I blinked, bracing myself as he moved in, preparing for hard, demanding lips. What I got was the exact opposite. Vance was so soft, so very tentative. At first, he pressed both of his lips against mine. He just held himself there for a moment before he pulled back, gently tugging on my bottom lip. He came back in, and then pulled out again, taking my top lip with him this time. He slowly tasted me as his lips explored. I was momentarily shocked by how perfectly our lips fit together.
It wasn’t until his third approach that he lightly parted my lips. I paired his tongue with my own, taking the opportunity to suck gently. He let out a deep moan and firmly pressed me into the dark green corduroy couch cushions. With his body now stretched over mine, his kisses became more urgent. He kept our lips together, parting them with shallow thrusts of his tongue that became deeper as our tempo increased. We stayed that way for a while, finding our rhythm, getting lost in the bliss. I could feel his erection against my thigh and it made me want him like nothing I’d ever felt before. I was on fire. I wanted his hands all over me; I needed his thick length to fill me whole. I had to take control of this situation before I spontaneously combusted.
I reached down and unbuttoned his jeans. Desperate for more, I pressed the heel of my hand against his straining denim. He broke from our kiss to sear me with his gaze, before starting again with renewed purpose. He kissed me impatiently, showering me with affection as I stroked him through his boxers. He made his way down my jaw and to my throat, before pulling the straps of my tank off my shoulders. His five o’clock shadow felt pleasantly rough against my skin. He paused for just a moment to look up at me with hooded eyes before freeing my breasts and licking a delicious path across my chest. He reached down and placed the palm of his hand against my inner knee, slowly tracing a line up to my core. His teasing fingers were just about to discover how much I wanted him when he grazed my nipple with his teeth. The sensory overload made me arch my back sharply and gasp.
“Oh Vance, I need you inside of me! Please!” I cried.
As soon as the words left my lips, he jumped back as if I had shocked him again. He stood up abruptly and began pacing the length of the couch while buttoning his jeans. “Karli, I shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry.”
Dumbfounded, I replied, “What? What do you have to be sorry for? Christ, I’m the one who should be apologizing. I swear, Vance, I was not planning this when I asked you to come inside. I just didn’t want to be alone with that horrible image stuck in my head.” I clumsily adjusted my clothing as I sat up.
His face was flushed. I couldn’t tell if he was turned on or embarrassed. “Look, Karli, I need to go. I’m sorry, but I have to get out of here before we do something we’ll regret in the morning. You were emotional, and I took advantage of you. I really am sorry.” He hesitated as he reached my front door, making me think that he was about to change his mind. He walked over to my kitchen and grabbed a notepad from the fridge. “I’m writing my cell number on here. Call me anytime, day or night, okay? I mean, if you remember any more details that could be relevant to the case.”
The case. Right. Message received loud and clear. I quickly masked my disappointment and nodded as he walked out the door. What the hell just happened?
Moments later, I was standing under the spray of a hot shower just letting the water beat down on my tired muscles. Yeah, this was definitely what I needed. I could feel the tension slowly easing its way out of my body. I started thinking about my confusing encounter with Vance. I touched my lips which were still swollen from his kisses. I lingered on the memory of him working his way down my body with his mouth, while he was simultaneously working his way up with his hand.
Closing my eyes, I thought about how I’d felt right before he reached the juncture of my thighs. I needed him more in that moment than anything else in my life. I could imagine him now, touching me, being in this tub with me. Slowing stroking my center with his thumb, working that little nerve bundle into a frenzy. I could feel his finger inside of me, frantically moving up and down. The pressure of beautiful release was building as he rubbed my clit faster and faster until I cried out his name in pleasure.
Feeling delightfully satiated, I opened my eyes only to realize I was alone. Wow, could I be any more pathetic tonight? I thought. Frustrated, I turned off the water and dried off haphazardly. I stomped into my bedroom, flopped into bed, and threw the covers over my head with a groan.
I woke around noon with a start, remembering something from the night before. Chad had been at the bar and he and Leslie were pretty friendly. How could I have forgotten that? I ran into the kitchen to grab Vance’s number off my fridge. Taking a deep breath, I picked up my phone and dialed.
“Hello, Karli?” he answered on the first ring.
“How did you know it was me?” Why was I blushing?
“I programmed your number into my phone last night…in case I needed to reach you about the investigation. Is everything okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. I remembered something about last night though. A guy I know, Chad, was with Leslie right around midnight. I was thinking that he might have some more details for you about where she went after he was with her.”
“That’s great!” he replied. “Any information I can get will help me. I just got off the phone with Forensics. Preliminary tests show that it was a demon that attacked her, but they don’t know what kind yet.”
A demon? Oh, this wasn’t good. “Um, when will they know?”
“I don’t know for sure,” he answered. “I’m guessing a day or two if all goes well. Why do you ask?”
“Well, Chad’s a demon, but I really don’t think he’s capable of something like this.”
“How well do you know this guy?” His voice was tinted with jealousy if I wasn’t mistaken. Or maybe I was just hoping that he was jealous.
“Uh, pretty well. We were together for over two years,” I admitted shamefully.
He cleared his throat. “What kind of demon is he? Did he ever display any violent behavior while you were together?”
“He’s a Zorak demon…half, actually. His mom was human, or so he said. He isn’t exactly the most trustworthy guy. I’d even go as far as saying he’s a compulsive liar. I’ve never seen him get angry about anything though. He’s quite the opposite. He’s very ah…friendly with others, if you catch my drift.”
“Well, regardless,” he replied, “I need to speak with him. Every demon is a suspect at this point. He very well may be the last person to see her alive. Can I get his number?”
“Um, not from me you can’t. He had to change his number after we broke up and I never got the new one.”
“He had to?”
“Yeah, I may have accidentally given it to every drag queen I could find, promising them a good time,” I confessed.
He pondered that for a moment. It sounded like he was trying not to laugh. “Okay…well, what’s this guy’s last name? Do you know where he works or lives? What about any establishments that he might frequent?”
“His last name is O’Brien. He moved recently, but I don’t know where exactly. He doesn’t work because he doesn’t need to. He’s a trust fund baby. I’ve heard rumors that he likes to spend a lot of time at that new club over on Tropicana. I think it’s called Voyeur-Gasm or something sleazy like that.”
“Yeah, I know the place. Actually, your new boss owns it. I spoke with him last night and he agreed to meet me there this evening. His office is located in the back of the club. Look, Karli, I think it might be a good idea if you came with me.”
“What? Why?” I asked.
“Because I’m hoping to kill two birds with one stone. I need to talk with Leo about the investigation but I might as well take a look around for Chad while I’m there.”
“Why can’t you just go to his house?”
“I will if I can’t find him there. Friday nights are the most crowded at this place, so if he goes there as often as you think, odds are he won’t disappoint.”
“I still don’t understand why I need to come.”
He sighed and said, “Because if he’s as dishonest as you say, I’ll need your help. I can conjure a truth spell beforehand, but I’ll need to focus on maintaining it while we’re in there. I can’t ask the questions and keep it going at the same time. You’ll need to be the one to talk to him.”
“Why can’t you bring someone from the police force to ask questions?”
“First of all, you know what he looks like. I can pull his DMV records but it would be really hard to find him in a place like that using a photo. Secondly, Leo has already made it very clear that I cannot go in there looking like a cop without a warrant. You’d be a lot less conspicuous.” He paused. “You know, Karli, if I didn’t know better, I’d think your reluctance to help was personal. Is there a reason why you wouldn’t want to go somewhere with me?”
“You mean, besides the fact that you confuse the hell out of me?”
“Excuse me?” he asked.
“Nothing,” I lied. “I have no reason not to go somewhere with you.”
“Well?” he asked. “Then what’s the problem?”
Shit, how was I going to get out of this? “I have to work.”
“Not anymore, you don’t,” he said. “The bar will be closed until further notice. Someone from Markos should be calling the staff this afternoon to notify them. Leo said I can show up any time after ten so I’ll pick you up right around then. Sound good?”
“Yeah, I guess.” Fuck!
“Great. Well, I have to get going now so I can get back to the station. I’ll see you then. Oh, and Karli…make sure you dress the part tonight. This club is very appropriately named. We need to blend in as much as possible.”
“What do you mean, dress---” Click. Dammit! What the hell was I getting myself into?