As I stared at the image of my office on the large flat screen monitor in my bedroom, I only had one thought.
She was tempting.
Too tempting, but considering the other candidates were disqualified for one reason or another, in reality she wasn’t just the top contender. She was the only contender. I had personally researched and handpicked the applicants myself, weeding out the ones who were overqualified or who had questionable references, wanting someone fresh – someone who was bright and who I could mold into the type of assistant I required without having to break them of any habits they’d already formed from working in a similar type of position. I also wanted someone new to the world of business, someone who didn’t have any connections that would only make me worry about their loyalty.
I liked that she was smart and given her part time work at the university library, it was easy to read the awe on her face now as she strained her eyes to read the titles lining my bookshelves across the room. I liked her looks even more, but that was more of a drawback than an advantage and one that would’ve likely had me dismissing her to select an equally qualified candidate had there been one. Physically, it was as if she’d been personally molded to my preferences. Fair haired and blue eyed, soft and curved as a woman should be, but strong both in body and personality. Her aspiration to become a lawyer gave me a small clue into her personality – she was argumentative and likely opinionated.
I looked forward to verbally sparring with her.
More so than all of that, I would’ve look forward to fucking her if I wouldn’t have to glamour her on a near daily basis as it was just for her to fulfill her duties as a vampire’s day person. Acquiring things I couldn’t afford for her to remember like bagged donor blood was only one item on an ever growing list, so glamouring her to forget feedings as well would only make her mind that much more spotty.
And the telltale signs her body would give her, telling her she had been thoroughly fucked, would be impossible to hide.
Staring at her now I had to keep repeating to myself that I was hiring her for her mind, not her blood or body, but it wouldn’t be the first time I’d had to deny myself. I’d gotten quite good at it actually and when I met up with her in just a few moments, I planned on glamouring her to be sure she was who she claimed to be and hadn’t been sent as a spy from another area.
It wouldn’t be the first time to happen and I hadn’t survived for a thousand years for nothing.
My previous assistant’s death had been aggravating. Likely more so for him, but I’d put a lot of time and effort into Burnham’s training. My plans had been to ‘retire’ – from human eyes at least – leaving him in charge of the day to day operations, and removing myself from the public eye. It was only a matter of time before my un-aging appearance would be questioned – plastic surgery just wasn’t that advanced – but if my casino continued to flourish, I could merely reinvent myself. By changing my name and altering my appearance enough, I could reemerge twenty-five years from now, just when Burnham would have been ready to retire, and could reclaim the reins under the guise of being my own son.
Now I would have to start over again – not for the first time in my long existence, but it was still just as aggravating. I’d been forced to rely heavily on Cataliades in the days that followed Burnham’s death thanks to my untimely infirmity. I’d known the demon lawyer for centuries and trusted him with my business dealings, but his heritage left him immune to my glamour and trusting him with my own wellbeing had been a difficult pill to swallow. I’d had no choice and was only thankful I hadn’t misjudged his loyalty.
And his discretion.
I finally tore my eyes away from the screen and threw my suit jacket on, stepping out of my penthouse suite where I’d been forced to remain in seclusion for the last ten days. I’d been able to stay on top of things – in my casino at least – thanks to the surveillance system I had in place, but the injuries I’d suffered in ridding my area of Malcolm, Diane, and Liam had taken me that long to heal from. Bagged donor blood didn’t allow for me to heal as quickly as blood from a live donor would have – too many nutrients were lost in the process – but it was enough to slowly restore my strength and I’d had no choice otherwise. I’d been too weak to go out hunting and knew better than to reveal myself in that condition – even in my own domain – so I’d been forced to remain hidden away, feeding only from the blood brought to me by Cataliades from the local blood bank.
I was anxious to return to my normal life – anxious to return to the city streets. When the cat’s away the mice will play and since I hadn’t been available to patrol my area for nearly two weeks, the mice were likely having a field day. I’d been monitoring the news and internet for signs of poachers, but it was impossible to ascertain if the slight rise in vehicle fatalities had been purely coincidental.
My instincts told me they were not. Automobiles exploding on impact weren’t as common as the nightly news portrayed them to be as of late.
Our kind couldn’t afford any mistakes – anything that would warrant unwanted human attention to our very inhuman lives – which was why I’d gone after Malcolm’s nest. They’d been warned when they first settled in my territory. A warning they chose to disregard. They were sloppy and took too many risks, leaving behind evidence that could have ultimately led the humans to suspect our kind did in fact exist among them. It took me some time to track them down once they realized my threat had not been an empty one. I preferred to work alone, but there were others of our kind who gladly pointed me in their direction. They too saw the folly of their actions and wanted no part of their fate. I could attribute seven deaths in total to the three of them over the previous two years and I made sure they paid for their carelessness with their lives.
I’d settled in this area close to a hundred years earlier and my businesses were flourishing so I wanted to remain for as long as possible, but in the digital age of smart phones with instant access to the internet, we all had to work that much harder to remain undetected. Our kind had no true hierarchy. There were no kings, queens, emperors or presidents. Instead the strong ruled the weak and at over a thousand years old, there were very few who were stronger than me, but none of them resided in the southern half of Louisiana I had claimed as my own a century earlier. Those who agreed to remain in the shadows and follow my finite set of rules were free to settle in my territory with no dispute from me, as well as having my protection should the need arise so long as they remained loyal.
And those who didn’t either moved on or suffered their true deaths.
The number of vampires in my area numbered less than twenty at the moment – some of which I employed at the casino, but it fluctuated given that most of us led a nomadic lifestyle and with the rising human population we tended to spread out that much more. Even a number as few as twenty vampires living and working so closely together without fights continually breaking out was nearly unheard of anywhere else, but I took my job seriously. Not as a casino owner or businessman, but as a protector.
By protecting the humans from our kind, I protected our kind from being found out.
Glamouring the human to forget and healing their puncture marks meant feeding didn’t necessitate killing.
It was my number one rule.
But many of my kind were sadistic. They enjoyed being the predator and used great zeal in hunting their prey. It was undeniably a part of our nature, but we could control it – especially as we got older. Truthfully, I didn’t care what they did, but if they were in my territory they would follow my rules or suffer the consequences.
Their fuckery threatened my own survival and that was unacceptable.
It took a lot of effort on my part to keep my true nature hidden as well and I had to constantly remain aware of my surroundings – to be cognizant of those whose attention I’d garnered and erase the details I didn’t want known from the minds who held them. It was a never ending battle, but it was a necessary evil.
And I was nothing if not a survivor.
I hadn’t even known what I was when I’d first risen from the earth a thousand years earlier, alone with nothing more than the burning fire in my throat. On instinct I’d sought out and drained three men who’d set up camp a few miles away before I’d even realized what I’d done or that it was their blood that I craved and which had put out the fire. My last human memory was of traveling home from a neighboring village and approaching an injured man lying on the pathway, but beyond that there was nothing but darkness until I rose alone in my new state of being. There was no one there to tell me what I was or to teach me what to do, with me having to rely on instinct alone in order to survive. I thought perhaps I had angered one of the Gods and seeing the remains of the dead men surrounding me, I knew I couldn’t return home. I couldn’t put my remaining children in danger because I was undeniably dangerous, so I took off running, away from the only home I’d ever known. I found out quickly that my speed and senses were heightened as I tore through the woods, staying off of the known pathways, and traveled distances I knew from experience should have taken days. That first night seemed to go by in the blink of an eye and yet was possibly the longest of my existence. But the instinctual fear I’d felt with the coming dawn had me clawing my way back into the earth I’d risen from and as death took me for a second time at sunrise, I realized then what I was.
I’d traveled in the shadows for years, only rarely coming across others of my kind and would often be forced to fight them to the death, while marveling over my wounds healing right before my eyes. I learned there were other kinds of monsters as well. Ones who changed into wolves, tigers, and all other types of animals, as well as another type of monster whose kind were just as beautiful as any creation of Michelangelo’s.
Their viciousness only made their blood that much more appetizing.
However my greatest lesson learned in those early years was that while I was not isolated in my inhuman state, I was veritably alone.
I eventually learned the name for what I was – Vampire. They were not a part of the folklore of my human ancestors I’d learned as a child, but I’m certain some of my own actions, brought on by my youth and lack of control during my earlier years, helped in the creation of our myth in other cultures. As humans became more civilized, so did we and skirmishes between our own kind lessened. I learned from other vampires, whom I later came across in my travels, the very basics in how I came to be this way. They told me about the magic our blood possessed and the effects it could have on others. But I had no clue as to who my Maker was, or what had happened to them, nor had I ever made a vampire myself. I never felt ‘the pull’ – as it had been explained to me – nor did I feel another’s presence in my blood.
I had been alone from the start and to this day, I remained that way.
I only learned I could fly in my first confrontation with a small nest of vampires when my instincts took me into the sky. As I grew older and more disciplined, I found I could be around humans again without being a danger to them. I learned to blend in with them and practiced using my glamour and restraint when feeding. The human population wasn’t as big back then that we could afford to kill so many of them when wars, plagues, and a harsh existence were already taking their lives as well. Now however, unless you wanted to feed on the disease-ridden homeless or drug addicted dregs of society, restraint still had to be practiced because humans noticed when other worthwhile humans went missing. Their numbers far outweighed our own and as long as we practiced care when feeding, we could remain hidden in the shadows. But that didn’t mean all of my kind held my same beliefs.
Malcolm, Diane, and Liam were prime examples.
And then there were always other vampires who wanted power – who were greedy for what others had and had no qualms with trying to take it by force. But I was old enough that very few challenged me and those who had were nothing more than ashes now. My survival depended on keeping my nature secret and technology both helped and hindered that process, but I had no choice but to adapt. It was the key to my long existence and my only priority. I would do whatever needed to be done in order to survive.
Including denying my urge to feed from my voluptuous new assistant.
I could smell her scent before I ever entered the room and I suddenly wished I’d had more than a few bags of A positive for dinner. She was absolutely mouthwatering and my fangs were itching to come down, but I stayed them.
My office was directly beneath my suite with a hidden door that could lead from one floor to the other, but I rarely used it. I didn’t necessarily want my comings and goings public knowledge, but the less I had to hide, the better and as I entered the room my thoughts immediately reverted back to how lovely she was – even more so in person – and quite amusing as well.
If an elbow to the sternum could ever be considered amusing.
Her mortification was quickly overtaken by a look I couldn’t quite decipher, but when she said nothing further after her horrified apology, I hoped to calm her nerves by smiling and offered, “It’s good to see you have quick reflexes. Perhaps we could put you in charge of making our daily deposits. The robbers wouldn’t stand a chance.”
I made a show of rubbing the spot on my chest she’d just assaulted, but at least my joke seemed to snap her out of her thoughts. She quickly flamed just as red as her sinfully tight suit, but just as quickly she straightened her posture and neutralized her expression as she thrust her right hand out, saying with sincerity, “Mr. Northman. It’s very nice to meet you and, again, I apologize if I hurt you.”
While she’d been easily startled – I took the brunt of the blame for that considering I’d been too distracted by her scent to remember to make noise as any normal human would have – I was impressed by her ability to quickly move past it. In addition to her beauty and intellect, she had an air of confidence and charismatic charm about her that Burnham lacked, so my aggravation over having to start back at square one with a new assistant no longer felt like it was such an imposition.
Wanting to know more of her true personality, I didn’t want to glamour her just yet, so instead of taking her offered hand and revealing my cold skin, I got out of it by jokingly holding my hands up and asking, “Are those registered as lethal weapons? I fear you have me at a disadvantage, Miss Stackhouse. I am unarmed.”
Her fading blush re-bloomed on her cheeks, only enhancing her already heady scent, but she dropped her hand and softly laughed out, “As a matter of fact, they are. I’m not required to work weekends, am I? That’s when I do my Superhero gig – saving innocents, kicking butts, and taking names.”
The thought of her body encased in nothing but spandex made my cock twitch.
I walked at a human pace – albeit a quick one – behind my desk to sit down and hide the growing affect she was having on me. I motioned for her to take a seat in the chair across from me, shaking my head with a false seriousness, and saying, “Unfortunately weekends are our busiest time, but if you’re out and about on an errand for me and see a wrongdoing, I suppose you could take your break and save the world.” She smiled even wider in return and while I knew I shouldn’t, I couldn’t seem to help myself when I smiled back at her and added, “Do you wear your costume underneath your clothes? I see no cape.”
Or panty lines.
I really needed to stop thinking about what may or may NOT be under her clothes.
“I do, but capes are so last year,” she laughed again and I found myself entranced by the sight. “Phone booths to change in are hard to come by these days though. If only strippers danced in power suits, then maybe I could find ones with Velcro seams.”
Thoughts of her lithe body contorting around a pole – my own was jutting towards her at the very moment and would gladly extend her an open invitation – made it a Herculean effort to keep my fangs from snapping down. The crotch of my pants was nearly a lost cause as well, but somehow I managed.
“Consider the use of my personal tailor as one of your job benefits. You can use your corporate card to purchase as much Velcro as you’d like,” I found myself offering, but seeing her eyebrow rise up had me adding, “You know, for the benefit of humanity.”
Thankfully she laughed again and it only put me more at ease around her. I would hate to have to glamour everything from her and seeing that she had a sense of humor compatible with my own made me look forward to finding out what else we were compatible in.
But I really needed to stop thinking about me being IN her.
“You’re speaking as though I already have the job. Aren’t you going to interview me first?” she asked still amused. There was something in the way she looked at me – other than the obvious chemistry between us – something in her eyes that told me she was puzzled about something, but I attributed it to my own odd behavior. Normally I didn’t show this side of myself to others and never to a human unless I planned on fucking them and then glamouring them to forget it. But then again, I’d never had such an immediate reaction to a human before either. My own charm came in handy when dealing with the public, but there was something about Miss Stackhouse’s personality that brought it out of me.
Almost as if I had no control to stop it.
And it suddenly made alarm bells ring out in my head.