This month, my Sexy Scribblers writing group launched our first impromptu story, Scandalous. All 6 episodes have been published and I have featured on my blog today. This Friday, the next story, 19 Ivy Lane, will be released! Be sure to check the website for Episode 1. Enjoy!
He mentally struggled with whether to get up and eat or to lay comatose.
Comatose felt good.
Eating would mean dealing with his cotton-dry mouth and the insistent pounding at his hotel door.
He rolled over in his king-sized bed and cracked an eye open. His gaze landed on a plate stacked with strips of bacon, and a mountain of scrambled eggs slathered in Tabasco sauce—just the way he liked them.
He’d eaten the same breakfast ever since he’d bought this hotel years ago. Everything was as it should be, except for the idiot at his door. Who had the balls to disturb him after a night of…hell, what had he been doing last night?
His mind barreled through his memory bank until he remembered. Oh yeah, he’d gotten shitfaced with his cousin, Willard and his brother, Bubba. He could hold his liquor better than the average man, but last night he had a good reason for getting tanked.
Grumbling, he tossed his sheets aside and slid out of the bed stark naked. He yanked on a pair of jeans he found discarded on the carpet in the bedroom of his suite. He hobbled barefoot to the front room, but he pulled up short when he saw a buxom blonde sit up on the couch and wipe the sleep from her eyes. The words, Big Tits Ain’t a Crime stretched across the front of her tight t-shirt.
Incredulous, he rasped, “What the hell are you doing here, Anita?”
She yawned. “Hope you don’t mind, Reed. I crashed on your couch. But don’t worry. You and me didn’t do nuthin’. You was too drunk.”
Thank God! Sex was so much better when he had the memories to rewind.
“I don’t have to be at work for a few hours,” she added, a flicker of hope dancing across her cherub face. “I got time for a quickie.”
Anita was a maid at his hotel. In addition to her irritating habit of using her key to get into his room, she was also engaged to Willard. Reed enjoyed a good fuck, but not at the expense of someone’s fiancé.
“Some other time,” he lied as he walked with a slight limp toward the door. The hangover was temporary. The limp wasn’t. Most everybody in town knew how he’d sustained his injury. Women thought the cane he used was sexy. There was no accounting for female reasoning. His family had run this town for three generations. Power was one hell of an aphrodisiac.
He hoped Willard wasn’t on the other side of that door with a a pair of steel knuckles. Of course, it could be the police, too. He’d been known to raise hell during a night of drinking. But, he didn’t take the cops seriously. He’d gone to middle school with half of ‘em and played varsity football with the other half.
When he opened the door, he stared into the face of a strange woman. She was graced with high cheekbones, a mane of raven hair, and a long, slender neck he would love to sink his teeth into. Her stunning sable skin was marred only by the tight scowl she gave him. It was obvious she had a bone to pick. Adam had already sacrificed a rib for men everywhere. Reed would be damned if he let this beauty take one of his.
Abby hadn’t been prepared when the door swung open, and Reed Evans greeted her wearing a pair of faded blue jeans and thick black hair that looked as though he’d been ridden hard. She stared into his blazing green eyes and would have melted if not for the fact he looked madder than a bull who’d just lost his nuts.
“Mr. Evans?” What a stupid question. Of course he was, but she’d suddenly lost her nerve.
“Who wants to know?” he growled.
“My name’s Abby Livingston and I’m here on business. May I come in?”
“Woman, you do realize what time it is?” At least he stepped aside, which was a positive sign.
“I am sorry.” She walked through the door, and it was then she spotted a blonde wearing a tee that was three sizes too small. Most likely the woman––if you could call her that––was the reason he looked so rough. Abby pulled back her shoulders and glided across the carpet with the grace and manners her southern grannie would be proud of. She heard the click of the door behind her and when she turned, the girl was gone. No doubt, scooted out and sent on her way with a wad of cash in hand.
Time to get to the point. “Mr. Evans. I find myself in need of a bodyguard, and I was told you’re the best.”
He tipped his head back and laughed. “Oh shit.” Rubbing his temples he glared at her and grabbed a shirt from the back of a chair and shoved his arms through the sleeves. It was a shame to cover up such male perfection, but better for their conversation.
“You should have also been told that I haven’t been in the business since…”
“Yes. Since you took a bullet to the leg. I know.” She shifted her weight. Why the hell had she decided it would be a great idea to wear heels? Sneakers and jeans were more her style, but she’d thought a short skirt and pumps would go further at showcasing her long legs than pants. She’d taken great care with her appearance before she came. After all, if Reed Evans knew she grew up on the poor side of town he’d never agree to help her.
He poured himself a cup of coffee from the carafe on the table and took a long sip. “So you know then that this is a waste of your time?”
“I was also told you never turn down a damsel in distress.” She adjusted the strap of her purse. The one that carried her life savings and she hoped would be enough for at least a down payment on his services. After that, well…she’d figure it out.
Good thing Abby had plenty of experience with challenges. She didn’t like them necessarily, but she never backed off from one. Squaring her shoulders, she met his glare and smiled. “We’ll see about that.”
A glint of interest sparked in his eyes as his lips twitched into a shadow of a smile. A smile that did nothing to cut the dark broodiness of his features or the thick tension in the room. Just made him look more…big, bad, and dangerous. She swallowed as her heart sprinted. Were those fangs peeking out over his full sensuous lips? Oh, yes. Good, so he really was a vampire.
“Not that you don’t have a smokin’ hot bod, but why does it need guarding?”
Heat rushed across her skin at his blunt words and roaming gaze, but she kept her chin up. “Perhaps I should have introduced myself by my professional name, Sitara the Seer at your service.”
He guffawed at that. “You don’t look much like your pictures.”
Yeah, well. Uncle Dave, her manager, guardian, and only-living relative, insisted on stage presence. He thought exotic and mysterious sold better so the fancy name, the heavy makeup, the gaudy jewelry, and dressing in silk, and gauze outfits straight out of somebody’s harem fantasy. Everything about Sitara the Seer was a sham except for the ability to see the future.
Still smirking, Reed crossed beefy arms across his impressive chest. “So tell me what am I going to do next?”
“You’re going to offer me coffee and a seat.”
“Because that’s what the Universe is showing you?”
“No,” she said. “Because that’s the polite thing to do.”
“I like you.” He grinned and waved at a pair of straight back chairs sitting in front of his desk. “Make yourself comfortable. How do you take your coffee?”
“Black,” Abby said, lowering herself into a seat. Her skirt slid up as she crossed her legs. His eyes widened and followed every move. A very female sense of satisfaction filled her and she turned away to hide her smile.
Within moments, he’d placed her coffee by her and claimed the big leather chair on the other side of the desk. He leaned forward, hands clasped. “So what’s the story?”
She sipped her drink, letting the bitter taste, and rich, smoky aroma fortify her. “I have a regular client, let’s call him Mr. X.”
Reed raised a raven brow. “Mr. X?”
Abby flashed him a pointed look and continued. “He usually wants me to pick lottery numbers or race horses, favorable dates for business and such things. I knew he was involved in some shady deals, but this time…” She choked up on the rest of words and had to take another swallow of coffee.
“This time?” Reed picked up a pen and tapped on the desk top like a demented woodpecker.
She swallowed and met his cool green gaze. “He asked me if he should go into a new international venture. This time, I saw death. Not his, but that of other people at his hands.”
Reed made the time out sign. “Wait, you expect me to believe you actually saw a vision.”
“Yes, and because of that vision I’m now in danger.” Was that breathy voice coming from her? She cleared her throat.
“You told Mr. X you saw him murdering people?”
“Of course not.” She bit her lip. “I may have shouted out “Murderer!”
Reed was usually all about business, but once Abby started gnawing on her bottom lip, he’d barely heard another word she’d said. They were full, lush, and parted slightly, revealing the tip of her tongue as she drew the flesh between her teeth.
She had no idea the things he yearned to do with that delectable mouth.
And then, there was her feminine scent that was driving him fucking nuts. The fragrance was amber and lemongrass with the faintest hint of blood. She’d recently cut her leg—probably shaving—sending his appetite burning.
Damn, he’d love to kiss her wound and make it all better.
Hunger roared through him as his eyes perused a slender frame with enough tantalizing curves to make a man want to drop to his knees and give thanks… among other things.
Watching her, smelling her, Reed felt a rage of heat rushing through his veins that landed right smack at his groin, causing his cock to throb something fierce.
While she explained her dilemma, he found himself imagining how wild and wicked Abby could behave once she lost that restraint. She seemed to be the type of woman who possessed fire and will, and he wanted to know what turned her on. Already, he anticipated hours and hours of wicked pleasure.
Oh, he could hardly wait.
“Have you heard a word I said?” Abby barked, bringing him back into the conversation.
Reed slowly rose from the chair and frowned. “No, I’m afraid I have not,” he began, and when her eyes flashed dark fire, a smile curled his lips. “However, once we’ve discussed price, and you agree to my terms, then I’m all ears.”
Abby tilted her head to one side and sent curls bouncing around her face as she threw him an arched look. “Money is not an issue.”
Before he could respond, she slid the leather strap off her shoulder, unzipped the purse, and emptied the entire contents onto the cluttered wooden desk with a loud thump. Eyes wide, Reed stared down at the large bundles of cash. There had to be several thousand dollars right before his eyes, and yet the money was nowhere near as tempting as the woman sitting across from him.
“I think that should be more than enough,” she decided, her brown eyes glittering confidently.
“Really?” he murmured. As he gazed at her, Abby then made the mistake of nervously nibbling on her bottom lip again, only this time her teeth sank into the tender pink flesh, drawing just the slightest drop of blood. However, for a vampire it was more than enough to cause his lips to curl back and his fangs to show as he snorted a laugh.
“No, I’m afraid that won’t work,” he began as he rounded the desk, taking one step and then another. “I want something else.”
“Something else?” Abby repeated, and then Reed heard the sharp intake of air as it hissed through her teeth. It was clear she knew which direction the conversation was headed.
“Well, what are you waiting for? Tell me what you want,” she demanded breathlessly.
Abby watched Reed’s eyes darken, and at the same time heard the door lock click into place.
Holy shit, batman. She’d heard stories about vampires being able to control stuff with thoughts, but she’d never witnessed it. The other vampires she’d met over the years had been too eager to stay under the radar, keep their secret powers secret.
“Um…what do you think you’re doing?” She had a pretty good idea, but there was no way in hell she was going to be this guy’s breakfast. Even if he was drop dead gorgeous. Damn, poor choice of words.
“Oh, I think you know exactly what I have in mind.” He crossed to a wall cabinet and took out a metal tray holding medical equipment. “But first we need to take care of preliminary screening.” He snapped on a pair of blue surgical gloves.
She tried to laugh. This wasn’t really happening, was it? “Shouldn’t we just ask each other about our sexual history or something?”
He grinned. “Oh we’ll get to that too. Now be a good girl and roll up your sleeve.”
She was used to weird shit, given the weirdoes she hung around with, and the even weirder weirdoes she encountered as Sitara. She rolled up the sleeve of her blouse and turned her head away.
“This won’t hurt a bit.” He chuckled as he tied a strip of rubber around her arm. “Well, this part won’t hurt. And I’ve yet to hear complaints from my other…lovers.”
“I’m not hiring you to be my—” She jumped as the needle pierced her flesh. So much for not hurting. She dared a glance at her arm and was surprised to see him filling a third vial. “What the hell do you need all that blood for?”
He deftly finished and sat again behind the desk. Seeming to ignore her question, he divided the blood from one tube into other tubes and added drops of various liquids. Then, he pulled off his gloves.
“Now, we have time to chat. When was your last sexual encounter, and with whom?”
“Look, I want you as a bodyguard, not a gigolo.” Not that she would kick him out of her bed, but he was taking all the romance out of it.
Without seeming to move, he appeared at her side, clasped her arms and pulled her from the chair. His nostrils flared as he leaned closer. Close enough for her to feel the cold heat from his body. Whoa, that didn’t make any sense. How was heat cold?
“I don’t smell a man on you.”
All she could do was shake her head. She looked into his eyes, dark and mysterious, and couldn’t look away. A feeling of peace, contentment, comfort filled her mind, and body. Hell, she felt fabulous, like she was floating on a warm cloud of massaging brilliance. He lowered his head toward her neck, and she tensed. Shit, this was really happening, and she didn’t care. She wanted to stay on the cloud. But, all she felt was the soft brush of his lips.
“Relax, my sweet. You will know when it’s time.” He gently bit her earlobe and released her arms, letting her settle in the chair. She wanted to cry.
He glanced at the small laboratory atop his desk and smiled. “Yes, very good. Let’s get started.”
“Can I ask you something?” Abby shivered as Reed rounded the desk and took a seat, those fabulous green eyes intent on the mini-lab instead of her.
She ignored the disappointment that crashed over her. Things had been hot. What was with the cooling off? Was he really going to play scientist, instead of trying to ravish her?
He finally looked up, and cocked his dark head to one side, then nodded. “Sure.”
“You’re a vampire, right?”
Again, he nodded. “Not a secret, the whole town kinda is.”
“Why do you have a limp?”
“The bullet was silver, and we didn’t get it out fast enough.” He shrugged as if it was nothing, but something darted across his handsome face and had Abby muttering an apology.
She jumped when he stroked her cheek and one corner of his mouth shot up. Abby hadn’t seen him move—again. She had to order herself not to lean into his touch.
“It was a long time ago, I assure you my skills aren’t lacking.”
“I wouldn’t have come to you if I thought they were.”
“Right. Well, let’s get started.” Reed rubbed his hands together, as if in anticipation and took his previous seat.
“Get started?” That was the second time he’d said that.
“Yes.” He hit some buttons on a machine. Red lights shone, and a whirring sound filled the room.
“I thought you were going to help me.” Abby winced at the desperation in her tone. Her heart sped up, and she fought the urge to look around. She was safe here—despite the fact she was with the most powerful vampire in town. Reed wouldn’t let anything happen to her, would he?
“No, I won’t.”
“You read minds, too?” Shit, she’d have to guard her thoughts.
He chuckled, and the warmth of it was like a caress.
Abby squirmed in the chair and squeezed her thighs tight. Desire settled low. She wanted him. A stranger. A vampire. Hoped like hell he couldn’t tell.
Reed’s smirk, and the flare of his nostrils said otherwise.
Her cheeks warmed, and he the fact that he’d not answered was palpable.
“You and I should work out just fine,” he murmured. His voice dropped. It was thicker, more appealing somehow.
“What’d you mean?” she whispered.
“I don’t want your money.”
She straightened, her longing shooting to anger, and Abby popped to her stilettoed feet. “You said you’d help.”
A slow, sexy grin bloomed across Reed’s delicious mouth. Fangs peeked out.
Abby’s heartbeat kicked up. She was in so much trouble.
“So what the hell do you want for payment? I’m not a sex slave. It’s not going to be like that, I don’t care who the hell you think you are.” Her voice rose with each demand, and Abby bristled when Reed came to her side and cupped her face.
He dipped down as if he was going to kiss her.
She stiffened, and cursed her disappointment to hell when his mouth stopped millimeters above hers.
“No worries, little seer, you’ll sleep with me.”
His confidence flared her anger, but Abby couldn’t pull from his hold. He wasn’t hurting her, despite the firm grip. “I will not. And you’re still being obtuse.”
Reed laughed. His green eyes twinkled.
“I needed your blood because it’s how you’re going to pay me. You’re going to bond with me.”