Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bad Blood First Look

To Kill a Vampire

The music hit me like a scream in the face.
I could probably thank the solidarity and order of boot camp for the sudden culture shock I experienced walking into a loud room packed with teenage and twenty-something civilians.
It seemed like ages ago that I’d been around boys my own age.
Couples grinded against each other in the living room. Just about everyone held a drink of some sort in a bottle or plastic red cup. No one greeted or noticed me. No one except a jock in a football jersey leaning against the banister, sipping beer and checking out my bare legs.
“Hey, babe. My name’s Cody.”
I took two careful steps toward him.
“Have you seen Jeremy?”
There was no time for small talk, and I certainly didn’t have time to go on a scavenger hunt of Find the Vampire.
“Over there by the keg,” the guy said, sticking his chin out.
Following the direction of his eyes, I spotted Jeremy, a perfect match from the photos, standing with an arm hanging over a girl in white denim and a spaghetti strap tank top.
With steady steps, I walked over without stumbling. Looming deadlines could do that.
“Chug! Chug! Chug!” Jeremy’s group chanted at a guy in a prison-orange polo guzzling beer from a bong held over his head.
Maybe I’d skip the parties when I started college at the University of Alaska Anchorage. This really wasn’t my scene.
“Hello, Jeremy,” I called out flirtatiously.
One of the boys issued a catcall.
“Uh-oh, Jeremy,” another said, looking me up and down. “Who’s this?”
Jeremy smirked, obviously getting an ego boost out of the attention.
He removed his arm from the girl. She glared venom at me, but didn’t say a word. She looked cute, but her tight jeans and strappy sandals were no match for my mini skirt and stilettos. She ought to be thanking me for stepping in and saving her skinny hide.
“Can I talk to you upstairs?” I asked.
Jeremy folded his arms across his chest. When he looked at me, it wasn’t as a boy ogling a girl, but a predator eying his prey.
He didn’t like games. Well, neither did I.
“What makes you think I’m interested in talking?” he asked.
“What makes you think I’m interested in listening?” I returned in a saucy voice.
That earned Jeremy a slap on the shoulder, but while the guys around us chuckled, Jeremy assessed me with narrow eyes. He glanced at the girl who’d been under his arm seconds ago. She’d stuck around despite my interruption.
Maybe he didn’t like a woman with lip.

Panic gripped my heart. For the first time since entering the house, my legs threatened to wobble.
Jeremy smiled slowly. “I’ll be right back. You,” he said, addressing my breasts, “come with me.”
Was it that hard to get a vamp to escort a half-naked, willing victim to a private room? Jeremy certainly took his sweet time leading me across the living room.
He didn’t bother walking beside or anywhere near me, nor did he look back. If I weren’t about to kill him, I might have experienced a moment of outrage.
“Yo, Jer. How’s it going?” a guy with a shaved head called out as we passed.
“Billy boy! What’s up?”
Seriously? Tick, tock. Got a schedule to follow.
The guys fist-bumped and proceeded to make chitchat, ignoring my presence behind them completely.
The back of Jeremy’s neck called out from two feet away. I was tempted to strangle him on the spot.
Reaching forward, I gave his ass a nice firm pat, instead. It was a risk, one that grabbed Jeremy’s attention. He turned and grinned at me, finally beginning to look excited.
Jeremy placed an open palmed hand on his friend’s shoulder and said, “Good seeing you, man. Enjoy the party.” To me he said, “Let’s go.”
Jeremy returned greetings three more times on the way to the staircase, but he didn’t make any more stops. Walking over carpet in stilettos was about as reassuring as sand. The banister would have been helpful, but my nearest hand gripped the phone cord meant for Jeremy’s neck. I didn’t want to bring attention to the thing by switching it from one palm to the other, so I sucked it up and made it up the stairs, to the landing on the second floor without face-planting.
Jeremy led me down a hallway. We passed a closed door that barely blocked the sound of squeaking springs, screams, and a headboard banging against a wall. House party meets underage bar meets brothel. Charming.

At the end of the hall, Jeremy opened a door and motioned me inside.
Unlike the stairs and hallway, the room had a hardwood floor. Maybe “Jer” didn’t fancy getting blood on his carpet. My oh-so-charming host closed and locked the door behind me. The space was roomy—though not lacking in furniture—including a full-sized oval mirror framed in wood and attached to a moveable stand.
It was hard to keep a straight face when a vampire owned the biggest free-standing mirror I’d ever seen. My lips twitched as I fought back the smile.
I caught my expression in the mirror and sobered up. I had to get down to business, and I had to do it now.
Thick black curtains covered the windows. A sick sense of déjà vu came over me. The last time I worked alone was when Dante left me with Ivo and Patrick during my first mission in Fairbanks. I’d gone off to Ivo’s bedroom, and I’d killed him, but not before he tossed me around and bruised me up.
I could pass on the pre-kill beating. Jeremy needed to suck my blood so I could end his life without a struggle.
Speaking of the undead devil… I turned in time to catch Jeremy’s sleazy smile. Guess he wasn’t immune to my feminine charms after all.
“Who told you about me?”
He could only mean one thing by that. He’d made the correct assumption that I knew what he was.
“A friend,” I answered.
Jeremy smirked. Apparently that was good enough for him.
“I’ll suck you if you suck me.” He looked down at his crotch.
My nose wrinkled. God, I missed Marcus’ parties.
I inched toward him and bent my head to one side. “You first.”
Jeremy made no movement toward me. I tried not to tap my stiletto heel on the hard floor.
“My house. My rules. Get on your knees.”
Giving up all pretense of flirting, I full-on glared at the jerk. Guess things were going to have to get rough. But first, the stilettos had to go. I kicked them off. Not only did it give me better footing, but the action distracted Jeremy. He smiled slightly. Maybe he thought I was getting more comfortable before kneeling on the floor.
In his undead dreams.
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