so long since she had seen a sunrise.
Deep shadows moved across the waking city of Old Manhattan, and from up here, on the rooftop of the Enforcer Headquarters that she’d taken over and made her own,
Now she had stripped them of that title and taken it for herself. She had defeated Donovan and been appointed by Michael himself—the Dark Messiah, returned—to be his Justice Enforcer. His representative in America, in charge of putting a stop to the hunting of vampires and, in time, be ready for Michael to come calling, should he need her.
Finally she closed her eyes and just felt the warmth of the sun on her skin. If not for Michael’s blood, which he had given her in the night, this wouldn’t be possible. But now she was the only other vampire alive that she knew of who could walk in the sunlight. Her, and the legendary Michael, who she was still having a hard time believing existed.
Her friends had gone inside and were briefing the new Weres and vampires that she had adopted into her army. This time, she took the elevator down, but didn’t stop at the thirtieth floor where she knew Cammie and the others would be discussing how the UnknownWorld and police would work together to ensure the UnknownWorld’s existence stayed a secret. No, she went all the way to the lobby, walked right past several gawking freshmen, as she’d just decided to call the less experienced members of the UnknownWorld. Pushing through the doors, she thought she heard someone calling her name, but she didn’t stop to find out.
Right now, she deserved some peace and quiet. The others would need sleep, but not her—not yet. After feeding on Michael, she’d felt as if she’d rested for a year. Her mind was clear, her muscles strong. Everything in synch.
So she was going to take a walk along the water, damn it.
And so she did. The walk over was a blur of anti-gravity powered pods heading toward Headquarters, likely reporting in to be briefed, and the city’s subway cars shooting past in their yellow anti-grav tubes, as people went about their days reporting to perform whatever menial labors the big three corporations had them doing.
The Big Three…. No, she told herself. Now wasn’t the time to focus on the CEOs and how they were using this former Enforcer Commander, Richard Strake, to hunt vampires for their blood. Right now she was going to simply enjoy herself, knowing that, at least in the case of her brother, justice had been served.
And Michael was on his way to Europe to see that justice knew no borders.
She came to the waterfront and stood, watching the waves lap up against the cement. How many bodies had her Weres and vampires had to dump into those waters last night to keep the UnknownWorld a secret? All of the dead nosferatu, the humans the nosferatu had killed, and of course, Donovan.
Yet, they were peaceful waters, and she stared out at them in awe at the way the sun sparkled across the tiny rivulets hat came and went with each small wave. She’d forgotten that the sun could look this way on the water—like a million little diamonds.
The only sound was the waves and a distant squawk of a seagull. Even they weren’t around so much any more, not since the great fall of civilization. She’d hoped that wouldn’t be true of America like it was in France, but no such luck.
Then a whirr of a pod sounded and Valerie spun to see a police pod nearby.
“Valerie, for the love of God!” Sandra said, jumping out of the police pod, apparently driven by Sergeant Wallace, who nodded at her respectively but stayed in the vehicle. “We’ve been looking everywhere for you.”
“Do you ever stop to smell the ocean?” Valerie said, still lost in her bliss.
Sandra sniffed and scrunched her nose. “Smells like dead fish and seaweed.”
Valerie shrugged. “And yet, it’s grand.”
“You know what’s grand? The fact that we won! But that won’t mean jack to these people if we’re out here smelling the shitty air and—”
“Excuse me?” Valerie turned on her, brow furrowing. This woman had been her servant for years before, in just the last couple of days, they’d become more than that. They always had been, really, but not Valerie insisted they be friends and equals.
Still, that didn’t mean she was okay with being talked to like this.
For a moment Sandra seemed like she’d back down, but then she put her hands on her hips and returned the stare. “You want me to speak my mind and help out here, or sit in the corner like a good little girl?”
“Diego tell you to be more assertive or something with me?”
“What? No.” A flustered red came into Sandra’s cheeks, confirming it. “A woman can’t stand up on her own without a man telling her to? If that’s how you see the world, you have a lot to learn.”
“A human woman standing up to the perhaps fourth powerful vampires alive, now, that I don’t see you doing without a Were’s prodding, man or not.” Valerie laughed. “Sandra, it’s me, you think I don’t see through this?”
“Whatever. Are you coming?”
“All I wanted was some fresh air.” Valerie folded her arms, waiting to see how her friend would react.
“And are you done?” Sandra said, irritation barely hid behind a fake smile.
“Sandra, I was giving you a hard time,” Valerie said with a laugh. “Jeesh, I give you a little power and it goes straight to your head.”
“You’re saying that?”
“Good point.” Valerie wrapped an arm around her and they started walking to the pod. “So what is it that’s got you all worked up?”
“The new Weres, Rico and the former Bloodhounds.” Sandra glanced over, hesitation causing her to choose these next words very carefully. “They’re saying they don’t know if you should lead. Saying that just because you can fight doesn’t mean you know the first thing about this city or how this place works.”
“That little skid mark!” Valerie said, pulling away in frustration. She wasn’t sure if she was more pissed that he’d said it, or because she had her own doubts about this. Regardless, Michael had given her a mission, and she was going to see it through.
She turned from Sandra and the pod, and started walking.
“Where’re you going?” Sandra shouted after her.
“To tear Rico a new asshole,” Valerie called over her shoulder.
“Wallace will drive us!”
“I’m too pissed off to sit still right now!” she said, and then took off in a run. She could beat the pod anyway, if she ran at vampire speed—but since it was daylight and she was trying to keep the UnknownWorld on the down low, it’d have to be that way.
One thing she wasn’t going to do was stand by and let people, or Weres in this case, try to step on her toes or get in her way.
After all, she was the Justice Enforcer.
FROM JUSTIN >>> At long last, we’re about to bring you the second book in the Reclaiming Honor series! Very exciting for me, and I hope it’s equally as exciting for you. My thought was that I would start right here we left off at the end of book 1 — Valerie has just been given Michael’s blood, and she’s more powerful. She can walk in the sunlight! Now, what does she do with that power? Goes for a walk. Ha.
So yeah, it gets more intense. But for now, enjoy, because once I get rolling, there’s no stopping the action!
Also we like to feature another’s book at the end of each of these, so today let’s go with JN Chaney’s…
In 2157, a mysterious gas known as Variant spreads across the globe, killing or mutating most organic life. The surviving humans take refuge in an underground city, determined to return home. But after generations of failures and botched attempts, hope is beginning to dwindle. That is, until a young scientist makes a unique discovery–and everything changes. Suddenly, there’s reason to hope again, and it rests within a group of genetically engineered children that are both human and Variant.
Terry is one of these children, modified and trained to endure the harsh conditions of a planet he cannot begin to understand. After years of preparation, Terry thinks he knows what to expect. But the reality is far stranger than anything he can imagine–and what he will become is far more dangerous.
You can check it out on Amazon here.