Want a personal copy? Click below to download a PDF of Chapter One.
Tanya stopped mid-twerk to look up at me. “Sadie, no lie. You need to make a move or I’ll do it for you. You know I know all the tea on vampires in case he gives you any trouble.” She flung her long pink wig over her shoulder.
I chewed on my acrylics nervously. “Daddy said he might roll through…I don’t wanna…”
“Grow a pair, Sadie! You’re grown. Have a drink so you can finally get up the nerve to talk to his fine ass! You know those vampires are usually packin…”
I shook my head. Why would she say something like that with her man right there? “You’re doing a lot, T.”
Once again my eyes floated back and forth between my new red stiletto nails, and the vampire’s angular face. His hazel eyes glowed from across the restaurant. I couldn’t help looking at him.
“Whatever, Sadie,” Tanya said. “Don’t try to judge my life just because I caught you starin’.”
Tanya held her sixth cup of vodka-cranberry as she continued to shake her hips on her boyfriend. His face was still screwed up from her vampire dick comment. In true Tanya fashion, she ignored his attitude and kept dancing and filling my ears with unsolicited advice.
“You see all these customers in here,” she said. “We’re about to celebrate your emancipation from yo overbearing ass Daddy once the restaurant is really poppin! Why not snag you a man while you’re at it?”
I shook my head and laughed as she spoke.
“Laugh all you want,” she said. “You know I’m right. So like I said, get you a drank, honey, so you can go talk to that man. I’m tired of watching your thirst.”
Tanya was usually right, about all sorts of things. This was no different. I should just go say something to him, but what was the use?My life was too out of order to deal with a man.
I took a stroll around the restaurant, greeting the locals and thanking them for coming to my costume party. After one circle around the dance floor, I was drawn back to the man in red.
I couldn’t help but notice that aside from me, he was the only guest dressed as a vampire. Tanya’s obsession with vampire folklore guided my costume choice, along with the fact that something about the blood-sucking savages intrigued me.
My dark eye makeup, leather miniskirt, and red lips had me walking tall tonight. Usually events like this sent me straight to the wall to try to blend in, but dressing as a vampire was liberating; it made me feel sexy and powerful. I’d never feared vampires, though Tanya often told me I should, at least a little.
I shifted my focus back to the red suit across the restaurant. A long black cape draped over his broad shoulders. His chiseled face wore a stern expression, and his demeanor was like that of a wild lion. Heat rose in my chest the longer I stared at him.
Something was different about him, like he wasn’t from around here. His costume wasn’t cheap looking like everyone else’s. In fact, it appeared to be custom made. Even his vampire fangs looked authentic; not like the cheap kiddie ones I’d bought from the craft store.
Rap music flooded my ears. I narrowed my eyes to get a better look at him. Who the hell was he? There were never men that fine around Tuvania.
Tanya stopped dancing and put her hand on her hip.
“Why is your hand still empty? I told you to get a drink, Sadie.”
I chuckled. “What? Stop it. You know I don’t drink anymore.”
I’d given up drinking since college, even though a little alcohol didn’t sound like the worst idea right now. We needed to make bank at this costume party, or Daddy was gonna shut my restaurant right on down. Sweat gathered on my palms, so I wiped it away on my leg.
Tanya started to sway her hips on her man again.
“Well you need a drink tonight. Here.” She stretched her hand out and I reluctantly took the drink to keep it from spilling all over my outfit.
I’m not drinking this mess. The drink sat in my hand for a few minutes while I people watched. Lots of folks were here, in my restaurant, which was amazing. There were a lot of Tuvanians dressed as unicorns, pharaohs, bunnies, and kings.
Tanya and her man dressed as spies. They both wore all black, and shades. I just couldn’t shaky it that with all of the variety of costumes in here, somehow, me and one other dude in the place—had dressed as vampires.
A strong hand grazed my back, lightly tapping the top of my booty. Jerking around, I screamed once I watched the vodka splash onto his neat suit. A large circle of liquid formed on his right shoulder. He pulled out a handkerchief and dabbed it calmly, nodding his head.
I covered my mouth. “Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry.”
He cleared his throat, straightened his silk tie, and laughed.
“I knew it was a risk,” he said.
I swallowed. “What?”
“Approaching you the way I did. You don’t owe me an apology, miss lady.” He kissed my hand slowly. “I owe you one. Oh and I like your costume.”
“Thank you. Your costume is…” I looked him up and down, “very impressive too.”
His hazel eyes trapped me. His pore-less skin, and ripped biceps had me gasping for air. That suit fit him so perfectly. No words would come out of my mouth.
He fiddled with his pocket, pulled out a toothpick and placed it in his mouth. The sharp, white fangs in his mouth looked eerily perfect. In awe, I watched him play with the toothpick like he really knew how to use his tongue.
“Get it Sadie!”
Without turning around I knew that was Tanya, yelling like a hood chick. I shook my head, chuckled, and threw the rest of the drink down my throat. God forbid I spill more of it on him.
The drink, though watered down, still burned as it traveled down my throat. Five years without drinking; it was easy to forget how badly it could sting.
The vampire man chuckled. “So you’re not much of a drinker, huh?”
His neat beard resembled a freshly mowed lawn, and he looked way better than any vampire I’d ever seen on tv. His golden cufflinks blinded me, and the velvet loafers on his feet were definitely designer. What the hell did he do for work?
My dad was well-known as the Mayor of Tuvania, so I thought I knew everyone. This vampire guy looked close to my age–why hadn’t I seen him before?
I swallowed and tried not to choke on my spit. The white strobe lights moving through the restaurant were already starting to rock my stomach after all that liquor.
“No. I’m…really not a drinker at all,” I said.
When I turned to look for Tanya, she and her man were gone. Typical. I turned back to meet his patient eyes.
“My best friend Tanya who has obviously gone missing—she’s the one who made me take the drink.”
He focused on me intently, like he didn’t want to miss a word I was saying.
“I get that,” he said. “Your friend wanted you to get a little wild tonight. Let your hair down a little.”
I fiddled with my hair, which was in a sleek bun.
“Probably so,” I said. Feeling awkward, I crossed my arms and looked around behind him. The extended eye contact made me shiver.
“I like that.” He nodded towards my head.
“What?” I laughed.
“The red rose in your hair. Sexy.”
I bit my lip and inhaled his woodsy cologne. His smell made me hunger for debauchery. I wondered if he could see my nipples stiffening through this thin bra. My heart did backflips and my sweaty palms flared up again.
“Of course.” He grinned. “So do you come here often? Beautiful vampire woman who shall remain nameless?”
He thinks I’m beautiful? The thirsty woman in me wanted to tell him thank you for the compliment, but I wasn’t about to let him think he had me. One of my favorite songs came on so I swayed my hips. That drink was settling in and I felt so good, I wanted another one. My legs felt stiff. I could stand to loosen up.
I cracked a smile and whispered in his ear, “I kind of own the place. My name is Sadie Henry.”
“Oh shit.” He laughed but then his face turned serious. “I’m impressed as hell then, Sadie Henry. I’m Royce. Royce Sanders.”
Royce Sanders. I’m impressed by you with your sexy ass, too. Who was I kidding. I hadn’t been laid in years and I wasn’t about to throw it at some man I barely knew. I wished Tanya was still here. She was the perfect wing woman, always telling me when to pull back and when to give a man play.
I swallowed. “Well it’s nice to meet you, Royce.”
“Likewise.” He looked me up and down, still nibbling on the toothpick. “Wanna get some drinks, and dance some more?”
His words hit me like hot grease. How did he know? My nerves had gotten the best of me and now that I’d started drinking, I didn’t wanna stop.
I cleared my throat then giggled nervously. “I probably shouldn’t get too crazy.”
He nodded and flashed a quick smile. “That’s understandable.” His eyes studied the restaurant. “You’re the boss lady around here. Gotta be responsible.”
The way he never lost eye contact with me sent chills down my spine. His expression unlocked my frozen heart, forcing me to trust him. What was happening to me?
“Actually,” I said. “One more drink won’t hurt.”
“You sure? It’s no pressure.”
Lost in his smooth skin and expensive ensemble, I couldn’t tell this man no. He held his arm out to me and I clasped it. The soft fabric of his suit had me smiling all the way to the bar.
We each had a shot of vodka, he bought a beer and I got another vodka cranberry. The next thing I knew, we were killing the dance floor.
I turned around slowly and circled my ass on him gently, the song playing was one of my favorite slow joints. It would be the worst thing in the world if Daddy showed up right now. As my only investor he had a way of showing up randomly at my restaurant to make sure I was behaving myself. Like I was some sort of child. I threw Daddy out of my mind.
Lost in the feel of this fine man’s dick behind me, something came over me. I turned to face him and he pulled me into his chest.
We were face to face, and I could smell the sweet peppermint on his breath. The whole room was still. The next thing I felt was his soft lips on mine.
I wasn’t sure about Royce, but I was definitely drunk. He grabbed my arm and we walked over to an empty booth.
Sitting on his lap now, my biological urges kicked in. I found myself placing my hand to the back of his neck and gently massaging it. His neck was rock hard, just like the rest of his body. My heart quickened the longer I was around him.
One of my best bartenders approached us with a tray. She sported a pair of bunny ears.
“More shots yall?” she said in her country accent.
Royce shook his head.
“Actually, let’s do one more,” I whispered in his ear.
His eyebrows raised and his deep voice chimed into my ear. “You sure Sadie? I don’t wanna get you in too much trouble. Especially at your restaurant. This is your place of business.”
I stroked his neatly shaped up fade and ran my index finger across his wickedly straight hairline.
“You are so sexy and serious,” I moaned.
He waved the bartender off and picked me up.
“Come on, let’s go,” he said.
“Don’t drop me!” His strong hands cupped me like an infant. The strobe lights which were beautiful before, were just making me dizzy now. I laughed, stroking his head again.
“Where are we going, my prince?” I slurred.
“Somewhere where you can calm down.” His voice was hard and cold.
He sat me down on some soft surface. The smell of cleaning supplies hit my nose. Where are we? “It’s dark in here,” I said.
He turned on his cellphone light and illuminated the small space. “Are we in my supply closet?”
“Yes, appears that way,” he said. “Here.”
I took the bottled water from him. “Ugh…I’m not really thirsty like that.”
“You should drink it, Sadie.”
I sighed and did what he said. This dude was bossy, but at least he was caring. A clicking noise attacked my ears end I gasped. “What is that?”
Royce looked up, so I followed suit as well. A black beak was penetrating the ceiling.
“I’m not seeing that right? I’m just hallucinating. Royce…?”
Royce fell silent. He stood and started pacing the small space, constantly looking up at the ceiling.
“Royce? What is that? Do you see it too?”
“Sadie. Look, do you have a ride home?” He looked down at his watch, then up at the ceiling again. “I need to go. When is this party over?”
I threw my body into his arms, feeling like I could barely control myself. I couldn’t even taste the vodka on my breath anymore. My senses had dulled.
“I don’t want the night to be over yet.” I ran my hand down his chest and standing in front of him now, I could feel him harden. Maybe he didn’t want it to be over either.
We stared in each other’s eyes and when I leaned into him, he pulled me closer, gently brushing my lips with his. God this man was so damn sexy. I closed my eyes as I kissed him passionately. I was in heaven, but little did I know, the next day I would wake up in hell.
The full length novel will be released early 2021. Follow Royce and Sadie on their adventures in the Underworld!