Home > Sex and the Single Vamp(7)

Sex and the Single Vamp(7)
Author: Robin Covington

He didn’t hesitate. If Cici wanted it, it was done.

“I promise.”

She released him, stepping away and turning so he couldn’t see her face. He let her have the moment, watching as her shoulders relaxed a little as she calmed her emotions. Their kind was passionate—quickly riled and just as quickly brought down—but the fury, the emotion, lingered in their blood and was never forgotten. The vampire part of her was pissed and the murderer should be wishing that Deacon got to him first.

Deacon scanned other reports, photographs, and compared them to the scene. Andy was expertly feeding the information into the right folders to make sure he was one step ahead of the police. A pop-up text from Andy caught his attention and he cursed when he read the contents.

“What?” Cici turned, her emotions under control once again.

“We’ve got to get moving.” He thumbed through the last of the message and slid the phone in his pocket. “The cops took the bait and are processing the paperwork to bring you in for questioning.”

“Jesus. Why don’t they just arrest me?” She followed him out of the room, keeping close on his heels as they exited the house the way they came. He glanced up and down the street, remaining in the shadows of the porch while he listened to the sounds in the night air.

No tail. Not even a cop on duty to watch the house. Dumbasses. If this were his case, he’d have two men watching this house 24-7. For once he was glad they were being sloppy.

“You’ve got an alibi for the first murders since you were being interviewed on TV and the judge is skittish to arrest a media darling like you with such a big hole in the story,” he said.

“Thank God for Entertainment Nightly.”

“Don’t send them a thank-you basket. Please.” He slid into the driver’s seat, started the engine, and eased out onto the street. They remained quiet for a few moments while he made sure they weren’t followed before he relaxed back against his seat, navigating the light traffic on the roads at this hour. “Actually, you need to thank the moron who thought the department should be divided into two sides, one for the humans and one for Others.”

“Why should I thank him?”

“When cases involve human and Other victims, they spend more time jockeying for position than solving the crime. This case is moving at the speed of sludge due to the bickering. We’ve got time.”

“Is that why you left the force?”

He jumped on I-495 North and headed toward Cici’s house, the traffic picking up on the highway. Concentrating on the other drivers kept him from launching into a diatribe on what he now hated about the job he’d loved for so long. If he hadn’t opened Aura Mortis, he would have been really lost. The job was all he had for so long and the loss had been much harder than he expected.

“When the pissing contests between the sides became more important than solving the crime, I had to leave.”

“I’m sure you were missed when you left.” He glanced over in the gloom at her face, only catching glimpses when the oncoming headlights flashed into his truck. She met his gaze for two beats and then reached across the console to squeeze his thigh. “Or not.”

Deacon stared out at the road. He’d never spoken to anyone about how much it had hurt to be turned on by his brothers when they found out what he was. Men he’d sworn to take a bullet for rejected him because he didn’t have a heartbeat. Friends who’d had him over to their houses for barbecues were suddenly afraid to let him near their children.

Brothers. Partners. Men he no longer trusted to have his back. One more point in his book against Others and humans trying to mesh their worlds. It never worked out.

Cici squeezed his thigh once more, communicating that she got it. He didn’t know how, but she understood. He lowered his hand to cover hers, not pulling away when she threaded her fingers with his.

“Or not,” he said.

They rode in silence until they reached her house and he pulled around back along the alley, stopping at her back door. He cut the engine and exited the truck, scanning the area for unwanted visitors before heading to her door and opening it for her to leap out.

“So what’s next?” Cici asked.

“I have a source I want to talk to. If anyone has a lead on the scum of the earth, he’ll know.”

She laughed. “Is this source a friend of yours?”

He thought about that. His interaction with Antonio was a strange one from the beginning so many years ago. Sometimes they were allies, friends, and other times…they weren’t.

“Sometimes.”

“So what is he today?”

“A business partner.”

“Got it.” Her expression said she didn’t but he let it go, enjoying the sexy little way she squinted and tugged on her bottom lip with her teeth when she was figuring something out for herself. Cici turned to head up the stairs to her back door, her keys jangling loudly in the quiet of the evening.

“You need to change.” Deacon watched her ass sway in front of him at eye level, just realizing how good this part of the night’s activities was going to be for him. “Something sexy. Tight. Suitable for clubbing.”

“Clubbing?’

“We’re going to Sanctuary.”

“What?” She spun to stare down at him. “I’m not going to that place.”

“Yes, you are. I need to talk to Antonio, and if you’re with me you’re not getting arrested by the cops.”

“That place is…” Her entire expression twisted as if someone had left the lid off the nearby trash Dumpster. “That place is disgusting.”

“I’m sorry. Who died and made you judge? For someone who’s all about Others and humans having a choice, you’re really narrow-minded about what their options are.”

“That’s not true.”

“Really?” He advanced on her, moving up the stairs until he stood on the same step. Deacon knew he loomed over her and should probably back off, but if she was going to spout off bullshit then she was going to have to deal with him being a jerk. “You say everyone should have a choice and for some people that’s having more than one person, sometimes at the same time. That’s okay. As long as they are honest with each other, up-front and consenting, there should be no limits imposed by some third party.”

“That place encourages that behavior, people using other people.”

“Nobody gets used unless they want it.” He reined in his temper, knowing he wouldn’t change her mind. They didn’t have all the time in the world. “Your moral indignation on behalf of people you don’t even know is duly noted. Now get your ass in gear and get changed.”

“But you need an invite to get in there.”

“I don’t.” Deacon reached up and took her keys out of her hand, unlocking her door. At this rate, Sanctuary would be closed before they got out of her apartment. Even vampires didn’t stay up all night.

“Really?” She planted her hand on her hip, belligerent challenge reverberating through every muscle of her body. “Why don’t you need an invitation?”

Damn, he knew there was real danger out there and he had no business enjoying this time with Cici. He’d missed her. Missed her pit bull determination and crazy-ass bravery when the odds were really shitty. And he loved moments like this when he knew he was going to blow her f**king mind.

“Because I own it.”

Chapter Six

Sanctuary was no sanctuary.

Not in the true sense of being a place of safety and peace. It was a cavern of shadows, driving beats that vibrated in the blood of the crowd, an inferno where no one was safe from the flames of lust that warmed, singed, and consumed.

The club had been conceived over a drunken weekend in Italy. Antonio Di Pietro was bored, Deacon was feeling indulgent, and they both had money to throw away. The concept had been easy–they both loved sex and booze and the combination almost guaranteed some measure of success.

Antonio had designed the interior, layering in the seven deadly sins as an artist would use shades of color to entice, seduce, and enthrall a viewer. He wanted their guests to forget the world outside the club’s doors and fully become their souls’ darkest desires. He presided over each evening’s festivities like the king of the underworld from a booth on the far side of the room.

Deacon was content to be a silent partner.

The moment Deacon entered with Cici, Antonio’s dark eyes swiveled to meet his own while he continued to listen to his pretty companion. He still looked every inch of his Italian ancestors—dark, dangerous, and mysterious. Deacon and Antonio were nearly identical in temperament. But where Antonio still openly and unabashedly reveled in the darkest of acts, Deacon purposefully curbed that side of his nature, because he knew just how far down into the darkness he could go and how much he loved it. There had been spans of time in his life when he’d gorged himself on excess—blood, sex, violence—fueled by a madness born of self-hatred and heartbreak, but he walked the straight and somewhat narrow road these days. And that was why his visits to Sanctuary were few and far between.

Deacon made his way through the crowd, clutching the still-seething Cici’s stiff hand tightly; the crowd parted ahead of him, mostly younger vampires identified easily by their tendency to show rather than grow their fangs. They sensed his age and gave him a wide berth. Most knew him, or more importantly knew of him, and that would protect Cici from any a**hole who thought he might try something with the newbie.

The bouncers at Sanctuary kept the biggest trouble at bay, but in a place where two consenting adults could get up to anything they wanted in the dark recesses of the club, you couldn’t be too careful.

“Deacon.” Antonio nodded at him, turning quickly to smile at Cici. “Ms. Trent, I’m glad to finally see you here.”

Cici wrenched her hand out of his and stepped a pace away, her glossy red curls catching the lowlights in the room. She was gorgeous, even more so because of the anger wafting off her like a sweet perfume. “You couldn’t have really expected me to come here.”

“No, I didn’t,” Antonio said, his smile showing both fangs. “Although I hoped.”

“You never sent me an invitation.”

“Yes. Well, that was because Deacon wouldn’t let me.”

“Fuck no, I wouldn’t.” Deacon reached over and wrapped a possessive arm around Cici, letting everyone know whom they’d be messing with if they even looked at her sideways. “Not to this place.”

“And what exactly is wrong with this place?” Antonio shook his head, gesturing to the masses of bodies around them and they all turned to observe the spectacle—vampires, a few Others, and enough humans to make it sordid. This wasn’t a sex club, but people came here for specific reasons and it wasn’t to sip tea and make small talk over a round of bridge. Humans came to feed off the excitement they thought existed in the Other world, and the vampires came ready to fulfill human fantasy and nourish themselves at the same time. They’d been accused of filtering a sex pheromone through the ventilation system, but this was all crowd-induced, each person’s deepest desires feeding off the other until nobody could resist the pull.

Sex, edged with danger, was always part of the blood play equation and he’d wanted to keep Cici far away from all of it. He didn’t fool himself that she was an innocent, but he couldn’t have borne the idea that she was here indulging in all that frenetic, contrived intimacy with one of the faceless masses.

“Is that true? You wouldn’t let him invite me?” Cici asked in a low voice.

“That’s right,” he said, refusing to budge an inch on this one. She could be as pissed as she wanted. The only way she was getting in here was with him, like tonight. She’d blow a gasket if she got a look at his private files and realized just how close an eye he’d kept on her over the years. He’d promised her father and he took his promises seriously.

Her eyes narrowed and she opened her mouth, ready to chew his ass. “Deacon—”

“Holy shit! What are you doing here?”

Cici was wrenched away from him and engulfed in muscled arms by a large black man in jeans and a tight dark T-shirt. Cici automatically hugged the guy back, her delight erasing all the anger from her face. Deacon bit back his automatic reflex to tell the guy to keep his distance but watched the scene closely.

“Mya! You’re here?”

Deacon did a double take. Mya? He took a good, hard look at the man, still not seeing any trace of the blond-haired woman he’d met in Cici’s office hours earlier. The guy turned and winked at him and instantly he recognized the same knowing gleam in those dark eyes.

“Surprised, vampire?” Mya asked, a huge grin of white teeth splitting the mocha brown skin of the manly face with a substantial five-o’clock shadow.

“No matter how old I get, I’ll never get used to that,” he said.

“While you’re getting over your shock, I’m taking my girl dancing.” Mya grabbed Cici’s arm, halting when Deacon took a step forward to stop them. She shook her head and waved a hand over the expanse of long, huge body she now inhabited. “What? You think I can’t protect her in this form?”

He knew she could. Mya possessed the strength of an ancient fey no matter what form she was in. She’d take care of Cici while he pumped Antonio for info.

Mya smirked, not bothering to hide her “I told you so” expression. “Good choice. Besides, everyone in here knows she belongs to you. You made that perfectly clear.”

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