Dead and Loving It
"Undead," he said brightly. "Well, we've got time for that. You're still in your prime.
Although I have no intention of becoming a widower in forty or fifty years."
"Oh, I won't insist upon it right away, but probably within the next ten years or so, I'll definitely have to turn you into a vampire."
An undead werewolf? What's next, Frankenstein's Monster coming over for dinner?
"You're out of your fucking mind."
"Apparently so," he said cheerfully, and kissed her, and left her.
Richard knocked modestly-absurd, given what he had just done to her-and opened the door. She was staring at the ceiling, and didn't look at him when he came in.
He nibbled his lower lip and tried to distract himself from the sight of the lovely Janet, spread-eagled on his bed. It was amazing-he'd just spent over an hour with her, but he could have taken her right this minute. And again. And then again.
He was carrying a tray full of savories. She smelled it and sat up as much as her bonds would allow. "Feeding time at the zoo," Jane said moodily. The spot on her thigh where he'd fed from her was purpling. He stifled an urge to kiss it, and beg her forgiveness. She lied, he reminded himself. And you're the monster.
"Oh, hush. No one in a zoo eats so well. See? Lobster bisque and biscuits and a steak and milk and if you eat everything, chocolate ice cream."
"That's a ridiculous amount of food," she said, staring at the tray.
"I've seen you eat, my love. I'm going to let you out of your bonds, but before you hit me over the head with the tray and flee for the hills, I should explain that there are no fewer than three bolted doors-all English oak-between you and the street. You'd never get through them all before being caught. And you must be starving. Surely it's more prudent to eat and plot revenge, right?"
She drummed her fingers on the bedspread and stared up at him. Her eyes went narrow and flinty, but at last she said, "I'm starving."
"Eat, and then a hot bath...sound good?"
"And then what?"
"And then agree to be my wife."
"Don't," she practically snarled, "start with that again, dicklick."
"Ah, a blushingly modest bride, how refreshing. I can see you're contemplating homicide-try not to spill the soup."
He set the tray down on the table, and unsnapped her ankle bonds. Then he seized the footboard and tugged the bed away from the wall. She could have done the same thing herself, but couldn't help but be impressed-not bad for an undead monkey. He walked to the headboard, reached behind it, and in a few seconds had her wrists freed.
She was off the bed in a bound, pulled the shreds of her clothes off and let them flutter to the floor, then made a beeline for the tray.
"I brought you a robe-"
"Who cares?" she said with a mouthful of biscuit. "You've already seen me naked."
"Uh-" You're gorgeous. You're distracting. If you prance around in that sweet little body you'll have your hands full. You have soup on your chin. "As you wish."
He sat down across from her and watched her eat. She ate like a machine, seeming to take no enjoyment from the meal. Refueling, the better to kick my ass. Well, so be it. He deserved that, and more. And he was a fast healer. Let her do her worst. "Why did you break our date?" he asked abruptly, and surprised even himself-he had no idea he was going to say such a thing until it was done.
She grunted irritably. "We've been over this."
"Jane..." Again, he had no idea what would come out of his mouth, but plunged ahead anyway. "Jane, if you tell the truth, I'll unlock those three doors and will walk you back to your hotel. Just admit that you were afraid of me, that you were only pretending to accept what I am, and-"
Her gaze locked on his like a laser. "My name is Janet Lupo," she said coldly. "I'm not afraid of any man. And. I. Don't. Lie."
He actually felt the chill coming off her. Absurd! She was half his size, even if she had twice the mouth. Her gaze was odd, almost hypnotic. With difficulty he broke her challenging stare. "Well," he said at last, "perhaps you can understand why I have difficulty believing that your 'boss' would insist on your free time, and why you would have to drop everything and rush to meet him at a moment's notice."
"Pack...rules...dumb...fuck. Am I stuttering? I'm a werewolf. My boss is the head werewolf."
He laughed, then ducked as her soup bowl sailed over his head. "Oh, come now, Janet! Because you know I am a vampire, you've decided I'll believe that you're a werewolf? I'm that gullible? There's no such thing, and you know it well."
"Says the bloodsucker!"
He was still chuckling. "Nice try."
"If you could think about something besides your dick for five seconds, you'd see it makes sense. My strength, my speed..."
"All well within the range for homo sapien...albeit the high end."
"You've been dead too long, Dick. The average homo loser can barely lift the remote control. My rich blood? That's from a diet high in protein. Raw protein, during the full moon."
"Ah, the full moon. It's a few days away, but I suppose I had better take care when-"
She slammed her fork down; the table trembled, then was still. "The full moon is eight days away. And when it comes, you're going to get a big fucking surprise. Your little oak doors won't hold me then. I'll be out of here-possibly eating your head on my way out the door-and you'll realize you fucked up, bad. You'll know I was telling the truth the whole time, but you couldn't see past your stupid injured male pride. I'll be gone forever, and you'll have the next hundred years to realize what an asshole you were."
This was so convincing, he actually panicked for a moment. To add drama to her little speech, she stopped eating, walked to the bed, got under the covers, and faced away from him the rest of the night. She never said another word, or looked at him, not even when he tempted her with a brimming bowl of frozen custard.
He was right. The doors-this one, anyway-were oak. Thick and heavy, with the hinges on the outside where she couldn't get at them. She threw her shoulder a few times-okay, thirty-into the door, but it barely rocked in its frame. "Fucking Brit wood," she mumbled, rubbing her aching shoulder.
She'd prowled around her cage for the last couple of hours. It was a gorgeous room with plush wine-colored carpet, a soft queen-sized bed with about a zillion pillows, and a truly glorious attached bathroom (free of all razors and other sharp things, she was sorry to note). But as far as Janet was concerned, if you couldn't leave, it might as well have a cement floor and bars on the window.
She went through the bureau and found several robes in her size, in various materials. No real clothes. No television, either, but several books. She saw some classics-Shakespeare, Mark Twain, and Tolstoy-as well as-too funny!-the entire collected works of Stephen King. She supposed she might stand half a chance if she threw Hamlet at Dick as hard as she could. She'd gotten the drop on him before, in the alley, but wondered if it was possible now. He didn't believe she was a werewolf, the stupid dickhead, but he'd be careful. He thought she was one of the monkeys, but he respected her anyway. If he wasn't such a fuckstick, she could have really liked him.
She wondered what the pack was thinking-what boss-man Michael was thinking. Probably that she'd been run over by a train or something. Death was about the only acceptable reason for skipping a meeting with the big dog. Interestingly, that thought-she'd unwillingly disobeyed a command from her pack leader-brought no anxiety. In fact, it was kind of nice, knowing Michael wanted her on the Cape, and here she was, still in Boston.
If only Dick hadn't been such a beast. If only he hadn't been so nice about being such a beast-he might have wanted to really hurt her, but he sucked at it. She remembered him pulling out of her when he thought he was too big for her...remembered the excellent food, and the large quantities of it. The absurd marriage proposal. Absurd because...well, just because.
If he wasn't such a dick, she could start to like him. But nobody-fucking nobody-snatched Janet Lupo from the street, tied her down like a dog, and did whatever he wanted. He'd pay. She would have to wait for her chance, but it would eventually present itself. And then he'd better watch out for his guts, because she meant to have them on the floor.
* * * * *
The smell of eggs basted in butter woke her up. Before she could open her eyes, she realized Dick was under the blankets with her. Then she felt his mouth on her neck, felt brief pain as his fangs broke the skin. She tried to push him away, but he pinned her down and held her to the bed while he drank. She had no leverage and could only lie beneath him while he took from her.
"You piece of shit," she said directly into his ear.
He laughed against her throat. "That's the problem, Jane m'love. If you screamed or fainted or cried, I'd have no interest in you-I'd want to be rid of you as quickly as possible. But you're fearless, and furious, and it works on me like an aphrodisiac. Which is why you have to be my wife."
"I'd rather eat my own heart."
He licked the bite mark on her neck, then nuzzled the tender spot. "That's a rather disturbing visual. Did you sleep well? I admit I was astonished you weren't lying in wait ready to strangle me with the sash from one of your robes."