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To the average human, Paul would appear handsome, nonthreatening. His frame was slight, his height only five foot nine. But in that compact form, he held the strength of an immortal. And although he was still a fledgling by most vampiric standards, he was still about ten times stronger than Jane. A fact he reminded her of often.

While other humans saw a handsome face, hair that glinted gold as if touched by the sun, and perfect creamy skin, Jane could only see his good looks as a passing shadow. Instead, what she saw when she looked at Paul––and every other vampire––was coal-black skin that glistened like a snake, with shimmers of silver where the light hit it, and eyes that glowed like doorways into hell.

His fangs remained hidden inside his gums. When they were out they showed on his human visage, and vampires preferred to keep a low profile.

Which was why they hated her.

She could see them without being one of them. She’d begged countless times to be turned, but Gregory wouldn’t curse her, and the other vamps wouldn’t reward her.

Paul held her wrist in a punishing grip as he dragged her through the bar. The smoke of countless cigarettes was a thick haze that had her eyes watering. It had to be the control of all the preternaturals because Cary Town was the only place she’d been in a long time where you could still smoke in a bar.

The establishment was run down, but it was obvious it had been the spot in its heyday, maybe sixty years ago. Back then there had no doubt been live singers and performers of jazz and blues, instead of the canned music that was being piped out now through a cheap sound system.

Jane scanned the bar quickly, noting her surroundings. Paul seemed unwilling to protect her from others, so she had to stay aware. There were vampires, some demons, a few humans, and a wolf.

Demons were a hard sort to recognize. If they mingled in the human dimension, they looked like humans. But there was something other about them. They often incited that fearful gut instinct most people feel stupid for feeling, then ignore.

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