Marked by Shadow excerpt

Excerpt:

marked by shadowSomeone came through the door, so Nathan made his way around the racks to see who it was, expecting it to be Stephanie. It wasn’t. It was a guy he had never seen before.

“Can I help you?”

“Yeah, you can,” the guy said with an accent and moved toward Nathan. Five feet short, the guy pulled a gun and Nathan’s mind just reacted, making his body explode into a series of quick maneuvers to disarm the man before he punch-kicked him into a wall. The guy looked absolutely shocked and scrambled to get up.

“Stay down,” Nathan said, holding the gun as he had seen cops do on TV. It felt foreign in his hands. The door opened and Nathan jumped, thinking the guy had backup, but it was Stephanie. She first noticed the guy on the floor as the door almost hit his legs.

“What the hell is going on?”

“Get in here, close the door!” Nathan shrieked. She did, confused, and finally, she noticed the gun in his hand.

“Nathan, what are you doing?”

“He came in here and pulled this in my face, I have no idea who he is!” Nathan looked at the foreign thing in his hands and found it frustrating to hear how high pitched his voice sounded.

“Give it to me,” she said and reached for the gun. He handed it over, feeling more comfortable using his body as a weapon. Not that it was any good against a gun outside of a leg’s reach. She turned while checking the clip, looking like she had done this many times. She then pointed the gun at the man. “Start talking, buster! Why are you here, pulling a gun on my assistant curator?”

“He knows,” the man said and pulled up his sleeve, revealing an embedded bracelet.

“Same tattoo? That’s it?”

“Oh, he knows it is not just a tattoo,” the man sneered. Nathan looked at his watch, then around the shadow filled room. In the back were some old soft glow lamps on tripods. “And he knows what the time is, too.”

“Shut up! Unless you’re gonna say something useful,” Stephanie said, glancing Nathan’s way.

“How the hell do you know about guns?” Nathan asked, hauling the tripods into place.

“I grew up in Texas, IDPA.”

“What’s that?”

“It means International Defensive Pistol Association. It means I can shoot the dick off an ant from the length of this room.”

“Wow,” Nathan muttered while getting the last tripod into position and plugged it into the extension cord. He flipped the switch and stood in the middle of the lights, checking for shadows. There were none. “Okay, back into this circle, Stephanie.”

“Why?”

“Because once the sun goes down we want to be out of the way. This room is gonna be transformed into a fighting arena.”

She looked at him puzzled but did as he said, still holding the gun at the guy. He stayed in his seated position, smiling.

“Hope you trained yours well. I know I did.”

“Lucien, are you ready to jump the other Shadow?” He immediately felt the draft and there was eagerness in it.

“Lucien? As in your boyfriend?” Stephanie asked.

“Yeah…back to back here. Don’t, and I repeat, don’t shoot the handsome, naked, dark-haired guy.”

“Naked? Where?”

“In ten, nine…” the guy began.