SEX, LIES & VAMPIRE HUNTERS
by Myla Jackson
Night shift emergency room nurse, Julie Taylor is on the verge of a great love affair and steamy sex after a really long dry spell. Her soon-to-be lover, Roger, is everything a girl could wish for. Tough cop, sexy as hell man and really nice guy, he’s her dream come true. But with both of them working wacky shifts, they never find time to be together and her long dry spell is only getting longer. Just when they schedule a night off together, the unthinkable happens. Julie is attacked by a vampire and turned into one of the living dead. With her life over, she’s still unwilling to end her sex life. But how do you tell your boyfriend you’re dead and one of the bad guys he’s sworn to destroy?
Roger Decker dared to love again after his lying, cheating ex-wife fooled around on him left him for another guy. The incredibly honest, sweet and sexy Julie is the only woman who’s been able to sneak beneath his armor and resuscitate his heart. Now, when he finally has the time off to tell her how he feels, weird things happen. Strange creatures appear in the night, targeting his newfound love. Does his sweet and loveable Julie have a dark side? Is she like every other woman and lying to him? And why does she totally avoid him during the daytime?
“Julie? Julie, wake up!”
What? She was in such a dead sleep, she could barely push her eyelids open. When she did, she stared up at a familiar face. “William? What are you doing in my apartment?” Julie pushed against her bed, only she didn’t feel the soft, clean Laura Ashley sheets. Instead, she felt the grit of pavement and grime beneath her hands. “What the hell?”
As her vision cleared, she focused on William Fagan, the guy who lived in the apartment across the hallway from her in the old colonial house on Sixth Street. The gray light of predawn filtered through the buildings to barely illuminate the alley in which she lay flat on her face on the dirty pavement. “Where am I?”
“You’re about three blocks from home and we need to get there in a hurry.”
“What happened?” She sat up, brushing gravel from her cheek.
“I’ll explain what I know when we get you inside. But if we don’t get you home soon, you’ll fry.” He scooped an arm beneath her shoulders and hefted her to an upright position. “Come on.”
Julie sprang to her feet, feeling strangely light and bouncy for having slept on the pavement. What the hell was going on? Before she could ask another question, William took off at a run, her hand still in his.
Because she hadn’t made a move to follow, he practically jerked her arm out of socket. Once she got her running legs going, she had no trouble keeping his pace, which was strange in itself. She hadn’t jogged or worked out on a regular basis in months. The night shift had thrown her workout schedule completely off. By all rights, she should be gasping for air. But she wasn’t. In fact, she was barely breathing hard at all. “What’s the rush?”
“No time to explain,” he called over his shoulder. “Hurry!”
The sky changed from dull, battleship gray to the vibrant pinks, purples and orange of dawn just as they arrived in front of the huge old house that had been divided into six apartments. As the sun popped over the horizon and cast its first rays of light onto her and William, she could feel a terrible burning sensation ripping across her exposed skin. Tingling, turned to prickling and finally to searing and she smelled the distinct odor of burning flesh. Her burning flesh.
William yanked the front door open and shoved her inside. He pushed her so hard, she sprawled on the floor, sliding several feet before she stopped. “Hey, you don’t have to be so rough!”
He slammed the door closed behind him and collapsed against the heavy wood paneling. “Whew! That was close.”
“Close to what?” Julie pushed to her feet and dusted the grit from her hands. “I thought you were such a nice neighbor. What’s with slamming me to the ground? That’s no way to treat a lady.”
“Honey, I hate to break it to you. But you’re no lady.”
“That’s not funny.” When William only stared at her, Julie’s back straightened, anger rising in the form of a blood rush to her head. “I beg your pardon.”
“Beg all you want, but as of early this morning, you’re no longer a lady.” He hooked her elbow and ushered her to the staircase leading to the second level of the house and their apartments. “If you’ll step into my apartment, I’ll fill you in.”
She planted her feet against the smooth black and white tiles of the foyer bringing William to a halt. Then she shook his hand free of her elbow. “I’m not going anywhere with someone who tells me I’m no longer a lady. I’ll have you know, I don’t sleep around. In fact, I haven’t had sex in…well…that’s none of your business.” Three years, three loooonnnng years. But that was about to change. Tonight. She had a date.
“I’m not talking about sex.” He reached for her arm again.
Julie pulled away. “If you’re not talking about sex, then what are you talking about? Unless you know about a sex change operation I might have had in the few short hours I was unconscious, I’m still a woman and therefore—”
“Could you shut up long enough to get up the stairs?” William left her standing in the hallway and took the steps two at a time. “Sheesh, woman.”
“Ah hah! You admit it. I am a woman, therefore a lady.” She followed behind him. Taking the same steps he did, two at a time. She never took steps two at a time. Normally, she was wheezing and gasping for air as she climbed steps one at a time, never mind two at a time. But here she was taking two…and she tried it…three steps at a time. No problem. Maybe she should get conked on the head more often. It beat the hell out of a regular workout routine.
Much as she’d like to get a shower and head for bed, she needed to know a few things. “By the way, William, why was I sleeping in an alley like a homeless person?”
He waited for her to cross his threshold, and then he closed his door and pushed the bolt home. “Now, that we’re inside and don’t stand the chance of being seen or overheard, I can fill you in. Why you couldn’t just keep quiet until we got here, I don’t know.” He took a deep breath and stared down at her.
“I never was very good at surprises and I get the feeling you’re about to surprise me. I’m not going to like the surprise, am I?”
With a worried frown, William blew out a long, steady breath. “Maybe you better sit down.”
Uh-oh. She didn’t like the way he was stalling. “What, did the landlord evict me and I stumbled out into the street, devastated and homeless?”
“No, nothing as simple as that.”
“That’s simple?” Double uh-oh. She perched on the edge of his bomber-jacket brown leather sofa. “Okay, I’m sitting. Just tell me already. I’m dying here.”
“You can’t die, Julie. You’re already dead.”
Her mouth dropped open. “Huh?” Who was he trying to kid? She was a walking, talking, gawking person sitting in his living room. “Uh, William. Have you been smoking some wacky weed or something? Hellooooo. If I’m here talking to you, how can I be dead?”
“Then keep an open mind.” His eyebrows dropped toward the bridge of his nose in a V.
“Julie, last night, you were turned.”
“Turned?” She grasped for any possible meaning she could come up with for the unfamiliar phrase. “Like a fruit held too long on the branch turned?”
“Like coming out of the closet gay turned?”
“I give up.” She sat back against the couch, her arms crossing over her chest. “What do you mean?”
“Turned as in from human to vampire.”
She could have caught flies as low as her jaw dropped. “William, I’ve known you, what, a year and a half, maybe?”
“And this is the first time you’ve ever done anything remotely weird.”
“So.” She pushed up from the couch and strode for the door. “I’ll cut you a break. I’m going home to shower and bed. When I wake up, maybe we can start this conversatio all over. ‘Cause I know you didn’t just say I’ve been turned to a vampire, and I know you’re not crazy. I’m counting it as a really bizarre nightmare I’ll wake up from after a decent amount of sleep.”
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