"Why's he wearing Caine's plaid, Da'?" Seamus demanded as he gestured towards him with his sword.

He knew Ian and his family didn't like him, never had, but they'd never been this cruel to him before. Normally when they caught him on their property they normally set the dogs on him or shoved him around a bit. They'd never gone as far as to use their swords on him before.

"Just let me go and I won't come here again," he said, becoming more anxious each time he heard his own voice. It no longer sounded like the voice that he detested, the one that other lads mocked. His voice sounded deep, like a man's voice. In fact, his voice sounded a lot deeper than Jacob's and he suddenly couldn't wait to go hunt down his cousin and rub it in his face. It was finally happening. He was finally growing and not a moment too soon.

As soon as he finished growing he was going to leave the village since they'd probably just point at him and call him a freak for finally growing into a man, but that was okay. He always wanted to travel, but it had never been an option for him with the way he looked. Hopefully, he'd grow as big and tall as his uncle, he thought as he dropped his eyes down to his bare legs, and widened.

Why was everything in shades of blue? he wondered even as the size of his legs and arms had him grinning like a fool. It looked like he got his wish, but he'd bet that he was bigger than his uncle now. He moved to raise his arms, surprised that it took so much effort.

"Hands down!" Ian shouted and Caine automatically went to comply when something occurred to him. Not only was he probably bigger than them, but they were acting like they didn't know him. Could he have changed that much during a quick nap? He didn't think it was possible, but unless this was a dream that's exactly what happened based on what he was seeing.

Please don't let this be a dream.

"I'll only ask ye again! Where's the lad?" Ian demanded, making Caine cringe as a hundred other sounds suddenly made themselves known. He could hear each and every breath the men took, the sounds of their clothes moving, the sounds of the cloth and embers burning around the torch, the soft wind rustling through the trees outside the cave, and insects crawling through leaves. It was overwhelming and just when he thought that he couldn't take anymore his nose was suddenly bombarded with scents.

"I ken that he's probably not alive since he's not here an' no one's seen or heard from the lad in over a month, so tell us what ye did with the body!" Brandon, Ian's youngest son demanded.

Caine barely heard them as he struggled to work through the scents that were attacking him. He could smell the dirt, body odor, the scent of stale whisky and beneath all of those repugnant smells he scented something delicious, something that had his stomach growling and his body trembling with need. He looked up at the men as his sight suddenly shifted from blues of every shade to red.

The men gasped as they moved to step away.

"Monster......," Ian whispered as he slowly raised his sword to strike Caine, but he never got the chance. Caine suddenly found himself leaping on top of the man and knocking them both over in his clumsy, weak attempt to get at the delicious scent. He was barely aware of the sounds of the man's sons running and screaming as his eyes narrowed on the man's dirty neck.

He knew this was wrong and sick and that he shouldn't be doing this, but he couldn't help it. Before he knew what he was doing he was biting into Ian's neck and moaning as a rich, hot liquid poured into his mouth and God help him, but he'd never tasted anything more delicious in his life.

Tall, Dark & Heartless

Chapter 1

Manhattan, New York

Present Day

"That dumb bastard is going to get us all killed," Kelly murmured as they crouched down in the wide tunnel. Danni couldn't agree more. Kelly jerked her head to the far right where one man stood apart from the others, looking bored.

"Except for him of course."

Danni looked at the only Pyte in the unit and she couldn't help but note the differences. Where some of the men, especially the lying rat bastard, who was leading the merry group of humans probably to their deaths, went overboard with their weapons and gear, he kept it simple. He wore a black tee shirt, black combat pants, and boots with only a knife at his side. His short bronze hair was naturally spiky with a mussed look most of the other men paid top dollar to achieve. The black spiral tattoo that started at the fingertips of his right hand and ran up his arm, over his shoulder, around his neck and finished along his jaw made him look dangerous. It also made his pale grey eyes look more menacing. While most of the men tried to look tough with spiky hair and tattoos he was the only one that carried it off, making the rest of the men look like country club kids playing dress up. Considering they were full humans working for the Sentinels the description was probably fitting.

Most of the members in this unit were children of Sentinels who either thought they were natural bad asses or had something to prove. Although she was the daughter of a Sentinel couple, she was neither here to prove herself, or to seek attention. The simple fact was that it was in her blood. She may not have been born a Sentinel, but she was born for this job. This was her life and she loved it.

Except for tonight of course.

Tonight she really wished she'd given into her headache, one of many lately, and stayed home. No doubt she could have helped prepare the infirmary for tonight's casualties. Sharp pain shot behind her eyes causing her to drop her head in her hands.

"Are you okay?" Kelly whispered.

"Yeah, just a side effect of listening to longwinded ass**les for too long," she explained, hoping Kelly would just drop it.

Thankfully she did. "I'm surprised he let you in on this, you know considering...," she trailed off.

So was Danni.

She really expected the lying bastard, a.k.a. Greg, to get back at her by keeping her off this mission, but of course that would have been stupid since they both knew she'd probably save this mission if, when, he f**ked up so he could get all the glory. She could really care less who got the credit, except she was afraid that he'd get promoted and would end up her boss. She really wouldn't be able to live with that. If that ever came to pass, and with his brownnosing abilities it was a likely possibility, she'd transfer to another human unit run by the Sentinel Council.

"Let's go over the plan once again to make sure that everyone understands the mission," Greg said. A collective groan rose up from the small group, echoing throughout the tunnel and causing sharp pain to shoot through Danni's head.

She rubbed her temples even as she had to ask herself if he was serious. They'd gone over the plan at the compound twice, once in the van on the way over here, and this would make it the third time in the tunnel. Danni looked at her watch and groaned.

In an hour the sun would set and the vampire nest they were about to invade would be able to escape the old underground tunnel system. Then they'd be out of luck in getting everyone in this particular nest together again. Once a nest broke up, it never formed again. The damn vampires would scatter, not trusting anyone for awhile, because they could never be sure who tipped off the Sentinels in the first place.

There was no way in hell Danni was going to sit here and listen to Greg ramble on nervously, giving her a killer headache and letting this nest full of ra**sts and murderers go free. Those were the crimes this particular nest was guilty of committing. Before any nest could be attacked or destroyed they had to be charged with a crime, which had to be proven. The last thing any Sentinel wanted to do was kill a group of "baggers", vampires who lived off bagged blood. They usually made very good allies, because they saw nests like this one as a threat to their peaceful existence.

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