Bullets, Bullets, Everywhere…

Disclaimer: This scene takes place in Pool of Crimson and told from Patrick’s point of view. This vignette has not been professionally edited and contains adult language – READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Damsel was packed from wall to wall with people. A huge success, as I knew it would be. Ethan’s businesses just needed updating and some expansion to be successful. I hadn’t even needed the subsidy from Lebensblut Inc. that Ethan had depended upon. They were not so ecstatic about my lack of dependence but that was a problem for later. The colony was making money, we would survive on our own terms. More importantly, without Lebensblut’s input and fiduciary contributions, I could keep them out of my business and away from Dahlia.

She stood at the bar, talking to Miguel. Dahlia was one of the few people, human or otherwise, Miguel would converse with about anything. She was like a beam of light, beckoning my entire colony to her from the darkness.

They still feared the Blushing Death but they knew she was fair. If she showed up on your doorstep, you’d done something to warrant it. With the new rules in place, everyone was happy. With willing donors everywhere, the unsolved murder rate had declined exponentially. The VIP room of Damsel and the other club ICE were explicitly for feeding purposes. I’d opened an additional club across town for the more base appetites, EROS which was not open to the public. The Colony and the Pack were back on solid ground, acting together. Everyone felt safe. Everyone but me.

I’d managed to hide her this time but Dahlia was too well known. Soon, the Lebensblut board would discover her and my connection to her. I couldn’t allow that, not when I still had no idea what she was or how to protect her.

She turned and smiled at me over her shoulder. Her blonde hair covered up most of the right side of her face, shielding that devilish glint in her eye, but I knew it was there. I could feel it tingling along my skin. The empathic bond thrust upon us had given me a few crucial insights to the magnificent woman sauntering toward me. She had a swagger to her step like no one could touch her that drove me insane.

The Blushing Death was iron willed and had an inner strength that amazed me but she was also vulnerable. She didn’t want anyone, not even me to know that. She hid many dark secrets behind that pretty face and bravado. I hadn’t told her but I’d seen the torture she’d endured in the name of mental health. When our magic had bonded in that limo, I’d seen several close calls where her life had been in question, and a lot of lonely nights. I would never tell her. It was her secret to tell.

She scanned the crowd, darting her gaze from face to face as she continued to smile at me. Her mind was like a complex puzzle, always working, twisting and reconfiguring as the pieces changed. Finally, she glanced back at me with those storm-grey eyes and sucked her bottom lip in between her teeth. Hell on Earth, I loved when she did that.

As if in slow motion, she lost the playful glint in her eyes and her head turned toward the DJ booth at the far end of the club. She started moving before I could rewire my brain from sex to violence. Slamming into me, she forced me to the ground, covering me with her body. Stupid human! I was immortal. She wasn’t.

A pop echoed over the crowd and music as a bullet lodged itself several feet above my head, missing her by a hair’s breath. I could smell the silver from where I lay beneath Dahlia on the floor.

The entire club erupted in panic, screaming and shouting. People ran in all directions like lemmings, looking for a way out. I yanked Dahlia from the floor, following the crowd to lose ourselves in the chaos.

Ready to run after the bastard, I grabbed her wrist to stop her. The soft, red glow of her power flared around her, shimmering against her skin. I’d seen it before but couldn’t name it. The rose colored glow illuminated her in the mass of mundane souls differentiating her as special, deadly. Tapping into the link between us, I felt the white-hot heat of her rage spread over my skin. She met my gaze with a malicious glint to her eyes and a violent smile that curved her full, seductive lips into a sneer. The flare of power around her solidified and strengthened, licking at my hand like a wash of sea water, cold and sharp. Beyond that was the calm in the middle of a storm, a fantastic void I’d never experienced before and could not explain. Her eyes were focused, empty, and dead. I’d never felt such . . . peace . . . in my life. My Blushing Death was a killer, plain and simple, and I loved her for it.

Releasing her wrist, I leaned back against the wall. Nova ran from the entry, fighting the crowd as he slid to a stop at Dahlia’s side.

“Get him out of here,” she ordered.

Nova didn’t flinch as he yanked my arm hard and jerked me through the crowd. Dahlia drew the Smith and Wesson Jade had gotten her for Christmas from the holster at her ribs and took off through the screaming crowd. She snatched Jade, who was trying to climb over the bar with Miguel, and took off into the night. She didn’t look back.

Nova pushed me through the door off the side of the coat check, then up the stairs to my office. He didn’t dare contradict Dahlia’s orders. None of them would. I couldn’t help but smile at how she’d wrapped my colony and me around her little finger.
Nova closed the door behind us and locked the door. The commotion had died down as the club cleared. The police would be there soon. Shots had been fired so someone, if not Miguel would have called the 9-1-1.

“Make sure Miguel is ready for the Police,” I instructed Nova. He opened his cell phone and typed out a text without leaving my side. Shoving the phone in his jacket pocket, he stood stark still watching the chaos die down below through the Plexiglas floor. “You can go, Nova. I’m fine.”

“She’ll have my hide,” he said with an apologetic shrug of his shoulders. Dahlia was like the protector Nova never had and he, of all of his colony, needed her. I strode behind my desk and sat down as my stomach twisted and churned. There was nothing to do but sit and wait. Sit and wait to find out that she’d been killed and he’d done nothing to stop it. Every night was like this. Sometimes his colony forgot she was human. I never did.

I sat there long enough for the club to clear out, for the police to come and go. I sat behind my desk long enough for Miguel and the rest to clean up most of the mess.

“She’ll be alright, you know,” Nova said, reassuring me.

“Sometimes she forgets she’s human,” I mumbled, pretending to work as if the entire situation didn’t bother me.

“No, she doesn’t,” he said.

“What do you mean?” I asked, glancing up from the contracts on my desk, suddenly intrigued.

Before he could answer, the door opened and Dean, the pack alpha stepped in. His face was grim and his shoulders stiff with anxiety. The local Pack Gaoh’s expression was blank but his energy filled the room, making the large space feel claustrophobic.

“You alright?” he asked.

“I am. How did you hear?” I asked.

Dean had been keeping his distance from me for a while, since Ethan’s death. He wouldn’t say why, only that it wasn’t a good idea. We conducted business as usual however, but our friendship had been strained over the past few months. It was a curious situation.

“Danny,” he said, almost in a growl.

Ahhh, Danny. The other man in Dahlia’s life. I hated that upstart wolf but he did something I couldn’t. He protected Dahlia in the daylight hours. I would put up with him for now, until I could convince Dahlia to complete the blood ceremony and bond us permanently. Then she wouldn’t need the mongrel.

“How close was it?” Dean asked, sitting down on the couch along the wall.

“Too close,” I said. “The only thing that kept that silver bullet from striking its target was Dahlia.”

“Where is she now,” Dean asked.

“She took out of here like a bat out of hell, chasing after the fucker,” Nova said with a bright, proud smile on his face.

“How you feel ‘bout that?” Dean asked.

“My stomach is in knots waiting to hear something but other than that, I’m fine.”

“But you let her go?”

“Yes,” I growled, not liking the tone in his question.

The phone rang, filling the empty office with its shrill tone. I picked up the receiver, thankful for the distraction. Glancing down at the caller ID, my muscles tightened as Dahlia’s name scrolled across the screen.

“Are you all right?” I asked, unable to hide the concern in my voice.

“I’m fine,” she breathed over the line.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. He’s dead.” Her tone changed. She’d shifted from my Dahlia to the Blushing Death. Just like that, in the time span it took to snap my fingers the soft woman I knew was gone.

“Good.”

“Listen,” she said. “We have a problem. I didn’t get any information out of him other than he wouldn’t be the last.”

I sat silent, digesting the idea that this bullet would not be the last directed at us. Sending one assassin equated to an angry vampire in competition for my territory. An onslaught of assassins was the board putting pressure on me or one of the rival Colonies looking for our complete and utter destruction.

“What’s going on here?” she asked, with agitation making her words sharp.

“I don’t know. I’ll look into this. . .” I wanted to encourage her to come back but as I glanced over at Dean, he shook his head. Interesting. The pack alpha hadn’t been avoiding me, he’d been avoiding her. “Go home and rest. We’ll talk tomorrow.”

“Fine,” she snapped like a pouting little girl and I laughed. I knew her adrenaline was up. She wanted to come back and show me just how alive she was, but Dean was waiting with an expression as hard and unmovable as granite.

“I opened my mail after you left and received a very nice letter from the Columbus Catholic Dioceses, thanking me for my generous donation,” I said, lightening the mood. I’d actually opened the letter when I’d awaken early in the afternoon but I couldn’t let her think that I’d been sitting around worrying about her. I couldn’t allow any of them to think that, not even Nova.

“You had a giant pentagram etched in the basement and tried to raise a demon, there was some serious bad mojo to get rid of in that house. Trust me, Father Christopher earned every stinking penny,” she snorted. Something about the way she spoke told him that there was more to her words than she was willing to admit. If I listened close enough, I was very sure I could hear the steady beat of her heart over the line.

“So he did. Perhaps I should send him a thank you note,” I said trying to hide the smile on my face from Dean.

“Perhaps you should.”

I sat for a moment, listening to her breathe. The woman had infiltrated my being so quickly and so easily to the point I wasn’t sure I could survive if anything happened to her. My chest tightened at the thought of losing her because the woman mattered more to me than anything else, the colony, the money, the Board, even my own life.

“Please, be careful,” I said and even I heard the pleading in my tone.

“I will,” she breathed, and then the line was dead. I placed the phone on my desk and sat back in my chair. Dean sat silent, watching me as he always did, taking in more information than his stoic, stern exterior gave away.

“Is she alright?” he asked.

I could swear that I heard a hint of concern in that deep Alpha grumble. “She says she is,” I said.

“You don’t believe her?”

“I do but, after all, she’s only human. I wish she wouldn’t take so many chances,” I said.

“Hmph,” Dean snorted.

“Why are you avoiding her,” I finally asked, curious.

“I’m not avoiding her,” he snapped. His tone and the bite in his words was uncharacteristic. It sent my hackles standing on end, not to mention the lie I smelled on him.

“Even I could smell that lie,” I responded.

“I have my reasons,” Dean growled, crossing his arms over his bulky chest. I knew him well enough to know that, for him, the conversation was over. I changed subject.

“The assassin said there would be others.”

“The Board?” Dean asked, relaxing into the couch.

“I don’t know. Possibly.”

“What do you want to do?”

“I have no plan as of yet,” I said, hesitant to say anything. Dean stood to his full height and strode to the door.

“When you do, the Pack is behind you,” he offered which was more gracious than Dean knew. In most territories, the Colonies and Packs were at war. Dean and I were a rare happenstance that I appreciated, counted on. I couldn’t let whatever it was that riled him about Dahlia ruin that.

“Whatever it is?” I warned. “You can’t avoid Dahlia forever. You’ll have to deal with it.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of,” he growled and left, slamming the door behind him.

“Perfect, just bloody, perfect,” I breathed.

Helicopter Parents! Really?!

Seriously, I get it. You gave birth to what you think is a genius prodigy that needs to be nurtured and protected. The reality of the situation is, you gave birth to a nitwit, 23 year old that can’t function without you. You’re in my office asking if your kid can be put in a class because he’s still sleeping. Does anyone else see a problem with that?

1. If your kid is 23, why the hell isn’t he sitting in my office talking about his schedule instead of you?

2. I can’t talk to you. The university and the government assumes that at 18 your kid is a full fledged adult – let alone 23. There are rules. Don’t get bitchy with me because you think you’re special and the rules don’t apply to you. They do! I realize you’re paying tuition but so what! There’s a little law called FERPA that won’t let me talk to you. Get over it!

3. Cut the damned umbilical cord people! Your kid is going to have to go into the world someday and you can’t be there to hold their hand. I’m not constructing a special orientation for you to figure out what your kid is supposed to do. You’re not attending this University or the program. LET THEM GO!

4. I’m not the student’s parent. It’s not my job to make sure your beloved Johnny or Joany gets their ass up out of bed and attends class. If their failing, there’s probably a reason for that and nobody don’t get an A for just showing the fuck up!

5. Just because you pay tuition doesn’t mean you can walk into my office and ask me if you can have the poster on my wall. Yeah! That just fucking happened! Your tuition dollars didn’t pay for the poster. Don’t give me a dirty look when I say no. Get used to that word, you’re going to be hearing it a lot.

6. I’m not there parent. Don’t call me to
a) go to their apartment to check on them
b) call to make sure their still alive
c) call their professors to see if they’ve been showing up
d) stalk them for you when they stop answering the phone

7. Okay, your kid hasn’t even shown up yet for their first day. Hasn’t even fucking shown up yet! The class your kid is trying to get into is full. Has been for a month because its an upper level class. I don’t really care that Johnny wants to make sure he has continuous language instruction from high school to college. Its not going to happen! Wanna know why? Your kid is at the bottom of the damned totem pole for scheduling, which means that all those upper level courses you’re so proud of Johnny for testing into are full long before his window scheduling opens. Yep that’s right! At some point Johnny is going to be stuck without a language class to take and he’ll have to take…God forbid…a literature course! GASP!

8. Your kid is getting a degree from Arts and Sciences. Its a liberal arts degree. Please don’t come into my office on day one or better yet, orientation day and ask me what kind of job a major in French will get little Joan! The answer is I don’t fucking know. I have a degree in Criminology, International Studies, and Russian and I’m an HR/Fiscal officer. What the hell does that tell you? More than likely, your kid is going to be working at McDonald’s while living with you but that’s beside the point. Little Joan isn’t enrolled in a vocational program. They’re enrolled in French! You want a successful career waiting for Little Joan when she graduates? Good Luck! We all wanted that.

9. Please don’t call the department office and swear at the department staff or the faculty. Neither of them have it out for your kid. More than likely, Little Johnny did something stupid that warrants whatever reaction he got. Guess what! He can’t copy shit off of Google and put it in his paper! Amazing…I know but that’s called plagiarism and violates academic misconduct. So calm down. Take a breath and actually let your kid suffer the consequences of his actions. Maybe they’ll learn something. That is why you sent them to college after all.

10. Last but certainly not least. Sometimes your kid needs to fail. That’s the only way they can learn how to pick themselves up and soldier on. So, stop calling to see if you can get their grade changed because Little Johnny’s grandpa died in 2010 and that really affected him. If you have a death in the family, do you get to slack off of work for months on end and turn in sub-par shit? NO! Your boss expects you to show up, do your job and function. Guess what, the world is going to expect that from Little Johnny or Joan too. So, let them fail. Maybe they’ll surprise you.

Thanks to my Della and Ashley for reminding me of some of the ridiculous shit that happens around here. Clearly, I blocked most of it out.

Shenanigans @ RAGT

Hi Peeps! I know I’m a day late and I’m truly sorry but I had an economics midterm last night so I’ve been stressing about that for the past week. After that fiasco was over, I engaged in an epic binge session consisting of Wendy’s spicy chicken and some cookies. Immediately following that and the last half hour of Real Housewives of Orange County (the drama is ridiculous), I went promptly to sleep. I won’t lie, I might have snuck in like 15 minutes of million dollar listing. I <3 Frederick! Seriously, if he wasn’t gay and I wasn’t married, I might stalk him…just a little. My brain, however, had too much exercise and use yesterday and decided to shut down all on its own.

Sooooo, now that I’m back to the land of the living for at least a day – let’s talk about my weekend. It was Lori Foster’s Reader/Author get together in West Chester Ohio. For those of you not from Ohio, that’s a suburb outside of Cincinnati. There’s an Ikea which is all you really need to know. And yes, I did take time out on Saturday to hop over to Ikea and get some things. Cause that’s how I roll. 

Anyway, I drove down on Friday night after work. Which was nice to have a little quiet time to myself. I’d consumed 32 ounces of water throughout the day, then a biggie iced tea on the road. This proved to be a mistake. When I hit 275 (Cincinnati’s outer belt), the traffic stopped because of an accident and the waiting game and the pressure on my bladder began. And honestly, if you can’t drive in a straight line, I don’t think you should be behind the wheel. But I digress, forty five minutes later, I walked into the lobby of the Marriott bouncing up and down to keep from leaving a puddle on the floor.

I stepped up to the counter and said “I need to check in and where’s your restroom?” The kind lady pointed behind me to where the restrooms were located and I took off like a shot. Running down the hall in a dress and espadrilles, I wasn’t looking back. I couldn’t. There wasn’t time. The receptionist asked my name as I turned and ran down the hall. I yelled back at her across the lobby. Classy…I know. 

After check in and registration, I only had a little while before the book signing. So I trekked down to the lobby again and set up. They stuck me in the corner at a rounded table with three other others who wrote erotica. I can’t remember any of their names. Shit! I should remember this, we sat together for two whole hours and talked about orgasms and laundry. This is bad. So much for my networking skills. Anyway, after about fifteen minutes, an author at the next table arrives. Now, I only mention this because she was dressed at a viking.

You read that right folks! She was dressed as a fucking VIKING! Furry hat, horns and all – very Brunhilda-esque.

Hitting on her and garnering quite a bit of attention, was our favorite cover model – dubbed in previous years as Skeezy Bastard.

Several friends and I named him this because he hit on all of us and every woman at the bar. He asked poor Amanda if she was sharing a room and if she would like to share it with him. When one of us shot him down at the bar, he moved right on down to the next one…literally. *Sigh* Good times. Skeezy Bastard hit on a lot of women this past weekend, and by late Saturday, he wasn’t being picky in his selection of women either. 

Tiff, Eva and I ended up going back to the room after that and having a good old fashion slumber party with lots of giggling and crude jokes. 

Saturday, was pretty uneventful. Tiff left so Eva and I were left to our own devices which is never a good idea. We holed up in our room and worked, giggled, and drank. Also, never a good thing. After consuming an entire bottle of wine by myself we headed down to the bar where Eva sucked down 3 tequila Sunrises like someone was going to take them away from her and I had this:

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I have no idea what was in this thing except for the nerds at the bottom. It took Eva to explain that it was supposed to be gravel – you know, like in a fish tank. Not my finest moment. And three, count them, three Swedish fish. It was delicious and STRONG! I watched the bartender make one for someone else and said:

“I don’t even care what’s in that but I must have one. This shit is happening!”

We made jokes about Skeezy Bastard, talked about writing, and made friends with the bartender – who by the way, remembered us from last year. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I like to think it just makes us AWESOME!

I drove home Sunday morning, hung out with my husband then we ran over my glasses with the car. Yep, so that was fun. On top of dropping my phone in the zoo’s public toilet a few weekends ago, my expenses for ridiculous shit has skyrocketed. Lug in the nonsense with the Slanty Shanty and we can just call it a day. UGH! I have yet to replace my glasses. I feel like its summer time and I can just use my prescription sunglasses instead until I get new ones. Its worked so far. Also, I haven’t replaced my phone (dubbed the pee phone this weekened by Tiff- Thanks Tiff!) since it’s kinda working with a new battery. I don’t want to talk to anyone anyway and if its important, they’ll just email me.

Slanty Shanty Strikes Again

I don’t know why my husband and I think we can fix this shit. Its like asking Lucy and Ethel to do home improvement. It can only end badly.

All I wanted was a simple screen door on the back door. That’s it, not something complicated like a storm door. We wouldn’t even need help to install it. Just a cheap’o wood screen door. Yeah right!

First, putting up this screen door would have been easy if our house wasn’t slanty. And really, we should have known better from the get go than to expect something to work right. A regular door and the corresponding threshold is in the shape of a rectangle. Ours, however, is in the shape of a rhombus. A damned RHOMBUS! So my husband and I spent the weekend sanding and painting this stupid door. Only to find out when its all done that it doesn’t fit. So, AFTER its all painted, my husband starts sanding down the sides to make it fit. As you can see, this ruined our paint job.

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You can also see how the constant shaving caused some of the lines in the door to be uneven. I think this is due more to the tool my husband used (which looked more like a cheese grater than the tools I’ve seen on New Yankee Workshop). It’s especially noticeable at the corners.

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Second, We decided it probably wasn’t a good idea to paint through the screen for the cross bars on the back side. Yeah….look how that turned out.

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This looks absolutely ridiculous but it’s up now which makes painting it and correcting the mistake that much more difficult.

Third, as we were peeling the painter’s tape from the screens, we ran into a slight problem. We’d thought enough ahead to keep the screen from getting gunked with paint. That, at least, we’d done right. However, upon peeling the tape back, it wasn’t coming off clean. I’ve come to the realization that painter’s tape is stupid and doesn’t really work correctly. I’ve never had it work as it’s intended and not destroy the lines on the wall. NEVER!

At some point, I get the great idea to get the box cutters to cut the tape and paint apart. Honestly, I don’t know why he even lets me near home improvement project. This turned out to be a bad idea about 15 seconds in. If you look closely enough on the left hand side of the middle section, you can see the cellophane tape I used to hold together the hole I sliced through the screen.

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Seriously! It’s like a sitcom. This took us three days. THREE DAYS to fuck up! Next is the side yard and some landscaping. If I could keep anything alive this wouldn’t be so bad but I’ve already killed my share of plants.

Welcome to the Slanty Shanty

About 3 years ago, my husband and I bought our first house. We looked at alot of houses. I don’t like the suburbs. Having grown up in the country, I wanted to be as close to the city and downtown as possible. We looked in Grandview, Clintonville, and finally German Village. We ended up getting our first home just outside of German Village in Shumacher place.

We like to call it “ghetto adjacent”. But we are downtown, we have a yard the size of a yoga mat, and we have 2000 square feet in a lovely victorian brick home.  Upon moving in, we discovered several things.

1. None of the floors are level. They slope and curve as the house has settled. You may say, “So what.” This however, has several implications. First, a line of bookcases along the wall do not sit evenly. Each one of them needs to be shimmed at different levels. This makes the bookcases, at best, precarious and at worst, dangerous. The last bookcase, we got at a different time because we couldn’t fit them all in the car. The repercussions of this is that we couldn’t bolt it to the rest. Below is the result. Also, that’s right. Those are my Minnie ears. And you know what? They’re not my only pair!ImageImage

2. There is no subfloor. This means that if the light is on in the basement, you can see it through the slats above in the dining room. HA!

3. The walls are not flat…any of them. They are plaster and who ever did it must have been cross-eyed to the point of double vision. This means that hanging pictures or, really anything else is difficult. Let’s be honest, impossible.

So, we took this house on, understanding that there were some updates that needed to be done. So far, we’ve replaced about half of the windows (we couldn’t afford to do all of them), replaced some plumbing in the downstairs bathroom (it was galvanized pipe and wouldn’t fit any of the shower fixtures we bought), we’ve redone the kitchen (during that process we discovered one wall didn’t have studs – just two sheets of dry wall and then brick), and now its time for the garage.

The shenanigans have already begun. We’ve had to replace the door since we “accidentally” broke the window in the entry door. Glass is at this moment precariously situated in the door with painters tape holding it together as we wait for Lowe’s to come and install a new door. Although, its not like the thing was keeping out intruders or robbers before the glass got broken.Image Next, the garage roof which hasn’t been replaced in…oh, I don’t know – since the house was built in 1880. See all the up turned shingles…Yeah, that should be fun.Image

Stay tuned for the next installment of Adventures in the Slanty Shanty!

Dangerous Desire

Pool of Crimson Book Cover
Pool of Crimson Book Cover

Dangerous Desire

Was that woman mad?

I’d explicitly told her to stay clear of Crimson but there she was bright as a searchlight. She wouldn’t listen, doing whatever the hell she wanted, regardless of the consequences or the danger.

I zeroed in on her scent, a luscious mix of lust, determination, and the playful smell of . . . dahlias, following her through the crowd like a homing beacon locked on target. There were too many of the colony around tonight and even fewer I trusted. Too many would run as quick as they could to Ethan, ensuring her death.

She glided through the crowd, shifting her body with ease, avoiding contact as she sashayed those damned tempting hips back and forth. My mouth watered. What I wouldn’t give to taste her, really taste her. The rich iron of her blood on my tongue mixed with the sweet salt of her pussy. Damn her!

She was running from me. I wasn’t stupid. The woman glanced over her shoulder one too many times to not be running from me. Don’t run! Don’t make me chase you! Reaching out with a quick flick of my wrist, I clutched her biceps, feeling the hard muscle tighten in my grasp as she tensed. I spun her around to face me, staring down into those ferocious, storm gray eyes. Meeting my gaze without a flinch or fear, she lifted her cute little chin in defiance.

Brave! My little Blushing Death was always brave.

Only a breath away, she radiated heat like a furnace. Warmth coated my cold skin and soaked into me, making my insides burn with need, hunger and something else I couldn’t identify. All I knew was I didn’t want to think too hard about it. Glancing down at her full lips, I choked on a groan. It wouldn’t take much for me to close the distance between us, to press her curvaceous body against mine and devour her mouth.

“We should stop meeting like this,” she purred in a raspy voice that made my fingers itch to skim across her warm skin. “We should stop meeting period.”

Her voice was void of any emotion, but her heart . . . her heart couldn’t lie, beating a steady pulse at her neck. The quick thump, thump, thump rang in my ears like a cadence to arms, making my cock stiffen against my thigh.

“I don’t like that option,” I growled. I couldn’t stop the sound from reverberating in my chest. The thought of never seeing this woman again, made something inside me tremble. The thought of the Blushing Death dead or using that saucy mouth on another man’s cock sent a fire through me I hadn’t felt since I was human.

“I don’t really care what you like,” she snapped. A lie. I could taste her fabrication in her scent and the steady pulse at the base of her neck.

I yanked her to me when she struggled from my grip, gaining ground. I couldn’t let her get away. Who knew what or who was waiting for her in one of the dark corners of this club?

“Jesus,” she gasped, her breath hot and delicious across my lips.

“I think you do care,” I rasped, inching my lips closer to her delectable mouth. I smirked at the desperate yearning shining in those stormy gaze. Her eyes widened and her whole body tensed in my arms as her entire being went on alert. She glanced over my shoulder, beyond me as if I wasn’t her concern. Her heart rate skyrocketed beating a heady, intoxicating beat along her long, slender neck. Gooseflesh spread across her skin, covering her from head to toe as she shivered.

Catching Alejandra’s scent behind me, details began to click into place. The spicy scent of Alejandra’s skin filled my nostrils for a moment, drifting on the flow of oxygen from the vents above and then it was gone.  Of all the people behind me, in the club, Dahlia Sabin had picked out a vampire.

She glanced up at me as if nothing had happened. Gripping her other bicep in my hand, I lifted her and shoved her into the wall a few feet behind her. Unable to keep the anger or the gut wrenching fear from my movements, I slammed her weaker, all too human body into the cinder-block.

“You can feel us?” I snarled. My instincts screamed at me to drink her, warning me she was too dangerous. Another voice in the back of my mind laughed, relishing the fact that one of the lambs was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. “Who are you? What are you?” I asked, gritting my teeth.

“Let me go,” she snarled, struggling against my hold. The sweet intoxicating scent of her fear filled my nose and tingled along my senses as her deep eyes darted everywhere but at me. My cock was so hard I ached for release. I wanted nothing more than to thrust deep inside this woman, command her, possess her . . . tame her.

Suddenly, as she squirmed and avoided my gaze, I understood. She didn’t know. Whatever she was and whatever power she possessed, the Blushing Death had no idea.

I could no longer contain the unfamiliar heat of lust sweltering across my skin. Closing the distance between us, I devoured her in a hot crush of lips. May Hell consume me! The vixen wrapped those long, luscious legs around my waist and clenched me to her, cradling me in her heat. Slipping my hands underneath her firm muscular ass, I held her pressed against the wall, holding her firm against my body. I sunk my fingers into the warm, exposed flesh of her ass underneath the dress. Her skin was soft as silk and the muscles beneath hard like iron.

She wrapped her arms around my neck and sunk her fingers into my hair, scraping my scalp with her nails. Her lips caressed mine, her tongue plunging into my mouth and scraping the delicate flesh against the tips of my fangs. Damnation! She tasted of sunshine and Heaven.  Or what I imagined Heaven to be. 

Cupping her soft, exquisite face in my hand, I pressed my aching cock into the cradle of her heat, stroking her body into a frenzy of delicious, intoxicating arousal. This woman was intoxication in my arms, dangerous in the best possible way, and I wanted her more than I’d ever wanted any woman. I kissed her as if she mattered to me, licking the inside of her mouth, tasting liquid bliss. A sudden realization spread over me like wildfire, rattling me to my core. Dahlia Sabin, the Blushing Death, did matter to me.

I broke the kiss, using all my strength of will to put distance between us, even if it was only centimeters. A human. The Blushing Death in particular, mattered to me.

“She’s coming back,” she whispered against my lips. Her warm breath caressed my skin like hot velvet and I licked my lips to catch another taste of her. “We’re about to be discovered,” she warned.

She had no idea how close to danger we were. Ethan wasn’t far behind Alejandra and he wanted Dahlia for his own reasons. Reasons he refused to divulge to me or anyone else. We were moments from being discovered and then the Blushing Death would be in Ethan’s hands and not mine. I’d convinced myself that if I kissed her, really kissed Dahlia Sabin, I could forget about her and walk away. I would be able to let Ethan have her and use her as he wished.

“That was supposed to cure me of you,” I admitted, wanting more. So much more.

“How’d that work out for you?” she snorted, a smirk cresting her lush, swollen lips. She was making a joke and I just wanted to kiss that damned smirk from her mouth. There wasn’t time to do it properly.

Releasing my grip on her warmth, she slid down the length of my body and caressed the long length of my engorged dick on her way down. A groan vibrated up my throat as the friction made my entire body shiver in pleasure. With a quick glance over my shoulder at Alejandra, I snatched her hand in mine and took off through the crowd, dragging her behind. Ethan and Alex were too close for me to protect the Blushing Death without revealing my hand. I couldn’t think with the smell of her arousal burning a hole through my nostrils and the taste of heaven still tingling on my tongue. I couldn’t outwit Ethan with images of Dahlia Sabin writhing beneath me filling my brain, of her naked body riding me, of the look on her face as I sunk into her body with my dick and my teeth. I couldn’t concentrate with my cock throbbing from want of her, and the fear of losing her sitting like a brick in my gut. It was now or never.

Now.  I preferred now.

Midnight Ash Book Trailer

It’s all fun and games until a dismembered hand gets nailed to your front door.

When a woman is mutilated and murdered steps from her home, Dahlia Sabin is thrust into the middle of a territorial vampire war with a target on her back and an assassin on her trail.

A 500 year old vampire ninja assassin is unleashed on the city to claim Dahlia’s head, she has to convince the men in her life to work together before Midnight Ash can claim their prize. Animosity and jealousy sink Dahlia deeper into the werewolf Pack.

In her race to uncover the plot behind Midnight Ash, Dahlia is confronted with old arguments, forgotten traumas and a new complication in the tempting Pack Alpha. As she’s driven further into the supernatural world, Dahlia is torn between the the vampire she loves and the primal pull of the Pack.

If Dahlia can’t stop Midnight Ash before blood is spilled, she may never find out who has a contract out on her head, what they hope to gain, or if she’s strong enough to survive losing everything.

Sliver of SIlver Book Trailer

Dahlia Sabin is Fertiri, carrying both the ancient magic of the grave and the primal power of the Pack. She’s marked for death by her enemies, protected by the vampire liege in love with her and the Pack Alpha infatuated by her. Strays have moved into the city, terrorizing the innocent and leaving mutilated bodies in their wake as a message that no one is safe.

Hot on the Strays’ trail, Dahlia must stop them before they can destroy the Pack and rule it as their own. As her life crashes and burns around her, Dahlia has to put all her inner turmoil aside and become the Blushing Death to protect the people she loves. If she can’t expose their plans, she could lose everything and her most fearsome enemy is still hiding in the shadows…

Not Everyone is Meant to Walk in Darkness

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