Home > Belador Cosaint (Belador #9)

Belador Cosaint (Belador #9)
Author: Dianna Love

Chapter 1

Quinn moved with stealth toward a rusty railroad trestle ten feet high, which spanned a narrow creek feeding straight into the Chattahoochee River on Atlanta’s west side. The trickle of water barely qualified it as a creek.

He held up a hand for Devon, the Belador warrior following him, to wait a moment. His other teammates, Evalle and Tristan, were approaching along the river from the other side of the railway. He had to give credit to the murdering trolls.

They’d chosen well for a hideout.

They’d have remained hidden, too, if they hadn’t started killing adults and kidnapping children.

Giving Devon a hand signal, Quinn continued on, preparing to insert his team and rescue kidnapped human teenagers from dangerous preternaturals.

It would be simpler if Quinn and his people didn’t have to hide whatever happened from humans in the area.

Rush hour traffic had started hours ago, but still slogged along the interstate fifty yards away where six lanes crossed the river.

At least now it was dark. Between that and today being Monday, he had less chance of his team getting seen by some sporting enthusiast floating down the Hooch, as this part of the river was known locally. On the other hand, the city was enjoying warm temperatures for early April. Some adventuresome spring breaker might decide to get wet.

Eyeing the trestle ahead, Quinn shook his head. What had triggered this insane action?

The local trolls had to be out of their minds to harm any human, but to go after families of Belador warriors was suicidal. Beladors had even stopped a preternatural who’d been killing trolls last year.

Relations had been pretty decent, until now.

In the latest attack at a midtown home, a mother had been found dead, mangled, and her two teenagers missing. That made five attacks in two days.

Three dead and a total of eight teenagers taken.

So far.

Those two words twisted his gut. No child should fear being kidnapped.

What about my child? Who is watching over her?

Quinn’s chest tightened with pain. Weeks of searching for a child he’d learned of only recently, and he’d turned up nothing. He had a duty to save these teenagers first, then he’d go right back to hunting Phoedra.

Devon tapped his shoulder.

Quinn turned to see what the Cajun wanted.

Evalle and Tristan were Alterants, mixed-blood Beladors, with bright green eyes they hid behind dark sunglasses, but they had natural night vision.

Like Quinn, Devon was a full-blooded Belador with supernatural powers, but they had to utilize night vision monoculars. Quinn looked down to where Devon had located four-toed footprints heading toward the dark underpass. Each toe had a deep claw mark.

That confirmed the intel.

Nodding, he turned to move ahead. He and his team had finally gotten a break on today’s heinous crime, which led them to this location.

Good thing since Storm wouldn’t be back until later this evening. Evalle’s Skinwalker mate could track any scent, even a preternatural one, in his human form or as a black jaguar. He’d been in Roanoke, Virginia, for the last twenty-four hours helping a short-handed Belador team dealing with similar attacks there.

Six hours had passed since a Belador father here in Atlanta, just off patrol, had walked into his house expecting to find his family getting ready for a spring break trip.

Instead, the Belador had found food scattered around the kitchen island, his wife ripped into pieces and his two children missing.

Quinn continued moving slowly toward the underpass.

His team was exceptional, but they were also friends he didn’t want to see harmed. As their Belador Maistir, he ordered people into danger all the time, but everything about these attacks said this was not a normal situation.

He did a mental eye roll at that thought.

Talk about an oxymoron.

Everything Beladors confronted fell under the heading of abnormal.

Reaching the spot where he and Devon were to watch for Evalle and Tristan, Quinn dropped into a crouch behind a small bush to scan the area. From the other side of the narrow rail bridge, Evalle removed her dark sunglasses, exposing her glowing green eyes. She blinked twice at Quinn to signal that she and Tristan were in place.

Quinn gave a hand signal of confirmation, then looked over his shoulder at Devon, who crouched close behind him. Quinn gave the signal to move out. Devon had limited telepathic ability, but the Cajun could move in this environment as silently as a lizard.

Speaking mind-to-mind would be simpler, but Quinn had been the one to caution against using telepathy unless they had no other choice.

Until recently, no one besides other Beladors or their Treoir rulers could communicate with a Belador telepathically. The one exception to this rule being select Beladors who could reach the VIPER liaison, Sen. But the Laochra Fola, an enemy group related to Beladors, had appeared in Atlanta recently with the ability to pick up their telepathic messages.

As if trolls weren’t enough to contend with?

Quinn opened his senses wide as he picked his way over rutted ground that deteriorated further every time foul weather drove the water hard through here.

He smelled rotting foliage, but no trash.

Another sign this had to be the right place.

Trolls kept the area leading to their nest free of human debris.

Dirt had been piled against one shoulder of the underpass.

Using his telekinetic ability, Quinn pushed gently at the loose earth. The dirt shifted aside easily, meaning it hadn’t been in that spot very long.

As he used his power to quietly clear dirt out of the way, a rough-cut, wooden covering five feet across and six feet tall came into view.

No hinges.

It should lift away, but what waited on the other side?

Cutting his eyes around, he signaled Evalle and Tristan to watch their backs.

Quinn motioned Devon into position on the opposite side of the wood covering.

Devon moved with Belador hyper-speed.

Since they were somewhat hidden, humans shouldn’t see anything unusual that happened down here unless this turned into a battle of power and majik that exploded in bright bursts.

Letting out a slow breath, Quinn lifted his hands and nodded at Devon, who mirrored his moves.

They each raised one side of the wood hatch by using kinetic power, and moved it an inch at a time until Devon took control of the cover and slipped it softly to the ground.

No one came flying out with a mouthful of sharp teeth, but trolls wouldn’t need to when they could wait in the perfect ambush spot.

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