Today's excerpt is from Umbra's Shadow by Andrea Stanet.
We hope you enjoy today's tease!
The guard fell into his chair and plopped his boots up onto the desk. His bulk made the chair legs creak. He closed his eyes and crossed his arms across a paunchy gut that was barely contained by a bulletproof vest. That’s new. When did they start wearing Kevlar? Who needed human weapons and armor when they had magic? Who did they think would be shooting?
Donny owned this building too. Under the fluorescent lights, I had noticed a few other new improvements. He had seriously upped his game in the past month since I’d last been here. Where had he gotten the resources for these renovations?
The walls had a new layer of steel over the old concrete. A ring of blue light glowed around the ceiling seams, and a new camera had been installed in the corner diagonal to where I stood, leaning against narrowly spaced cage bars.
I had seen the boy in the adjacent cell a few times around the Fringe. He was barely into his teens. The vampire blood they had drugged him with was probably wearing off. Thankfully, he had stopped crying. As far as I knew, he was the latest guinea pig sold to a vampire prince in the city who was looking to synthesize a fey-blood version of VampX—Ecstasy mixed with vampire blood.
A few paces beyond the guard desk, a shadowy stone stairway led up to a hall where I knew two apartments had been converted into Donny’s offices. Between those offices, another set of steps led to the second floor.
He owned several of these buildings and never stayed in any of them for too long. His thugs never knew where or when to expect him. I knew he’d be along soon to inspect the kid.
He’d also probably have one of his goons work me over, just for kicks. Good thing I’m a fast healer.
To try to intimidate me into working for him, Donny, who could freeze whatever he touched by concentrating on it, occasionally enjoyed chilling parts of my body just before the point of frostbite. I pitied his wife being married to such a douche. The Boss and I did this same pointless dance every few weeks. But I had no interest in the changeling mafia, so he was wasting his time and mine.
I continued to scan the room, taking in every new detail until a plan jelled.
Now I could get to work.