FINALLY! Here I am! Back at work on my author blog. Yes, it’s been 8 months! Yes, I hear the crickets. Well, not really, because it’s winter here in Virginia, but I did have to clean off the cobwebs. What’s important is I’m back, and I thought I’d kick off things with an excerpt from Nine30 Book #1 of the Little Flamer series. It’s one of my favorite scenes because it’s the first time you get a real glimpse into the dark secrets of our lovely protagonist, Fiamette. 😀
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I searched the turbulent sea of gawkers for my fish. Ah. There he was. I met his gaze, my lips lifting into a come-hither smile. He was close enough now I could make out his full, Latin lips. Nice. I turned a hip, let one hoop spin to a stop at my feet, and threw the other over my head. Catching it with my neck, I bent and glanced at my boots for a second, so my shag-cut hair covered my eyes. I tossed my hair back, looking straight at the vampire.
He froze, eyes widening. Then he grinned like the devil he was and pushed his way through the ocean of flesh. Winded and a little too self-satisfied for my own good, I glanced instinctively at the door to the dressing rooms in the back of the club. Miranda was already there in her bright yellow tutu and matching fur leggings with black smiley faces. She waved, ready to spell me off.
Miranda weaved her way to the podium, and I kept my eyes on my target, wondering how old he was in vampire years. He appeared fairly young, maybe only five or ten years since he’d been turned. Dang. I shoved my disappointment away and concentrated on reeling him in. What I needed was a much older vamp. They were so much more… well, just more, but I supposed he’d do.
Besides—I flipped the second hoop back up and spun them both overhead—I could always cut bait if something superior came along and there was always the chance he was the one I was looking for. The young vamp stood at my feet. A song about scary monsters rocked the house as we met each other’s gaze. His absorbed expression said he was already mine, but I jiggled my derrière for him anyway. I needed to keep him entertained and interested because Miranda, making her way to the platform in the middle of the dance floor, was still five minutes away, even with members of the security team clearing a path.
He studied me, as if marking me for the hunt. Which I’m sure he was. Hmmm. I lifted the hoops back over my head and twirled them down to my waist. When Miranda finally arrived, I let the hoops swing to my feet and wobble to a dramatic stop. The security guys waited while the song wound down.
I glanced over at Katrina on the other platform. We exchanged a nod, and both backflipped off our podiums, landing in the arms of the crowd. Screaming with joy, the horde passed me over their heads to the back of the dance floor. No one grabbed my ass—well, not in a way I didn’t like—and no one dropped me. Would miracles never cease? All in all, a successful routine.
As the last few hands lowered me to my feet, I glanced back at the podium where Miranda was already posing while she waited for the ecstatic screams to calm down enough for the DJ to be heard. Tony and Mark, my security detail, flanked me, crossing their arms over their broad pecs. Tony’s jaw flexed as he watched me, a nervous wrinkle above his brow.
I smiled reassuringly up at him, and he rewarded me with one of his rare Cheshire cat grins. We liked each other. Not that way. We got each other, that was all, and I was going to miss him. Whether I liked my co-workers or this cover job didn’t matter—my real living came from other skills—it was time to move on. Besides, I’d given this city a fair shake and I was fairly certain what I was looking for wasn’t here.
I peeked over the heads of the wound-up throng and there was my vampire. I wrapped my fingers partially around Tony’s bulging bicep, pulling him close. He leaned down, turning his ear to my mouth.
“I’m going to mingle,” I yell-whispered into his ear.
His eyes narrowed. “Please stay out of trouble,” he yelled back.
Aww, he’s sweet. I smiled indulgently. “I will.”
He grabbed my arm and I stared at his hand as he pressed his mouth to my ear. “Listen to me, Fia. You know I keep my nose out of other people’s business, but I’ve heard rumblings.” I got a sick feeling in my gut that I’d waited a tad too long to leave town. “You’ve attracted the kind of attention I’m guessing you wouldn’t like. So when I say stay out of trouble, I mean stay under the radar.”
When he eased his grip, I forced a smile. “I’ve got it under control.” I turned to look for my vamp. I needed what he could give me more than ever, if Tony was right about me attracting attention. Damn. It was exactly what I’d been afraid of.