Friday, August 29, 2014

Here's a scene from "Be Careful What you Wish For" in LOVE BITES.

When Jim Decker walked into Bottoms Up that night, you could almost taste the testosterone. Or vamposterone. Or whatever.

Decker worked his way through the Saturday night crowd toward our table, attracted either by me or the opportunity to yank Beau Gabriel’s chain. The two had hated one another since Deck’s vampire slayer days; the fact that I’d since made him one of us hadn’t blunted the hostility. In fact, it had probably made it worse, because now they competed over me.

Beau had made me a vampire two memorable years ago. He’d read Shadowmaster, one of the string of vamp horror novels I’d written as Amanda Carlton, and decided I needed a bit more ... research. I hadn’t minded a bit. He’d seemed the cowboy embodiment of all my demon lover fantasies, like a cross between Dracula and a young Clint Eastwood, and I’d fallen for him hard.

I also found myself sharing his enemies, particularly Jim Decker, who in those days had been on a mission to avenge the sister he thought Beau had seduced and misused. Knowing Beau’s effect on women, it probably hadn’t taken much seduction, and no misuse had been involved. But big brothers need their illusions.

One night I’d been caught in the crossfire of one of their battles, and Decker ended up capturing me. To save myself from a staking, I’d tempted him into sex. Making him my blood lover had taught him we weren’t the undead murderers he’d believed, but in the process, I’d become a lot more emotionally involved with him than Beau liked.

But really, it was inevitable that I’d be attracted to Decker. He had far more going for him than AB negative, no matter what Beau thought. I enjoyed his intelligence and sense of honor and deep love of everything female, not to mention the fierce sensuality that made him such a glorious lover.

Besides, I’ve always had a thing for big men, and like Beau, Decker qualified. Six-foot-four and powerfully muscled, he had broad bull shoulders, narrow hips and the rippling musculature of a professional athlete. Even better, his was one of those sensual, hawkish faces that make women think of rough, fast, really good sex. Yet his lips looked like God had designed them for slow kisses in the moonlight.

Now, watching him saunter toward us on those long legs, I swallowed, remembering what it felt like to fist both hands in the black silk of his hair while he used that mouth to drive me mad.

As long as Deck had been merely human, Beau could tolerate the relationship by pretending the other man was nothing more to me than a blood supply. But when I’d decided to make him a vampire, Beau had been furious. So furious, I’d had no choice except to cool off the relationship with Deck or risk losing my demon lover.

As Decker stopped beside our table, his hot blue eyes swept over me in a hungry stare that spoke of longing and frustration. Today he wore a pair of beige slacks and a cream oxford cloth shirt, tie loosely knotted, with a dark brown trench coat that reminded me of a film noir detective. “Amanda,” he purred. His gaze flicked to Beau and cooled. “Gabriel.”

Of the two men, Decker looked more like a vampire with those dark, European good looks, while Beau was blond and all-American, with broad, high cheekbones, a narrow nose, and a flashing grin. One look at that face, and you pictured him taking his best girl to a square dance. Which wasn’t that far off, except that afterward he’d bend her over the trunk of his T-Bird and fuck her to a screaming orgasm, burying his fangs in her throat just as she came.

God knew he’d done it to me often enough.

“Deck,” Beau drawled, a chilly smile stretching over that Sundance Kid face. With one forefinger, he pushed up the brim of his black Stetson. “Screw any werewolves lately?”

Ignoring that sally, Decker lifted a brow at him, pointedly scanning his black Levis and western shirt. “The Urban Cowboy thing went out thirty years ago. Or hadn’t you noticed?”

“Hell, after the first century or so, all the decades blur together.” Beau crossed his cowboy booted ankles and laced his big hands on his flat, muscled belly. “Anyway, urban I ain’t.”

Ah, no. Beau had actually been a cowboy, back 120 years ago. At least until he met a certain vampire dance hall girl who decided he looked tasty.

Decker opened his mouth, but before he could get down to some serious slander, a female voice interrupted.

“Oh, Jim! Thank God!” A pretty brunette shot through the bar’s front door and across the length of the room to fling herself into Decker’s arms. He caught her, and I felt a wave of jealousy at his utter lack of reluctance to find his hands full of over-enthusiastic bimbo.

Then I made out what she was babbling and felt a little more sympathetic.

“God, Decker, don’t let him do it to me again!” she gasped, her voice soggy with threatening tears as she clung to his big body like Spanish moss draping an oak. “I couldn’t stand going through that again – and not being able to break the spell...! Oh, please! You’ve got to help me!”

He stroked a hand through her hair as she quivered. “Calm down, Lynn. What’s going on?”

“It’s Jeffrey!” Lynn wailed. “He said if I don’t go to his house and agree to – he said he’s going to turn me back into a werewolf. Permanently!”

Well, that stopped conversation for a radius of about thirty feet. In the ensuing dead silence, I eyed the sobbing girl’s back. “Maybe we should go somewhere else and discuss this.”

“Oh, yeah, let’s,” murmured Beau. “My curiosity is killing me.”

So we all trooped out of the bar and around the corner out into the parking lot. The other customers stared at us avidly as we left. Beau wasn’t the only one dying to know what was going on.

I already knew part of the story. Right after Decker had become a vampire, he’d picked Lynn up in a bar, planning to fuck her brains out and sip a pint or so she’d never miss. But she had an even bigger surprise in store for him; as the full moon rose, she’d turned into a werewolf and pounced on him.

Deck, naturally enough, thought she was trying to kill him, and the result was a nasty little brawl. Eventually she managed to communicate that all she wanted was some of his bodily fluids; she’d been cursed by a wizard, and the only way to break the spell was find a man to make love to her while she was in werewolf form. He’d happily cooperated, and Lynn no longer had to dread moon rise.

Only now it seemed the wizard in question wasn’t happy. And that could be a problem, because Jeffrey Copperstone wasn’t the kind of man a wise woman wanted to piss off. He’d cursed Lynn in the first place because she wouldn’t put out after he’d met her through a computer dating service. Now he was evidently at it again.

Some guys just don’t know how to take no for an answer.

Out in the parking lot, we listened as she blurted out the new twist on her tale. Copperstone had been furious when he’d discovered Decker had broken the spell, but she’d made herself so scarce he’d been unable to retaliate. She’d even quit her job and moved to another city. But he’d eventually tracked her down anyway and started harassing and stalking her again. Yesterday he’d given her an ultimatum; return to Atlanta and present herself at his house the next evening prepared to give him what he wanted, or become permanently fuzzy. Fearing what the psychotic bastard would do to her one way or another, Lynn had wisely decided to hit all Decker’s favorite haunts in hopes he could save her again.

While she quavered her way through her story, I kept an eye on Decker’s face. He’d always had a chivalric streak, and I wasn’t surprised to see that Copperstone’s behavior royally pissed him off. His blue eyes began to spark and burn with vampire fire, and his fangs lengthened, all signs of one of us on a tear.

“Go on home, Lynn,” he told her, as she burst into tears at the end of her story. “I’ll take care of it.”

“But he’s a really powerful wizard, Jim! What if he does something to you?” She sniffed. I dragged a tissue out of my purse and handed it to her. She took it with watery thanks and blew her nose. “Maybe ... Maybe I should just give him what he wants. Maybe he’ll be satisfied if I just....”

“Guys like that are never satisfied,” I told her. “If he’s this abusive now, what’s he going to be like later?”

“Do what Decker says, Lynn,” Beau said. “We’ll take care of him.”

At first I was a little surprised that he’d offer to help Decker out with anything, but on second thought, I should have expected it. Fangs notwithstanding, Beau had a very old-fashioned sense of the proper treatment of women, so it was only natural that he wanted to give Copperstone a badly needed lesson in manners.

Decker, oddly enough, didn’t protest. He just gave us a grin that glittered in the moonlight. “Looks like we’re off to see the wizard.”

Beau’s return grin looked more like a wolf’s bared fangs. “To rip out his fucking throat.”

If you'd like to buy LOVE BITES for Kindle, you'll find it here. There's also a paperback version.

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