Before you can have a bromance to rival Iron Man and Captain America, or Dean Winchester and Castiel, or Sherlock and John Watson, you must have the borderline hostile meeting and a plethora of awkward moments. They don’t know yet (they only just met, after all) that by the end of the book they’ll be brothers in arms, but I do. Ah, the joys of being omniscient where characters are concerned. Skata is a man with a personal vendetta against the vampire he’s hunting, and Angel is a vampire with a dark secret. Skata has a very western, cowboy-style manner and sense of humor, while Angel’s personal defenses are snark and flippancy. They don’t realize how much they have in common, which makes everything that much more fun for me. Their meeting was a tricky thing for me, however – it had to start off with the right amount of observation and tension, but with a streak of humor resulting from their different personalities. I’m finally satisfied with the outcome – and since I have a bunch of Angel fans (and Skata fans. Skata just lacks Angel’s natural charismatic charm, poor guy) I thought, why not show you, too!
The car turned left and drove down a long gravel driveway that ended in a paved driveway in front of an impressive 1920’s Tudor.
“He has money,” said Cassis after several seconds of silence had passed. “Come on.” They climbed out of the car and Shannon called, “Hurry up, guys.”
They walked up to the front door; a tall oak affair with an impressive wrought-iron doorknocker. Cassis rang the doorbell.
This is a bad idea. “I could stay at a hotel, you know.”
Cassis didn’t have time to argue or point out the reasons why that, too, was a bad idea, because the door opened and Angel, who could easily have passed for a bad-boy of thirty to thirty-five years old, leaned against the doorway.
“Angel, this is Skata,” said Cassis politely, taking a step away so Skata could step forward.
Skata stayed right where he was.
“How’s it going,” he said, eyeing the vampire.
Angel’s eyes were a pale, unnerving blue designed specifically to strike fear into the hearts of enemies and love into the hearts of unsuspecting females. He sounded so friendly when he held out a hand and said, “Hey; it’s a pleasure to meet you!” that Skata knew he had to be putting on a show for the dhamphir’s benefit.
Either that or he was the first completely relaxed, affable moroi he had ever come in contact with. Angel’s half-moon smile grew.
Skata reached out and shook the vampire’s hand. It was cooler than human skin, but his grip was strong. A little too strong, he thought, and refused to wince. For a brief moment, all they did was look, unblinking, into each other’s eyes, and Skata could tell Angel was forming a quick impression of him.
Two can ride that horse.
“Well, Cassis.” Angel clamped his hand down on the half-breed’s shoulder like they were just a couple of normal guys, hanging out on Sunday morning. “Thanks for bringing him over. Aren’t you going to be late for church?” he added, with a look of intense concern.
“If there are any problems, just…” Cassis looked from Angel to Skata.
“Don’t you worry,” said Angel warmly, patting Cassis on the back. “Now go! Don’t want to leave your girlfriend waiting, do you?”
“She isn’t—” Cassis stopped himself and sighed. “Have fun.”
“Oh, we will,” Angel confirmed with a wide smile and eyes narrowed just a little too much.
With another worried glance cast at the two of them, the dhamphir left the hunter and the vampire standing on either side of the threshold. Angel opened the door wider and swept his arm in a welcoming gesture.
“Come on in.”
Skata read the unmistakable challenge lurking in the invitation and stepped into the foyer.