Chapter 5

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Della got into the ring thinking there would be a bell, thinking she’d come up with a way out of this crap, but nope—on both counts. Before she had a chance to catch her breath, the girl attacked.

Della still didn’t have a clue what to do. But when she took a fist to the cheek and it hurt like hell, she decided letting this girl beat the crap out of her wasn’t a good plan, either.

Della ducked the girl’s second punch. The crowd booed.

The were came at her again and Della grabbed the girl by the arm and unceremoniously tossed her across the ring. She landed hard, but was back on her feet in seconds. As the girl danced around throwing punches like some boxing queen, Della briefly found Steve in the crowd. He glared right at her and then cut his eyes upward again.

The second of lost focus cost Della dearly, for the girl struck again, this time kicking Della right in the ribs. Air whooshed out of her lungs as pain caused her to stumble back. That’s when her gaze caught the slight opening in the ceiling, where an air vent had once been.

Okay, now she knew Steve’s plan, but didn’t he realize that these other vamps could fly, too?

Another foot came at Della’s face. She grabbed the leg by the ankle and slung the girl outside the ring. Yelps and cries for blood echoed from the crowd. The girl landed in a group of vamps, but she must have been made of rubber, because she bounced back up and charged again.

She leapt into the ring. Her eyes glowed the notable orange color of a pissed-off were. She kicked up her foot, Della went to block it. A bad mistake, because she didn’t see what the B with an itch had in her hands until it was too late.

The knife came right at Della’s heart. Her only defense was to block it with her arm. The blade sliced into her forearm and it felt like a burn, hot, yet cold at the same time. The smell of blood filled her nose.

Her own blood.

She heard the hungry cries from the audience.

The girl took a step back, but only to charge again. The knife was aimed right at Della’s chest. A roar, not from the crowd, but from some exotic feline animal, rang in Della’s ears.

Fury, hot red rage, filled Della’s heart at the same time the knife sank into her chest, right below her collarbone. Amazingly, she felt more anger than pain. Grabbing the girl by the shoulders, she slung her. It looked like slow motion. Felt like slow motion, as the knife sliced its way out of Della’s chest. Breath held in pain, she watched as the girl flew away, the knife, still in her hands, dripping blood from the tip of the blade.

Then Della saw the supersized lion, AKA Steve, charging toward the ring mauling anyone who dared get in his way. Go Steve! She pointed up and then with everything she had, she leapt straight into the air, barely fitting through the tight little exit. And right behind her, hauling ass, was a Peregrine falcon.

She continued upward knowing the vamps, at least the ones who could fit through the tight opening, would be behind them. She ignored the burning sensation in her shoulder. Suddenly aware she didn’t hear the flap of a bird’s wings, she glanced back. Steve had returned to the roof, transformed into a dragon, and was in the process of breathing fire into the hole in the old building. Damn, but the guy made a nice-looking dragon.

Obviously, the building had some sort of insulation that wasn’t fire resistant, because smoke started billowing out of the roof almost immediately.

In seconds, sparkles started popping off around the dragon and Steve was back to being a Peregrine. They flew off hard and fast. She kept looking back, praying the rogues weren’t there. Thankfully, only the darkness chased them.

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