Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cursed - excerpt

Chapter One

Hanging out with a vampire while she feeds on someone is kinda like being in the room while your best friend makes out. It is awkward as hell. Not that the guy Selena was feeding on wasn’t totally hot. He reclined against the arm of the couch, black shirt unbuttoned and open to reveal the sculpted perfection of his musculature. One of his strong legs was bent and against the back of the couch. The other stretched out so his foot rested on the floor. His hands fisted in Selena’s sleek blonde hair. The vampire was all over him, but the guy didn’t seem particularly aroused, unlike most vampire prey.

His stubble appeared a couple days old, but it was probably more of a fashion choice than laziness. It accentuated his chiseled features. His skin tone had a Mediterranean glow, a stark contrast to Selena’s fair complexion. His dark hair was on the short side yet long enough to have the artistic messiness of a male runway model. Criminally good looking, a guy this stunning stole more than hearts, of that London had no doubt. Scratch the stealing part; the girls probably lined up for him. The direct gaze from his black eyes hit her hard. Oh yeah, this guy knew he was dead sexy. Probably got him most anything he wanted, too, which put him firmly into the “probably a jerk” column in London’s book.

Jerk or not, Selena appeared to be enjoying him immensely. Her formfitting red dress pulled nicely over her bottom, which swayed as she slithered against him. London couldn’t see her friend’s face, but the moans and writhing made her enjoyment hardly a mystery.

London wasn’t the only spectator. One of the vamp bouncers from the club stood guard by the door. His mouth worked some and London suspected that he was licking at his fangs. The stud on the couch apparently didn’t just affect women. Or was it just a blood thing that had the vamp staring like a beta wolf waiting for his chance at the kill?

London doubted that he’d get his turn. Not with the two bodyguards watching the scene from the other side of the immaculately furnished room. Their jackets had been tossed aside so nothing impeded their access to the multiple holstered weapons strapped to their chests and hips. That was fine by London. She was armed, too. Both of the bodyguards were decent looking. London would have even admitted that they were hot, but next to the guy sprawled under Selena, they didn’t even begin to compare. No, he was stunning enough to make a smart woman do stupid things.

This scene had all the earmarks of a business feeding, with both sides bringing backup to make sure the transaction came off smoothly. One of the bodyguards glanced at his watch. “Time.”

The muscles in the stud’s forearms flexed as he pushed Selena back, controlling her by her hair. Her neck arched back as she glanced over her shoulder at London. Blood glistened on her teeth, but had not dribbled down her chin. Uncharacteristically tidy for a vampire. Selena hadn’t permitted even a single drop to escape. Even still, she licked her lips. She turned her glare on the bodyguards as she stroked her hands over the man’s body one last time before dismounting, as if daring them to say anything about it.

Interesting, London thought. She’d never seen Selena give up anything she desired for any reason, and she clearly desired so much more than just the brief feeding. The vampire smoothed her hair to its usual sleek perfection. She seemed to flow in that liquid way she had as she crossed the room.

London,” the vampire’s voice had a breathy tone, as if blood still coated her throat. “You got my message.”

I could have waited until your transaction was completed,” London quirked a smile as she watched one of the bodyguards hand the guy a handkerchief to press to the pinprick wounds on his neck.

This is Rico, your new client,” Selena indicated the guy on the couch. “You’ll regret having met him, I am certain. I know I do.”

With a sharp nod to her vampire guard, Selena directed him to precede her from the room. Selena reached the doorway before turning back to London. “Don’t touch him or you’ll regret it.”

The words had not been a threat. Not in the conventional, “don’t touch my man” kind of way. What exactly she meant by that warning was a mystery, but Selena left without further explanation.

The force of Rico’s striking gaze brought London’s body to immediate attention. She became hyperaware of herself as a woman in the presence of a dominant male. He sat up and gestured for London to come closer. Those dark eyes beckoned and she obeyed. The whole scene had a serious “come into my web”, said the spider to the fly vibe to it. Only she had a sinking feeling that she was already snared in his web.

London settled for the red velvet wing-back across from Rico. With effort she tore her attention from the smooth, muscular chest revealed by his open shirt. His face was just as potent, with eyes as hypnotic as a cobra’s. She crossed her legs, a protective gesture. “Selena may have introduced us, but she does not select my clients.”

Rico pulled a business card from the pocket of his slacks and read it out loud. “London Eyer, Special Investigations and Security.” He held the card between his first two fingers as he grazed his thumb over the raised ink. “This is your business. Money is not enough for you?”

Was it wrong that seeing him fondle her business card made her blush? Or that it turned her on knowing he had been carrying something of hers in his pants? Yeah, most definitely wrong. Something more insidious than just the magnetism of a pretty face was affecting her.

Money is a start, but I don’t just do anything for money.” The two bodyguards wandered closer to her, but stopped when she snarled. “Wanna stay on your own side of the room, boys? I’d hate to have to kick your asses in front of your employer.” Bravado on her part, acting like she was all badass, but it worked. When they retreated a few steps London focused back on Rico. “What’s the job?”

He leaned forward so his elbows rested on his thighs. One hand still cupped the handkerchief against his throat. He turned the card over in his fingers, as if something might be written on the back, then tossed it down onto the coffee table between them. “Selena said you have contacts among many of the parahuman and nonhuman groups. Which ones?”

He’d ignored her question and kept on asking his own, she noticed. Probably a control freak. London let it go for now, but in the end if she didn’t like the job, she’d walk. Period. “Vampires, obviously. Weres. Demons. Wizards.”

Wizards,” he repeated, calmly. As if he’d been waiting for her to reveal that one. “How good is your contact?”

Good enough.”

You worked for them? These wizards you know?” He removed the handkerchief and tossed it down next to the card. His wounds had healed. She could not see any marks marring the perfection of his skin.

That is confidential information.” She gave him the shadow of a smile. “Just like your case would be. Certainly you can appreciate that.”

Rico rose, graceful and swift. “If you work for me, you work for me. No one else.”

London bolted to her feet almost as soon as he started moving. “I don’t work for you.”

The bodyguards flicked out of sight. Teleporters.


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