Home > Both Feet in the Grave (Night Huntress #9)

Both Feet in the Grave (Night Huntress #9)
Author: Jeaniene Frost





Author’s Note

As I did with THE OTHER HALF OF THE GRAVE, I updated the technology to today’s time because I didn’t want to confuse readers by not mentioning technology that is commonplace now. Also, once again, there are slight changes in both context and dialog since couples can have two different versions of the same incident. Thus, this is Bones’s version of what was said and done, and he’ll swear that it’s the right one.

--Jeaniene Frost



“I hope this won’t be engraved on my headstone,” said the man sitting next to Bones. “But you haven’t breathed this whole time. Care to tell me how you do that?”

Bones had been ignoring the bloke, as he’d ignored everyone else in this hole-in-the-wall bar, but at that, his gaze lasered onto him. Caucasian, late twenties, amber-colored hair, glasses, and a steadfast gaze despite his newly accelerated heartbeat.

Brave, Bones added to his list. Perceptive, too.

Bones rarely pretended to breathe in public, and most people never noticed, especially at a bar. Still, Bones wasn’t about to admit to being a vampire, so he gave a derisive grunt.

“You’ve had too much to drink, mate.”

“Oh, you’re English?” the man continued in that same conversational tone. “So is my blind date, if she ever shows up. She’s an hour late, so I’ve probably been stood up, but just in case, I’ve only been drinking club soda.”

The man hefted his glass in punctuation. Annoyance filled Bones. Figures he’d sit next to the only sober, observant person in a bar filled with the drunk and the oblivious. At least this was a problem he could easily fix. Bones leaned forward and crooked his finger, inviting the man to come closer.

After a moment’s hesitation, he did.

Bones released the power in his gaze. Two thin, emerald beams hit the man right in his widening eyes. With their heads so close together, no one else noticed.

“You’ve seen nothing,” Bones said in a newly resonant voice. “Now, mind your business.”

The man blinked, and Bones shuttered his gaze and leaned back. Now, he could resume waiting for his client to show up-

“Was that supposed to do something?” the man asked with another blink. “Aside from looking scary and cool, I mean.”

Bones’s gaze swung back to him in disbelief. He was one of the few humans with natural immunity to vampire mind control?

“Yes, it’s supposed to do something,” Bones snapped. Then, his gaze narrowed. Maybe this was more than a case of bad luck.

Bones pulled out his mobile and started a program without taking his eyes off the stranger’s face. Then, he placed his mobile on the bar near the stranger’s phone.

“Who are you?” Bones asked in a coldly pleasant tone.

“Randy MacGregor,” the stranger said, edging away. “And I’m starting to regret saying anything to you—”

“Too late for that,” Bones interrupted with flash of fang in his smile.

Randy blanched and tried to get off his bar stool.

Bones’s hand landed on Randy’s knee, and a warning squeeze made Randy yelp. Randy’s own body blocked the other people at the bar from seeing, and Bones had chosen his seat because it put the wall at his back. That, combined with the bar’s wide countertop and low lighting, caused Randy to look around with the belated realization that he wasn’t safe despite the establishment’s many patrons.

“I could scream,” Randy said when he turned back to Bones.

“You could,” Bones agreed. “Wouldn’t help, though. You might be immune to the power in my gaze, but I’d bet your life that everyone else here isn’t, so all you’d do is piss me off.”

Fear soured Randy’s scent, yet when he spoke, his voice was steady. “All right. Then how about I willingly forget everything I’ve learned, and we both go our separate ways?”

“Depends,” Bones said. “Did someone send you to find me?”

Shock widened Randy’s eyes. “What? No! I didn’t even know people like you existed until now!”

Randy’s scent, gaze, and pulse all indicated truthfulness, yet Bones hadn’t survived for over two hundred years by being too trusting. That’s why his mobile was cloning Randy’s phone even now. Soon, he’d have all of Randy MacGregor’s data, if that was even his name.

Bones’s brow rose. “And the first thing you do when you discover that ‘people like me’ exist is introduce yourself?”

“Told you I regretted that,” Randy said with a dry laugh. “But I couldn’t help it. The unusual has always fascinated me…”

Randy kept talking. Bones didn’t hear it. His attention was now focused on the tall, bald man entering the bar. His skin was light taupe, his brows dark brown, and he had a lean, wiry build and features that hovered between pleasant and plain. He looked human enough, if you didn’t notice the faint tinge of luminescence to his skin or how predatory his gaze was. When that gaze landed on Bones, the vampire’s aura rolled out in a wave that only another vampire could feel.

Swirls of energy bit into Bones, as if he’d suddenly become a feast for a swarm of mosquitoes. Power that potent marked the new arrival as an old, strong vampire, and he wanted Bones and any other vampire there to know it.

Bones rose and grabbed his coat, pausing only to say to Randy, “If you want to live, stay here.” Couldn’t have the bloke follow him and get killed from more of his dangerous curiosity.

“Lionel, right?” Bones said when he reached the vampire.

Lionel regarded Bones with an icy aqua gaze. “First you insist on meeting in person, then you use my name in public. So much for your reputation for discretion.”

Bones ignored Lionel’s scathing tone. “I might be unconventional, but my services are guaranteed. That’s why I require exclusivity on this contract.”

Lionel’s gaze raked Bones.

Bones let a small amount of his aura out, keeping the rest behind a wall of ice that hid his true strength. Lionel felt the power in that brush of aura and straightened, his scowl fading.

“That guarantee plus your reputation is why I agreed to your terms, but I’ll only grant exclusivity for two weeks. After that, this is an open contract. I need this handled quickly.”

Bones smiled. “Your price told me that. Half a million is quite the bounty to have on a human.”

“Oh, the Red Reaper isn’t human,” Lionel said in a dark tone. “If she were, I wouldn’t need to hire someone like you.”

Rage scorched Bones, yet nothing in his expression changed. Lionel was right; the “Red Reaper” wasn’t human even though she breathed and had a heartbeat.

“Intriguing,” was all Bones said. “Now, give me everything you’ve got on her.”

“Not here,” Lionel said. “Somewhere private.”

Once again, Bones smiled. “I know just the place.”



Winter-dried leaves crunched beneath them as they walked. Some of the piles were high enough that the edge of Bones’s coat swirled them as they passed. Lionel gave him a sardonic glance.

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