Blood and Bullets


This book is something that couldn’t have been done without the support of several folks. First of all, thank you to my Editor Extraordinaire John and all the wonderful staff at Kensington Books. It has been an absolute pleasure. Thank you to the members of my writing group, a most excellent selection of writers on their own. Thank you to my family. I love you and appreciate your support while I do this writing thing. My wife, son, and daughter have all been more than amazing through this all. Thank you to my staff at Family Tradition Tattoo for holding down the shop while I wrote. Thank you to my mom, you are the best. Last, but certainly not least, thank you to all of you readers, my Loyals and True Believers. This is for you.


Some nights are destined to go to hell. Not literally, at least not usually. From the start of them, you know they are going to turn on you like a rabid dog. I was having one of those nights.

Which is why I found myself with a semiautomatic pistol aimed at a vampire who wore my daughter’s face. My eyes were fixed on the laser dot that screamed red against her forehead, but my mind was racing back through memories of my little girl. The pain was a surgical strike. It was inside before I could close my guard. So quick and clean that I didn’t feel it until scalpel hit bone.

Memories of her, along with my wife and son, are acid-etched in my mind. It has been five years since they were killed, stolen from my life by a monster. Their deaths had started me on the road I am on now: hunting monsters for money until the day I run up on one that is nasty enough to take me out so I can go be with them. Their deaths burn in the wound where my heart once was—ugly, venomous, and cruel.

I keep all of that locked tight just so I can function and move through each day. Now this vampire girl looked like my daughter and all the pain was rushing back through my mind like a flood of boiling water.

Some small movement on her part clicked me back to the present. I studied her through narrow eyes. She had the same thick blond hair, although the vampire’s hadn’t seen the business end of a brush in a long time. The same wide, blue–gray eyes and dash of freckles scattered across her nose. Different lips, although this vampire’s lips still looked made for laughing, not drinking blood.

She was similar to my daughter, but not the same. Cut from the same cloth, she would look like a part of the family. A niece, a cousin maybe, but she was not my daughter’s twin. I blinked and stared to make sure. The resemblance had triggered those deep buried memories, but that was all it was. Fucking memories.The breath I had been holding pushed out of my lungs and I began willing my heart to slow its turbo-charged pounding. Sweat bathed my palm, making my skin oily and slick against the grip of my gun. I had no way to measure how long I had been lost in my own trauma. A moment. Maybe two.

It happens. I’ll be fine for a while and then suddenly, from nowhere, a random thing will smash my world askew and I’ll be back to the pain of losing them. I get a bit jumpy when that happens and do things like pull out my gun. Stepping back, I kept it pointed at the vampire. Her wide eyes were focused on the barrel.

They should have been, it’s an impressive gun. Desert Eagle .357 Magnum. It has black finish and ten heavy-grain, silver-jacketed bullets, if you are willing to keep one in the chamber.

I always have one in the chamber.

Damn thing weighs almost five pounds fully loaded. However, it will put a softball-size hole in even the toughest vampire, or any other bogeyman I run into in my line of work. Vampires are monsters, even if their packaging looks like an innocent fifteen-year-old girl. You don’t play games with them. You kill them or you leave them the hell alone. The red laser dot stayed on her forehead as I took another step back, increasing the distance between us. I was back on the job.

I had just come out of Polecats, the strip club I own and work from, to find this vampire