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Vampire Gold: A Samantha Moon Story (Vampire for Hire), page 1

 

Vampire Gold: A Samantha Moon Story (Vampire for Hire)
 


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Vampire Gold: A Samantha Moon Story (Vampire for Hire)


  VAMPIRE GOLD

  (A Samantha Moon Story)

  by

  J.R. RAIN

  Acclaim for the Stories of J.R. Rain:

  “Be prepared to lose sleep!”

  —James Rollins, international bestselling author of The Doomsday Key

  “I love this!”

  —Piers Anthony, bestselling author of Xanth

  “Dark Horse is the best book I’ve read in a long time!”

  —Gemma Halliday, award-winning author of Spying in High Heels

  “Powerful stuff!”

  —Aiden James, bestselling author of The Dragon Coin

  “Moon Dance is absolutely brilliant!”

  —Lisa Tenzin-Dolma, author of Understanding the Planetary Myths

  “Moon Dance is a must read. If you like Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, bounty hunter, be prepared to love J.R. Rain’s Samantha Moon, vampire private investigator.”

  —Eve Paludan, author of Taking Back Tara

  “Impossible to put down. J.R. Rain’s Moon Dance is a fabulous urban fantasy replete with multifarious and unusual characters, a perfectly synchronized plot, vibrant dialogue and sterling witticism all wrapped in a voice that is as beautiful as it is rich and vividly intense as it is relaxed.”

  —April Vine, author of Unbound

  Other Books by J.R. Rain

  STANDALONE NOVELS

  The Lost Ark

  Elvis Has Not Left the Building

  The Grail Quest

  The Body Departed

  Silent Echo

  Winter Wind

  VAMPIRE FOR HIRE

  Moon Dance

  Vampire Moon

  American Vampire

  Moon Child

  Christmas Moon (novella)

  Vampire Dawn

  Vampire Games

  Moon Island

  Moon River

  Vampire Sun

  Moon Dragon

  Moon Shadow

  SAMANTHA MOON

  SHORT STORIES

  Teeth

  Vampire Nights

  Vampires Blues

  Vampire Dreams

  Halloween Moon

  Vampire Gold

  Blue Moon

  Dark Side of the Moon

  Vampire Requiem

  JIM KNIGHTHORSE

  Dark Horse

  The Mummy Case

  Hail Mary

  Clean Slate

  Easy Rider (short story)

  Night Run

  THE WITCHES SERIES

  The Witch and the Gentleman

  The Witch and the Englishman

  The Witch and the Huntsman (with Rod Kierkegaard)

  The Witch and the Wolfman (with Rod Kierkegaard)

  THE SPINOZA TRILOGY

  The Vampire With the Dragon Tattoo

  The Vampire Who Played Dead

  The Vampire in the Iron Mask

  THE VAMPIRE DIARIES

  Bound By Blood

  SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS

  The Bleeder and Other Stories

  Vampire Rain and Other Stories

  The Santa Call and Other Stories

  Black Rain: 15 Dark Tales

  Blood Rain: 15 Dark Tales

  Red Rain: Over 40 Short Stories

  SHORT STORY SINGLES

  The Bleeder

  Co-Authored Books

  COLLABORATIONS

  Cursed (with Scott Nicholson)

  Ghost College (with Scott Nicholson)

  The Vampire Club (with Scott Nicholson)

  Dragon Assassin (with Piers Anthony)

  Dolfin Tayle (with Piers Anthony)

  Jack and the Giants (with Piers Anthony)

  Judas Silver (with Elizabeth Basque)

  Lost Eden (with Elizabeth Basque)

  Glimmer (with Eve Paludan)

  The Black Fang Betrayal (with Multiple Authors)

  The Indestructibles (with Rod Kierkegaard)

  SAMANTHA MOON CASE FILES

  with Rod Kierkegaard

  Moon Bayou

  THE OPEN HEART SERIES

  with Rod Kierkegaard

  The Dead Detective

  Ghosts of Christmas Present (short story)

  THE PSI SERIES

  with A.K. Alexander

  Hear No Evil

  See No Evil

  Speak No Evil

  Flight 12 (novella)

  NICK CAINE ADVENTURES

  with Aiden James

  Temple of the Jaguar

  Treasure of the Deep

  Pyramid of the Gods

  THE ALADDIN TRILOGY

  with Piers Anthony

  Aladdin Relighted

  Aladdin Sins Bad

  Aladdin and the Flying Dutchman

  THE WALKING PLAGUE TRILOGY

  with Elizabeth Basque

  Zombie Patrol

  Zombie Rage

  Zombie Mountain

  THE SPIDER TRILOGY

  with Scott Nicholson and H.T. Night

  Bad Blood

  Spider Web

  Spider Bite

  Vampire Gold

  Published by J.R. Rain

  Copyright © 2013 by J.R. Rain

  All rights reserved.

  Ebook Edition, License Notes

  This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. All rights reserved.

  Dedication

  To the memory of a great writer and an even greater man: Robert Siegel. May the whales sing your song, my friend.

  TABLE OF CONTENTS

  Vampire Gold

  Grampire

  More Sugar

  Red Riding Hood

  Vampire Moon: Deleted Scene

  Mrs. Night: Rap Sheet

  Reading Sample

  About the Author

  Vampire Gold

  “The dead are everywhere, watching us. Always watching us.”

  —Diary of the Undead

  I was watching Judge Judy tear some loser a new one, when my doorbell rang.

  I’d been doing dishes in the kitchen and glancing periodically into the living room, catching snippets of one small-time criminal being reduced to mush by one badass woman—and loving every minute of it when I heard my client’s vehicle come to a stop outside, heard the door open and close, and then heard his shuffling feet over the cement path. Next, I heard the opening and closing of the gate in the chain link fence that surrounds my property.

  My hearing was, to say the least, as sharp as ever.

  I turned off the faucet and headed to the front door. I left Judge Judy on. All men should be exposed to the rational and justified fury of a strong-willed woman.

  Would do them good.

  I greeted a smallish man standing at my doorway. Introductions were made and I showed him in. My inner alarm remained silent, which was always a good sign. In my office at the back of my house, I asked my potential new client, Adam Rose, if he would like something to drink.

  “Beer?” he asked. I noted the hope in his voice. I also noted the squiggly blue lines over his bulbous nose.

  I said, “I was thinking more along the lines of bottled water or Sunny Delight.”

  “Sunny Delight?”

  “It’s Anthony’s favorite.”

  He nodded as if that made perfect sense. I next asked him how I could assist him. He had mentioned over the phone that he needed my help in locating something. Lucky for him, I was a helluva locator.

  “I want you to help me find a treasure.”

  “A treasure?”

  “Yes, let me explain.”

  “Please do.”
r />   “My father buried a treasure thirty years ago.”

  “If I had a nickel for every time I hear that...”

  He blinked, waited.

  “Never mind,” I said. “Go on.”

  “Anyway, he thought it would be fun.”

  “To locate a treasure?”

  “Yes. But it’s more than a treasure. It’s my inheritance.”

  “I see,” I said. “I think. What did this treasure consist of?”

  “Gold.”

  “Gold?”

  “Yes.”

  “Was your father Blackbeard?”

  “No, but I think he thought he was.”

  He smiled. I smiled. Just two normal people talking about pirate gold. Of course, one of us was immortal and the other was, well, the verdict remained to be seen...but I was leaning toward crazy as hell.

  I was making notes on the notepad in front of me, as if the man sitting before me was actually telling me something that made sense. “How much gold?” I asked.

  “I would rather not say.”

  I could have compelled him to tell me. I could have also read his thoughts. I could have picked him up and held him by his ankles and shook him until he told me. But I’m not a bad person. Or a bad vampire. I might be many things, but impatient wasn’t one of them. Vampires, in fact, might just be the most patient people on earth.

  And, yes, vampires are people, too.

  I said, “You do understand how crazy this sounds, right?”

  The word crazy seemed to touch off a sore spot. He folded his hands over his chest and sat back. “I have been surrounded by crazy my whole life, Ms. Moon. In fact, this might be one of the least crazy things my father has ever done.”

  He set the manila folder that he’d brought with him down on my desk. He opened it and removed what looked suspiciously like a treasure map. Except this treasure map was laminated and consisted of college-ruled paper, both sure-fire indicators that it was a legit pirate map.

  “My father drew this,” he said.

  “Your father had a lot of time on his hands.”

  “Are you always this condescending to your clients?”

  “I call it playful,” I said. “And you’re not my client yet.”

  “Well, I don’t like it. I can take my business elsewhere.”

  I waited. He didn’t look like he wanted to go elsewhere. In fact, he looked like he was eager to show me the treasure map. Or maybe that was a psychic hit. His aura veritably crackled and churned. Yeah, he was excited.

  Ever the peacekeeper, I said, “Please tell me about the map and hidden treasure.”

  “You’re being condescending again.”

  “In a playful way.”

  “So, you’re always like this?”

  “If I like you.”

  “And if you don’t like me?”

  “I can be your worst enemy.”

  He was about to laugh that off until he caught the look in my eye. Instead, he coughed nervously and shifted in his seat. “Look, can I just tell you about the map, and then you can decide if I’m nuts or not?”

  “Fair enough,” I said.

  And tell me he did.

  * * *

  His father had been crazy.

  He’d just returned home from the Vietnam War where he’d been badly wounded. Disabled and bitter, he had turned to booze and drugs. Until he met The One.

  “My mother,” he said, smiling.

  “Of course,” I said. I’m a sucker for a good love story.

  She’d made an honest man out of him, and soon they started a family. Apparently, his father had done some “bad things” in Nam. So much so that he eventually went over the deep end.

  “You said this sounded crazy, Ms. Moon. Well, you’re right. My father was very, very crazy.”

  I knew I had been right, although I didn’t say anything. Nobody likes a know-it-all. Especially a psychic know-it-all. These days, I trust my psychic hits more than I let on. I had sensed something off about his father—even before words about the treasure map—and the fact that my psychic abilities were extending beyond this room and all the way to his deceased father...which meant only one thing.

  I turned and looked into the far corner of my office where super-bright particles of light were currently gathering, coalescing slowly into the form of a man. That the coalescing part was taking so long meant a couple of things. One was that the ghost had been departed for quite a long time. Another was that the ghost might have lost its marbles during life—and even in death, it hadn’t quite found itself yet.

  For now, the spirit was having a difficult time forming anything other than a vaguely humanoid shape. My potential new client wasn’t aware of the spirit in the far corner of my room. Few ever were. Few but the most sensitive mediums were aware of the spirits around them. And perhaps a vampire or two.

  More than anything, I sensed the spirit’s great love for the man sitting before me. His father, indeed.

  I said, “In a way, Mr. Rose, we’re all a little nuts. Some of us just do a better job of hiding it.”

  He chuckled and seemed to relax a little. In the corner of the room, his father was currently fading in and out of existence. The poor guy was having a devil of a time making an appearance. “Well, my father didn’t bother to hide it. That’s just the thing. He seemed to almost embrace it. It sort of became his identity: Crazy Rose, they called him. Others called him eccentric. Those in the family called him something far less polite.” Adam Rose looked away, took in some air. “Truth was, we should have celebrated him, living a life unique and true to himself. I’m afraid we were less than kind to him.”

  He told me more. After living a life where clothing and shoes were optional, his father’s psychosis steadily worsened until he’d finally died of a stroke, after having suffered years of dementia.

  “Rough life,” I said.

  “Maybe,” said Mr. Rose. “Then again, my dad seemed to love every moment of it. Most of all, he seemed to love us.”

  “Love conquers all,” I said. “Or so I’ve heard.”

  He nodded absently and glanced into the corner of my office, his eyes lingering on the spot where his father’s amorphous spirit was currently trying its best to make a full appearance, but failing miserably. I suspected that a part of Adam knew his father was nearby, the part of him that had one foot in the spirit world. The part most of us ignore. Unless, of course, you were a freak like me.

  I pointed to the map. “And your father left you this.”

  “Well, all of us kids.”

  “How many of you are there?”

  “He had five kids.”

  “And he left behind a map to all of you?”

  “Yes.”

  “The same map?”

  “Yes.”

  “Winner take all?”

  “He didn’t specify, but us kids all have an agreement to split the money.”

  I got a sudden sinking feeling in my stomach, and I sensed that Adam Rose’s intentions weren’t quite as honorable. I could be wrong, but I suspected he had no intentions of splitting the inheritance. Or, more likely, to not split it evenly.

  “When did your father die?”

  “Almost ten years ago.”

  “And your family has been looking for the treasure ever since?”

  “Well, in the beginning, we did. Most of the kids have given up.”

  “But not you?”

  “I gave up, too. The map and riddles seemed nonsensical. Most of us couldn’t make heads or tails of them.”

  “So, why hire me?” I asked.

  “Why not? You’re a detective. Maybe you can see the map differently. Maybe see what we’re missing. It’s time this damn thing was found.”

  “You believe your father really hid a treasure?”

  “I do. Some of my siblings don’t, but my father had some money, and now it’s gone.”

  “Gone and buried?” I suggested.

  “I think so,” said Adam Rose. “And I coul
d use it, trust me.”

  I sensed his desperation. I also sensed he’d gotten himself into some trouble. I said, “Were there any instructions given?”

  “No. Just a map. You can imagine our frustration, especially since...” He paused, thinking better of what he was about to say.

  “Since what?” I prodded.

  “Since we know that my father had cashed in his life savings for gold.”

  “And you think that’s what he buried?”

  “Yes. It would be just like him. He was obsessed with pirates.”

  “Of course,” I said. “Who isn’t? So what do you want me to do?”

  “I want you to find the gold.”

  “Using this map?”

  “Yes. So, do we have a deal?”

  I tapped my pointy fingernail on the map, and then shrugged. “Aye, matey.”

  “Aargh,” he added, pirate-like.

  “Somebody please shoot us.”

  * * *

  I was sitting with my sister at Hero’s in Fullerton.

  Hero’s had a lot of bittersweet memories for me. This was, after all, where I’d gone to escape the world, often with my sister, where I pretended to drown my sorrows away since alcohol has no effect on me. Mostly, it was nice to be lost in a sea of slightly inebriated humanity, while chatting with my sister about everyday things, pretending to be normal, pretending to be like everyone else.

  That is, until I’d discovered that I had been watched nearly the entire time. Fang had found his way to my hangout, after cross-checking various careless references by me. He’d found his way here...and gotten a job.

  Exactly. The balls on him, right?

  He had then proceeded to watch me from up close and personal for many years, befriending me and, no doubt, studying me.

  I hadn’t known all of this, of course. My psychic sensitivities hadn’t been quite as attuned as they are these days. Anyway, Fang was gone now. To where, I hadn’t a clue.

 
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