There were exactly two things Nate Warren loathed: canceled movie times and Sam’s need to solve all problems by playing rock, paper, scissors. Both were a waste of his time.
Nevertheless, fist sitting in the palm of his hand, Sam West had a cocky grin on his face as he tried to incite a round of the game. Tall, lean, and muscular with the personality of a Labrador, Sam was a curious mix of both terrifying and jovial in a way that was almost unreal at times. He built his entire personality around trying to appear inviting and unintimidating. It worked most of the time. There were times the electric blues in his eyes were a little too steely to be considered friendly. Sometimes he let himself go from stress and frustration. The neatness in his golden chestnut hair turned disastrous and the state of his beard grew unruly. It was in those times the real Sam West came out, and the world needed to watch out. The real Sam West wasn’t the money-wasting, woman-chasing lawyer most people saw.
No, the real Sam West was a descendant of Gabriel imbued with extraordinary strength. He was faster, stronger, and spent his life punching his way through every obstacle in his path.
“Come on,” Sam said, drawing out the two words as his grin grew wider. “You know you want to.”
“No, I definitely don’t,” Nate replied as he shook his head. Just like canceled movie times, he knew he was stuck with playing rock, paper, scissors even if he didn’t want to. Some things were just inevitable. “It’s a banshee, Sam.”
“It’s a banshee, Sam!” he repeated, his voice transitioning with a mocking Irish accent. “It’s just a wee bit of trouble! No need for games!”
“I’m British, you idiot, not Irish.”
“How is it you’re adopted and raised in Arizona and you’re still stuffy like a Brit? Was four years over there really enough to develop the personality?”
“First off, stereotyping,” Nate snapped. “Second, it’s not being stuffy if I don’t want to play rock, paper, scissors before we kill a demon.”
“Fine, then you be bait.” Sam shrugged. “Problem solved.”
“No, no.” He shook his head quickly. “I don’t want to be bait.”
“I don’t want to be bait either for a screaming bitch, but how in the world are we going to solve this problem?” he asked, grinning once again. Nate sighed, shaking his head. There was little point in arguing with Sam. Sam West always got what Sam West wanted. That was a general fact of life. Reluctantly, he put a fist out, and a stupid grin overtook Sam’s face. “That’s my boy! One last time before we leave! For Arizona.”
Fist-over-hand, Sam mouthed one through three before they tossed out their choices.
Sam made a face and nodded, counting again.
One rock, one paper.
“I win,” Nate said. “You get to be bait.”
“I’m far too pretty to be anyone’s bait,” Sam retorted. Reaching under the neckline of his shirt, he pulled out a golden cross and handed it to Nate. “Hold this, will you?”
It was a rhetorical question.
When the cross was off, his eyes shimmered, filling with a brilliant golden light. It fractured and traveled along his skin, disappearing under his clothes and warming up the tanned tones in his skin. His muscles bolstered while the surrounding air bristled. Unlike most hunters, Sam had never truly learned to control his power. It made him a liability in every other aspect of his life. One intense moment of emotion—anything from anger to passion—and Sam could kill a person without trying. The cross was fitted to contain his power and hold it at bay.
The power flux made him smirk.
Nate watched with silent envy as his best friend tested his power, tendrils of golden light moving along his arms. Unlike Sam, Nate had no power. Adopted at four, his father had found him in an orphanage for hunters hidden in the British countryside. There was no information about his parents other than they were hunters. No one even knew of what lineage. While other hunters gained their power during puberty, Nate never did. He possessed the latent attributes all hunters had to help with healing and stamina in battle, but that was it.
He was as ordinary as he could be, and he hated it.
There was no use for an ordinary person in a world full of demons, magic, and special powers.
“I can’t hit a banshee, can I?” Sam asked, drawing Nate back into the moment.
“I mean, you could,” Nate said as he made a face. They stood outside an old house with broken windows and gutted insides. He glanced through a broken window, surveying the situation. Floating from room to room, the banshee paced back and forth. Rags hung off its thin body, and its skin sunken and ashy. Bloodshot eyes scanned the room while a pitiful wail passed through its lips on repeat. For something so pathetic in appearance, he knew it was truly dangerous if it wanted to be. He whispered, “I really don’t think that’ll end well for you.”
Reaching in his pocket, he pulled out a box of earplugs and handed one to Sam.
“Hey, Nate,” Sam began with a stupid grin. Nate resisted rolling his eyes, recognizing the expression immediately. “Did you hear the story about the banshee at sea?”
“Do I even want to hear this?”
“Fine.” Nate sighed heavily. “No, Sam, I didn’t hear about the banshee at sea.”
“Really? Because it’s a wail of a tale,” he replied, chuckling at his own joke while Nate groaned. “Oh, come on! That was a good one.”
“No, that was awful.” He removed his gun from his holster, checking it once more. The last thing he wanted was to be unprepared. A jammed gun was a dead hunter. “How do you plan on baiting it?”
“I’m going to give her what every angry woman needs: a little bit of Sam West,” Sam said as he backed through an open doorway.
“That’s the last thing any angry woman wants,” Nate replied.
“Can’t hear you,” Sam told him, pointing to his ears as he shoved the earplugs in. Whirling on the balls of his feet, he walked right into the heart of the house. “Hey! Gorgeous! Let me see you smile!”
“Oh, son of a bitch,” he muttered and quickly plugged his ears.
The world plunged into complete silence just in time for him to see the banshee swoop down on Sam. The air visibly moved with its scream, and it sent Sam flying through a wall with no hope of fighting it.
Nate lost sight of him.
The Might of Gabriel
HunterVerse Book 1
by A. Winchester
Genre: Urban Fantasy
A NEW CITY… A FRESH START…
Bringing together brains and brawn, Nate Warren and Sam West are the perfect demon hunting combination. Their missions may be overrun with snarky commentary and a lack of attention to collateral damage, but they’re still alive. When the two are given the chance to move across the country, it seems like a great opportunity until they get more than they bargained for. Chicago is overrun with demons, their new territory has been claimed, and keeping their secret identities separate from their civilian lives is becoming nearly impossible.
A PARTNERSHIP WTIH A TIGHT LEASH…
An unusual combination of meticulous and unhinged, Isabella Grant and Andrea Carlisle hardly qualify as friends. But, despite their extreme differences, they’re united in their goals: survive night demon hunts, and try not to kill each other in the process. With a dynamic built entirely on routine, strict rules, and never deviating from either, the two are faced with their hardest challenge yet when their territory is invaded by an unidentifiable source.
CROSSING PATHS IS ONE THING…
When their paths cross, can the two teams overcome their strong personalities and conflicting hunting styles in order to defend the city? Or is Chicago doomed to fall to the demons?
** Get the FREE Prequel collection here! **
A. Winchester is a Chicago native with a love for books and epic adventures. Looking to combine a love for demon hunters, superheroes, and long running sagas, Winchester’s debut series the HunterVerse explores deep character development, heavy emotional growth, and a plot to bring about the end of the world. When not writing, Winchester spends time binging TV shows, reading, and taking long walks.
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