Monday, October 15, 2012
I want to suck your—Lenora cut off that thought before it reached its conclusion. Too many weeks between dates had left her restless, and desperate enough to come to her friend Annette’s costume party. Annette’s parties weren’t always the greatest because Annette didn’t know any hot guys.
Correction: she knew one. And he was so totally hot.
Lenora adjusted her cat ears and shook her butt to wag her kitty-tail. “I want to use your scratching post.” She wanted to scratch out her own tongue as soon as the words fell off it. Witty? Try rhymes-with. “Sorry. That didn’t come out right.”
He smiled down into her eyes and nodded. “I understand. I too have trouble with the small talk. I try to quote movies instead. The words are done already.”
He’d dropped the Dracula act by now, but still had a trace of an accent. It sounded vaguely German to Lenora’s untrained ear. “Let’s start over, without the cutesy. I’m Lenora.”
He took her hand and kissed her fingers. “I am Vincent.”
Vincent. That was good. Given the accent, she’d been afraid he might be a Heinrich or Helmut or something. Vincent was romantic. She could enjoy the whole fantasy vampire thing. In fact, given that this was Talbot’s Peak and events sometimes skewed toward the odd, she felt compelled to ask, “You’re not a real vampire, are you?”
His smile got a little wobbly. “No, I am … not.”
“Well, that’s good. I’m not a real catwoman, either. I mean, look at the ears, come on.” She stopped herself just short of an actual physical slap to her own cheek. “I’m babbling, aren’t I?”
“I don’t mind babble. Your voice is lovely, like a sonata. I enjoy listening to you babble.”
“Thank you.” Please don’t be married. Please don’t be married. “Your voice is nice, too. It’s, ah … ”
He saved her the trouble. “I am from Austria.”
“Oh. Like Arnold Schwarzeneggar.” Jesus Pete. When when when would she learn to think first before she let the stupid spill out of her? “You mentioned movie dialogue. Are you an actor?”
“Not yet, but I hope to be someday. Tonight, I wish to enjoy this party in the company of a beautiful woman. May I give you a punch?”
“You mean get me a drink, I hope.”
“Yes.” Even when he fumbled he was handsome. “I am still learning the idioms.”
“Well, I can help you with that. I think I know every bit of chitchat ever invented. And use it. As you can tell. Just tell me to stop if it gets to be too much.”
“Talk all you wish. I will listen and learn.”
Thank you, gods of Halloween, Lenora thought as she took Vincent’s hand and let him toward the punch bowl. There were perfect men in the world, and she had just found one.
# # #
Vincent groaned in the depths of his mind. At last he’d found a woman who didn’t flee from him in horror or laugh in his face. How long would that last, once she found out his secret? How long could he keep it from her?
By her scent he knew she was human. That automatically put her in the flee in horror category. He considered that a vast improvement over the other. At least if they ran you could still chase them down and try to explain yourself. Scornful laughter usually prompted a humiliated slink from the female’s presence and a long curl up in his doggy bed.
That was why he preferred humans. Shifters were so vicious, even the grass-eaters.
She seemed to like his costume. That was a promising start. Vampires were all the rage here in America. Not so much at home in Austria, where isolated villages still lived with the bloody, predatory, and decidedly non-romantic reality, but Americans were more open-minded. If she could have feelings for a leech on two legs, perhaps learning he was a shifter wouldn’t upset her. Or, worse still, make her laugh.
Should he tell her he was a wolf? What if she wanted to see him change?
Yes, my dear, I am a shifter. I am shifter nobility, from a long and distinguished lineage. The von Lustbaders are quite powerful in the homeland. Yes, that was good. The name “von Lustbader” alone was sure to win a favorable reaction. He’d gotten quite a few awestruck looks with it already. We are a proud people. Fine, bulging chests, sharp teeth. The keenest noses you will ever find.
And little, stumpy legs.
Who was he kidding? This human woman would laugh at him too, just like the shifter shes, when she found out. With all the wolves, cats, eagles and whatnot to choose from, how could anyone take a weredachshund seriously?
Better not to tell her. Not just yet.
Lenora handed him a plastic cup full of punch. “Bottoms up,” she said.
“Bottoms up,” he echoed. She turned to wave hi to a friend of hers, and Vincent availed himself of the sight of her own delightful bottom. Yes, he wouldn’t mind at all seeing that up in the air.
All right, then. He wouldn’t tell her anything until after he’d gotten her into bed. Maybe not even then.
Damn it all, he should have told her he was a vampire after all. Then he wouldn’t be expected to change into anything. But oh, she smelled so lovely. And that bottom!
“America is a wonderful place,” he said. “A land of dreams come true.”
She sipped her punch. “Amen,” she agreed.