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Nights of Lights is Returning! Join us for the Lights Tour
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Nights of Lights: A Magical Ride The Nights of Lights is back with beautiful and expressive light shows and displays that are absolutely breathtaking. This
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Make your wedding day an affair to remember with our Limousine services. We also accommodate transportation requests for other types of special events.
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Smith Luxury Limo Service in Raleigh provides the very best in class – Raleigh special event limousine services. No matter what event your may be celebrating, our new model luxury fleet and professionally trained chauffeurs will make your next special occasion one to remember for a lifetime! Our team provides full service ground transportation for any special occasion.
We offer 24 hour service, 365 days a year to meet all of your Raleigh limousine and transportation needs. Smith Luxury Limo Raleigh is known for dependability, flexibility and making your luxury ground travel a VIP experience. Just call us for a FREE QUOTE or book your reservation online. Experience the fun and excitement of Raleigh in one of our luxury limousines, stretched SUV limousines or even our party buses! If you have any questions, please call us at 919.803.0464 and we will be glad to help you.
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:: Read - Table of Contents - The Ripper Book - Smith Nix - LitLife - books read online
To know good and evil
to understand human nature
don't bother the wise men -
listen to the forest in spring,
breathe in the breath of the wind .
William Wordsworth. Overturned tables
A victim is a victim.
Human, elk, orc, troll, it doesn't matter. Bipedal or quadrupedal, it doesn't matter. It was something new that she learned and never forgot. All these beings are just a part of Nature. Everyone has their own role in the endless competition of life and death, where there are pursuers and pursued, predators and prey.
The human world knows her as the Ripper, but her real name is Tikki, and today Tikki is on the hunt.
The buzz of man-made technology filled her ears. She wrinkled her nose and rubbed her fingers, patiently waiting for the final showdown, when the fruits of her many hours of planning, reconnaissance and preparation would come together at the climax of the kill. She carefully tracked down her prey. She studied her footprints and habits. Now the goal is already close - the traps are set. Soon the prey will enter its hunting territory, and then all the answers will come. The outcome will be unambiguous, and all doubts will be dispelled.
It's as easy as hunting in nature.
The elevator did not move. Tikki was in the cockpit. The console was open, revealing a mass of wires connecting it to a portable tester used by repairmen. The device, connected to the hacked console, made it possible to convince the central computer of the building that everything was in order with the elevator. A few more wires connected colored cables to a small, palm-sized monitor hanging next to the tester. On the monitor connected to the security cameras, the space behind the cabin doors was viewed.
There were two elevators, one occupied, one not. The one that Tikki was in was ordered to stand with the doors closed at the level of the underground garage.
The moment of the murder was approaching.
And then a black Nissan Altima V limousine appeared on the screen - it rolled into the garage and slowed down. Just then, to the left of Tikki, something tinkled faintly.
It was a neighboring working elevator descending to her level - to the underground garage. She counted down the seconds... one, two, three. The indicator light on the tester lights up. A faint noise was heard. Looking at the monitor, Tikki saw the door of the next elevator slid to the side. A group of five people got out of the cab. The one she was waiting for was a slender Asian of venerable age: sparse gray hair, wrinkled face, thin arms. His name was Ryokai Naoshi. He was one of the few big yakuza bosses sentenced to be destroyed.
Ryokai's high position won't save him. Tikki knew that the yakuza were powerful and had many fighters. Who cares? This is not a reason to refuse work. Each beast has its own weapon, it's just that some of them are somewhat more powerful than others. A successful predator first neutralizes the victim, eliminates the danger that may come from it, and only then inflicts a mortal blow.
Ryokai and his companions moved towards the limousine.
Tikki slammed the cover of the tester.
When the elevator door swung open, she was already holding the Vindicator minigun, a bulky weapon with six spinning interchangeable barrels. It is not necessary to leave the ambush: the limousine is here, some five meters to the left of the elevator. Ryokai, two of his bodyguards, two fashionably dressed ladies were just moving along the limousine. Suddenly, one of the bodyguards turned around, glanced in Tikki's direction - but it was already too late.
Tikki pulled the trigger and they were all in the line of fire.
The Windicator roared, spinning barrels spitting jets of flame, the clicks of rapid-fire weapons coalescing into a deafening roar. Armor-piercing shells tore the sides of the limousine, smashed the windows, pierced the tires, shredded the delicate bodies of people to shreds, scattering them like fleshy leaves. Glass chips and bloody splashes thickly strewed the asphalt. Bodies twitched, writhed, fell. Tikki devoted the last movements of the fifty-turn magazine "Vindikeytor" to her main goal - the body of the Ryokai. After that, the corpse turned into finished carrion - into a miserable mess. Well, very satisfying.
Her contract for today's performance stipulated that the murder must look exactly like this - noisy, arrogant and monstrously cruel.
The job is done.
She pressed the button on the tester. The elevator descended into the service compartment of the basement. From here it will be washed away through the communication tunnels.
Everything is going according to plan.
Everything goes like clockwork, speaking in human terms.
The last of the real was Jennifer's hand, which suddenly squeezed his elbow, and her low, half-strangled sob.
Then the nightmare began.
A thunderous roar filled the air, fire hit in the eyes, then pain came, an ocean of pain, even more than one person, according to his ideas, could endure, agony, torment without end and without edge. Torment, tearing him apart, breaking his skull, shredding his body. With some part of consciousness, he understood: no one can bear this and survive. He felt that pain itself, like a tangible physical force, could overturn him, crush him, decompose his body into atoms.
What happened next was beyond human perception. Despite his agony, he moved, and moved quickly, as if he were racing through a long, dark tunnel. Everything is faster and faster. Until the speed began to beckon his flesh, break out limbs, twist his body.
The tunnel became brighter - it sparkled, dazzled. He was thrown into an incandescent whiteness, a scorching underworld of whiteness that encompasses everything.
About two o'clock in the afternoon the old road leading north through the Blue Ridge Mountains in Confederate States of North Carolina was deserted. In the distance, in the blackness of the night, lightning loops were drawn, and thunder was carried by artillery cannonade among the hills.
Raman was standing on the side of the road. Steel spikes shimmered from the black bracelet on his right arm. He stared at the bulging eyes of a man hanging from razor-sharp long spikes. This man, like his partner lying nearby, was in a state patrol uniform and died due to his own frivolity. Blood dripped from the wounds, and a puddle formed on the packed ground at his feet. Soon the eyes glazed over, the body sagged limply. This murder, according to Raman, could lead to a lot of trouble, but it was inevitable.
Fiction: Fantasy: Chapter Nine: Laurel Hamilton: read online
I sat in the swivel chair for a second, remembering how to breathe and fighting back the nausea. I told my stomach to behave decently and not be a bad kid. We are already on the ground, God knows! I can always insist that we rent a car to return home - although I knew that I would not do this. I could not get along with myself if I let my fear prevail for once. Fear is like cancer in remission. If you succumb to it even an inch, it will burst into flames and eat you alive.
Jason stopped at the open door and looked back at me.
- Are you coming?
I nodded. The nausea went away and I could breathe again. All the way.
Okay, not everyone. But it won't be better now.
Jason came up to me, looked at me with an incomprehensible expression on his face.
- Were you really scared to death?
I shook my head, then shrugged my shoulders and finally said in a voice too excited:
- Didn't the strip seem a bit short to you?
He leaned over and kissed my forehead again. I looked at him:
- Why is that?
"For courage," he replied with a very serious look. And held out his hand to me.
There were times when I wouldn't take it, considering it a weakness. But I've grown a little since then.
I took his hand, he shook it and smiled at me. That smile is one of the reasons I ended up on this damn plane. A smile to let me know that he knows what it cost me and that he understands me in a way that few people can. We haven't been and won't be a real couple in love that they can't breathe on each other, but Jason knows how to turn me on in a way that not every man I meet. And I really wanted to understand him better.
As I walked hand in hand down the narrow passage with him, I realized that it wasn't just Nathaniel who considered Jason his best friend.
Jason came down the stairs first, slightly backwards, helping me. A little more, perhaps, than I needed, but still I walked in heels.
Downstairs we were met by a man of medium height, bald more than hair, in a good suit. Not in the same as on Jason, but very good.
- Mr. Summerland, I was only expecting you tomorrow.
He was smiling the whole time Jason helped me down the stairs on his heels.
"You've confused me with someone from the Summerlands," Jason replied. He answered as if this confusion was not unexpected for him.
The man looked at Jason, at me, whom Jason was helping to get off the plane. He winked at Jason.
- Well, of course. Are you Mr... Smith?
I'm finally on solid concrete, hooray!
"Write down 'Mr. Albright', it'll be more original," I suggested, thinking I was joking.
The man began to write "Albright" on his sheet.
- Yes, of course, Mr. Albright. We're glad to see you.
- She's joking. I'm Schuyler, Jason Schuyler.
The person crossed out "Albright" and entered the correct last name.
- As you wish, Mr. Schuyler.
"Damn," Jason muttered under his breath.
- What is it? I asked.
- If I were Summerland, why would I come tomorrow?
The man was puzzled, but firmly stuck to his game, whatever it was.
- For your bachelor party, of course. At the end of the week you have a wedding, and your brother has already arrived with his bride.
- Look, I'm a distant cousin of the Summerlands. And all my school years I was mistaken for these twins. I'm really Jason Schuyler, this is my friend Anita Blake. I came to visit my relatives.
- Of course. - It was clear that he did not believe Jason, but it was also clear that he was ready to repeat any words of Jason, even in court under oath.
- I take it the Summerlands are big shots here? I asked.
"No more," Jason replied.
The man with the tablet looked at me, at him.
- The future bride is already in the city. Her bachelorette party is today.
- Are you invited? I asked.
He was dumbfounded:
- No, of course not.
— Then how do you know so much?
“I help arrange guests,” he replied indignantly.
- Excellent. But we are not guests.
- Of course. And if you ask me, I haven't seen Keith Summerland. He will arrive tomorrow as planned.
In awe of his own cleverness and conspiracy, he winked again and walked away.
I looked at Jason.
- Do we speak English? I mean, does he understand what we told him?
- You don't know Keith, otherwise you would understand what kind of problems this bald man has. It would be fine for him to arrive a day earlier with another woman. He could bring a personal stripper.
- A loose guy? I asked.
— He considers himself to be like that. In my opinion, just an asshole.
- And you really look like him like that?
- Yes. It sounded without intonation and without pleasure. “So similar to both of them that it will be even more difficult because of this. Reporters will swarm throughout the wedding.
- But they are local celebrities, not national ones? I mean, it won't be all that scary.
- Do you know who Governor Summerland is?
- You're kidding!
- The governor who is going to be nominated for the presidency is this Summerland?
- I don't read newspapers much and don't watch TV, but even I know who it is.
- Once his eldest son marries, the reporters will flock like flies. And I look like his twin. At school, we were confused every now and then.
- You can't be that similar, can you?
- He once went on a date with my girlfriend impersonating me. She eventually got it right though. Another time he was beaten up by guys who had a grudge against me. I figured it out then, and they found him first. He again spun with one girl, impersonating me.
— Is that why they broke him in? I asked.
"Karma is done," I remarked.
Jason nodded and looked pleased. We stood on the runway, and the pilot asked us when we would return, as a man approached us. Although he was dressed in a good suit, he had a tattoo across his forehead: BANDIT. Metaphorically speaking.
The suit was so well made that I might have missed the hip bulge if I hadn't looked closely. But I knew where to look, and I was able to determine the gun in my eyes when it bulged out to the floor. Here is my "Browning" semi does not protrude. In general, it is surprisingly inconspicuous for a pistol of this size in a new hip holster.
I stood in front of Jason - mechanically. After all, I had a gun, but he didn't. But the costumed bandit didn't even look at me.
- The girl back on the plane.
"The girl has a name," I reminded her.
- Which I don't care about. No need, Kate. Let's be good.
- I am not Kate Summerland. Should I prove it?
— Kate, this isn't even funny anymore.
— Will you show your driver's license?
- What? the guard hurried.
- Call the governor or his wife, even Kelsey. Tell them Jason Schuyler is trying to visit his family and you won't let him out of the airport.
Big man looked at Jason:
- Kate, I thought you were done with that crap.
Jason took out his wallet and showed his driver's license.
- I was confused with both of them at school.
The man looked at the ID as if he had actually read it. Then he looked at Jason, pulled a flip phone out of his pocket.
- Chuck says. I'm willing to swear it's Kate, but in front of me is a driver's license in the name of one Jason Schuyler. He grunted affirmatively many times, then closed the phone and handed the ID to Jason. “I'm sorry, Mr. Schuyler. The Governor conveys his regrets about your father's illness.
- Yes, my father is dying of cancer, and instead of calmly going to him, I will have to fight off every reporter from here to the very hospital room. If I had known about this wedding, I would have postponed the trip for a week.
"That couldn't have been done," I reminded him, touching his arm.
"I know," Jason replied. - What if he dies during this time?
It seems he tried to joke, but it came out sad and bitter.
- I'm very sorry for the misunderstanding, Mr. Schuyler. We have limousines waiting for arriving guests. If we can give you a lift somewhere to compensate for the difficulties that have arisen, tell us - and we will do. Limousines with tinted windows, and , many bridesmaids are arriving now. Reporters have stopped chasing cars because all interviews sound the same.
- And if I take a taxi, they will be interested: why is it Kate with some brunette, and not with a bride, and why not in a limousine, - said Jason.
Chuck shrugged his massive shoulders:
- This is exactly what the governor foresaw.
- Okay, give us a ride to the hotel.
- And if we are seen getting out of the Summerland limousine, this will not add to the confusion? I asked.
Chuck made a puzzled face: I gave him a problem that usually did not belong to him. Putting me back on the plane, making Keith behave is always welcome. And to figure out what to do with a very similar relative, so distant that they were not even invited to the wedding - thank you.
- Let's go in a limousine and take a taxi to the hospital. I can’t think of anything else,” Jason concluded.
"I'll call the press officer from the limousine," Chuck said. “You two are so similar that it might actually be a problem. If the reporters decide that you really are Kate and cheating on the bride with this chikita, it will be bad.
- First "girl", now "chiquita". You know, Chuck, you won't earn points from me.
The look he threw at me clearly said that he didn't give a damn about it, and in general, who am I?
- This is Anita Blake, a very close friend of mine, Chuck.
— And your girlfriend?
- I'm taking her home to meet her father before he dies. Is it clear what that means?
Jason squeezed my hand as if to say, "Just agree." I didn't really know whether to agree or object, so I stood silently, leaving Jason to handle the situation. After all, it's his problem, not mine.
Chuck nodded and looked at me much more respectfully:
- Excuse me, Miss Black.
- Firstly, Miz, and secondly, Blake.
He blinked, then said:
- All right, Ms. Blake. It took me a while to realize that you weren't just... a girlfriend. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be disrespectful.
- They wanted and expressed. But my ego doesn't get hurt that easily, Chuck.
I must admit that his name sounded harsh enough.
Jason squeezed my hand again.
- Let's go to the hotel and try to be discreet. Just in case, I would like to go to the hospital today.
Chuck managed to put on a truly sympathetic face:
- How bad is your father?
- They give him a couple of weeks to live. But it would be very unpleasant, being already in the city, a day late.
- Then let me walk you to the limousine, Mr. Schuyler and Ms. Blake.
He spoke the last words with some irony, and when he bowed with it, the gun on his hip became visible. I realized that this was why he unbuttoned his jacket so that I could see the weapon. Like a vampire showing you fangs. We need your fear.
I smiled sweetly at him:
- Isn't your arm too big for 32, Chuck?
His smile faded slightly:
- He is good for work.
But the answer sounded uncertain - as if my remark did not fit the box in which he put me. It suits me - I love it when security guards underestimate me. In case it gets tough, it makes life easier.
Jason didn't push me into the back of the limousine, but he made sure I stopped arguing with Chuck.
- Which hotel? the guard asked.
Chuck, getting into the car, said:
— Damn, this is the hotel where wedding guests come.
"Best in town," Jason shrugged.
Closing the door, he looked at me, and it was the first glance, not broadcasting the thought: "Heifer." So he's smarter than he looks. That is, the old Chuck should not be underestimated.
Why am I even worried about him? Here's what: he's a bandit. I've seen enough of these while working with the police. I wonder why the future president of our hopes needs such collaborators?
"Don't tease him, Anita," Jason said as the limousine pulled away.
We left the hangar along a personal path, located apart from the airport.
“Sorry,” I replied. “I just can't seem to resist.
- Try for me.
He stroked my hand, but he himself was already looking out the window - and there was something to look at. Before us, wave after wave of wooded hills receded into the distance, like the curved backs of dragons.
For a few minutes I forgot about the bandits and politicians and just looked at these mountains.
- Stunning beauty.
“Yeah, probably,” Jason said.
— Probably? I pointed to the mountains. Along the road, against their background, from time to time came across hotels and eateries, but they could not even close to spoil the view. To the left of the road, a river cut its course - silvery shoals and sparkling rapids surrounded by solid green trees. — Yes, it's more beautiful than the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee!
"Yes, that's the Blue Ridge," he agreed indifferently.
I had a smart idea:
- You grew up here, and for you it's not spectacular, but usually.
- Yeah. And you can see that where it is beautiful, there are many places that are pleasing to the eye, and there are significantly fewer jobs. If you don't work for the university.
- University of North Carolina at Asheville.
Jason didn't seem to be in the mood to discuss the landscape. Okay, I can not pursue this topic.
- Aren't you surprised that a person like this Chuck works for the Summerlands?
— And they always have someone like that.
He looked at me:
- Anita, don't.
- What is not needed?
Don't act like a cop. Mind your own business, let it go as it goes.
- You know something.
- Anita, let me see my father. Let me see old friends. And let me stay out of the Summerland family squabbles. I don't want to participate in them. Deal?
- Tell me why they need such a guy, and I'll leave behind.
- What was Chuck's task at the airport? he answered with a question.
I wrinkled my forehead:
- He thought he was sent to stop Keith from bringing another woman the day before the wedding.
I wrinkled my forehead even more, and then it dawned on me:
- He cleaned them up!
— And why does the cleaner in this family need to walk around with weapons?
- And why do you need to walk around with weapons?
“I don’t leave the house without weapons,” I answered.
Jason gave me a strange look:
- Maybe Chuck is just as paranoid as you are.
- I don't. ..
Jason sat down in front of me on the floor of the limousine, took my hands in his and looked at me in undisguised supplication:
- Anita, I beg you, for God's sake, leave this matter. I'll do whatever you want, as long as you don't sniff around about the Summerlands. This wedding and the family resemblance will make our mouths full of trouble.
Putting his head on my knees, he added:
— And I beg you, I beg you, don't add more trouble. Don't make life difficult for me. Please.
I only said one thing I could say:
- Okay, Jason.
He raised his head and beamed his unholy smile - not sincere, not his natural, but the one he applied to the visitors in the "Forbidden Fruit", diluting them for money. From me he did not need money, but he needed peace. And it would be easier for me to part with a twenty stuffed in his underpants than with a restless feeling that there is some kind of disorder with these Summerlands. A mess that requires an armed sweeper.