23 Hours: A Vengeful Vampire Tale
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In the next 23 hours, there will be no reprieve,
no mercy, and no time off for good behavior.
When vampire hunter Laura Caxton is locked up in a maximum-security prison, the cop-turned-con finds herself surrounded by countless murderers and death-row inmates with nothing to lose . . . and plenty of time to kill.
Caxton’s always been able to watch her own back–even when it’s against a cell-block wall–but soon she learns that an even greater threat has slithered behind the bars to join her. Justinia Malvern, the world’s oldest living vampire, has taken up residence, and her strength grows by the moment as she raids the inmate population like an open bar with an all-you-can-drink supply of fresh blood. The crafty old vampire knows just how to pull Caxton’s strings, too, and she's issued an ultimatum that Laura can’t refuse.
Now Laura has just 23 hours to fight her way through a gauntlet of vampires, cons, and killers . . . 23 hours to make one last, desperate attempt at protecting the world from Justinia’s evil.
her cell, and there was no clock, either, but as she lay on her bunk listening to Stimson snoring below her, she eventually realized that midnight must have come and gone, and nothing had changed. She stared at the light for a long time, waiting to feel sleepy. The light came from a single bulb set in a shatterproof fixture designed in such a way that Caxton could neither open it nor get any kind of grip on it. A single cockroach had found its way inside the fixture and died there. It had only
facing the wrong way! The main gate is behind us.” “That’s okay,” Caxton said. “We’re not going to the main gate.” “We’re not?” “It’s too heavily defended. We wouldn’t make it halfway there. Trust me. I know what I’m doing.” And I’m not about to share, she thought, so don’t ask any questions. She hadn’t figured out yet how to explain to Gert that their mission had changed. That they weren’t going to try to escape from the prison anymore. She doubted Gert would want to hear that. “What do you
swung and kicked at the skylight. It was made of dirty, sun-damaged transparent plastic and it cracked when she hit it, even with her bare feet. One more swing and she knocked it right out of its frame. The way to the roof was clear. “Gert, your turn,” she called. “It’s an easy climb. You know how to climb a rope, right?” There was no answer. Caxton looked down and couldn’t see Gert anywhere in the ward. “Gert!” she shouted. “Gert! You get out here right now, or I’ll leave you behind!” Gert
votive candle burning to give a little bit of light. It showed Caxton a door leading into the second floor of the central tower. Gert slammed into the door with her shoulder hard enough to knock it off its hinges. She didn’t need to—it was unlocked, and it slapped open with a loud bang as Gert staggered out into a large open space. Caxton reloaded her shotgun as she ran after her celly knowing that if Gert’s drugged-up recklessness was going to get them killed, this was the precise moment when
to sharp tips. Their eyes glowed a dull red. And their mouths were filled with rows of wicked, translucent teeth. There was a clattering sound from the stairwell—from the stairs that led down to the Hub. It had to be Guilty Jen, coming up to announce that Laura was dead. Clara’s head dropped forward, her body unable to support its weight anymore. For a moment the five vampires just stood looking at the door. It didn’t open. One of the vampires moved to the door, eventually, and stared at it as