Hurt Me Good (Dirty Rotten Vampires 1)
Second Edition
J. Hali Steele
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2014 J. Hali Steele

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Peace and quiet tended to avoid Barringer Ganteau, and today was no different as glass shattered in the hotel lobby, sending guests scurrying for cover. The man who had flown through the window banged his head on the marble floor and lay unconscious, while the revolver he held slid from his hand, clanging against the reception desk.

Ringer strode to the piece and picked it up. "Son of a bitch." Spinning around, he watched two police officers jostle with fleeing guests to enter the door, and wondered why they didn't just step through the broken window a few feet back along the front of the hotel. "Jackasses."

One stood over the criminal and the other came toward him, stopping short of stepping on his Italian leather shoes. "Ringer, couldn't you just once restrain someone? Why do you have to hurl them through something?" He glanced around the lobby. "It's cold as hell in here."

"Hell, my friend, is not cold."

"If anyone knows that, it'd be you."

"Go to hell." Damn perceptive of a human to feel the chill in the air. "Why didn't you restrain him? You had him in the goddamn car."

The cop scratched his head and coughed. "Well, he... shit, man, I wasn't expecting him to jump out before I cuffed him."

"Did you expect him to grab your gun?" Barringer handed the pistol over.

"Thanks. Uhh, the department is going to hear about this -- could you work with me on a story?"

"Jakes, I got it. In the future, cuff them first. Hell, I'd have cuffed him, then knocked the bastard out before I tossed him in the car."

"We can't do that shit, man."

Ringer grunted. "And that's why I'm not a cop."

Barringer had been coerced into moving west from New Orleans by a friend, and he'd found the perfect spot to call home and to play at being a private investigator; an excellent cover for his kind. Oro Grande, California, smaller than the neighboring city of Victorville, would be missed if you blinked driving through. Both cities were tiny in comparison to Los Angeles, but crime was on the rise in the high desert with more and more people moving into the area. Today, he hunted in Apple Valley, a town known by most as the home of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, famous for their cowboy movies.

Ringer had been in residence for a few months, and he loved the desert and surrounding mountains. As promised, it provided the ability to hide in plain sight, something he and the others often did to avoid trouble. Local law enforcement accepted the fact he was here to stay and overlooked his volatile episodes as long as he didn't kill anyone.

But the day was young.

Anyway, the quarry he hunted wasn't human -- no one would miss the demonic piece of shit except Lucifer.

The demon mix had turned malevolent and jeopardized creatures in the area by mutilating humans. Something not permitted without dire repercussions. When he caught the horned bastard, he'd silently rip his throat out. No human would be the wiser, and the others would thank him for a job well done.

Watching the officers drag the now-cuffed thief from the hotel, he stopped Jakes. "Tell your captain I'll pay for the damages." Money was no object. Hundreds of years making it, and stealing some, would have listed him among billionaires. Though he managed to stay off the Forbes radar, he had made a couple of the best-dressed lists.

Glancing past the razor-sharp creases in his black tailor-made slacks, he again eyed the Italian leather encasing his feet. If Jakes had stepped on a toe, he'd have sent him skidding on his ass across the floor. The thought made him smile.

Sniffing the air, he caught an odd scent. He knew most creatures in his neck of the woods. This one was new. He stood stock-still in the center of the lobby and waited. Nothing could hide from him for long; in fact, this one didn't seem to be hiding. He knew his eyes, cloaked behind sunglasses, were now red instead of violet as he searched the space. Seconds ticked by as he shut out the noise and separated the smell from all the others.

"Bloody hell," he whispered. Christ, she was magnificent.

Tall, but not skinny, she had curves in all the right places, and legs that seemed to go on forever beneath a pair of white mid-thigh shorts. The tan tee shirt accentuated her bronze skin, and her tousled brown hair stopped above her neck. A neck Ringer watched the pulse throb in from where he stood. His mouth watered and he struggled to keep his fangs from elongating. He'd never exhibited a great like for her kind yet his dick soared to attention and he used every ounce of power to bring the room to a standstill. It had been at least a hundred years since he had reacted to any woman in this manner.

It shocked the shit out of him when she moved. Her head turned and she stared straight at him with red, glowing eyes. Then she smiled and disappeared.

A demi-vamp with the ability to vanish!

"I will find you." She left a trail no one else in the hotel but he could follow if he chose...

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