Good, the Bad, and the VampireBy: Sara Humphreys
“That your present for little Emily?” he asked. “You wrapped it real nice.”
He got closer by the second.
“No.” Trixie snorted. “I just like carrying around a gift-wrapped box for the hell of it. You know, for shits and giggles.”
She was being a snot, but she couldn’t help herself.
Trixie kept her gaze pinned to the mammoth mahogany door at the end of the hallway and tried not to notice that he’d sidled up next to her, his stride matching hers.
Dakota Shelton—the newest sentry for the Presidium, the vampire government—was not an easy man to ignore.
His six-foot, two-inch broad-shouldered frame towered over her easily, but there was something else about him that set her on edge. It was the way he carried himself. He moved effortlessly and casually, as if he was just the good old boy from Texas he claimed to be.
But Trixie knew better.
He was a sentry, a member of the elite vampire police force, and he was anything but good. Beneath that easy breezy charm lurked an executioner who could kill her, and anyone else nearby, in the blink of an eye. Dakota was deadly, stealthy, and full of swagger—and that was probably why she found him undeniably attractive.
She never could steer clear of dangerous men.
If Trixie La Roux had one talent in this shitty, crazy world, it was picking the wrong guy. As a human, her poor choices in men had constantly gotten her into trouble. When Olivia had found her in the abandoned subway tunnels of Manhattan, Trixie had just had her heart stomped on by yet another guy. He’d betrayed her and tossed her aside like she was nothing.
They did and said anything to get what they wanted.
They made promises that were never kept.
In the end she was always alone.
She was powerless…until she became a vampire.
Once Trixie was turned, she slipped easily into the strength and independence that came with immortality. Being a vamp was clear and uncomplicated. There was no guesswork about how to navigate the world, and better yet, there was no addiction. She had finally been freed from the drugs that had kept her prisoner as a human.
She refused to be addicted to anyone or anything ever again.
“So what’s in the box, darlin’?” He inched closer. “I bet it’s real nice.”
“Quit calling me that, would ya?”
“Why?” His grin broadened. “What would you prefer? Sweetie pie? Honeybee? Or maybe sugar?”
“As if!” Trixie snorted with a laugh. In spite of how sexist it was to call her or any woman by pet names, she found herself surprisingly amused. “How about if you try using my name? Like, I totally have one, thank you very much. Jeez, get with the program, cowboy. Don’t you know that it’s chauvinistic to refer to a woman by names like that?”
“Come on now.” He sighed. “I’m just bein’ my normal self is all, Miss Trixie.”
“Not Miss Trixie,” she said with waning patience. “Trixie. Okay? Like, just plain old Trixie.”
“Girl,” he said through a laugh, “you are anythin’ but plain.”
“And you are anything but normal.” She chuckled and sent a sidelong glance in his direction. “Sally.”
“Why are you always lookin’ to pick a fight with me?” Dakota asked, stopping in front of the czars’ apartment door. “Were you this feisty as a human?”
“I guess you’ll never know.” Trixie stuck her tongue out at him. “I’m all vampire and being feisty is totally my thing, man.”
“Damn, woman. If you ask me, Olivia should train you as a sentry and put some of that fire in your belly to work. Maybe we could get you out there and kickin’ a little ass. Y’know…let you blow off a little steam.”
Trixie had been about to knock on the door. Her fist stopped an inch from the mahogany surface, and irritation mixed with anxiety flickered up her spine. She dropped her hand to her side and turned slowly toward the man who was quickly becoming a total pain in the butt.
“Is that so?” she asked in a deceptively sweet voice. “You think I should kick some ass?”
He shifted his body so they were now toe to toe. Trixie’s gut instinct was to step back and increase the distance between them, because getting too close to him was dangerous—for many reasons. But she held her ground even though it went against her better judgment.
Backing down wasn’t her style, at least until she met this guy. He made her want to run to him and run away from him at the same time. It was more than a little confusing.
Dakota’s arms hung at his sides, and even though they were always hidden beneath his long leather sentry coat, she had a hunch they were thick and well defined. His pale blue eyes, which sometimes glinted almost silver, crinkled at the corners as a grin curved his firm-looking lips. He leaned closer and his scent, a mixture of sandalwood and leather, filled the air around them.
In spite of the warning bells that went off in her head, the heat of desire pooled in her belly.
But beneath the thick scent of lust lay the pungent aroma of silver from the heavy arsenal hidden within his coat. The reminder of who he really was broke the spell.