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Leo’s Salvation

A Tulsa Immortals Story

A.M. Halford



Copyright © 2016 by A.M. Halford
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof
may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
without the express written permission of the publisher
except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

ISBN 9781370582099

Tulsa Immortals™ is trademarked by Audra Hart.

Cover Artist: Harris Channing

Editor: Avril Stepowski











Acknowledgements


This book wouldn’t be possible without several wonderful women. For starters Kristina aka Fluffy, for introducing me to the project and getting the ball rolling. Second, Audra Hart for letting me join Tulsa Immortals and write in this fun universe. Harris Channing created the perfect cover and artwork. Lastly, but not least, Avril for working on this train wreck of a manuscript and turning it into something readable!




Tulsa Immortals is a multi-author universe created by Audra Hart. You can find her works on Amazon. Several characters appearing within this book have their own stories. Want more? Check out Audra Hart’s works.

https://www.amazon.com/Audra-Hart/e/B00II6EO7S




Prologue



“Oh, thank God you’re here!” Mrs. Arndell ushered Leo into the beautiful cottage style house quickly, and closed the door behind him like she was trying to keep his presence here a secret. “It just won’t stop. The nightmares last all night long and I’m losing sleep, but when I wake up, I can’t move,” she continued to speak as she showed him into the kitchen. It was a nice enough space, white cupboards, dark granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances. “Please, tell me you can do something?”

Leo smiled warmly at the tired young woman. She couldn’t be any more than twenty-five years old. Judging by the Catholic rosary she wore, and the crucifix he’d seen in the living room, he was going to guess she was Catholic. Either that, or she thought the items would somehow shield her from the entity she believed was in her home.

Unfortunately for Mrs. Arndell no modern-day symbols were going to ward off her nightly visitor. He could already feel the creature tapping at his consciousness, trying to figure out if he was friend or foe. With a gentle nudge, he sent the specter a warning to get out before he got rough. The backlash he received made him smile. This was going to be fun.

“Did you do as I instructed?” Leo asked, looking about the kitchen for any signs of the specter. He didn’t see it.

“Yes,” she nodded, moving to the fridge and grabbing a glass of wine from it. “My husband cleared out our bedroom this morning.”

“Good. Then, show me the way,” Leo said. Other than that one psychic greeting, Leo hadn’t felt anything else since coming into the house. Meaning whatever it was that was haunting the Arndells, it had retreated to a place it felt safe, the master bedroom.

Mrs. Arndell showed him to the large room and instantly Leo saw it. A ghostly figure of a woman standing in the center of the room, hovering over the dark wood floors. Her garb indicated she was a native American, perhaps a spirit disturbed when they built the house here?

No, Leo looked closer and sneered. The specter’s deceiving visage melted away showing a gnarled old hag. It was a Mare, a creature very similar to a succubus. She fed off humans through their nightmares, causing sleep paralysis in the process. If left unchecked she would kill both of the residents of this quaint suburban home.

“Ma’am, I’m going to need you to leave the room,” Leo said calmly.

She didn’t argue, merely nodded, and dashed from the room. As soon as she was gone Leo withdrew his staff, his Salamander familiar Ignis crawled out from his hiding place in Leo’s jacket and perched himself on his shoulders. The large lizard like reptile hissed at the Mare standing in the center of the room.

“You aren’t welcome here,” Leo said firmly.

“And what are you going to do about it?” the creature’s voice crackled as it spoke. “A weak little wizard like you seeks to run me off?”

Leo smiled, she didn’t recognize him. Good. Taking a deep breath, he whispered, “Incanto.” When the Mare gasped, and shrank away from him, he knew exactly what she was seeing. Instead of his usual, nonthreatening brown hair and blue eyes, he stood before her with his true face. The face of one with genuine demon blood running through his veins.

“You, your kind are dead!” the Mare shrieked.

“Leave. Now!” Leo ordered again, black flames collecting around him in a lotus shape. The pendant he wore around his neck glowed as he spoke.

The Mare attacked and Leo sent his fire to encircle the malevolent woman. She wailed as the fire licked at her astral body. Obviously, she hadn’t been expecting Leo’s fire to be able to burn her directly.

“Why! Why do you kill your own?” she demanded as the fiery cage shrank in around her.

“Atonement,” Leo answered before he closed his eyes and heard the last pained cry of the Mare as the flames swallowed her up. Unlike when a demon was banished from the mortal realm, his fire could kill them, so long as they were lower level demons like those that haunted humans. Anything stronger than mid-level and even he had to resort to just banishing it back to whatever hell it originated from.

“You wasted perfectly good Hellfire on such a weak opponent,” Ignis hissed in Leo’s ear. “Why not just exorcise it?”

“Because, the Mare would’ve just found another way to get back to this realm,” Leo sighed, as he placed his staff back inside his coat, sliding it into the custom-made holder at his side. It was meant to keep the magical tool concealed.

“Your brethren would weep if they saw you now,” Ignis reminded him again.

Leo didn’t even bothering pointing out it was because of his brethren that he did this job. With a mental order, he sent Ignis back into his coat and left the bedroom to go in search of Mrs. Arndell. She wouldn’t have any more trouble sleeping.


* * * *


Paid, and back at his office, Leo stripped out of his coat, letting the leather material rest comfortably on the mannequin made especially for it. Ignis crawled from his pocket in the coat and perched himself at the top of the mannequin, hissing irritably. He always did when they got back from a job. Leo had learned to ignore the irate Salamander.

Walking by his desk Leo noticed he had one message on his answering machine. Yeah, it was probably time he just routed all his calls to his cell, but he didn’t like the interruptions when he was working.

Pressing play, he walked over to his mini-fridge and grabbed one of the cold coffees he kept in supply as the message played. “Hello? Um, my name is Danny Loreen, and I was told Leo Eaus was the best at helping with demonic possessions. I,” tears started to clog the man’s voice, “I think I’m being possessed. I have blank spaces in my memory and I don’t know why. I live in Tulsa Oklahoma, and I really need your help. My number is 539-555-3453.”

Leaning against the filing cabinet that didn’t hold files exactly, it held his weapons, Leo considered if he should take the job. A blank in memory didn’t necessarily mean demonic possession. The guy could just be suffering from a mental illness. Then again, judging by his desperation, Leo was willing to guess he’d already ruled that out.

“We going?” Ignis sounded interested. It was never a good sign when his familiar was interested in a case.

Still, it was a job and if the mortal was being influenced by a demonic or evil magick in any way, he was sworn to help. Sighing, Leo knew he was going to take the job. Of course, that didn’t mean he couldn’t be wary. If Ignis was interested in this job, then God only knows what was waiting for him in Tulsa.



Chapter One



Leo arrived in Tulsa a week later, and instantly felt the change in the air. It was like everything was super charged with energy, and he didn’t like it. The ancient sensation he sensed sent chills down his spine. This area was dangerous for someone like him.

Thankfully, he was headed toward the edge of town, so hopefully he’d be far away from whatever it was that was causing this uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach. Even Ignis appeared upset, and not his usual surly mood. His familiar wouldn’t stop hissing and clutching at Leo’s back from his perch on the headrest of the driver’s seat.

“We shouldn’t be here,” Ignis complained again.

Yeah, Leo already figured that out. Too bad though, he’d already contacted Danny Loreen and told him they, well he, was coming. He’d done his research before coming this far and he knew the local enforcers were an MC calling themselves the Twin Ravens. So long as he stayed far away from that group, and any other locals, Leo should manage to get out of Tulsa without being recognized. As added protection, he’d reinforced the magick hiding his true nature from other supernatural creatures.

“Why did you accept this job?” Ignis hissed. He’d obviously forgotten it was Ignis that showed the first glimmers of interest in this job.

Leo ignored the Salamander as he navigated the streets in his silver 2000 Honda Accord. It wasn’t exactly the flashiest car in the world, and Leo liked it that way. Even more so when he was driving cross country for a job.

Stopping at a red light, Leo checked his GPS one more time to ensure he was on the right track. He could always just use magick to take him directly to Danny’ home, but that could alert all sorts of nasty things to his presence. When the light turned green, Leo made a left turn and continued out of the main metropolitan area and toward a street lined with old housing.

Parking at the curb Leo looked up at the subdivided home that had at one point probably been a really nice manor for a rich business man. Now it was the same for several nonrelated people. His client lived in the ground floor apartment on the right.

Making sure his coat was on, Ignis hiding within the folds of the heavy material, Leo walked up to the door and knocked. He heard what sounded like someone tripping over something and a muttering a few choice words, before the door opened and a surprisingly beautiful young man stood before him. Blond hair, green eyes, and clear pale skin made him stand out enough, but add in the heart shaped face, cupid bow lips, and why in the hell did this guy have eyelashes that would make a woman jealous?

“Danny Loreen?” Leo asked, hoping that maybe he’d gotten the wrong address after all.

“Are you Leo?” so much for that, and hopes dashed, Leo nodded. “Thank you for coming so quickly. Come in, come in.”

As Leo walked over the threshold he instantly noticed something off. Not like demonic energy off, but there was definitely something going on that wasn’t entirely human. Whatever it was, he could rule out demonic possession, which was nice. Exorcising a demon that had taken possession of a human host was always a pain, and never left the human with fond memories.

“So?” Danny worried his hands as he looked about his stylishly decorated apartment. The man certainly had taste, modern taste. “What do we do?”

“You tell me what’s going on, in detail,” Leo answered.

He’d been trying to get a read on the man since he’d opened the door, but the most Leo could tell was he’d encountered some form of strong magick recently. That’s it. The fact there was someone here in Tulsa powerful enough to confound him bothered Leo. He was over 200 years old, not old by immortal standards, but he prided himself on the fact he was powerful. Worse was the fact the magick didn’t have a finite feeling. Almost like whoever cast it wasn’t entirely one thing.

I’m not going to enjoy this job. Leo frowned when he watched Danny squirm. He wasn’t talking.

“Danny? I need you to tell me exactly why you think you’re possessed if I’m going to be able to help you,” Leo smiled at the nervous human. At least that much he could tell. The pretty guy was certainly human.

“Well,” Danny bit his bottom lip and looked up to Leo from beneath his long lashes. It was certainly an enticing look, one Leo ignored. “When I go out at night I can’t remember what I’ve done when I wake up the next morning. I’ve been to the doctor and they just said I should stop drinking so much.”

Yeah, Danny didn’t exactly come off as a binge drinker. Maybe a bit of a partier, but not to the point of blacking out.

“Where do you go?”

“Twin Ravens MC strip club.” With that Leo felt his heart freeze in his chest. Ignis hissed and dug his nails into Leo’s back making him wince. “Are you okay?” Danny asked, noticing the movement.

“Yeah, stiff muscle from driving. No big deal,” Leo lied smoothly. “Does it happen only when you’ve made plans to go to this strip club?”

Danny nodded.

Fuck me. Leo had no plans to go anywhere near the Twin Ravens while he was in town, and now his client was sending him directly there? This was not his lucky day.

“Give me the address and I’ll check it out,” Leo had to force the instructions passed his lips.

Again, Danny nodded before hurrying off into what looked like the kitchen.

“You’re an idiot,” Ignis complained. “What are you going to do if they recognize you?”

Yeah, that was the million-dollar question, wasn’t it? What was he going to do if the enforcers at the club recognized him for who, or more accurately, what he was? Then again, it was believed his entire lineage had been wiped out, so hopefully he could use that to his advantage.

“Here you go,” Danny came back to him and handed Leo a card.

“Thank you,” Leo accepted the card and turned for the door. “I’ll be by tomorrow to give you a report on what I find out.”

Danny waved and continued to look nervous as all hell as Leo left the house and headed for his car. Glancing at the card he noticed the opening time and the fact he had several hours before this strip club would be opening its doors for patrons. That meant he had time to run to his hotel and get checked in.


* * * *


As always when he came to this club for a drink the music was deafening in its assault on his ears. Then again, there weren’t too many places in Tulsa where someone like him could get a drink and enjoy it in relative peace. That being the case, Agnar was willing to put up with the music.

He did have to admit though, the place looked good, for being a repurposed garage. After the main bar had imploded during the Halloween fiasco—blood wraiths and ghouls attacked the Twin Ravens trying to get to a young sabretooth child who was later adopted by Blood—Blood had made the decision to use the remaining garage as their base of operations for the time being. At least until the new bar could be built.

“Refill?” the new waitress asked. Agnar glanced at her just long enough to say yes. He knew better than to piss off Wrath and the little lady was his. “Be right back.”

Agnar nodded and continued to split his attention between the dancers on the floor and the girls on the stage. He wasn’t sure where he was supposed to look. The gentler sex never really did do it for him. In his entire six hundred twenty-seven years of being on this earth he hadn’t found a single female that even stirred his interest.

“Hey, you drinking alone?” Ignoring Coyote, Agnar accepted the drink from the waitress when she passed by. “Come on, let’s chat.”

“Go away,” Agnar responded. He wasn’t here to talk. Blood let him operate within the same area as the MC enforcers, but that didn’t make them chums.

Coyote huffed in irritation, “You really do have a stick up your ass.” Agnar said nothing to the obvious provocation of the Navajo shifter, as he left him to his bourbon on the rocks.

Deciding it was futile to try and watch the girls dancing, Agnar turned his attention to the people on the dance floor. Most were far too gone to even call what they were doing dancing, but it was still something to keep his mind occupied and off the endless parade of boredom and loneliness that seemed to be his life recently.

He watched as a group of men, drunk beyond what was considered safe for a human, were escorted to the door by Tank and a few other enforcers. They’d tried to climb up onto the stage and get to the girls. Look, don’t touch, was a major rule in any strip club.

As the group left a man slipped inside, a man that didn’t fit into the crowd. His dark brown hair, slicked back away from his face, and blue eyes were certainly an unusual combination that made him stand out as it was. It was his unease and how he stuck to the shadows that drew Agnar’s attention though. That and the long leather trench coat. The newcomer instantly slipped into a back table tucked into the folds of the shadows of the club and just sat there watching everything.

The guy tensed when Gin, the new waitress, approached the table. He seemed flustered as he ordered a drink, Agnar frowned when he realized the man hadn’t ordered alcohol but instead a club soda. Something was off with him.

Standing from his table, Agnar moved across the club until he was only one table away from the new guy. Maybe it was the fact he seemed suspicious that drew Agnar to him? His primary job as a bodyguard made him sensitive to such things. Still, that didn’t feel accurate. There was something else drawing him to the blue-eyed man.

Agnar tensed when he spotted what looked like a lizard’s head pop out of the man’s leather coat. It appeared to hiss into the man’s ear prompting the guy to say, “Witch craft, but not entirely human.”

Eyes narrowed, Agnar realized this was no mere human, as he’d first thought. The lizard hissed again and the newcomer snapped angrily. Something was definitely off here, and before Agnar could figure out what it was Tara—the bartender—stepped up to the table.

“Have something against my drink?” Tara demanded, her voice dripping with venom.

“I’m driving,” the man answered smoothly. “Last I checked it was illegal to drink and drive.”

“Why the fuck come to a bar to drink then?” Tara asked.

“First place I found,” he responded.

“Bullshit,” Tara hissed, her fangs flashing in what little light was provided in the club. “Who, or more accurately, what are you?”

Agnar watched as the man went ramrod straight, worry entering his light blue eyes. Why did Agnar get the feeling he wasn’t afraid so much of Tara but of her question?

“I have no idea what you mean,” he said, standing. “Thanks for the drink.” He placed a few bucks on the table and brushed passed Tara, “Blood sucker.”

“What did you call me?” Tara hissed.

Instantly Tank was beside the guy, grabbing his arm, and Agnar gaped as the large lizard he’d caught a glimpse of earlier emerged from the new guy’s coat and flat out bit the bouncer. It was easily four feet from nose to tail tip, but looked more like a salamander with obvious deep red scales. How in the hell had something like that stayed hidden beneath the man’s coat? What did he have, an extra dimensional pocket in there? And what in the hell was it? Agnar couldn’t remember seeing anything quite like that before. The closest creature he could think of was a Gila monster in resemblance.

“Back off bear.” Did that lizard just speak?

“A Salamander,” Tara gushed. “What the fuck? Who are you?”

“Told you this was a bad idea,” the Salamander hissed.

“A job’s a job,” the man replied. “Now just shut up and,” he froze, his eyes going wide as he started looking around the bar with a true look of panic now on his face.

Agnar stepped closer, a strange sensation making him move in to protect the guy. Shaking his head, he reminded himself the man was a stranger and was obviously some kind of supernatural. The fact he’d entered the MC without announcing himself could be seen as a threat. So why did he want to push Tank and Tara away from him and place himself between the guy and all those that would threaten him?

“What’s your name?” The appearance of Blood made this entire situation that much weirder.

The guy shook his head as if trying to clear it of a fog. No doubt Blood had been reading his mind, or at least trying to.

“Leo Eaus, I’m an exorcist.” Agnar almost laughed at that. Was this guy for real? An exorcist? Who the fuck did he think he was fooling with that line?

“Just roast them and let’s go,” the Salamander’s tail wrapped around Leo’s arm as he hissed at Blood. “We can still run.”

Leo nodded and whispered, “Incanto.”

Agnar opened his mouth to shout a warning when all the lights went out in the bar, followed by a pillar of flames engulfing Leo. The only thing Agnar registered in that split second between the lights going out and the fire surrounding him was that Leo’s eyes and hair had both changed color, each taking on the appearance of the very fire he called on. And then everything went dark.




Chapter Two



“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck!” Leo cursed as he exited the club and dashed down the street. He’d parked half a mile up the road and right now he was regretting that decision. He didn’t have to go into the bar to realize there was an enchantment set by a witch to make mortals forget their time spent within. So why in the names of all the demons in hell did he go inside?

Not only had he alerted them to his presence here in Tulsa, but he’d also made his existence known. He needed to leave, now. He’d send Danny an email detailing that he was to stay away from the Twin Ravens MC if he wanted to avoid any continued memory loss. Maybe he could come up with a bullshit story, like spiked drinks or something, to make it more reasonable. No way in hell was Leo going to incur the wrath of a damned sabretooth shifter by revealing his little group to a mortal. Leo was a lot of things, suicidal wasn’t one of them.


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