GODDESS WITH A BLADE by LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2011, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, Carina Publishing
Face still stinging from the nasty gashes the Vampire she’d killed tore into her flesh, Rowan stalked through the front doors of Fleur.
The maÃ®tre d’ rushed over in a vain attempt to keep her out, but his panicked flailing only amused her in her cranky state so she ignored him. She had quarry to run to ground and currently he sat at a table in a shadowy and yet visible corner wearing a designer suit and sipping a glass of wine without a care in the world.
Stalking over, her gaze locked on him until he looked up at her and started before narrowing his eyes. Well, that countered the sting a little bit.
“Ms. Summerwaite,” he said, voice smooth but wariness edged it.
“I need to speak to you, Mr. Stewart.” The people at the table with him were human and so she didn’t want to make a scene and break the treaty. She did want to pop the smug right off his face though.
“Ms. Summerwaite, as you can see, I’m in the middle of a business dinner. You should feel free to call my assistant to set up an appointment for later on in the week and we can discuss whatever it is you need then.”
When would he learn? She sighed.
She sat in the chair she pulled free and leveled a look his way, just to be fair and let him know he was really in a shitton of trouble “Well, Clive, I suppose you may have noticed the marks on my face?” She turned to face the other men at the table who watched her with slightly fearful fascination. “Terrible world isn’t it when a girl can’t even have dinner without being attacked by the Vampires of the world?” She shook her head sadly and narrowed one eye at Clive, daring him to continue to fuck with her.
She was almost disappointed when he heaved a sigh and stood. “Will you gentlemen excuse me for a few minutes? I would hate for Ms. Summerwaite to feel as if I hadn’t defended a damsel in a time of need.”
The maÃ®tre d’, who’d been dancing around in distress at Clive’s elbow, listened, nodding like a bobblehead as Clive spoke in his ear. Without looking at her once he’d finished, he reached out, clamped his fingers around her elbow and steered her down an interior hallway.
Fleur was the flagship restaurant for the upwardly mobile Vampires in Vegas so Rowan wasn’t surprised when he unlocked a door to a swank office and ushered her inside, closing and locking it again behind them.
“My patience with you is quite short, Hunter. I’m in the middle of something. What can’t wait until tomorrow?”
“On my way back from Barstow, where the victim of your whackadoo killer Vampire’s victim lived, I was attacked. Do you know how gross it is when venom gets in my system? Why don’t you people clip your damned nails? It’s gross. I know hygiene standards were not very high in the Dark Ages when you were a young lad and all, but if you can drive and use computers now, I expect you all to clip your nails. I had to pour holy water in the wounds, which hurt like a bitch.”
He looked her up and down. “I take it you proved victorious?”
Rowan just stared at him for long moments. “If by that you mean did I drop off a very pissed-off friend, go to my apartment and wash Vampire blood off and change my clothes, which were covered in dust? Oh and did I have my valet pour holy water over open Vampire wounds which, yes, I’m going to remind you again hurts like a motherfucker. Yes. I killed your little buddy and I even had to file a fucking report about it via cell phone on my way over here after having to dance around your personal assistant’s assistant for twenty minutes before she’d tell me where you were. One, I hate personal assistants. Two, I hate having to file reports. Three, I told you there was a problem in Whoville.”
“My buddy? A random Vampire with a death wish attacks you and suddenly he’s my buddy? This has nothing to do with me and why you think this merits disturbing me in the middle of dinner is beyond my ability to conceive.”
“Look, stop acting like you’re just this guy standing in line at the grocery store. You’re their boss and this is your town as you so snottily informed me, remember that? So yes, he’s your buddy. He’s under your jurisdiction and you’re responsible for him. You would be a totally sucky dad, just sayin’. You have a killer on the loose and that makes it your problem. I’m making it your problem.”
“You said you killed him. Problem solved, thank you.” He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the desk.
“Your killer is dead. Thank you for your service to the Vampire Nation, I’m sure your godfather will be very pleased.”
“Are. You. Out. Of. Your. Fucking. Mind? He wasn’t the killer! He was sent by the killer to dispatch me. By someone not even smart enough to warn his little assassin about what I was. The problem is so not solved.”
“Did he tell you that?”
Unable to stop herself, she poked him square in the chest. “Did I say he was mentally defective? Why would he say something so stupid? This isn’t an episode of Perry Mason. He didn’t give me a map to the killer’s house either. Pity, I should have thought to ask. Would you like his name? He did tell me that.”
He grabbed her hand and moved it away, grasping her wrist. “You’re very unpleasant. Please remove your finger from my chest. Go ahead and give me his name. I’ll send it along to one of my lieutenants and they’ll look into it. In the meantime I have a dinner to return to.”
“Charles Rossinni. And if you don’t unhand me right now I’ll shove my boot right up your ass along with that two-foot-long stick you’ve already got wedged up there.”
With a deft movement, he yanked her wrist, pulling her close. Her hormones surged as she realized, with nearly detached fascination, they were totally going to do it.