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Authors: Jordan K. Rose

Tags: #Vampires

Black Magic Rose (25 page)

BOOK: Black Magic Rose
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Tick.

Tick.

She buried her head under a pillow but the ticking continued. She sat up and frowned. “What?” she yelled.

“You’re late for work,” a muffled voice answered.
 

“Where are you?”
 

“Outside,” Osgar yelled.
 

She went to the window in time to see Osgar toss another pebble at the glass. “Knock it off.”
 

“Do you know what time it is?” He dusted his hands on his jeans.
 

“I don’t care. I’m not coming in today.” She opened the window. “I’m calling in sick.” She’d earned a sick day after last night.
 

“Too much sex on your wedding night?”
 

“Fuck you, Osgar.” She slammed the window shut and pulled the blinds. Before she turned back to the bed she opened the blinds and window. “I apologize. That was rude of me.”
 

“I’ll say. But you do sound like your husband.” He looked up at her disappointed. “One night and you’re already slipping.”

Sofia ignored his comments in spite of the mix of emotions bubbling within. She had a husband. He was a vampire. Facts were facts. No sense in letting emotion muddle the mess.
 

She stared at Osgar. His face was scruffier than usual. “Don’t you own a razor?”
 

“I do but when I’m working around the clock, it’s hard to find a minute to shave. Besides, you’re no longer available so impressing you has moved off my top ten list.” He reached into his truck and pulled out a big black lunch box, the kind construction workers used in the 1950s.
 

“Why are you eating out there?” she asked, though truth be told she didn’t want him in the house. She wanted to be left alone. She wanted time to sulk and be miserable. Then she would devise a plan of escape.
 

“My keys have been confiscated, and I’ve been ordered to remain outside the building.” He bit into a giant sandwich and dripped mustard on his chin, which he did have the manners to use a napkin to clean.

“Did
he
do that?”
He
had no right to make decisions about her, her house, her friends, her life. “You can come in.”

“He who? Fergus—yes. Jankin—yes to that one, too. Dragomir—no. He didn’t seem so interested in whether or not I entered the house.” He crunched a chip.
 

Dragomir wasn’t interested in Osgar entering her house? Why not? Was he such a poor choice for a husband that he didn’t know she shouldn’t have other men in her bed? Was he so disinterested in her that he didn’t
care
if other men came to her bed?
 

She scratched her head. “What time is it?”
 

“Noon.” He cracked open a can of soda. “It’s a good thing you’re a friend of Jankin’s. I hear that new employee relations lady is a real stickler about people showing up to work on time.” He slurped his soda.

She frowned and shut the window. Four hours late for work. That damn vampire. She’d never been late for work, not once in her entire life. But this week alone she’d been late nearly every day. And today, she wasn’t even going in. Her first sick call, too.
 

A week of firsts. Tardy, absent, marriage, learning to speak werewolf, being bitten by a vampire. Oh, and let’s not forget our all-time favorite—sexual activity at the office with a vampire in front of an audience. A more impressive list of firsts could not exist.

She groaned and found her phone.
 

She called Fergus, got his voicemail and left a curt message about not feeling well and not coming in. Then she stared at herself in the mirror.
 

She looked like her usual self. She didn’t even have the red, puffy eyes she expected to see from her evening of crying over her own stupidity. And the hideous bruise on her neck was gone. There wasn’t even a mark from where…

She swallowed and watched her throat move, studying every inch of her skin. Maybe he hadn’t bitten her. Maybe she’d imagined the incident. Could it have been a dream?
 

Sofia shook her head. No, not a dream. She drank vampire blood last night. Apparently, it hadn’t been her first time either. But last night she licked it off his skin and then sucked it from the slice in his hard chest muscle. She squeezed her eyes shut against the memory only to have it play out behind closed eyelids.
 

She smacked her lips. She still tasted him. Hadn’t she brushed her teeth last night? Why could she still taste him? Sweet and meaty. How was that possible? Weren’t they opposite flavors or something? She grabbed her toothbrush and loaded a glob of minty freshness on the end then scrubbed with gusto.

Wait a minute. If she drank his blood, did that mean she was becoming a vampire? Her eyes widened. She curled her lips back to see if fangs had formed in her top jaw. Foamy toothpaste dribbled down her chin. Her perfectly straight teeth looked the same as always. She spit and rinsed, then ran to the window.

“Am I turning into a vampire?” She didn’t see Osgar. “Osgar! Where are you?” She leaned out and looked toward the back of the house. “Am I becoming a vampire?”

“I’m right here.”
 

She looked down as Osgar stepped off the porch below her.

“Am I? I drank his blood. Am I turning into one of them?”

He grinned. “Didn’t he explain anything to you?” He held a bag of chips in his hand.
 

“We didn’t really have a lot of time to discuss the particulars last night. Just tell me. Did I agree to become like him?” Sofia’s heart nearly stopped as she held her breath waiting for the answer.
 

“No. It’s not that easy. I don’t know the exact steps but he’d have to drink most of you and then you drink most of him back and then, poof, you’re a vampire. Well, by the next day, anyway.” He munched a couple chips. “It’s a lot more complicated than becoming a wolf, which you’re no longer able to do.”
 

Complicated was good. That meant it hadn’t happened. She hadn’t accidentally missed something and condemned herself to blood cocktails for eternity.
 

“Not that I want to be a wolf or a vampire, for that matter, but why can’t I become a wolf?” She knelt down and crossed her arms against the cool October air.

“Once a human is bound to a vampire they can’t be made werewolf. It’s got something to do with the vampire blood. Besides, there isn’t a wolf crazy enough to try to turn a master’s mate. That’s a slow and painful death wish.”

“Okay. Thanks for the info.” She closed the window.
 

Her stomach growled.
No more blood.
Funny, she didn’t even have the slightest craving for blood, not that she’d had it last night either.
 

In a few hours he’d rise. He’d probably show up here, expecting her to put out, or at least put out a vein for him. He wasn’t getting another drop from her or another moment near her body.
 

Why should he? Just because she’d made a flip decision did not mean she would be at his beck and call for eternity. Absolutely not. She’d lay the ground rules. Yes. A few simple rules and this arrangement might not be as bad as it seemed, or at the very least it might be tolerable.
 

She pulled on a pair of jeans and a burgundy sweater over a gold cami, stuffed her feet into fuzzy socks, and then laced her hiking boots. She combed her hair up into a ponytail. After a cup of tea, a peanut butter and honey sandwich, a handful of grapes, a bag of chips, and two chocolate bars she was ready to write her expectations.
 

First, no touching. Number two, no entering the house, her office, or any other room she was in without advance permission and an escort capable of physically restraining him. Third, no discussing the marriage with her or anyone else. Number four, no looking at her in ways that made her limbs useless. This might be the most important rule as it seemed to be the item that got her into the most trouble. It paved the way for everything else to happen. It gave him cause to touch her. Lastly, she wanted a different trainer, someone who could teach her to defend herself against him.
 

Dragomir had said she needed to train, so she would, but she’d do it on her own terms. It might be time to seriously consider werewolf training.
 

The doorbell rang.
 

“What is it, Osgar?” she yelled from the kitchen table.
 

The bell rang again. “Flowers,” a stranger called.
 

She glanced out the window and saw the Flowers by Judy truck parked in her driveway. A young kid stood on her porch holding a giant arrangement of roses and looking terribly uncomfortable. He stared upward, his mouth hanging open.
 

She sighed and opened the door to find Osgar towering over the delivery boy looking as though he might throttle the poor kid. “I didn’t order flowers.” She didn’t recognize the delivery boy either. Sofia had worked for Judy all through high school and college. She’d continued to do seasonal work with Judy and her sister Ilene up until the fire last year. Since Judy and Ilene had died, the business was sold, and Sofia hadn’t gone back to the farm.

“No ma’am. They’re from a…” The young man turned the card. “…D…Dra…Drag, something Pet…rescue. Oh, they’re from the Dragmit Pet Rescue.”

Osgar snickered.
 

Sofia glared.
 

“That’s not right? I’m sorry. It’s a weird name.” He pushed the vase at Sofia.
 

“I can’t wait to hear what he’s written.” Osgar reached for the card.
 

Sofia backed into the house, shooting a warning glare at Osgar. “Just a minute.” She struggled to place the arrangement on the table. It was heavier than she’d expected. She reached for her handbag, but it wasn’t in its usual spot on the chair by the table. “Where’s my purse?”

“Here.” Osgar handed the kid a couple bucks. “Beat it, Opie.”
 

The delivery boy scampered to his truck like a rabbit fleeing the hunt.

“Did I leave it at work?” Sofia ran up the stairs, checked the bedroom, and came back. “In the car?” She dashed out to the Camry and stopped short.
 

The Camry gleamed. It had been washed and waxed. The inside even looked like it had been vacuumed. The windows were clean. In the backseat on the floor sat a crate with windshield wiper fluid, some paper towels and car wax. Her handbag sat on the front seat with her lunch bag and a note. “Get a tune-up and a brake job. Steering realignment. If not done today, Cader mechanics complete tasks tonight. D.”

Was he telling her what to do? She read the note again. “Are these orders?”
 

“I thought your car looked awfully clean.” Osgar read the note over her shoulder. “I’m not surprised you need an alignment. You gunned this car into a ditch. It’s a Camry.” He rapped his knuckles on the roof. “Sensible. Not remotely daring. Definitely can’t take a ditch without sustaining wear and tear.” He kicked a tire.
 

“My car is always clean.” She carried her bags back to the house. “I’m not getting a tune-up and my brakes are fine.” It was her car. She’d decide if it needed maintenance, not him.
 

Osgar stopped the front door from closing and pushed it completely open. “You need both.” He sat on the top step of the porch.
 

“What do you know?” Sofia lugged the flowers to the coffee table in full view of the back glass sliding door and front picture window.
 

“I know your brakes are worn enough that metal is hitting metal in the rear and the shocks are worn, too.” He sat back on his elbows, stretched his legs down the steps, and raised his face to the sun.
 

Sofia snatched the card from the arrangement. It was addressed to Sofia Engle Petrescu. She crumpled the tiny envelop in her fist. Who did he think he was? She contemplated ripping the little card to shreds then throwing the flowers in the driveway and backing her car over them as she recklessly sped away.
 

But curiosity niggled within her. Had he sent her flowers because he actually cared? She ripped the envelope open and read the card.
 

To Sofia, May our love last an eternity. Dragomir.
 

She rolled her eyes. “Is he kidding?” Love? Were vampires so far removed from emotions they no longer understood love?
 

“Tell me what it says. Please?” Osgar stood in the doorway, holding on to the doorframe and leaning on a nearly forty-five-degree angle into her living room.
 

“I thought you weren’t supposed to come in.”
 

“The order was not to set one foot in the house. Look. No feet.” He nodded toward the floor. “Tell me what it says.”
 

She shook her head. She’d never been a girl to kiss and tell, and she wasn’t about to start now in spite of a wild desire to rant about her situation. She needed to find a girlfriend, someone she could trust. She needed time with someone rational, normal, human.
 

BOOK: Black Magic Rose
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ads

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