I’ve been sick for a couple of years and didn’t get any writing done. At least not in the physical sense, but I worked through this story and have gotten more than half way through my rewrite. Here is a little of it.

Texas, Present Day

The darkness held no sign of life. At least not human life. Memphis’ muscles tensed as a cold breeze flew past her.

Her lips twitched in pleasure as tingles of electrical current slithered from the nape of her neck, down her spine, and caught fire at the clawed fist of the griffin which started appearing on her hip after her first kill. The image had started out as what she’d believed was a birthmark in the shape of an eye, but over the years it had spread into the griffin. With each kill, another element of the beast appeared.

Laughter erupted on all sides of her and she braced for battle, her hand on the hilt of the short dagger sheathed on her thigh. Just as the first shadow shifted into a crouch, a strong, lightly calloused hand grasped hers and pulled her at top speed out of the dark alley.

She tried dragging her feet, but the body attached to the hand must have been solid muscle, outweighing her by at least fifty pounds.

“Let go.” She yanked her hand, but only managed to have the hold tightened. Memphis knew not to pull against the hand but push into it, but at the angle she was currently in, she couldn’t do that.

“Don’t be stupid,” the deep, masculine voice said, sending a purely sensual shiver through her body. He stopped long enough to look over his shoulder at her and say, “Little girls shouldn’t play in dark alleys,” and he was tugging her behind him again.

Giving in to the knowledge that she couldn’t very well fight with this idiot-turned-hero, she raced with him into what seemed to be an abandoned building, up a flight of stairs, through a hall, and back down another flight. Flinging open the door, back into the night and on the street, they ran for a few miles before a click sounded in the silent night air and a car door slung open.

“Get in,” the deep voice yelled.

Working on keeping her cool, Memphis slumped into the passenger seat of a very clean, very sleek sports car. Mr. Grab-Women-Out-Of-Dark-Alleys hit speeds near eighty miles per hour as he made his way through the sleepy streets of Austin. Working to find some sort of gratitude that might displace her anger, Memphis sank back into the leather seat and, by the lights of the console, studied the man. Dark hair, black as pitch, hung loosely over a high forehead and curled at his neck and around his ears. A square jaw, clenched in what seemed to be anger, added masculinity to high, defined cheekbones.

Her heart sputtered in her chest, caught in a frenzy of longing and fear, two feelings she had no use for. A normally brilliant mind blanked. He was beautiful. Not in a pretty, female way, but in a god-fallen-to-the-earth kind of way. And the sense of recognition stunned her. But how? If she’d ever laid eyes on him before, she’d have remembered. There wasn’t a woman alive who wouldn’t have a clear recollection of this strong man.

After what couldn’t have been more than minutes, he slowed and glanced at her. “What the hell where you doing out at this time of night?”

She raised a brow at the growl of anger in his voice and bit back a harsh laugh.

“Have you any idea how dangerous it is to walk around a place like that in the light of day, let alone on a moonless night?”

She stiffened at his use of the phrase ‘a place like that.’ Obviously, Rich Boy didn’t think her neighborhood was livable, but she had a good two bedroom apartment that met her needs just fine. If he thought this was bad, he should’ve seen some of the roach infested dwellings she’d laid her head over the years.

His slur didn’t deserve a response, so she turned and stared out the window. A low rumble echoed through the car and Memphis could feel the searing heat of his anger as if it were something solid. Her own anger stirred and before she let it spew, she bit her tongue and focused on where she was and where they were heading. Although why she sat there and said nothing was beyond her. Under normal circumstances, she would have fought tooth and nail.

She glanced at him again and realized she felt safe with him, which made no sense, seeing as how Mr. Macho was all but kidnapping her. Forget the fact that he was dragging her away from Night Shadows. Not that he would have seen them. So why drag her away?

The city had given way to suburbs, the single family homes yielding to grand estates of the wealthy. What a shock that the man driving a car probably costing more than her childhood home lived here. The gated, white brick house sat back on what had to be five acres of land and had an honest-to-goodness statue of two fairies, one boy, one girl, playing in a fountain of water in front.

Memphis rolled her eyes. “You’re kidding, right? You live here?”

He shot her a heated glare, but didn’t respond. Instead, he pulled in front, killed the engine, and climbed out. As he skirted the hood, Memphis opened her door and stepped out onto a cobbled stone drive lit up with solar lights that surrounded the long drive and the fountain.

He grabbed her hand and tugged her up the wide steps, over a tiled porch, and through a mahogany door that slammed behind them. He then pushed her against a wall and typed a code into a keypad. She opened her mouth to protest his manhandling, considering she’d taken things so well up to this point, but he covered her mouth with his open palm and growled. “Just shut up.”

Memphis hadn’t said but a few words to the Neanderthal in the half hour of their acquaintance. She’d let him drag her away from a group of Night Shadows she’d trailed for over an hour, one of whom had been stalking her her whole life, and now he was telling her to shut up. Not likely.

Her steel-toed boot slammed down on his foot as she jabbed an elbow into his kidney. His hand fell away, but he didn’t crumble, or even bend over for that matter; he gripped her wrist, spun her around and smashed her into the brick wall.

“Oh, hell no,” she yelled, banging the back of her head into his mouth.

His curse was vicious and loud as he swept her legs, flipping her to her back before ramming her against the hardwood floor. “I. Was. Trying. To. Help. You.” His voice was low as he drawled out the words, a hint of Irish behind the Texan accent.

The room was suddenly filled with light and a clear Irish, masculine voice thundered, “What the bloody hell is going on here?”