Bait came in all shapes and sizes. The angler picked what kind he needed depending on what he wanted to catch. Colby, my new boss, said I fitted his need and offered me enough money to make me temporarily insane to accept it.
After a whirlwind week of training and a quick flight to Jamaica, I stepped onto a beach to join the party. The heavy grief tearing apart my heart sank any joy I should have been experiencing but Colby taught me how to bottle it up inside and don a different persona.
I shook my head to loosen my blond curls, the humidity made them hell, and I stripped down to a red bikini, leaving my clothes in a pile on the sand.
My heart beat in time with the demanding rhythm of the music while I moved through the dancers. Sweat beaded on my forehead and on my limbs but the hot tropical night called to everyone to rejoice in our youth. The soft sand between my toes, salt air in my lungs, and sweet rum on my lips loosened the tense muscles of my shoulders. I twisted and swung my hips without a partner. No one cared.
The crowd parted and I saw him. He stood on the fringe of the flickering firelight, watching me with his dark eyes.
I was bait.
The steady beat in my chest became erratic. His pale, white skin almost glowed. Even in the heat of the island summer he wore jeans and t-shirt where everyone else had stripped to their bathing suits. His name was Reynold and Colby wanted him dead.
I wiped at the sweat on my forehead with the back of my hand. Thirst burned in my throat and I needed cool air in my lungs. Glancing over my shoulder, I noticed an ice chest brimming with beers and sodas. I turned back to offer him a drink but my mark had disappeared. Damn it. Where did the sneaky bastard go? If he killed another person tonight it would be my fault for not luring him to his execution.
Someone passed me a cold soda from behind.
I spun around.
Reynold grinned and the firelight glinted off a delicate sharp fang.
I swallowed a scream so it came out as a squeak and stepped back but quicker than my eye could follow, he grabbed my elbow.
“No fear, Petite.” His long, graceful fingers easily wrapped around my arm. I could sense the iron strength in them. “You looked so thirsty. I can sympathize with that.” He offered me the can of soda again.
The sweat on my arm made his grip slip and I pulled away. Who’d have thought death would be kind enough to get me a drink? If I ran, he’d follow and catch me. We’d be alone on the beach, away from the party with no witnesses. I stared at his handsome face, full lips, and deep gaze.
Was that so bad?
That last thought came from a foreign place. It didn’t belong to me. Colby showed me how to build a mental shield around my mind to keep vampires from mesmerizing me but I was far from being an expert.
The vampire’s smile grew wider and he leaned close to my ear. “I’ve already fed tonight, ma cher.” His words made my blood boil. It meant he had already killed. He placed the drink in my hand and slipped an arm around my waist. The music changed to sultry jazz. “Perfect.” The word purred from his lips as he stepped to the rhythm and pressed me to his body. “I do love to visit the islands in summer. Fewer tourists and…” He leaned back to trail his gaze down my bikini clad body. “All the pretty girls run around dressed like this, drunk on life.”
“I’m not drunk.”
“Really?” He quirked an eyebrow my way. “Could have fooled me.” Leading our dance, the vampire brought us away from the bonfire and out of the light. He ran a finger down my neck.
“I thought you fed.” My voice trembled as I stepped back and led him further into the wild shrubs.
“Doesn’t mean I don’t want a small taste.” He leaped the space that separated us but never reached me.
Colby, vampire slayer extraordinaire, appeared between us with a wooden stake in his hand, just as we planned.
With a hiss, Reynold twisted to run but Colby closed the space and stabbed him through the back.
Turning to ash, the vampire crumbled around the stake.
“I thought you had to get them in the chest?” My stomach turned and the soda threatened to come back up.
Colby glanced at me over his shoulder. “As long as it goes through the heart the stake will kill them. With the older ones you need to chop off their heads as well.”
The soda didn’t taste any good the second time around as I turned and yakked on a bush. I cleaned my mouth with a cloth Colby offered me and straightened. The world spun a little but I locked my knees and met my bosses’ steely green gaze.
Colby wiped his hands on his shorts then ran them through his messy blonde hair. “Good work, Connie. Welcome to the team. We always need fresh bait.”