She wasn’t human. And if he wasn’t mistaken, there was just a hint of something sharp revealing itself when she spoke. Vampire? Akyri? She felt like both and neither. Not that it mattered. All that mattered to Lazarus at that point in time was getting her out of that warehouse and to some safer, less conspicuous place where they could be alone.
But now he was staring down at the animal standing between them. It was a dog of all things, and one that was obviously ready to rip his leg off. Dogs weren’t something he would have pegged as a companion for a creature like the stranger before him. Dragons maybe. Or some sort of unicorn-bunny-kitten mix. Something sparkly, at the very least, with really big eyes. Not mutt dogs. And he was pretty sure this one had fleas.
Confusion joined the vexation of his growing impatience. He forced himself to remain calm. “A friend of yours?” he asked, looking back up. Locking eyes on her was like an immediate reward. But the dog’s growl intensified.
The woman’s brow furrowed. She blinked as if she were coming out of something, and his fight or flight instincts kicked in. He prepared to do the former because he was afraid she would do the latter.
“Yes,” she suddenly said, and her expression changed. Fierceness slipped into her eyes, and her jaw set. She looked from the dog back up to him, and as she did so, she placed her hand lovingly on the dog’s head. The animal let out a soft whine, licked its lips once, then slid back into warning mode, baring its teeth at Lazarus. “So if you don’t mind, we’ll be leaving now,” she asserted.
Laz’s attention spiked. “Oh, I won’t argue with that,” he said.
She would be leaving, just not without him.
- The Demon King, by Heather Killough-Walden
Coming summer, 2016