Good, the Bad, and the VampireBy: Sara Humphreys
All of her senses went on high alert, and as the headlights vanished in the distance, Trixie dropped soundlessly to the ground. Standing in a battle-ready position, her feet firmly planted on the needle-covered surface and her hands curled into fists at her side, she scanned the area for her unwelcome visitor. A gust of November wind whisked over her, rustling the fallen leaves on the ground. With it came the all-too-familiar scent of sandalwood, cinnamon, and leather.
A potent rush of arousal and anticipation fired through her, a feeling she had all but forgotten until a certain vampire cowboy came to the city two years ago and turned her world on its ear. She’d been turned on since becoming a vamp but not like this, not in such an uncontrolled way. Trixie had always been the one to seek out sex as a way to scratch an itch but this was different.
This time the itch was hunting her.
“I know you’re here, Dakota,” she said in a singsong voice. He might make her feel all kinds of out of sorts, but that didn’t mean she had to let him know that.
Trixie stood taller. Shane had been training her to fight and she’d discovered she had a knack for it. In fact, she enjoyed practicing so much that she’d installed a kickboxing stand in her apartment and spent several afternoons beating the crap out of it.
Learning how to defend herself and her coven was empowering and cathartic.
Her fighting skills might come in handy now, especially if old blue eyes tried to get too friendly. Wound tight with a mixture of lust and anxiety and—she hated to admit it—a healthy amount of curiosity, she scanned the moonlit forest.
He was out there…watching.
“You know,” she shouted, “for a sentry, you kind of suck at sneaking up on people! What’s your deal, man? Did you come out here to take me up on my offer to kick your ass?”
An owl hooted in the distance and a fat raccoon waddled by quickly. Tension filled the air, and just when she thought she would scream with frustration, a tall broad-shouldered figure stepped out of the moonlit shadows of a neighboring tree. He slipped his hands in the pockets of his long leather sentry coat and leaned casually against the massive pine. Cocky as ever, he winked at her and acted like it was no big deal that he had been following her.
“Hello, darlin’,” he drawled in that I’m-just-a-good-old-boy tone. “You only noticed me here because I let you. I kept my distance until the humans left.”
“What are you doing out here?” Trixie demanded. She strode toward him, hands on her hips, but stopped about two feet away. Best to keep some space between them. Like it or not, he was now a part of her coven. Sort of. Flirting was one thing, but if he actually did make a move, rejecting him would make things super awkward between them. “Seriously. Why are you following me?”
“Curiosity got the better of me. You’ve been runnin’ off every other Sunday night for the past couple months and not tellin’ anybody where you’re gettin’ off to.” He pushed himself off the tree and fished one of those damn lollipops out of his pocket before popping it in his mouth. “Not only that. Suzie said I should.”
“Oh really?” Trixie folded her arms over her breasts and cocked her head. “I call bullshit on that, smart guy. Suzie barely speaks to me, her coven mate, let alone you, a newcomer.”
“Well, she did speak to me and I ain’t that new.” A touch of irritation edged his voice and for a second he looked almost wounded. “In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been here for two years.”
“Whatever,” she said as casually as possible. She had noticed. A lot. “That’s new as far as vampires are concerned.”
“True.” He took a step closer and she held her ground. “Suzie said you might be gettin’ yourself into trouble and that I should check on you. I was thinkin’ you found a prime huntin’ ground that was out of the way of the city, where your hunts wouldn’t be noticed. Is that what this is?”
He inched nearer and his voice dropped low. He dragged the little white stick from his lips and pointed it at her. “You casin’ out this house and the humans who live here for a feedin’ frenzy? If so, how about lettin’ me in on it? I haven’t had a live feed in a long while.”
Live feeds, while not illegal, were strongly discouraged because they could lead to unwanted complications. Even though she missed the buzz that came with feeding from a human, Trixie didn’t miss getting the blood memories.
She hadn’t fed off a living, breathing human in over a year, and the idea of anyone feeding off Chelsea was downright revolting.
“You won’t touch her,” Trixie hissed. She bared her fangs, grabbed the lapels of his coat, and shoved at him. He didn’t move. She might be a vampire with the strength of twenty men but Dakota was bigger, older, and stronger. “She is not prey for me, you, or anyone else. Do you understand me? I don’t want anyone in the community to know about her. Chelsea is off-limits,” she said, seething. “And if you know what’s good for you, you won’t come here again.”