Today’s Wicked Wednesday is about the ultimate Scrooge — Hadrian, a two-thousand year old vampire who finds himself with a bell-ringing Santa on the steps of his Manhattan brownstone.
Christmas with a vampire? Well, I was a little surprised as well when my editor called with the idea for this anthology, but the more I thought about it, the more that it fascinated me. I could pit the darkness of the vampire against Santa and all the goodness and light of the Christmas holiday! And as dark and dangerous as Hadrian is, beneath all that was a soul aching to be reached. It was just going to take someone really special. Enter Connie Morales, tough NYC lawyer who has volunteered to play Santa to earn some brownie points with her boss.
I loved writing FATE CALLS and today’s little tidbit is from the first encounter between Hadrian and Connie! If you want to read more, I’ll have an excerpt up shortly at THE CALLING website and the book will be available in December.
Once inside, he shut the door behind them with a sweep of his hand and faced her.
With the brisk winter wind gone, a slightly sour aroma permeated the air around her. He wrinkled his nose and motioned to the Santa suit.
“Take it off.”
Her hands clenched into tight fists at her side and once again, he felt the pull and push of power between them as she defied him.
He took a step closer to her, raised his hand to the neck of the Santa suit where he found the pull for the zipper. As the back of his hand skimmed the slick black shirt beneath, her body trembled and he wondered at that response.
“Don’t tell me you’re a virgin,” he said while slowing drawing down the zipper on the suit, revealing the ample curves of her breasts beneath the shimmer of the tight-fitting fabric.
He suddenly itched to touch those breasts, but contained himself.
Before pleasure came punishment for her defiance.
To his continued surprise, she tilted back her head and with only a slight hitch in her voice to give away her discomfort said, “Just because I’m not a virgin doesn’t mean I’m not virtuous and dislike being pawed by the likes of you.”
Hadrian chuckled as he completely unzipped the top of the Santa suit. “The likes of me?”
“You won’t get away with this.”
He laughed again, amused by her spirit. “Who will stop me?”
He picked up his hand and once again had to fight the urge to cup her breast. His human desire confused him. It had been quite some time since he had felt it. Instead, he cradled the side of her face and leaned close until his nose barely brushed hers.
“Who will stop me? You?”
“Yes, me,” exploded against his lips, the spill of her breath warm and all too tempting.
A harsh laugh escaped him this time as he met her gaze. “How will you — ”
“There are laws — ”
“And I suppose you know all those laws,” he said and inched his hand downward, but not to her breast. Instead, he slipped his hand beneath the fabric at her shoulder and with a forceful nudge sent the offensive Santa suit to the parquet floor of the foyer.
“I’m a lawyer,” she said, reaching for his hands as he moved to the drawstring at her waist.
His laugh that time was sharp and unrestrained. “A lawyer. There are some who might say there is not much difference between the two of us.”
Her eyebrows narrowed once again before she thoughtfully asked, “And why is that?”
He unleashed the demon, transforming into the vampire. When he spoke, his voice was tinged with the low rumble of the beast he had let loose.
“Because we are both bloodsuckers, aren’t we?”
The blood drained from Connie’s body, creating the chill of fear as she examined the demon who know stood before her.
The dark chocolate brown of his pupils had bled out and been replaced by an eerie neon blue-green glow. Long and lethal-looking fangs had erupted from beneath the edge of his full top lip, past his pouty lower lip down to the middle of his chin.
She had placed her hands over his as they rested at the tie to the suit’s drawstring and it occurred to her that the cold of his skin wasn’t from the weather outside.
Containing her fear and summoning up every last bit of her courage, she said, “Then I guess you owe me some professional courtesy.”
A jump came at the hands resting beneath hers. He shifted back an inch to peruse her face. Arching a lush dark brow, he said, “Professional courtesy?”
“From one bloodsucker to another.”
The laughter that erupted from him was full and rich as he threw his head back and his body shook with it.
Human mirth, she thought, since it lacked the earlier animal rumble she had heard. When he faced her once again, her perception was confirmed. All traces of the vampire were gone and what remained were the handsome features which had snared her attention earlier.
“You are . . . intriguing.”