Immortal Hearts, page 1
Vampire Kisses 9
To my husband, Eddie,
my parents, Gary and Suzie,
and my brothers, Mark and Ben,
with hugs and vampire kisses
I will love you for all of eternity.
1 Drop-Dead Gorgeous
2 Believe It or Not
3 The Devil Wears Doc Martens
4 Shopping for a Ghoul
5 Spooky Siblings
6 A Creep in the Crypt
7 Ghoul’s Time
8 Surprise Invite’Ӗ
9 Night Fever
10 Starry Night
12 Haunted Happenings
13 House Calls
14 Ghoul Talk
15 Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall
16 Secrets and Sundaes
17 Indecent Proposal
18 Fight Club
19 Stormy Nights
20 Waiting for an Eternity
21 Vampire Kisses
About the Author
About the Publisher
1 Drop-Dead Gorgeous
I was waiting for the other combat boot to drop.
My life in Dullsville had turned perfectly exciting. I was living the nightmare I’d always dreamed of—I was in love with a gorgeous vampire, and I had fabulous Under-worldly friends and a hauntingly gothic nightclub where I could dance until dawn. The only thing I was missing was being an actual member of the Coffin Club—by becoming a real vampire. But if I couldn’t be a vampire yet, then I would gladly enjoy the moment while I thought of new ways to convince Alexander I was truly ready to be turned.
So much had happened recently. Alexander’s best friend, Sebastian, had escaped the clutches of his new girlfriend, Luna, who had been set to dig her fangs into him for eternity. Sebastian was solo now, safe and crashing out in a downtown apartment in Dullsville. Scarlet and Onyx, my two vampire ghoul friends, were still inhabiting the Crypt and each had their mark on a guy—Scarlet had her sights set on my nemesis, Trevor Mitchell, which made me uneasy. While I didn’t want to date Trevor, it was odd to see him in the company of a vampire. And Onyx had her eyes on Luna’s twin brother, Jagger. And Jagger, Alexander’s former nemesis, was basking in the moonlight now that his club was a hit in Dullsville. My best friend, Becky Miller, had learned Alexander’s and my other friends’ true vampire identities and was accepting this unexpected news as best as any mortal could. Alexander was as dreamy as ever, feeling more relaxed with a peer vampire population in this small town, and both of us were eagerly anticipating the arrival of his little sister, Athena “Stormy” Sterling.
It was slightly after midnight, a week after our birthday bash, when Alexander and I entwined our bodies, dancing to the music of Vlad and the Impalers at the Crypt. I was lost in his gaze, his chocolate eyes as irresistible to me as his red-licorice-hued lips. His brilliant smile glowed on his handsome, pale face. I felt as if we were the only couple in the club, or the world, for that matter. No one else existed to me. His pointed fangs glistened in the pulsing strobe lights, and I melted in his slow embrace. He leaned in to me, his fangs continuing to catch the flashing light. I’d been on the other end of them before, in sight and sultry temptation, but not in true bite, and each time was like it was the first—fresh, real, and tantalizingly dangerous. I imagined the bite that would take me into his world forever, and how it would feel against my neck. Would it sting like getting my ear pierced again or hurt like getting a shot, or far worse, like a bite of an animal? Or would his knifelike teeth slide in painlessly as if they were always meant to have penetrated my skin?
My blood would not be solely mine anymore but ours. I was mesmerized by my one true love and knew he was the one I’d been dreaming about to live with for an eternity. We’d cohabitate in the Underworld, strolling through cemeteries at night and cuddling in our king-sized coffin all day. I’d decorate the Mansion and run my gothic and vampy mag while Alexander painted masterworks in our attic bedroom. I’d fulfill his need for nourishment and he for me while we laughed, danced, and kissed in the darkness. Alexander’s fangs slid farther down the nape of my neck until I was jarred out of my dream state. I felt myself pushed back from him, and suddenly someone was dancing between us. At s. ween usfirst I thought a wayward dancer had bumped into us, but when I saw long, bubblegum-pink hair, I knew it was intentional. Luna swayed her lithe, fairylike body to the morbidly slow beat and then threw her head back as if she’d just been bitten. No one was going to come between Alexander and me! I scooted myself in between them and pushed her out with all my might.
Luna sailed into another dancer and fell into his arms. I glanced over and noticed the dancer had blond hair. It was Trevor, who had once dated Luna. Scarlet wasn’t going to be as gentle as I was with another girl coming between her and her man—after all, she was a real vampire. Scarlet lunged at Luna and hissed like a cat as her eyes seemed to turn blood-red. Luna ignored her and instead flashed her long, glittery pink lashes at Trevor, who was helplessly caught in her charms. Scarlet grabbed Trevor by his polo sleeve and yanked him away from the entrancing Luna. Trevor was startled by Scarlet’s bold move but then smiled about the tug-of-war and possible catfight over him. He shot me a look as if to say, “See what you’re missing?”
As Scarlet dragged Trevor off the dance floor, Luna appeared unfazed. She glanced around until she saw the nearest male clubster—Matt Wells, my best friend’s boyfriend. Becky and Matt were jamming when Luna sidled up to Matt. He was caught off guard, and his face flushed cherry red with her sudden attention. Poor Becky seemed blindsided and didn’t know what to do. I pushed my way through the crowd of dancers and pulled Luna away from my favorite couple. I’d clobber anyone who came between my best friend and her soulmate.
I gave Luna a death stare. She returned my fiery gaze, tensed her soft, pale cheeks, and bit her baby-pink lips. It must be hard for someone as beautiful as Luna to accept rejection. Until recently, rejection had been something I’d been accustomed to—it was acceptance that was new to me. However, Luna had first been rejected by Alexander and now by his best friend, Sebastian.
Luna had been a Sulky Sue since Sebastian had hightailed it out of the Crypt when he found out the covenant ceremony he was performing with Luna was on sacred ground. If he’d bitten her as they planned, they’d be bonded together as vampire lovers for eternity. Jagger had tried to trick Sebastian into being a mate for his twin sister for a lifetime—and beyond.
Who knew what other tricks the Maxwells had up their torn sleeves? I would have to keep them in my sight.
But with Luna on the rebound and apparently moving in on our boyfriends, it was going to be impossible for any of us girls to be happy with her being solo. Everyone but Luna in relationships meant only one thing—trouble. And I knew that the guy she craved the most was my beloved Alexander.
Even though Luna was my adversary, when I gazed into her starlet-blue eyes I saw a lonely girl gazing back at me, a girl who longed for true love, just like I had before I met Alexander. And even though she was sneaky and troublesome, she, too, deserved happiness. There had to be someone out there for her to make her dreams come true—someone who wouldn’t get in the way of my or my friends’ love lives.
I looked away from ther away fre scowling Luna and gazed around the club hopelessly until I spotted someon
Romeo, the hot bartender from the Coffin Club, was serving bubbly liquid at the Crypt. Why hadn’t I thought of him sooner? He had been right under her nose and mine. I’d never seen Romeo hanging out with one particular girl here or at the Coffin Club in Hipsterville, so I was hoping he was available for a romantic setup.
I turned back to Luna but she was gone. I couldn’t see her pink hair anywhere. I pushed through the crowd and found Alexander talking to Sebastian by the club’s entrance. Sebastian was eyeing all the girls in the club, but one in particular had grabbed his attention since the split with Luna—Onyx. She was hanging by Jagger’s side as he attended to business concerning the club.
I gave my hot-and-steamy Alexander a kiss on the cheek.
“I’ll be right back,” I said.
“I’ll be right here.” His dark locks fell over his eyes; his soft smile was mesmerizing.
I headed back to the dance floor and grabbed Becky by the sleeve.
“What’s up?” she asked.
“We’re on a mission.”
She sighed. “Aren’t we always?”
I started to guide her off the dance floor.
“But I want to dance,” she whined.
Becky was growing accustomed to the club, too, along with the other students at Dullsville High. But this matter took precedence above our happiness for the night. If we didn’t attempt to handle Luna’s singlehood, we’d have a bigger mess on our hands later.
“This is more important than dancing,” I insisted.
“But I don’t want to leave Matt alone,” she said as she followed me reluctantly. “I don’t trust Luna. She seems to be trying to get her hands on every guy here at the club.”
“I know. And we have to fix that.”
“What can we do? If I leave Matt alone, she may try to come around again.”
“I’ll take care of that,” I said.
“What are you doing?” Scarlet asked as she caught up to us.
“Trying to find a soulmate for Luna,” I answered swiftly.
“Oh, good!” she said. “I’ll come with you! But can we leave her alone with our guys?”
“We can in a bit,” I replied to the bewildered girls.
I stormed over to the bar, where a member of Jagger’s security team was watching the dance floor. The burly guard was as wide as he was tall. And he was very tall.
“Can you make sure that that pink-haired girl,” I said, pointing to Luna, who was now dancing alone at the edge of the dance floor, “stays away from those three guys?” I gestured to our dates—Alexander and Sebastian, by the club’s entrance, and Matt, who was hanging out by a pool table with Trevor.
“Uh … isn’t she Jagger’s sister?” he asked.
“Well, he’s the boss.” He towered over me like a concrete building.
“And I’m the customer,” I insisted. “Isn’t the customer always right?”
But just like a concrete building, he didn’t budge.
I dug into my Hello Batty evening bag and pulled out a five. I waved it in front of him.
But the security guard didn’t even look. I slipped the money into his behemoth-sized palm.
He glared at me as if I’d handed him a penny.
“Here.” Becky reached into her purse and took out a few dollars. “Our love lives depend on it.”
The hulky guard couldn’t help but grin as he loomed over us.
“Yes,” Scarlet said, handing him another bill.
“Okay—” he finally said, “but this stays between us.”
“Of course,” we agreed.
“Tick a lock,” I said, winding a pretend key against my dark-stained lips.
I grabbed the girls’ hands and we tore through the crowd to the bar. It was impossible to find an empty stool and even harder to get Romeo’s attention.
I squeezed between a preppy couple, leaned over the bar, and scooted as close to Romeo as I could. I didn’t have any more money to wave. Instead I held up a white cocktail napkin. “Romeo, over here!” I called.
But Romeo was pouring and delivering as many drinks as humanly possible, even for a vampire. At this rate, we’d be waiting at the bar all night.
I couldn’t wait any longer.
As he passed me by, I reached over the bar and grabbed his tattooed wrist, causing him to spill one of the drinks.
“Hey! What’s going on?” he yelled.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I just need to speak with you.” I knew Romeo recognized me from our previous meetings at the Coffin Club.
Romeo was handsome and a great fit for Luna, I thought. He had a tattoo of Munch’s Scream on his bicep and Chinese characters on his wrists. His shaggy dark hair couldn’t hide the countless silver studs and hoop rings in his ears. He wore a Berlin T-shirt and ripped jeans.
“Can’t you see I’m busy?” He wiped off the bar and the back of his drink-soiled hand.
“It’s imperative I speak with you now,” I said urgently. “What do you think of Luna?” I asked him with a hopeful smile.
“Luna?” he said, half listening, as he served another drink.
“Luna Maxwell. Jagger’s sister.”
“I know who she is,” he said as if I was bothering him.
“Well, what do you think of her?”
He turned to face me. Romeo was cute with his dark, wavy hair and intense stare. “DDG,” he said.
“What’s that mean?” I asked.
“Drop-dead gorgeous,” he replied.
I beamed. “Then why don’t you ask her out?” I asked.
“I think you should. Why don’t you?”
He shrugged his shoulders. “Uh … she’s, like, sixteen.”
“No—she’s, like, eighteen. Maybe even nineteen.”
“Really?” He perked up.
“Yes. And she’s single.”
“That’s cool.” He bounced a bit as he wiped down the bar.
“You should ask her out,” I said.
“I think you should. Now.” I was getting impatient.
“Yes, you should,” Becky repeated.
“Ditto,” Scarlet added.
“Okay … maybe later,” he finally answered.
“Later?” I asked. “We don’t have time for later!”
“I can’t do it now,” he said as if I was crazy. “I’m working.”
“How about I help out?” Scarlet whisked around the bar and joined Romeo.
“You aren’t a bartender,” he scoffed.
“I am now,” she said.
“Who wants a cold one?” Scarlet shouted to the patrons.
Several hands raised high in the air.
But Romeo didn’t move. Instead he seemed distracted by the help that Scarlet was providing him.
“I can’t leave,” he told me. “I could get fired.”
Why did work have to come in the way of his love life—and mine? I couldn’t wait until the end of his shift to get Luna hitched.
“We have to get her over to the bar,” I said to Becky. At least with Scarlet helping out Romeo, he might have more time to talk to her.
“What are you doing?” Alexander asked me when he found us looking for Luna in the crowd. “I thought we were dancing.”
“I just need to fix something,” I said, scanning the crowd for pink pastel hair.
“Fix what?” Alexander shouted over the music. He drew me in to him. “Can’t you do it later? I wait all day to see you, and the nights that we have together are cut short by you having to go home. This is our time together.”
“I know,” I said, feeling pulled in two directions. I didn’t want to be apart from Alexander any more than was forced on us by the sun. “But you’ll have to trust me on this one.” If Luna wasn’t in a romantic relationship, then the time I was apart from Alexander would be even harder for me since I knew she’d still be after him.
I reached up and gave him a quick peck on his tender lips. “I won’t be but a moment. I promise.”
Alexander shook his head, and Sebastian asked, “What’s up?”
“Just Raven getting into another one of her messes, I’m sure,” Alexander said with a chuckle.
I spotted pink hair out among the blondes and brunettes; Becky, Onyx, and I raced over.
I took Luna aside while my friends hung behind me.
“I think Romeo wants to talk to you,” I said in as sweet a voice as I could to my adversary. “He said he really likes you.”
“Romeo?” she asked skeptically.
“Yes, don’t you think he’s hot?” I asked as if it were fact.
“He’s the bartender,” she said flatly.
“Yes. The hot bartender.”
Onyx and Becky nodded their heads enthusiastically.
“I guess.” Luna couldn’t be bothered with my small talk and tapped her fuchsia Mary Janes to the music.
“Haven’t you noticed him before?” I asked.
“Uh … yes. He works for Jagger.”
“I know. So what do you think of him?” I inquired eagerly.
She just shrugged her shoulders.
I didn’t know much about Romeo except that he was a bartender and that he was nice. In fact, I didn’t even know if he was a vampire, but I assumed that, because he worked at the Coffin Club and was in Jagger’s inner circle, he must be. I wasn’t sure what else to tell her, other than what I’d seen of him.
“He’s really worldly,” I said, recalling his T-shirt.
“How do you know that?” she asked.
“He’s been to Berlin. He loves to travel.”
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