So this dame walks into my office, and...
|"A tie?" she smirked with scarlet lips, not bothering to close the door behind her.
She was sultry. Leggy. Gorgeous. The kind of girl that other women hate because she's both athletic and curvy. Yeah, that kind.
Just my type. Fuck.
I knew people. She was people of the worst kind. I knew me too. I was going to do her job.
Oh, I might hem and haw, but she had me from the word gorgeous. Well, not word, really, but you know what I mean.
My chair creaked as I reached up for the scar at my temple. I remembered the day that gave it to me as a souvenir. That was a fucked-up day. She had been a fucked-up girl. I had nearly died that time. Something told me I stood a good chance of repeating the feat if I took this case.
"Call me old-fashioned," I said, smoothing my crumpled shirt under my crumpled tie.
"Why don't I call you rich?" she said.
"Rich. As in no more fleabag office. As in buy yourself a new car. As in listen to what I have to say so I don't have to repeat myself."
See? Told you. Trouble.
"I see. I don't get mixed up with drug shit, lady."
"Is that what you think I do?" she adopted a mock-hurt tone.
She sauntered to the rickety chair across from my desk and sat down. Her short skirt slid up as she sat, giving me a tantalizing view of toned, tanned thigh.
She slipped one silky leg over the other, wearing a sexy smile as she caught my wandering eye.
"Well, I hate to inform you, but you're sadly mistaken," she said coyly.
"Lady, people in my line of work don't get rich, not without getting involved in some pretty bad shit. I don't do illegal jobs. Not anymore." I considered and revised, "Most of the time."
"Fair enough. Drugs it is not. What it is, however, is rare items. That is what I deal in. Extremely rare." Her eyes laughed, but the rest of her face didn't. I was getting the feeling that this lady was amused at a joke, and I was the punchline.
"What kinda items?"
"The kind that make you rich, as I was saying. I told you not to make me repeat myself."
She leaned forward, giving me a view of cleavage that strained the scoop neck of her dress to nearly bursting. Holy mama!! Try to look at her face! Try to look at her face! Fuck... Not looking at her face.
Her smile was positively Cheshire now. She was the queen, and I was the pawn. I was in the deepest of shit.
I leaned back, finally pulling my gaze back to dark eyes that burned with the kind of smolder that could turn to fire at any minute.
"What kinda items?" I repeated, not shying from her burning gaze.
"Books. In this case, one particular book. A grimoire."
"A grimoire, Mr. Murphy, a grimoire."
"What the fuck is a grimoire?"
"Language, Mr. Murphy!" she chided, still wearing that look of amusement.
"A grimoire is a book of spells. One that I need your help to see."
My stomach dropped. Did she know? How could she know? She couldn't. No one knew...
"Why me?" I asked, dreading the answer.
"Because you, Mr. Murphy, can see the dead." She leaned back in her chair.
"Why do you say that?"
"Come now, Mr. Murphy. Do you really think I would come all this way to your wretched little office and offer you wealth for some mundane affair? Only one of us can play games here, and that person is not you. I know everything you can do, and I have need of it."
She sounded annoyed. I tended to do that to people.
"Okay, so tell me what this job would be..."
Victory, I thought, feeling just the slightest bit guilty about my efforts to wrap this man around my little finger. Was it really necessary? Was this who I wanted to be? I used to be a nice girl, after all. Before all of... this. He was good looking, with a nice face. He had a trustworthy air about him. I liked him.
I shoved the thoughts aside. Right now, the important thing was the grimoire...
"There is a group of people--a cult, really--that are under the thrall of a vampire. They've managed to cast a spell on my grandmother's grimoire. A grimoire that I happen to have need of at the moment. The spell makes it undetectable by anyone but a seeker."
I leaned forward again, giving him another glimpse of my rather delicious cleavage, again feeling the slightest tinge of guilt as I played the man like a violin, using the appeal of carnal instinct as my instrument of choice.
"That's where you come in. I scried for a seeker, and you, Mr. Murphy, are that seeker."
"I'm a what?" he said.
He didn't know? But he had to know...
“You can’t possibly mean to tell me that you’ve never noticed you can see the dead, Mr. Murphy.”
“Well... okay. I may have. But I never knew there was a name for it.”
“So you’ve never gone through the rites?”
Wow... this man really was a virgin in the arts. Maybe he really didn’t know anything. Should I explain? My instinct for kindness warred with what I knew was best for accomplishing her mission. I was developing a soft spot for this man, an attraction, so kindness won. What was wrong with me?
“Those of us with abilities are usually identified by the council. We are educated and tested in the arts. The strongest of us are chosen to work for the council. I’m not certain why you were not identified and trained, but I’m certain that you have the ability that I need.”
Was I certain? Yes. I had never known a scrying spell to be wrong. Besides, he had acknowledged that he had seen the dead. I wondered if he would be able to see the book without any formal training. I certainly hoped he would.
“And finding this book pays well? That’s definitely the way you made it sound...”
Okay, back to business now. I needed this man to do this for me. And I could get men to do what I wanted. I leaned back, twisting slightly to cause my short skirt to reach scandalous heights. I knew my thighs were succulently sexy, and I made sure he did too. I couldn’t help but smile as I watched his eyes travel their flawless flesh. I felt a tingle of enjoyment as I watched his dark, sexy, intense eyes on me.
Yes, I was good at this, I thought, satisfied, confident, and a little concerned at my reaction to him. This seduction was supposed to be one-sided, but it was not turning out entirely that way.
“It pays very well, Mr. Murphy.”
“What’s in this book? Grimoire, you called it, right?”
“I did indeed call it that. What it contains, however, is none of your concern.”
Murphy seemed to consider. I shifted my head so that my ebony hair shifted and shimmered. I stared at him in what I knew was my best smoldering gaze. I parted my lips ever so slightly, running my tongue under my top teeth. It wouldn’t be very visible, but it would make a subconscious impact on the man before me. Again, I felt the slightest bit of guilt. I was good at seduction. Very good. And improving all the time. This man wouldn’t have the opportunity to truly make his own decision. He didn’t know it, but he was a marionette, and I was pulling all of the strings.
“Okay, I’ll take the job.”
I smiled, spreading my ruby lips wide. I always wore bold lipstick when I needed something from a man. The promise of a passionate kiss was nearly as powerful as the promise of sex, regardless of what men thought.
“Excellent, Mr. Murphy. We shall meet tonight at this address,” I rose to my feet, my expensive mini sliding back down my toned thigh to return again to being merely short. I offered him a black envelope. “1:00 AM. Don’t be late.”
I threw my black trench over my shoulder and walked out, swaying hips to be sure he received a nice, tantalizing view of my perfectly formed hips and ass on the way out.
Jesus, she was hot, I thought. Now that she had turned away, I was free to admire her outrageously sexy body from the back.
I had the feeling that I had just gotten myself in over my head. Again. Because of a sexy girl. I am a very stupid man. Oh, I knew I was being played. I just couldn’t help myself. I was a man, after all.
So I was going to go up against a fucking vampire? I had seen them before. I never said anything, not after that first time when I was a kid, and my parents made me go through three years of therapy for it. But I had seen them. And ghosts. This seeker thing explained a lot. I needed to learn more about my gift from this girl. I needed to spend all the time I could with her—not just because she was easy on the eyes. She was the first person that I might actually be able to talk to about my gift.
I ran my hand through my hair, as my racing heart slowed back to its normal beat. Seeker, eh? I typed the word into the keyboard at my desk. Unfortunately, unless I was supposed to be playing wizard sports with Harry Potter, I didn’t think that the hits that my search produced were going to be very useful.
At 12:45 AM, I pulled up to the address on the perfectly creased letter she had given me. The note was on black paper with white lettering. That was definitely out of the ordinary, but somehow appropriate for the femme fatale that I was to meet. My heart beat faster as another car pulled up next to mine. It must be her. I wondered idly if this was how Sam Spade felt when he was meeting Ruth Wonderly.
I opened my door and stepped out of my car, just in time to see a long leg slip out of hers. As she exited the car, I was treated to a sensual vision. Her body was covered from neck to toe in a form-fitting black bodysuit. And what a body it was. Long, slender, sinuous legs rose to athletic, rounded hips and the tightest, firmest ass I’ve ever seen. She turned to offer me a profile view. That ass flowed into an incredibly slender waist before swelling dynamically into full, nubile breasts. The shape of the sexy silhouette before me was erotic, and I felt myself harden uncomfortably as I watched, hopelessly entranced.
I pretended not to notice Murphy’s eyes as I made a show of pulling the supplies from my car. I ensured he got a good view of my body. I knew that I was gorgeous, and I knew how to use it to my advantage. I had a job to do. This was business, and I needed him compliant for this to work. It was business, but I had to say that I was enjoying it as well. Murphy wasn’t a bad looking guy, and if I were being honest with myself, it was giving me a bit of a thrill showing off like this in front of him.
Stubble wasn’t normally my thing, but on his strong jaw, it looked good. Masculine. Sexy. Murphy was the rough-and-tumble sort, and, if I let myself think in that direction, I found that attractive. Very much so.
As I approached him, I played the next card of my hand, stumbling into him. I pressed my spectacular breasts into his chest, making sure that my hip pushed into his groin as well. He was hard. Excellent. As my hand came up and pressed against his chest to help regain my balance, I noticed how hard his chest was under the black cotton shirt he was wearing. He clearly worked out.
My other hand gripped his arm. He had a nice bicep. I could feel the sinew in it bulging as he moved his hands to my waist to help me balance. I felt his tricep with my fingertips as well, popping into iron relief as his muscles moved. I licked my lips, not in my seductive routine, but in unconscious reaction to his unexpectedly hard body. I felt my own arousal grow. I hoped he didn’t feel my nipples beginning to harden.
“I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but I don’t think I caught your name earlier. This whole seeker business got me a little off my game,” Murphy said.
“It’s okay, Mr. Murphy. I’m Evelyn.”
Shit! I gave him my real name! What was I thinking? Apparently, I was off my game as well. Damn my thing for muscles. And nice jawlines. And dark, intense eyes. And damn Murphy for having them all. It was so unprofessional. Maybe i was enjoying this job a little too much. Time to get back to business.
“The grimoire is most likely to be in the vampire’s office. We believe that she has a safe in there, which is an extremely high probability target location. It is likely to be hidden, however.”
“Who is we, Evelyn?”
My heart leapt as I heard him speak my real name. I wasn’t used to hearing that name any more. Get yourself under control, Evie! What the fuck? He’s just another guy, a necessary tool. That’s all! I hoped he wasn’t picking up on my reactions. I should be in complete control right now. So what if this guy was well-muscled as well as handsome? And probably had delicious, sexy abs. Fuck!
“That is none of your concern, Mr. Murphy,” I said, annoyed that I had slipped and given him more information. Control, Evie! Jesus!
“Now, we have to cross the compound, avoid the guards, and get inside. If we are lucky, the vampire will not be there. If we are not lucky, leave him to me.”
“How do we get into the safe?”
“Leave that to me.”
“I’m leaving an awful lot of things to you...”
“Does that concern you, Mr. Murphy?”
“Kinda, yeah. Vampires are strong, right? And fast? No offense, as nice as that body of yours is to look at, I’m thinking you don’t stand much of a chance against this thing. Shouldn’t we have some wooden stakes or something?”
My cheeks burned a little at his compliment. What the fuck? What was wrong with me. My ego was seriously hurting right now. I’m supposed to be playing the cold, sexy siren right now, and here I am clearly attracted to this guy, acting like a fucking schoolgirl. Shit!
“Wooden stakes don’t do anything to vampires, contrary to popular belief. Silver does.”
I pulled a sliver dagger from its holster at the small of my back.
“Should I have one of those too?”
“As I said, Mr. Murphy, leave the vampire to me.”
He looked uncertain, but he didn’t object further.
I watched as the sexy, slender girl leapt up and swung herself over the concrete wall in an easy, fluid motion, a momentary shadow against the eight-foot barrier. I jumped up, gripping the edge of the wall with my fingers, pulling myself up. Then, I swung my right leg up. It took three tries, but I finally managed to get my knee to the top. I mantled up, then realized that there was barbed wire up there. My balance teetered as I tried to pull my pant leg out of the wire that had snagged it. After a momentary struggle, I managed to get my leg free without falling over backwards. I stepped over the wire, but my pants caught the wire again on the other side. My pant leg tore with a soft rrrriiiipppp as I jumped from the wall, landing on soft knees. I dropped into a roll, then sprang up.
Evelyn was directly in front of me, smirking with those perfect, pouty lips of hers.
“At least your jump down was more graceful than your navigation of that wire, Murphy,” she whispered.
I grinned, happy to have achieved even this backhanded compliment from the beautiful girl.
“Yeah, well, some of us don’t have your catlike grace, I suppose. How did you do that so easily?”
Her smirk faltered ever so slightly. Just for an instant. But it came right back. If I didn’t know better, I almost would have thought I saw a spark of appreciation in her eye as it caught the moonlight.
She didn’t answer, instead turning toward the lit area of the compound. There were two guards between us and the side door that seemed to be our access to the place.
Evelyn sprang into a full sprint before I knew what was happening. I ran after her, but she was fast. Seriously fast. I was a good twenty yards behind her by the time she got to the first guard.
She leapt toward the rifle-toting man, pouncing on him from behind. She somehow managed to look graceful as her leg came up and over his shoulder. She bent her knee, pressing her calf against his throat, preventing him from raising an alarm, as she simultaneously drew the dagger from her back and plunged it around him and into his heart from the front. She withdrew it as quickly as she struck with it, and I could see the sprays of blood fire out in front of him with each heartbeat as she rode him to the ground.
The guard struggled for a moment, then stilled. The instant that the guard’s movement stopped, she was sprinting again, toward the next guard, a silent, sexy shadow in the night.
I reached the first guard as he bled out on the ground, beginning to pant from the exertion of the sudden sprint. Nothing got the heart going like all-out sprints! I kept going, however, determined to keep up with Evelyn as best I could.
With the second guard, Evelyn inserted the dagger into his back while her arm moved around his throat in some kind of chokehold. She made several more incisions with the knife, somehow avoiding the blood that splattered out of him. By the time I reached them, he was dead too.
She popped up from the second guard and winked at me. She jogged the rest of the way to the side entrance. I did the same, trying to keep my breath under control. Jesus! This girl was fit! She hadn’t even been breathing hard when I reached her taking care of the second guard. Not to mention that she was a damn efficient killer. Remind me not to get on her bad side!
As she approached the door, she raised a hand, pointing her index finger toward the security panel. A thread of red energy ran from her finger to the panel, and the red light on the thing suddenly turned green. She pulled the door open, turning back to find my eyes with hers. They held the twinkle of excitement, of someone who was thoroughly enjoying herself.
I thought back to the two dead guards and shivered. So this is what she did for fun, eh? Wow! Was I ever right about this girl being trouble! It was a good thing I wasn’t squeamish about this kind of thing. I had no doubt that these men deserved the quick death they had been given, wrapped up in the affairs of evil, supernatural monsters as they were.
Evelyn held the door open for me as she slipped inside. She held a finger to her lips to ensure that I didn’t attempt to whisper in here, and she crept silently along, clearly knowing her way around the layout of the place.
They quickly navigated the hallways until they stood before a door with another security panel beside it. Again, she zapped the panel with her red energy until it turned green. I wished I could ask her how she was doing that, but I knew better than to talk—especially now.
She opened the door to an empty room. There was a stack of papers and a computer on a desk in the corner, a table, and several filing cabinets. There was no visible safe, however. She had said it was likely to be hidden…
Evelyn stalked to each painting on the wall, pulling the frame away just a bit to peer behind. With each, however, she glanced at me and shook her head. Of course, it wouldn’t be that obvious. I tried to think where this vampire would hide a safe like that. Or would he even put it in a safe. With Evelyn’s zapping power, she couldn’t probably get it open in the blink of an eye. Even if she couldn’t see the thing, she could just feel around and find it, right?
So he probably wasn’t keeping it in the safe at all. It was probably where no one would think to look, hidden by its invisibility to everyone, except, apparently, me. It was probably somewhere in plain…
There! I saw a large, ancient-looking tome, glowing with a golden hue. It was sitting on top of a file cabinet in the far corner of the room, pressed up against the wall. That had to be it! I walked quietly over and grabbed it, while Evelyn was quietly running her hands along the floor behind the desk.
I walked over to her and tapped her on the shoulder, causing her to jump in fright, automatically grabbing my hand and twisting it in some type of hold… which hurt. A lot!
Apparently, she realized her mistake, and I felt her strong, slender fingers release my hand. I turned back toward her and mouthed “WTF!”
She gave me a shrug, a look of amusement written all over her face.
I shook out my right arm as I nodded my head to my left, which held the book. I lifted it so that she could see I was holding something, even if it was invisible to her. I mouthed “I have the book.”
She nodded and rose to leave.
I glanced up toward the exit, and the vampire was standing in the doorway. She didn’t look happy. In fact, she looked distinctly unhappy. And completely breathtaking. What was it with dangerous, irresistibly beautiful women in the last twenty-four hours? She might be even more beautiful than Evelyn! And likely just as deadly, if not more. Fuck! This was not good!
Evelyn vaulted over the table before I could finish my mental cursing. She was to the vampire in a flash, launching a powerful stab with her dagger at the beautiful monster’s heart.
The vampire caught Evelyn’s hand before the dagger could reach her and twisted. A look of pain crossed Evelyn’s face as the dagger fell to the floor. Shit! This was really not good!
The vampire pulled back her other hand and fired a fist into Evelyn’s face. Evelyn flew back as it connected, crunching a file cabinet with her back as it halted her momentum.
I was dazed as I felt the metal give way under me. I was much stronger and tougher than a normal woman, but this hurt! Normally, I was up to the task of taking down a vampire, but this one was amped up far beyond normal vampire levels of strength. I had been afraid of that. She had figured out how to use the grimoire.
I reached my fingers up to my lip, dabbed at it, then looked at them. They were soaked in blood. Damn! I was going to have to get serious about this fight. I was far from certain I was going to be able to come out of this alive, even if I was serious.
I looked over to Murphy. He was looking at me wide-eyed. I gave him a little smile and a wink as I extricated myself from the crumpled metal at my back. He was so cute. I had never been on a job with anyone who was concerned about my welfare before. It felt… nice.
The vampire was approaching me. She was a pretty one. Was she prettier than me? I thought about my bloody lip. If she wasn’t now, she would be soon if I kept letting her hit me like that.
The vampire swung, fast and hard. I barely managed to dodge out of the way in time, but I kept my balance and launched a kick with my left leg that caught her in the side. Ouch! Her obliques felt like iron.
The kick managed to send her off balance enough to put her on the floor, but, given how hard her muscled torso had felt as it had impacted my foot, I was certain I hadn’t done any real damage.
Not wanting to wait for her to recover, I reached to the desk, grabbed the computer and flung it at her. Then, I did the same with the desk. It was heavy, but I managed to whirl it around into her, as she rose to one knee.
That put her down again. The exertion of launching the large, heavy hardwood desk at her had me breathing heavily. I ran over and grabbed Murphy’s hand, pulling him toward the exit. That desk wouldn’t delay the vampire for long.
As I guided Murphy out of the room, I felt a hard, wood edge hit me in the back and send me into the corner by the doorway. As my face impacted the wall, I had a chance to feel what being hit by a desk felt like, myself. I could have done without that feeling.
I watched as Evelyn was propelled into the corner by the flying desk, stumbling into it myself, pulled by the momentum I had from Evelyn’s steely grip. As I steadied myself against the wall and the remnants of the shattered desk, I looked back to see the vampire on her feet. She began to approach.
Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!
I needed to think fast. What should I do? I looked around the room, but there was nothing that looked to be of use for this situation. What else? The book!
I wasn’t sure what this book did, exactly, but I needed to do something! As I looked over the strange words of the text, I heard some of the splintered chunks of wood moving. At least Evelyn was still conscious…
As my eyes scanned over the text, I felt an odd compulsion come over me. It was as if the words connected directly to my brain through my eyes. I can’t explain why or how, but I was suddenly understand the words, and I began to speak them softly, out loud.
Evelyn, bruised and bloodied from her close encounters with both the vampire’s fist and the flying desk, stumbled to her feet. I was vaguely aware of her in my peripheral vision as the vampire reached her.
The vampire stepped into Evelyn and gripped her arm in a judo-style throw, tossing the battered woman over her hip and slamming her to the ground. Even out of the corner of my eye, I could tell Evelyn was in bad shape, writhing in apparent pain as the vampire continued to deliver punishment to her body.
As the vampire picked her up and flung her against the far wall, she smashed against it and crumpled like a rag doll. I was almost finished with the incantation that I was reading, however, and I felt another compulsion coming from the book. This time, it wanted me to choose a target. I had the strong feeling that whatever I was reading was going to be beneficial, not harmful to the recipient, so I chose Evelyn.
Nothing seemed to happen for a moment, but somehow I knew it had. The vampire approached her, and she began to stir. She gave a yelp as the vampire pulled her up, ready to try another throw, but Evelyn’s hands smashed down on the vampire’s arms to break her grip. She then took her hands and placed them on each side of the surprised vampire’s head, pulling it forward in the same motion.
Evelyn’s head impacted the bridge of the vampire’s nose with a crunch. As the vampire staggered back, I noticed that Evelyn had changed. She was even more beautiful (!) than she had been before. Blood was still smeared over her face, but her lips no longer seemed to be split and bleeding. Her bruises were fading as well.
Her legs seemed endless now, giving her another couple of inches of height. They were so incredibly shapely, so sexy, that even in the midst of the fight, I was becoming aroused just looking at them. Her waist, still tiny, now sported ridges of muscle, as her abs were so defined that they were clearly visible through her figure-hugging catsuit. Evelyn’s breasts, spectacular before, were now awe-inspiring. Large and gravity-defying, they held my gaze as if they were electromagnetic and my eyes made of iron.
Evelyn’s arms were still slim, but they had clear hills and valleys of feminine muscle along their length. The air around her practically rippled with power, both physical and sexual. She was like an erotic panther, graceful, gorgeous, and lethal.
She hopped upward, bringing her right leg up and over the hunched over vampire, hooking its neck with her sinuous leg in a motion similar to that which she had used on the first guard outside.
Her leg closed over the vampire woman’s neck as she brought the leg down. I heard a massive crack as she did so. The broken neck didn’t seem to have killed the vampire, but it hit the floor in a heap and appeared unable to rise.
Evelyn strolled languidly over to the pieces of the desk, picked her silver dagger out of the detritus, then turned and through it in one ultrafast movement. The dagger spun through the air, striking the vampire in the middle of the back, sinking to the hilt.
That seemed to do it. The vampire ceased all movement, apparently dead. Evelyn walked to the body, removed her dagger, cleaning it against the vampire’s clothes, then sheathed it in her barely visible holster in the small of her back.
She came over to me, a twinkle of delight in her huge, luminous eyes, grabbed me by the hand and walked me out the door.
When we arrived back at Murphy’s office, he handed me the book. Unable to see it, I could still feel it, and I set it on the chair in which I had sat on our first meeting in this office.
I looked the man over. He was handsome, well-built, reasonably intelligent, good in a fight, and clearly attracted to me. He didn’t work for the council, so he wasn’t forbidden, as virtually every other man I might be interested in was. I was only alive due to Murphy’s quick thinking. Maybe… What the hell? I finally thought.
I walked up to him and kissed him. My newly improved body pushing against his firm, muscled torso. His eyes registered shock and… undisguised desire. I wasn’t sure if this romance could last more than tonight, but I was grateful to him. I wanted him. And I knew exactly how to express gratitude to a man…
“I’ve never had a knight in shining armor before. Even if his armor is crinkled, wrinkled, and cloth,” she said, her voice dropping to a husky purr.
“And includes a tie,” she finished, smiling mid-kiss.
I kissed her back, feeling tingles of ecstasy pulsing down my body from hungry lips. Our kisses became deeper, longer, more passionate. I walked her back toward the desk, and she let me. I was fairly certain that it would have felt something like walking into a brick wall if she hadn’t! I felt the back of her long legs press against my desk, then I lowered her over it while pulling the zipper at her back downward.
She unbuttoned my shirt and slid it off before running her soft fingers over the muscles of my back. She arched her back slightly, clearly aroused by her exploration of my body.
I moved my hands up to remove my tie, which remained on after she had pulled the shirt out from under it, but she moved her hands to mine, stopping me.
“Leave it on,” she said throatily, biting her luscious lower lip.
I gave a brief shrug before moving my hands to peel off her catsuit, revealing the flawless expanse of exquisite flesh beneath.
As I placed my hungry mouth on her perfect breast, I couldn’t help but think one last thought before I lost myself in the perfection of her body.
I guess she really likes ties…