Home > Sex and the Single Vamp(2)

Sex and the Single Vamp(2)
Author: Robin Covington

“I enjoyed your spot on Entertainment Nightly,” Andy said with a smile that won an eye roll from Deacon.

“Thanks.” Cici jumped back into the problem. “So, you also know I specialize in matchmaking humans with our kind, and I’ve come under some criticism for doing it.” She paused, wondering if she should state the obvious, and then decided to drag all their dirty laundry into the light. “You’re one of my most vocal critics.”

“Maybe you should listen to me and get out of the business. Problem solved.”

That signaled the beginning of round two.

“I know you don’t think people should have the right to love who they choose. Or marry who they want.”

“Whoa. I’m not looking for a fight over politics. The Equal Rights Amendment guaranteed our legal equality under the law in 1970—done and done. I’m talking about the foolish decision, legal or otherwise, to shackle yourself to someone you’re going to lose and outlive by centuries.” Deacon shook his head in disbelief. “Humans and Others aren’t supposed to be together. That’s just reality.”

“Your opposition to the mingling of Others and humans is well-documented. You’d have to be blind, deaf, and dumb to miss your numerous sound bites in opposition to love.”

“Actually, I’m opposed to relationships of any kind for us. Love, marriage, all that emotional baggage that humans use to make themselves miserable. It isn’t for us. We live forever.” He flickered a glance at Andy, including their long-lived but not immortal member. “Or a damn long time. The thought of settling down for eternity gives me the chills.”

“I’m acquainted with your aversion to anything resembling a commitment.” And she was. He’d seduced her, even gone so far as to dangle the carrot of marriage and love in front of her, and then backed out before he had to put up or shut up. “I remember it quite well.”

“I don’t have the same recollection.” He looked perplexed, brows creased in a frown.

“Water under the bridge.” She waved off the rehash of the past. “Not everyone is you. Some of us want that connection with another person.”

“You can get that in a night spent between sweaty sheets. You don’t need to sign up for an eternity of playing happy family to be connected. People keep confusing physical need with some other deep, Oprah-book-club emotion. The sooner our kind recognizes and embraces our innate difference from humans, the better off we’ll all be.”

Cici stood, unable to stay in one place for a moment longer. This had been a mistake. She’d known Deacon’s opinion on this issue. He wasn’t shy about sharing it, and the media had a field day playing their opposing positions against each other to create a buzz. But she believed in love—longed to have it for herself—and was quite happy getting it for other people.

“Love…to have it even for a little while is worth it,” she said, forcing her voice to steady and averting her eyes just in case they flashed with emotion she didn’t want to share.

“Losing it and living without it for eternity is a bitch.” Deacon held his hands up in front of him, his lips twitching in a half grin at her evident surprise. “At least that’s what I’ve been told.”

“Loss is a part of living. You can’t get away from it.”

“Living is what humans do. We exist.”

“And you exist quite well.” Cici’s glance flickered around the room, taking in the show of wealth on display.

“Yes, I do, and I’m not going to apologize for it. I served my country for many years, saw horrible things and did horrible things, as you did.” He gestured around the room with his hand, his expression unapologetically proud. “Aura Mortis Security is successful and I’m enjoying myself immensely. The benefits of immortality suit me. It’s like AARP but without having to join anything.”

“We’re off topic.” She corralled her thoughts and tamped down her irritation with Deacon and his narrow-minded opinions. She needed his help and the sooner she got him to agree the sooner he would discover the truth. “I need your help. Some of my clients are dead and I think it has something to do with my business.”

“Are the cops looking at you for the four deaths?” Deacon asked.

“How did you know there were four?” Cici was shocked, creeped out, and a little impressed by his knowledge. She’d just found out about the third and fourth deaths this morning.

Deacon shrugged and leaned back in his chair, completely unconcerned with whatever shady thing he’d had to do to get information that wasn’t even released to the public yet. “You call me up and demand to get on my calendar after seventy years of radio silence, and I do my homework.”

“The cops came by this morning and talked to me about them. I get the feeling they think I was involved.” She made eye contact with both men to emphasize her point. “I’m not. I didn’t kill anybody.”

“But you have in the past and the cops know it,” Deacon said.

“That was different. It was war.”

“To the human side of the force, they don’t always see the difference when it comes to our kind.”

Damn. She knew he was right. She could practically feel the pointy ends of the pitchforks the police were sharpening just for her. The urge to run was almost impossible to overcome. Fight or flight. The instinct only became more powerful when you turned into a vampire—immortality shifted to a craving once you’d tasted it.

“All I know is that four of my clients, friends, are dead and I need to find out who did it before I lose everything. My business. My life.” Cici stopped pacing at the edge of his desk and captured Deacon’s gaze with her own. “I need your help. I’ll pay whatever…”

“Your money is no good here.” He held a hand up to stop her from continuing as he rose from his chair and stalked over to stand in front of her. He was close, so close that only their shared memories could slide in between them.

“But I want to hire you. I don’t know who else—” He was crowding her, making his point with his body as well as his words, but she didn’t understand the statement he was making. She was normally a savvy woman, a vampire who could read people like Times Square neon, but Deacon had always whacked out her radar and left her adrift. She hated it and loved it, which only led to her confusion. Luckily, he was going to spell it out for her.

“I want you.”

“I don’t understand,” she whispered. But, holy shit, she did. She understood with every ounce of vampire in her body and responded to his words with every atom of female. It scared the hell out of her.

“Yes, you do.” He moved even closer, his broad, hard chest pressing against hers, crowding out any doubt of his meaning. Subtlety was never his gift. “I’ll help you, but we can’t keep playing these games with each other.”

“Meaning?”

“Meaning we’ve danced around the issue of ‘us’ for about two hundred years too long. While we work together, I want us to explore each other. Up close and personal. In bed. That would be more than adequate payment.”

“And if I don’t agree?”

“I’ll help you. Free of charge. But I’ll probably be an a**hole.” He shrugged. “Blue balls make me cranky.”

“Jesus,” Andy murmured from his chair.

She dug deep, dragging up her indignation at his bold, illicit proposition, finding that outrage was harder than she would ever admit to him or anyone. But she couldn’t deny it to herself that she’d dreamed of being in his bed. Finally laying to rest the simmering lust that had remained uncharted territory for them would be good. Who was she kidding? It would be epic.

“You’re an arrogant, conceited, overbearing egomaniac.”

“Yeah, but I don’t hear you calling me wrong.” His touch, one finger trailing along the inside of her wrist, was enough to make her sag a little in the knees, but she kept her gaze fixed on his own, which allowed her to see the blaze of topaz there. He wasn’t holding anything back.

“We’ve spent over two centuries avoiding this topic and you bring it up now?” she asked.

“We both knew we’d have to deal with it sometime.”

“Your timing is mercenary.”

He leaned down, a lock of his hair sliding against the skin of her cheek, making her shiver with heat. “I thought we might give in during that one mission in France. Close quarters. Long nights with nothing else to do.” He shook his head. “But you are very stubborn.” He flashed a bit of fang and she closed her eyes and fought the urge to let her own descend. “I think it’s time. I promise you it will be good.”

“I’d rather pay you.”

“Liar.” He laughed, a dark, rough chuckle that caused her belly to tighten as heat pooled even lower in her sex.

She was no liar.

“Fine. You’re right. I’m curious about what it would be like. What we would be like. Together.”

This was a seriously screwed-up situation. Her friends were dead. Her beloved business was in trouble, and her life was in jeopardy. She was not a vampire or a woman to run from a challenge, and she wasn’t foolish enough to ignore the pros and cons of what was on offer. Deacon could fix this; she knew it as a universal truth. She wanted him, had always wanted him, —even when he didn’t want her. This could be a win-win or a total disaster. She just needed a way to make sure the outcome would be firmly in the win column for her.

“Fine, with one more condition.”

He raised an eyebrow, a habit she both loved and hated with a passion. “I’m feeling generous today. What else can I do for you?”

“Find my Maker.”

“What?” Deacon took a step back, really just a slight shift that allowed a sliver of space between them.

If he’d had any blood in his system, it would have drained all color from his face. Usually so confident and unwavering, the one word stumbled out of his mouth, almost a stutter. It was hard to catch him off guard, and the fact that she’d done it caused a frisson of alarm to prickle along her nerve endings, giving her an electric shiver from the inside out. Was this somewhere she really wanted to tread? She remembered all the years since her Turning with no Maker to claim her. Being unclaimed with their kind was a stigma, a liability. Cici wanted answers, and a night in Deacon’s bed was a small price to pay for them.

“My Maker. You know how important it is with our kind to know who it is. The a**hole left me to fend for myself.”

“You had Tilly. The witch took good care of you from what I recall.”

“And thank God for her.” She reached up and poked him in the chest with a long nail to emphasize her point. “A witch is no substitute for the training and care of your Maker.”

“What if he or she had a good reason?”

“I’ll make that call when I hear it from his or her lips.” Cici stood taller, confident in her decision to come here, assured that Deacon would be able to meet all of her demands. He always kept his word. “So, do we have a deal?’

“I find out who killed your clients.”

“And you find my Maker.”

Deacon stepped forward, his head dipping down, hair falling forward to create an intimacy that should have been impossible in an office, in the middle of the day, with a spectator not two feet away. He reached out with a finger and tipped up her chin, barely grazing her lips with his own. Cici pulled back a little, needing to see his eyes when they signed this pact.

“And you will come to my bed.”

She hesitated, her entire being screaming for her to make this deal with the devil. Deacon had made it clear that he would still help her and he’d agreed to find her Maker. To add orgasms to the pot was almost overkill, but she was in the mood to be decadent. She could finally scratch this itch and move on.

“Yes.”

“Then we have a deal.” His final word was felt more than heard as he took her mouth. His tongue, wet and possessive, swept inside hers and took what he wanted. She gave it to him, unwilling to renege on her own part in this crazy bargain and also needing to taste and indulge. They swayed together, joined only in their carnal kiss, bodies straining to get closer and stay away at the same time.

They broke apart, chests heaving with exertion if not breath, Deacon groaning deeply as he stepped back, eyes now lit with a jewel like fire. Cici placed a shaking hand against her lips, the flesh tingling with their swollen plumpness.

“Don’t let me down, Deacon,” she whispered. Her non-beating heart jumped in her chest at the longing surging through her.

“You have my word.”

She wasn’t sure if that was a promise or a threat.

Chapter Two

“You’re an a**hole.”

Deacon settled back in his leather chair. Head thrown back, eyes closed, he waited for the indignant ass-chewing that was coming. Cici had barely exited the office before Andy turned furious eyes on him and issued a low growl that usually precipitated a shift into something big with lots of teeth and fur.

“Deacon. Did you hear me?” Andy’s voice got louder as he walked nearer. Never one to yell, his friend got in close when he wanted to make a point, and from the way he sounded Deacon knew he’d open his eyes and find him perched on the side of the desk looking down with disapproval. “You know you were an a**hole, right? You didn’t actually think propositioning a client for sex was okay, did you?”

“Cici is a big girl. She would have told me to go to hell if that was what she wanted.” He shifted in his seat, biting back a chuckle as he remembered just how clear Cici could be with her opinions when she wanted to be. Those were some of his favorite memories. “God knows she’s done it before.”

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