Content Advisory: Heavy petting, but no actual sex.
Links for Kindle purchase and recap can be found in yesterday’s post. Hope you enjoy today’s installment!
I move to have my own chair and fill Rafe in on all I’ve learned, and done, to our new arrivals. We never did get to cover it with our interlude in the basement and then with Jon stopping by early.
“What are your thoughts on the scenario with Olivia?” I ask when I finish. “Would you like to play a role in my plan or should I enlist Drew?”
“I think it’s a good idea to bring Drew in. You know I don’t like to help out with the jealousy stuff unless there’s no other alternative. It’s not my cup of tea. This could be a good way to feel out what Drew knows, or thinks he knows, about you.”
“Agreed. But Drew seems like he’s been in a funk. He needs a kick in the pants to get out of it,” I answer. “Why else would he have come here?”
Rafe shrugs in answer.
“Anyway, I plan to drive Antonio slowly crazy with his desire for Olivia, and Drew will be perfect for the job. Care to picture me as a blond later? It will help aid my projection if you think of me as a sultry, smoky blond while I tease you.”
“You know I like the Asian look best, but I’ll take one for the team and play with a blond.” His heated look is all I need to set me off on a tangent.
“Down boy, we’re not done yet.” Picking up a leftover dinner roll from a basket on the table, I lob it at him.
I’d gladly ignore all the cares of the hotel to spend an evening in bed with him. He’s revved up from my blood and will be for a while. He’s got to be feeling the high I felt. It will make it even more of a joy to tease him later. I smile inwardly. Ah, it’s going to be fun.
After the dinner roll hits him and lands on the table, Rafe smiles and gets back to business. “Shall we focus on these two tonight and go after Liam and Francesca tomorrow during their tour of the third floor?”
Rafe picks up some files on the far side of the round dining surface. “I found these in our room. What are they in here for?”
He’s holding the Natsuhara and Salvador files in his hand, making me realize he doesn’t know I asked Tommy to have them delivered to me or why.
“I thought I could review them to see if they revealed a clue about John Pierre.”
“It’s getting odder by the moment that no one has come to the front desk looking for him. Makes me think only one or two people may have known he was here. And one of those is the one who killed him.”
I release a sigh, “Ah, and therein lies the problem… which one or two people?”
“Have you thought to call Cy yet?”
“No, I haven’t. Good idea. I bet he could trace the name down for us with what we’ve got so far.”
“Lord knows he owes you. Not many vampires would allow such a loose leash on a rich and powerful member of their flock.”
I wrinkle my nose at the mere thought of a “leash” or having my own “flock” as he put it. “You know me. If they are responsible I set them free. If they aren’t… well… ”
Rafe knows the unspoken end to that statement: If they aren’t responsible, I hunt them down and kill them.
Finishing my trailing thought I say, “He’s doing fine on his own. I have no need to worry.”
Cy Whitfield’s a contact from our time in New York forty-five years ago. I changed him when I found his crumpled body in an alley behind one of his nightclubs in Manhattan. Seems a young fledgling got out without supervision and drained the first person he came upon to within a pint of his life. Cy wouldn’t have been able to recover from such a loss unless the alley laid next to a hospital. Did I have four quarts of human blood and the ability to transfuse him right then? Uh…no. But I did have mine.
It was a split-second decision. If he had been unhappy with the choice when he came over, I would have killed him a second and final time out of respect. I drained Cy as much as possible without risking an instant death. Slicing my wrist with a silver dagger, I bled into his mouth before his last heartbeat. He latched on after the first mouthful went down and the rest is history.
After the initial shock and denial phase, followed by the learning curve to control the blood lust, Cy accepted his new afterlife wholeheartedly and was grateful I happened upon him in the alley. Doubtful he would have felt that way if he’d been married with a family, but c’est la vie. I’m glad things worked out. Rafe and I were both surprised when three months later, Cy’s control proved strong enough I could set him free and not look back.
I turn the prospect of calling him over in my mind, voicing my thoughts, “You are right though. He’d be a good person to call for some intel.”
Rafe continues in his argument, “He’s never let you down when you called to research a prospective client. Let’s not forget, he did help us when we jumped into the technological age.”
“Yes… ” I draw the sounds in the word out, torn on what to do. I prefer to have no other vampires close to me. It lessens the risk of who can turn me into the Tribunal of Ancients, which translates to less people I’d have to hunt down and destroy.
“Take advantage of the fact that he feels he owes you for his afterlife and freedom—most masters would have kept a gem like him under their thumb.”
“You’ve made your point, I’ll call.”
Rafe settles back with a small smile of victory on his face. A check of the time reveals it’s almost nine. It would be a great time to call Cy. He’s probably at the Zone Out club now. Grabbing the cordless off the counter, I dial his cell phone. Two rings later he picks up. Before he can get out a greeting, loud music assaults my ear.
“Dria, give me a minute to get in the back room.”
“ ‘Kay.” I can hear him pushing his way through the crowd to get to his private office, while the voices of the patrons carry over the line.
“Cy, over here man!”
He ignores them. Knowing him, he’s probably gesturing to the phone at his ear while signaling he’ll be right back. The sound of a door closing cuts the worst of the noise to a muted thrum.
“Well, hello gorgeous. What brings on this call?”
That’s Cy for you, right to the heart of the matter. He knows I don’t call often and won’t waste my time beating around the bush.
“Hey Cy, it’s been a while. How are you doing?”
I’m honestly curious. I’d hate to have to track him down and kill him; he’s good people.
“Cali keeping you in line?” I plow ahead before he has a chance to answer my first question.
Cali is Cy’s bonded mate. She’s a werewolf—a pretty uncommon match for an undead. Letting her walk around the club unescorted with the trademark sexual werewolf-pheromones leaking out to a crowd could cause a riot. I’m never sure which of the pair attracts the throngs of humans and supernaturals to the club more—him or her.
Cy rumbles his amusement into the phone “Of course she is. I wouldn’t love her as much as I do if she couldn’t.”
I cut right to the chase. “I need some help with a name.”
“New potential guest?”
“No. I wish.” I fill him in on what’s happened. I trust him to a point, but I don’t like having to rely on others. Rafe listens to my recount as well. His sharp gaze locks on me as if he’s making sure I include everything, even the crescent-shaped scar on John Pierre’s cheek.
“Got it.” Cy hesitates for a second, “Dria, I don’t like this. Let me send one of my security guys up there. He can fly up on my private plane and be there in under twelve hours.”
His voice sounds so adamant it throws me for a second. Quiet, I gather my thoughts on how to respond. He rushes on to fill the silence.
“I know how you feel about other vamps getting too close. You can trust him with your life. I’m talking about sending Cali’s nephew. He was turned over in Afghanistan a year ago. He’s an ex-military munitions expert and a real nice guy.”
In my continued silence he babbles on.
“The skills he’s learned from Uncle Sam have made him a valuable security asset, nothing gets past him.”
Good enough credentials, but I’m just not comfortable with the idea.
“I’m not sure.” God, this is harder than I thought it would be. “This is not just about letting another vampire get too close to me. Some things I’m not going to share even with you, Cy. If I can’t trust him for even a minute, you know what that means, yes?’’
I’m asking him if he is sure, because if he’s wrong I’ll have to kill Cali’s nephew, and he knows it. Cy doesn’t hesitate; a good sign in my book.
“I’m sure, Dria. It would be his honor to serve you. His undead life is yours, for as long as you will need it.”
I snort at his formal reply. It freaks me out Cy doesn’t even stop to consider asking Cali or her nephew their opinion. Which could mean one of two things: he knows him really well and they’ve already discussed the possibility, or he’s eager to get some intel on me and will pay this guy any amount to do the job. Cy has never been one of my pushier offspring, so I’ll take his offer at face value, no matter how hard it is for me to do.
Rafe, able to hear both sides of the conversation easily, chimes in with his opinion privately. Listen to what he has to say, my love. You set him free not only because of his strength, but you knew you could trust him.
Yes, yes. You’re right.
I sigh, resigned in my decision.
“Okay, Cy, if you’re sure I can trust him, then that’s good enough for me.” I don’t bother to add if I can’t, it won’t only be the new vamp who will lose his life. I’ll have to go after Cy too, and he sure as hell should know it in the time he’s been undead.
“What’s his name?” I remember to ask.
“Asa.” His voice carries an excitement I can clearly hear. “My pilot can have him airborne within the next hour and they’ll land at your private airstrip within twelve hours. I’d like you to consider hiring him on permanently if you want to keep him longer than this crisis. He’s looking for a new seethe and would welcome a change.”
“Rafe’s always talking about beefing up our security levels and such. If things work out, it’s something we might consider. Look, I’m on board with it, but don’t you think you’re overreacting a tad?”
My seethe is the size I like it: two. No vamp issues or group discussions. I like things this way and don’t feel inclined to change any time soon.
“No, Dria. I think you’re under-reacting. I know you worry security would hinder the guests enjoyment, but believe me, good security can go undetected.”
It’s not what I think and not why I don’t have a vamp security force. Having to kill to protect my secret isn’t something I relish. But if it makes him happy to think I’m worried about the guests, then so be it.
“Alright, already. Tell him to come dressed normally. He’ll fit in better, more like an employee than a vamped-up Goth guest. And the employees call me Vivian or Viv, not many refer to me here by my true name.”
Cy laughs at my requests. “Yes, Viv, whatever you want.”
I have a feeling this might be one of those ‘laughing at me not with me’ moments but I let it slide. It’s the first time I’ve accepted any offer he’s made to send someone from his large seethe so I’m sure he’s pleased.
We end things with him telling me he’ll have Cali follow up during the daylight hours if an answer comes back while he’s sleeping for the day. Looks like we’re all covered. Damn, it appears we’ll have a new employee soon.
Rafe’s grunt of agreement signifies his satisfaction with the outcome. “Glad you agreed to send Cali’s nephew. I bet he’ll work out great.”
Yippie. The day just keeps getting freakin’ better and better. Good thing Rafe’s optimistic. Maybe I’m just being jumpy, but my gut tells me no.
“Don’t worry Dria, I’ll keep an eye on Asa too, until you’re sure you can trust him.”
He knows my fears. I’m grateful he recognizes them without dismissing them or me. Rafe wasn’t around in the early part of my afterlife during the hardest times, but he’s aware of all that happened and has relived my nightmares through our bond. I’ve never been completely sure if he realizes he’s my greatest weakness. To lose another love would prompt me to walk into the sun and never look back.
My husband stands to stretch before moving to the sink to clean the pans from dinner. We have a chef on site, but more often than not, I’ll find him cooking for himself. He’s a man of many talents.
“I’m going to go change for the bar.” I call out as I walk out of the kitchen.
Rafe looks up from the pan he’s scrubbing.
“Babe, wear something red.”
Worth considering, I do have a lot of red. Not like I need anything to make me stand out more.
“Oh, and suggest it to Olivia as well,” he adds.
Now I see where his devious little mind is going. Oh, he’s good, I’ll give him that. I start to strip while I saunter down the hall, swishing my hips and bottom for all I’m worth. Gotta leave ‘em smiling, that’s me. I hear his voice enter my head softly, almost wistfully.
My liebling, what am I going to do with you?
His love and desire wraps around me like a warm breeze.
“You want a list?” I call back over my shoulder as I cross into our suite. He laughs clanging a clean pan down on the stove.
Please return on October 8th for chapter nine of Vampire Vacation. Ten chapters will be released in total. Also, if you have the time, please consider leaving us a review on Amazon. We’d be grateful for your support.
Copyright © 2010 C.J. Ellisson
All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.