I woke the next morning to the sound of my phone ringing. I fumbled around until I found it and pressed the talk button. “Hello?” I said in a scratchy voice. God my head hurts!
“Good morning, Karli,” said a deep, silky voice, “it’s Leo. I hope I didn’t wake you. Although I must admit, the thought of you in bed is quite appetizing.”
Surprised, I sat up in bed and said, “No, that’s okay. I needed to get up anyway.”
“I have good news,” he continued. “The police are done collecting evidence. We will be opening the bar tonight at eight. My secretary, Liza, is calling the rest of the staff but I wanted to give you a call personally.”
“Why do I get the honor of getting a call directly from the boss?” I asked.
“Because, I wanted to hear your voice and I didn’t want to wait until tonight,” he said matter-of-factly.
“Oh,” I so eloquently replied.
“Listen, I’m already at the hotel. I moved some of my things in overnight. I’d like you to meet me in my room before you start your shift tonight.”
“Your room?” I asked.
“Yes, I’d like to review my plans with you for the time that I will be spending at the bar. I’d imagine it will be busy since it’s a Saturday night. I’d prefer to meet with you beforehand so we do not get distracted.”
Yeah, like being in his room wouldn’t be distracting. “Um, okay. What time would you like me there?”
“Seven o’clock should be fine,” he replied. “That will give us plenty of time to talk before the bar opens.”
“What room are you in?”
“I’m in the penthouse. I will leave an envelope for you at the front desk. You will need it to get up to this level. I’m in suite number two.”
“Got it. Envelope, front desk, number two,” I said.
“Great, so I’ll see you then.”
Before he hung up I said, “Hey, Leo?”
“Shouldn’t you be asleep right now? Don’t vampires usually sleep during the day?”
He laughed. “We require very little sleep, my dear. It comes in quite handy when we need to attend to business…or other more basic needs.”
Not wanting to think about the basic needs of a vampire, I said, “Oh, okay. I was just wondering. I’ll see you tonight.”
“I look forward to it.”
I took a shower and spent the next few hours running errands and doing laundry. I hadn’t heard from Vance at all which was perfectly fine by me. I wasn’t ready to have that talk quite yet. At six thirty, I grabbed my keys and headed for the hotel. When I arrived, I went up to the front desk and asked for the envelope, giving the clerk my name. She handed me a sealed envelope and directed me to the private elevator bay for the penthouse suites. I opened it and pulled out a small black key fob. I headed to the elevator and waited.
When the doors opened, I pressed the fob against the sensor and the button labeled PH lit up. It took me straight up to the top, into a well-appointed lobby. Directly in front of me were a set of double doors. Nope, not the ones I needed. I looked to my left and saw another set with the number two on them. I headed down the long hall, stopped in front of his room, and took a deep breath. Here we go!
I knocked lightly. The door opened right away, revealing Leo wearing nothing but a golden bath towel. His hair was wet and he smelled like some kind of intoxicating manly soap. I had to fight the urge to get closer for a better sniff.
“Please come in,” he said as he stepped aside. “Please excuse my appearance; I’m running a little behind. I just got out of the shower.” I couldn’t seem to direct my eyes to anything above his waistline. Oh, if only that towel would fall…Leo cleared his throat. Oh fuck! Did he just catch me staring at his crotch? I met his eyes and he smiled. Yep, totally busted. Christ, I thought, I’m incapable of being around this man without blushing incessantly.
“Pardon me for just a moment,” he said. “Make yourself comfortable.”
I looked around the room, desperately trying not to make an ass out of myself again. The penthouse suite was just as luxurious as one would imagine. I walked into the cavernous living/dining area that was decorated in shades of eggplant and gold. Immediately to the right of the foyer was a small marble powder room. A crescent-shaped wet bar made of marble and dark cherry wood was off to my left. Directly in front of me was a large, overstuffed couch with two side chairs and a flat screen TV. In the corner there was a round cherry dining table surrounded by four golden chairs. Most impressive were the wall-to-wall windows, and the view they provided. It was stunning. You could clearly see the neon lights of the Strip and the dancing fountains below.
“Wow, great room,” I said. “I’ve never been up this high before.”
Leo walked over to the adjoining master suite, not bothering to close the doors. “Only the best,” he said as he dropped his towel unabashedly, revealing an ass that must have been made out of a mold. He stepped into a pair of black slacks and pulled a dark green sweater over his shoulders. Omigod, he’s going commando!
He looked back and caught me staring again. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! I quickly turned my head away and tried pretending as if that hadn’t just happened. As he walked back into the living room he asked, “Can I get you a beverage?”
“Some water would be great. Thanks.” Gulp. He handed me a bottle of water from the fridge. I unscrewed the top and took a big swig. He was watching me with interest, making me very nervous. I started fidgeting, trying to look casual but sure I was failing miserably.
“Please have a seat,” he said, gesturing towards the couch. I picked a chair and continued to drink my water. I was having a very difficult time not thinking about the fact that he wasn’t wearing any underwear.
He took a seat on the couch. “Why are you so nervous, my sweet?”
“Nervous? I’m not nervous,” I lied.
He laughed. “Whatever you say, my love. I guess we should get down to it then.”
Another gulp. “Down to what, exactly?” Crap, that came out about two pitches higher than normal.
“To the reason why I’ve asked you to come,” he replied. “As I mentioned last night, I plan to spend each evening at the bar until I know everyone is safe. My senses should alert me to any demons that may come in. I’ve hired four highly trained bodyguards, who also happen to be vampires. They will take shifts posing as customers, keeping an eye out for anything suspicious. I’ll need you to notify the staff of our presence, but make sure you tell them that they should conduct themselves in the usual manner. I want them to notify you if they notice anything out of place. You can then pass that information off to me. I don’t want to draw too much attention to my men or scare anybody off. I want the chance to catch this guy if he is, in fact targeting my employees.”
“Have you already spoken to Kendra about this?” Kendra was the other Head Bartender who worked when I didn’t. “She’s there Sundays through Wednesdays.”
“Yes, I’ve made arrangements to meet with her in my suite before her shift on Sunday afternoon. I’ll make sure that she follows the same protocol.”
Why had he invited her to his room? More importantly, why was I so jealous? Leo smirked, as if he were reading my mind. Could he do that? Damn, I really needed to find a Vampires for Dummies book!
“Do you have any other questions?” he asked.
“No, not that I can think of,” I replied.
He stood up and gestured for me to follow. He walked me out to the elevator and pressed the call button. When the doors opened, I offered to return the key fob. “No, that’s okay,” he said. “You keep it. It opens the door to my suite as well. Feel free to visit at any time.”
Blushing again, or maybe still, I couldn’t keep track anymore, I stepped into the elevator and pressed the button for the casino level. When the doors closed, I let out a breath that I didn’t realize I was holding. Oh God, what the hell am I getting myself into?
I got to work as everyone was buzzing around, getting ready to open.
“Everyone, could I have your attention please?” I asked. Once they were gathered, I continued. “I wanted to let you know that our new boss, Leo Markos, will be here during the evenings until further notice. He is taking the events from the other night very seriously and wants to ensure our safety. I’ve reserved table twenty for him so please make sure it is always available. He will have a security detail in place that will include four rotating guards who will pose as customers. Mr. Markos wants us to conduct ourselves in a business as usual manner. If you notice anything out of place, please alert me or Kendra and we will share that information with them. Does anyone have any questions?”
Jordyn, one of the dancers, asked, “Do the police know what killed Leslie?”
“They know it was a demon, but they don’t know what kind yet. I don’t want you guys to worry about any of that though. Mr. Markos has assured me that we are his top priority and he will take any necessary actions to keep us safe.”
“I’d like to show him some necessary action,” Jordyn teased. The other gals giggled. “I heard he was the super sexy vampire from table twenty the other night. Is that true?”
“Yes, that was him,” I snapped. Jordyn made no secret about preferring the company of vampires. I was pretty sure she was the one who had started the rumor about orgasmic bites.
“Now, unless anyone else has anything relevant to add,” I continued, “Let’s finish our prep because the gate is going up in twenty minutes.”
Leo arrived shortly after eight and sat down in the corner booth. He had several reports fanned out across the table and kept to himself for the most part. He appeared immersed in his paperwork but I could tell his senses were on high alert. Every once in a while, I would catch him scanning the bar or making eye contact with one of the guards.
Surprisingly, the night went off without a hitch. We were busier than normal because people had a morbid interest in the details of Leslie’s murder, but nothing out of the ordinary happened. When the gates were closed, everyone busied themselves with clean up and prep work. Leo was gathering his paperwork when Jordyn came out, wearing nothing but a short, white satin robe. Smiling, she sat down at his table. I tried not to eavesdrop but my curiosity got the best of me.
“Hi there,” she said, totally exaggerating her southern accent, “I’m Jordyn, the gal behind screen number one. You’re Leo, right?”
“That’s correct,” he replied. “It’s very nice to meet you, Jordyn. I enjoyed watching your performance this evening. It was very…ah, titillating.”
“Well, I aim to please, sugar!” she said, clearly excited by his compliment. Is she exposing her neck to him? Oh Christ, could she have been more obvious? “You know, I’d be more than happy to give you a private performance sometime,” she continued. “I hear you’re staying upstairs for a while. You just say when, honey, and I’ll be sure to come right up.” Oh, please don’t tell me he’s falling for this!
“That’s very kind of you to offer,” he said with a fangy grin. “I’ll most certainly keep that in mind. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to wrap up a few things with Karli before I go.” He grabbed her hand and kissed the tips of her fingers as she stood.
“Oh, of course, darlin’. Business before pleasure! I guess I’ll step in back to put my clothes on. I can’t exactly go out to my car dressed like this!” She winked at him as she walked away.
Leo glanced towards the bar and caught me spying on them. Dammit! He walked up to me and said, “It looks like things went well tonight. Would you agree?”
“Yeah, it was pretty busy. We did really well with tips. Enough so that it should make up for being closed last night.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” he said. “Are you just about finished up here?”
“Yes, I am. I just need to close the credit card machine and divvy up the tips. It looks like we should be ready to go in maybe five minutes or so.”
“Great, I’ll just finish gathering my things then.” He lowered his voice before continuing, “Would you care to join me upstairs for a nightcap?”
His rumbling voice gave me goose pimples as warmth radiated between my thighs. Yeah, that was the last thing I should be doing after seeing his perfect ass earlier. I didn’t think I could be held responsible for my actions with the way I was feeling. “Um, I appreciate the offer but I really think I should just head home. I’m pretty tired.”
“I understand,” he said, not trying to hide his disappointment. “Perhaps some other time.”
I nodded as he walked back over to his table. I gathered everyone to dole out their tips and escorted them to the gate. Once the last person had walked away, Leo joined me.
“If you change your mind, my dear, you know where to find me.”
“Um, thanks,” I said while I was locking the gate.
We parted ways and headed in separate directions. Oh boy, I needed to get far away from that man before I did something stupid. I picked up my pace and headed towards the parking garage. I ran into Erica in the atrium.
“So, how’d it go last night?” she asked.
“Oh, don’t play dumb with me, K. How was your little rendezvous with the detective? I was planning to call you before work, but I was tied up…quite literally,” she said with a mischievous grin.
“Oh that,” I replied. “Um, it was…fine.”
“Oh no, I’m not letting you off the hook that easily! I want details, lady!”
I gave Erica all the sordid details about my experience at Voyeur-Gasm, including the fact that Leo had witnessed the whole thing.
“Oh man, I’m so sorry I missed that.” She laughed. “I would have loved to be a fly on that wall!”
“There’s one more thing I didn’t mention, Eri. When Vance came to pick me up, I may have accidentally sprinkled some fairy dust on him.”
“What?!?! Omigod, does he know what it was?” she shrieked.
“Yeah, he definitely knows. I think I dodged the bullet for now though.”
“What are you going to do?” she asked.
“I have no idea. So far, complete denial is working pretty well for me.”
As we were getting in our cars, she said, “Well, good luck, baby. Let me know if you need any magical assistance.”
“Thanks sweetie, I will.”