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Wolves and the River of Stone (Vesik ebook 02)

Wolves and the River of Stone (Vesik ebook 02)

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Wolves and the River of Stone Chapter 1 Look Inside

My name is Damian Valdis Vesik. I am a necromancer. The
dismembered limbs littering the soft grass at my feet used to be a pair of zombies. The small man with terror in his eyes, shaking between the supports of a rusty old bridge is Lewis Hood, servant of Philip Pinkerton, one-time love of
my master, Zola.

I eased the bullets into my six-barreled pepperbox one at a
time, forgoing the speed loader in the name of intimidation. Lewis’s eyes went wide and locked onto the gun.

“Where is she?” I said. I took a deep breath, the Missouri
River beside us masking every other scent aside from the decay of the blasted
zombies. The shadowed tree lines hid us from the nearby population of Saint Charles.

Lewis shook his head.

Two days ago we learned Philip was still alive. Yesterday
his servants kidnapped Zola. I didn’t know why they took her, but she didn’t go quietly. The Watchers would be using a spatula to clean out the alley where she was taken.

“You sicced your zombies on us?” I said. “A fairy and a
necromancer?” The zombies had gone down fast with help from a demon staff
inlaid with decorative, and functional, silverwork. I glared at Lewis. “I find
myself … irritated.”

Lewis held up his hand and started to speak.

I holstered the pepperbox under my arm and wrapped my hand
around the shield rune on my staff. A flowing glass surface sprang to life as a
thread of power wound into the wood and metal.

“Don’t even think about it,” I said.

Despair washed over Lewis’s face. He was breaking, and I
could see it.

I leaned the staff against the bridge support opposite Lewis
and released my grip on the silver rune. The shield around me dissipated and I
had a short, clear path to him. My pepperbox hissed as I drew it from the shoulder holster and leveled it at Lewis.

“N-No, no!”

“Where’s Zola?” I
said, my voice flat, but beginning to snarl.

“No!” he said.

Thunder and flame roared from one of the six barrels as
Lewis’s kneecap burst into a fine mist.

He screamed and fell into the mud. I won’t deny the glimmer
of satisfaction in my gut.

“Get away!” he whimpered hysterically.

“Thug to beggar in sixty seconds.” I moved my finger to the second trigger on my pistol. The second trigger was fairy work, capable of firing all six barrels at once—or the five chambered rounds, in this case.
“Where’s Zola?”

His eyes were wide. I could see the whites around his irises
as they flicked from his knee to my gun and up to my eyes. “Please don’t.”

I moved my finger back to the first trigger. “Tell me where
she is, or I blow out the other one.” I shifted my aim from his head to his good knee.

He grimaced and his head sagged. “Zion,” he said as he
gasped for air, “Mount Zion Church … Hallsville.”

I nodded and holstered the pistol. Relief spread across
Lewis’s face a moment before a sword sprang from his neck. The fairy oozed out
of the shadows behind him. A savage grin split his pointed features as he jerked his sword down and back. Lewis’s body fell forward between me and the seven-foot fairy, a look of confusion etched across the corpse’s forehead.

“What if he was lying, Foster?” I said as I cocked an

“Then you can raise him and I’ll kill him again, put that
necromancy to good use.” Foster casually wiped his sword off with a swatch of
Lewis’s white shirt, flexing his black-and-white wings as he bent down. “That was too fast.”

I shook my head and muttered, “Fairies.” Fairies are one of
the most merciless races I’ve ever met. You screw with their friends or family, and they’ll tear you into pieces. Very small pieces. I’ve heard some of the old gods are more severe, but I’ve yet to meet any.

“Where’s Hallsville?” Foster said.

I shrugged. “Oh, I don’t know. Let’s ask.” I toed Lewis’s
head and spoke slowly. “Do you have a map to Hallsville, Lewis? Lewis? Are you okay?”

“Shut up, Damian.” Foster’s wings twitched as he sheathed
his sword.

“We need to get rid of the body,” I said with a broad grin
as I slapped Foster on the shoulder.

He sighed and rolled his eyes. “Stand back a second.” I
stepped away as Foster drew a circle in the mud around Lewis and the zombie
parts. “Hand me your staff.”

Reluctantly, I handed my staff over. “You know, your mom
will kill you if you hurt my staff.”

“At least she’ll kill you too.” Foster smiled and turned his
head back to the corpse. He whispered “Somes reverto terra” and brought the ferrule of the staff down hard in the center of the circle. He
quickly stepped away as a murky grayish light ran from the staff and flared to
the edges of the circle. The earth churned and swallowed the bodies in a quiet
rumble as the scent of tilled soil and river water reached my nose.

The riverfront fell into silence again. Foster tossed my
staff to me. It smacked against my palm as I caught it, and he snapped into his
smaller form in a dim flash of white light.

“Let’s get Zola,” he said.

A jilted ex. An undead army. Never date the damned...

Zola thought not seeing her ex-boyfriend Philip for 150 years meant he got the hint that they were over. Or, better yet, that he had taken her advice and dropped dead. No such luck. Not only is he back, he has kidnapped Zola and is using her as a pawn in his plan to raise an army to scour humanity from the earth.

Damian Vesik is ready to take Philip on, but he won’t be doing it alone. Flanked by a pack of snarling and snapping werewolves, they are headed to an old battlefield at Stones River to put an end to Philip’s twisted agenda. If they don’t get there in time, however, Zola’s reputation—and life—hang in the balance.

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