From the New York Times bestselling author of the Night Huntress series comes a thrilling new look at the iconic origin story of Cat and Bones, as experienced by Bones…from the other half of the grave.
There are two sides to every story–and the sizzling British alpha vampire, Bones, has a lot to say…
Ever wondered what Bones was thinking and feeling when he and half-vampire Cat Crawfield first met? Or how their story might differ if he were the one telling it? Now, relive the beginning of Cat and Bones’ bestselling love story through Bones’ point of view, which reveals a darker, sexier take on their early days, as well as a deeper dive into Bones’ past, the vampire world, and other things that Cat didn’t see when their story was told only through her eyes in Halfway to the Grave.
Cat had her say. Now, it’s Bones’ turn.
The Other Half of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
SERIES Night Huntress | GENRE Adult Paranormal Romance
PUBLISHER NYLA | PUBLICATION DATE April 26, 2022
KEEP READING TO SEE AN EXCERPT!
THE OTHER HALF OF THE GRAVE
A Night Huntress Novel
© 2022 Jeaniene Frost
Readers have long asked me if I’d ever write Bones’s side of the story, and I said no because I didn’t “hear” Bones in my head the same way that I heard Cat. Well, a couple years ago, Bones finally started talking to me, and wow, did he have a lot to say. I thought I knew everything about him, and Bones proved me wrong. Writing this also showed Cat in a brand-new light for me, as well as Ian, Spade, and others. Reliving their story through Bones’s perspective made me laugh, cry, and fall in love with him and Cat all over again. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
When you read, you’ll notice that I updated the technology to today’s time because I didn’t want to confuse readers by not mentioning things that are commonplace now. I also didn’t want to pull readers out of the story by keeping the now-defunct technology of the early 2000s. Example: Bones had a beeper as a receiver for Cat’s panic alert back in the original version (Gen Z, you’ll have to look up what a “beeper” is.) I laughed out loud when I re-read that part, and it’s not supposed to be a funny scene. So, I thought upgrading the technology was a better choice. I also gave Cat a cell phone in this version. Her not having one back when HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE was first published was unusual, but not unheard of. Today, however, the average middle schooler has a cell phone, so a college student like Cat would definitely have one, too.
Finally, since this is told through Bones’s point of view, there are slight changes in context and dialog. Anyone who’s been in a relationship knows that couples can have two versions of the same incident, and both will swear that their version is correct. Such is the case with how Bones remembers things versus how Cat did. Hey, I’m not going to tell Bones that he’s wrong. This is his story, and he’s sticking to it.
Tonight, Bones hunted.
Devon was his prey. According to Bones’s sources, Devon ran the books for an undead cabal that operated from Mexico all the way to this poor imitation of a high-end nightclub in Columbus, Ohio. Devon was supposed to be here tonight, hence Bones sitting in the frayed, fake-velvet booths of the club’s VIP area. The music was atrocious, and so loud that the humans had to shout in order to hear each other. With a vampire’s heightened senses, the annoying beat felt as if it were being pumped directly into Bones’s skull.
He was, as the cliché went, getting too old for this. At least when it came to frequenting human nightclubs. When it came to hunting, Bones’s two-centuries-plus was to his advantage. The same held true for his other pursuits.
One example of those pursuits flashed a smile at him as she came nearer. She was attractive enough, if he ignored the heavy chemical scent of perfume she’d doused herself with. But he couldn’t ignore the way her eyes were dilated from something other than feminine interest.
“Hi,” she purred, leaning over his table to better display her décolleté. “What do you say to buying me a drink, sexy?”
Shagging might be his favorite pastime, but Bones never touched a woman under the influence of drugs. She was also now blocking his view of the club’s entrance. If Devon slipped in, Bones wouldn’t know it. Normally, he’d let her down gently, but lives were on the line.
“I’d say lay off whatever drugs made your pupils larger than olives,” he replied with a rudeness meant to send her away.
She huffed and straightened, clearing his line of sight to the door. “Bastard,” she snapped before stalking off.
Bones hefted his glass in salute. “Right you are.”
Two more women and a man made similar advances over the next hour. He sent them away as well. He’d just rebuffed his latest admirer when a glimpse of almost luminescent skin caught his eye.
Vampire, was Bones’s first thought as he studied the woman entering the club. Her hair was a crimson splash that hid her face as she waited while the bouncer checked her identification. Must be a young-looking vampire, for the bouncer to double-check her license. After a moment, she was allowed to pass.
Bones only caught glimpses of her as she threaded her way through the crowd. She wore oversized denim trousers with construction-style pockets, long black gloves, and a nondescript white top with elbow-length sleeves. If not for its scooped neckline, he wouldn’t have caught sight of her distinctive skin, especially since her long red tresses shielded most of her face.
Push your hair back, Bones thought. Show me your face…
Wait, who cared what the vampire looked like, if she was even a vampire at all? He had his doubts now. Yes, her skin held that faint tinge of incandescence that usually meant “vampire,” but she moved like a human, and she also had too much flush in her skin for a vampire’s stationary pulse.
Must be a human with unusually lovely skin, nothing more. Bones finished his whisky and left cash for his bill. A tour of the club was now in order. Devon could’ve slipped in when he was distracted by the redhead. That wouldn’t do.
An hour later, Bones was back in the booths with their elevated view of the entrance. Devon hadn’t shown up yet, and it was approaching midnight. If this were a vampire club, the evening would just be starting, but this was a human establishment so it would only be open another two hours.
Perhaps his intelligence on Devon had been wrong. Vampires had been known to lie to stop the pain when a silver knife was shoved into their sternum—
Ash blond hair caught Bones’s eye as a man walked into the club. He moved with distinct, purposeful grace, and his skin held the same faint tinge of luminescence as Bones’s own.
The redhead he’d admired earlier suddenly came toward Bones with an unsteady gait. Before Bones could send her away, she dropped into the seat across the table from him.
“Hello handsome,” she said, her faint slur turning a poor impression of a seductive voice into a terrible one.
“Not now,” he replied shortly.
She blinked as if she’d never been rejected before. With her beauty, she probably hadn’t. Dark red brows arched over storm-cloud gray eyes while very little makeup graced her high cheekbones, elegant nose, and luscious, full lips. No perfume masked her scent, either, allowing him to catch a subtle mix of sweet cream, vanilla, and…cherries.
“Excuse me?” she said.
He could no longer see Devon now. Lovely or no, he wouldn’t let her cost him years of hunting.
“I’m busy, so off you go.”
She touched his hand. Her warmth erased any doubt as to her humanity, as did the heartbeat he could now hear from her nearness. She stammered out something he ignored until she finished it with “Want to fuck?”
As soon as she said it, a horrified look crossed her features. Her hand also paused midway to her mouth as if she’d been about to physically attempt stuffing the words back.
His lips curled. Not afraid to say what she wanted even if it embarrassed her, was she? Under other circumstances, he’d make her forget that embarrassment in the nearest, darkest corner, but now wasn’t the time.
“Bad timing, luv. Be a good bird and fly away. I’ll find you later.”
At that, she got up and walked away, shaking her head. Bones didn’t spare her another look. His gaze was all for the blond vampire moving through the crowd with the arrogance of an apex predator surrounded by prey.
Bones flew up to the ceiling. His all-black attire plus the darkness around the booths meant that no one noticed. Once there, he went behind the network of lights. Anyone who looked up would only see the constant flash of strobes or the roving beams of spotlights. Not the dark figure behind them.
His perch gave him a clear view of Devon. The other vampire paused by several women during his slow sweep of the club, leaning in to catch their scent, brush their skin, or run his fingers through their hair. Devon made it seem subtle, almost accidental, but shoppers in a grocery store tested their produce in much the same way.
Devon was picking out his next meal.
Bones’s jaw tightened when he saw Devon catch a glimpse of the redhead. He’d hoped she’d leave the club after his refusal, but she’d done a circle of the place as if looking for him, and then sat at the bar. When Devon saw her, he stopped talking to the petite blond he’d been conversing with and stared.
Distractingly lovely, isn’t she? Bones thought, feeling an odd twinge of anger. Yes, vampires were territorial over their possessions or their people, but the redhead was neither to him. Still, that twinge grew when Devon left the blonde and went straight over to her.
He couldn’t hear what Devon said over the pulsating music. He could only watch as Devon leaned behind the redhead and spoke. She turned around, annoyance clear on her features.
Good. Send him on his way!
A bright smile wreathed her face, turning up the dial on her already irresistible beauty. Whatever she said had Devon sitting next to her and signaling the bartender for a drink.
Anger surged again. Bones told himself it was fueled by sympathy, not more irrational jealousy.
Bad choice, pet. He intends to eat you in an entirely different way than I did.
Her choices soon worsened. Within half an hour, the redhead was following Devon out the door. Bones slid across the ceiling to a corner, and then jumped down and left the club. Once outside, he flew high to avoid being spotted and kept his aura tamped down so that Devon couldn’t detect it.
The redhead could barely walk as she followed Devon to his car. Clearly, she’d had too much to drink. Devon didn’t care. He smirked as he helped her into the passenger seat, and then climbed into the driver’s side and pulled away.
Bones stayed high as he followed the Volkswagen. No surprise, Devon drove to a deserted, wooded area. Bones dropped lower, tensing when the car stopped. Almost immediately, the passenger door opened, and the redhead stumbled out.
Bones was low enough to hear Devon laugh when she staggered away, screaming. Drunk as she was, she only made it a few meters before she tripped and fell. Not that she would have been able to escape Devon even if she’d been sober. No human could outrun a vampire.
Bones dropped even lower as Devon walked over to the girl. His back was to Bones, but from the new green glow bathing the redhead’s features, he’d released the inhuman light in his gaze. Seeing it, she whimpered and crawled backward faster.
Don’t fret, luv, Bones thought grimly. I’m coming. Just need to catch him unawares so you don’t get hurt in the process.
“Don’t hurt me!” she cried out when Devon knelt next to her and grabbed her by the back of the neck.
“It will only hurt for a moment,” Devon hissed.
Bones braced against the nearest tree trunk, about to springboard off it to maximize his speed to knock Devon away—
The redhead’s hand whipped out, ramming something into Devon’s chest. Before Bones could react, she gave it a vicious twist, and Devon collapsed on top of her. She kept twisting until Devon shriveled into a vampire’s true state of death.
Bones was too stunned to do anything other than stare.
What the bloody hell was this?
“You were right,” she said in a tone that no longer bore a hint of a drunken slur. “It only hurt for a moment.”
Bones’s disbelief gave way to anger. All the answers he’d sought for the past several years, gone. All because of a lovely, murdering redhead who’d fooled both him and Devon, though only one of them had lived to regret it.
She shoved Devon’s body aside. No hysterics, no remorse, and she’d shown no hesitation before stabbing Devon, either. If she had, Bones could have stopped her. But no, she’d been swift and merciless. This wasn’t her first kill, especially with how brisk and businesslike she was as she opened the trunk and hefted Devon’s body into it.
Little chit must be a professional. He’d be sure to use that to his advantage when he met her again. He’d been her first intended victim, after all.
I promised to find you. I’ll keep that promise.
She whistled as she closed the trunk and got back into Devon’s car. Bones flew high and followed her. He had no idea who she was, but he was going to find out.
JEANIENE FROST is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of the Night Huntress series, the Night Prince series, the Broken Destiny series, and the Night Rebel series. To date, foreign rights for Jeaniene’s novels have sold to twenty different countries. Jeaniene lives in Florida with her husband Matthew, who long ago accepted that she rarely cooks and always sleeps in on the weekends. Aside from writing, Jeaniene enjoys reading, poetry, watching movies, exploring old cemeteries, spelunking, and traveling – by car. Airplanes, children, and cook books frighten her.