All Knight Long

All Knight Long

John G. Hartness

April 2019 $14.95
ISBN: 978-1-61194-946-9

The Black Knight Chronicles, Book 7

Our PriceUS$14.95
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| Synopsis | Reviews | Excerpt |

Back Cover Copy

Saving the world was only the beginning . . .

Detective Jimmy Black’s life as an accidental crime lord and Vampire Master of Charlotte has him longing for the days when the bad guys had neon signs above their heads and a couple of well-placed bullets won the day. Now he spends more time balancing books than kicking butts, and that doesn’t make for a happy vampire.

When a missing person case lands in the lap of Black Knight Investigations, Jimmy and his partner, Greg Knightwood, jump happily back into action—until their missing person rises as an uncontrollable vampire and all signs point to a supernatural coup orchestrated by an unknown vampire of immense power. With the case going sideways, more missing girls, and a new cop in town way too curious about Jimmy’s perennial youth, life in Charlotte is about to get interesting again.

Author John G. Hartness is the Epic and Manly Wade Wellman Award-winning writer behind The Black Knight Chronicles from Bell Bridge Books, as well as the Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter and Bubba the Monster Hunter series. In his copious free time, John enjoys long walks on the beach, rescuing kittens from trees, and playing Magic: the Gathering.


EPIC Award-winning Series! 

"I do love the banter in this book. It’s fun, it’s funny, and it’s often hilarious.”  —Fangs For the Fantasy on Back in Black

"What’s not to love about a snarky Buffy-loving vampire? . . . The dialogue in Hard Day’s Knight, both internal and external, is what really makes this book. I learned the hard way to not both read this book and take a drink of tea.”             —Shay Williams, NetGalley, on Hard Day’s Knight
"I flew through this series.”     —We Geek Girls on The Black Knight Chronicles Omnibus


Chapter 1


I felt the vibration through the desktop but reached down to pat my leg out of habit. Yup, my non-vibrating phone was still in my pocket, just like I thought. I looked at the werewolf across the wooden surface from me, my brow knit in confusion. "Excuse me just a second.”

I opened the center drawer of my desk, the catch-all zone full of pencils, business cards, extra soy sauce packets from Chinese takeout that I never get to eat, a couple of birthday cards from Greg and Abby, and a Starbucks gift card that I kept meaning to give to a homeless guy, or at least somebody who drinks coffee. Not my thing, never has been. I riffled through the crap for a few seconds, but there was nothing in there to explain the incessant humming that rattled through my desk. The bottom drawer was all file folders, info on various businesses that I either owned or owned part of, and some very sensitive photos of local elected officials, held in reserve for those times when I needed a little extra leverage with a zoning committee.

The top right drawer held even more random crap than the center drawer, and I was pretty sure most of it wasn’t mine. In the couple of years since I took over as Master Vampire of Charlotte from Gordon Tiram—the old Master and man voted Most Likely to Rip Jimmy Black’s Heart Out two years ago—I’d never really bothered to redeco­rate, other than replacing the occasional blood-stained rug. Amazing how useful a good rug is in protecting your floors from blood and brain matter, and they double as corpse-disposal units, too. That had come up more often than I really wanted in my first year as Master. Cleaning out Tiram’s desk completely just never really made it to the top of my take-over To-Do list. I always assumed that William, my assistant, hand­led moving all of Tiram’s crap out and moving all of my crap in, but apparently not. I was rooting through a bunch of shit that was very-much-not-mine in search of a runaway vibrator.

Or a cell phone, I thought, pulling a battered flip phone out of the depths of the drawer. "How the hell is this thing still charged?” I mused, flipping it open and pressing the phone to my ear. The phone obediently succumbed to reality the second I did so, with me just hearing someone on the other end say "Hello?” before being cut off.

"Well, crap,” I muttered, snapping the phone closed and tossing it to the surface of my desk. I kinda missed carrying around flip phones, to be honest. They were much more durable than smartphones, and given my tendency to end up crashing through things, I ran through phones like a Kardashian running through men. This particular one I remem­bered as being a cheap-o prepaid model Greg gave me about a year ago—after I broke my third phone in a month. I carried this one for a while, but probably six months had passed since I’d seen it. When lost, I assumed it was gone for good and got another one.

"I wonder if I can even still get a charger for that thing.”

"Yeah, you can totally get chargers for those, man. It’s just like the burner phones some of my guys get. They got chargers at gas stations for those,” said the wolf sitting across the desk from me.

I looked up at him, suddenly remembering why he was there. "Oh, yeah. Sorry about that. The buzzing was driving me nuts.”

"Yeah, me too. Curse of heightened senses. That and people who wear too much cologne.”

"Or not enough deodorant,” I said, nodding. "Now, where were we?”

"You were about to give me a break on our tribute this month becausebusiness sucks on account of most of the supernatural creatures heading for the hills after your big fight with Lilith.” Terry—the werewolf—was the Alpha of the Mint Street Panthers, a play on words referencing our local football team, with a sly nod to the fact that there wasn’t a single were-panther or other were-feline in his entire sector.

"My fight with Lilith was six months ago, Terry. I already gave you a break last month because the Panthers missed the play-offs. I’ve been forgiving, but this is business. You need to get your crap together, or I’m going to need to find a new Alpha. Or maybe a new pack to handle the stadium business.”

He was on his feet in a blink, leaning over my desk and baring his teeth. "You threatening me, Black? Because I can show you what werewolf strength is all about if I need to.”

He was fast, I had to give him credit. But I wasn’t just fast, I was vampire-fast. In the space between him letting out a breath and drawing the next, I got out of my chair, yanked my sword down off the far wall of my office where the fireplace crackled, and moved to stand behind him. I cleared my throat and he spun around, finding me four feet away with a longsword just grazing his throat. "Wolves are strong, Terry, but I’m not a wolf. I’m the friggin’ Master of the City, and when I say something, you don’t get the privilege of looking at it as a threat. You better know that it’s a promise. Now you have three days to get back here with the rest of my tribute, or I will skin you and use your pelt as a rug in front of my fireplace. Do you understand me?”

He didn’t budge, just glared at me with eyes of fire.

"You don’t have to say anything, you might nick your Adam’s apple. Just get out of my office and go do your job.”

He put his hands up and walked out of my office, never taking his eyes off me. I held his gaze the entire way, knowing how much it frustrates a wolf when they can’t assert authority. When the door closed behind him, I walked back to the fireplace, hung the sword up on a pair of hooks, and walked back to my desk. My assistant William came in from the outer office mere seconds after my butt hit the chair.

"Did that go well, sir?” he asked, walking straight to the small wet bar beside the desk.

"About like we expected. You fixing for me, or for you?”

"I can fix one for you as well. What would you like?”

"Ciroc and cranberry. Wolves smell bad. I want something with tang to get rid of the stink.”

William handed me a tumbler filled with ice and pink liquid, then sat in the chair recently vacated by the wolf. "Is there anything you need me to handle after your meeting with Mr. Aves?”

It took me half a second to realize that I was supposed to know who he was talking about. "Oh, you mean Terry. I forgot he has a last name other than Dickhead. No, it’s fine. He’ll be back in a few days with the balance of what he owes me.”

"How did you know that he was skimming? I looked over his paperwork, and while his numbers seemed low, they weren’t terribly so.”

"His Lieutenant is a moron and was bragging to one of the girls at the Angel about how his pack was playing ‘the moron who thinks he’s Master of the City.’”

Fallen Angel’s is a strip club in town, formerly the home base of Lilith, immortal sorceress and unanimously voted Most Likely to Rip Jimmy Black’s Heart Out last year. She didn’t do any better job than Tiram, so now the Angel, as the club was called, was run by Abby Lahey, a young vampire sired by the same psycho that had made me, who also happened to be one of my best friends.

"And the young lady reported that conversation to Abigail?” Williamasked, a slight smile playing across his lips as he sipped his scotch.

"She didn’t have to. Lilith had those rooms wired for sound and video, ostensibly for the girls’ safety, but there’s a lot of information exchanged in between the songs of a lap dance.”

"I can only imagine.”

"Since you’re imagining, just picture the look on Terry’s face when I called him on his bullshit.” I laughed and put my feet up on the polished oak surface. I was slowly getting used to the job and the perks. The new high-tech gamer chair felt a lot more natural than the massive leather monstrosity that sat here when I moved in.

"What was your plan should he have done more than growl? Terrence is a very powerful wolf. I do not doubt that he could match your strength, unless you are able to tap in to other resources.”

William meant my ability to call on The Soul of the City, the life­force that Masters can tap into when in extreme danger. "Nah, I wouldn’t need The Soul.” I reached below the surface of the desk and drew a Glock 28 pistol. "Let me introduce you to my little friend,” I said in a horrible Al Pacino impression.

"I don’t think that’s how that quote goes, sir,” William said. "And that’s not a very big pistol.”

"You are correct on both counts, my friend,” I said, knocking back the last of my drink. "But you fix me another vodka cranberry, and all will be revealed.”

He took my glass over to the bar, and I held up my end of the bargain. "The Glock 28 is a .380 compact pistol, with a ten-round capacity. It fits under the desk nicely and isn’t so loud as to disturb the entire building.”

"Is that enough stopping power for a werewolf?” William asked, raising his voice over the glorious sound of ice cubes in my drink.

"Not usually, but in this case, it’s the ammo that matters. I had special Ripper rounds made for all my guns. They blossom out on impact, sending shards of metal through the target. And in this case, those shards happen to be silver. When the bullet strikes a wolf, it breaks up into six tiny chunks of very lethal silver ripping holes in anyone stupid enough to come at me.”

"Those would be very dangerous to vampires as well,” William mused, handing over my drink and sitting down again.

"Yes, they would,” I agreed. "Let’s hope I don’t have to use them on anyone we like.”

"Where did you get them?”

"I found a guy online. Sent him the specs, he sent me the bullets. They aren’t cheap, so I’m glad I didn’t have to waste any on Terry. He’s an ass, but he’s not terrible. So hopefully he’ll fall in line, and we can move forward.”

"I hate to say it, sir, but you’re getting good at this.” William raised a glass in a salute that I wanted to believe was only a little bit mocking.

"Yeah, that’s all I ever wanted out of undeath,” I groused. "To get good at being an evil overlord of crime. Good thing I don’t ever want to associate with law-abiding people or anything like that.”

"Speaking of Detective Law, how is she? I haven’t seen her in a few days.” William deftly changed the subject before I had a chance to get all broody. He’s smart like that.

I knew he was manipulating me, and I didn’t care. "We’re having dinner tonight. Hoping to go back to that taco place at the Epicentre.” My mind flashed back to our last attempt at having street tacos downtown. The date ended when I chased a vampire purse-snatcher into the sewers, which was the inadvertent first step on the journey that led me to sitting there drinking overpriced vodka with my assistant on the top floor of a skyscraper, overseeing my criminal empire. God, I really hoped nobody tried to steal anything tonight. All I wanted was to show my girl a good time.

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