Tara Torolf, a curvy forty-something vampire slayer, meets a man she can’t resist while dropping off a newly turned immortal to a council safe house. Her sardonic sense of humor can’t get over her usual luck when she discovers the sexy vampire is determined to kill himself before he turns rogue. Unfortunately, everyone knows a vampire's mate is always an inter-dimensional guide—which is something she is not, so any possibility of a long-term relationship is out of the question—but a fling might just pull the tall, dark and handsome vampire out of his funk for a little while.
Gideon Molfetta is one of the oldest among his kind. He is also one of the most talented, though few know of the abilities he keeps hidden. Tired of the aching loneliness and fearing he is on the verge of turning rogue, he craves the solace of death—until he meets a curvy human destined to be his.
Tara soon gets her chance when the two of them are thrown together in an effort to keep Tara alive. Tara can think of worse things than having Gideon Molfetta as her bodyguard, if she can get over his annoying habit of speaking to her in a language she doesn’t understand. Can Gideon keep Tara safe from the demon after her, or will his greatest fear of losing his mate send him over the edge and into the darkness?
“So, as you can see,” I said, my hands still raised high above my head. “There’s really no reason to kill me.” Pausing, I peered through eerie silence at the man who still had the laser sight of his pistol trained on the base of my throat and sighed with relief.
“It’s about damned time.” The words came out almost a snarl.
Where did a common thug get such an expensive pistol? Dropping my arms, I rolled my aching shoulders forward and back, trying to release the tension from holding my hands up over my head for so long.
In the mood to be nasty, I had an incredible urge to kick the jerk in the crotch for preying on innocents the way he did. Instead, I stood glaring at him for a minute before I tossed the idea aside.
The guy stared off into space, his eyes unfocussed. Admittedly, it was the first time I had ever been proud of my dubious gift to talk someone into a mindless stupor. Still, it was better than killing the jerk.
The twenty-seven dollars in my wallet wasn’t worth dying—or killing—over. The man had no idea who he’d been dealing with. If the darkness was a thief’s best friend, then it was my lover. I could hide from the world in the daytime. At night, I could practically disappear.
I scurried away from the idiot, grabbing his gun before I left. I didn’t need it, but I didn’t want him descending on some unsuspecting mundane with it either. Since a mundane—also known as a person with no magical abilities—wouldn’t have any way to defend themselves like me, I figure it’s my duty to keep scum like that from preying on them if I can.
It was a good thing a cold front came down from Canada earlier in the morning and I had been wearing gloves. Leaving my prints on the gun was out of the question, since it was about to make an unannounced appearance at the nearest police station.
I moved quickly out of my mugger’s line of sight, unsure how long his stupor would last and whether or not he had another gun hidden on his filthy person. Buildings blurred by me as I ran through the dark streets looking for a cop.
Glancing back through the darkness, I frowned. I had lulled him into a stupor because I hadn’t wanted to hurt the jackass. I hadn’t accidentally killed anyone yet, and I certainly didn’t want to start any time soon.
I wouldn’t go as far as saying I’ve never taken a life. In fact, I take lives on a fairly regular basis. Then again, I’m a vampire hunter. Taking lives is kind of a prerequisite for the job. Not that I get a salary for it. Besides, killing a vampire wasn’t like killing a human, was it? I mean... they’re dead already. Right?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a raving psychotic and I don’t run around killing vampires willy-nilly. Nor do I dash about lopping off the heads of poor, unsuspecting blood drinkers who only do what they must to survive. I simply watch them, discover their habits and act accordingly. After all, if I skipped around town executing them all, regardless of their habits, I wouldn’t be any better than my vict... er... targets, would I?
Jogging through the darkness, I found the nearest police station, concentrated on confusing all of the mundanes’ perceptions, and dropped the gun on the front counter.
It was the only option available to me. A locked door and three inches of bulletproof glass stood between the nearest officer’s desk and me. Leaving it there would have to do.
Glad that I knew using my powers screwed with the operation of electrical equipment, I exited the station secure in the knowledge that no one would know who had left it there. The gun still held the mugger’s prints. If the man had a record and killed someone with it, the police would hunt him down and get him off the streets. That was how it worked in a perfect world, anyway.
After leaving the station, I decided to take it easy and catch my breath. Looking up at the sky, I spotted a few stars through the glare of streetlights and stopped to admire them. At least, I thought they were stars. I suppose they could have been satellites. What did I know? Taking my time, which was something unusual for me, I stood admiring the lights in the sky wishing I could go to the country for a couple of days to admire them in the unfettered darkness.
“Well, well. What have we here?”
The hair on the back of my neck stood on end and began to wiggle at the cliché from the bad guy’s phrase. It was my usual reaction to the presence of a rogue. What was unusual was the absence of the urge to kill him. Pausing to assess the reason why I felt no necessity for violence, I looked at the man—and I used the term loosely—who had accosted me and shook my head with disgust.
“I swear, some people watch way too much TV,” I said, glaring at another would-be assailant and clapping my hands with mock glee. “Oh, goodie!” My voice was high pitched and dripped with sarcasm as I skipped in place, staring at the freckled redheaded vampire flashing his elongated blinding white canines at me. “It’s Howdie Doodie time!” Then I leaned forward and squinted a bit. “Or are you Opie, all grown up?”
There’s no real secret to how one could tell a good vampire from a bad one. It’s easy for people like me, who can’t be controlled.