Devon Fortier eased forward through pitch-black passages where death waited for foolish humans in Savannah, Georgia’s forgotten underground.
He was neither foolish nor human.
Deep voices growled up ahead in what had once been a rum cellar. The argument echoed off the packed-dirt walls that seeped water. Dank odors of rot, urine and unearthly creatures clogged every breath Devon inhaled.
Creeping closer, he made out three shapes hunched around something on the ground that cast an orange glow across the trio of predators. Two were ten feet tall. One had scaly skin and the other had pointed ears that curled up to his bald head.
Devon’s informant looked to be spot on about some black market deal going down with trolls in this coastal city.
The third figure appeared to be a human male of average height. But he was probably a glamour-concealed troll.
Whatever those three had pinned down snarled, “Let me go you stinkin’ vermin!”
Devon sighed, recognizing the voice. He ought to let the trolls continue.
A fourth generation leprechaun and pawnbroker, Coldfinger had just enough majik to be dangerous. A sick piece of work the world wouldn’t miss .
But Devon’s oath as a Belador meant he had to protect everyone–even slimy bastards with the integrity of a jackal–if those trolls decided to chow down on orange fast food.
He moved closer for a better view.
Curly-ears held his prey in place with a four-toed foot as wide as a briefcase. He shook his head at Coldfinger. “You think Faerie dust is gonna cut it? That you can screw us?”
Trading faerie dust was illegal, but a petty infraction of VIPER laws. Not enough for Devon to risk his skin arresting three carnivorous beings. Besides, this didn’t fit his profile of a major VIPER operation.
Beladors served as one of the enforcement arms for VIPER, an international league of warriors that protected the world from supernatural predators…like trolls.
“How dare you accuse me of scamming,” Coldfinger whined in a voice bloated with insult.
Devon rolled his eyes. How could someone with no conscience be insulted?
All the trolls started yelling, threatening to dismember Goldfinger.
Baldy bared his fangs. “We got you the scrying dish. Where’s the spell?”
“You lying â€˜chaun.”
Devon used the cover of their voices to close thirty feet between him and the argument.
Coldfinger’s voice tiptoed up an octave with fear. “Calm down, I got it. I got the Noirre Fixit spell.”
Oh, hell, no. Noirre majik definitely fit the profile of his investigation. Devon had no choice but to take all of them to headquarters now…if they didn’t kill him.
Trolls were a nasty bunch who ate their opponents, which left no evidence and made it hard to try them in a Tribunal court. Devon could attempt to call in Belador reinforcements, but he had faulty telepathic ability at best, especially underground. No worries. He might have gotten shorted in the telepathic department, but his other gifts were just fine.
Besides, lowering his personal shields to call Beladors would blow his element of surprise.
Murdering trolls had no business getting their hands on Noirre majik, especially a fixation spell that could freeze a person long enough to do harm. As the deadliest of black majik, Noirre carried a high penalty for dealing, even death.
Human law enforcement didn’t know VIPER or supernatural beings existed. Handling trolls, leprechauns and Noirre fell to agents like Devon.
He paused. Most trolls wouldn’t touch Noirre since few of them were powerful enough to control it.
Ah, hell. Could these be Svart Trolls?
Only if the gods really wanted to piss on Devon’s day.
The Swedish term for black, Svart trolls were preternatural black ops mercenaries.
Reaching over his shoulder, Devon slid his short sword from the leather sheath attached to his back.
Bullets only annoyed Svarts.
“Did you think I wouldn’t find you, Lambert?” a throaty female voice called out from the other side of the trolls.
Devon stilled. No way.
He leaned right to see past the criminals. One look confirmed he had the worst luck ever handed out in this world.
Joleen Mac, a pain-in-his-ass bounty hunter whose four inches of black lace-up boots boosted her height to just under six feet. Viper-tongue-red lipstick accented lips that could sink a man to his knees when she smiled–or issued a deadly spell. Black hair flashed past her shoulders, two long braids slicing down the side of her face. Scary as she was gorgeous, Jo worked for Dakkar, a rogue mage who ran a bounty hunter operation. VIPER allowed Dakkar freedom of movement as long as Dakkar’s hunters didn’t interfere with official missions.
Like this one.