Read Catching Dragos Online

Authors: Gail Koger

Catching Dragos (7 page)

Thank God for small favors. Time to change the subject. “You want some


My grandmother immediately perked up. “Don Fredrico’s? The chocolate ones

with sprinkles?”


“You betcha.” We both were chocoholics, and Don Fredrico’s doughnuts were to

die for.

“I would love some.”

Some? Between the two of us, we could eat a dozen easily. “Good. I’ll get my

wallet and change into something more appropriate.”

“There’s no need. Fredrico loves clowns.” Grams held out her car keys and a


Yay, I was stuck in this outfit for another hour. “Will two dozen do?”

“Make it three,” Grams said, giving me another twenty.

“Okay, I’ll be right back.” I headed for her pink jeep. A sense of unease prickled

my skin, and I quickly scanned the area. I couldn’t sense anything. Weird, it was almost

like I was in a dead zone.

A newspaper tumbled across the parking lot and slapped against my legs. I picked

it up. Emblazoned in bold print across the front page, the headlines exclaimed

Supermodel Fabian Exposed as a Thief and Con Man.

Whoa! Fabian’s modeling days were over. An arrest warrant had been issued for

him. He was charged with the theft of Ethel Rossi’s medallion.

My psychic senses suddenly went on red alert. Shit! Fabian was here.

we’re about to get hit.”


A sonic blast of magic knocked me flat and scrambled my brains. My vision

began to dim. I had to hide. But where? Under. I managed to crawl beneath the jeep

before the blackness claimed me.


Chapter Nine

God, why did my head hurt so much? I opened my eyes and stared in confusion at

the pink undercarriage of a car. A groan broke from me as memory came thundering

back. We had been attacked, and I was hiding under Grams’s jeep. Not the smartest

move I had ever made.

“I want every inch of this circus searched. She has to be here!” Fabian roared.

Oh shit! I quickly threw a “nobody’s there” illusion spell around me and held my

breath while several of Fabian’s heavily armed hunters searched the parking lot.

A big bull of a man raised his radio and reported, “Parking lot is clear, sir.”

Fabian ordered, “Check the woods.”

“Yes, sir,” the man answered, and the Dragos hunters obediently trotted off.

Wow. Color me surprised. Fabian
their commander. Who would have


If I was going to go mano a mano with Fabian, I needed a healing potion. I pulled

a small blue bottle out of one of the many pockets in the costume and opened it. I took

one small sip. Shazam! My headache vanished, and I had one hell of an energy buzz.

Woo! I was ready to kick a certain hunter’s butt.

The sounds of a major battle had me running toward the ticket booth. I needed the

balloon dog I had conjured up. It was full of knockout gas.

“Run. Save yourself!”
Grams cried suddenly.

“I’m not leaving you behind.”

“You have no choice. They bound my magic.”


Shit. Only a few witches were powerful enough to pull it off. My grandmother

and Serafina, the matriarch of the Dragos clan. She was one tough bitch.
“Did they hurt


There was a tremor in Grams’s voice.
“I’m fine, but they captured our hunters. All of


“Don’t worry. The invisible woman is gonna even the odds.”
I grabbed the balloon and

tucked it inside my costume.

“No! There are too many for you to fight. Leave. Now. If Fabian catches you, all is lost,”

Grams warned anxiously.

My cell phone rang.
Gee, I wonder who it is
. I hit Answer.

“Surrender, and I’ll let them live,” Fabian said, his tone cold and unyielding.

I kept a wary eye on two of Fabian’s hunters and whispered, ”And I’m supposed

to believe a Dragos will keep his word?”

The hunters spun around at the sound of my voice. One of them asked, “Do you

see her?”

I jabbed them in the necks with my trusty tranquilizer rings. They collapsed to the


“I will never lie to you.”

“How reassuring,” I responded drily.

“Where are you?” The steely note was back in Fabian’s voice.

“Close. Release my people and I’ll let

“You’re threatening me?”

“Yep. I kicked your ass once, and I can do it again.”

Fabian laughed. “I did underestimate you, but I won’t make that mistake again,


Now he was trying to be charming? “Since I’m the last Vizzini warrior

standing, I have the right to challenge you to combat.”


Fabian asked incredulously, “You think you can beat me?”

“Oh, I know I can, pumpkin.” I walked toward the big top where I could sense my


The hunter snorted. “I’m the Dragos champion. I’ve never lost a challenge.”

I watched the horny prick scan the area with a tracking stone. “You won’t find me

with that.” I was cloaking my aura.

“You’re right.” He sniffed the air like a bloodhound and looked right at me.

“Show yourself.”

Shit. Fabian could smell me. I disconnected the call.

“Don’t do it, Mariah.”

“It’s the only way, Grams. My magic isn’t strong enough to breach Serafina’s

containment field. They’ll eventually find me.”

“And whose fault is that?”

“Mine! Okay? It’s my fault that I didn’t practice my magic more. Happy?”

“No. If you had listened to me, none of this would have happened,”
Grams retorted.

Fuck. She was right.

Fabian walked toward me, coiled menace in every step. “Drop the illusion.”

I put the balloon dog on the ground. “
Hanc autem
I miraculously

materialized out of thin air.

The Dragos warriors jumped a good foot, and a dozen assault rifles were abruptly

pointed at me.

I raised my hands. “Easy, boys. Y’all know clowns are harmless.”

“Stand down,” Fabian ordered.

The men lowered their guns.

Fabian surveyed me from the top of my nasty wig to my equally horrible shoes.

“Take it off.”


If he thought I was going to do a striptease, he was out of his tiny mind. “Excuse


“I want to see what you really look like.”

“Nah. Not in my best interests.
Corpus cum
The balloon exploded in a cloud

of gas, but nothing happened. Fabian’s goons grinned like hyenas.

An amused smile curled Fabian’s mouth. “Did you think I wouldn’t be prepared

for your little tricks this time?”

I really hated smart guys. Time for Plan B. “
Dicitur pretiosa materia
.” My sword

appeared in my hand.

Fabian’s eyes glittered dangerously. “You want to fight me? So be it, but I want to

see what I’m getting.” He yanked off my wig and nose.

“Back off.” I raised my sword. An instant later, all those assault rifles were leveled

at me again.

“You’re in no position to make demands. I have your family. It would be a shame

if one of them got hurt.”

Gotta say the supermodel had scary down pat. I dropped the sword.

Fabian held out his left hand, and one of his soldiers handed him a wet towel. He

held it out to me. “Wipe off the face paint.”

“And if I refuse?”

“Then I’ll remove everything, and you can fight in the nude.” There was no mercy

in the hard line of his mouth.

The jerk would do it too. I took the towel from him and cleaned my face.


“You missed some.” Fabian stroked my cheek.

I knocked his hand away. “You don’t have the right to touch me.”



The sensual promise in his voice made my pussy clench. “Enough of this crap. I

defeat you, you release my clan and forget my existence.”

“I win and you become my blood-bound slayer. Your clan will be allowed to leave

with their lives,” Fabian countered.

My stomach knotted. A blood bond would chain me to him forever. This was one

fight I couldn’t lose. “Deal, but I want to see my people first.”

Fabian gestured toward the big top. “After you.”

I forced myself to walk calmly into the tent.

The bleachers were crammed with bound and gagged hunters and circus workers.

My grandmother was chained to a support pole. Her eyes promised death.

I glared up at Fabian. “Is that necessary? She’s an old lady.”

His eyes narrowed. “She’s also an extremely powerful witch. She stays chained.”

“Bastard.” I kicked off my clown shoes and stepped into the arena. “

pretiosa materia mox
.” My sword flew into my hand. “Let’s do this.”

Fabian saluted me with his sword. “To first blood.”

“What? Wait a minute. You nick me and game over?”

Fabian smirked. “Yes.”

“Can he do that, Grams?”

“Unfortunately, you challenged him. He can set the boundaries of the contest,”


“Well, that sucks.”

“En garde.” Fabian lunged at me.

I blocked his attack, parrying thrust after thrust.

The man-whore suddenly went into his bump-and-grind routine, complete with

body roll, pelvic thrust, and butt shake. What made it worse was he did it without

missing a beat in our swordplay.


“Not working.” I sneered, trying to ignore his fine ass.

He flashed me a grin. “Oh, I think it is. Your panties are wet.”

How could he possibly know that?

Our blades clashed. Fabian leaned in and whispered, “What color are your


I brought my knee up.

“Naughty.” The man-whore shoved me back with a laugh.

“Fucktard.” My sword flashed out, and Fabian barely deflected the blow. For

what seemed to be an eternity I parried, blocked, and parried again. My muscles began

to quiver and sweat poured down my face. My agility was no match for his brute

strength and ferocity with a sword.

“Getting tired, tesoro? Surrender, and we’ll spend the rest of the day in bed.”

I literally saw red. It was my life he was messing with. I slashed out viciously.

With a balanced backward leap, Fabian evaded my attempt to disembowel him.

“It’s time to end this farce.”

His relentless blade forced me back. It was like being attacked by a lethal

windmill. I feinted, cut, and riposted.

I felt a burning sting in my right hand.
Fabian had drawn first blood.

A powerful jolt rattled the bleachers.

“Holy crap! An earthquake?”

“It’s something more.” A frown creasing his forehead, Fabian lowered his sword

and surveyed the tent.

Oh, thank God he had stopped. I wiped the sweat out of my eyes. Challenging

Fabian to a duel had been a huge mistake. Screw ethics. The only way to beat him was

to cheat. Under my breath I chanted, “
Potuero succinte
—” Cold steel was abruptly

pressed against my throat.

“Use your magic and you forfeit the match.”


“Wouldn’t dream of it. I’m having way too much fun.” I gulped.

Fabian laughed. “Liar. You’re at the end of your strength.”

“Am I? Admit it. You didn’t think I would last more than five minutes.”

“Your skill with a sword does make you a valuable asset to my clan.” Fabian

cupped the back of my neck, and his warm mouth closed over mine in a hard,

possessive kiss.

A tsunami of sensations washed over me. Desire. Need. An elemental knowledge

that Fabian was mine. He
the other half of my soul. No! I broke the kiss and stepped

back. My thoughts spun wildly. What was wrong with me? Had I lost my mind? I

pushed his sword away. “This can’t happen.”

“It already has. You’re mine, and you know it.”

The ground shook violently. A crack appeared in the dirt, and the tent swayed


“What the fuck?” Another tremor knocked me off my feet. It didn’t feel like a

normal earthquake. The stench of evil filled the air.

“A demon has breached a seal,”
Grams advised.

“Who has the power to do that?”

“Asmoday, serpent king of the Ninth Hell.”

“What does it want?”

Grams responded sharply,
“Maybe it’s hungry or looking for a virgin.”

Raw panic twisted my stomach. I didn’t know the first thing about fighting

“I’m not ready for this.”

“If you don’t stop it here, thousands will die,”
Grams said sharply.

And it would be my fault. I took a deep breath. Then another. And another. I was

a slayer. I could do this. I just needed some chocolate.
of chocolate. I pulled a candy

bar out of a pocket, tore off the wrapper, and crammed it in my mouth.

Fabian yanked me upright. “Are you insane? A demon’s coming.”


I chewed frantically and nodded.

He asked suspiciously, “Did you summon the demon to escape?”

Rolling my eyes, I kept chewing and flipped him the bird.

Fabian grabbed my bleeding hand. “First blood. I won the challenge.”

The earth shuddered.

Wow. Hell was about to pay us a visit, and he wanted to gloat? I swallowed the

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