Chapter 1-Bite Me Under the Mistletoe
Derek stood in the corner of the large ballroom that was in the Broadman Hotel and sipped slowly on the drink he’d grabbed off the serving tray as a server had passed him earlier. When the taste of it hit his taste buds, he felt like sticking out his tongue at the awful taste of it. Glaring down at the glass of red, whatever it was, he smacked his lips softly after the second try. Oh, yes, it still tasted about as good as paint remover probably did. With a shudder of revulsion, he poured it into the pot of the plant next to him.
Christmas music was being played by the live band stationed on a platform in the front, and a few couples danced. However, most of the men there were schmoozing and trying to make deals. As for him, he was bored out of his mind and was wishing he were anywhere but here.
Why exactly am I here again? Oh, that’s right because it is, quote “expected of me”, unquote.
Letting out another sigh of annoyance, he once more glanced around at the women dressed in their Christmas finery and at the men in their tuxes. Slowly making his way out of the corner, he began walking around the dancing couples slowly.
Perhaps I’ll find a single woman who looks just as bored as I am and ask her to dance. That might at least pass a little of my time until I can leave this snooze fest.
Off to his left, and toward the back of the room, he spotted his business partner, Jerome, along with his wife, Natalie. Jerome was the one who had insisted Derek come to this gala. He’d said it was for a good cause, one hundred dollars to get in the door, that would go to a local charity, and that anyone who was anyone would be there.
Jerome believed it was always a good business to be seen rubbing elbows with the high class.
Derek raised a curious eyebrow as he spotted Jerome having what seemed to be an intense conversation with the mayor and his wife. He sighed in irritation as he narrowed his eyes slightly to watch them.
I wonder what kind of scheme Jerome and his wife have up their sleeves this time. Whatever it is, it can’t be good for the Mayor, perhaps I should go and interrupt. Or perhaps I’ll just get close enough to listen in since, sadly, I don’t care at this point what Jerome is up to.
He was a vampire who had been around a long time. So, it usually didn’t take much for him to lose interest in whatever he was doing as far as jobs went, and he’d been in the real-estate business with Jerome for five years now. Alas, Jerome wasn’t known in the business world for being honest, but Derek had ignored the rumors that had floated around about the man when he’d been looking for a new venture. It hadn’t taken him long to realize there had been a lot of truth in the rumors and hearsay.
The first couple of years had been good though until he’d noticed how some of the entries on the books didn’t always add up. When he’d said something about it to Jerome, however, the man had made excuses about a crooked employee. This had caused him to investigate it all a bit more and found that it wasn’t a crooked employee at all. No, it was Jerome who was the crooked one.
When Jerome realized he’d been caught, he’d stopped, at least for a while, until the heat was off.
Then, last month Derek had found the books were being doctored again, among other things.
Jerome had been having some rough looking people coming through the office, people who didn’t look as if they were there to buy a home.
Derek once more began snooping in Jerome’s business and found drugs. It looked as if Jerome was dealing the narcotics from his office and Derek wanted no part of any of it. He might be a vampire and could disappear if the police caught wind of things, but it wasn’t right, and he didn’t want to be anywhere close to it.
Jerome didn’t know it yet but come the first of the year Derek was quitting the business and leaving town. He then planned to anonymously expose Jerome and his dealings to the police.
He was pulled from his musings when he felt an electrical shift in the air.
Pausing in his trip around the room, he swept his narrow-eyed gaze over the room once more. This time it was in search of the vampire he knew had entered the room. What he found was a big, bulked up, bruiser-looking man with a ponytail now talking to Jerome.
He snorted, probably one of Jerome’s suppliers, or perhaps one of his street dealers. Then he stiffened as he caught sight of the girl standing a few steps behind the man with the ponytail.
She looked as bored as he felt, but there was something about her that intrigued him. She was wearing a long red, strapless gown with tiny gold threads that shimmered in the light and hugged her body like a second skin. Her hair, so black it shined almost blue in the light, was long and curled and hung down to her waist. Her face was pale as if it never saw the sun and unblemished, but her eyes… When she glanced his way, he saw her eyes were a dark green that sucked him in and made him want to stay in her presence forever.
They were the eyes of his beloved. “Beloved,” the beast in him agreed with a hiss.
Drawn to her by her beauty, he started walking her way, watching the man she was with point across the room toward chairs that were set up for people to rest and shoved her slightly.
With a frown, she moved away from the man toward the chairs placed farthest from the crowd.
Then the man with the ponytail allowed Jerome to lead him away, and it looked as if they were headed toward the mayor.
Derek had no interest in Jerome and his deals anymore, so he followed slightly behind the woman, watching as she stopped and turned before taking a seat and gazing around. Taking a deep breath, he noted she was only a halfling. He internally shrugged because it made no difference to him if she was a halfling or a pureblood, or even a bitten. She was his beloved and he would love her all the same. He did wonder though if she would know what he was when they met since she was only half-vampire.