“The last time they had been together she had offered to make him immortal, to be her slave forever.”
Kenneth is a private detective on a case, and to solve it he needs help from the beautiful and dominant vampire he once loved, once served. A girl is missing, possibly kidnapped by vampires, and Dinaria is Ken’s only ally in his old haunts.
“He remembered the cool, sweet taste of her body, the way her nipples would darken and harden when they became flushed with blood, his blood.”
Twelve years earlier, Dinaria’s temptations had ruled his life, until the moment he had finally rejected her to make a life for himself. But now, as they hunt for the missing girl, a world of temptations swirls around them both.
About the author: Cameron Quintain is a quiet librarian by day and a swashbuckling superhero by night. He is also the author of The Viscountess Investigates.
Look under the cut for an excerpt…
He was twelve years older, but she was still the same. He had known it would be true, but somehow he still wasn’t ready for the lurch he felt in his chest when he saw her sitting there. She stood out like some rare exotic flower in the mundane coffee shop. No one else noticed her; no one ever noticed her unless she wanted to be seen.
Her hair hung heavy on her shoulders, glistening like platinum. Her dress was white, slightly off from the color of her skin so that her whole body seemed to reflect the light of the room. Death had hardened the curves of her body like a Cellini nude. The dress she wore clung in all the right places, but was slit on both sides to give her freedom of movement. Her long, pale legs were visible almost up to the thigh.
Her face—no, he wasn’t ready to look at her face yet.
“Kenneth,” she said. Her voice was unchanged, charged with a faint exotic accent a linguist could spend a lifetime trying to place.
He approached the table and there was an awkward moment when they did not hug or kiss, or shake hands. What was the proper etiquette for such a situation? The last time they had been together she had offered to make him immortal, to be her slave forever.
“Dinaria,” he said, trying to keep his voice neutral. When he slid into the seat across from her, he avoided looking at her face. It was still too early to risk making eye contact.
“I’m glad you called.”
“It’s business,” he said.
He thought she answered a little too quickly and wondered if there was a note of condescension in her voice. Was she making fun of him? It didn’t matter. It was too late to back out now.
“I’m looking for a missing teenage girl.”
“So you did become a police officer.”
“Yes, well…” Kenneth shifted uncomfortably in his chair. It had been easier telling his mother what happened than it was to tell her. “It didn’t work out. I guess I just wasn’t cut out for it. I did get my private investigator’s license.”
He wondered if she even knew what a private eye was. She had stopped paying attention to modern culture a few hundred years ago.
“Her name is Callie Ferris. She’s sixteen.” He fished the school photos out of his pocket and showed her the fresh-faced brunette. “She’s been gone for about a week.”
Dinaria glanced at the pictures and shrugged. “It’s not that I’m not flattered, Kenneth, but why here and why me?”
“Before she left, she was showing all the signs: pale, anemic, huge appetite but losing weight. The doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with her. Her mother saw teeth marks on her inner thigh when she stepped out of the shower. One day she left for school and didn’t make it there. She never came back. The next night, she called her parents and told them not to worry or come looking for her.”
“There aren’t that many vampires where I live, and they’ve learned not to cross me. It seems I have a reputation,” Kenneth explained.
“I’ll bet you do,” Dinaria cut him off. She had a mischievous grin that made her look like a naughty schoolgirl.
“Anyway.” Kenneth suppressed a smile. “No one local had touched her. It seems to have been someone from the Russian mob. By the time I figured it out, he had vanished. My sources say he came from here. I’m betting he returned with Callie.”
“And so you came back.”
“Yes, I’ve been gone a long time. I couldn’t think of anyone else to call.”
“I’m glad you did.” The smile was gone and she glanced around the room. “The black girl has skin like chocolate. What do you think of her?”
He caught himself looking around the room. There was an African American girl in her twenties nursing a latte at a table with a stack of textbooks next to her. “I’m serious,” he said.
“So am I. If some idiot is kidnapping girls and dragging them here, it’s bad for everyone.”
“You think there’s really a vampire working for the Russian mob?”
“I think the Russian mob is working for a vampire. There have been a lot of new faces lately. A few years ago Moscow was like the Wild West, but now the government is starting to crack down and they’re moving out. It’s like when the Chinese undead moved in after Hong Kong was taken over.”
“God, don’t remind me. If I never see another hopping vampire again, I’ll be a happy man.”
“You seemed to like that girl.”
“How was I supposed to know her father was a dragon?”
They were both laughing and he had a sudden vivid image of himself and Dinaria. They were naked and drenched in blood. The air was heavy with smoke from fireworks. They made love surrounded by human bodies and the scattered parts of a dragon. He could taste it, smell it, feel the rain on their sticky bodies. When the sun came up, they were still making love, and they’d had to hide in one of the old massive coffins like teenagers fleeing an angry parent.
Now, he looked into her eyes for the first time and knew she was thinking exactly the same thing he was. There was a moment of awkward silence as they stared at each other. He wondered if she saw the little lines around his eyes. What did he look like to her, anyway? He wasn’t the shy, lonely kid she had picked up that first night.
“I don’t have any contacts with the Russians, but I know people who do.” Dinaria broke the silence, rising to her feet. “I’ll ask around and call you tomorrow night.”
“I know where you’re staying, Kenneth.” She said it with just an edge of sharpness in her voice. Just because she was willing to meet with him, to speak to him, that did not make them equals.
She smoothed the wrinkles out of the silk dress with a casual motion that instantly riveted the attention of everyone in the room. Ken was close enough to her that he could see the silk perfectly outline her high, firm breasts. He remembered the cool, sweet taste of her body, the way her nipples would darken and harden when they became flushed with blood, his blood.
On her way out the door Dinaria paused at the table of the college student. The girl glanced up, then looked down suddenly, her dark face growing darker still as she blushed furiously. Probably she did not know why she was so turned on. It was possible she had never been attracted to another woman, but there was something about this icy blonde, something that made her whole body tingle.
Dinaria bent over to talk to the college student. As she did so, her white silk dress stretched across her perfect heart-shaped ass. People were glancing up from their books and newspapers. Conversations came to a halt. At the counter, the clerk lost control of the espresso machine and sent a shot of boiling black coffee into the air.
The two women talked for a moment. Whatever the college student said, Dinaria found it absolutely fascinating. The girl was flattered by the attention. Kenneth saw her shift her legs and knew she was probably already wet with desire.
He had seen the routine enough times to have it memorized. They would leave together and within an hour, their bodies would be entwined. At some point there would be a sudden sharp pain at the neck or breast or inner thigh, followed by a rush of giddy pleasure. The next morning, there would be no mark; Dinaria was careful about that. The girl would stumble to class with nothing to show for the night but a few bruises, some pleasant memories, and a happy, contented buzz that would last for a few days if she was lucky.
Kenneth got up and left the coffee shop without looking back. If she had done that to make him jealous, it hadn’t worked. He had moved on, and she had to learn he wasn’t some puppet she could make dance.
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A private eye goes looking for a missing girl in the territory of a vampire he knows all too well. Ken and Dinaria have history: "The last time they had been together she had offered to make him immortal, to be her slave forever." The last time, Ken had walked away, forever. But forever is shorter for a mortal man than it is for a beautiful, dominant vampire.