UNDEAD IN THE CITY by Lynda Hilburn
Tempest's band was gigging in yet another downtown dive. The club was almost empty due to the arrival of the worst blizzard the city had seen in a century. With one more set to play before she and the band could escape the smoky lounge, a mystery man walked in. Even dripping wet from the relentless onslaught, Tempest could tell the man was unusual. If only because he was the most gorgeous male specimen she'd ever seen. But he was a little pale.
Malveaux had ducked into the bar to avoid having to kill anymore of the worthless minions set upon him by the local vampire territory boss. Under most circumstances, he'd have enjoyed tracking the idiots, and tearing their hearts out. He'd learned long ago to take pleasure in his work. But Malveaux wasn't dealing with usual circumstances. A sexual obsession, passed to him by his sire and suddenly overwhelming, had changed all the rules of the game. He knew if he didn't find an "offspring" - a female to serve his needs - he'd go mad.
When he laid eyes on the charismatic musician on stage, he knew he'd found his "child." She wouldn't need to know he was an assassin. But she'd find out his deeper secret soon enough when he sank his fangs into the pulsing vein in her neck.
Together they'd take on the human underworld and the undead.
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A burst of frigid air hit Tempest as the front door opened. Thinking a few more customers might be braving the sudden ice age to show up for the last set, she was disappointed to see only a solitary man step inside. He shook his hair away from his face, sending a shower of melting snow down the walls, and straightened the collar on his coat. The entryway was directly in front of her at the far end of the club, and luckily, there were a lot of overhead lights, so she got a good look at the new arrival. Even with his long, dark hair snow-covered, wet, and plastered against his shoulders, she felt her breath catch – and not from the cold air. He had to be the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen. Tall, with light skin and piercing eyes. She appreciated the cut of his leather duster and suspected it was high dollar. What the hell was a fancy number like him doing in a crap hole like this? Maybe he was another one of those mafia jerks. They were always showing up to extort one kind of payment or another.
Hidden in the darkness of the stage, she followed him with her eyes as he strode purposefully to the booth tucked back in the far corner. The bartender, along with every other life form in the smoky room, had gone completely still as the newcomer passed. Pausing next to the booth, the man removed his coat, shaking it to dislodge the melting snow and ice. A smile spread across Tempest’s face as she noted the form-fitting leather pants and muscle-hugging, light-colored t-shirt he wore under the expensive coat. It didn’t take much creativity to imagine how it would feel to run her hands over that muscled expanse, but Tempest had creativity and imagination in abundance. So much, that her body stirred in satisfied anticipation of the unexpected possibility that had just magically offered itself for later that night. She would’ve been happy to bounce on Stan again, but as far as men went, new was always better than familiar. She’d learned that the best thing about her looks was being able to use them to pick up any guy she wanted. Pitiful that males were so easily controlled, but it was just as well, since she so enjoyed being in charge.
She watched the handsome stranger fold himself into the booth, and out of the corner of her eye, she saw Chaz, the bartender, spring from behind the bar. The previously laid-back – read stoned – fellow practically fell over his own feet in his frantic attempt to reach the leather man. He hovered near the booth, wringing his hands, nodding energetically at whatever the new customer was saying. Chaz finally pointed toward the pay phone near the shelves of liquor and speed-walked in that direction, leaving the man alone.
Tempest realized she’d been holding her breath during Chaz’s strange performance. Of course, she’d only met the bartender that day, so she had no idea what his normal behaviors were. But still, the vibe he gave off around the stud muffin was unusual, almost as if he was afraid or something. She could feel the thrum of his anxiety from her observation post. No surprise, really. Most of the businesses in the inner city were mob controlled. Maybe the eye candy in the booth was high-up on the motherfucker feeding chain. She smirked. A lesser woman might take a pass on rolling around with a member of The Family, but she always enjoyed a challenge. None of the assholes had gotten the upper hand with her yet, and she felt confident she could call the shots with this yummy specimen, too.
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