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Authors: Myla Jackson

BodySnatchers

Body Snatchers

Myla Jackson

 

Elite Paranormal Investigative Agent Reggie Gallagher hates
vampires. After thirteen beautiful women are kidnapped off the streets of
Houston, Reggie and her sister set themselves up as bait to catch the
kidnappers. The mission goes sour, her sister vanishes and Reggie is surrounded
by a rabid pack of vampires only to be rescued by the most desirable vam she’s
ever encountered. Captivated by his incredible magnetism, Reggie can’t deny her
body’s response to Yuri’s nearness. When the sexy beast insists on providing
protection and assistance in finding the missing women, Reggie can’t refuse.

After the woman he loved turned Yuri Kovac into a vampire
four hundred years ago, he swore he’d never trust another woman with his heart.
Then he saves a sensuous hellcat from a band of vicious vampires only to find
himself mesmerized by her curvaceous body, hot temper and fierce love for her
family. Together, Yuri and Reggie seek Reggie’s missing sister and face down
the evil behind the disappearances while fighting their growing attraction for
each other.

 

An Ellora’s Cave Romantica
Publication

www.ellorascave.com

 

 

 

Body Snatchers

 

ISBN 9781419932113

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Body Snatchers Copyright © 2010 Myla
Jackson

 

Edited by Mary Moran

Cover art by Syneca

 

Electronic book Publication December
2010

 

The terms Romantica® and Quickies®
are registered trademarks of Ellora’s Cave Publishing.

 

With the exception of quotes used in
reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any
means existing without written permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave
Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.

 

Warning: The unauthorized
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Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary
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of the author’s rights is appreciated.

 

This book is a work of fiction and
any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely
coincidental. The characters are productions of the authors’ imagination and
used fictitiously.

Body Snatchers

Myla Jackson

Trademarks Acknowledgement

 

The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark
owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:

Dumpster: Dempster Brothers, Inc.

Enter the Matrix
: Time Warner Entertainment Company,
L.P. Warner Communications Inc.

Hummer: AM General Corporation

 

Chapter One

 

Reggie Gallagher ducked behind the last in a row of Dumpsters
and braced her hands on her knees, dragging in huge gulps of air. Sweat ran
down the side of her face, and the black ribbed tank top she wore clung to her
breasts. The coastal humidity and heat acted like a steam bath even when she
was standing still. For the moment, all she could hear was the ragged gasps of
her breath wheezing in and out of her straining lungs. And despite the retched
stench of the waste beside her, she welcomed the respite from the chase.

Where was Madison? She’d been right behind Reggie until now.

The quiet of the alley was broken when pounding footsteps
entered and raced toward her.

Risking a stealthy glance around the hard metal corner of
the Dumpster, Reggie confirmed the runner, and she reached out to snag her and
pull her in beside her.

“Can’t…stop.” Madison bent low, her shoulders heaving with
the effort to fill her oxygen-starved lungs.

“Breathe,” Reggie ordered, and tapped the miniature headset
positioned inside her ear like a hearing aid. “Where the hell are Jordan and
Mike?”

“It’s…as…if…they disappeared.” Madison sucked in air and
gushed, “Ah, shit! I can’t breathe. I don’t know if those guys saw me turn down
here, but they can’t be far behind.”

“Then let’s go.” Reggie shot another glance around the
corner of the Dumpster. The alley was empty. She waited another second and then
grabbed her sister’s hand, pulling her along behind her.

“There!” The shout of one of their pursuers echoed off the
brick of the multistory structures rising up from their concrete foundations.
The buildings spread over entire blocks, channeling Reggie and Madison through
the worst part of Houston, leaving few places to hide or take cover. How had
the mission gone south so fast? Where was their backup?

“They’ll catch us at this rate,” Madison shouted between
gasps. “Gotta split up.”

“No!” But before Reggie could tighten her grip, her younger
sister pulled free and swung left, sprinting west, away from the downtown area.

Reggie glanced back at the group of six men closing in
behind her. If she played her hand right, they’d follow her and leave Madison
alone. The fastest runner on the team at the Paranormal Investigative Agency,
she could outrun every man, except perhaps the boss. Tanner was made of iron
and muscles. No one could outrun, out gun or outsmart him.

But if she wanted to live, Reggie had better make it her
goal to beat all of his records and then some. She just hoped the hell Madison
got away.

Summoning every last ounce of energy, she punched out,
running straight for two blocks to ensure the bad boys behind her wouldn’t
branch off and pursue her sister. Just as she was about to veer east, a shot
rang out and something hard and fast slammed against her left shoulder,
spinning her around so quickly she crashed into the brick corner of an office building.

Surprise numbed the pain for the first five seconds until
her heart resumed function, kicking her blood through her body and out the
ragged exit wound in the front of her shoulder. Her stomach lurched, and the
pale glow of the streetlamps dimmed. No. She couldn’t pass out.
Not now.
Have to run. Have to get farther away from Madison.

As fog crept in around her peripheral vision, Reggie rounded
the corner she’d been aiming for and set off at a swift jog, her pace slowing
more each time her heels hit the pavement.

No. This couldn’t happen. She would not be another one of
the victims she risked her life to protect. No way would the gang members or
bloodsuckers take her down as they’d done her father.

Heartless bastards! All of them.

Although Tanner said there were good vamps out there, Reggie
had it firmly in her mind that the only good vampire was a dead vampire. She
repeated the words like a cadence, motivating her legs to keep pumping and her
feet to continue moving away from her attackers.

“The only good vampire is a—” With only half a block between
her and the six men, she reached the end of the street and swung a hard right,
running into a solid wall of steel. Her forehead made contact and then her
chest, knocking what little air was left from her lungs. The force of the
collision made her bounce backward, her head snapping up. With no air to
sustain breathing and her vision blurred, the ground sucked her downward. As
her knees buckled, her mouth completed her sentence. “Dead vampire.”

“I like to think of it as the living dead.” A deep voice
with one of those guttural and incredibly sexy foreign accents filled her
senses, and strong arms reached out to catch her before she hit the pavement.

Her brain, cloudy from blood and oxygen loss, Reggie was
thankful for the strength of the man in front of her. But she had to get away.
Those men would catch up and do who knew what to her. How the hell had the
ambush they’d set up for the gang turned into a trap for her and Madison? Where
was the rest of her team?

The gang had been waiting for them as if they knew she and
Madison were the bait and they’d be alone. How had they known? The entire
situation stank. Could there be a snitch on the inside at PIA? Would Reggie and
Madison end up missing like the thirteen young women to date?

Bullshit.

She and Madison weren’t victims. They were the good guys,
sworn to catch the filthy scum taking advantage of lone women.

Reggie struggled against the vise grip holding her chest to
chest with the stranger. When she tried to right herself, her head swam and her
knees refused to engage enough to hold her upright.

“Let me go,” she said with more bravado than conviction that
she could stand on her own once released.

He chuckled, his chest vibrating against hers. “If I do,
you’ll fall.”

Footsteps rang out on the streets behind her, and her body
stiffened. “Let me go!” No matter how strong this guy was, he couldn’t go
against six men and hope to win. For that matter, Reggie didn’t know if he
wasn’t one of them. Had she run right into the enemy?

The men rounded the corner and skidded to a stop, their
leader at the front—Cesar Dominguez, a man Reggie knew from the mug shots on
file at the agency and the snake-dragon tattoo on his right arm. He carried a
9mm pistol and had it pointed at the man holding her.

That settled one question in Reggie’s numb mind. Her rescuer
wasn’t one of the gang she’d set out to capture. She would have sighed her
relief, but she still didn’t know who the hell he was.

“Let me have her and I won’t shoot you,” Cesar said,
stepping forward.

Her captor paused, not like a hesitation but as if to make
sure his answer was understood. “No.” A single word—no negotiation and no
compromise.

Reggie could like a guy like this if she wasn’t so uncertain
of his alliance. Anyone as incredibly gorgeous and sexy, with an accent that
could melt metal, had to be a bad guy. What had he said to her? He liked to
consider it living dead? What the hell had he meant by that? Thoughts swirled
around inside her head like melting whipped cream in a stirred latte. Why
couldn’t she focus?

Could it be the gallon of blood she’d lost running down the
street? Reggie trained her blurry gaze on Cesar and clung to sexy man’s chest
to keep from slipping to the ground.

“If you don’t turn her loose, then you die.” He pointed the
weapon at the dark man’s chest.

Before Cesar could squeeze the trigger, tall-dark-and-sexy
dropped his hold on Reggie, smacked the gun from Cesar’s hand so hard it flew
high overhead and crashed through a window. And he was back so fast he caught
Reggie before her knees gave out.

“What the fuck?” Cesar shook his empty hand, his eyes wide.

“My friend Yuri is a show-off,” another voice said from
behind them.

So her captor’s name was Yuri. Reggie leaned her head back
to peer around the man holding her up, which proved to be a big mistake as the
world spun several times before it settled in place.

An even taller man, towering well above six feet, stood
behind her guy, wearing a black muscle shirt and black jeans. Where her captor
was as dark as a moonless night, this new man was a vision of light. White hair
fell to his shoulders, and his pale blue eyes shown in the limited glow from
the nearby streetlamps. He was beautiful and built like a Norse god, with
muscles bulging beneath the scrap of a shirt.

Even if she hadn’t lost a gallon of blood, Reggie might have
swooned over these guys. “Where do they come up with guys like you and your
buddy here?” Was that her voice, the one that sounded like a drunken sailor?
Her head lolled and her vision blurred.

No. She wouldn’t pass out. Good PIA agents didn’t crap out
on the job. No sir. “I’m a good agent,” she muttered, and struggled to keep her
head upright.

“I’m sure you are,” Yuri said soothingly. “But could you
shut up for a moment?”

“No way to treat a lady,” she pouted, and leaned her head
against the soft jersey of the black T-shirt he wore, liking the feel of all
that muscle beneath her cheek. She could fall asleep cradled as she was in his
arms if her shoulder wasn’t aching so badly.

“Do you boys need more convincing?” Yuri called out.

Reggie’s head jerked up, and she glared across at Cesar and
his gang of thugs. “Yeah, what he said.” If she weren’t so dizzy from blood
loss and knocking into this man named Yuri, she’d get her ass in gear and fight.

“Please.” Yuri frowned at her. “I can handle this.”

“Just trying to help.”

“I don’t need your help,” Yuri said.

“Too bad.” She pushed away from him and faced Cesar. “You’d
better slither back into the gutter you crawled out of or you’ll be the one to
die, punk.”

“Could you have been a little more inflammatory?” Yuri
asked.

Reggie glanced back at Yuri. The twinkle in his eye was too
engaging, and if her shoulder wasn’t hurting so badly, she might be tempted to
ask for his number when they were done kicking Cesar’s ass. “I aim to inflame.”

“Seems you hit your mark. Let’s hope he doesn’t hit his.”
The twinkle left Yuri’s eyes as Cesar slid a knife out of his pocket and
clicked it open.

Reggie’s heart leaped at the glint of steel flashing in the
glare of a streetlight, instantly regretting her taunting words. With a knife
that big and ugly, someone was bound to get hurt. She hoped to hell it wasn’t
Yuri. It would be a shame to scar any part of his handsome face.

With a wave of his knife, Cesar motioned his minions
forward, and they circled Reggie, Yuri and the Norse god.

Blondie laughed out loud, his mirth booming off the high
rises. “Do they really think they can frighten us?”

“You’re not doing much to persuade them otherwise, my
friend.” Yuri’s lips twisted.

“Then let me demonstrate since you seem to have your hands
full.” He flexed his muscles and stalked the man nearest him.

“Thank you,” Yuri said, his voice dripping sarcasm.

Apparently these guys knew each other well. Reggie watched
in utter amazement as the Norse god proved he was god worthy and lifted the man
off his feet with one hand and tossed him twenty feet. And he didn’t even grunt
or break a sweat.

Swaying slightly on her feet, Reggie wished Yuri was holding
her steady. He’d seemed so solid and strong. As if he could read her mind, his
arm snaked around her middle, and she gladly leaned into him. She never leaned
on people. Why did she want to now? Maybe she was already unconscious and this
was all a really weird dream.

Cesar lunged at Yuri, slicing the wicked knife through the
air. Yuri dodged neatly, shielding Reggie from the deadly blade. “If you’re
through over there, I could use a hand here,” he called out over his shoulder.

“Just cleaning up the little ones. You can handle him for a
minute, can’t you?”

Reggie couldn’t believe these guys. She and Madison had
high-tailed it out of Dodge when they realized their backup had flown the coop
and left them holding the trap by themselves, six to two. Not good odds when
the six were mean-looking, tattoo-bearing thugs. But Yuri and his Norse-god
friend hadn’t even batted an eyelash.

Yuri shifted her to his left arm. Cesar took advantage of
Yuri’s distraction and shot forward, plunging his knife into Yuri’s gut.

“Ha!” Cesar said. “Not as great as you thought you were, are
you?”

Yuri glanced down at his belly as blood stained his shirt.
Then he looked at her as if annoyed. “Pardon me for a moment.”

He stood her on her own and then turned to Cesar. “You’ve
irritated me long enough, human.”

Reggie’s knees buckled, and she dropped to the pavement, the
jolt sending pain slicing through her injured shoulder. Though the pain made
her see squiggly bright lights in the darkness of the night, she tried to prop
herself in a sitting position with her good arm.

Yuri lifted Cesar off the ground and flung him ten yards to
the south as if he weighed little more than a sack of sugar. How did he do
that?

Some things about Yuri and his Norse friend weren’t adding
up. What had he called Cesar? Human? And they were both incredibly strong. She
stared at the cut in his belly as he dusted his hands off. It wasn’t bleeding
anymore.

A cold chill shivered across Reggie’s skin. Something wasn’t
clicking, but her head was too fuzzy to make sense of it.

Damn! Reggie slumped back to the hard black surface of the
street. At least Yuri and the Norse god were handling Cesar. She didn’t have
the strength nor could she see straight enough to do anything but lie back and
watch the show.

And it was a terrific kick-butt event, with Yuri and the
Norseman tossing thugs like firewood. She’d have to remember to thank them for
the entertainment when she felt more herself. And maybe get the man’s number.
He was a man a girl could sink her teeth into and so vigorous, he’d probably be
great in bed. What a babe.

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