Tyr leaned over the table, his suit rumpling with the smooth, strong move. It highlighted not just the width of his broad muscles, but the glimmer of skin visible around his wrist. Light chased along it. There were powerful downlights glinting from above. It was the kind of fluorescence you used in an evidence room when you wanted everything to be revealed, however dark and deadly it was.
But pay attention to that glimmer of illumination shimmering over his skin for too long and it might snatch your attention for good – just like the stare that sat behind the black-rimmed glasses as Tyr leaned just a little closer over the table once more.
It was a surprise it could take his weight.
Tyr – who had only one name and would never have another – seemed capable of confronting any creature. Make no mistake, his muscles didn’t bulge out without proportion. Every single line looked as if it had been carved by Pythagoras himself.
His suit sat perfectly, slim-fit and without a single crease. But you wouldn’t be able to buy it in any store, regardless of how large and well-appointed the city boutiques were. That cashmere and cotton came from someplace else entirely.
“Once you sign the contract, Commissioner, every single murder will have to come past me.” He angled his sharp gaze up, the edge like cold steel.
Commissioner Williams rested back in her chair. Her own uniform wasn’t nearly as nice, and as her wrists peeked out from her rumpled sleeves, her fingers snatching up the pen beside her, you certainly didn’t see any light scattering over her skin. All she had was a determined half snarl, half controlled frown. “I’m doing this because the higher-ups told me to. I don’t need to be threatened.”
Tyr leaned back. The fabric of his shirt didn’t rumple. Not once did his sleeves bunch up. And neither did the skin around his cheeks as he somehow managed to smile without causing a single wrinkle to mark his apparently perfect face.
She said perfect. She knew what she was staring at, even if the higher-ups hadn’t given her the exact specifics of Tyr.
He was magical. He wasn’t your usual aristocrat vampire or hired, muscle-bound shifter. It wasn’t just the magic that was continually visible trying to peek out from underneath his cufflink-clasped sleeves.
It wasn’t even just the look in his eyes. It was the presence that screamed to some primal part at the back of her head to run.
Why the city had made a deal with someone like him, she didn’t know. She’d been instructed to sign this. It was simply a formality. Still, she gripped the pen, her slightly sweat-slicked fingers sliding over the smooth metal as she made the effort of strengthening her stance. She sat straighter in the plastic seat until the legs scratched across the already marked linoleum beneath her. “Make no mistake, even though you will have access to our files, you will not be an arbiter of justice.”
Tyr leaned further back. For whatever reason, despite the fact he was much larger than her, his seat didn’t dare protest under his considerable weight. She imagined that nobody dared protest around him.
Opening his hands wide, what could only be classed as a smooth smile spread across his lips. It gave her the impression of an oil slick insidiously moving in over a once clean beach. Maybe it looked pretty from certain angles, and it sure glimmered like a rainbow. Catch yourself in it, however, and you’d never wrench free.
“We respect the human race’s capacity to enact their own justice. We are simply… a line of defense against things that you are not well suited to fight.”
Williams tapped her pen on the table, not once letting the nib go anywhere near the contract beside her.
As for the contract, it looked as if it was written on real paper. It was the same as Tyr. He might look as if he had a real body, but scratch under the surface, and critically, wrench off his cufflinks to reveal his arms, and you’d see what was actually there.
This contract would never be able to be destroyed. You could attack it with a blowtorch, run over it with a tank, or throw it into the deepest volcano you could find. Nothing would dare mark it. And once it was signed, it would bind the city police department to Tyr and his promise.
Tyr stretched a strong hand toward the contract. He might look unhurried, but Williams got the impression from her long years of dealing with magical creatures that the slight glimmer in his eyes meant he was running out of time. You wouldn’t think someone like him could run out of a single second. It would be pretty hard for an immortal. And yes, she’d just thought that.
He was an actual immortal. Funnily enough, they were all meant to be dead. But somehow the mayor had scrounged one up, and now he was making Williams sign a contract with Tyr – that would bind this city for life.
She looked down at the contract and slipped her gaze up to him. This might be suicide, but she flattened a frown over her lips and didn’t even soften its razor-sharp edge.
Tyr just flicked her a smooth smile. “Rest assured, we will not become involved in human matters. All we intend is to be the last line of defense.”
She leaned closer. Did she have the same powerful body, the suit that refused to be rumpled, and the same glittering skin? No. But she’d spent an illustrious career dealing with the magical side of the law, in all shapes and sizes. So she told herself this immortal, despite his inherent power, was just another perp. Sorry, just another contractor. “What happens if you come across a human with magic?”
“Rare,” he said.
“Not my point. You might,” her eyes slipped from side to side, looking like a metronome keeping the beat of this dark conversation, “be here to protect us from things we apparently can’t face. But what of a magical human? What if some rare soul with natural power runs into your kind? What then?”
“You have my word that I will work with the police department on every single case. You will still be the commissioner, Commissioner,” he said. “If we somehow go against the odds and discover a murder committed by a magical human, you will hold all the cards and no decision will be made without you.” He’d been leaning back against his chair. But now he pushed in. Did he move fast? Snap like a loaded spring? Pulse like a bullet from a gun? Nope. In fact, he moved so slowly, it was like a snake waking up from hibernation. Make no mistake, that didn’t reduce the deadliness of the move.
If you believed the myths, immortals only fought each other. Their interest in human affairs was slim.
You tell that to the glitter in his eyes. It had only been growing ever since he’d dumped that contract right down in front of her.
Now his gaze slipped toward it one last time then rose toward her as if it was a knife brandished against her neck. “The mayor wishes you to sign. This in many ways—”
“Is just a formality.” Commissioner Williams picked up the pen. She didn’t immediately thrust it onto the paper and sign her cursive name. She made sure the immortal knew that while this was just a formality, Williams intended to hold up her side of the bargain. Tyr had promised that when it came to human offenders, regardless of whether they broke the rules and committed forbidden forms of murder, they’d come across her desk first.
She would hold him to that.