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The Immortal Hunter
"Where the hell is he going?" Decker muttered under his breath as he steered the SUV down the rutted dirt road to follow the white van ahead.
"Hell if I know," Justin Bricker answered.
Decker glanced briefly to the younger immortal, his temporary partner for this hunt, but didn't bother explaining that he'd been talking to himself. He returned his concentration to the road, squinting in an effort to see where he was going. While their kind could see in the dark better than mortals, even he was straining in the almost complete absence of light out here. It was a starless night, and Decker had turned off the headlights several miles back to prevent being spotted by Nicholas. The enforcer SUVs had several modifications; an absence of driving lights that came on every time the vehicle was started was just one of them.
"I didn't expect it to be this easy to track him down," Justin said suddenly.
Decker grunted, surprised by it himself. Nicholas Argeneau had been rogue for a good fifty years, during which time no one had even caught sight of the man. For it to have taken a mere day of showing his picture around to pick up his trail seemed too easy. Way too easy. It made Decker suspicious and wary. Why hadn't Nicholas erased the memories of the mortals he'd encountered? He must have done that in the past to have remained off the radar, and yet suddenly he wasn't doing so. Instead he appeared to have left a trail as clear as radioactive green cookie crumbs.
Justin cursed beside him and grabbed for the dashboard as the dirt lane came to an end and they followed the van off-road, bouncingover tall grass and bushes.
"Maybe he's tired of running," Justin suggested suddenly through gritted teeth, no doubt to keep from biting off his tongue as they jolted over the uneven trail. "Maybe he wants to be caught."
Decker didn't respond. He didn't for a minute think Nicholas was giving up, and he didn't know what was going on, but Justin Bricker's constant need to talk was beginning to drive him crazy. He had no idea how Mortimer, Justin's usual partner, had taken it all these years.
"I can see that," Decker muttered between his teeth, steering the SUV to the side of the road. He parked as far into the woods as he dared without risking getting stuck. Hoping it was far enough that their prey wouldn't notice them, he then turned off the engine and ordered, "Watch him."
Leaving the keys in the ignition to save time should Nicholas notice them and try to get away in the van, Decker crawled over the seat and all the way to the back of the SUV where the blood and weapons were. He moved to the cooler first, retrieving a couple of bags of blood and tossing one over the seats into Justin's lap. "Drink up. You'll need your strength."
"I gather you don't think he's going to give up when he sees us, then?" Justin asked dryly and then slapped the bag to his mouth.
Decker snorted at the very suggestion. He waited for his own canine teeth to drop down, and slapped a bag of blood to the fangs with one hand as he reached with the other to unlock and flip open the nearest weapons case. His eyes slid over the guns inside. While you weren't likely to kill an immortal with a gun, you could slow him down and even temporarily incapacitate him . . . especially using bullets that were coated with the tranquilizer Bastien's techie boys had developed.
"He's getting out of the van," Justin announced.
Decker glanced forward to see that Justin had already drained his bag and was shoving it in the small bag at his feet, one filled with fast-food wrappers. The man liked to eat as much as he liked to talk, Decker had noticed. Shaking his head, he glanced past him to peer out the front windshield, but couldn't see much over the seats. Pulling his own now-empty bag from his teeth, he asked, "What's he doing?"
"Walking around to the back of the van . . . opening the door . . . he's digging around inside, getting something—I think he's getting out weapons." Justin glanced back, worry on his face as he asked, "Do you think he spotted us?"
Decker's mouth tightened. He set aside the empty bag and turned back to the case before him. "Come pick your weapons."
"Should we call Lucian or Mortimer?" Justin asked as he headed back to join him. Decker considered the question as he chose two guns and a box of coated bullets. Lucian had sent them north as a mere precaution. He'd also sent Mortimer and Sam west for the same reason, but he and his life mate, Leigh, were searching the Haliburton area where Nicholas had actually been seen by Grant. Decker suspected his uncle had expected to find him there, and hoped to be the one to get to him first. It meant both couples were far enough away that they weren't going to be of any use at this point. He shook his head. "It would take at least an hour, possibly two for either of them to get here. We're on our own."
Justin nodded slowly, and then transformed from the good-natured, slightly mischievous sidekick he usually acted, to the hunter he was. His shoulders straightened and his expression became grim as he began to select weapons from the case.
Unwilling to risk Nicholas creeping up on them while they were distracted, Decker took his weapons and the box of bullets and made his way up front to the driver's seat. A glance showed that Nicholas now had a quiver full of arrows and a crossbow slung over his back, but was still digging around in the back of the van. Looking for more weapons, Decker supposed, and kept an eye on him as he loaded his guns. Nicholas was still busy in the back of the van when Justin rejoined him in the front of the SUV.The Immortal Hunter. Copyright (c) by Lynsay Sands . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.