Shadowstorm (The Storm Chronicles Book 4)

By: Skye Knizley

For the friends that have stood by me, no matter what.





Forget what you think you know about the world. There is another world, a darker world where true evil exists; vampires, lycans, demons, the bogeyman, all the things that go bump in the night walk among you, rub shoulders with you…and feed on you.

I'm something different. I was born to a pureblood vampire and a human man. I have a bloodsucker's strength and almost none of their weaknesses. They call me dhampyr, or day walker. And that's when they're being nice. I'm a police detective for the Chicago Police, Homicide division. This is my city. When things go bump in the night, I'm the one who bumps back.

I am the Night.

I am Raven Storm.





OLD TOWN, CHICAGO


SPRING 1984





BLOOD RAN IN THICK RIVULETS, pooling in the gutter and running south toward Old Town, a black cherry waterfall that signaled the death of Emma Smith. And she hadn’t died easily. She lay in the shadow of St. Michael’s Church in Old Town, her ribs shattered and glistening in the morning light. Several strange symbols had been written in blood next to her arm and her body had been covered in dozens of black rose petals. She was the second this month.

Mason Storm squatted next to the symbols, almost motionless in the dawn light. His only movement was the rise and fall of his chest and his eyes as he examined the scene. Captain Bloom had called him an hour before and taken him away from a half-empty bottle of Scotch and some cop movie he couldn’t remember. Even so, he was immaculate in dark jeans and a red tee-shirt. His badge hung on a chain around his neck and his silvered Automag pistol rested comfortably under his right arm, as much a part of him as his silver beard and swept-back black hair.

The big man glared at the victim as if she could get up and tell him her secrets, his emerald green eyes narrowed to slits. After a time, he straightened and looked at the forensics technician, a new guy named Ming somethingorother.

“You get a liver temp yet?” he asked. “Come on, kid, what are you waiting for?”

Ming Zhu blinked. “I was waiting for you to finish, Detective, you told me to stay out of the way.”

“I’m done, do your thing,” Storm replied.

He stood aside to let Ming get to work, then picked up the pile of neatly folded clothing and placed it on the hood of his car, a sterling grey 1967 Shelby he’d had since it was new. The clothes included a pair of acid washed jeans thickened with blood, a lipstick-pink bustier top, matching pink thong and stiletto heels so tall they could have been mistaken for stilts. In her tiny purse he found two-hundred dollars in small bills, a ticket stub to a cinema outside of town and a tube of lip balm. The only other items were her driver’s license and a silver cross, currently being processed with her body.

“What the hell is a girl like you doing so far from home?” he wondered.

Storm folded the clothes up and put them into an evidence envelope along with the purse. The kid could take it back and run it for any trace evidence, though he doubted they would get anything useful off of Emma’s clothes.

When he was through he looked over his shoulder at Ming, who was struggling to get the woman’s temperature without touching anything. The kid’s tongue was sticking out of the corner of his mouth, a sign of finite concentration.

“Hey, kid, see if Dudley can get me a tox screen. I know it’s asking a lot of the lab, but I want to know if the victim had anything unusual in her system.”

“Unusual?” Ming asked.

“Yeah. See if she was drugged with anything,” Storm replied.

Ming looked blank. “Why?”

Storm glared at the smaller man. His look said everything.

“Of course, Detective,” Ming said. “Sorry.”

Storm watched the young technician work for another beat then turned away. On the other side of the yellow tape a patrolman named Reid was keeping early rubberneckers at bay. Storm moved next to him and glared at the growing crowd.

“Reid, right?” he asked.

“Yes, sir,” the young man replied.

“Who did the canvas?”

“I did, sir, it’s all down in my report,” Reid replied.

He was still watching the crowd and Storm thought he looked a little green around the gills.

“Pretend I really don’t want to read your report right now,” Storm said. “Forget the rubber necks and give me the highlights. Who found her?”

Reid looked away from the crowd and pulled a notepad from his shirt pocket. “It was reported at 4:13 this morning by Ricky Themis, a cabbie. He was returning from dropping a fare a few blocks away when he saw the candles. I arrived at 4:22, secured the body and took his statement. Forensics arrived at about five and then you.”

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