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Vampaholic [Secure eReader]
eBook by Harper Allen

eBook Category: Romance/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Description: The Crosse triplets have had a hell of a year. To their shock, their grandfather Darkheart revealed that the sisters hail from a long line of vampire slayers. According to legend, one of them is the new slayer. One can heal vampires. And one will turn into a blood-sucking vamp. Professional vampire-hunter Jack Rawls believes sexy, cocktail-loving Kat is the vamp-to-be. Desperate not to turn fang, Kat enlists the wary Jack to help her find Maplesburg's "vamp zero," Cyrus Kane. With Kane dead--permanently--she might be able to stop the prophecy in its tracks. But Kat hadn't counted on her growing feelings for Jack, or the charisma and true evil of Kane....

eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Silhouette Bombshell
Fictionwise Release Date: November 2006

36 Reader Ratings:
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Chapter 1

"Abs to die for," I purred appreciatively.

On the bar stool beside me, Ramon looked up from the notepad propped on his crossed knees. "Check, boss," he said, making a tick mark on the page.

"Biceps pumped," I continued.

One of the carpenters rebuilding the club's stage began to use a nail gun, and each thunk-whap! seemed to go right through my pounding temples. One of the reasons I'd drifted into the Hot Box Club as late as I had was to avoid the loud construction, but I'd forgotten the double time and a half I'd promised the crew if they worked evenings this week. Of course, the other reason I'd shown up so tardily had been because when my alarm clock had gone off at noon, I'd thrown it across the room and burrowed my head under the pillows again. I took a hasty sip of the cocktail I'd concocted as a hair-of-the-dog remedy for last night's overindulgence and spoke above the noise. "Sweetie, can you give us a slow turn?"

My first order of business when I'd taken possession of the Hot Box had been to have everything inside it hauled away, most of the chairs and tables having been destroyed in a massive fight on the former strip dive's last night of operation. The replacement furnishings I'd ordered hadn't been delivered yet, so right now my new club was little more than a cavernously empty space.

Empty of furniture, that is. In addition to the carpenters working on the stage, a conga line of gorgeous males wearing hopeful expressions and not much else snaked from the vicinity of the bar to the coat check area near the main entrance. The dark-haired Adonis at the head of the line obligingly presented his rear view to Ramon and me.

"Mmm-mmm!" Ramon said for my ears only. "Even covered by tighty-whities, those buns look hard enough to crack nuts."

"Yours, maybe, if you get fresh with him," I enlightened him. "He's not gay, sweetie. That means I get to pick him to play on my team."

"Wanna bet, chica?" Ramon gave the man a sultry wink and got a faint smile in return. "Please, Kat. Some things a boy just knows," he murmured.

Instead of answering him, I raised my martini glass at the Adonis. "I think I left out an ingredient, Jean-Paul. The ones you made for me last night tasted just a tad yummier, somehow. Vodka, amaretto, orange juice, a dollop of cherry sorbet and…?"

"Crème de pêche, chérie," the dark-haired man answered, his smile broadening. "C'est essentiel, non? Without it you do not have a true Baiser de Vampire— Vampire's Kiss, as you say in English. If you wish, I can come to your place again this evening and show you more of my repertoire." He gave a glance that seemed to savor every last detail of me, taking in the way I'd pulled my hair into a silver-blond chignon, appreciating how my cream-colored Badgley Mischka slip dress skimmed my curves…and seeming to know that under my sophisticated exterior, I was wearing a deliciously trampy pink-and-black bra and panties. "My bartending repertoire, of course," he added with Gallic suavity.

"Too tempting, sweetie. Unfortunately I'm otherwise engaged," I sighed. "But I was impressed enough last night that I've decided you've got the job. Talk to Ramon before you leave and he'll go through the details with you."

"Impressed by what part of his repertoire?" Ramon asked cattily as Jean-Paul strolled out of the room in his tight briefs. "And as club manager, don't I have any input on who we hire?"

"Of course you do." I patted his hand. "But for the public to forget the guys-only reputation this place used to have when it was the Hot Box, it's vital we attract women from the start. That's the official reason for this pecs and abs beauty contest, sweetie—the fact that you and I adore looking at half-naked men is just a bonus. Trust me, having a bare-chested Jean-Paul shaking cocktails behind the bar will definitely raise female pulses."

And pulses are another must-have for our future clientele, I reminded myself as I went around the bar to freshen my drink, seeing as how, by the Hot Box's last night of business, most of its patrons didn't possess one.

That had been the downside of buying this establishment. Once merely a sleazy strip joint, during its final month it had been owned by the Queen of All Evil—one of the titles my sisters and I knew her by, although on the Hot Box's unpaid tax notices she'd used the name Zena Uzhasnoye, which my Grandfather Darkheart says translates as Zena the Terrible. But whatever alias she'd gone under, she'd turned the Hot Box into a center of vamp activity…and in the process, neglected such mundane matters as paying the bills. After my sister Megan had finally staked her, it wasn't long before a notice was tacked up on the door informing anyone who was interested that the place was to be sold to pay off the creditors.

I'd seen the notice at a time when I'd been wondering what I could do with the rest of my life, and the notion of buying the Hot Box and turning it into a trendy club had seemed absolutely inspired. I like cocktails and parties and men. Clubs include all those things. Investigation agencies don't, and going to work for an investigation agency was the only other option that had presented itself since my initial life plan of becoming Mrs. Lance Zellweger had blown up in my face.

The agency idea had been Tashya's. "So we've whacked the queen vampyr," she'd said to Megan and me a few days after the final battle at the Hot Box. "What about the ones that got away? We know Zena brought along a few dozen undead troops when she came to Maplesburg, and that's not counting the vamps she and her buddies created once they arrived. Strolling around at night staking any vampires we might happen to come across is better than doing nothing, but we need to get organized if we're going to clean up this town. What do you think about Darkheart & Crosse for a name?"

Copyright © 2006 by Sandra Hill.

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