Mac set the chainsaw down on the antique tabletop. Steel touched wood. The quiet thump joined the snap’n-crackle in the wide-faced hearth as the blade’s jagged teeth bumped a bowl of Cheesies. He gentled the landing, releasing his grip on the handle one finger at a time. No sense borrowing trouble. One scratch on the high-gloss finish and Daimler, the Nightfury warrior’s go-to guy, would open a can of whup-ass and kick him to the curb.


Not advisable. Particularly if he wanted to eat in the foreseeable future.


Shoving a candy-dish aside, Mac repositioned the chainsaw, going for maximum centerpiece effect. Set up for the Nightfuries’ regular Saturday poker game, the table overflowed with the usual…an endless supply of artery clogging junk food. Not that any of his brothers-in-arms cared about potential cardiovascular implosions. Humans might’ve, but not them. Their dragon DNA worked too fast for that, healing them up tight before any degenerative damage could be done.


The sound of shuffling cards whispered through the dining room.


Mac glanced left, toward the opposite end of the table. Seated at the head of the mahogany monstrosity, Wick met his gaze. The warrior raised a brow, his silent inquiry more effective than words.


“Leatherface.” Bafflement winged across Wick’s face, marring his usually impassive expression. Mac’s mouth curved. Go figure. Trust the most violent male among them to be cinematically challenged. “Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Ever see the movie?”


Cutting the deck he held in half, Wick shook his head.


“You need to get out more.” Fingering his blood spattered dress shirt, Mac loosened his tie, tugging the tattered fabric of his plaid vest to one side. “Where’s your costume?”


“Halloween is for pansies.”


Mac snorted.


“Who’s a pansy?” The sound of heavy footfalls followed the question, drifting in from the kitchen and beneath the open archway.


“You are,” Mac said, trash-talking, knowing who was about to enter the room.


Right on cue, Venom stepped into view. He paused to throw Mac a disgusted look, then dipped his head to avoid whacking his noggin on the timber-beamed lintel, and crossed the threshold. Light from dimmed halogens fell across Venom’s features. Mac blinked. Holy God, one side of the guy’s face looked as though it had been put through a meat grinder.


“What the hell are you supposed to be?”


The mutilated side of Venom’s mouth tipped up. “Road kill.”


“Nice,” Mac said, reluctant admiration in his tone.


Wick rolled his eyes.


Venom grinned, and grabbing a chair back, sat in his usual spot beside Wick. Moments later, the other Nightfury warriors filed in. Ahead of the pack, dressed as Optimus Prime from The Transformers, Sloan threw a package of red licorice onto the tabletop. Plastic crinkled as the candy slid to a halt beside the pile of poker chips, and Mac got a load of Bastian. He frowned, taking stock of his commander’s get-up. Circa Pirates of the Caribbean, B tilted his Captain Jack Sparrow hat in a rakish manner and scrubbed a hand along his whiskered jaw.


“Myst likes pirates,” B murmured, a wicked gleam in his kohl-lined eyes.


Mac laughed, liking his commander’s game plan. A costume for the Halloween themed poker game with the guarantee of getting lucky with his female later on. Damned good strategy. Knuckle-bumping with B on the fly-by, Mac tipped his chin, greeting his mentor as the Scot entered the fray.


“Who’s ready tae get their arse kicked?” Forge asked, adjusting the codpiece on his Scottish troll costume. The wart on his nose quivered in protest. “’Tis all over but the crying, lads.”

“Arrogant prick.” Bringing up the rear, Rikar shoved his Friday the 13th hockey mask to the top of his head. Ice blue eyes glittering, he pointed a machete in Forge’s direction. “You’re gonna lose, Scot.”


“Bollocks,” Forge said. “No one beats me at Texas hold’em.”


“Then you’ve never played me.”


The quiet assertion slithered through the room, soft accompaniment to the hissing shift of shuffling cards. All eyes turned, following the deep voice to the head of the table. Golden gaze aglow, Wick sat with a bent-to-shit halo askew on his dark head. As far as costumes went, it wasn’t much. In terms of a threat…crazy effective. Cuz one thing for certain? An angel, Wick was not.


© 2012 Text by Coreene Callahan