Blood of the Wicked
By: Karina Cooper | Other books by Karina Cooper
Published By: HarperCollins e-books
ISBN # 9780062046857
Word Count: 96000
Available in: Adobe Acrobat
About the bookWhen the world went straight to hell, humanity needed a scapegoat to judge, to blame . . . to burn.
As an independent witch living off the grid, Jessie Leigh has spent her life running, trying to blend in among the faceless drudges in the rebuilt city. She thought she was finally safe, but now she's been found in a New Seattle strip club—by a hard-eyed man on a mission to destroy her kind.
A soldier of the Holy Order, Silas Smith believes in the cause: trawling the fringes of society for the murderous witches who threaten what's left of the world. Forced into a twisting web of half-truths and lies, he has to stay close to the most sensuous and electrifying woman he has ever seen and manipulate her into leading him to the witch he has to kill: her brother. Silas doesn't know that Jessie's his enemy, only that he wants her, needs her, even as he lies to her . . . and must protect her until his final breath.
An excerpt from the bookOperation Echo Location reeked. Silas Smith knew bullshit when he smelled it. Sure, it smelled a lot like sweat and cigarette smoke and desperation, but it was pure bullshit. Shoved into a manila envelope and jammed down his throat.
Fuck, his head hurt. The overloud electronic crap they called music at the Pussycat Perch began its skull-wrecking vendetta the instant he stepped through the door. The pain fed off the industrial bass rocking the foundations of the converted warehouse, played counter to the painful throb of his left knee. Between light, sound, pain, and the shitty mood he’d been nursing since he’d returned to the damned city, it was all he could do to figure out where the hell anything was around him.
Silas blinked in the scattered flash of multicolored beams of light. Every breath burned, smoke and humid energy sliding over his tongue. Dancers filled the floor to capacity, writhing in a sea of light and limbs and gleaming, sweaty skin. Gyrating, mostly naked women wrapped around bolted poles at three stages, and the cacophony skewered through his brain, pissing him off even more than when he’d walked in.
Finding anyone in this mess was going to be a complete pain in the ass. As with every joint like it, the Perch had built its success on too-loud music, too many people, too much skin.
Sex, drugs, and debts too deep to ever climb out of. He’d see it here in the too-bright eyes of the avid voyeurs and the dead, doll-like stares of the women who danced for them.
So he’d find Jessica Leigh and get the hell out again. Where the fuck was the bar?
It took him several minutes to find it, scarred wood countertops hidden behind a sea of demanding customers. It took longer to force his way through the oversexed crowd. Dancers thrashed around him, drunks staggered by, and he’d made it halfway through the mess before white-hot static shorted his brain on a crackled snap of pain.
Instinctively he caught the woman who’d slammed into him, elbow to gut and knee to knee, barely cognizant of her slurred apology. He pushed past her, cursing, forging through the masses as he fumbled in his pocket for the aspirin he kept close.
The chaos around the bar was an ocean of calm compared to the death trap of a dance floor. He grabbed the edge of the wooden bar to stake his claim to a foot-wide piece of real estate, even as he popped the painkillers into his mouth dry.
“What’ll it be?”
Silas turned at the husky half shout near his ear, caught an eyeful of red velvet and smooth, bare skin. He swallowed the bitter pills on pure reflex.
She was sex wrapped up in gold ribbon.
Tight, trim curves smoothed out a wine-dark corset strapped with gold. The overhead lights cast radiant colors over her bare arms and shoulders, gleamed over her wavy tousle of black hair. Her wide mouth curved up at one corner, painted bloody crimson and guaranteed to make a man like him take notice.
He did. So did his dick. Contrary to every vicious reminder of how much he hated strip joints, he was suddenly, viscerally aware of the rhythmic bass thudding inside his chest. And his jeans.
“I said,” she repeated, throaty amusement coloring the half-shouted words, “what’ll it be?”
Sweat and sex and your mouth on my—