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Death Bringer

Soul Justice 2

by

Kate Pearce 

Dedication

This one is for my editor, Alissa Davis, who really made this series so much better! Thank you, and everyone at Carina Press, for a thoroughly professional job.

Prologue

San Francisco

Brad Dailey woke to sunlight streaming through open blinds and wondered where the hell he was. The last thing he remembered was a bar in the city, being dumped by his chick and ending up talking to the bartender and the only other guy left in the place. Nice guys who’d drunk with him until he couldn’t remember the girl’s name, let alone why he’d liked her in the first place.

Her loss.

He swallowed, and his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth like spit to an envelope. What the fuck had he ended up drinking? He was going to have the hangover from hell, and he was due in class at ten. He grabbed his cell phone and squinted at the numbers. It was already nine thirty. Even if he busted a gut, he’d never get there in time.

But he had to go. Dr. Blinz was a bastard. He’d be chucked out of the class if he didn’t show up again, and his parents would kill him. With superhuman effort, he rolled out of bed and staggered toward the bathroom. First, he needed to pee real bad. That accomplished, he turned on the faucets and faced his reflection in the mirror.

And screamed.

Chapter One

“What do you mean, I can’t spend the night?”

Ignoring the interested glances of the other passengers on the packed Blue & Gold ferry to Tiburon, Ella glared right back at Vadim.

“You can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Because you haven’t asked nicely, and I don’t like being taken for granted. We might be stuck together for life, but it doesn’t mean you own me or anything.” She walked away from him and looked back at the city. The incoming fog crawling in under the Golden Gate Bridge was slowly swallowing up the gray, square lines and glinting glass buildings.

“Then why didn’t you say something when I got on this damn boat with you?”

He was right behind her again. His voice was quiet, but fury emanated from every pore. He wore a long dark coat and blue cashmere scarf that screamed Italian designer. Tendrils of his black hair danced coyly in the breeze, caressing his awesome cheekbones. He might look like a model in the middle of a photo shoot, but he was much more than a pretty face.

She shrugged. “I don’t know where you’re living. I assumed you must have moved over here.”

“I haven’t moved anywhere. When the hell did I have time to do that? Alexei left for Russia this evening. I paid off his extortionate bill, but kept my room on.”

“Well, that’s lucky. You can stay on the ferry and go right back again.”

“You know damn well that this is the last one tonight.”

She swiveled to face him, her arms crossed over her chest. “Then you know what you can do, don’t you?”

“What’s that, Ms. Walsh?” He moved so close that she could see into his dark blue eyes. So much bluer than the murky waters of the bay, and so much more dangerous too... His gaze flashed black, and her pulse jumped in her throat.

“You can use magic, Morosov, and fly away home.”

“Yes, I can.” He slowly let out his breath. “What I don’t understand is what the hell is wrong with you. You’ve been treating me like dirt all day.”

“What’s new?” He didn’t lighten up, and she looked away from his intense gaze. “I just need an evening to myself, that’s all.”

Silence greeted her remark. She concentrated on maintaining her mental shields, even though if he really wanted to get through them, he could do it with ease.

“You nearly died yesterday.”

“So?”

“We’ve spent the last twenty-four hours being debriefed by the SBLE authorities, and now I want to sleep for a hundred years. With you.”

“It’s not just your decision, is it?” She hunched a shoulder at him. “Oh, for God’s sake, Morosov, don’t get all primitive and possessive. I really can’t handle it at the moment.”

“You can’t handle it, period. That’s why you don’t want me here. You’re scared.”

“And you aren’t?”

“At least I’m trying to deal with it.”

“Well, good for you.”

The ferry slowed and shuddered against the pull of the tide as, engines churning, it turned clumsily toward the dock. Seagulls flew off the sea wall to encircle the craft, looking for rich pickings from the tourists.

Ella pushed past Vadim and walked over to the stairs that led to the lower deck. She stomped down them and joined the line of passengers ready to exit the boat the moment it docked. She felt rather than saw him fall in behind her.

“Go away, Morosov.”

“I’m just getting off the ferry.”

“And then what will you do? Sit on the beach all night?”

“If I have to.”

The older woman in the line in front of Ella turned around. “Is he annoying you, dear? Do you want me to call the cops?” Her gaze drifted up to Vadim’s. “Wow, he’s really cute. Are you sure you don’t want him, because I’d take him off your hands in a second.”

“Be my guest.” Ella smiled at the woman. “He’s almost house-trained.”

“Ms. Walsh.”

There was a definite note of warning in Vadim’s tone, but when had that ever stopped her? She turned her attention to the deckhand who was opening the gate and shuffled forward with the rest of the weary commuters. The salty air hit her like a shot of tequila, and she breathed it in. After twenty-four hours stuck at the Supernatural Branch of Law Enforcement, she’d wanted to scream. Only the thought that her testimony would put on record who had been killing empaths had made her stay and endure the endless, repetitive questions from a bunch of morons who should know better.

Agreed.

Vadim’s voice echoed in her head. Damn, she must be tired if she couldn’t keep him out at this stage of the evening. She stumbled on the uneven deck, and he attempted to catch her elbow. She jerked away and almost fell

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