Her current legion of fans were young, black-clad goths who, for some reason, seemed to think she was a vampire. Almost nothing could have been further from the truth, but I was willing to bet that they’d gotten the idea from her.

I have to admit the goths came in handy sometimes, like when they made pancakes for breakfast. I piled three onto my plate, sitting across from Lynn at the table. “Would you pass me the syrup, Elvira.” I grinned at her. She hid her own half-smile. Messing with her when her followers were around was one of my favorite pastimes. The goths, a girl and boy with heavy black makeup, both glared at me. “Oh, sorry,” I told them. “Oh Black Mistress of the Night, will you slide the syrup this way, please.” She slid it to me, and I drenched my pancakes. I was a notoriously healthy eater, but I could comfort eat with the best of them, on a really shitty day. This certainly qualified.

“The bed started it?” she finally asked.

“Don’t wanna talk about it.” I dug into the food.

“You have any training appointments today?” she asked as I ate.

“Two,” I said with my mouth full. It’s not that I don’t have table manners. I just didn’t always choose to use them. “First one is Christian.” I was a very expensive personal trainer for a few days out of the week.

“Nice. Tell him I said hi. I’m having lunch with him sometime this week.”

I nodded that I would. “I need a jump for my car,” I mentioned. My beloved Dodge Challenger had barely gotten me home last night. I had been passed out in it on the side of the road, my lights left on, for most of the night.

She nodded to the girl goth. “Sorrow can give you a jump.” I tried my hardest not to smirk when I heard her name, but failed. I shoveled more pancakes into my mouth to hide it. “Thanks,” I mumbled around my food.

I finished eating and pushed back from the table. “Give me ten minutes, Sorrow.” I managed to only half-smirk as I said her name.

I showered quickly, throwing on some black workout clothes. I managed to get through my whole morning routine without looking at my bed again. I smoothed my curly hair into a tight ponytail. Just when I had it tied off, tiny curls escaped to cascade around my face. Ick. I tried again, with the same results. Being used to hair that did what I wanted, I gave up quickly. Christian would make fun of it, but I could hardly blame him.

I was pleased to find my car already jumped and running when I came outside. I smiled and thanked Sorrow. “Your mistress can’t come out in the sunlight?” I asked her.

“I am old enough to stand the sun, if I am adequately covered,” Lynn spoke from the doorway of the house. I turned to her, and had to choke back a laugh. She wore thick black sunglasses, and a black scarf over her face. She was clad in her usual black leather, gloves and all, despite the heat. What got me, though, was the lacy black parasol her other follower was holding over her head. I rolled my eyes at her laughingly before I put on my own shades.

She nodded to my car. Country music drifted out from a preset station on my radio. “Nice music,” she said, smirking at me. I stuck my tongue out at her. “Nice parasol, Queen of the Damned,” I shot back. Yes, I liked country music. I used to hide my guilty pleasure, but I’d given up a while back. All I have to say is, Garth is a gateway drug.

I climbed into the driver’s seat and rolled down my window. “I’ll call you if anything else develops with the situation we discussed earlier.” She nodded, and I waved as I drove away.

Christian lived in one of the expensive gated communities up on sunrise mountain. He lived in a mini-mansion. It was a thirty-minute drive from my place, in good traffic. His house was big and luxurious, and there was no way his cop’s paycheck could cover such a decedent house. Luckily, he had an inheritance the size of Nevada that more than covered such things. It was also how he could afford my pricey skills, though he had been a friend for far longer than he’d been a client.

His colossal inheritance also helped to support his favorite pastime. Paranoia. There were many reasons why Lynn and I found him so easy to get along with, one being that he was the most devout member of my paranoid congregation. His security systems were advanced and intricate. I had to use fingerprints, eye scans, and three different key code entries to gain access to his fortress of a home. And that was all before I got to the front door. I couldn’t really blame him for going to these extremes. Some exceedingly dangerous creatures wanted him dead, or worse, entranced into a devoted slave.

I was shielding hard as I knocked on his heavy front door, though it was only a courtesy. I didn’t want to give his neighbors anything to talk about. When people saw a battered woman, they tended to blame whatever man they saw her with. When he didn’t bother to answer, I just used my key. “You’re gonna have to try harder than that to get out of a workout, candy ass,” I called out, entering his huge marble entryway. His house was decorated like a lush desert palace, all stone and marble, in desert hues of tan and brown. I made my way to the coat closet that housed his shoes.

A pair of hot pink, five inch stilettos were perched at the top of his shoe pile. He had the same house rule as us about shoes. No shoes past the entryway. I would actually have to remove my running shoes, carry them to his gym, then put them back on.

I tossed my gym bag into the closet, slamming it shut. Not this again, I thought.

I heard a shower running in the background and rolled my eyes. He’d better not make me wait while he messes around, I swore. But a riled up brunette strode into the entryway a moment later, giving me a ‘go die in a fire’ kind of look. She eyed me up in my workout getup. My black sports bra and matching skintight micro shorts weren’t improving her mood. I gave her a friendly smile, though I was too irritated to really be feeling it. I was just trying to play nice, since this little scene wasn’t her idea. Yep, that’s me, Miss Congeniality. “Hi, I’m Christian’s personal trainer,” I tried.

She wasn’t having it. She curled her lip at me, planting her hands on her hips. “A personal trainer with a key?” Her tone was nasty. She was jealous. He’d probably kicked her out of bed when he heard the doorbell. He needed a talking to. This happened way too often. The irony was, I was the last person on earth she needed to worry about with Christian. The rest of the female population was a different story. The man was a slut.

I shrugged at her, my smile only slightly less friendly. “We’re old friends. He’s like the little brother I never wanted.”


Tags: R.K. Lilley Heretic Daughters Vampires
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