The drone spun to face Damian, springing to his feet. The tear in his shirt flashed a fully healed stomach, the eight inch gash non-existent. The Savrati had even faster healing capabilities than the Arcturians, if they were old enough. Definitely not dealing with a “fucking new guy” here.
His teeth rattled as a fist connected with his jaw. Long claws took another swipe at him, but Damian landed a kick to the drone’s midsection, pushing him off balance. He swept the guy’s legs out from under him, sending him crashing back-first into the asphalt. Enough playing around.
Before the evil bastard could get up, Damian grabbed his ankle and twisted. A scream cut through the air as he forced the flip onto his stomach. He dropped a knee to the drone’s back, pinning him to the ground. As the fucker struggled beneath him, Damian swung his blade out and down, straight into the temple. The movements under him ceased, but the threat wasn’t neutralized. Not yet.
Drones were a special breed of enemy, a Savrati soul inhabiting a human body. The more time they spent living in this dimension wearing a human suit, the easier it was for them to access their natural Savrati abilities—the fast healing and venomous claws. Stabbing the brain killed the inhabitant, but the human body could still be used as a vessel for another one to take over. So, they had to be stabbed in the heart as well. Only then were the fuckers truly dead.
He yanked the knife out of the drone’s brain and rolled him over again. A split second later, he plunged the blade through the heart leaving only a pile of ash behind. Glancing up to the rest of the action, he saw that Brutal and Talis had left matching ash piles in their wake. Damn. He was sorry he’d only gotten the one kill.
“Don’t look so disappointed, kid. We’re not done for the night. Plenty more patrolling for us to do.” Brutal nodded once, the corner of his mouth lifting.
Talis slapped him on the back. “Not bad, Damian. Glad to see you remembered—“
The crackle of Brutal’s radio echoed through the alley. “Large group of drones down by 18th and River. About twenty of ‘em. Need reinforcements.”
Stone calling for back-up? They must be in serious shit.
“Fuck!” Brutal spun on his heels as he barked into his radio. “Havoc, put your camouflage to work and start scouting for the fuckers’ nest. That big a group, there must be one nearby. Everyone else, get your asses to 18th and River.”
They beat feet to the vehicles, only five or six blocks away. With a group of enemies that large, someone was sure to be injured despite the Guardians’ skills and special abilities. In which case, they’d need the transportation handy.
“Get in the Suburban. Guns ready. If you’ve got a shot, take it. The group is too big to give a fuck about any nearby humans. Vain can take care of their memories if need be.” Brutal jumped in the driver’s seat, slamming the door behind him.
Before Damian slid in the back, Talis gripped his shoulder, stopping him.
“Remember your training. Keep your head in the fight.”
They shut their doors, and Brutal peeled out of the parking lot.
Cara pulled into her space, eyeing the familiar red Porsche parked in the spot next to her. Brian. Her older brother’s childhood friend, and her landlord of sorts. He owned the building she used for her sculpting. Oh crap. Something’s wrong.
As she engaged the parking brake, he slid out of his car.
Opening her door, she called out. “What are you doing here at this time of night? Is everything okay?”
“Everything’s fine, Cara. You’re getting home kinda late, aren’t ya?” He rounded the front of her Accord, a hand behind his back.
Her mind flashed back to the dark and handsome stranger she’d spent most of the night with. God, her brother and Brian both would kill her if they knew about him.
“I know you’re not lecturing me on staying out late. Last time I checked, my dad’s name wasn’t Brian. And he damn sure doesn’t drive a Porsche.” She smiled. “Besides, since you’re here, technically you’re staying out later than me.”
“Okay, good point. So, you gonna ask me what’s behind my back or what?”
“Tease. Why don’t you just show me?”
“Close your eyes first.”
“Really? What am I, five?”
“Just do it.”
“Fine.” She let out a sigh and did as he asked.
“Okay. You can look.”
When she opened her eyes, he was holding a small present, the puffy bow covering the entire gift. He shook it at her, urging her to take it.
Cara reached forward, taking it from him. “You didn’t have to do that, you know. But thank you.” She shifted on her feet. What was he up to? Birthday or not, she wasn’t big on presents. And Brian knew that.
Being friends since they were little, she’d always thought of him as a second brother. Someone who’d watched out for her. Still did, judging by his reaction when she’d gotten home. But, something was off with him tonight. She just couldn’t put her finger on it.
“Would you mind if I waited until tomorrow to open this? I got home way later than I expected and I am exhausted. I’ve got an early day... today, actually.” She gave him a little smile, despite the unease settling over her.
“Don’t worry about it. It was something I picked up in a hurry anyway. No big deal.” He turned, opening his car door.
“Good night, Brian.”
“Night.” He didn’t meet her eyes as he slipped into the seat and drove away.
Cara pushed the weird vibe to the back of her mind, strolling to her apartment. She had other, more pleasant thoughts she’d rather dwell on. Damian. The kiss he’d laid on her. The passion in his touch. Her body’s welcoming reaction to him.
If only he hadn’t been called away.
A chill shot down her spine, cooling her blood.
Please God, keep him out of danger.