Grim Obligations by Whit McClendon
Hidden from mortal eyes, they walk quietly among us, delivering an instant death sentence to those who deserve it. As he patrols the shadows of Houston, Texas, Kane the Grim keeps his fangs sharp and his claws sharper. His true form hidden by an illusion, he protects the innocent from horrors they wouldn’t believe. His partner, Ariana, is a witch equally skilled with machine guns and magick spells. She’s never far away, and always ready to throw down alongside the Grim.
When an evil sorcerer binds Kane to his service, Kane is ordered to kill a friend. . .and not just any friend, but Ariana’s new lover, businessman and shapeshifter Max Von Gerhardt. Can mutual friend Detective Avery Lynne use her new powers to help them break the spell, or will Kane have to face the claws and fangs of the King of the Werewolves in a battle to the death?
Here is an excerpt from Grim Obligations:
Demons are a real pain in my ass. They can appear out of nowhere, have bad attitudes, and always seem to have a beef with me. Their claws, fangs, and an occasional ability to use magick against me makes things even more difficult when they show up.
The demon that put itself on my schedule that evening was as big as a bull and twice as cranky. It lashed out with one of its enormous pincers, trying to take my leg off at the knee. I dodged it, knowing that the real danger wasn’t the giant lobster-claws the scorpion-thing was sporting, but the stinger. It snapped its other claw at me and I danced out of its reach again, keeping an eye out for the spiky ball that sprouted at the end of its whippy, segmented tail. One stinger wasn’t enough, nooo, its tail looked like a damned medieval morning star.
The enormous parking lot of Katy’s Legacy Stadium sat empty at that time of night, and for that I was thankful. I had heard that many in the community had opposed its construction—expensive as hell and situated as it was right next door to the existing stadium, but whatever. I never understood the town’s fascination with that particular sport, but I was used to more bloody types of competition. Why a demon would appear there, though, was beyond me. I’d have to think about that later; for now, I needed to stay focused.
The demon chittered at me and twitched. It wasn’t much of a hint, but I dove aside, and its spiny wrecking ball of a tail smashed into the pavement where I’d just been standing. I got to my feet and watched it retract its weapon, leaving a steaming hole in the concrete.
A greenish liquid dripped from the tips of its spikes to spatter on the pavement below. It left tiny hissing potholes wherever it touched. I shook my head and sighed. [I really don’t need this tonight.] Even as I complained, I felt a grin appear on my face as if by magick, and I knew I was lying to myself. I was loving this. I needed the exercise.
I’m Kane. I’m a GrimFaerie. To you, I look like an unremarkable human, maybe mid-thirties, brownish hair, not a guy you’d remember. That’s just the way I want it. I keep my true self hidden under a veil, an illusion. My actual appearance would creep you out big time. My skin is so blue it’s almost black, which is great for hiding in the shadows. That’s not a big deal, I’ve seen humans of every shade walking around these days. However, the fangs, claws, and silvery eyes are what send folks running. I take care to hide my aura as well, for unchecked, its unseen energy causes humans to feel. . .uneasy. When most normal humans see me in my true state, especially if they see me while I’m working, they say their nightmares never go away.
This is why I keep my true self hidden when I’m among humans. As an assassin, I find it’s hard to get close to my targets if people are screaming in fear all around me. Don’t worry, I’m a good guy. Mostly. I only kill what or whom the Goddess tells me to kill. Demons or evil and dangerous humans often make the list. If some dumbass starts using magick to hurt people, you can bet I’ll end up coming for them in the night. And I won’t be leaving a coin under their pillow. I’m not that kind of Faerie.
Whit McClendon is a successful business owner, martial artist, and author. He founded and runs Jade Mountain Martial Arts in Katy, Texas ( http://jademountain.org ). He enjoys combining his many years of martial arts training with his longtime love of fantasy tales to write his stories. In addition, he writes a series of instructional workout books to help beginners who want to improve their health and fitness. He enjoys singing in the shower, baltering, and playing lacrosse.
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