Entry Nickname: Have Sword, Will Travel
Word count: 115,700
Genre: NA Urban Fantasy
Professional demon-hunter Lazarus loves his job. He loves the adrenaline rush, the clarity of combat, and the chance to be more than a broken thug. Most of all, he loves his angelic handler, Rebecca, who scraped him out of the gutter and gave him a purpose. For her, Laz would punch out the Sun.
Which is fortunate, because his current target is almost as formidable: a nigh-invulnerable necromancer who's easily dispatched every other demon-hunter who dared face him. A more rational man would be worried, but Laz sees this mission as an opportunity. Killing this guy is sure to impress Rebecca. Maybe she'll even reconsider her "no fraternization with humans" policy.
But the shameful truth is that Laz's battle prowess isn't entirely his own. Five years ago, Laz made a bargain with a charismatic demon that granted him immunity to demonic magic—and promptly skipped town without paying. Now, while Laz is hip-deep in the toughest mission of his life, his demon finally tracks him down... and it won't let him escape again.
First 250 Words:
Wide awake at 3 AM, Laz decided that the worst thing about prison was the other prisoners. He couldn't sleep near so many potential threats. Not after the past five years of increasingly close pursuit by Hell's demons and America's cops.
The enforced idleness of imprisonment didn't help. Laz's internal engine ran hot at the best of times; with no work on which to vent his energy, he felt close to boiling over.
His eyes refused to shut. He covered his face with his hands, calloused palms pressed against battle scars and broken nose, and tried to force himself to relax. No good. He bit back a frustrated oath and rolled over onto his side, as if that would help.
Metal scraped against concrete as the computerized lock on his cell door slid open, instantly vindicating Laz's paranoia. He was on his feet and ready to fight before the sound died away.
The door swung outward in obedience to the ventilation system's constant draft. A stripe of washed-out light shone through the opening. There was no one on the other side.
Laz crept to the entrance and looked up and down the dim corridor. Everyone's door was open, not just his. Most inmates were asleep, but here and there one stood half-crouched in the entrance, suspicious but curious, like him.
Someone must have paid a lot of money to arrange this mass unlocking. Laz could only think of one reason to give all prisoners unsupervised access to each other, and it wasn't to swap recipes for pruno.