Vampire- Vance, page 1
M. L. BRIERS
A. B. LEE
Copyright © 2016, M. L. BRIERS. A. B. LEE
All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced whatsoever without written permission of the author, except for brief exerts in reviews. Any unauthorised reproduction or distribution of the material herein is illegal and may result in criminal proceedings. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded to the internet or distributed via electronic or print without prior consent.
Note from the Author;
All names, places, and incidents contained herein are purely fictional and have no basis in actual events or linked to actual Humans, Witches, Vampires, Werewolves, Lycans, Werebears or persons living, dead or undead.
Copyright © 2016, Cover Art by Shardel.
Table of Contents
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They say that time and tide wait for no man, but Vance wasn’t exactly a man. The word vampire seemed like such a caricature these days with the legend being distorted in a million different ways that it hardly applied to the real thing. Vance was the real thing.
As for the time and tide waiting part- well, Vance could manipulate most things around him to his own ends, and that statement even applied to me when he wanted it too.
In the real world I guess I would be described as his beard- his skirt if he were gay- and Vance had been a lot of things over the centuries that he’d walked the Earth. He’d taken male and female lovers, some even together, or so I’m told, by him, but then Vance did like to tell a story or two- so who knew the truth?
No, the truth of this matter was that I was the face that he showed to the world. I was his PR girl; the face of the empire, the one who got to deal with the outside world while he pulled the strings behind the scenes. I was his front, and I had his back, but I knew full well that even I was expendable.
I was just one in a long line of tough cookies that stood in the spotlight. The others had been male; it was still a man’s world, but he thumbed his nose at society by offering me up as the genius that built an empire; when in truth that empire had been hundreds of years in the making.
He bought and sold everything and everyone, including me; fresh out of business school with a head for corporate business and a wide eyed view of the world that was soon to be torn down by his dealings, business and otherwise. Vance was more powerful than God, had God bothered to show himself in a boardroom, that is, and he knew it.
“We may have some problems dealing with the Chinese today…” He offered that information in his usual brisk manner as he strolled on past the bagels and breakfast meats to where the alcohol was kept, pouring himself a large one in my view, but just a nip with his constitution.
Every morning we went through the same ritual inside of his mansion, one of hundreds that scattered the Earth, some in places that I had never even heard of and had to look up. He laid out a breakfast fit for a family of Kings, and I ignored it in favour of a pot of coffee and a mug.
Why? Because it actually bothered him, and it was only one of a few things that I could do to ruffle his very pruned feathers. He might have bought my loyalty, but I still owned my soul, and that pissed him off.
“Who did you kill this time?” I was browsing through the overnight reports and I happened to look up at him just as he gave one of those dark and sexy grins that turned his green eyes black and showed just a little of his fangs. It sent a shiver right down my spine that I was adept at hiding.
“You always think the worst of me, Marge.” He raised those black eyebrows up on his forehead and dared me to deny it.
“That’s because you are you. And don’t call me Marge.” It was Marjorie, as he knew full well, and I’d been stupid enough to tell him of my classmate’s pet name for me in school. Now it was my cross to bear whenever he wanted to dig at me.
“For your information, and because I’m feeling generous with my efforts today, I will tell you.” He left it hanging there in the air between us.
“Oh, goody. I’m blessed.” I wasn’t feeling particularly generous. Not if he’d killed the China deal, or someone from the Chinese delegation sent over to put the final touches to it.
“I had an encounter with one of the delegation last night…” He stopped when I rolled my eyes. I knew it. I just damn well knew that he couldn’t keep those fangs to himself.
“Relax and unclench before you spit out a diamond on my floor. I did not have a takeaway, Chinese or otherwise.” He demanded in his usual sweeping manner as he started towards me and then soothed me with the truth.
“Stop reading my damn mind. You promised.” I tossed the paperwork down onto the marble table and sat forward in my too-comfortable chair. I didn’t like to get comfortable around him, it generally led places that I didn’t want to go.
“I did no such thing.” He turned his nose up at the thought.
“Vance…” There was the warning in my tone. I was one person who wouldn’t put up with his particular brand of BS and he knew it.
“Fine. I promised to not read your mind about sexual matters, and as I don’t think you have any romantic or carnal attraction to any member of the Chinese delegation…” He was waving that hand around again when he spoke and he knew that drove me nuts.
“Ok, for the love of God…”
“There’s a God?” He drew back in mock shock. “Introduce us.”
I counted to ten and I hoped he was listening to every damn slow assed number in my mind. It never helped with my desire to pick up a baseball bat and wrap it around his head at times like these, but it did piss him off when he witnessed it.
“You’re no fun these days…” He groaned.
“I’m getting older. The clock is ticking on my mortality and I just don’t have the time or inclination for your bullshit.” I shrugged my shoulders.
“I can help with that…” He gave me a teasing smile. I gave him the finger.
“Bite me.” It was my turn to tease.
“Love too.” He narrowed those damn sexy black eyes on me, and I swear that one of these days I just might cave and give it a go.
“That’s against the rules and you know it.”
“Ah, yes, rules. Never been one to follow those.” Vance tipped his head back on his neck and downed the Scotch from his glass.
“Scotch for breakfast. Obviously a rebel without a clue.” I muttered as I sat back in my chair and waited for the rest of it.
“And so it goes on.” He shot me a look. It was a cross between- I’m going to rip out your throat- and the amusement that he couldn’t contain within those soulless eyes. “Haven’t I always been good to you?”
“Here we go…” I pushed up to my feet and placed my hands on my hips. This was what he understood- me pissed off and about to walk out the door. “I’ve given you my loyalty and my silence, so let’s not pull them out and compare who has the bigger one, Vance. We both know you’ll win.”
That was the truth. I’d seen him naked, not by personal choice but because he liked to flaunt his wares, and if I were a male, I couldn’t compare.
But on the whole- whom owes whom s
He shot me another one of those sexy damn grins and capitulated.
“You’d have gotten there at some point kid.” He liked to placate me, after he put me in my place, of course.
“Don’t call me kid. I look as old as you do now.” I sat back down. Feathers smoothed back into place and ready to hear his woes.
“Hmm, you are looking a little tired around the eyes, lately.” He just had to stick the knife in once more. I sighed. He chuckled. Then he waved a hand in the air and recounted his tale.
“So, this delegate was very helpful in parting with certain secrets of their end of this deal…”
I knew what that meant. He’d used his not so human ways to turn the guy or girl into a walking zombie of information. One look at those eyes and you’d spill everything. Trust me, I’ve done it, and it still irks me to this day.
“Oh, Marge, don’t look at me with those accusing eyes.” He caught me. “This is how business gets done in my world.” He waved that hand in the air again and absently brushed over his misdemeanours, of which there were many.
“I’d like to say I’m not in your world, but I do have a foot in and a foot out.” Boy, did I.
“That’s a precarious place to be.” He grinned at me again.
“I take it that means that the deal is off?” I was done pussyfooting around. I wanted to know if the deal that I’d spent the better part of six months working on was dead in the water.
“Not if we can get them to sign a revised contract that says they won’t be trying to gain a foothold into this company through the backdoor.” That piqued my interest.
The last company that tried to take anything from Vance’s empire found itself without its corporate head. I suspect the corporate head in question found himself without a physical head. Vance gave me a wicked smile.
“Damn it, stop reading my mind.” I stood up again. I was beginning to feel like a damned yo-yo today, and that was never good.
“If you think of something really juicy I’ll turn it off. Take a step back and allow you your thoughts in privacy.”
I stared at him and he stared right back at me. Neither of us blinked.
“Really?” I blinked, damn it.
“No.” He grinned again.
“What do you want me to do with the Chinese delegation?” I sighed.
I could swing for him sometimes, but a broken fist wasn’t on my to-do list for the day. I hated hospitals and wasn’t one to use Vance’s personal services in healing.
“Stall.” Vance went back for more Scotch.
“Until we can get a revised contract, yes. Nobody takes what’s mine, Marge. You know that.” Boy, did I ever.
“Fine. I’ll have Craig find a nice Karaoke bar, brothel, or some-such to keep them entertained.”
“Thank God for the invention of sex, gambling, and fornication.” He grinned and I rolled my eyes again.
“Don’t you mean the Devil?”
“One and the same in my book, sweetheart. Now be a darling and go get naked.”
“Every damn day, Vance. You’re predictable.” I tossed up my hands and made out like that idea didn’t appeal to me. It did, and we both knew it. But I wasn’t about to ever mix business with pleasure where he was concerned, and we both knew that too.
“One of these days, Margi…” He let out a low whistle from between his teeth and I snorted my contempt for that.
“Not even with my cold, dead body.” I informed him as I snatched up the reports, my bag, and my phone. I wanted to hightail it out of there before the temperature got too hot and I started to sweat.
“Liar, liar…You know the rest.” He called after me as I swayed my hips and teased him a little more on the way out.
I knew he was staring at my ass. I had a great ass and he liked to stare. We’d done this dance every day since we’d first met and it wasn’t resolved yet.
He wanted me. I wanted him. But we both knew that Vance wasn’t the type to stick around after the deal was sealed with any woman, and I wasn’t the type to not bear a grudge. Hence, we retreated to our corners and came out fighting the next day, and the next.
The Chinese deal was put on the backburner and the delegation was being looked after by my right hand man, Craig. I didn’t need to know the who, why, where or how, just as long as they stayed happy. Craig was good at supplying the happy.
I should have taken a little time and a little space for myself, but I jumped right into our next project. Going in person to the roughest part of town wasn’t on Vance’s approved list, but Craig was busy, and I wanted to see the derelict lot for myself.
Of course, I had a driver. I wasn’t stupid enough to venture there alone, and if Vance found out about my little tour then I could plead that I was accompanied.
I stepped out of the back of the car and smelled the roses. It didn’t smell like any damn roses that had ever crossed my desk, and they came across a lot, thanks to Vance. Every time I closed a deal and made him more money. The place smelled like a sewer, literally.
“I still don’t think this is the best idea in the world, Miss Taylor.” Bless my driver, Steve. I loved him for his pearls of wisdom, but not his timing.
“It’ll be fine.” I reassured him as I walked away before he could get any more ideas about protesting.
Famous last words.
By the time I’d turned the corner into a half demolished warehouse and spotted them, it was already too late to do anything about it. I had on my best heels and running wouldn’t have been an option, even if they hadn’t of come out of the woodwork and surrounded me in the way that they had.
I could have called for Steve, but he’d only be in the firing line too.
No, this was my stupid and I was more than prepared to pay the piper… to a certain degree.
“Well take a look at what we got ourselves, boys.” The obvious alpha male started the ball rolling.
Truth be told, I’d grown up on the streets with guys like these, and I knew the way they operated, egging each other on until someone did something stupid and something bad usually happened. Now that something bad was on my doorstep. Didn’t I feel stupid?
Immediately regretting my decision to come here alone didn’t do much. The men in my life could put an ‘I told you so’ on my gravestone. That didn’t make me feel any better either.
I guess that I’d just got too damn complacent in being around death every day and never having been bitten, so to speak. But these guys weren’t the supernatural type, they were just lowlife scum that Vance wouldn’t give the time of day too.
Funny how, when faced with death, Vance is my first, middle, and my last thought. He’d like that. The irony is; he’d never know.
“Don’t be so sure…” Vance’s voice had my ears snapping to attention and my head spinning in his direction as he strolled towards me looking fit to kill, and he glaring right at me.
Right then; I wasn’t entirely sure if he was going to kill me or them or maybe both…
“Frankly, Marge. It’s a damn toss up.” Vance growled out in my direction.
“Stop…” I bit down on those words as his eyes narrowed on me. He was more than pissed, and when he was more than pissed I knew to shut the hell up.
“Good choice.” Vance turned from me to them.
Putting himself between us like that; with his back to me, and those big, muscled arms down and back as if he was a cage and I was in it, was more than comforting, it was damned sexy in ways that I couldn’t even think about. He shot a look back over his shoulder.
“No, think about it. I want to know.” He teased me even as he was getting ready to do some evil deed that I really didn’t want to know about, let alo
“What are you supposed to be- Batman, man?” The alpha male thought he was clever. The others laughed in fits and starts.
“Batman wishes he was me, and you’re going to wish that I was Batman once I start ripping off limbs…”
“Perhaps that’s a little harsh…” I offered and heard a grunt in return.
“You can’t hear what they’re thinking about you.” Vance offered back over his shoulder.
That thought chilled me to the bone. I wanted to know, and yet I so did not want to hear the possible stuff of nightmares.
“Him…” Vance lifted his hand and pointed to the ringleader. “I’m not going to kill him. I am going to take my time with him though.”
“I’m going to break every single bone in his body- so that he can’t heal, and when I’ve made him a vegetable, I’m going to rip out his eyes, slice off his tongue, and deafen him. Then he will be unable to end a life that will be pure hell. It’ll give him time to think about his wicked ways.” Vance grinned. I didn’t have to see it to know that it was there because I knew him too well.
I looked past Vance to the group that was gathering together. Strange, a few moments before they were scattered, now it looked like they were huddling together for safety.
Perhaps they knew true evil when they saw it? Vance did have a way of looking into your soul, as only a vampire could.
“Fuck you, man.” The ringleader didn’t sound so sure of himself now.
“Do I get to leave before the debauchery begins?” I had to ask.
“No, it’s your penance for coming here alone.” Vance shot back.
“Obviously not alone because you’re here.” I tried. I had to try.
“You didn’t know that Steve had called me to tell me where you were going…”
“I’d say I was going to kill Steve, but under the circumstances.” I had to give him a pay rise. Rewarding treachery. Bummer.
“Is this my only penance? Watching you do what you do best- killing people?” A couple of them were getting twitchy at our conversation- I could see it out of the corner of my eye.
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