Read Broken Heart 03 Because Your Vampire Said So Online

Authors: Michele Bardsley

Tags: #Vampires, #Fiction, #General, #Romance, #Paranormal, #Oklahoma, #Werewolves, #Single Mothers, #Love Stories, #Beauty Operators

Broken Heart 03 Because Your Vampire Said So

BOOK: Broken Heart 03 Because Your Vampire Said So
9.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

“Lively, sexy, out of this world … fun! Michele Bardsley’s vampire stories rock!” —Carly Phillips, New York Times bestselling author

Praise for Don’t Talk Back to Your Vampire

“Utterly fun and witty.” —Gena Showalter

“Cutting-edge humor and a raw, seductive hero make Don’t Talk Back to Your Vampire a yummylicious treat!” —Dakota Cassidy, author of The Accidental Werewolf

“A fabulous combination of vampire lore, parental angst, romance, and mystery. I loved this book!” —Jackie Kessler, author of The Road to Hell

“All I can say is wow! I was totally immersed in this story.” —The Best Reviews

“A winning follow-up to I’m the Vampire, That’s Why filled with humor, supernatural romance, and truly evil villains.” —Booklist

Praise for I’m the Vampire, That’s Why

“From the first sentence, Michele grabbed me and didn’t let me go! A vampire mom? PTA meetings? A sulky teenager? Throw in a gorgeous, ridiculously hot hero and you’ve got the paranormal romance of the year. Get this one now.” —MaryJanice Davidson

“Hot, hilarious, one helluva ride… . Michele Bardsley weaves a sexily delicious tale spun from the heart.” —L. A. Banks

“A fun, fun read!” —Rosemary Laurey

“Michele Bardsley has penned the funniest, quirkiest, coolest vampire tale you’ll ever read. It’s hot and funny and sad and wonderful, the kind of story you can’t put down and won’t forget. Definitely one for the keeper shelf.” —Kate Douglas

“An amusing vampire romance … a terrific contemporary tale.” —The Best Reviews

“Written with a dash of humor reminiscent of Katie MacAlister … amusing.” —Monsters and Critics

“A savvy new take on the vampire romance … that will keep you laughing until the final pages… . Readers are sure to enjoy this fantastic, action-packed paranormal romance, which will show readers that moms really do know their stuff… . A must read for paranormal fans and moms who fancy themselves to be … superhero[s].” —Paranormal Romance Writers

“A great read.” —Once Upon a Romance Reviews

“A marvelous introduction to the world of vampires and werewolves … funny and filled with explosive sexual tension.”—The Romance Reader’s Connection

“Add the name Michele Bardsley to the ranks of talented paranormal authors who wield humor as a deft weapon… . Both the characters and the world scenario offer loads of possibilities for further adventures, which means there are many more hours of reading pleasure ahead!” —Romantic Times

Praise for Cupid, Inc.

“Wow … this is an erotic romance that truly hits the mark. There are great, detailed scenes that leave you panting for more.” —The Romance Reader’s Connection

“A top-notch quartet of tales that are guaranteed to singe your fingers… . What an enjoyable way to get revved up for Valentine’s Day … spending it reading Cupid, Inc.” —Romance Reviews Today

“I love Michele Bardsley’s Cupid, Inc.! It’s sexy and erotic, and the humor will make you grin at the same time you’re squirming in your seat.” —Cheyenne McCray, author of Forbidden Magic

“[Bardsley’s] understanding of people’s need to love and be loved is uncanny, [so] it is no small wonder that Cupid, Inc. is such a wonderful read… . Bardsley has a wonderful knack for writing a page-turner that is not only enjoyable but also witty and full of good humor … a wonderful book!”—Roundtable Reviews

“I enjoyed each and every one of these stories. I love stories with … gods and goddesses in them, and this collection is one of the best!” —The Best Reviews

“Funny and sexy stories… . [It is] evident that one of the author’s trademarks is to put so much humor into hot and sexually charged stories. Readers will laugh out loud many times, and they will be searching for ice and fans or their partner to cool the flames this book will stir up.” —Love Romances

Other Books by Michele Bardsley

Paranormal Romances






Because Your Vampire Said So

Michele Bardsley


Published by New American Library, a division of

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,

New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto,

Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

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Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)

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New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)

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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:

80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

First published by Signet Eclipse, an imprint of New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

First Printing, May 2008

Copyright © Michele Bardsley, 2008

All rights reserved

SIGNET ECLIPSE and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

I adore MaryJanice Davidson, who is honest,

sarcastic, supportive, weird, and disgustingly

talented. She never forgets to tell me to drop

dead. Now, that’s love, people.

To my sister, Candy

You haven’t killed anyone or gone stark

raving mad. That’s really damned amazing.

I love you.

To my nephews, Dylan and Blythe,

and to my niece, Ella

Be nice to your mother. Seriously. You are

going to put her in the loony bin—and then

who will make you sandwiches and kiss your

boo-boos and chauffeur you around town and

buy your birthday presents? And also,

I love you.


To all of you who are not my mother, who are not related to me or owe me money or wouldn’t know me if you saw me in the grocery line, and you still bought my books, thank you, thank you, thank you. We may never meet, but believe me when I say, I think about you every day. Can I just say it? Yes, it’s true. I love you.

You may doubt my love if you have e-mailed me and not gotten a response. I’m usually three months behind in responding to e-mail. And it’s not you; it’s me. Just ask my friends. I don’t e-mail them back, either. It’s a character flaw, okay? I’m working on it. Sheesh.

As always, I owe my brilliant editor, Kara, and my brilliant agent, Stephanie, the world covered in chocolate. Thank you for everything.

I’m tremendously grateful to my publicist, Jessica Growette, who works her fabulous PR mojo on my behalf.

I owe Terri Lugo, Evangeline Anderson, Juanita Kitoaka, Dakota Cassidy, and Renée George so much for their help, their friendship, and their advice. I adore them.

Extra special, chocolate-covered thanks to Cici, Lori, Tricia, Nancy, and Mippy. Mwah.

High fives to Becky Gard and Beth Senters, who have done so much for me, including creating the Consortium’s Gift Shop:

My Yahoo! Group rocks. Thanks for hanging out with me every day!

I would also like to thank Keanu Reeves. You are always an inspiration. I have to compete for your affection with my editor, Kara, and my friend Juanita (who saw you in Vancouver from across the street, damn her). I tell them I will share you, but I don’t mean it.

Thanks and appreciation to The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS). Ghost Hunters has given me and the fam lots of viewing pleasure and plenty of great ideas for stories. My son loves you the best, even though what you do scares the bejeebers outta him.

Everyone should know that Carly Phillips adores me. Yeah, that Carly Phillips. I know, I know! It freaked me out, too. She is so cool.

Oh, and Gena Showalter totally rules. Hey, Gena! I got a message for you: Drop dead. Hah! See how this works? You write it in one book to me and I make sure it gets printed in thousands to you. Smooches!

It wouldn’t be an acknowledgment without my telling my family: I love, love, LOVE you.

Okay, already. Enough with the mooshy stuff!

Chapter 1

“I ain’t a groomin’ service,” I said, wishing I could still smoke Marlboros. Becoming a vampire cured me of most vices. If I couldn’t breathe, I sure as hell couldn’t inhale and exhale cigarette smoke. I wanted a donor who smoked, so I’d get a nice fix every time I had a pint. Unfortunately, the Consortium—which was in charge of our little piece of Oklahoma—didn’t hire donors who abused their bodies. Yet I hoped for the day I’d find me some nicotine blood.

“You give such good shampoo massages, Patsy,” said Darrius, who was a fine-looking male. He could shape-shift into a big, black wolf, too. In either form, Darrius was hard to resist. He’d talked me more than once into a full-body shampoo.

“I own a salon service for people, not mutts.”

“If you added animal grooming to your offerings, “ he said, “you’d make more money.”

“You think so?” I liked money almost as much as I liked cigarettes. I couldn’t smoke anymore, but I could spend money. I hadn’t been jewelry shopping in a dog’s age. I looked at Darrius and cackled. Dog’s age. Wasn’t I a hoot?

His green eyes filled with calculation. He sidled closer to me and draped a muscled arm around my shoulders. Oo-wee, I loved it when handsome men flirted with me. Gave me a thrill, it sure enough did. I was forty years old (and would be forever, by God) and not above enjoying the titillation offered by Darrius. Look at him, all cute and wily.

“Oh, all right. But this is the last time.” Of course, that’s what I said every time Darrius and his ornery brother Drake talked me into a wolfie shampoo. Too cute for their own good, both of ‘em. “You know how I feel about watching that shifting bullshit. Go into the back room.”

Darrius took two steps before his cell phone rang. Cursing, he plucked it from the holster on his hip. “Ja?”

After listening a moment, he sighed deeply. He shut the phone and reinserted it into the case. “I must take a rain check, Liebling. Damian says there is an emergency, but with him, everything is an emergency.”

Damian was the third brother; the oldest, by eleven minutes, of triplets. He was head of the Consortium’s security, and he protected the borders of Broken Heart fiercely. He never asked for a shampoo.

Darrius kissed my cheek, then tapped my nose with his forefinger. “I will be back, Patsy. Then you can rub me all over.”

“Promises, promises, stud.”

He grinned widely and turned around. I slapped that tight butt so hard my palm stung. He laughed and sauntered out of the salon. Looking at that fine posterior almost made it worth digging out the wolf hair from my tub.

As Darrius exited, cold air gusted through the door and brought with it the promise of snow. Well, what can you do? It was the first week of November, after all. Then again, Oklahoma weather was as fickle as my sister at a half-price shoe sale. Yesterday, the temperature had been a balmy sixty-six degrees.

I turned the sign on the front door to CLOSED. Then I grabbed the broom and started sweeping the clean floor. I’d been feeling off-kilter lately. You know that prickly feeling you get when a storm’s coming, but the sky is clear? Whatever it was teased the horizon just enough to keep me clutching my umbrella.

My thoughts drifted to Darrius’ suggestion. Grooming services, huh? We had enough lycanthropes around these parts that I could make some extra money as an animal groomer. Business wasn’t exactly brisk thanks to the ousting of most of the original residents. Anyone who wasn’t a paranormal being or a human donor found themselves elsewhere in a hurry.

I used to have two employees, but they were given new jobs in Tulsa as part of the Broken Heart Citizen Resettlement Program. My nail girl, Linda, got reassigned as an assistant to scientist Dr. Stan Michaels. She was mightily in love with that man, but wouldn’t admit it.

Anyway, Broken Heart wasn’t exactly a hopping town before the undead took over. Less than a year ago, the only thing that had saved my salon from closing had been the strippers from the Barley and Boob Barn, which had been shut down and razed in June. Aw, hell. I missed those girls. They were fun and raunchy and tipped real good.

I was “life-challenged” because of Lorcan O’Halloran. Diseased by the Taint—a nasty illness that affects only vampires—he’d attempted a radical cure. The cure turned him into a two-legged, hairy, stinky beast. He romped around ol’ Broken Heart and killed eleven of us single parents.

Oh, now, don’t worry. He’s back to being a vampire. He married my friend Eva, Broken Heart’s only teacher. She was obviously the forgiving sort, but I still felt uneasy around Lorcan.

The night he attacked me, I’d been outside my shop, smoking a cigarette. If I’d known that was the last smoke I was ever gonna have, I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more. Anyway, I died. Wham! Knocked down, knocked out, and snacked on. Next night, I woke up on a steel table in a white room, feeling more alive than ever—only to be told I wasn’t. And I figured out real quick that I had gained a few new tricks.

It wasn’t all bad. My crow’s-feet, cellulite, age spots, and the ol’ saggies went bye-bye. I had clear, wrinkle-free skin, but no amount of vampifying could rid me of my height, a couple inches shy of six feet, or what my son called “fluffiness.” Eva said I reminded her of a Valkyrie, which was some sort of Viking chick who kicked ass. I liked that description, I’ll tell you.

The Consortium bought my place and gave it to me lock, stock, and barrel, and they paid all bills associated with it and my double-wide, which was twenty feet behind the salon. I didn’t have much to do with the money I made, except abuse my credit card on the Home Shopping Network.

“Good evening, Patricia.”

The man’s voice startled me, but I kept my cool. One thing I’d learned from my ex-husband was that offense was the best defense. “Do you ignore all the signs you read, or just the ones on doors?”

I turned around and leaned on the broom. A man I’d never seen stood inside the doorway, staring at me. And he was built, honey. Mm-hmm. I saw the muscles bulging underneath the crisp white shirt opened at the collar. He also wore a pair of tight black jeans and … I’ll be damned. He had himself a pair of black Prada Croc Sneakers. I liked boots and didn’t wear much else. Wilson had shown me a magazine ad with those crocs and said he wanted them. Even though our existence was no longer hand-to-mouth, I couldn’t justify buying a pair of shoes that cost twice as much as my mortgage payment.

What was a guy wearing a thousand-dollar pair of kicks doing in my shop? Shoot. What did it matter? Most of the paranormal beings running around our fair town were richer than God.

He didn’t seem to mind I was looking him over. As I took his measure, he took mine. His long hair was so white it looked like captured moonbeams. It was drawn into a queue at the back of his neck. If that hair wasn’t enough to make the hairstylist in me slobber, then his golden eyes made the woman in me go mreow. Those mesmerizing amber orbs reminded me of the sunsets I would never see again.

Damn. He was temptation itself. I was as celibate as a nun because vampires had a hitched-for-a-hundred-years sex clause. My last marriage lasted eighteen years and that was seventeen years, three-hundred-and-sixty-four days longer than it should have. I swore I wouldn’t walk down the aisle ever again, much less fall in love. No, thank you.

“Who are you?” I asked.

“My name’s Gabriel.” He smiled, but it wasn’t a nice smile. It was more like an I’ll-eat-you -up grin. I shivered all the way to my toes. “Damian sent me. His orders are to secure your beauty shop and to walk you home.”

“Why? Are more Wraiths sneaking around or something?”

Wraiths were vampires who thought they should rule the world, being the superior race. Hah. They’d attacked Broken Heart twice and hadn’t accomplished much more than pissing off the residents.

He shrugged. “I do what the boss tells me.”

I clutched the broom handle, suddenly uneasy. Handsome as he was, I’d never seen him before. Drake and Darrius were always showing up round here for one thing or another, but it didn’t make a lick of sense for Damian to send me a guardian.

The man seemed to sense my distress. “You want to call him and ask?” He unclipped his cell phone from his belt and extended it toward me.

I looked at the phone and then at him. If he was willing to let me call Damian and check up on him, then surely he was legit. Yeah, right. I may be blond, but I ain’t stupid.

“I have him on speed dial.” I dug my phone out of my back jeans pocket and flipped it open. The only weapons I had were the broom, my vamp skills, and my charming wit—none of which would disarm him.

I hit the button and put the phone to my ear. Damian picked up on the first ring. “Ja?”

“I got a tall drink of water over here who says you sent him.”

“You have a what?”

“You are so cliché-challenged,” I said. “There’s a guy here who wants to hold my hand and walk me home. Did you send him or do I have to whack him with my broom?”

He sighed. “New policy, Patsy. Every Turn-blood has a guardian until … well, I say so. Consider him your new shadow. And do not whack him with anything.”

Damian hung up. He wasn’t much for hellos or good-byes. I put my phone away. “I guess you’re my new best pal. Wanna tell me why?”

“You should ask Damian.”

“Yeah. It’s easier to catch a greased hog than it is to pry information outta that man.”

Gabriel’s lips turned up into an almost-grin. Mm-mmm. My stomach did a little mambo. Handsome wasn’t a good enough word to describe him.

All the same, I felt trapped. I didn’t particularly like being bossed around, especially by Consortium puppets. I pretended that him standing there looking all big and powerful and yummy didn’t bother me.

“It makes no never mind to me what you do,” I lied. “I gotta lock up now.”

I finished sweeping up, then turned off the lights. I had to bolt the front door, which meant getting awfully close to Gabriel. Heat emanated off him, as if an invisible fire raged around him. His gaze caught mine; the look in his amber gaze made my stomach jump. Lust zinged through me and he knew it. His lips curved into a feral smile.

I put on my lambskin jacket, then headed out the back door. Gabriel followed and leaned against the wall, watching me lock up. As soon as I was done, I whirled around and hurried across the high grass toward my double-wide. I didn’t want the luscious Gabriel within my orbit for too long. I made bad decisions around men like him.

Behind me, I heard a whoosh, and then I heard Gabriel yell. Whomp. Thud.

Fear spun through me, but I turned around. And screamed.

The massive creature was at least eight feet tall. He had marbled, gray skin and completely black eyes. His hairless head gleamed in the moonlight. As he took a step toward me, the ground shook. He grinned at me and revealed double rows of needle-sharp teeth.

I didn’t see my bodyguard anywhere—until I fell ass over teakettle over him. I landed way too close to the monster’s clawed feet.

I scrabbled backward, right into the unconscious form of Gabriel. Some guardian he turned out to be! I scooted over him, knelt by his head, and shook his shoulders. “Hey, you! Get up now!”

The creature watched me in amusement. Dread snaked through me. Gabriel’s moonshine hair spilled onto the ground. I detected his shallow breathing and the steady beat of his heart.

“Your boyfriend can take a punch,” he said. His voice sounded like thunder. He crossed his huge arms, his expression grim. “Usually that move kills lycans.”

Fear chilled me even more than the frigid air. The storm threatening my horizon was here, and damned if I didn’t have my umbrella.

“What do you want?” I asked, my voice quivering.


Horror kept me welded to the ground. I couldn’t move. My gaze was glued to the ugly thing bending toward me over Gabriel, who was trapped between us. He enjoyed my terror, the bastard. His curved claws grazed my shoulders as he tried to grab me.

That’s when I remembered I was a vampire.

I swung a right hook at his jaw. Pain jolted down my arm on contact, but the strength of the punch made him stagger back. He looked as shocked as I felt.

The growl surprised us both.

My gaze switched to Gabriel. He was awake, his gold eyes filled with fury. He pushed onto his hands and feet. His body arched and his flesh rippled. I heard the snap of bones and the snick of muscles realigning. His clothes and his expensive shoes shredded and fell to the ground.

His face elongated into a large snout filled with sharp teeth. His long hair flowed down his back and joined with the white fur sprouting over every inch of skin.

Snapping and snarling, the white wolf lunged for the monster.

BOOK: Broken Heart 03 Because Your Vampire Said So
9.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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