Executive Decisions: By The Numbers [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Marteeka Karland
eBook Category: Erotica/Erotic Science Fiction/Science Fiction
eBook Description: Zoe has had enough. Her asshole bosses have gone from insensitive bastards to complete asinine dumbassed bastards, and she's not taking it anymore. Deciding to take a vacation to calm herself so she doesn't kill one or the other of them, she spies a flyer advertising Executive Decisions, an escort service guaranteeing discreet escorts for the professional woman. Too good to be true? Maybe. But when an insane urge to find out more hits her, she makes the call, sets up a meeting and arranges an escort for her two-week vacation in the tropics. Sebastian and Dorian Collingsworth have been employed with Executive Decisions for many years. Not only do they have a steady supply of women eagerly awaiting sex with no strings, but they can indulge their more exotic tastes, some of which would curl the hair on the pretty head of their employee, Zoe Carter. That doesn't stop them from longing to have her for themselves. Only their desire to shield her from the sometimes violent and terrifying reality of their lives as vampires curbs their appetites. They've managed to hang on to her for ten years, but after Dorian's little temper tantrum Sebastian, the psychic vampire, senses her hurt, anger, and her resolve to leave them. Permanently. Dorian, the blood vampire, feels like an ass for lashing out at her, but it's for her own good. She'll be much better off without them. Too bad a certain nature sprite has other plans for all of them.
eBook Publisher: Changeling Press LLC, Published: 2007, 2007
Fictionwise Release Date: May 2009
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170 Reader Ratings:
"...a paranormal short story with a very well established plot... I am interested in reading more from this series about the sexy vampires Ms. Karland has created for us. " -- Ariel Summer, RRT Erotic Four Stars! "Executive Decisions is a definite keeper. This story was well executed and had enough sizzle to make any one sweat." -- Kimberley Spinney, Ecataromance Sensual "Marteeka Karland has penned an excellent story full of passion and tension. The characters are well suited for each other and the sex between them is sizzling hot." -- Julianne, TwoLips Reviews "Plain and simple, this was an explosive story full of heat. If you enjoy hot and sexy vampire stories you will definitely enjoy this one." -- Jacquelyn R. Ward, The Romance Studio
"Good morning, D and S Attorneys, how may I help you?" Zoe Carter answered the phone professionally, as always. She always did her best no matter what job she was doing.
"You can start by making sure the damned coffee is fresh." She grimaced. Unfortunately, her employers weren't so congenial. From the sound of it, Sebastian Collingsworth wasn't in a particularly good mood. "And get me a decent shirt from Julian's."
"Yes--" The line went dead. "--sir." She sighed. "Good morning to you, too, asshole."
Working for vampires sucked. Literally. Zoe Carter was just thankful she wasn't on the menu.
She was the accountant and receptionist for Dorian and Sebastian Collingsworth, owners of D&S Collingsworth, Attorneys at Law, and had been for the last ten years. Because she was the most senior staff member--OK, so she was the only staff member--she saw the men at their best and worst. She also knew D&S Attorneys was only part of what the two big vampires did.
As a rule, the pair weren't exactly morning people. Other than that, they didn't seem to have any of the weaknesses she'd always thought vampires had. Instead, they had the arrogant belief they were superior to every being on the planet. Like most men she knew.
One thing the pair had on other men was the second job. They also worked for a very high-class escort service for women with particular and ... intense tastes. On more than one occasion, they'd called her to come in before dawn to help one or both of them to their underground chamber at the office.
At first, she'd worried about them getting caught--and her being trapped in the middle of some illegal prostitution ring. Being paranoid made her hyper aware of the people around her, especially when the local sheriff was a frequent visitor. There seemed to be several people who not only knew about the side business the two vampires had going on, but also that they were vampires. When she'd questioned Dorian about it, he'd laughed at her, saying not everyone was so naive to believe everyone in the world was human. As if the whole friggin' town of Mount Bell was populated with vampires!
There was no denying their sex appeal. Zoe creamed her panties every day she went to work. These men exuded sex. The nasty, raunchy kind. They definitely fit the part they were apparently expected to play. She had heard them talking on more than one occasion about enjoyable bouts of kink. It was definitely the kind of sex nice girls like herself didn't participate in.
It was a good thing she was so good at her job. As it was, she had to constantly recheck her figures. She found concentration almost impossible at times. She was too busy trying to catch glimpses of the two sexy men.
The only bad thing was she couldn't stand either of them. Oh, they were nice enough to almost everyone. Just not to her. The only reason she stayed was because every time she tried to leave, they'd give her a raise, or a "continuance bonus."
Aside from that, they were the biggest assholes in the world. They never smiled at her, never told her she did a good job, and treated her like a servant. It was almost like they wanted her to hate them.
As to today, she'd had this morning's conversation with one or the other of them several times over the years and she knew better than to come back with only a "decent shirt." Before she left, she put on a pot of dark roast and took the company credit card. She'd get a complete change of clothing for each of them. Julian would know what she needed.
By the time the brothers entered the office via the back entrance, she was back with everything they could possibly need.
"God, I need a Scotch."
Dorian looked like he'd been in a barroom brawl rather than on a date with some rich man or woman who needed companionship for the night and didn't want complications. In fact, it looked like there had been plenty of complications last night. Blood and dirt streaked his clothing and face. His hair was a matted mess instead of the shiny, silky black it normally was.
"Just wash up and change clothes, Dorian. Griping about it isn't helping."
"If I'd known he was a junkie, I wouldn't be in this situation, Sebastian. You're the Psy. You should have warned me." Both men were clearly agitated, and the longer Zoe listened to them, the more alarmed she grew. Dorian obviously expected Sebastian to have warned him about the drugs, but Zoe knew it was very likely Sebastian didn't know. He could sense strong emotions, not read minds, and the strong emotions he could sense was what he fed from. As it was, she was terribly afraid they'd done something awful.
"What did you two do? If you've killed someone, I swear I'll be the first one to go to the police."
Dorian rolled his eyes and Sebastian gave her a scathing look. "Of course we didn't kill anyone," Sebastian snapped.
Dorian barked a sharp laugh. "No, but I may later. Doesn't our contract state that drugs and alcohol are strictly prohibited?"
"Would you two stop for a minute?" As Dorian undressed, Zoe grew increasingly alarmed. When he took off his suit jacket and turned around, she saw nasty gashes on his back. They were deep and angry looking, already getting red at the edges as if infection was imminent. She approached Dorian and carefully touched the edge of one such gash.
"Fucking hell!" He jumped and whipped around. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"
"This happened last night?" Zoe ignored her employer's outburst. She was used to it. When she reached out again to touch the irritated skin to see if it was warm, Dorian rounded on her.
"Don't fucking touch me! The only thing you need to concern yourself with is giving me the clothes I asked for, then getting the hell out!"
Zoe had never seen him like this. Sebastian gripped Dorian's shoulder as if to hold the man back. Dorian looked absolutely furious. What the hell had she done to set him off?
"I was just trying to help. You're hurt."
"When I want your help, I'll ask for it, mortal. Now get the fuck out!"
Zoe had never backed down from either of them before, but something in the way he looked at her scared the holy hell out of her. She backed out of the room, grabbed the clothes she'd acquired and tossed them in the general direction of the men. With one last angry look, Zoe turned and walked out the door.
Fuck it. She didn't need this. She had a vacation coming. They'd have to live with her taking it early. Unless a couple weeks of solitude changed her mind, she wouldn't be back.
Fuck it. Fuck them.
"She's leaving." Sebastian's voice held no emotion, but Dorian knew the other vampire better than anyone. His blood brother depended on the emotions of others to give him sustenance, but it didn't mean he didn't have any emotions of his own. He simply tried to conserve as much emotional energy as he could by holding it inside.
"Good. She's putting herself in danger because she believes us tame. I'm so desperate for blood, I could take her and never bat an eyelash."
"As could I, but I don't believe for an instant you could bring yourself to hurt her, not matter how bad off you were."
"No, but I could fuck the living daylights out of her and you'd do nothing to stop me. The emotion coming from me alone would feed you for a month and I bet I could make her enjoy it just as much." Dorian scrubbed a hand over his face. "Is she angry?"
"Worse than she's ever been, but she's more hurt than anything else. You scared the hell out of her." Sebastian crossed his arms over his chest. "If you wanted her gone, you could have done it differently. You didn't have to yell at her. Do you want her to leave for good? Because that's what she's planning."
"Christ!" Dorian felt like an ass. Still, if she left, temptation would be removed. "No. I don't want her to leave, but maybe it's for the best. I know you've been just as miserable as I have. She's not the type of woman who can handle us. And she's human. I don't want a human attached to me as anything other than an employee or a fuck toy."
Sebastian chuckled. Dorian didn't see anything very damned funny about it. "You might be right, but personally, I don't think you give her enough credit. I'll bet there's a hellcat in there just waiting to explode. She might not be preternatural, but it takes a special human to accept us as we are, and she does."
Dorian had had enough. He could only take so much of Sebastian's bullshit. "You can't honestly tell me that girl can hold her own with two vampires who need a mate so badly, they pimp themselves out to psycho sex hounds? You think she could survive a round of fucking like we did tonight? I might have come out of it worse than anyone, but I gave as good as I got. Besides, she'd probably shit herself if she knew about the others, to say nothing of the Coven at Pleasant Hills."
"Don't you think she deserves the chance if she wants it?"
"No! I don't!" Dorian slammed his fist onto his mahogany desk hard enough to splinter the impact site and leave a crater the size of his fist. "I don't want to be responsible for hurting her! Better a wounded ego than a wounded body."
"Besides that, she's a fucking human! We're better than that."
Goddamn the man! Dorian loved his blood brother more than anyone else in the world, but sometimes he wished the other man would rant and rave and argue with him instead of being so calm and reasonable all the freaking time.
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"It means--" Sebastian crossed the room to grip Dorian's arm in a firm, reassuring grip. "--you love her just as much as I do and would do anything it took to keep her safe." He snorted. "Human or not."
"So, what do we do now?"
"She intends on taking a two-week vacation with or without our consent before she leaves us. When she books her flight and hotel, we make sure we pick up the tab. When she comes back to clean out her desk, we do something we've never done before." Sebastian grinned.
"You don't mean--"
"Yes. I mean exactly that."
Dorian groaned. Still, Sebastian was right. It was definitely the only way, though it made him want to grind his teeth.
"In all my years as a vampire, I've never apologized."
"Well, maybe it's time you learn."