Blood Judgment (Judgment Series)

Blood Judgment (Judgment Series) by Nickie Asher

Book: Blood Judgment (Judgment Series) by Nickie Asher Read Free Book Online
Authors: Nickie Asher
lot better physically.
    Julian walked alongside Vali through the entertainment district—a Mecca of clubs, tattoo parlors, fast food, and specialty shops. He wasn’t sure how Vali had talked him into going clubbing, but he’d given in and now he was determined to have a good time.
    Warmer temperatures and the end of the work week had brought clubgoers out in force, filling the sidewalks with venue-hopping, boisterous pedestrians.
    He liked the busyness of the area. He liked the music spilling out when someone opened a door. He liked the scent of broiled burgers and fried chicken. And he liked being a part of the crowd shifting along the sidewalk. It had a normal feel.
    It was a façade, of course. He wasn’t welcome in any of these places. Hell, they weren’t supposed to be there. They were supposed to be in one of the god-awful Open Zones. Nothing was the same and nothing would ever be the same. That’s just the way it was.
    It was time to accept it and learn to adapt. Perhaps that’s why he’d allowed Vali to drag him down here. The human world shouldn’t matter to him anymore. What mattered was acceptance among his own kind. Because, want it to or not, belonging mattered to Julian.
    He clenched his right hand. He’d worn a long sleeved shirt to hide the ugly identification brand and scars on his inner forearm but Vali had provided the method for covering the ones on the back of his hand. A tube of Skin Magic concealer had easily done the trick.
    “Slade doesn’t like me much, does he?” Saranna’s brother vacillated from sarcastic to downright hostile around Julian.
    Vali snorted. “He’s worried you’re gonna bang Saranna and break her heart. Or some shit like that. Now me, I think you’d be good for her.”
    “She’s not interested in me.”
    Vali looked over as if Julian were an idiot. “You’ve gotta’ be shittin’ me? You don’t know?”
    “She likes me?” She hadn’t given him any obvious signals.
    “Well, duh. I smell it on her whenever she’s around you. Just like I smell your interest in her. And incidentally, her brother has a nose, too. Hence his worry of you banging her.”
    Julian warmed. “For real?”
    “Don’t hurt her, okay? She deserves some happiness. Besides, the last guy who hurt her ended up dead.”
    “Just sayin’. He was knifed up in a stairwell.”
    Holy fuck . “And?”
    “She thinks Slade did it.”
    A chill rippled over him. “Did he?”
    “Dunno. Wouldn’t doubt it though.”
    “I’d never hurt her on purpose.” He’d dumped more than his share of women, but that part of his life had ended. And he hadn’t wanted to hurt them; he’d only wanted to end things when it became obvious it wouldn’t work.
    “Slade’s not a bad guy, but he needs to get a life. Far as I know, he doesn’t have any friends. All he has is Saranna and he sees you as a threat.”
    “What’s to like about him? There’s a reason he doesn’t have friends.”
    They separated to get past a knot of people waiting to file into a club. When they were next to each other again, Vali said, “Between you and me, I think somethin’ bad happened to Slade. He weirded out when he was around fifteen or so.”
    “Maybe he’s just a jerk.”
    “I think it’s deeper than that, but who knows. Anyway, he loves Saranna. He’d lay down his life to protect her. I know that for a fact.”
    “Great. I’m competing with an overprotective, jealous brother.”
    “Yeah. So be careful. Slade is dangerous. In a hunter kind of way. And he belongs to a group of nutbags who get off using Krav Maga on each other. His idea of a good time. Just sayin’.”
    Holy shit . Slade was dangerous.
    “But, hell, Ashton is just as bad with that fencing shit. He goes at it with his leader. He’s been cut up more times than I can count.”
    “I take it his leader is better with a blade?”
    “Understatement. But the dude is a lot older than Ashton and he’s been fencing for years.”

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