CHAPTER 1 Brooklyn Boy

Start from the beginning

This stupid metal thing, and me and Nicco's plan on Halloween night.

I sat down, peering out over the French Quarter, legs dangling over the roof's edge, just like I'd done so many other nights. I squeezed the metal object in my palm until the corners pierced my skin.

Can you smell that blood, Nicco? I hope so. I hope it drives you nuts.

I flicked the metal origami up and watched it spin back into my hand—the prize waiting to be claimed. Let him try. If it weren't for the promise I made to the coven, I'd burn the whole convent down right now, vampires and all. I hated Niccolò Medici. And not just because he was a vampire—a killer. I hated him because he was in love with my girlfriend.

He'd never told me he was in love with Adele. In fact, he'd never really said much at all. But he must have known she'd close the seal after he threw her out the window. As far as I could see, there were only two possible explanations why Nicco would allow himself to be trapped. Cursed. The first was that he loved Adele, and he was willing to trade his life for hers. The second was that she was worth more to him alive than dead—so much so that he betrayed his family and trapped himself inside the coven's spell.

All so she could live.

Either way, he'd traded her martyrdom for his own—not that it was quite the same considering he was immortal but not exactly something you did for an acquaintance. None of that matters now, because Adele thinks Nicco tried to kill her.

I imagined him lying there in cold fury, judging me for not correcting Adele's mistake. Part of me knew he was right, but when she saw him as her potential killer, it was the first time she saw him for what he truly was.

A monster.

"I couldn't do it," I said into the darkness. "Sorry, Nicco. But you belong locked away."

Pushing away the guilt, I remembered the morning I'd tried to return the metal object to her. I knew it wasn't right to keep it, but then she kissed me—a kiss free of tears and elixirs—and I suddenly didn't care anymore if she knew the whole truth, just as long as she never saw Nicco again.

I should have been ecstatic, now that he was trapped for eternity, but I couldn't help thinking Niccolò Medici was the kind of guy who always had a backup plan.

My fingers crushed around the metal. She doesn't owe him anything. If the way to prevent him from reentering her life meant me being haunted by him forever through this origami thing, then so be it.

I could feel him beneath the roof. All of them. It was a hint of the same cold feeling I got when I neared a dead body on a recovery site. Death.

It made sense—you can't be a vampire without dying. Just like you can't be a vampire without being a monster.

I slipped it back into my wallet, ran the length of the convent roof, and jumped off. It was stupid and risky, and I'd never do it if it wasn't for the curfew, but it made me feel like I owned the streets of the French Quarter, and that they didn't.

I swooped back up and over the roofs. There was one more stop after the convent.

I always told myself I'd just check on her, but it never ended up that way. I circled Adele's house three times before landing on the second-story wrought-iron balcony across the street. If I stayed behind the potted plant, I was out of her sight line from the window. I think. She hated it when I perched across the street.

I knew she'd especially hate it tonight. She'd done her best to hide it all week, but I'd seen the ambivalence setting in. The wall she was putting up to prevent the pain from overwhelming her . . . Hopefully tomorrow would bring her some closure. My beak opened into a wide yawn, and I stretched my wings.

My perching wasn't about her; it was about me. I had to be at work in two hours, and when I slept this close to her, I never had the nightmare.

I wasn't stalking her; I was stalking sleep.

I wasn't stalking her; I was stalking sleep

Oops! This image does not follow our content guidelines. To continue publishing, please remove it or upload a different image.

Author Note:

Hi ya'll! Was there anything different about this chapter than what you were expecting? *wink* Feel free to leave a comment, and vote if ya liked it! <3

The Romeo Catchers (Book 2)Where stories live. Discover now