Or....maybe the little guy is a Jack-o-Lantern cigar.
If a nasty old Jack-o-Lantern eats little Jack-o-Lanterns for breakfast, I hope he gets a good case of indigestion!
Despite the risk of getting fingers chomped on, would you be willing to rescue the little guy?
He looks like he's hoping for a rescuer!
In Deadly Liaisons, Tezra Campbell needs such a rescuer. But the borderline renegade huntress doesn't believe this for an instant. But Daemon, prince of the vampires, thinks otherwise.
Excerpt from Deadly Liaisons:
“Another killing, Atreides?” Daemon turned away from his twin brother and again studied the SCU investigator, Tezra Campbell. He’d gained her name from the police officers’ discussion of her when she was far enough away not to hear their crude comments. Not a few of them wondered what it would be like to peel the leather from her skin and expose the beauty beneath, to roll with her under the sheets, to find out if she was as hot in bed as she looked crouching at a crime scene.
The petite brunette tucked her hip-length hair behind her ear, the leather pants molding to her curvaceous legs and the short-waisted jacket showing off one hell of a sumptuous ass. The black turtleneck wrapped around her throat like protective armor. Daemon found himself wanting to pull it aside and feel the blood pulsing rapidly through her neck, to taste her tender skin, lap up her warm, sweet blood and to feel her tremble beneath his fingertips, drawn to his power.
He clenched his teeth, trying to ignore the feelings she stirred in him. Lust, nothing else, he chided himself. Yet, there was something about the woman that drew him in, more than her enticing form or resolute determination to take on a case that would earn her the death penalty from the vampire who had killed the police officers. Even more than the way she tried to ensure the hunter’s safety should the rogue vampire target him next.
Daemon could have sworn she touched his mind, though normally humans couldn’t do such a thing. Yet, the gentle stroke he had felt hadn’t come from a vampiress seeking intimacy. If it had, she would have pursued him and attempted to solicit his response. The touch he had felt had been different, like the mist brushing his skin, softly, almost imperceptibly, there. No quest for sexual fulfillment, no personal communications meant solely for him. Something secretive, elusive and intimately seductive.
She closed her car door, and the engine roared to life.
“Such is the way of this violent world,” Atreides finally said, as if he’d been caught up in the woman’s mesmerizing qualities too.
Daemon’s twin looked nearly identical to him except for being a tad shorter, his sable hair slightly less dark, and his eyes more of a chestnut brown, paler than Daemon’s. Tonight Atreides wore a black leather trench coat, like he always did when he was on the prowl for a new blood bond. He appeared to be in one of his stranger, unfathomable moods. Something was percolating, but despite Daemon’s attempts to catch glimpses of his thoughts, Atreides kept them shielded. Which meant Atreides was up to something. How many times would he have to get his brother out of some misadventure that might get them both killed?
“You had nothing to do with this police killing either, Atreides?” Daemon asked.
“Why do you always think so ill of me?” Atreides pointed to another warehouse. “More of our kind watch, as curious as we are about who’s killing the police officers. So what do you think about the new investigator?”
“She’s not a regular police officer, but an investigator with the SCU—worse, a borderline rogue, a dark huntress, who is bound to cause even more trouble.”
Atreides’s lips turned up so slightly, only someone who knew him as well as Daemon did would have noticed. “Ups the stakes a bit for the killer, don’t you think?”
The muscle in Daemon’s jaw tightened. “If he kills her, there’ll be an outcry from the SCU. No doubt we’ll have another bloodbath on our hands.”
The woman’s car disappeared into the fog.
“Many of us liked the good old days,” Atreides said.
“Back to the slaughtering, back to a time when vampires preyed on humans and SCU hunters eliminated any vampire to even the score. An inhumane period of darkness for humans and vampires.” Daemon shook his head. “You’re not still angry over Uncle Solomon’s death, are you?”
He knew his brother was. Knew the wound still festered from losing the last of their natural kin to overzealous cops investigating murders committed by a killer vampire they had assumed their uncle had been involved in.
“If you want to help the investigator, look elsewhere for the killer. You know he’ll target her next.”
“She’s offered herself like a sacrificial meal.” Daemon grunted. “A foolishly arrogant notion. Though the murderer will have a more difficult time of it—she’ll be easier to kill than a hunter, but infinitely more of an…interesting challenge for the rogue than the city police officers.”
“Will you aid her?” His brother’s lips turned up, his eyes sparkling.
“What do you think?” Daemon couldn’t help the sharpness edging his words.
Atreides hesitated to respond, wearing an odd expression that Daemon couldn’t read.
“You respect their work to a degree, but have no more love for them than they have for us,” Atreides finally said.
“Despite your preference for the good old days, Atreides, I want peace for everyone’s sake.”
If Daemon was forced to, he’d help the woman with her investigation to keep that peace. But only if there were no other alternatives.
A strange sense of foreboding washed over him. No matter how much he wanted to stay uninvolved, he couldn’t fight feeling Tezra Campbell would soon need his protection. Nothing worse than tangling with a member of the SCU who viewed vampires with disdain.
“Don’t do anything to get yourself into trouble, Atreides,” Daemon warned, then headed to the police station to find out more details concerning the killings. He’d locate the murderer without involving himself with the woman.
At least that was the plan.
Except for the second bedroom she’d converted into an office and lab, Tezra’s apartment was cloaked in darkness. Perched on her leather chair, studying samples from two previous killings on slides under the microscope, she rubbed her temple to massage the headache brewing there. Too many late night hours investigating the murders. She took another sip of her coffee and grimaced to find it cold. The phone jangled, shattering the peace and her nerves.
Lifting the receiver she said, “Yes?”
“You…you needed to know about my husband, Officer Stevens?”
“Cynthia Stevens?” Tezra hadn’t thought the bereaved woman would call her but that someone from the police force would. The sound of the woman’s barely controlled emotions didn’t help Tezra keep her own feelings out of it.
“He…he didn’t wear cologne. My…my husband. He was allergic to stuff like that. I couldn’t even wear perfume or he’d…” Cynthia broke into fitful sobbing.
“I’m…I’m so sorry, Cynthia. I…I wish I could have saved him.”
“You? What could you have done against the demon? He’ll…he’ll kill them all.” The phone clicked dead in Tezra’s ear.
He’ll kill them all, echoed in Tezra’s tired brain. He’ll kill who all? All the men at the precinct? She slowly let out her breath. Hell, now what? She needed to know what Cynthia knew, but she figured the widow was too distraught to question at the moment.
But the business about the cologne…didn’t it prove that two vampires were present tonight? One wearing her father’s cologne, the other wearing sandalwood? And Krustalus had attempted seductive solicitation while the other vampire was filled with rage?
She glanced at her watch. Where the hell were the new tissue samples?
As if in answer to her unspoken query, her front door opened. She knew damn well she had locked it. It shut with an ominous click. She sat frozen, listening for footsteps. There was no sound save the central heater rumbling as hot air spilled through the overhead vent.
Slowly, she slid her chair away from the desk toward her sword. A rush of adrenaline flooded her system, readying her for the perceived danger.
Before she could reach her sword, a man appeared in the doorway of her office and silently observed her. An ancient vampire. Since she had not invited him in, who the hell had? And why had he come through the front door? A game, maybe. To give her warning he was on his way, taunting her. Or perhaps to ensure she was all alone in the apartment, to avoid complications should there be a hunter here to protect her back, lounging in bed, waiting for her to finish her work.
The vampire’s dark brown eyes watched her with unblinking severity. His sinister look and the size of him—six-feet, broad-shouldered—chilled her to the bone. Dressed in black slacks, shoes and a satin shirt, large-collared with full sleeves, he reminded her of a well-clothed pirate. The buttons opened halfway down his chest revealed a smidgeon of dark brown hair, triggering the notion he was marketing his goods—to conquer, to will her to him, to sate his hunger. He looked starved while he devoured every inch of her with his sexist glare.
Bolting from the chair, Tezra yanked her sword out of its stand next to the desk. Her heart thundered, and she knew the blood pulsing rapidly through her veins would trigger his bloodlust. Yet, he watched, no reaction at all.
“How did you get in?” she snapped. She spread her feet apart, giving herself better balance, preparing herself for his attack.
“What have you learned about the killer?” His voice, dark and deep, could seduce a female human easily into offering her throat to him before he bit into her jugular.
“Why? Are you afraid I’ve told the police who you are?”
His lips twitched.
She didn’t waver in her stance. She couldn’t kill him unless she was certain he was a rogue. Then again, if he advanced on her, she’d assume the worst.
“If that were so, what name did you give?” He walked over to her microscope, leaned down and peered into it as if he owned the place.
Her ire grew.
Since the distance between them remained the same, she shifted to ensure she still would meet him head-on if he attacked. Her hands clammy, her sword grew heavy while she kept it raised and ready for a fight.
The name Daemon flitted across his mind…and hers.
Daemon looked up from the slides when she didn’t respond.
“Your name’s Daemon.” She would have enjoyed the fleeting look of surprise that crossed his face if it wasn’t for the danger he represented.
He opened his mouth to speak, then shut it again. He rose to his full height. “How do you know my name?”***
So what do you think? Does she need a hot vampire rescuer? Maybe he can rescue the little Jack-o-Lantern while he's at it!
Have a super Thursday!!!
"Giving new meaning to the term alpha male."