Monday, August 12, 2019

Reality Bites - Chapter 2

Stan was all for Mai’s idea of sticking the cheating player in the vault. It’d been nearly a year since he’d seen her. Phone calls, texts, and video conferencing weren’t enough, but he respected her wishes when it came to keeping their relationship quiet.

Though he had a strong suspicion Sam knew, especially after she threatened to castrate him if Mai got hurt just before he left Los Angeles for his flight to Vegas. From the goddess’s brimstone and decay scent, it wasn’t Mai’s personal safety she was concerned about. Sam still held a grudge that both the Summer and Winter Queens had a price on her head when she’d first been created.

Mai led him to the hotel’s equivalent of a little jail. A vampire and a werecoyote waited for them in the office area. She quickly made official introductions though he and Kunal had met before.

The werecoyote was the more interesting of the two. ’Coyotes rarely mixed with other weres, much less any of the supernatural races.

Mai took charge. “Where’s Marley?”

“Waiting for her table replacement,” Mike said. “The pit boss said the backup was running late because traffic lights on the Strip were out from north of the airport.”

Stan exchanged a look with Mai. It wouldn’t take much to hex a city’s traffic control system, but were the events connected?

“Where’s the witch?” he asked.

“Witch?” Mike couldn’t suppress his grin. “Dude, the guy in Room Two is one of your people.”

“My people?” A sinking feeling in his gut killed whatever pleasure remained in Stan at seeing Mai again.

“Did you test him?” Mai asked.

Mike nodded. “Definitely not a dino demon.”

“From the honeysweet smell, he’s definitely fae,” Kunal affirmed.

“But to warn you, his form shimmered when I stabbed him with the needle. Some kind of glamor on him.” Mike frowned. “And…he’s Summer folk.”

Even Kunal gave the werecoyote an odd look. “How can you tell the difference between Seelie and Unseelie?”

The young were shrugged. “That’s like saying all vampires smell the same. You don’t smell like Marley.”

Kunal gave Mai a look that could only be worded as “Please let me drain him.”

Duncan was correct that the werecoyote made an excellent addition to the Karnak’s security. Stan steeled himself. However, it was time to act like the head of the Karnak. “Has he given a statement?”

Kunal shook his head. “He only said he was perfectly happy to wait until our boss got here.”

“Then let’s explain the Karnak’s policies to him.” Mai’s icy tone said whoever was here would be lucky to leave the casino intact.

Stan knew better than to touch her when she was in this mood. “How about when we go inside, I do the talking?”

Her eyes narrowed to dark slits. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

He matched her glare. “First of all, we’re not blowing the vampire-fae treaty out of the water to satisfy our egos. Second, if he is fae, that means he is up to something, but ripping off the casino isn’t his primary objective.”

After a moment, her body relaxed a fraction. Stan wondered if the other two men could even discern the difference. Mai’s chin lifted. “Questioning a suspect is your prerogative, sir.”

“Thank you.” He inclined his head.

He strode toward the interrogation room marked with a large number “2” on the door. But when he yanked it open, nothing could have prepared him for the person waiting inside.


She deliberately flipped her deep red hair back and gave him a sultry once over. “Hi, big boy. How’s things hanging?”

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