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| FEATURE AUTHOR | went bright with alarm. “Mia! Wait, where is Mia?” I gave my arms a quick shake. The blades retracted. “They got her, Frankie.” “What do you mean, they got her?” he asked. I pointed to where Mia lay in the middle of the highway. Her grey hair was black and sticky from the blood pooled around her. “Where was I when all this was happening?” “You took a nasty bump on the head. You were out for the whole thing.” “Out, like passed out? Vampires don’t pass out.” “The ones with traumatic brain injuries do.” Frankie’s eyes went wide. “Really? I had a traumatic brain injury? And I’m not a vegetable. Extraordinary.” I wiped my blood stained hands on my ass. “Frankie, we lost Mia. I just executed three of Leila’s human henchmen. My jeans are ruined. And I need a goddamn drink. What the hell is so extraordinary about your brain injury?” His laugh was small and rueful. “Your dad and I used to argue about what would happen to a vampire if the brain was injured. Would we survive? Be vegetative? I figured there had to be something that kept us alive, in a manner of speaking, and there had to be neurons firing in the brain. So I said we’d be veg.” “Well, you can give me the 50 bucks you bet then, since he’s not here.” “It wasn’t a money wager.” “Bullshit. There was no way you and my dad had this debate without some sort of monetary bet on the table.” Frankie raised an eyebrow. I was too tired to prod further. “Well, since you’re not a vegetable, you can help me roll these two assholes and see exactly who the hell they are.” “What’s the point?” Frankie asked. “They are human, so most likely they’re bounty hunters.” “Yeah and they executed Mia. She wasn’t just collateral damage. She was their target.” “Right, and they work for your mom,” he said, shrugging. 28 | UncagedBooks.com

“Leila,” I corrected him. That woman may have birthed me, but she was not my mother. “If they worked for Leila, I want to know who they are, where they live, where they work, who they hang out with. I am sure there are others in their posse tasked with assassinating other witches.” “Good point,” he conceded. “Should we call Max?” I shook my head. No reason to get the FBI involved. Or what was left of it. The Feds now worked for my mother—I mean, Leila. My team, Blood Ops, no longer had the backing of the U.S. government. We were the vigilantes. “Hey ho!” Frankie called out, digging through a wallet he liberated from one of our attackers. “Got a driver’s license on him, out of Connecticut of all places. I think this may be near our roving pack of wolves.” I sighed, remembering the werewolf pack we met just a few weeks ago. It felt like an eternity had passed since. “That’s just great. I have zero interest in talking to those pricks again. Werewolves are not exactly team players.” “Keep your friends close, Nina,” Frankie reminded me. I stared while he stuffed the dead guy’s money in his jacket pocket. “Frankie, what the hell are you doing? We’re searching them, not robbing them.” “Nina, the boys are dead. If they are dead, can I really rob them?” I opened my mouth to say something, but he cut me off before I took a breath. “Don’t give me crap about dishonoring the dead and all that. It’s end times, Nina. Grab the greenbacks while we can.” I didn’t argue, especially since I planned on making the same argument for taking their guns. Weapons were in even shorter supply than cash, which was becoming more and more useless anyway. “Find anything else?” I asked, pulling my hands clear of the pockets of the first guy I took down. “This guy was clearly the brains of the operation. He has no identification on him.” “Let’s get off the streets then,” Frankie said. “Back

Uncaged Book Reviews  
Uncaged Book Reviews  

Issue 9, March 2017 Featuring authors: Jane Ederlyn, R.M. Gauthier, Karen Greco, Haven Cage, Scott Carruba, Lily Luchesi, Mikea Howard and...