Chapter One – Being Badass
Lauren Lewis bit her lip and leaned so close to the video screen her nose touched.
"Don't sit like that, you'll destroy those beautiful brown eyes." Dyson snapped his utility belt in place. "You humans are too damn fragile."
"That's why I'm the one running surveillance in the comfort and safety of the van, and you're the one breaking in to the Toronto Museum of Antiquities." Lauren turned to her friend and winked. "Besides, the notion that a computer screen is harmful to eyesight is predominantly a fallacy. Eyestrain and concurrent headaches are caused by environmental conditions surrounding the screen – insufficient lighting, improper placement of equipment…"
"Wow. I do not care." Dyson yawned.
"Seriously chica, can't you turn the Doc off for two seconds?" Hale groaned from the driver's seat.
Lauren furrowed her brow. "You want me to turn off fourteen years of medical training because you two can't understand words that consist of more than three syllables?"
"We want you to turn it off because it bores us to death," Hale replied.
Lauren looked back and forth between the two of them. "Fair enough." She turned back to her surveillance equipment and grinned.
For almost six years, Lauren had been crushed under the weight of her responsibilities to the Ash. But now that Lachlan was dead and Hale's sister, Val, was in power, Lauren was finally enjoying certain freedoms. The freedom to come and go from the lab as she pleased. The freedom to associate with the people she chose. And the freedom to put her college hacker skills to good use.
Unfeeling, professional, frigid doctor by day. Five star badass Fae treasure hunter by night. It wasn't a bad way to live. She pulled a headset over her ears.
"Ciara, can you hear me?"
"Loud and clear. Can you see me?"
Lauren had hacked into the museum's security cameras hours ago. With a few keystrokes, she pulled a wide shot of the DeVry Gallery up to full screen. In the corner, the fairy queen gave an almost unnoticeable wave.
Dyson grabbed a headset and hovered over Lauren. "We see you. Where's the Llangareth Stone?"
"Follow my movements. I'll walk right past it and give you a signal."
Dyson grinned. "I am more than happy to watch you move."
Lauren rolled up her museum brochure and smacked him in the nose. "Bad dog! Down!"
Dyson shoved her shoulder good-naturedly, and they watched Ciara slide elegantly through the museum crowd. She paused briefly in front of a glass case. She scratched the tip of her nose before continuing to the exit doors.
"That's our mark," Dyson said. "How long until the museum closes?"
"Forty minutes until the doors are locked. The guard starts his rounds in that gallery, so we'll need to wait until he clears out before you proceed," Lauren replied.
Hale scoffed. "He's only a human, we can take him no prob."
"You want this to be clean, right? Quiet? That's how I work." Lauren ducked down under the console, and emerged with a Styrofoam carton and four sets of chopsticks. "Now, who wants Chinese while we wait?"
Lauren checked her watch as Ciara polished off the last of the moo shu pork. Dyson impatiently paced back and forth outside the van. Hale sat on the bumper and whistled to himself. It still made Lauren nervous when he did that.
Their van was parked three blocks away from the museum entrance, outside an abandoned building. Lauren checked the exterior cameras. It was dark, and the only light came from the streetlamps on the sidewalk. There weren't any people around. She checked her watch again. 8:02.
"Cue the guard," she whispered to herself. In that exact moment, a pudgy human guard waving a nightstick sauntered out into the main gallery, peering into cases as he went.
"I have activity," she told the group. Dyson, Hale, and Ciara gathered around her monitors to watch.
"I still think we should just knock him out and grab the stone," Hale muttered.
"Okay he's almost to the exit doors," Lauren gave a play-by-play. Suddenly he stopped and turned around, holding his nightstick high in the air. "What the?" She zoomed in for a close-up on the guard's face. It looked like he was speaking to someone off camera, but the video quality was too poor to read his lips.
"Now can we go in?" Hale said.
"Not until we know who's there with him." Dyson leaned in closer.
Lauren zoomed back out to a strange sight. The guard was staring, slack-jawed, at a woman. Lauren could understand why he was so hot-and-bothered. The woman was wearing the shortest skirt Lauren had ever seen. Lauren couldn't get a look at the woman's face…her back was turned to the camera.
"Who is that?" Ciara asked. No one answered. No one knew. Onscreen, the woman reached out and touched the guard's cheek.
"Looks like she's about to get her freak on." Hale whistled. "Someone get some popcorn."
Lauren's eyes narrowed as she watched the action onscreen. The woman tilted her head slightly, and Lauren caught a glimpse of her eyes – it seemed like they were glowing. Strange…and sexy. Girl on guy didn't really do it for her, but there was something about that woman that oozed sensuality, even over a low resolution black and white video feed.
"Shit!" Dyson growled. "It's the succubus. She's going to steal the Stone…come on!" Dyson, Hale, and Ciara leaped out of the van and sprinted toward the Museum, while Lauren's eyes remained fixed on the screen. She knew what a succubus was, obviously, but she'd never seen one in action.
The succubus leaned in for a kiss…but her lips never touched the guard; her mouth hovered a few centimeters away. A thin wisp of vapor slid from the guard's mouth and into her own. She was feeding.
"Uh oh." Lauren said. This was bad, bad news for the guard. His legs dropped out from under him, and he slumped to the ground in an unconscious heap.
Lauren was up out of her chair and into Doctor Lewis mode in two seconds flat. She grabbed her medical kit from under the car seat, jumped out of the van 'action hero' style, and ran toward the museum to catch up with the others.
Lauren rounded the corner at full speed. She reached the set of concrete stairs in front of the museum, and her shoes skidded along the pavement as she forced herself to hit the brakes. The scene in front of her was like something out of the Wild West. Showdown at the O-Fae Corral.
Dyson, Hale, and Ciara stood faced off against the Succubus, legs bent, arms out, ready to pounce. The Succubus was simply grinning, laid back, amused by the attention. She tossed the Llangareth Stone in the air, and caught it with a cheeky wink.
Lauren gulped at her first good look at the succubus. This woman was, quite simply, the most gorgeous specimen of Fae or human she'd ever laid eyes on. Everything about her screamed 'sex'. Lauren followed the high heels of her shoes up the contours of her calf to her thigh. She felt a wave of desire roll through her entire body as her eyes travelled to the point where her miniskirt barely covered….
"Hey! Hair Porn!" Lauren was snapped out of her trance by three words from the succubus. The brunette grinned and slowly licked her lips. "Your gay is showing."
"Shit." Lauren quietly swore and looked away, blood rushing to her face. Succubi and Incubi were capable of reading the sexual energy of humans, and she'd completely given herself away. How mortifying. "Shit, shit, shit."
"What happened to the guard?" Ciara had the good grace to ignore the exchange between the Doctor and the Succubus.
"He's still alive. Don't worry about him…I left him a very happy man."
"We can't just let you walk out of here, you know."
"Actually, I was counting on that. I'm having a bad day you see, and I'd love to bang. In the violent sense of the word," she looked and Dyson, "and most definitely in the sexual sense of the word," her eyes flicked towards Lauren.
"Think about kappa." Lauren thought to herself, "smelly, slimy, disgusting, web-footed, nothingsexualaboutthem kappa."
"Give us the stone," Dyson growled.
"Finders keepers puppy dog. My employer is shelling out big bucks for this baby."
"So is mine," Hale took a step forward. "And I plan to collect." He pursed his lips to let out a siren whistle…
"Yo! Andy freakin' Griffith!" Lauren heard a voice behind her, and felt cold, sharp metal pierce her neck as a thin arm wrapped around her throat. "One note from you, and blondie's done. I'm feeling kinda stabby today."
The Succubus rolled her eyes. "Kenzi I told you to wait in the car!"
"You always make me wait in the car! I can do more for Team Bo than just looking hot in boots, you know…"
While they argued, Lauren ran through several scenarios in her mind. There's no way she was going to let this puny girl threaten her…not five star badass Lauren Lewis.
She'd been taking ju jitsu classes since the very day she began working for the Light Fae. A human had to be able to take care of herself out amongst all these crazies, after all.
"…you want to contribute? How about cleaning up your dishes before they start growing mold? How about not leaving dirty socks in the frickin' living room?"
"Oh you want to play it like that, huh? How about not having sex on the couch where I blast robot hookers! How about that?"
Lauren marveled at how quickly the situation had turned from deadly to ridiculous. With a shake of her head, she hooked her leg around Kenzi's and pulled. The girl completely lost her balance and fell backward. Lauren grabbed the knife out of thin air and circled around. She wrapped an elbow around Kenzi's throat in a headlock and held the knife to her temple.
"Give us the stone, or your friend dies," Lauren said, calmly.
"Hey…hey…" Kenzi squirmed beneath her. "Violence is never the answer. We're all friends here, right? Right Bo?" She looked to the Succubus with pleading eyes.
"See? This is why I told you to wait in the damn car." Bo fumed. "Well, it seems like my thick-headed BFF has me in an…awkward position."
Lauren closed her eyes. "Think of kappa think of kappa think of kappa…"
Bo held the stone in her palm. "It's a shame, really." She took one last look before tossing it to Dyson. He caught it, never taking his fuming eyes off of her. She slowly walked down the stairs. Lauren rose to let Kenzi scamper away.
The Succubus stopped in front of the doctor, and stared hungrily at the blonde. Lauren's breath hitched in her throat, as Bo ran a soft thumb along her jawline. "As for you," Bo leaned forward to whisper in her ear, "I'm sure we'll see each other again, soon."
Lauren's eyes shot open as the Succubus sent a burst of pure energy into her body, pulsing through her bloodstream from head to toe. Every molecule in Lauren's body was jolted awake and begging for more. Bo pulled back and grinned slyly, knowing the affect she had on the sexy blonde. She sauntered away in her tiny miniskirt, hips giving a little extra roll, knowing that the other woman would be watching her every move as she walked away.
"So Doc," Hale jogged down the steps and stood next to her, head tilted slightly, enjoying the view of the retreating Bo. "What's your professional opinion on our new Succubus friend?"
"Fuck me." Lauren whispered, as Bo rounded the corner and was gone.