Crimson Debt(2)

By: Evangeline Anderson

“Oh, I haven’t dated anyone since just after I started here two years ago. I was going with this one guy—we were even thinking of getting married. But he got mad when I quit school to work at the Fang full time. He was all ‘Glam-sex is still cheating’ and I was like, ‘As if, asshole. They don’t even touch me.’ But he totally wouldn’t see it my way and he was being a jerk about the whole thing. So we broke up.”

“So you quit school and you haven’t had a meaningful relationship outside the confines of your own head in two years? All just so you could work at a bar and get mind-fucked every night?” I asked bluntly. “Think about it—you could be married with kids and a career by now and instead you’re slinging beers for minimum wage. Is it really worth it?”

The barmaid’s cheeks flushed an angry red. “You sound like my mom. Come to think of it, you kind of look like her too.”

Okay, that hurt. Thirty was coming up pretty fast but I didn’t think I really looked my age. If anything, my bright red hair, big brown eyes, and freckles made me look younger than I was—a trait I hated but used to my advantage when I needed to. Probably what the girl was referring to was my choice of clothing. I was wearing a gray tailored pantsuit with black heels to add a little height to my five foot four inch frame. The cut of the suit was pretty severe and it didn’t show a bit of skin besides my hands and throat—a far cry from the barmaid’s daisy dukes and cut-up-to-here midriff t-shirt.

“Forget I said anything,” I told her, snapping my citation pad shut. “What you do with your life is your business.”

I was trying to make peace but she couldn’t let it drop. “Like you’ve done so much with yours,” she sneered. “You’re just some kind of bureaucrat who goes around and tries to ruin other people’s fun. Is this what you do all day? Ask people stupid boring questions?”

“Actually, I also kill vampires sometimes,” I said pleasantly. “So my job isn’t all boring.”

The girl’s mouth was suddenly hanging open and I had a moment of satisfaction when I thought I’d finally gotten through to her. Then a deep, cool voice behind me said, “I think you’ve annoyed Ms. Godwin quite enough for now, Bambie. Maybe you should go see if table five needs a refill on their drinks.”

“Yes, Master Corbin.” The awe in her voice made me roll my eyes and she bowed and actually backed away, as though Corbin was some kind of royalty. Well, to fang freaks like her, he probably was.

“Sorry about that. Bambie isn’t the brightest barmaid we have here at the Fang but she’s competent and reliable.” Corbin stepped around to face me and turned the force of his considerable charm on me like a spot light. I could feel the envious stares of the other women, and quite a few of the men in the club as well, as they watched us.

“No problem. Just part of the job.” I met his eyes because I could. But just because he couldn’t glamour me didn’t mean it was easy to hold his unwavering silver-blue gaze.

“The job which includes killing vampires,” he said blandly.

I frowned. “That’s right.” I wore a Glock 22 loaded with hollow point bullets filled with silver nitrate and I knew how to use it. I’d only pulled the trigger twice—both times my life had been threatened—but I was also the state mandated button man—or button woman in my case. That is, when a vamp was sentenced to death, I was the one who pushed the button that opened the skylight in the sun room where our fanged friends were executed. Hey, somebody had to do it and it was part of my job. Not a part I particularly cared for but I wasn’t going to apologize for it either.

Corbin seemed to sense my defensive mood because he changed the subject. “I trust you got the information you needed and that our little establishment passed your test with flying colors?” he asked smoothly.

“You’re in compliance.” I couldn’t keep the annoyance out of my voice. Other vamp run establishments had regular complaints but Under the Fang never had a single problem. Every employee was perfectly happy, every customer completely satisfied. The local PD never even got any drunk and disorderly calls which was unheard of since the club had a full bar and last call wasn’t until five AM.

“You sound disappointed.” Corbin grinned, showing more than a little fang, which really pissed me off. Not a lot of humans know it but displaying their fangs is more than just an expression of hunger for a vamp—it’s an outright sexual come-on. Corbin might as well have rubbed his hard-on against my thigh—that’s how subtle it was.

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