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With Retribution now live, here's an exciting snippet from the book!

 

Shanghai, China

Cui had roared in outrage when he saw his quarry shoot into the sky in a strangely familiar flying craft. He had pursued this Forsaken for weeks and had him in his grasp, only to have him disappear in something that he had not seen in many years.

“What the hell was that, Cui?” Pan asked when they changed to human form several miles north of Shanghai.

“That was something I thought I would never see again,” Cui growled.

The run north had calmed his raging temper enough to answer, barely. “I believe that was one of those strange craft TQB used before they went off in those fucking spaceships.”

“Oh, shit,” Su lamented. “Does this mean they’re back?”

“How the hell should I know?” Cui snapped. “You saw as much as I did.”

“We need to inform Master Kun,” Ren supplied. “He will not be happy that the leech got away.”

“Tell me something I don’t know,” Cui shot back. “This just keeps getting better. If that damn self-appointed Queen is back, he will be more than unhappy.”

Cui pulled the satellite phone from the pack on his back and pressed the button that connected it to the one Peng Kun had. The phone clicked as it went through its connection sequence.

“Is he dead?” Kun asked when the call went through.

“No, Master, he has escaped,” Cui answered.

“Escaped? How in the name of the ancestors did you idiots manage to lose him? Did he sprout wings and fly away?” Kun screamed.

“No, Master. It looked like one of the craft TQB used.”

Cui pulled the phone away from his ear as a loud crash followed by a string of screamed curses came through the speaker. The noise went on for a moment, then Peng Kun’s heavy breathing was all they heard.

“Master?”

“Get all teams back to the Temple,” Kun coldly ordered. “I don’t care where he is or who he is with. You will find and destroy that Forsaken and any who assisted him, or you’d best die in the process. It’s time everyone learned they can’t trifle with the Clan, including TQB.” He spat the last with disgust.

“Yes, Master,” Cui answered before he realized Kun had ended the connection.

“That went better than I expected,” Yi said with a roll of his eyes.

“You think? Wait ‘til I tell him what saved the leech.”

“What do you mean? Do you know who was with him?”

“Not who, but I think I know what.”

“You’re not making any sense, Cui,” Yi growled.

Cui shook his head as he looked at his friend. “Did you get a good look at him?”

“Only enough to tell he was a vampire. The red eyes.”

“Did you see what he was wearing?”

“I didn’t pay attention to his clothes.” Yi snorted. “The big-ass gun and sword kind of held my attention.”

Cui shook his head. “He wore a patch on his shoulder. It was the mark of a Queen’s Bitch.”

“A Queen’s Bitch?” Yi rolled the name out slowly as he thought. Recognition flashed in his eyes after a few seconds. “The ones who were the personal guard of what-was-her-name?” He paused for a moment, searching his memory. “Bethany something?”

“Yes,” Cui agreed.

“You’re right,” Pan offered. “The Master is not going to be pleased. I’m glad it’s you who has to tell him.”

“Thanks a lot,” Cui shot back.

“You’re in charge, and with the position comes the risk of dealing with Kun when he has one of his,” Pan waved a hand in the air as he searched for the word, “episodes.”

“He hasn’t killed a messenger in several years,” Yi added.

“He hasn’t had news this bad in years,” Ren muttered.

“As distasteful as the news will be if we don’t get back to Kun soon, it will go much worse,” Yi added.

“That is true. Let’s move,” Cui ordered as he shifted back to tiger form.

The others followed suit, and soon four huge orange- and black-striped cats ran across the broken pavement at a speed no one would believe, even if there was any around to see them.

***

Peng Kun stormed out of the room he had taken when he arrived in Lu’an.

“Pack this up now,” he screamed. “Those incompetents have lost the damn leech. We’re going back to the Temple to…” His voice trailed off.

The radio operator on duty jumped up when Kun came into the room, overturning the stool he sat on in front of the old military radio. “Master?”

Kun turned to the man, his voice harsh with anger. “Contact the relay stations. Tell them to get the word out to all field teams to report to the temple immediately. I want runners dispatched to all the enclaves to notify them to dispatch a contingent of fighters to the temple. The Clan is going to war.”

The radio operator stared open-mouthed as he heard this. The events of the past months and Kun’s reactions had not been what he expected. The Clan had never risked revealing themselves in his many years. Within a brief time, Peng Kun had promoted himself to Grand Master, a title never used before, and had ordered Clan members to establish bases in human settlements. Now he was sending the Clan to war over a single vampire.

“What the hell are you waiting for, Chang? I gave you an order. Make it so, then pack this equipment to travel. We’re going back to the temple after you complete this one simple task.”

Chang ducked his head in submission as he put the unit from standby into broadcast mode. Hoping his hesitation did not end with Kun taking his temper out on him, Chang relayed the instructions and sighed with relief when Kun stalked out of the building, shouting orders to those outside. He didn’t know who Kun planned to wage war on, but he wouldn’t make another slip that could bring the Grand Master’s wrath down on him.

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