The Beast That Was Max

The Beast That Was Max by Gerard Houarner Read Free Book Online

Book: The Beast That Was Max by Gerard Houarner Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gerard Houarner
Tags: Horror
with their craving for our food."
    As her words rolled over him, Max caught a glimpse of his own vulnerability in Mani's abandonment of Rithisak. What would happen if he lost his own tool, the heart of his personal empire, the Beast? Mani had already shown him, whether she meant to or not. The Beast barked a protest, as honest as raw appetite. Max preferred not to dwell on the possibility, no matter how unlikely.
    "Chilies and ginger?" Lee said. "Guess he didn't want a whole hell of a lot." He hesitated as he put the last shell in the shotgun, and a stunned expression crossed his face. He glanced at Max, twitching an eyebrow as a signal. "I can see why this guy is coming after you so heavy, you being his main moneymaker. Must be tough, having people wanting something out of you all the time." He placed the shotgun upright in a custom caddy between the two front seats, opened the glove compartment, took out the gun, and began to inspect it. "Hey, you'll have to excuse me for being so fucking stupid, but I can't figure out how if he had his claws into you on this deep spiritual level," he said, half mumbling, sliding out the clip and chambered round and studying the firing mechanism with fierce intensity, "and you couldn't break out of this hard-on jones for the guy for all these years, what changed? I mean, you're telling us about this slick plan of yours to get away, but how did you get him out of your system to walk out in the first place? Was it a Tina Turner thing—did he abuse you until you broke? Did you invent an antidote for his voodoo on you?" He put the clip back in the gun, chambered a round, turned around in his seat, and aimed at her head. "Or are you still hooked on him? Is this all some kind of game you assholes are running on our bosses, where Max and I are supposed to take a fall?"
    Mani closed her eyes and arched her back, exposing her throat. The curves of her body shifted again, calling.
    Her erotic vulnerability drew Max's gaze from the road. He soothed the Beast with his breathing, and wished he could do the same for himself.
    Lee frowned, pursed his lips. He thrust the gun in her direction. "If you really wanted to get away from him, you could've killed the son of a bitch. It would've saved all of us a lot of trouble."
    Mani was silent.
    "Max?" Lee asked. "How much of this miscommunication crap we've been getting is bureaucratic bullshit, and how much of it is a plan to fuck us?"
    The edge to Lee's voice brought Max into focus. He followed his partner's reasoning with his own intimate knowledge of their charge. He knew from the moment he met Mani that at the end of her seductive lure lay a killer.
    The village massacre had left little for Rithisak to teach her about slaughter, and it was in fact her murderous self he found most enticing. Killing for her freedom would not have been a problem for Mani. The source of her entrapment lay elsewhere.
    Though he could not quite bring himself to believe in spirits and ghosts, the reality of his own Beast and the twins' powers, and Mani's mind-switch trick, let his instincts overcome doubt for the moment. The beisac had tainted her, leaving the residue of a hateful thing resonating within her. But there was a hunger inside her that did not belong to the beisac.
    The death of her childhood world had left her empty. Her savior Rithisak filled it. Her need for that fulfillment was as strong and real as it was the day she became small and let the village's blood spill over her. If the roots of Rithisak's worldly power remained in her, the roots of her emotional stability were still sunk deep in him.
    If she could have escaped or killed him, she would have done it long ago. She had found another way to free herself.
    "She can leave him because his roots are still in her," Max said. "She has a part of him with her." The blinding glimpse of the life in her came back to him. He blinked, eyes stinging. From the glare of oncoming headlights, he was certain.
    "Yes," Mani

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