Annie Nicholas

Writing Romances with Bite

The Beta

Another man exited the building not long after the vampire. He wore a rumpled button-down, short-sleeved shirt tucked into loose jeans. His mouse brown hair cried for a cut and a comb.


He pushed his glasses up his nose and bent to tie his running shoes.


Recognizing him as the person who had accompanied Daedalus earlier, Esther heard opportunity knocking. He didn’t look like a threat being thin and weak. She crossed the street and approached him from behind. “Excuse me. Do you have the time?”


Glancing over his shoulder, his gaze traveled along her bare legs, to her knee length loose skirt, and finally met her stare. Her breath caught in her throat. The irises of his eyes reflected a non-existent light and shone pale amber. He blinked and it vanished, must have been the glasses that gave such a strange effect.


He rose in a single fluid motion that set her predator alarm off. Checking his cellphone, he gave her a shy smile. “It’s ten after two.” He scanned the area around them. “This is a dangerous part of town, ma’am. You shouldn’t walk around alone. Trouble is going to find you.”


Or maybe find him. She eyed his wiry arms and changed her assessment of him. Lean, tight muscles slid under his skin as he moved. He wasn’t weak, more like a cross between a martial artist and a geek.


“Are you offering to walk me home?” Flashing him her most flirtatious smile, she toyed with a piece of her hair.


He swallowed. “S-sure.” Shuffling to her side, he fell in next to her, eyes darting around them.


Men were so easy to manipulate, but this one actually wanted to protect her. So cute, she could have pinched him. Trying to be discreet, she took quick peeks at him. Nice strong chin and straight nose. Maybe a hint of freckles? It was difficult to tell in the dark.


“I’m Esther.” She held out her hand. What the hell prompted her to use her real name?


Wrapping a firm hand around hers, he shook it. “I’m Robert.”


His touch sent tingles along her arm. The name seemed too mature for him. “What are you doing out so late, Rob?” How did such a polite man like him get involved with a Nosferatu? She checked his neck for bites and didn’t see anything, but there were more places on the body to feed from besides the neck. It would be a shame if he was a blood slave.


“Robert is fine. I was checking on a…friend.” He stuffed his hands in his pockets. “And you, Esther?”


She laughed. “I’m up to no good.” And she winked at him.


A rosy blush surfaced on his cheeks as he stumbled.


Something in this man attracted the devil inside of her. She entangled her arm around his and leaned into his hard body. The strength hidden under the geeky exterior sent a pleasant shiver through her body. Not all things were as they appeared. She hated surprises but not this one. If this was an act then he deserved an Emmy. She glanced at him, pleased that she needed to arch her neck back slightly to meet his sharp green gaze.


God, what was she doing? She assessed him like a potential lover instead of a possible avenue to get her mark. Stupid, focus. Once Daedalus was out of the picture she’d come back for Rob if she still wanted him. Until then…she stopped in front of a duplex. “This is my place.” She lied with the ease of an expert.