Chapter One

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“Shh!” I clapped a hand over my best friend’s mouth and giggled. “He’ll hear you!”

Lucy—the aforementioned bestie—sniggered against my palm. An evil glint shone in her eyes seconds before she slopped her tongue across my hand like a frigging dog.

“Ew!” I snorted a laugh, then smeared my palm—and her drool—across her face.

Seriously disgusting! Everyone knew the human mouth was a dirty, nasty place. Okay, yes, I was a vampire and therefore impervious to all forms of disease, viruses, and bacteria. But that didn’t mean I appreciated being bathed in her gross cooties. And yes, I understood the irony, considering I rather enjoyed playing tonsil hockey with my vampire beau. Then again, Vlad preferred to lick other, more pleasurable parts of me. 

“I swear, you’re as bad as Sam,” I grumbled.

Sam was our local Wolfman—aka werewolf—and Lucy’s mate. We couldn’t leave out that little tidbit of info, even though she desperately wished I would. My dear, sweet Lucy was trapped in the denial phase of their relationship. It’d only been three months since vampires had announced their existence to the entire world. I think learning werewolves also existed was the overwhelming icing on the mind-boggling cake for her.

Lucy wasn’t the sort who rolled with the punches. That was my role in this relationship. I was the go-with-the-flow sort who made impulsive decisions which generally always landed me in trouble. Hence why I was now a walking, talking creature of the night. Freaky, right? Not.

Lucy was the steadfast one, and my austere counterpart. Always there to remind me to smarten up—not that I ever did. Where would the fun be in that?

I suspected my life had become a little much for her. The same day we’d learned werewolves existed, she’d also learned one of them was her mate.

I absolutely shipped their relationship. Not only because Sam had saved my life by beheading an evil vampire hellbent on burning me alive, but also because I believed he’d be good for her. Force her to loosen up a little. You couldn’t have two serious people in a relationship. And I didn’t see Sam loosening his reins at all.

From what I’d managed to drag out of Lucy, she and Sam had only spoken a few times over the past couple months. Instead, most of their conversations were through text. It wasn’t ideal, but at least she hadn’t written him off entirely. Now, if only I could get her to take the next step with him. She’d admitted to me more than once, in confidence of course, that she was absolutely hot for his bod. I didn’t blame her. Much like Vlad, Sam scored a solid twelve out of ten. They were two different men, but both were abso-fucking-lutely mouthwatering. Except, her man’s body was going to waste, which was an absolute travesty.

Lucy swatted my arm, then pointed at the television and howled with laughter. “I love this part!”

I glanced up in time to watch as Dracula—a fictional one—leaned over a woman—also named Lucy—and bit her. When he started to drink her blood, it sounded like he was slurping it through a straw. I had to admit, there was a definite comedic value to that. One my Lucy found downright hilarious. The way she clutched her sides and rolled across the bed had me snickering alongside her. Dracula Dead and Loving It was old as balls but so very worth the hour and a half run time.

“You should include this one in your next vlog,” she said between laughter. “Use this scene to show the differences between the movies and reality when it comes to feeding.”

Oh, definitely.

Ever since I’d become a vampire, Lucy and I had made it our mission to watch every single vampire flick out there, genre be damned. Then we tallied up all the fiction vs. fact points and scored each movie accordingly. Sort of like a report card. Once we finished that, we recorded a video for my vlog and up it went, released into the webosphere. It was a far cry from my previous “the truth is out there” channel, but people were eating this new one up. My online popularity had skyrocketed, since I was one of the only vampires pandering to the public. And because of that, not only was I raking in the dough, but I was also considered the first “vampire influencer.”

My connection to Vlad certainly increased my popularity, but I couldn’t help that. Even now, I had interview requests rolling in. Podcasts, radio shows, guest starring on other vlogs, you name it. Everyone wanted to meet a real-life vampire, wanted me front and center on their channels, even though I had no reflection. But hey, my bank account was loving it. I was twenty-four years old and made more money than all of my friends combined. Mind blowing when I compared even half a year ago to now. A real-life rags to riches story.

When vampires first came out, the queen had issued a gag order to keep any eager vamps out there silent. But she’d lifted the order two and a half months ago. Lucy had insisted I jump on this opportunity asap, and I’d taken her advice, knowing she’d never steer me wrong. She was now my social media and content manager and making a beautiful chunk of change herself.

Unfortunately, I hadn’t told Vlad yet. Part of me feared he’d disapprove, the other part of me feared this would all blow up in my face. Fame was a fickle beast. One moment, you’re walking on air, buying the newest Louis Vuitton pumps, the next buying secondhand shoes from Goodwill. I only knew I didn’t want him to see any of this yet. Not until I knew for sure it was more than a passing trend. He adored me, and I wanted to keep it that way.

“Oh, this is just perfect!”

Lucy’s voice cut into my thoughts and I glanced up in time to watch the scene where Van Helsing stuffed their Lucy’s room full of garlic in an attempt to repel the villainous Dracula. My Lucy, on the other hand, was laughing so hard, tears spilled from her eyes.

I couldn’t help but join her. Garlic truly was a treat for us vamps. And I didn’t mean that in a pleasurable way. Even now, I couldn’t handle the memory of that scent, and Vlad had only shown me one clove to give me an idea.

The thought of filling someone’s room to repel one of us would absolutely work. And the image of it was so downright ridiculous, even my stomach had begun to cramp from the hilarity.

“Ohmigosh, Lucy.” I dashed blood tears from my eyes. “Keep it down, Vlad’s gonna hear you!”

“So?” She threw a handful of popcorn at the screen. “If ole Battikins pisses me off, I’ll just chuck some garlic at him and run away.”

I burst out laughing at the image, then clapped a hand over my own mouth to muffle the sound. Lucy loved the new nickname she’d come up with for him. It’d quickly become her favorite after she’d somehow managed to sneak up on Vlad—a feat I still had no idea how she’d accomplished. But she’d startled him so badly, he’d spontaneously shifted into bat form. She’d just about laughed herself into an early grave that night.

Vlad didn’t approve of our movie selection. Considering he was the Dracula, these movies possessed a completely different tone for him. I respected that. I’d gotten my own taste of that when I stumbled across a fanfiction website featuring thousands of stories written about me. I’d tried reading a few but stopped once I’d stumbled across the Anna x Lucy ones. I loved Lucy, of course, but not that way. And it weirded me out to read love stories about us. I had to imagine that was how Vlad felt about the movies based on him, especially considering his deceased wife’s name had actually been Mila. Bet that felt like a donkey kick to the nuts.

Halfway through this ridiculously awesome movie, I noticed Lucy’s phone lighting up across the room. From the faint flicker in her eyes, she’d noticed it as well, but refused to acknowledge it. Which could only mean one thing.

“Sam?” I asked.

Her jaw tightened but she didn’t answer. Like I said, denial, denial, denial. But I bet she had a journal at home. A diary—because even grown-ass women sometimes needed an inanimate object to bitch at—and I bet it went something like this:

 

Dear Diary,

Sam is, like, soooo hot. Like fry an egg on his pecs hot. He also has this lumberjack beard that’s to die for, and abs worthy of a Norse god. Like Chris Hemsworth. I know he wasn’t actually Thor, but he did portray him, and his body is absolutely lickable. The things I would do to him, if I wasn’t a little scaredy cat afraid of my own shadow.

I stayed in New Orleans so I could eye hump him every time we saw each other, but I never let it go any further than that. Because I’m a celibate nun at heart, even though I think I love him.

 

Then she’d probably draw Sam’s name with hearts all over the page, and doodle Mrs. Wolfman in the corner. Yeah, that sounded about right. Girl had damn googly eyes for him, like I did Vlad. But at least I had the ovaries to jump Vlad’s rickety old bones. Frequently. Happily.

Lucy’s phone lit up again, distracting me from my immature thoughts. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the image of Emo Lucy, scribbling in her journal, her hair draped in front of her eyes.

Hmm. If she didn’t want to speak to Sam, maybe I would. He and Vlad didn’t get along at all. But Sam liked me. He thought I was a breath of fresh air in Vlad’s otherwise stuffy life. I didn’t find Vlad stuffy at all, but he did hold grudges. And he disliked Sam because of some… uncouth behavior. Let’s just say, while in wolf form, Sam behaved in an unbefitting way. If I remembered correctly—and I did because it was funny as shit—Sam had urinated on Vlad’s coffin as a giant fuck you. The two definitely didn’t get along.

When her screen lit up a third time, I smirked, then dashed across the room and snatched up Lucy’s phone.

“Anna Perish!” Lucy shrieked, her face a mask of pure horror.

I grinned, held my fingers to my lips, then answered the call. “Sam! Hi!”

“Anna?”

“Yup!”

Silence crept across the line. Sam wasn’t loquacious at the best of times. One worded answers were his repertoire. I often wondered what the hell he and Lucy talked about or if they just sat there in awkward silence, panting and lusting over each other’s bodies.

“I take it you’re looking for Lucy?” I dragged out my words, hoping to get him talking.

He grunted.

I almost busted up laughing. Of course he grunted. I was really starting to wonder about the man’s vocabulary. Did he just prefer not to speak? Or maybe he didn’t know many words? So many questions! 

Lucy on the other hand was shooting daggers my way. Ah well. She’d get over it once she got under him. Their relationship needed a little nudge, anyway. The guy definitely had to be worth it considering he kept trying even while being strung along. Don’t get me wrong, Lucy was incredibly hot for him, but the second the word “mate” or “werewolf” came up, she slammed on the brakes so fast, we all had whiplash.

Maybe I could help. Or interfere, whatever way she wanted to look at it. I needed to get these two somewhere they couldn’t avoid each other anymore. Somewhere small and cozy. Somewhere Lucy would be forced to sit and speak to the poor wolf.

A nefarious plot bloomed in my head like a Venus Flytrap.

If Lucy wouldn’t go to him, then I needed to bring Sam to us. And I knew exactly what to do. Lucy would hate me, but I could handle a little best friend hate for this.

“So, Samuel…” I rarely used his full name. Even Lucy’s eyebrows rose. “Lucy’s and my parents have been begging us to come home. They’re getting pretty insistent, actually, and I don’t see how we can avoid them any longer.”

The blood visibly drained from Lucy’s face. Look how quickly she caught on. Oh, I was going to be paying for this for the rest of her life.

“Whatd’ya say? Wanna come with? Meet our families? I’m gonna drag Vlad along too, so we can make it a sort of double date type sitch. You in?”

“Where’s home?” Sam asked.

“Perish. About an hour and a half from here. We can have you back by the end of the weekend. So you can… do whatever it is you do with your time.” I literally knew nothing about him other than he turned into a wolf. “Just think, four days with Lucy. Maybe you two can resolve some matters.”

Lucy chucked a pillow at my head. Too bad I saw it coming a million miles away. And too bad my vampire reflexes were far more advanced than her human ones. I snatched it out of the air and whipped it back at her. I choked on a laugh at the sight of a pillow knocking her flat on her back. Maybe I’d used a little too much force.

“Sure,” Sam said, drawing my focus back to our conversation.

I grinned mischievously. Lucy didn’t possess supernatural hearing like me, but my smile told her everything. She swatted the pillow off the bed, then sat up and mouthed very slowly, “I hate you.” I mouthed back, “Love you too.”

“Welp! Guess it’s settled then. We’ll leave on Wednesday night if that works for you?” It was currently Sunday. Which left him a couple days to get his stuff in order for a small road trip. “Be here around nine p.m.?”

“Fine.”

When he didn’t hang up, I winced. He was waiting for me to hand Lucy the phone. “She isn’t available to talk right now.”

“I can hear her in the background,” he stated.

Right. Werewolf. Forgot they could hear as well as us.

“Ah, well. Truth be told, she’s too busy having a panic attack to speak. But don’t worry! I’ll calm her down and make sure she packs something super sexy for you.”

“Anna!” she shouted, knowing her cover was blown.

“Okay, see you Wednesday night. Byeeee!” I ended the call before Lucy could snatch her phone back and slid it into my back pocket.

“Give me my phone right this second, Anna!”

“Nah.” I backed away from her, then darted for the door, once again using my unmatchable vamp speed. Poor Luce. She really didn’t stand a chance.

“That’s cheating!” she shouted at me.

I paused at the door and threw a sassy glance back over my shoulder. “Oh sweetie, it’s only cheating if you’re caught. And you can’t catch me.”

“I won’t forget this!” Lucy cried out as I vanished through the door and raced down the steps.

Laughter bubbled in my throat.

Sometimes it was good to be a vampire.

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