Since I said I was done, then realized I wasn’t, I thought I’d post a new teaser in penance.
If you read one of the first teasers, you know Dori was given a year to learn the skills necessary to be self-sufficient without drawing undue attention. Her time’s now up. In this snippet, she’s meeting the various Council members before her hearing begins. It’s not going at all how she expected as the President of the Council, Lyle Bainsbridge, plays host for a bit:
“Please, call me Lyle.” I smiled. He smiled. Donovan smiled, but the corner of his mouth trembled from the effort. “And let me introduce you around. Donovan, I think you can stop hovering for a bit. She’ll be okay with me. I promise.” He followed his statement with a wink, but Donovan continued to exude tightly coiled tension.
“Under your care, I have no worries for her safety. However, at least one here has tried on multiple occasions to elevate his own interests above those of the Council and certainly above Dori’s.” Donovan gave a slight nod of his head as if he addressed royalty, a deference I’d never before witnessed.
“She seems none the worse for wear now, and I don’t think she could be in safer company tonight, though Jack will certainly give Maria a target for her usual harpy rantings, whether Dori’s safely affixed to my side or not. You may come and enjoy the fireworks if you like but otherwise keep a respectful distance.” He heaved a loud sigh and took my hand. “This way, my dear.”
I didn’t dare look back at Donovan. Part of me wanted to snicker, but that part was very foolish and I easily knocked her to the ground and gagged her.
We drew up beside the earlier mentioned Jack Green and his partner, Maria de la O. Maria appeared to be about thirty, dark-haired, dark-eyed Hispanic woman, immaculately dressed and exotically beautiful with olive skin as smooth as silk. Her ample breasts overflowed the top of her Grecian styled dress of winter white and dared you to break eye contact to admire them. Her nipped in waist perched atop full, rounded hips screamed fertility goddess. I assumed from what I’d heard thus far, however, that I was seeing the full extent of her charms and it could only go downhill from there. She raised a single brow after giving me a once over and tightened her grip on Jack. I had no idea what supernatural identity she claimed but something about her feline-like grace whispered Were to me.
Jack moved forward to greet first Lyle then me. Snow white hair paired with nearly jet black eyebrows led me to assume he’d gone silver prematurely. Based upon his face and eyebrows, I gauged him to be about forty when he’d been turned. Light brown eyes danced with appreciation and he crackled with sexual magnetism. I had to do a quick check to make sure I still wore clothes. Everything about him teased of tousled sheets and tangled limbs, the air heavy with pheromones that pulled me into his orbit like a tractor beam. No wonder Maria, the human force field, clung so tightly to him. Had I found myself alone with Jack Green, I’d already be on my back, panting and naked with my legs spread.
“Now behave yourself for a minute, Jack and let me introduce you to Dori Callahan, Milly’s daughter. Dori, this drooling idiot is Jack Green and this is his consort, Maria de la O. Maria, you look absolutely ravishing tonight.” He reached for and kissed Maria’s hand. She tilted her head and smiled at him, but only for a second before she redirected her attention to me.
Jack kept me locked in his sights throughout the introduction. I could sense him knocking at the door to my thoughts, fingernails scratching, begging for entry. I knew if I let him in, I’d regret it. I closed my eyes and gave him a firm mental shove. When I opened them, his shoulders shook with suppressed laughter and his hand extended to shake mine.
“Very nice to finally meet you, Dori. Mm-mm, you are a pretty little thing, but Milly was too so how could you be any less than your magnificent mother.” Instead of releasing my hand after we’d shook, he raised it to his lips and kissed the knuckles as Lyle had kissed Maria’s. Zings of electricity shot out from the point of contact to my breasts and groin. My nipples grew hard and my underwear damp. My fangs threatened to drop but I clenched my teeth as tightly as I could to hold them back. Nice little game he’d played with me. Jack Green had to be an Incubus and not your garden-grown Vampire.
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Green and you too, Ms. de la O.” I made sure to give Maria the majority of my attention as I spoke. I didn’t need her wrath or Jack’s cloak o’ lust to kill my chances of having a successful hearing, whatever that might entail.
“Please excuse me for whisking her away so soon, but I must introduce Dori to the other Council members.” He led me away before Jack could even finish uttering, “Of course.”
In my ear, Lyle whispered, “You are far more mature and wise than your appearance would indicate my dear. Donovan has taught you exceedingly well.”
I struggled to suppress a giggle and felt anything but poised and sophisticated.
“Ah, here are our Were representatives.” In a discrete voice he added, “Careful where you look with these three. They’re all Werewolves and direct and lengthy eye contact can be viewed as overly…aggressive or confrontational. Oh, they try to behave, but you can take the man out of the wolf but you can’t take the wolf out of the man.”
We drew up to three massive men in suits that had to have been custom-tailored for their bulging muscles and towering heights, probably halfway between six and seven feet, the lot of them. They wore expressions full of menace and reeked of carrion. As we approached, I could hear their growls percolating just below the surface.
“Gentlemen, may I introduce Dori Callahan, our newest addition. Dori, this is Jimmy Sepulveda.” I shook the hand that engulfed and threatened to crush mine. “Bubba Montoya.” His handshake was gentler but his palm sweaty and his eyes hungry. “And last but not least, Damien MacKenzie.”
Damien licked his lips, and before I could even register his intent, snatched me into his arms with a growl, bent me over and kissed me. He stabbed his tongue inside my mouth and I tasted gin and a fresh kill he must have made earlier.
My adrenaline kicked into gear and I flashed back to the Werewolf thugs Jude and I had tangled with in the park. I jerked my knee up into Damien’s genitals at the same time as I dropped my fangs and pierced his tongue. He howled in pain and shoved me away. Stunned, I caught my balance and quickly licked away his blood from my mouth, deliciously spicy blood. “Mmm,” I heard myself moan as I did. When my senses returned a second later, I clapped my hands over my mouth and surveyed the reactions of the men around me. Lyle was bent over in laughter as were Jimmy and Bubba. Damien lay writhing in pain on the ground.
Jimmy pointed his drink at me and said, “A little spitfire this one is. Maybe Damien won’t be so quick to judge a book by its cover next time.” He began to laugh anew as he reached a hand down to help his fallen comrade to his feet.
His hands bracing his hunched body at his knees, Damien stole a look at me and bared his teeth. “My apologies, Senorita, for getting carried away by your… beauty.” Those were the words he spoke but the real message bore no resemblance whatsoever to it. I’d run for the hills if I ever found myself about to come face to face with Damien MacKenzie again. I had no doubt that his bite would be far worse than his bark.
“I think we’ve had enough excitement for the time being, Dori.” Lyle seized me by the elbow and steered me away from the Weres.
“Dreadfully uncivilized, but the terms of our treaty require twenty-five percent representation lest we go to war again. Believe me, Miss Callahan, nobody wants the Vamps to go to war with the Weres other than the Gargoyles.”
“No, indeed.” I tugged my dress back into order and caught Donovan watching from a distance, empty shot glass in his hand. He raised it in mock salute when our eyes met.