Part #6 of Hotbloods series by Bella Forrest
Hotbloods 6: Allies
Also by Bella Forrest
Read more by Bella Forrest
Also by Bella Forrest
Hotbloods (Book 1)
Coldbloods (Book 2)
Renegades (Book 3)
Venturers (Book 4)
Traitors (Book 5)
Allies (Book 6)
THE GIRL WHO DARED TO THINK
The Girl Who Dared to Think (Book 1)
The Girl Who Dared to Stand (Book 2)
The Girl Who Dared to Descend (Book 3)
The Girl Who Dared to Rise (Book 4)
The Girl Who Dared to Lead (Book 5)
The Girl Who Dared to Endure (Book 6)
The Girl Who Dared to Fight (Book 7)
THE GENDER GAME
The Gender Game (Book 1)
The Gender Secret (Book 2)
The Gender Lie (Book 3)
The Gender War (Book 4)
The Gender Fall (Book 5)
The Gender Plan (Book 6)
The Gender End (Book 7)
A SHADE OF VAMPIRE SERIES
Series 1: Derek & Sofia’s story
A Shade of Vampire (Book 1)
A Shade of Blood (Book 2)
A Castle of Sand (Book 3)
A Shadow of Light (Book 4)
A Blaze of Sun (Book 5)
A Gate of Night (Book 6)
A Break of Day (Book 7)
Series 2: Rose & Caleb’s story
A Shade of Novak (Book 8)
A Bond of Blood (Book 9)
A Spell of Time (Book 10)
A Chase of Prey (Book 11)
A Shade of Doubt (Book 12)
A Turn of Tides (Book 13)
A Dawn of Strength (Book 14)
A Fall of Secrets (Book 15)
An End of Night (Book 16)
Series 3: The Shade continues with a new hero…
A Wind of Change (Book 17)
A Trail of Echoes (Book 18)
A Soldier of Shadows (Book 19)
A Hero of Realms (Book 20)
A Vial of Life (Book 21)
A Fork of Paths (Book 22)
A Flight of Souls (Book 23)
A Bridge of Stars (Book 24)
Series 4: A Clan of Novaks
A Clan of Novaks (Book 25)
A World of New (Book 26)
A Web of Lies (Book 27)
A Touch of Truth (Book 28)
An Hour of Need (Book 29)
A Game of Risk (Book 30)
A Twist of Fates (Book 31)
A Day of Glory (Book 32)
Series 5: A Dawn of Guardians
A Dawn of Guardians (Book 33)
A Sword of Chance (Book 34)
A Race of Trials (Book 35)
A King of Shadow (Book 36)
An Empire of Stones (Book 37)
A Power of Old (Book 38)
A Rip of Realms (Book 39)
A Throne of Fire (Book 40)
A Tide of War (Book 41)
Series 6: A Gift of Three
A Gift of Three (Book 42)
A House of Mysteries (Book 43)
A Tangle of Hearts (Book 44)
A Meet of Tribes (Book 45)
A Ride of Peril (Book 46)
A Passage of Threats (Book 47)
A Tip of Balance (Book 48)
A Shield of Glass (Book 49)
A Clash of Storms (Book 50)
Series 7: A Call of Vampires
A Call of Vampires (Book 51)
A Valley of Darkness (Book 52)
A Hunt of Fiends (Book 53)
A Den of Tricks (Book 54)
A City of Lies (Book 55)
A League of Exiles (Book 56)
A Charge of Allies (Book 57)
A Snare of Vengeance (Book 58)
A Battle of Souls (Book 59)
Season 8: A Voyage of Founders
A Voyage of Founders (Book 60)
A SHADE OF DRAGON TRILOGY
A Shade of Dragon 1
A Shade of Dragon 2
A Shade of Dragon 3
A SHADE OF KIEV TRILOGY
A Shade of Kiev 1
A Shade of Kiev 2
A Shade of Kiev 3
THE SECRET OF SPELLSHADOW MANOR
The Secret of Spellshadow Manor (Book 1)
The Breaker (Book 2)
The Chain (Book 3)
The Keep (Book 4)
The Test (Book 5)
The Spell (Book 6)
BEAUTIFUL MONSTER DUOLOGY
Beautiful Monster 1
Beautiful Monster 2
DETECTIVE ERIN BOND (Adult thriller/mystery)
Lights, Camera, GONE
Write, Edit, KILL
For an updated list of Bella’s books, please visit her website: www.bellaforrest.net
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Copyright © 2018 by Bella Forrest
All rights reserved.
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I wanted to snatch the compass and run, but the pawnbroker was watching me. I figured I could smash the glass and take it. Although, what if alarms started ringing and metal bars came down around me? I could probably reach the door, but what then? My attempt at casually sauntering past the display case had failed miserably, and now we were dealing with unwanted attention. I felt guiltier than I would’ve if I’d actually stolen the compass.
I pushed the information button once again, just to be sure I hadn’t misheard: Species locator. Insert blood sample to map nearby targets. Ideal for hunting enthusiasts.
The first time I’d pushed it, I’d done it out of sheer boredom, but now my interest was piqued. I just wished I could’ve been a bit subtler about it; I might as well have been pressing my nose to the glass, from the way the pawnbroker was looking at me. There was a warning i
To be honest, I didn’t feel like getting on her bad side. She was pretty scary looking, with dark green, snake-like hair that moved independently of her head, an eye blinking at the end of each rippling tendril. She reminded me of Medusa, though I hoped she didn’t have the same freezing powers. I’d never get out of here with the compass if she could do what Stone could with his third eye.
The memory of that three-eyed bastard made my heart ache. He’d stolen Lauren away, and though we’d been chasing after her for a month, the trail had gone cold. It hurt to think about her, but getting her back was pretty much all I could think about. That, and Yorrek’s notebook, which potentially contained the secret to solving the immortality elixir. If someone got their hands on it, they could conquer the universe without contest. So, not the usual waking nightmares in an average girl’s life. Now, I was standing in front of the one thing that might refresh our fading hope.
Knowing I had to direct some of the attention away from me, I wandered around the shop again, casting a casual eye over the pawnbroker’s wares. They were mostly junk, with a few gaudy jewels and a curious piece of technology or two, but the only thing I was interested in was the compass. I was kidding no one—the pawnbroker knew what I was after. She was looking at me over Navan’s shoulder, with all her eyes, while he tried to haggle over a pile of our weapons. He was standing at the counter, desperately bartering for a loan.
After being hijacked in the middle of open space by another gang of pirates, we only had a few credits, limited weapons, and zero dignity left. Unfortunately, we needed to buy fuel and replacement parts for our ship… things that really required more than a handful of credits. Plus, the pirates—great, gangly creatures with scarred tattoos crisscrossing their bodies, and claws the size of my forearm—had gone to town on our vessel, and the whole engine spluttered and wheezed every time we flew. Bashrik and Ronad were back at the ship trying to patch it up as best they could with what we did have, along with Angie and Mort, who were mostly there for moral support.
“Sixty credits for the lot, or you can clear out of here with nothing!” the pawnbroker snarled.
“Sixty credits? That’s daylight robbery!”
“Take it or leave it.”
Navan lifted one of the guns, brandishing it in the pawnbroker’s face. “This blaster is worth at least fifty by itself!”
“Put the barrel of that in my face again and I’ll show you what it’s worth!”
My stomach rumbled, reminding me that we needed to buy food, too. About two days ago, we’d run out of the dried-up food that Navan had brought from Brisha, and the coldbloods were almost out of vials. It really wasn’t looking good for us. If we couldn’t find enough money to get off this planet, we’d be forced to stay until we’d earned enough to leave. That was simply time we didn’t have.
I heard Navan growl as I walked down another aisle. “This is worth a hell of a lot more than sixty credits! A hundred credits and we’ll call it even,” he said firmly.
“Sixty credits and I don’t call the authorities,” the pawnbroker threatened. “Haggling is for the darkstar market. If you aren’t happy with what I’m offering, put your wares up for auction there. See what those criminals want to give you for this heap of garbage.”
“Maybe I will.”
“My shop is a reputable business, not a seedy auction site. You won’t get a better price, and you know it, or you wouldn’t still be standing here,” she countered, her tendrils bristling.
I wandered down another aisle, my eyes still drawn to the glass display case, despite the array of weird and wonderful objects that the pawnbroker had on offer. I had no idea what most of it was for, but there were some unmistakable guns and a couple of impressive-looking blades tucked away to the side.
Coming full circle to the compass, I touched the glass case, wanting to check how flimsy the door was. A lock rattled.
“Keep your grimy hands off the merchandise!” the pawnbroker snapped, mid-conversation with Navan.
I jumped back, startled. “Sorry, I was just admiring it.”
“Yeah, well, don’t moon over things you can’t afford!” she growled. “Come over here and stand with your keeper, where I can see you. I’ve had enough of you creeping around my shop. There’s nothing in these cabinets for you!”
Feeling my cheeks burn, I shuffled over to where Navan was standing, keeping my head down so the pawnbroker wouldn’t see my sour expression. Anger burned in my chest at being referred to as a lowly thing that needed a “keeper.” It seemed the planet of Pulsyde was no better than Vysanthe. Humans were inferior beings wherever we went, even where nobody knew what we were.
“Sixty credits is all I can offer you,” she repeated, ignoring me entirely now that I was under the close guard of her tendrils.
“A hundred credits is a reasonable amount. It’s what we estimated judging by the current universal exchange rate on goods,” I challenged, having listened to Mort go on and on about it, after the pirates had robbed us. “You’re trying to cheat us, and it won’t work.”
The pawnbroker’s hair hissed at me, miniature jaws snapping. “Sixty is my final offer. If this is all you have to give, you can only expect a low offer.”
“Nice to see your sort are amoral wherever you go,” I muttered.
“Say another word and it’ll go down to forty credits,” the pawnbroker warned, her countless eyes staring me down.
Navan and I shared a look, knowing we really didn’t have the grounds to press her, in case she made good on her threat to lower the offer further. Sixty credits was better than no credits, which was what we’d have soon enough. Even so, it wouldn’t buy us much in this place. Pulsyde was a port-planet, and they knew how to work their clientele. Prices were constantly fluctuating, people were always in need of something, and the sellers could get just about anything.
“Fine, we’ll take the sixty credits,” Navan conceded with a heavy sigh.
We really were at rock bottom, with no sign of our luck turning around anytime soon. As well as having a broken ship and no money to our name, we were no closer to stopping Yorrek’s notebook from getting into the wrong hands. Then, there was the painful, perpetual fact that Lauren was gone… potentially sold as a slave, or dead.
Tears pricked my eyes. It was all I could do to hold myself together while Navan completed the exchange. I hated feeling so helpless.
“No doubt you’ll end up harassing some other poor soul on another port-planet. You wretched scavengers never cause anything but trouble!” the pawnbroker muttered to herself, turning to retrieve a pay disc to add the credits to.
In that moment, I saw red. The word “scavengers” rang in my ears like a siren, my eyes narrowing, my throat constricting. I snapped, pulling the scarf from around my neck and wrapping it around my fist, before plunging it through the glass of the nearest cabinet. I grabbed an electric spear from inside and stunned the pawnbroker in the back. A blue shock visibly bristled down her spine.
Navan turned to me, his face aghast. Ignoring the look, I twisted the spear around and made for the glass display case that held the compass. My knuckles were already throbbing from the glass pane I’d put my hand through, but I pressed on, smashing the display case with the sharp tip of the spear, reveling in the satisfying sound of it shattering.
Real sirens exploded across the room. Evidently, the pawnbroker had only rigged the most important cabinets.
“Riley! What in Rask’s name do you think you’re doing?” Navan yelled above the din. “The authorities are going to come running!”
“Then we’d better get out of here!” I fired back, reaching into the cabinet and snatching up the compass. I thought about dropping the spear, but some of my blood was already smeared on the pole, and we needed every weapon we could get. This one was coming with me. “Get the weapons!” I shouted, shoving the compass in my pocket and m
Navan stuffed the weapons back into our bag and high-tailed it to the door, slinging the bag over his shoulder. With him safely beside me, we tore out of the store, the sound of alarm bells ringing in our ears.
“What was all that about?” he asked as we ran.
“I stole a compass. It’ll lead us to Lauren, I hope,” I explained through sharp breaths. “It traces the blood of different species. I figure it can show us where any humans might be. We’re not exactly a common occurrence in this part of the universe.”
Outside the shop, it was unbearably hot, the atmosphere arid. Across every street and road there was a thick blanket of black sand that couldn’t be swept away. The uneven terrain made it tricky to run, but we were doing the best we could as we hurried down the street. As we rounded a corner, Navan grasped my wrist and pulled me to a halt. I thought he was going to shout at me, or chide me for being completely reckless, but instead he scooped me toward him, planting a fierce kiss on my lips.
“It’s so ridiculously brazen, I’m not sure whether to applaud or freak out. I’m starting to think I’m a bad influence on you,” he said with a nervous laugh.
“What’re you talking about? You’re the best influence on me!” I rose up on my tiptoes and kissed him back. “But if we don’t keep running, we’re going to get caught!”
Navan grabbed my hand and sprinted down the street beside me. I cast a glance back over my shoulder, hoping the pawnbroker was okay. Yes, she’d been curt with us, but that didn’t mean I wanted her to suffer, and I’d jabbed her pretty hard in the back. Hopefully, she’d wake up with nothing but a headache and sore shoulders, ruing the day we’d walked into her store.
Allies by Bella Forrest / Romance & Love / Mystery & Detective have rating 4.6 out of 5 / Based on41 votes