Monday, September 7, 2015

Leonard Blood BrotherHood Series By Kathi S Barton Release Day 9/7/15

Leonard Earl wants no part of Rembrandt’s rag tag team of saviors. Before the cancer he’d been happy teaching children. But when the mysterious man in black shows up in his hospital room and heals him, he has no choice but to join the group. No one says he has to like it. 

Jamey has been on her own awhile. It doesn’t take her long to figure out she is different, and that the malefactors can’t change her into one of them. Since the malefactors have taken over her town, she spends her days picking them off with her bow and arrows, or delivering food and water to the remaining survivors. 

Jamey’s body is also a “host” to a dragon that has been with her for as long as she can remember. He protects her and keeps her safe…. The dragon is leading Jamey to the man he is destined to transfer to. He tells her together they will balance. Jamey is willing to take the dragon wherever he needs to go, but the man she wants no part of…. She will miss her friend. 

Leo is none too happy to find out that Jamey is bringing the dragon to him and the discovery that she is his mate. He’s already had a woman break his heart and wants no part of this mate business. He takes the dragon to save her life, but that’s where it ends…or does it? 

The malefactors are increasing in number and they need to stand together to defeat them. Jamey sees her chance and takes it to defeat their enemy. Will Leo make the ultimate sacrifice to save her? Find out in the next installment of Blood Brotherhood―Leonard. 

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Chapter 1
Waking to the sound of the alarm nearly had her screaming. CarolAnn turned the noisy thing off and lay there trying to remember why she’d set it. Then with a squeal, she jumped out of bed and ran to her closet. She was seeing the lawyer today.
Several weeks ago she’d gone to the hospital to have Leonard sign off on a will she’d had made for him, after not seeing him for a couple of weeks. She’d thought he’d be so close to death by then that he’d be drugged up and she could get him to do whatever she wanted. But he was gone. It took her several hours to get any information and was finally told that he’d left on his own several weeks ago. CarolAnn didn’t think that was right for some reason.
Picking out her dress with care, she made her way to the shower to get ready. Glad now that she’d contacted someone right away to get this settled, she was excited to see how much he’d left her. She knew that he’d had a change of heart by now and couldn’t wait to cash it in. There was no way that he’d leave her with nothing after all the time she’d spent with him before he became ill. There was no way he’d just leave her hanging.
CarolAnn hadn’t really wanted to marry Leonard in the first place. He’d been nice enough; great in bed, but he wasn’t rich. Not even close. And her plan had been to marry well and often. Leonard had been the only one of all the men she’d known to ask her, however, and she was getting tired of waiting around for the right man to come along. Then he’d gotten that fucking illness and had ruined everything. But there had to be insurance, and that would go a long way to helping her look good to potential husband material.
It had taken her over a week to decide that marrying Leo, after he’d told her that he was going to die, would be hard on her. She’d had someone look it up, this thing he’d let himself get, and the way he was going to die—because there was no way he’d not—was long and drawn out. And it would be consuming of her time. Who wanted to be married to a person that was going to be so sick and so weak that there would be nothing for them to do but to sit around and be together? She was young. Beautiful. And he was going to drag her away from her fun. That, of course, was why she wanted to marry anyway, to have fun without anyone thinking she was a whore.
Not for the first time she wondered where her staff was in the house that she had lived in since birth. Not that she had that many, but her sister usually came by at least twice a day to check on her and to pick up after her. CarolAnn knew that she owed Alice a great deal of money for her working for her, but she’d been in a slump and there wasn’t much to spend on things like domestic help. Besides, as her sister, she should be glad to do those things for her big sister and not get paid. Alice had nothing better to do than work anyway, and CarolAnn loved it when she came to her house and fussed with her pretty things.
Going out to her car, she was glad to see it sitting where she’d left it. Those bank people had called her several times over the last few weeks, and the last man had left
her a nasty message telling her that they were going to take it back should she not make arrangements to pay the five months she was behind.
“Like I have that sort of money. And even if I did, this car isn’t that nice anyway.” Smiling, she thought of all the things she was going to do with the insurance money. First and foremost, she was getting a new outfit. Then get her hair and nails done. Looking at the chipped polish she had on them now, she would have to remember to keep her hands hidden from Dillon. Her lawyer, Dillon Marshall, was someone on her list of very fuckable men that she wanted to marry.
Sitting in the waiting room to go back and talk to him, she decided that having a lawyer as a husband would open so many doors for her. She’d be the envy of everyone she knew and even people she didn’t know. The fact that he was married didn’t bother her very much. CarolAnn knew how to fuck that up too. When his secretary told her she could go back, she straightened her dress and moved toward the office.
The woman who had shown her in didn’t like her. There were all kinds of reasons why she shouldn’t, but right now CarolAnn didn’t really care. She supposed that she shouldn’t have been nasty to her on the phone the few times she’d called to talk to Dillon, but CarolAnn could find no earthly reason why she of all people shouldn’t be able to call Dillon at home. She was his most important client, CarolAnn had told her, and those kind of clients deserved his home number. When she entered his office, she was disappointed to find him not alone but with three other people.
“Have a seat, Miss Rivas. And before we begin, I want to inform you that this entire meeting is being recorded.” She smiled at him and told him again to call her by her first name. “This is my partner Marvin Foster, and this is Doctor Peter Gault. I think you know him. He was the man treating your fiancé. These men are here for two reasons. One, that we have witnesses to what I’m about to tell you. And they are experts in the case of Mr. Leo Earl. We have a few questions for you.”
Smiling broadly at them, she told them to go ahead. “His name is Leonard Earl, not Leo. That sounds too much like a dog or some animal. But I have to warn you, I’ve been away for some time on personal business. I don’t know where Leonard is buried or any of the details of his death. So if you have any of that information, I would greatly appreciate it.”
She’d not been anywhere really but hiding from bill collectors. Also, a few times she’d tried to follow Dillon home, but that had never worked out the way it seemed to always do in the movies. It was hard following someone.
Pulling out her hankie, she wiped delicately at her eyes, careful as always of her make-up and her hair. She might be a gold digger, but she was a pretty one and wanted to make sure that everyone could see that she took care of herself.
“Miss Rivas, Leo isn’t dead.” She looked around the room. Surely this was a joke. But the doctor nodded as he continued. “We had been giving him a great deal of pain meds up until the morning of the tenth, and when the nurse went in to check his vitals, she fully expected him to be…well, gone. But he was better. I mean, he was in perfect health other than some oddities with his temperature; but he’s not dead.”
“You’re not very nice. And that’s simply not possible. He told me that he was dying and that this cancer thing was going to kill him. You even told us that.” The doctor nodded and looked at the other two men. “What’s really going on here? Leonard is dead. I know that. You told me that he was going to die. He was leaving me his insurance. I’m here to collect on it. He would have left it all to me as his fiancée.”
“No. He didn’t leave you anything. Not even…there is a will, but we didn’t find any insurance policy. Not that anyone could collect on it, as he’s not passed away yet. But his will cannot be read until such time as a record of his death is made. And there isn’t one. As I have said, Leo Earl is not dead.” A paper was slid her way and she stared at it without reading as her lawyer continued. “That is a copy of the discharge papers that were given to Leo the day he left the hospital. As you can see, that’s his signature at the bottom. As well as that of his doctor and the attending nurse. They all signed—”
“No, Leonard is dead.” Dillon shook his head and then the other guy started talking. She cut him off by slamming her hand down on the table that they were seated at. “I don’t want to hear about the miracle of his recovery. There is no recovery for him. He is dead. And as such, he left me his money. Now if you think this is funny, I assure you that it’s not. Give me my money and I’ll forget about you and me becoming man and wife. I no longer think that we’d be suited.”
“You and I are never going to be…I’ve gone over this with you before, Miss Rivas. I’m married…happily; and there is no us. There is no money because he didn’t die to have any insurance policy validated. And in the event that you don’t understand, had he had an insurance policy—which again, he did not—you could not collect on it because he is not dead.” CarolAnn stood up and the door behind her opened and closed. Dillon stood as well. “Miss Rivas, these men are going to help you out. We’re finished here.”
“No. We will be finished when I say so. And I want my money. Every penny of it.” Someone touched her from behind. Jerking from the hands that touched her, she leaned on the table. “Get your fucking checkbook and pay me. Now, damn it. I’m not fucking around here.”
Before she could say anything else, CarolAnn found herself on the floor. The man that was holding her down was pushing her head down so hard she felt the fibers in the carpet cut into her face. And trying to get up did no good; she was down where he wanted her. After a few minutes she was helped up, but she wasn’t able to do anything but what they directed her to do, and that was to move toward the door. A man on either side of her held her arms so that she couldn’t reach out and slap the piss right out of Dillon and the other men. This was just not fair.
As soon as she was on the sidewalk, she was let go. Her purse was handed to her, as were her keys and jacket. CarolAnn tried to muscle her way back in but only succeeded in messing up her hair. This was not the way she had envisioned her day.
She was walking to the parking garage when she saw her car leaving it on the back of a flat-bedded truck.
“Wait, that’s my car.” The man only nodded at her and told her to move. CarolAnn stepped in front of the slow-moving truck when he stopped at a stop sign. “You can’t just take my car. How the hell will I get around?”
“Lady, I don’t care if you have to walk to the end of the earth from now on. Get your fat ass out of my way and let me get on with my job.” When he gunned the engine, she nearly screamed and then fell back. Standing up again didn’t stop him because he just drove around her. CarolAnn was still staring after her car when someone touched her on the shoulder.
“Miss Rivas?” CarolAnn nodded at the gorgeous man. “This is for you. And you’ve been served. Your eviction notice for your Maple Street residence has been duly served to you, and as of now, everything within the house is the property of the bank and will be sold at auction to try and recoup their losses.”
CarolAnn looked around. When she saw the law office she’d been in, she looked at the secretary standing there with Dillon. They were both laughing at her. And she knew in that moment that they’d done this…set her up so that she would lose everything. Going to the window, she pounded on it and was happy to see them back up.
“I’ll get you for this. See if I don’t.” They only laughed harder, and she flipped them off. Fuck them. She was going home and taking a nice long soak in her tub, then she would find Leonard. This was his fault. If he had just died like he said he was going to, then she’d be rich right now. CarolAnn had always prided herself on the fact that she got what she wanted. And Leonard’s insurance was it.
Pulling her bow to her cheek, she watched the man going into the little shop. Jamey had been sitting there for an hour, picking off the weird guys one at a time. It wasn’t really as much fun as it had been at first…now it was simply something to do. And lately there were a lot of weird things going on that she could see.
Letting the arrow slip through her fingers, she watched it nail the guy in the head. When he fell to the ground, Jamey pulled another arrow out and waited. There was little doubt that she’d have another target in no time. And as of the moment she had turned sixteen, she’d had more arrows than she could ever use, and her bow and quiver were always on her.
Jamey had been pretty good at archery for a long time. She’d first picked up the bow and arrow set that had belonged to her dad when she was about six. It had been way too big for her little body, but he’d gotten her one when she begged for over a month that she’d like to do it. Dad wasn’t really very keen on his little girl doing archery. He’d never been very good at it, he told her later, and he didn’t want her to fail at it too. But she’d been good, really good, and he’d taken her to all kinds of events after that.
She was a champ, and had won more trophies in her short career than most did in their entire life. After she’d won all the regions she could, gotten medal after medal in state competitions, she’d gone out for the big game. The Olympics.
But things had happened. Her coach was convicted of child pornography and she was questioned. Things went from her being on top of the world to her being thought of
as a lure for the man. He told the courts he’d used her, and that she had agreed to bring him children to play with. Jamey had been examined, prodded, and made to look like she’d done something wrong, terribly wrong. Her father, her biggest fan, had sent her out into the cold world and had killed himself. The shame, he told her in a note, had been more than he could handle. Then all of this started happening.
The first time she’d seen one of the weird people was the day of her dad’s funeral. She’d not been where anyone could see her at the graveside services…Jamey had caused her dad enough grief without showing up at his funeral too. But she’d seen him, the man standing so close to her aunt that she wanted to warn her. Then three days later her aunt was one of them too.
People all over the town were changing. Dogs and cats had been changed too, but they didn’t last as long as the people. Faded out children were running around and touching people until they too, were changed. The children lasted about as long as the animals, not having a clue of what to do to survive in a world that killed for the sake of killing. And through it all, Jamey had never been affected by the touch.
They had touched her too, lots of times and everywhere, until one day, out of the blue, they were afraid of her…terrified to the point where they would run screaming. Two such weirdos had even killed themselves when she’d cornered them to ask them what had changed. Soon after that she found the mark on her shoulder.
It was a sort of half dragon. The voice in her head had told her that it was his mark and that she’d have it forever. She knew that he was a dragon as well, the voice, but she’d never seen him. But he’d been with her since she’d been old enough to realize that she wasn’t alone in her body. He’d kept her company all these past years.
The woman coming out of the little shop made her pause. Jamey had seen her a few times over the last few weeks, coming and going out of different buildings close to here, and wondered why she hadn’t been approached by the weird people. A couple of times she’d been with a big guy, but mostly she was alone. Today, however, she came toward Jamey.
Jamey sat still. She was high enough in the tree that nothing would get to her until she got down. And the woman had no ladder or any other means of getting to her, so Jamey just waited. When the woman was beneath her, looking right up, Jamey looked back at her.
“Hello.” Not answering her, Jamey pulled another arrow from her quiver and held it ready. “You’re the one that has been picking off the malefactors, aren’t you?”
“Is that what they’re called?” The woman nodded. “I don’t bother the ones that are in color. Those I figure are okay. But that doesn’t mean I won’t kill anyone that tries anything.”
“You mean me.” It wasn’t a question, but Jamey nodded anyway. “Okay. Good to know. But I don’t want to bother you, not really. I’d like to offer you a job.”
“Sure you would. And you’ll pay me in gold doubloons and checks that’ll bounce so much I’ll be chasing them for a month. No thanks.” Another malefactor started for the shop and she killed him. The woman watched him fall over before looking up at her. “I’m just fine on my own. They don’t bother me and I kill as many as I can.”
“That’s what I do…we do. We’re a group of people trying our best to rid the world of these guys. I’d like to offer you a place to stay and a job. It pays with real money.” Another malefactor came down the street toward them. Jamey pulled another arrow out, but the woman lifted her hand and the thing just disappeared in a puff of white light. “I’m going to come up there to talk to you. I’m drawing too much attention just being down here.”
Before Jamey could tell her no, she sprouted wings and came up the side of the tree with a short burst of movement from them. Jamey moved back when she asked her to scoot over, and when she sat down, Jamey pointed her bow at her.
“I don’t know what the fuck you are, but you’d better get away from me right now.” The woman only pushed the arrow down and smiled. Jamey wasn’t sure what to do when the woman started talking.
“I’m Skylar. My mate’s name is Remy. Well, Rembrandt, but we call him Remy. Your name is Jamey, right?” Nodding, she put her arrow and bow on her lap but didn’t let go of either. “I’m an immortal. I’m sure there are ways to kill me eventually, but you shooting me is just going to piss me off, and I have high hopes that we’ll be friends.”
“Why?” Skylar laughed. “This isn’t funny. If you’d seen the shit I have, you’d be hiding out, not fucking shooting the bull with me.”
“See? I knew there was a reason to like you. You didn’t ask me how I flew up here. No, you were ready to protect me.” Jamey had no idea how she’d come to that conclusion, but she waited. “There are a lot of things going on everywhere, and while I’m sure that you’ve seen more than most, I don’t think you’ve seen as much as I have. And we’re still trying to figure this out too.”
“How did you fly up here? I mean, I saw the wings, but where did you get those?” Skylar looked down when a car came to the street, and Jamey looked too. She knew that car. It was one of the ones that this woman had been in. “You need to go, and I’d very much like it if you didn’t blab about me. I’m not into people anymore.”
“You’re outnumbered. They’re going to find you before long and when they do, they’ll hurt you and change you.” Jamey didn’t say anything, but Skylar turned to her with a frown. “You have been touched by them, haven’t you? They…you’re immune to it.”
“I don’t know what you mean.” But she did and Skylar knew it. When her wings spread out again, Jamey waited for her to grab her and take her against her will. But she only looked down at the man below them, then back at her.
“We won’t hurt you. And we’d really like for you to join us.” Jamey told her no thanks. “All right then. There’s a building about three miles south of here. It’s usually surrounded by malefactors, but there is a shield around it that keeps the building and all that live there safe. If you change your mind, just come there and I’ll make sure you have what you need.”
“I don’t need anything. I’m doing fine on my own.” Skylar leapt off the limb they were sharing and hovered in the air. “I’ll move on if you want. I know that you’re trying to get the grid up and going, but you’re in the wrong building.”
“Where is the one we need, please? We want to open some of the buildings and have power go to them.” Jamey pointed to the little building about a hundred yards from them. “That’s only a substation.”
“It’s what it’s supposed to look like. When you open the door, there’s a green switch and a blue one. Don’t touch the blue one, but the green one is a key. Turn it to the left.” She’d used the same kind of small building when she’d moved into the neighborhood she was in now. The house had been abandoned some months ago, she supposed, and had taken it. “Use the key like you would a regular house key and open the box in the substation. Once you have it open, push the blue button. I have no idea why that works, but it sort of resets things.”
Skylar thanked her, and she and the man went to the small housing box. In minutes Jamey could see that the power was back on in the buildings all around them. With a thumbs up, Skylar and the man left her still sitting in the tree as they drove off in the large car.
Jamey didn’t have wings to get out of the tree but she did have something else…a power that at first had scared her to death. But she’d been assured that while it was going to help her, she wouldn’t be harmed by it. He’d made a promise to her.
And true to his word, the more she used it, the more comfortable she got with it, until now it was as much a part of her as her bow and arrow were. Calling on it, she was lifted from the tree and sat gently on the ground. Jamey was moving toward her bike when she realized that she was going to have more neighbors now that there was power to the stores.
Jamey rode the bike, the biggest one she could find, all the way to the other side of town to find a store that had been ransacked about two weeks ago. There were still things on the shelf, mostly canned goods, but she took what she wanted. By the time she was finished with her shopping, it was getting pretty dark. She put everything in the bags on the side of the bike and rode across town to her home
The food was put away in about twenty minutes. Some of the things she had she just lay out on the counter to be taken should someone break in. Twice before now she’d been robbed of her food, and it was annoying to clean up after people. She knew it was humans that had taken her things because so far as she’d seen, the only thing the malefactors ate was human flesh. Going to the basement, Jamey pulled up her computer after she’d locked herself in the bomb shelter that had done the owners of it no good.
Jamey made notes on her day in the diary she’d created on the computer, including how many of the things she’d killed and the fact that she’d met Skylar. It took her some time to decide if she should write that the woman had wings. But she finally thought what the fuck, it was hers and no one else was going to read it but her.
At midnight she locked herself inside with the large bar across the door and crawled into bed. The food that she’d gotten today for her was stashed away, the refrigerator was full, and if she ever wanted to, she could have planted herself some vegetables in the hydro garden that she’d gotten up and running a few days ago. These people had been really serious about their shelter.
Closing her eyes, she saw him and wondered if he really looked like that or if it was her mind that made him so real…the dragon that had been a part of her life since she’d been about six. But only in that he’d talk to her. Now she could not just speak to him, but see him too. He moved around in her vison and she wanted to assure him that she was fine, but he never believed her and she rarely tried any more. When he finally lay down, she spoke to him.
“Skylar? Do you know her?” He lifted his head and sniffed the air, but she knew better than to rush him. “She has wings. Not like yours, but she has them all the same.”
Her mate is Rembrandt. Jamey told him that was right. The dragon knew everything, but he would only tell her what he wanted her to know. He is there. The man that owns me. He is there.
Jamey didn’t let out the breath that seemed to be clogged in her lungs. The dragon had been telling her about a man, one that owned him, for a month now. It was why she’d come to this part of the state. Why she was waiting every day for him to show himself.
“I’ll take you to him if you know where he is.” The dragon only lay there, looking at her with his great green eyes. “Do you?”
I do. So do you. She told him she had no idea where he was. You met one of his kind today. Skylar. And on Wednesday, you will take me to him.
She had five days. Five days to try and think how she was going to live without him there. He’d been her…ally, she supposed, all her life, and now she was supposed to give him to someone else. A man that owned him.
Jamey had no idea how this was supposed to work. She’d always thought that the dragon was a figment of her imagination. But now she knew better. He was as real as her. Bigger, stronger, and certainly smarter, but he was real. And now she had to give him up.
You will not be alone, Jamey of the Arrow. I will continue to protect you as always. Jamey nodded and rolled to her side. Once you have met my owner, you will understand. He will be…he will be most unhappy with you and me, but it will be for the best.
“Then why do you have to go to him?” No answer, not that she expected to get one. “I’ll take you on Wednesday. And when I do, I’m going back to my apartment. I’ve had enough of traveling for you.”
His laughter pissed her off, but she said nothing. Opening her eyes, she heard him laugh again and told him to fuck off. When sleep took her, she dreamt of a man who was cruel like no other and would harm her dragon.

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