Vadalia not quite a va.., p.1
Vadalia - Not Quite A Vampire, page 1
A ‘Not-Quite’ Vampire Love Story
“Things Aren’t Always As They Seem...
Sometimes They’re Better.”
Copyright © 2015 Julia Mills
All Rights Reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or used in a fictional manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
NOTICE: This is an adult erotic paranormal romance with love scenes and mature situations. It is only intended for adult readers over the age of 18.
Cover by Linda Boulanger with Tell Tale Book Covers
Edited by Lisa Miller with Angel Editing Services
Formatted by Charlene Bauer with Wickedly Bold Creations
Dare to Dream! Find the Strength to Act! Never Look Back!
Thank you, God.
To my girls, Liz and Em, I Love You. Every day, every way, always.
Also by Julia Mills
Her Dragon to Slay, Dragon Guard Series #1
Her Dragon’s Fire, Dragon Guard Series #2
Haunted by Her Dragon, Dragon Guard Series #3
For the Love of Her Dragon, Dragon Guard Series #4
Saved by Her Dragon, Dragon Guard #5
Only for Herr Dragon, Dragon Guard #6
Fighting for Her Dragon, Dragon Guard #7
Her Dragon’s Heart, Dragon Guard #8
Her Love, Her Dragon: The Saga Begins, A Dragon Guard Prequel
“Hey Reggie. What we got?”
“Same as the others. Only looks like this one might’ve gotten a piece of her attacker.”
My assistant, Reggie, pointed to what appeared to be a swatch of fabric still clutched in the victim’s hand. Hopefully, she’d also scratched the scumbag who’d thrown her off the balcony of her thirtieth floor penthouse. With any luck, we’d be able to get some DNA and put the person who was doing this behind bars. I know it was a long shot. Up until now, there hasn’t even been a speck of dust outta place at any of the crimes scenes, let alone any usable evidence. Finding something was a shot in the dark, but it was the only shot we had.
Dealing with the sixth homicide in as many days, all with the same MO., (jugular and carotid cut, drained of all blood then thrown off a high rise building into a busy intersection) was frustrating to say the least. The part both my office and the Police Department were keeping to ourselves was the fact that each vic also sported the letter ‘V’ carved into a very intimate part of their body. This marking was undetectable by anyone but their mother, their lover, their gynecologist, or in this case, the Medical Examiner. And… that would be me, Vidalia Fitzsimmons.
There are three things you need to know about me before we go any farther. I’m the heiress to the Fitzsimmons’ Vidalia onion empire and as southern as the day is long. (Now, you get the name, right?) I’ll be thirty in less than two months, my curves have curves, I’m in love with the man of my dreams, and I have great hair (not conceited, just honest. Put away the claws). And… I’m a vampire. (Not the biting kind. The cursed kind.) Any questions?
Before you go thinking too hard, let me answer the number one question I’ve been asked my whole life. Why did one of the richest men in Georgia with a pedigree that rivaled British royalty and a wife that was not only a trophy, but also the love of his life, name his only child, Vidalia? It’s simple. My daddy only ever truly loved three things: me, Momma, and his onions…Vidalia, Viviana, and Vidalia. It’s a Southern thing, just go with it.
Number two question: why is a pretty socialite like me a Medical Examiner? Well, you see, this is easier for y’all to grasp than those that don’t really know me. Suffice it to say I don’t go around flashing my “V Card” to everyone (vampire, not virgin…keep up). I may not be the ‘bite first, ask questions later’ type of vamp, but I am still a vamp, and that means blood is food. But here’s the kicker…it’s gotta be ‘live’ blood. So in the morgue, with my patients, I’m good. I became a vampire after I became a doctor and wasn’t willing to give up my passion, hence Medical Examiner.
This leads me to another important fact you need to know about me. I have no fangs. I know you’re thinking that isn’t possible, fangs are essential to a vamp. You might even be thinking, ‘she’s just bat-shit crazy’, and let me tell you there are days I think you might be right, but today isn’t one of them.
Really quick, here’s the lowdown, and then I’ve gotta get back to work. My granddaddy was a philanderer. Don’t get me wrong, he loved Nana with all his heart, but then it wasn’t his heart that led him astray, if you get my meaning? Anyhow, he had a torrid affair with Natasha Constantin. She was the star of the show at the Sassy Peach, the club that back in the day, was the local men’s lounge. Natasha had a body for sin, the voice of a siren luring men to their doom, and the power to make men do her bidding. None of that would’ve been so bad had she not also been a gypsy and a vampire.
Granddaddy had been sneaking off for months to meet Natasha, and the night of my parent’s wedding was no different. Mind you, this was all before my time, but people talk, especially my people. As the story goes, on this particular night when he arrived at the Sassy Peach, Natasha was not performing as usual. Instead, she’d left him a message with the coat check girl for him to come straight to her private quarters. Granddaddy climbed those stairs thinking he was in for the night of his life. Which I guess he got, just not the way he was thinking.
He opened the door and found his ‘girlfriend’ waiting with her bags packed, ready to take Reginald P Fitzsimmons III home to Romania to meet her daddy (read ‘big bad gypsy vampire daddy). She’d decided he was the one man out of all the men in her very long life that she wanted to bring into ‘the family’, so to speak. As honored as Granddaddy was, he politely declined. He did have a family, after all.
This was obviously not the answer Natasha had been looking for. The words ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ were truly defined that day. To say Natasha lost her cool is an understatement by all accounts. No sooner had Granddaddy’s words been spoken than the thousand-year-old vampire showgirl became something out of a Wes Craven movie. The skin pulled taut across her face making her resemble some kind of malformed, mummified skeleton. Her teeth elongated and dripped with what has been speculated to be everything from plain ole saliva to acidic venom, as the story has been retold repeatedly. Long, sharp talons extended from her fingertips and a screech flew from her lips that burst not only the windows of the Sassy Peach, but all the surrounding buildings as well.
Granddaddy stood glued to his spot, shocked at the horror unraveling before his eyes. Taking advantage of his terror, the she-devil used her claws to peel the shirt from his chest, leaving a trail of blood and gore that upon later inspection, proved to be the brand of her clan.
Speaking in an otherworldly rumble that has been compared to the voice of the devil herself, Natasha snarled first in her native tongue, and then repeated for those that spoke English, “Your blood shall be mine, to walk the earth for eternity, never knowing peace. Never to procreate, never to truly live, only to exist. As the sun rises from the Earth beginning their twenty-first year, the hearts of those of your lineage will no longer beat, their lungs no longer draw breath, their thirst only quenche
Gale force winds blew through the Sassy Peach at the same time that a great fire broke out on the ground floor. Natasha seemed to ride those winds like some great, avenging demon, spewing more of her venom at the townspeople as she ascended into the night sky, never to be seen or heard from again.
Many had run for the lives, some died, and through it all, no one knew what had become of Granddaddy. A couple of hours later he was found wandering around an onion field, halfway between town and our house. The old man was mumbling as if he’d lost his mind because…well...he had, or at the very least, misplaced it.
Three weeks later he finally came around, screaming at the top of his lungs about vampires and curses, begging for forgiveness. When they got him quieted down, he told Nana and my parents all about his transgressions. Nana, being the gracious southern woman that she was, forgave him; at least that’s how they both told it. (I’m thinking she kicked his ass but good when no one was looking, but who am I to say.) He forbade my parents from having any children, telling them of the curse Natasha had placed upon the family. Unfortunately, he was about two months too late. Seems Momma and Daddy had a secret of their own…me!
I was born just like any other child. Played in the mud. Took dance classes. Was the Homecoming and the Prom Queen. Graduated top of my class from Emory Medial School. Received commendations from all my superiors throughout my internship and residency, and passed the Georgia Medical Boards as the youngest person with the highest score in nearly a hundred years. I hurried because I had no clue what would happen when, and I quote, “the sun rises from the Earth beginning their twenty-first year”.
It was actually non-eventful as far as I could tell. I went to sleep pretty well drunk off my butt (a girl deserves her twenty-first birthday party, doesn’t she?). I remember waking up sure the world was spinning off its axis, then rolling over and going back to sleeping like I was dead. (Get it? Dead? Undead? Oh well.) Emerging from under the covers two days later, looking and feeling no different than when I’d fallen asleep, I figured ol’ Natasha had been full of beans.
I took a shower, dressed, and got ready to head home for the weekend, figuring my family needed to know that all hell had not broken loose and I was still me. Just as I was grabbing my overnight bag, my bestie, Joanna, knocked on the door before letting herself in, just like we’d done for all the years we’d known each other.
The only difference now was that instead of seeing the tall, gorgeous blonde that had been runner-up for Miss Georgia, I saw lunch! One whiff of her blood, one beat of her heart, and I salivated…honest to God salivated. I will calm all your fears right now…I did not eat or drink my best friend. (Come on people, that would’ve just been bad form.) However, I did run home as if the hounds of Hell were on my tail. It took some time, but as is the Fitzsimmons’ way, we got it all figured out and I’m happy to say that in the almost nine years since becoming a vampire, (well sort of a vampire, I mean I still don’t have fangs) I have never bitten, eaten, or sipped from a human being. I’m a bagged blood only kinda girl. All right, you’re all caught up. It’s back to work for me.
“I’m done here. You got all you need, Reggie?” I asked, pulling off the black rubber gloves as I stood.
“Yeah, I’m good. I’ll get her loaded in the bus and meet you back at the office.”
“Thanks. I’ll grab the coffee.”
“You’re my hero. Can you get me a donut, too?”
“You got it, Reg. See you in a bit.”
I headed to my car wondering what was keeping the detectives that the officers containing the scene had said were on their way. You’re gonna think I’m being silly, but I was hoping to catch a glimpse of Det. Bobby Monroe before heading back to the morgue. He’s six-feet-four inches of muscles, tanned skin, perfectly sun streaked hair, and sex appeal that makes me weak in the knees. It also just happens that he’s the lead homicide detective for the Buckhead PD, my boyfriend, and a vampire…bitten, not legacy or cursed. It had been a few days since we’d seen each other and I was kinda jonesing for just a quick look into his baby blues, but it didn’t look like that was gonna happen.
We met over a dead body, which for most people would be a turnoff, but then most people aren’t vampires or Medical Examiners. Our first date was over a stale cup of coffee at the Cactus Flower Café. Having been a vamp for almost a hundred years, he spotted, or should I say, sniffed me out right away, while I remained clueless as to his affliction until our second date, when we went back to his house for drinks. I took a drink of what I thought was a luscious Merlot, only to spit it all over my host, his white leather couch, and a gorgeous throw pillow I’ve yet to replace, when the taste of O positive coasted my taste buds.
Of course, I was mortified. I jumped off the sofa to find a towel and club soda, only to fall ass over teakettle and end up sitting in a most unladylike manner right at his feet. Trying to keep from laughing, Bobby reached down to help, just as I moved to my knees. Instead of finding my shoulder, his hand closed around my boob. I gasped. Our eyes met. His pupils dilated until only the tiniest circle of blue could be seen. His breath sped up. Without preamble and moving faster than I’d ever seen anyone move, Bobby’s hands were under my arms and he was pulling me onto his lap, right before slamming his mouth to mine.
The little bit of fang he’d been unable to keep from slipping out as his excitement grew nicked my lip. The taste of blood hit our tongues at the same time. Bloodlust, combined with our growing passion, exploded. The sounds of tearing fabric and splintering wood rang through his apartment as we fought to quench the fire threatening to consume us.
Several hours later, we’d made love on every possible surface (and a few that were not so possible, but a hell of a lot of fun), when the ringing of Bobby’s cell phone woke us from where we’d collapsed in the middle of living room, surrounded by remnants of his antique coffee table and an overturned chair. Not wanting to eavesdrop, I made my way into the bathroom, wrapped in the tablecloth that my lover had grabbed from where it landed in a pile on the floor hours earlier and covered us with before we’d passed out.
The glare of about twenty-five soft light bulbs surrounding the huge vanity in Bobby’s bathroom was a shock, but nothing compared to the menagerie of ‘hickeys’ covering my neck and chest. Completely mortified and more than a little pissed, I turned to march out and kick the ass of the man that had just given me the best ten or so orgasms of my life, when I caught a closer look of one of my so-called hickeys in the full-length mirror on the back of the door. (What can I say; my man likes to look at himself.)
The marks were almost perfect circles, about an inch in diameter, the skin lightly bruised (which surprised me, as these were the first bruises I’d had since becoming a vampire), with two dark pin pricks in the center. It took exactly three seconds for all the events of the previous night to come flooding back, not just the ones that involved sweaty bodies and screams of passion. I remembered the taste of blood in the wine and the nick of fang on my lip.
Throwing open the door, I found a startled Bobby reaching for the door handle in all his naked glory. Recovering more quickly than I, he gave me a cocky grin and said, “I was coming to see if I could coerce you into a shower.” Then wiggled his eyebrows with a confidence that only came from a man who’d never heard the word no.
“You’re a vampire!”
Confusion replaced confidence as he took a step back. “Yeah, so are you,” he answered with an unspoken ‘Duh’ at the end of the sentence.
My confusion immediately turned to anger. “You didn’t think that was vital information BEFORE we had sex?” I accused.
His brow furrowed. “How did you not know?”
“What do you mean?”
“You couldn’t sense it? Couldn’t tell from my scent? Didn’t, just know?”
“How the hell would I just know?”
Spinning, he advanced on me like a lion on the prowl, stopped just short of our bodies touching, and growled, “Why didn’t you bite me?” He seemed insulted instead of relieved.
The resounding slap that I have it on good authority (Bobby’s) left a handprint that lasted almost twenty-four hours was my only response. In a huff of epic proportions and with the flare of a drag queen during Pride week, I flew out of his apartment, still wrapped in the tablecloth with torn clothes, one shoe, and my panties in my Prada bag. I fell into the first cab I could get and cried all the way to my condo. I will tell you in hindsight and after almost two years, I’m still not proud of my behavior. But all I can say is, for the first time since becoming a fangless vamp; I was embarrassed about who and what I was. Embarrassed that I didn’t have fangs and truly didn’t know everything that meant. Embarrassed that I couldn’t tell who was a vamp and who wasn’t, and if I had to be totally honest…embarrassed I lost my ever-lovin’ mind in front of the guy I’d just had mind-blowing sex with that also happened to be the best-looking man in the whole wide world. I had been wandering around thinking I was well adjusted to my condition, only to find out I was just existing.
Four days later, thirty phone calls, twelve text messages, and three huge bouquets of flowers, and I was still avoiding Bobby like the plague, still hiding, and more embarrassed every time his name came across my phone. I’m both happy and sad to tell you that less than twelve hours later, a shootout at a college bar in the downtown area brought me face to face with said dreamy detective. Apparently, the police dispatcher had been paid to tell me it was Bobby’s day off whenever I called. (No more fresh, blueberry scones for Belinda.) I was sad that three college kids had to die because they were stupid and playing Russian roulette, but extremely happy because, although it was mortifying, I was forced to look into those beautiful blue eyes one more time and listen to what Bobby had to say.
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