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PART 1—HOW TO GET YOUR VAMPIRE TO SHARE
Vampires are possessive with their property, their lovers (which are not more than a step above property), their information, and their personal history. It is not often a human woman is lucky enough to find one who shares memories of his youth during post-coital lounging.
After a lifetime of dating humans, the best way for you to adjust to the possessiveness of your vampire lover is to revel in it, accept it, and take it for the compliment that it is…
—Excerpt from VampLure Magazine
Dusty. Texas is dusty. Okay, maybe not all of Texas is dusty, but the part that my superhot vampire boyfriend and I were driving through was decidedly dusty. Even in the dark of night—which was when we had to drive—I could see the powdery dirt rising from the road as our tires stirred it up. Fortunately, we didn’t need to have the windows open in the old Ford since Walker, the aforementioned superhottie, had finally gotten his air conditioning fixed. Unfortunately, Walker was pro nicotine and without the windows down, I was stuck inhaling the obnoxious fumes of his chain-lit smokes.
“You know Nicotene-o, you might not get any sex tonight if you keep blowing your nasty-ass cigarette smoke in my face,” I said.
Walker’s head turned from the endless expanse of highway ahead and his eyes, partially hidden behind hanks of his layered, dirty blond hair, found mine. He lifted one eyebrow and quirked his thin lips in a smug, sexy way that turned my genitals into a penis pep squad and had them sending a cheer up to my brain encouraging some skin-on-skin action.
After sucking in, and blowing out, one more puff of smoke, he answered me. “And why’s that, my little hyperbolic chamber?” If I were honest, watching his thin but soft lips tug at the cigarette was one of the sexiest things ever, but I didn’t want those lips tugging at anything but my skin, which meant I was actually jealous of tobacco.
“Because your cigarette smoke makes my eyes red, and that makes me tired. It also gives me a headache and—”
“Josie, a headache is the oldest excuse in the book—”
“—and you’re old enough to know.” I interrupted to fit in one of my favorite rankling comments. Any human in a relationship with a vampire is automatically at a disadvantage in terms of life span, strength, and speed—boning up on your banter and flinging it at every opportunity could be the only edge you’ve got.
Of course, you also need to be ready for your sexy blood aficionado to fling it back.
“Exactly, so don’t think that’s going to work on me. I know how to get you where I want you—headache or not.” As he spoke, Walker’s hand slipped from the steering wheel and onto my knee, where it began a heroic and purposeful journey up my thigh.
I looked out the dirty windshield, littered with bug carcasses in various stages of decay, and onto the dark, desolate road. I realized that we were no longer on the highway at the same time I felt Walker’s hand pulling down the waistband of my low-rise capris. I laughed at his schoolboy attempt at a feel up…but I made no physical move to stop him. “Hold it right there, mister. No driving and molesting—remember what happened last time?”
“Mmm, but it was so worth it. Besides, what’s one flat tire in the grand scheme of sexual experience?”
“Walker, you hit a curb because you were trying to fondle my boobs.”
“And your point is?” Walker lifted his hand from its position, precariously close to the bow on the top of my barely there, white lace undies, and instead of pulling down my panties, pulled out the ashtray. When he went to deposit what was left of his last cigarette, the overstuffed orifice vomited out stubs and ashes onto the floor of the truck, narrowly avoiding my feet.
“You’re smoking an awful lot today, Walker. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were getting nervous about taking me to see your home.” I watched his face, a thin, chiseled cloud of white atop the black of his unvarying ensemble, to see if I could pick up a reaction and measure if, in fact, he was getting nervous. His gaunt cheeks, strong nose, and furrowed brow could have been carved out of Ivory soap for all the expression and movement it showed. He didn’t flinch, redden, twitch, nothing. Even the strands of hair grazing his cheekbones didn’t flutter as the air conditioning roared out of the dashboard.
We drove for a while in silence, Walker keeping his eyes on the road and acting as if I weren’t there, me looking straight ahead while occasionally casting sidelong glances at my mate.
We were new to this relationship stuff, at least with each other. As a vampire, Walker had probably been alive for hundreds of years (a fact he was curiously silent about) and in that time had, I’m sure, enjoyed countless relationships. As a thirty-two-year-old woman, I’d had many long-term relationships myself, though not with anyone of a blood-sucking variety. A couple of weeks earlier, I had been dating an asshole vampire named Gregory. He was the first vampire I’d ever dated, and he pretty much screwed me in a big way—figuratively and literally. One screw I enjoyed. The other—not so much. Guess which one was which.
Anyway, after kidnapping me, Gregory was now dead, thanks to the heroic measures of the suspiciously quiet stud to my left. Gregory’s fortune went to the National Vampire Fund since he had no living descendants and Walker and I were the beneficiaries of tidy little sums as repayment for the hits we took.
After saving my life, Walker had asked me to go with him to Texas. I said I would, mostly because he asked me just hours after freeing me from completely unsexy bondage—though truth be told, I’d had such a good time with him over the few weeks we’d since spent together, I would have said yes even if he had waited to ask. I tried to take a leave of absence from the bridal shop where I worked, but was fired instead. And while the sum I was given for the trouble with Gregory was large, it wasn’t enough to retire on. So here I was, jobless and off on a vacation to, what looked from my window to be a completely foreign landscape than the sun and sand I was used to in Florida—with a vampire I’d only known for a few weeks. Still, while I didn’t want to be dependent on my vampire for a comfortable financial future, I did want to try and make the relationship work. After all, I’d accomplished my initial goal to have sex with a vampire—why not see what it would be like to vacation and maybe even fall in love with one? I asked my best friend Alena to water my plants and left The Sunshine State for The Lone Star one.
There wasn’t too much to say about the trip so far. To keep Walker out of the sun, we’d been doing our driving at night. Vampires avoid the sun like the plague, no—not because they will burst into a dramatic set of flames when walking into it but because their need to drink blood is caused by a cellular deficiency rather than a lack of the red stuff. Since free radicals caused by sun exposure can further ruin the cells that they’ve got, an afternoon of sun bathing could spell a long, slow death. This also factors into why they can’t eat garlic or onions, since each cause a special form of anemia after making red blood cells rupture, and vampires can’t compensate for that. We’d only left Florida four days ago but we were taking it slow and easy. We’d check into a different hotel each day before sunup and we…uh…kept pretty busy all day. I might not be getting much vitamin D on this trip, but I sure was getting my vitamin sex.
At night, we’d hop back in the truck and take the dark, sceneless road toward Texas. For me, this adventure was like one big vacation. For Walker, it was going home and frankly, I was a little scared at what I might discover once we got there. I was wondering what skeletons I might find in my sexy bad boy’s closet (and whether or not they might be actual skeletons) when his voice broke through my thoughts and brought me back to the present.
“We’re here,” he said as he pulled onto a dirt trail. A bumpy dirt trail. Not a road—a trail.
I looked around but didn’t see anything. No, really. No trees, no house, just…nothing. Without city or streetlights around it was very dark, so I didn’t expect to see much outside the circle of brightness afforded by the headlights, but the moon was close to full so I should have been able to see a large structure like, oh, I don’t know, a house. “Where is here, exactly?” I asked?
He lifted his right arm from the steering wheel and pointed ahead. “Here. Home.” He turned his head to look at me and I have to say, I was a little bit nervous about the way he had just said home and looked at me. It was like…significant somehow.
I squinted my eyes, pitched my body forward, and tried to make out what he was pointing to. Like looking at a Magic Eye picture, my eyes finally adjusted and I saw a small silver Airstream trailer with a clothesline outside and, oddly enough, a pink flamingo in the yard. Oh, um, did you see my air quotes around the word yard? If a rocky dirt patch can be considered a yard, then that’s what Walker had. If not, then he had a rocky dirt patch.
“Oh, this?” I asked, trying to control my voice so that it didn’t sound superficial. I mean, I had just gotten done dating (and helping to kill) a billionaire vampire living in an expensive condo with a water view. I didn’t see Walker as the mansion-dwelling kind of vamp, but I was expecting a little more than this tiny, conveniently mobile space. After all, vampires, with their endless lifespan potential, could profit the hell out of some fixed investments. So while Walker wasn’t flashy like Gregory had been—what, with his unassuming old truck and all-black ensemble—I figured hundreds of years worth of saving money would add up to a house with a foundation and lawn at least.
He drove up the final few yards and put the truck in park, looked over at me, smiled and said, “Home sweet home.” After he pulled the keys out of the ignition he leaned over and gave me a kiss on the cheek and exited the truck. He headed to the front door, the front door that had a little circular window in it like a seagoing vessel, and unlocked it while I just sat there looking out my window at the dirt moat between the truck and the trailer.
I didn’t immediately join this jaunty vamp in leaping out because I needed to think of how best to get out of the truck and walk through the dirt. The problem was that I was wearing my favorite pair of Manolo Blahniks. Okay, my only pair of Manolos, and I didn’t want to get them dirty. I know, I know, everyone else has already moved on to the red-soled Christian Louboutins, but I had wanted a pair of Manolos since I first watched Sex and the City twelve years ago. And since I’d never had very much money, I could never buy any. That is, until the National Vampire Fund gave me money for my involvement with bringing Gregory down. Now, suddenly, I was in the enviable position of being able to buy designer shoes…well, I had been before I lost my job, anyway. The one frivolous item I’d allowed myself was a pair of $800 strappy sandals with a two-inch heel. Since I’d gotten them, I’d worn them Every. Single. Day. With pants, skirts, shorts, capris, gym shorts—everything. Right now I was wearing them with a pair of grey linen capris and a white tank top that made my generous figure look generous in all the right places. And although the white tank top wasn’t exactly the best color choice with my pale skin and blond hair, it sure made my tits look great.
I couldn’t stay in the truck all night and it was starting to get hot, so I decided to take my shoes off and walk barefoot into Walker’s home. I did so and tiptoed up his walkway (oh, hey—did you see those air quotes, too?), up his front steps—a slipshod arrangement crafted out of cinderblocks and random pieces of wood—wiped my feet on his scratchy welcome mat, which was worn down to the very encouraging promise, We come, and finally stepped over his threshold.
Walker had gone directly to the kitchen countertop across from the door to sift through his mail. The kitchen area was tiny but relatively neat. There was a small refrigerator, stove, sink and about one foot of counter space. To the right was a table built into the wall with two booths on either side, also attached to the wall. Walker brought his mail over to the table and sat with it, looking perfectly content, if over large in the small space.
I pushed the door closed behind me and turned left. The scene that greeted me was straight out of bachelor pad hell. There was a small couch built into the same wall the front door was on, bookended by tables and a small television attached to the opposite wall. With all the stuff that was nailed down, I was beginning to feel like I couldn’t be trusted not to steal Walker’s old-school television while laughing maniacally and fantasizing about the $10 I could pawn it for.
The rest of the living room was a mess. Empty beer bottles, cigarette butts, ashes, crumpled-up pieces of paper, newspapers, food wrappers, and soda cans littered the floor and end tables—seriously, it was more like a landfill than a home. I was gingerly making my barefoot way over the mess, hoping I wouldn’t need a tetanus shot at the end of this journey, when I saw a pair of pink, lacey underwear lying on a small table next to the couch.
Not about to let a precious memento of Walker’s former bachelor status stop me, I decided to forge ahead and quickly came to the three-foot long hallway, which also featured the bathroom and closet area. The doorless closet was on the left and, as you may have already guessed, was filled with black clothes. To the right was another door with a circular window at the top, but this one led to a bathroom about the size of a mailbox. Everything in here was miniature, from the tiny sink to the itsy toilet to the stand-up shower stall for half-of-one. The whole trailer was like the dollhouses you play with when you’re little, only filled with cardboard furniture that couldn’t actually support the weight of the dolls inside.
I turned away from the bathroom and saw that I had come to the last door in the Airstream, the bedroom door. Okay, so it wasn’t so much a door as it was a beaded curtain. But curtains, door, or wide open space, it didn’t matter because this was still the sanctuary that I couldn’t wait to personalize, naked, with my vampire. I almost did a little dance of anticipatory joy as I imagined all the sex-filled days we would spend here, in this very room. I parted the curtains and walked in expecting to find—oh, I don’t know—a bed, a comforter, some pillows even. But instead I found a tall, shiny, brass stripper pole, complete with its very own stripper.