Our ride to nowhere had unwittingly had a final destination after all. With the wind in my face it was easier to unfurl the tangle of my thoughts. Without her scent to cloud my mind. Without the sight of her in front of me to offer temptation. Without the sound of her voice to bait me, I could force logic to overcome sheer madness.
If only I could ignore the warmth of her body at my back I could almost pretend she had been nothing more than a dream.
Once rationality returned it became overwhelmingly clear that in order to have her, I would have to destroy her. Glamour her memories away to erase the clues, and thereby obliterating her mind in the process. Or drain her body of blood and refill it with my own, extinguishing the life she once knew and replacing it with one where she would literally forever live and die by the sun.
Neither option held any appeal.
I liked her the way she was. Mouthy and full of fire. A fire that was still burning brightly against my back. To lose either would be to lose her.
There was simply no winning.
It would be reckless to reveal our existence. Even to her. Why I’d even considered it to begin with was ridiculous.
So what if she was the first woman I’d ever come across who I wanted more than just a fuck and feed from. If it wouldn’t completely wipe out what testosterone my vampire body held, I could almost admit it was because I’d been lonely in my solitude. I could easily picture being filled with joy for the simple fact my nights were filled with her presence. It was a chasm in my life I hadn’t even realized was there until she had come along and fell into it.
But I had more to consider than just me.
I’d spent the last century enforcing one fundamental rule to all those who chose to live in my territory.
Do nothing that will reveal our existence to humans.
To even consider exposing our secret to a human was cause for death by my very own decree. I owed it to not just myself, but to them, to abide by it. So I had no choice but to deny myself of her in every way other than what she’d been hired for. I would fire her if only so I wouldn’t have to face what I couldn’t have night after night, but it wouldn’t be fair to her.
None of it was fair to me.
I forced myself to remain stoic in her presence when I was once again confronted by her beauty, but standing in my home and scenting her blood in the air had almost been my undoing. Had it not been for my millennia of learning to control myself – my instincts – I could have very well drained her in that moment. It was like being smacked in the face with the sweetest ambrosia. I had no reference for it. No memory of anything having ever smelled so delectable.
Well, no memory of anything human anyway.
Logic led me to believe it was because it had been too long since I’d last fed on anything other than bagged blood. I’d been too busy claiming land I didn’t want and beheading foes I didn’t care about to take the time to feed on any human.
My inner absurdity told me none of them would taste as good as her anyway, so why bother.
So once I’d paid the appropriate lip service – more than likely lying through my teeth on how I would endeavor to remain more professional in our future dealings – I set about finishing up with her for the night so I could return to the nightclub and find my meal for the night. I should have been looking forward to it, but I wasn’t. What I truly wanted I was dismissing from my service for the night, so I was almost grateful being waylaid by the reminder I still had to pay lip service to another.
Marnie Stonebrook had sought an audience with me weeks earlier, but I’d been unable to meet with her until I’d been fully recuperated. She had a proposal she wished to offer in person, not unlike the many who often darkened my door, but it would take a hell of a lot to garner my attention away from my perplexing assistant. And as much as I tried to ignore Miss Stackhouse’s presence, I still noticed her eyes widen seeing my appointment stroll into the room as though she owned it. As much as I tried to ignore the scent of Were wafting up around her, Miss Stackhouse’s continued presence made it somewhat easier. If I could, I would demand she stay and then perch her on my lap to drown my senses with her narcotizing scent to keep the offending odor at bay.
Too bad I’d already come to my senses.
I watched her shut the door out of the corner of my eye when the Were bitch finally spoke, all but purring out, “Eric. I’m so glad we’re finally able to meet.”
I recognized the look. I recognized the sound. I’d seen and heard it a million times before from thousands of women. But unfortunately for us both, the only one I wanted to see or hear it coming from had just walked out the door.
There would be no flirty banter, or ISD’s as Miss Stackhouse had dubbed them, with this woman. Adopting a sterner tone, I corrected, “It’s Mr. Northman. Now what is it you wished to discuss with me Miss Stonebrook? I was under the impression you had a business deal you wanted to propose?”
I hadn’t done much research on her, but I was always open to expanding my wealth by investing in sound ventures. If what she had to offer piqued my interest then I would expend the time and energy to have her investigated.
So far she just piqued my desire to launch her through the window in the hopes her foul smell would follow after her.
Her eyes narrowed in response to my disinterest in her personally, so I was only more disbelieving when she replied, “I want you.”
“Do you have an Uncle Sam?” I asked incredulously. “I believe he’s made similar proclamations.” She only blinked in puzzlement at my sarcasm.
Miss Stackhouse would’ve snorted at the very least.
“For one week,” she blathered on. “You will entertain me for seven nights. You’ll also hand over fifty percent of your profits.”
Seeing she was serious and seeing no obvious signs of head trauma to explain her audacity, I stood up from my desk and let my fangs snap down. Were’s could spot a vampire just as we could smell their stench.
And this bitch was rank.
Repeating one of Miss Stackhouse’s earlier declarations, I stared her down and said, “I am no one’s whore. And if I had been, there isn’t enough money in the world for me to entertain the idea of fucking filth like you. I’d guess you to be a wolf given your shaggy hair and dog-like gait, but perhaps your parents were from the same litter making you naturally homely and clumsy. However you smell of decaying tuna, but I’ve never come across a Werefish before. And yet even through your putrid aroma, in addition to smelling like a Red Lobster’s dumpster, I scent a threat wafting from you. I don’t respond idly to threats. Walk out now Miss Stonebrook and I’ll allow you to live.”
She seemed both enraged and flabbergasted at my refusal, but just as she was about to respond my cell phone vibrated on the desk. Seeing the incoming text was from Miss Stackhouse, I dismissed her presence altogether by sitting back down in my chair and spinning around to face the wall so I wouldn’t have to taint my interaction with the sight of Charlie, Were-Chicken of the Sea still standing there.
‘Are you busy?’ she’d sent.
‘Only in that I’m trying to keep myself from falling out of my chair after listening to this bitch’s preposterous proposal,’ I replied. And to keep from having her fetid blood shed in my office. It would linger for weeks.
‘Sounds precarious. You know, the bigger they are the harder they fall.’
‘More precarious for her. What can I do for you? Miss me already or are you bucking for overtime? I’ll remind you, you are salaried, not hourly paid. Unless of course this is just your way of asking how big and hard I am? If so, I assure you, I’m huge. And hard. In all ways.’
I knew I’d said I would endeavor to be more professional, but flirting with her was likely saving the life of the Were bitch still seething behind me. Besides, she’d said I didn’t have to be a choir boy.
Perhaps we could play confessional and I could be the naughty priest to make her repent for her sinful ways.
‘Your ego is certainly huge and you’re hard to keep pulling out of the gutter, but how about I pay you? I’m soliciting bids for a hitman to take out Murphy, whose overgrown ego outshines even yours, and her endless laws who have recently proclaimed me her bitch. After everything I’ve actually said to you tonight, I can’t believe I’m about to say this.’
That was the end of her text, so I waited assuming there would be more. And I ignored the growling bitch at my back. At least her presence and odor were keeping my pants from becoming too uncomfortable when finally my phone vibrated with another incoming text.
‘I need you to rip my pants off.’
Now mine were tight.
If my fangs hadn’t already been down, they would’ve been then. However the nasty aroma in my office wasn’t conducive to my uplifting mood or the uplifting in my pants. Now that I had a much better proposal to investigate, I spun back around and tapped the button hidden underneath my desk. Within seconds, my security detail entered the office and I looked to them, ordering, “Escort her from the premises and see to it she doesn’t reenter.” The look I gave let them know I wanted her to be followed as well, but I’d take care of the rest later.
Because right now I had something else to take care of.
I again ignored her outrage and sputtering growls as they dragged her from the room. I couldn’t care less what she thought because all I cared about at the moment was trying to read between the lines. I couldn’t be sure another more delightful and much better smelling she wasn’t just kidding. Miss Stackhouse was a veritable riot at times, so I replied back, ‘I believe the bet entailed you beg me Miss Stackhouse. As the owner of a casino I’m a stickler for abiding by the house rules and I refuse to be anything less than a consummate winner.’ It only took a moment for her response.
‘You sound like my Gran. Your house – your rules. And with your graciousness, being a winner is the only thing you’ll consummate with me. That being said: I beg of you, oh kind and generous boss man whose panty imploding ISD’s threaten to make my impressive rack the I-Rack to your Al Qaeda. Won’t you please cart your terror-celled ass down the hall to my suite and save me? Bring scissors! Or possibly the Jaws of Life. Your faithful (if not loose lipped, but lock kneed) humble servant.’
Why again, was I not going to try and fuck her?
Perhaps the reason would come to me later. Or perhaps I could just cum with her later and be rid of the nagging emanating from my cock.
Wondering what her game was, I headed towards her suite sans scissors. Her pants were made of Velcro seams, so I couldn’t imagine she truly couldn’t get them off. But I was more than willing to assist her.
With my teeth.
Before hiring her, the rooms had been used as a storage area for some of my things, but I had them moved so she could utilize the space instead. I had wanted her closer, but now I could only hope it was close enough.
My cock said it wasn’t.
My knock at the door was answered by a yelled out, “Thank God! Get in here!”
My lips curled up in amusement. Her living in my hotel ensured I wouldn’t need an invitation to enter and yet she’d issued one to me anyway. And what I saw when I walked in made my amusement ratchet up even further.
“When I’m in there, the phrase you’ll likely yell out will be ‘Oh God!’ But you could also thank him as well. However I’ll expect to have earned at least some of your praise.”
She tried to hide her smile. Poorly.
“Problem?” I asked, not bothering to hide my mirth.
“Ya think?” she glared back at me. “This is all your fault!”
The leather string that laced up her ass was tied in an impossible knot at her lower back, but what made me laugh were the askew seams. She’d obviously tried to rip them off at some point and then hastily – if not angrily – thrown them back together. Seams and aesthetics be damned. Her efforts made her look like she was wearing a black leather snowflake.
I wondered if she’d melt on my tongue.
When all I did was stare at her without trying to stifle my delight at her predicament, she moved to gift me with yet another angry stance, but the sound of ripping Velcro at her actions made her lose the tenuous hold she had of her bitch face. Instead she gave into her own laughter until she saw I wasn’t carrying scissors and gasped, “Tell me that’s a machete in your pocket and that you’re not just happy to see me.”
“That is a Viking broad sword you can’t take your eyes from,” I scoffed. “And it should tell you I am very happy to see you.”
Maybe she wouldn’t question my cold skin if I fucked her in a cold shower.
“My eyes have a mind of their own. I stopped apologizing for them years ago. Now, how are you going to get my pants off?” she asked and then blushed at my raised eyebrow.
“Why with my charm, of course. Slowly. Seductively. I’ll have them pooled at your feet in no time.”
“In addition to being a giant perv, are you also a knot whisperer?” she grinned.
“First you inquire if I’m huge and hard and now you’re dropping hints that you’re tight? Miss Stackhouse, I assure you…I’ll do more than whisper if I’m down there, but you will certainly be screaming my name by the time I’m done. And just like your outfit – no matter how tight it is? It will fit.”
At some point between my desk and her door, I’d given up hope of having control over anything. Truthfully, if nothing more happened between us than playful – if not painful – cock-throb inducing conversations, I’d be happy. It was the most fun I could ever remember having.
“Well you sure are cocksure, but I requested your help with getting my pants off. Not for you to audition for the role of Dr. Love in your porn star fantasy. I have a thermometer I can stick in my ear to take my temperature, so you can keep your Viking one in your pants. My thermometer I found, but I can’t find my scissors in my boxes of shit and it’s not like Staples is open this late. Besides, I’d feel like an ass waltzing in there dressed like Lara Croft Tomb Raider and asking where the Fiskars are kept. So are you going to help me or not?”
She’d fought to maintain a glare the entire time, but her quirked lips negated her false ire. She seemed to be having just as much fun as I was, so I stalked towards her with my voice dropping an octave as I asked, “Help. You. What?”
“Huh?” she swallowed nervously, watching me as I kept moving until I was a hair’s breadth away from her body with my front shadowing her back.
Inhaling deeply and scenting not just her naturally sweet aroma, but her arousal, I growled, “Say it.”
“Would you please take my pants off?”
Her whispered words thundered through my ears. The sound of her blood rushing through her veins nearly made cum rush through one of my own. But I was unsure. Uncertain just how far she wanted me to go. Unclear of what exactly she was asking me for.
So I adopted my newly formed choir boy persona and wore that shmuck like a champ.
Reaching down, I made sure to keep my skin from touching hers, and easily snapped the leather string in half with my finger. Her body shivered despite our lack of contact, but I suspected it was due to my close proximity anyway and when she finally peeked down to look where my hand still lingered, she breathed out, “That was easy.”
“Who needs Staples?” I asked just as softly, unable to take a step back. “I didn’t even need to push your ‘easy’ button.”
But I was willing to spend the rest of the night searching her body for it.
I watched her eyes close as she took a deep breath and then mumbled, “Believe me. You’re pushing all of my buttons.”
At least I wasn’t alone.