You may remember I won this last year. I wasn't going to join in this year's efforts, I really wasn't. Am far too busy or so I thought...
However, as per usual one of my heroes took over and after not much sleep the night before Nano and some gentle persuasion by my crit group *glares at Suz* I joined up yesterday.
The working title for this story is Lucas's story - I know, I know, call myself a writer, lol, it's not very original. I will think of a more suitable title, just as soon as Lucas has figured out where we're going with his story. That's if Coralie lets him, she's rather feisty, that one and is sitting on my other shoulder.
You will meet Lucas in my upcoming release Lure of the Blood which is being released on November 16th, just in case you haven't heard me shout that bit of news from the rooftops ;-)
I fell in love with Lucas when I wrote Lure of the Blood and I knew he needed his own story, so, all being well, he will have it come the end of November.
So, without further ado meet Lucas
and this is how they meet...
(please note this is unedited, so forgive any mistakes)
Who in all that was holy would want a strippogram on a canal boat. Not only that, it had to rain didn’t it. Coralie grumbled under her breath, clutching the by now lukewarm cup of costa coffee to her half naked chest in a vain effort to warm up. Why ever had she agreed to this? Surely there had to be an easier way to earn a living.
Tottering along the canal path, her thigh high stilettos kept slipping in the mud underfoot. Not so much strippogram as mud wrestler going on here. Never again! Jerry would just have to do her own dirty work in future.
The creaking lantern lighting the canal boat suddenly appearing round the corner announced her destination. Right, here went nothing. She pushed her sodden strands of chestnut hair out of her face, tossed the useless coffee and straightened her shoulders, better to show of her cleavage.
Before she could wrap on the door, it swung open and Coralie’s jaw hit the floor. Good god, what was going on here?
The man standing in the open doorway had to be at least six foot three of sex-on-legs, drop-dead-gorgeous male in tightly packaged designer jeans. The light spilling out of the door silhouetted the broad shoulders and muscled torso, tapering off to lean hips and strong thighs, ending in Italian designer shoes. Who wore designer shoes on a blinking canal boat?
Before she could voice that opinion however, the man grabbed her round the waist with a growl that trembled through every fibre of Coralie’s body and shoved her into the bright interior with a muttered French curse. She collided with another, extremely warm male chest and looked up into amused silver grey eyes.
“Forgive my friend Lucas. He’s just had some bad news.”
Oh wonderful, another mountain of a man. His rugged features held an appreciative smile as he ran his eyes slowly over her body, before he winked at her and let her go. She stepped back, unease travelling down her spine. The boat was filled with several more eye watering examples of wannabe Chippendales and one ethereally beautiful blonde woman, who’s assessing ice cold blue stare made Coralie feel as though she was dessert. All too aware of her half naked get up she wished she’d brought a coat to hide behind. To top it all, she was dripping water on the immaculately polished oak flooring.
“Oh, is it snack time? You could have found something cleaner…”
Cleaner? Who did this woman think she was? And what did she mean snack time? The tendril of unease increased and Coralie shook her head. She shouldn’t have watched that old horror movie last night, clearly. Were those fangs in the woman’s mouth? A quick glance round showed that half of the other people also sported fangs and the mountain she’d stumbled against didn’t look amused anymore. At least he wasn’t sporting fake teeth. Thank the lord for small mercies.
Oh good god, she’d walked into a boat full of wannabe vampire loonies! It wasn’t even Halloween for pity’s sake. Coralie took another step back that brought her into direct contact with Mr. Super Gorgeous. He looked positively murderous, his moss green eyes glittering in barely suppressed fury as he shoved one hand through his mob of black hair and Coralie groaned to herself. That bed hair looked way to sexy. She could almost forgive him the fake teeth, he was also sporting. Typical, the first man in ages to make her libido sit up and take notice and he was some sort of weirdo with a vampire fetish.
“Ok, you … you… whatever you may be,” Coralie pulled her shoulders back and tried for a seductive smile. The sooner she did her number the better and she could get away from these – people. Calling the murderous looking hunk, whose seductive gaze now settled fully on her, a crank pot would probably not earn her a generous tip. “Just tell me who the birthday boy is and I’ll be out of your hair.”
“Birthday boy?” Mr Delicious growled. His eyebrows drew together as he glared at her.
Heaven help her - that deep, slightly accented voice came straight out of every one of her fantasies. Too bad the man himself was not only weird but also clearly not the brightest fishfinger in the pack.
“Yes, the birthday boy. Believe it or not, I don’t normally run around dressed like at a third rate hooker,” she pointed to her lace up ivory top and short black skirt that made up the French maid’s outfit, she’d just about managed to squeeze into. “And I don’t go knocking on strange men’s door for the fun of it. You booked a strippogram for the birthday boy, so tell me who he is, so that I can get this over with.”
And please stop staring at me as though you’ve never seen boobs before.
Mr. Delicious had stopped glaring at her during her little speech and his eyes weren’t frosty anymore. Quite the opposite in fact, if the way her body reacted to him was anything to go by. Damn it all, what was wrong with her today? This was all Jerry’s fault. She had to find herself a decent job and not rely on Coralie to bail her out all the time – not that Jerry could be blamed for little Suzie’s chicken pox taking a turn for the worse, but still. Now what was he saying?
It was Handsome’s turn to stare at her as though she wasn’t quite right in the head. Thankfully the slightly puzzled expression on his face meant she could breathe normally again. It had to be the fact that she had been caught in the rain in this ridiculous outfit that made her feel all strange. She was probably coming down with the flu, yes that had to be it, nothing at all to do with the man addressing her again in that to die for voice.
“Are you suggesting I would call a strippogram?”
He sounded positively offended, whilst mountain behind him erupted into gales of laughter.
“Well Lucas, you could do worse.”
“Shut up fleabag, this isn’t funny. “
“It so is, but if you didn’t call her then who did? Unless…” he sobered up throwing Coralie a considering glance. Heck she felt better when they were staring down her cleavage.
“Unless what? For goodness sakes, stop playing games and tell me where you want me,” heat rose in her cheeks as Lucas’ gaze was once again settled on her nipples, poking through the sheer fabric of her top like come and get me beacons. She crossed her arms and continued,” or I shall just leave now and tell the agency this was all a mistake. “
And lose Jerry her much needed payment? Who are you kidding girl, you wouldn’t do that. It was strange though. The agency had offered extra pay due to the location and that’s why Jerry had pleaded with her to go in her place. She couldn’t afford any more no shows, or the agency would let her go and she needed the money for little Suz.
So if these two didn’t ring her then…
Embarrassment flooded her when Coralie realized what must have happened. In the dark and her befuddled, half frozen state she stumbled on the first available boat. What’s the betting her destination was round the next bend. Great she would have to make her excuses and endure this whole scenario again and what’s more she’d have to step out into the rain that was now pelting the roof of the boat.
Sighing deeply she stared at the mud on the floor with a frown. This was so embarrassing. Not only had she turned up on the wrong boat, she also had dragged a shed load of mud and water in with her. May the ground swallow her whole right now. Of course that magic rabbit hole was never there when you needed it, not that she believed in magic.
“I’m sorry, it seems I got the wrong boat. I will leave you be to do whatever it is that you were doing then.”
The cool hand on her arm stopped her. Great, now he wanted her to stay?
“What do you mean you got the wrong boat? I’m the only barge moored here, unless…” the grip on her arm grew painful and Coralie’s eyes widened with the discomfort. “Ion, check it out. If he uses a boat the location of the unfortunate girls would make complete sense. But she’s not his type. He prefers blondes it seems.”
Coralie stopped breathing. Jerry was blonde, what on earth were they going on about? Before she could ask, Ion took off through the door as though the hounds of hell were after him. He was followed by the other non- fanged men in the room, leaving her in the company of the weirdos. Oh great! She stared pointedly at Lucas’ hand, which still held her arm in strangle hold.
“Would you mind letting me go? You’re hurting me and I really need to go.”
He released her immediately with a mumbled French apology, but he didn’t budge. Another two men moved in the way of the door, arms crossed over their chest. There was no way out it seemed. Coralie’s heart turned into a jackhammer, as her earlier unease returned with a vengeance. What the hell was going on here? Who were these people?
“What did you mean, he prefers blondes?”
“Nothing you need concern yourself with, human,” the blonde woman replied. Her icy tone chilled Coralie to the bone. Hells bells! Her freezer gave off more warmth than Madam Icequeen. And human, really? They took their vamp fantasy a bit too far.
The words were out in the open before she could stop them, “Considering I’m the one standing here dripping all over the floor and the friend I’m standing in for is blonde, it seems to me, it’s very much my business. “
“What friend?” Lucas growled in her ear and the blonde was on top of her before she could blink. Heck she moved fast.
“Lucas asked you a question. You would be wise to respond, human.”
There she went again with the human crap. Ice queen sure fancied herself. Coralie rolled her eyes and bit her tongue. There was something really unsettling about the ice cold, unblinking stare leveled at her.
“Carmen, I will deal with this. Perhaps you ought to leave. “ The deep voice just behind her washed over
Coralie’s senses and her body responded with a mind of its own. She had to stop herself from leaning back into the cool presence behind her back. It was the accent that’s all. Nothing else, she would snap out it any minute now.
Carmen gave her one last, long look and with a clap of her hands everyone else in the room got up and left with her, which left Coralie completely on her own with the man slowly turning her around by the shoulders.
Before she could step back, he cupped her chin in his hands and Coralie lost herself in the deep, hypnotic quality of his gaze.
“Listen to me chere, you will not remember this…”
Copyright Doris O'Connor 2011