Stalking the Others

( 15 )

Overview

Vampires, werewolves, mages—the Others are very real, and wreaking havoc in Shiarra Waynest’s life. But now, she’s returning the favor…

Once, she was one of the good guys—or as close as a New York P.I. can get. Then Shiarra Waynest was drawn into the world of the Others. Every faction has its own loyalties and agenda. And Shia’s recent betrayal by her ex-boyfriend means that she may be on the verge of becoming a rogue werewolf at the next full ...

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Overview

Vampires, werewolves, mages—the Others are very real, and wreaking havoc in Shiarra Waynest’s life. But now, she’s returning the favor…

Once, she was one of the good guys—or as close as a New York P.I. can get. Then Shiarra Waynest was drawn into the world of the Others. Every faction has its own loyalties and agenda. And Shia’s recent betrayal by her ex-boyfriend means that she may be on the verge of becoming a rogue werewolf at the next full moon…

Of course, with all the threats against her, Shia’s not sure she’ll live long enough to find out. The enigmatic vampire Royce wants her back in his clutches, as do two powerful werewolf packs, along with the police. Instead of going into hiding, Shia is enlisting the aid of her enchanted hunter’s belt and every dirty P.I. trick she knows. If she’s going down, she’ll take out as many of her enemies as she can—and hope that in the process, she keeps whatever humanity she has left…

Outstanding praise for Jess Haines

“A fun, high-octane ride with a take charge heroine who will leave you wanting more.” —Alexandra Ivy, New York Times bestselling author on Hunted by the Others

“It doesn’t get much better for pure urban fantasy than Jess Haines.” —All Things Urban Fantasy on Taken by the Others

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Before her encounter with the supernatural creatures that make up the world of the Others, New York PI Shiarra Waynest (Deceived by the Others) played more or less by the rules. Now, bound to a vampire, possibly infected by a werewolf, and hunted by the police and two werewolf packs, she takes the fight to her pursuers, using every skill she possesses.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781420124026
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 7/3/2012
  • Series: H&W Investigations Series
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 643,458
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Read an Excerpt

STALKING THE OTHERS

AN H&W INVESTIGATIONS NOVEL
By JESS HAINES

ZEBRA BOOKS

Copyright © 2012 Jess Haines
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4201-2402-6


Chapter One

(Days left to full moon: 24)

My fingertips pressed against the cool stone of the ledge, helping me balance as I crouched on the balls of my feet. The heavy winds choked with smog and tainted with the stink of the Hudson threatened to push me off the edge of the apartment building's roof if I wasn't careful.

People bundled against the cold moved five stories below me, oblivious, never thinking to look up. Hours had passed since I'd fled Alec Royce's apartment building with nothing but murder on my mind. It had taken me a while to find my current perch. I'd been waiting up here for nearly an hour after first checking inside the apartment, and my mark had not yet shown. Strain burned in my calves, but I remained as I was, held in check despite my desire to rampage through the city, destroying everything in my path until I found my targets.

'You are so impatient,' a voice, tinged with an edge of laughter, whispered in the back of my skull. 'Just wait. He has to come home sometime.'

I growled, the sound reverberating deep in my chest.

'Touchy.'

"Shut up," I snapped, running my fingers through my hair to shove the errant curls out of my eyes. "If he doesn't come soon, I won't have enough time to do anything. The sun will be up in less than an hour." I'd been counting on Dillon's being home so I could destroy the bastard before he hurt someone else. Or at least beat him into new and interesting shapes to make him think twice before infecting another uncontracted human.

'Maybe he spent the night with someone. Or left for work before we arrived.'

I didn't say anything, a pang of doubt giving me pause. The belt wrapped around my waist was the source of the voice in my head, a voice that would be banished once the sun rose. Aside from getting rid of my moral support and snarky commentary, the first rays of morning light creeping over the horizon would also take with them all of my enhanced skills and senses, leaving me frail and human again. Though most of the time I hated what the belt did to me, I couldn't afford to be without its help while facing down an angry werewolf.

'Then wait until tomorrow night to face him. Use the day wisely; get some rest and food to build up your strength, and use those P.I. skills of yours to track him down.'

I nodded, turning away from the street and huddling into my trench coat against the cold. Now that I'd had a few hours for my ire to cool, I found that I was suffering from a wintry, calculating hatred instead of the heated, unthinking rage that had driven me here to begin with. Despite the wait's really weighing on my nerves, it had given me plenty of time to think about what I was going to do once Dillon showed his face, and what I would do about the other Sunstrikers who had driven me to hunt them like the cowardly dogs they were.

In the space of a few days, my entire life had turned upside down. It hadn't been particularly normal to begin with, but my now very ex-boyfriend Chaz had been cheating on me. He'd also been running some kind of werewolf mafia ring right under my nose. Though I had no solid proof, I was sure his pack had something to do with the murder of Jim Pradiz. Not that I'd liked the sleazy reporter, but it was terrifying to know that the werewolves were willing to stoop so low to silence him.

To top things off, one of the Sunstrikers had scratched and quite possibly infected me with the lycanthropy virus. It would be weeks before I'd know for sure if I was going to join the ranks of the terminally furry come the next full moon. Clearly, thanks to the murder of Jim Pradiz—which the Sunstrikers were somehow connected to, I just knew it—I would never be one of that pack, whether or not they accepted me. It was entirely possible that they were out to kill me, too.

Thanks to Chaz's pack, I was on the run from a bunch of murderous werewolves, the police, and half the media in the state. The last straw had been my father's telling me point-blank that I wasn't his little girl anymore. Being disowned by my family for my involvement with the Others had been a gut blow I wasn't prepared for. Recalling the raspy, accusing tones of my dad as he forbade me from ever coming home to him and Mom again made my eyes burn, but I'd cried my last tear over his pronouncement hours ago. I had work to do to make sure that the people involved with bringing this load of misery down on me and my family paid for everything they'd done. My resolve only firmed as I paused at the edge of the roof, looking down at the rusting metal framework of the fire escape that would lead me back to the filthy alleyways and webwork of New York City streets below.

Considering it was Chaz and the rest of his pack's fault that everything—my life, my livelihood, my family, and possibly my humanity—had been taken from me, I was not in a forgiving mood.

'That's an understatement.'

The droll tone of the belt had me grinning, though it was more a feral baring of my teeth than an expression of agreement. Stone chipped under my fingers as they tightened on the cornice molding on the edge of the roof. I absently flicked blood from my fingertips before dropping lightly down to the fire escape. It clanged dully at the impact, the sound rattling through the framework. I barely gave it time to finish shuddering before I leapt over the side, my already-healed fingers catching on the rail as I propelled myself down to the level below. Ladders and startled faces in windows passed in a blur, my body moving with the grace and surety of an Olympic gymnast and my stomach edging up into my lungs as I gained speed. Soon, much too soon, I was airborne.

Before I knew it, I was in a feral crouch on the alley floor, hair in my eyes and trench coat billowing around me like one of those clichéd action movie heroes, and the last echoes of my landing ricocheting off the alley walls. An inhuman feat I wouldn't have been able to accomplish a few weeks ago without breaking my legs, even with the belt's help. Something about giving in and letting the belt take over had changed how we worked together; it augmented my strength, speed, agility, and stamina to a far greater degree than the first time I had worn it. Not to mention, it helped me heal my minor injuries nearly as quickly as a vampire. I wondered if this was what it felt like to be an Other.

Adrenaline burned in my veins, but I didn't give in to the belt's siren song or halfhearted pleas for violence. Instead, I shoved my hands in my pockets and edged out of the shadows, past the Dumpsters, and into the trickle of pedestrian traffic in the city street.

Clenching my fingers around one of the vials of Amber Kiss perfume and the box of ammo I'd shoved in my pockets didn't hurt, though flakes of dried blood and scar tissue from cuts received and healed on my way down from the rooftop rubbed off in the process. I didn't want to think about what I had become, or what I would be once I saw my quest for revenge to its end.

'If not for the vampire, you wouldn't be in this mess,' the belt whispered. 'You should plan to remove him, too.'

"Aside from the fact that he'd kill me if I tried it, Royce didn't do this to me," I muttered under my breath. "Don't push me."

A woman walking next to me glanced over, arching a silver-studded brow before ignoring me. That was the most attention I'd received from any of the sea of pedestrians all night. Not that I was complaining.

'He might not have infected you, but he's the one who brought you back into Chaz's sights, and he's also the one who keeps involving you in supernatural business. You wouldn't have been bitten by vampires—'

"Enough!"

I nearly shouted the word, and this time I did merit a few stares from early morning strollers, late night revelers sloshing their way home, and a handful of people in power suits on their way to the office. Ducking my head and popping up the collar of my trench coat, I sped up the pace, growling under my breath. I would've snarled something nasty back at the belt, especially since it was laughing at me again, but I was attracting too much attention as it was.

In fact, only yards away from me, a black-and-white was cruising past. I couldn't help but watch over my shoulder as it went by before realizing how conspicuous that must look. I drew out of the press of foot traffic to pretend to consider buying a magazine at a nearby newsstand. My stomach did a turn at the headline on one of the local rags: "New York's Hottest Vampire-Sponsoring Charity Concert!" There was a picture of him on the cover of the latest issue of some financial news magazine, too. I twisted away, scowling. No matter how far I ran, it seemed Alec Royce would follow me everywhere.

Oh, great. When I looked back, the cops had pulled into the alley I had just come from, flicking on their searchlight as they parked.

That was my cue to hightail it. I needed to be less conspicuous if I was going to carry out my plans without ending up dead or in jail before the month was out. Abandoning my feeble ruse, I turned and took to a brisk walk in the opposite direction from Dillon's apartment building.

I needed to figure out where to go once the sun came up. After the stunt I'd pulled, there was no way I was putting myself back under Royce's watchful eye. Knowing the vampire, he'd chain me up in the basement or something to keep me from escaping again. Going home was out of the question, as was Sara's house and my parents'. Arnold might let me crash, but he'd tell Sara, which meant the vampire would know where to find me. I didn't want that.

Not to mention that I didn't have any money to get myself to my theoretical daytime hiding spot. In my headlong rush to escape Royce's building, I hadn't taken any necessities with me but my hunting equipment. My duffel with my clothes and my purse had been left behind.

Assuming I survived long enough, I needed to work on my ability to plan ahead.

Chapter Two

(Days left to full moon: 23)

My options for transportation were not quite as slim as the pickings for places to safely hide until the next full moon.

Fingering the vials of Amber Kiss perfume in my pockets and absently dodging pedestrians, I scanned the streets for some inspiration. I could utilize the belt's benefits for another half an hour or so and make good time getting across town—but I didn't like the idea of being caught somewhere in the city without money, food, or shelter, not to mention tired enough to fall over. From experience, I knew all of the "little hurts" that didn't hurt so much now would make themselves known as soon as the spirit inside the rune-branded leather was banished for the day.

Flickering neon lights dragged my attention to a tattoo parlor across the street. Aside from a regret-filled pang—I'd never again hear my mom telling me not to even think about getting inked—it sparked an idea. Jack the White Hat had an illegal weapons emporium under a tattoo parlor not far from here.

As much as I disliked Jack, he had a decent hideout, weapons, and a safe place to avoid authorities. We hadn't parted on the best of terms the last time I'd seen him, but I was willing to bet he'd set aside his personal dislike of me if I let him use me the way he'd so obviously intended to from the beginning. While willingly going along with his plans wasn't a fantastic idea, I felt certain that he would welcome me if he knew I wanted to use his hunters and their resources to track and kill werewolves.

Imbued with a new sense of purpose, I picked up my pace, intending to hoof it the rest of the way.

The cops waiting for me when I rounded the corner had a different plan in mind.

Two boys in blue had double-parked and waited in that I'm-doing-my-best-to-look-casual-and-failing-miserably stance just to one side of a newspaper stand. The one on the left spoke up, his voice smooth and deep, nonthreatening.

"Ms. Waynest? We need to talk."

I turned and ran.

"Hey! Halt!"

I kept going and didn't look back. The belt was elated by this sudden action, flooding my limbs with enough energy to make my speed kick up a notch, leaving the cops far behind. Jumping over or darting around obstacles was a breeze, and most everyone moved out of my way, but I was attracting too much attention.

Stairs leading down to the subway appeared on my left. I cut across the street, dodging honking, swerving cars with ease. Strangely, I didn't feel in the least frightened of being hit by one of those cars—they were zooming by fast enough to send my hair flying and to clip the trailing hem of my jacket—but I was worried about being caught by one of the cops. Priorities, eh?

As soon as I hit the sidewalk on the other side, I bolted down into the darkened stairwell, sending people flat against the rails as I shouldered aside the ones who didn't immediately get out of my way. Ignoring the curses and threats and even the switchblade one of them pulled on me, I took the stairs two and three at a time until I hit the bottom, jumping over the turnstiles and launching myself down the platform.

There were shouts, but I dismissed them and went to the edge. Some of the people milling around waiting for the next train were staring at me, but most of them didn't seem to care that I'd drawn the ire of one of the few security guards on the premises. Probably because the majority of them were not pleased to be awake at this hour.

The guard was headed my way with a glare and her hand settled firmly on the butt of a canister of mace attached to her belt. Just my luck to be spotted by a rent-a-cop on the one day I decide to jump the turnstiles instead of paying my fare.

With a surge from the belt, I ignored the shouting security guard and jumped onto the tracks—taking care to avoid the electrified third rail—hightailing it into the tunnel. It was dark and disgustingly grimy, infested with rats and roaches, but there was no rumble of an approaching train or sounds of pursuit that I could detect. My eyes watered from the combined stink of hot metal, grease, and old piss no doubt left behind by the homeless who roamed these tunnels. Once I was sure I was in the clear, I slowed down just enough to take a look around, searching for any doors or stairwells to maintenance rooms that might have street access.

'Why don't you just head to the next platform? You were trying to get across town, remember?'

"Security is probably waiting for me. Can't risk it. Jack's place isn't far, maybe a mile or two from where the cop stopped me." I rolled my shoulders, groaning as the first hints of strain bit into my muscles. The spirit was fading. Daylight must be creeping over the horizon. "I've got to get out of here before you go. How much longer?"

'Not long.'

Crap. With that helpful tidbit in mind, I sped up my pace, eyes searching. It wasn't my imagination either—the tracks had started vibrating, warning of an approaching train. Using some of my remaining energy, I leapt with a distinct lack of grace onto the narrow service walkway, digging my nails into the thick crust of dirt coating the walls to find purchase as I slid in an oily puddle.

A roach the size of a VW Bus crawled over my fingers in its haste to scuttle into a crevice I hadn't seen.

I shrieked and danced back. The sound echoed dimly, lost in the eerie screech of a distantly braking train.

That, and the laughter of the belt.

Scowling, I stomped down the walkway, rubbing my grimy hand on my jacket to rid myself of that skin-crawly feeling. Though I'd felt its approach, I gasped and flattened myself against the wall as the train coming from behind me lit up the tunnel. I watched with wide eyes as it raced by only inches away, lights flickering and blinding me as it passed.

Heart pounding, I resumed my trek down the tunnel once the train was gone and I was no longer blinded by bright spots. The belt had almost completely faded when I found a recessed door. Locked. Using what little extra strength it could give me, I kicked it just to one side of the knob, splintering the wood around the handle. It jarred the lock, but didn't force the door open as I'd hoped. Five minutes earlier, I could have blown it off its hinges.

Aches and pains worked their way from my feet up my legs, reminding me that I'd been sitting in an uncomfortable crouch for most of the night when I wasn't playing at being a marathon runner. I got the door open with one more kick and, with a wince, hobbled inside.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from STALKING THE OTHERS by JESS HAINES Copyright © 2012 by Jess Haines. Excerpted by permission of ZEBRA BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 3, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Very interesting and entertaining. Very good book. finished it v

    Very interesting and entertaining. Very good book. finished it very quickly

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 28, 2012

    4.5 Solid Stars - Great Series! I have to say that this series

    4.5 Solid Stars - Great Series!

    I have to say that this series is new for me. When I requested Stalking the Others, I knew that this was book four and that I would have to play catch up. I’m glad I picked it and I’m really glad I had this book after finishing book three, Deceived by the Others. Get ready for a kick-ass ride!

    The Sunstriker pack is on the run. Their crimes have been revealed, and everyone is looking for them. The person top on the list: Shiarra Waynest. Shiarra has a mission. Take out every one who has wronged her. She as a month to do it and she will do anything to accomplish it. Enemies beware; this woman will take you down.

    This one time good girl is now bad. Over the years, Shiarra has been forced into a world she never wanted to enter. This new world has ruined her life and broken her heart, but rather than dwell and sulk about it she runs head first into the battle. You really have to admire her for that. She may not do the smartest things and may not be the strongest one out there, but you can’t fault her determination.

    Stalking the Others is a fast, action packed novel. I really can’t go more into the story, since I really don’t want to give it away. I had moments of deep emotion, elation and fist pumping “Heck, yeahs”. There are also more stories to be told. I can only hope that Ms. Haines is going to quickly crank out the next in the series.

    Since I don’t want to give the plot and surprises away, I will mention a bit more about the series. H&W Investigation in my opinion is very good Urban Fantasy. I sometimes have a hard time connecting with this genre, but I did with ease with this series. Shia is not your normal heroine. Some people complain about her weakness, but I find her traits more believable than the norm. She is human, and her actions and thoughts portray that. She doesn’t instantly become a super heroine. The buildup is slow and I liked it. She makes a lot of errors and even at the end of this book she retains her believability for me.

    The first two books in the series; Hunted by the Others and Taken by the Others, were not as enjoyable as the last two were for me. Ms. Haines has definitely picked it up and has improved on the series. Now with her world building done, she is fully engaged in the plot and it shows. As a whole I would recommend this series.

    You want something new and exciting? Then you need to pick up H&W Instigations. This is a wonderful Urban Fantasy series with a teeny tiny touch of romance (it’s barely there). The action is amazing and the characters are engaging. When you need something a little different, I would look no farther than right here.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2012

    Great Read!!!!!

    I loved the book. Shiarra had some rough moments in trying to find herself. I can hardley wait for the next book in this series!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2012

    Couldn't Get Enough!

    This book was awesome! I couldn't put it down!! I can't wait for the next one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    Stormpatch to Talonfang

    She crouches down, ready to mate with Talonfang.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2012

    Silversand

    Hello?

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