Gaslight (Crossbreed Series Book 4)

By: Dannika Dark

Chapter 1

When people harbor dark secrets, they close off their emotions. Or in the case of Wyatt, our resident Gravewalker, it was a door.

Shepherd kicked his heavy boot against the wood door, rattling the hinges. “Open up, Spooky. I’m not standing out here all fucking day with this file.”

I rested my shoulder against the wall. “Maybe Wyatt found a dead girlfriend and hung himself to spend eternity with her.”

Christian faced me from the other side of the door and mirrored my stance. “Now there’s a morbid suggestion. I can hear his tummy grumbling, so don’t get your hopes up for a funeral, lass.”

Shepherd gave up and anchored his back against the door. The short hairs of his buzz cut prickled against the wood as he turned his head to look at me. “Wyatt’s too scared of ghosts to kill himself.”

My brows arched high. “Afraid? I thought he just didn’t like them.”

Christian winked. “He’s angered so many dead people that he’s not invited to the afterlife parties. Ever seen him running about the mansion?”

“When I first moved in, but Wyatt can be dramatic. I didn’t think it applied to all of them.”

“According to Wyatt, most of the specters wandering about aren’t Gravewalkers. His kind will trample over toddlers and old ladies to run to the light. They don’t like to linger behind.”

“I don’t get it.”

“It’s like sending a cop to prison,” Shepherd explained. “He spends a lot of effort ignoring the dead, and that pisses them off. Most Gravewalkers help with unresolved issues and all that bullshit.”

I chuckled. “How exactly do they get paid when their client is six feet under?”

“Relatives or associates pay Gravewalkers for information that only the deceased know, but it’s safe to say that most of us stash money that’s never found when we die. I’ve heard stories from Wyatt about the dead putting hits on the living. Some Gravewalkers still sniff out Vampires staked and buried in cemeteries, but that’s not a steady income. Wyatt doesn’t want any part of that. He’s an outcast among his own kind.”

I sighed, my internal clock reminding me of the thirty minutes I’d spent waiting in the hall. “I need to check my messages, and we’re not allowed to look at that stuff on our phones. It looks like a laptop is going on my wish list.”

“I thought it was a car,” Christian said.

“That too, which is why it would be nice if Viktor would give me a special assignment between our big jobs.”

Shepherd walked to the other side and struck a match against the wall. Sometimes, instead of carrying a matchbook, he tossed a few of the “strike anywhere” kind in his pants pocket.

Christian absently stroked his scruffy beard. “It seems like only yesterday you were just a wee scavenger, begging for scraps in a bar. Now you want a computer this and a car that.”

Though Christian spoke with derision, the hot look in his eyes made me warm all over. It had been a month since we’d quit denying the attraction between us to see where it led. So far, it hadn’t led anywhere. Viktor had sent him on assignment to track down an informant in Europe. This was the first time I’d seen Christian since his return the night before, and the absence of physical affection made me hang on his every word, every look, and every subtle shift of his body.

Shepherd was too preoccupied lighting up a cigarette to notice the way Christian’s eyes locked on to my nipples, which tightened beneath my threadbare T-shirt. Bras were more of an accessory than a required garment in my life, much the way men had always been.

“It’s chilly in here,” I remarked, watching the tip of his tongue wet the corner of his mouth.

What could be going on in that head of his? I wonder if he fantasizes about me.

“Want a lick?” He reached in his pocket and held up a flat yellow lollipop. Without waiting for my answer, he unwrapped the candy and slid it between his lips, which eased into a naughty grin.

During my late-night walks, I’d mulled over our complicated situation. Christian had warned me that I shouldn’t love a man like him—that we’d never last. But I was tired of denying what I felt. Seeing my father for one last goodbye had not only given me closure on the past, but it reminded me of my capacity and desire to love. After years of living alone and having no one to care for, I wanted to give my love to another, even if the only person willing to accept it was a bloodsucking Vampire.

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