Excerpt from Sexy Bites
The screams reached her first. Toni Freedman was just putting the chalk swoop into the last letter of her morning inspirational quote when she heard teeny-bopper squeals become alarmed jeers. Within moments a full-out riot of noise crashed into her little special ed classroom on the second floor. She was already running down the stairs when her walkie-talkie sounded "Cafeteria incident" in its garbled, dark tones.
She slowed briefly as she waded through a crowd of lunchroom staff and kids. At a short 5' 2", many of the on-lookers were larger than her, but what she lacked in stature, she made up for in attitude. She was the adult here, the teacher, and the woman trained to take down either of the three boys mixing it up on the floor. Of course, a little back-up would be nice, but when had that ever arrived on time? In truth, she was supposed to wait for help. Her training told her to "monitor the situation" until at least two other staff members helped her take control—one for each kid. To hell with training. She wasn't going to sit on her hands while two kids were pummeling a third.
As she pushed through the last of the crowd, she mentally categorized the incident. Gang-related: the somebodies against the somebody-elses, spurred on by some girls with affiliation to whatever. The particulars didn't really matter. Here at Crimson City's most challenged middle-school, violence happened when pre-teens jockeyed for social position. Add in hormones and post-holiday yuck, and tempers ran hot.
She entered the fray as two black kids took aim at a mixed latino/black—Victor Somebody, a relocated Katrina victim. The lunchroom teachers were doing their best to clear the room, but like her, they were vastly outnumbered. And everyone—including herself—had been trained to not step into the middle of a fight. It was just too dangerous, especially in vamp, werewolf, and demon-infested Crimson City.
She blocked a blow from the nearest kid, only to watch as the big one—Kumars Gray, aka hoodlum trash—planted a fist in Vic's face. Blood spurted from Vic's nose, and he howled in pain as the impact dropped him onto his butt. Toni lunged forward, body-checking Kumars before he could draw back for another blow. Ugh, was Kumars wearing body armor or something? It was like ramming into a solid wall, and no way could that pudgy body be that solid.
She bounced off Kumars, but still managed to throw him off his attack. He stumbled backward with a whoosh of Cheetoes-laced breath—yuck!—and caught a flash of commando-like body armor beneath his tee. Great. Hoodlums with body arm. Just what was called for in middle school.
Meanwhile Kumars's cohort was moving in. She could tell from his angle that he was getting ready to kick and she pivoted, trying to block the blow. She already knew she was too late, but hope springs eternal in a fight. She saw the kick land onto... nothing.
Vic wasn't there. He'd leapt up from the floor with another unholy roar. Thankfully, she was already in position to block him back down. So long as she kept herself between Vic and the thugs, things would decelerate. She took a knee in the belly, but had been braced for that. Same for the blow to her shoulder. At least she was larger than little Vic and he didn't have any armor on. Plus he was off balance, so she could press him back down onto the floor, pinning him on his back with all her slight weight. It was safest for everyone if she kept her body on top of his because Kumars and company wouldn't hit her.
Vic didn't understand that, of course. All he knew was that someone else was flattening him, and the kid released another bellow—damn he was noisy—while he squirmed like the very devil beneath her. Out of the corner of her eye, Toni saw her back-up arrive, quickly restraining Kumars and his buddy.
"Calm down!" she grunted. Vic was just slippery enough to throw her off, and—
She felt the sharp pain of a bite on her arm. Her reaction was automatic. The only way to break a bite was to shove your arm deeper into the kid's mouth. It forced his jaw open enough to break free. Except damn, this kid's mouth was big.
Only then did she realize that his body felt longer than before, shaped more lean and more hairy. She turned to look at Vic's face, her heart dropping straight into her stomach. Ah, hell.
Werewolf. And her arm was dripping blood from his bite.