Mercy's Danger: Montgomery's Vampires Trilogy (Book #2) (Montgomery's Vampires Series)

BOOK: Mercy's Danger: Montgomery's Vampires Trilogy (Book #2) (Montgomery's Vampires Series)
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

MERCY’S DANGER

Montgomery’s Vampires Series Book Two

Copyright © 2015 by Sloan Archer

 

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any electronic or written form without permission.

 

BOOKS BY SLOAN ARCHER

 

NOVELS:

The Last Days of Ordinary

Mercy’s Debt

Mercy’s Danger

Mercy’s Deception

The Nothings

 

STORY COLLECTIONS & NOVELLAS

Wanda

The Lone Zombie of New Jersey

The Damnedest Things

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Amanda

Put it on my tab.

 

Mercy’s Danger

1

Not so long ago, a vampire I trusted tried to murder me.

It wasn’t the first time.

I’ve survived two murder attempts by the undead, surprise attacks that occurred only weeks apart. Though the assassins were different on both occasions, it was the same vampire who’d wanted me dead. That vampire was Michael Graves, my former employer.

He was a real psychopath.

I liked to think that Michael was a psychopath, anyway. Besides being homicidal, he’d claimed that he could see the future. His prophecies were grim, and that’s putting it mildly. Michael predicted that a human would place the entire vampire race in peril, maybe even wipe them out completely. He believed that the human in question was yours truly.

Not being a psychopath myself, I’d never intentionally harm anyone, human or vampire. Crazy vamps like Michael were prone to say crazy things, and I had to constantly remind myself to consider the source. The problem was that other, non-crazy vampires had attested to Michael’s psychic capabilities. Also, Michael had never specified that the wrongdoer would hurt vampires
intentionally
.

For obvious reasons, I chose to keep mum about Michael’s predictions. There was just no casual way to state to my nearest and dearest:
Before I forget to mention it, I may or may not be responsible for the eradication of an entire race of supernatural beings.
And despite having friendly relations with vampires, I wasn’t naive enough to believe that they wouldn’t still kill me if they suspected that I posed a threat. Friendly or not, vampires are a dog-eat-dog kind of race. When you think about it, though, I guess so are humans.

Michael had told nobody but me about his visions, fearing that he’d be connected to the murders he had committed during his loony quest to save the vampire race. And there had been many, many murders.

Michael Graves was no more, thanks to a vampire named Marlena.

I used to think Marlena was a real bitch, but that was before she saved my life by driving a stake into Michael’s heart as he was trying to tear open my throat. How’s that for one woman doing another a solid? Since the incident, Marlena and I had become friends—not
best
friends, mind, but friends nonetheless. We met for dinner sometimes, which was typically pasta for me and always blood for her.

Like Michael, Marlena used to be my boss—they were business partners. This was back when I worked as a decoy at Dignitary. I use the term “back when,” though it was only weeks ago that I retired. With all that had happened since, it felt more like a decade.

Dignitary, as most humans would never be privy to, was an exclusive underground organization that catered to undead clientele. Their main goal was to help vampires blend in with the living. There are more vampires out there than people realize, some more difficult to identify than others. Immortals have roamed the world for centuries, so they’ve learned to fit in quite well. Still, there are those who need extra help. This is where Dignitary came in.

Dignitary employed me for only a short time. I was told that the door was always open if I wanted my job back, but I had no intention of returning. With Michael gone, I was no longer under threat, but if I went back things just wouldn’t be the same. I used to love decoying, I really did. But nearly being murdered twice by vampires kind of put me off the place.

It’s not that I held a grudge. I didn’t. Honest. My best friend and boyfriend were vampires.

Right around the time I quit Dignitary, I moved in with my boyfriend. His name is Robert Bramson and I love him. The best part is that Robert loves me, too. Life would be terrible if he didn’t. I couldn’t imagine being with anyone else.

I’d never had much luck in the romance department until I met Robert. Most men didn’t get me. But Robert wasn’t like most men, being an immortal. This was not to say that our living situation wasn’t tricky at times. The biggest issue we had to tackle was that I was a day person. Robert, being vampire, would burst into flames if he went near sunlight.

I tried adapting to his schedule—sleeping during the day and staying awake through the night—but old habits were hard to break. I also liked to eat.
A lot
. Pizza and ice cream were my weaknesses, and Robert, of course, would get sick if he consumed anything other than blood. In the grand scheme of things these issues were minor. We made it work. Since escaping death (twice), I’d learned not to sweat the small stuff so much.

Robert and I met during my first decoying assignment at Dignitary. I was instantly smitten with the gorgeous vamp, but dating clients was heavily discouraged by Marlena. As she had pointed out several times while I was on her payroll, Dignitary was a reputable decoy agency, not a brothel. But as the old saying went, our hearts wanted what our hearts wanted. Robert and I knew it was love on the night we met.

Corny, yes. But completely true.

Liz, my vampy best friend, and I have been close for what felt like forever. She hadn’t been turned vampire by choice, so I avoided using such an evocative term in her presence.
Forever.
Liz hadn’t even known that vampires existed until she resurrected as one in a mortuary freezer. She told me that waking up in the morgue, freezing and naked and zipped up inside a rubber body bag, was the scariest moment of her entire existence. I was inclined to believe her.

Liz swore that vampire life was fabulous. She and her husband, David—a human like me—were newlyweds. She also had a new job as a hairstylist at Dignitary. Both made her very happy.

Still, I couldn’t help feeling bad. In a roundabout way, it was my fault that Liz went from being alive to dead to undead, since I was the one who’d brought vampires into her life. Liz said that I was too hard on myself. Robert agreed with Liz.

Thinking of Robert, I gazed out the window towards the setting sun. Dusk was my favorite time of the day because it meant that Robert would be rising soon. He slept in a lightproof bedroom at the bottom of the house—yes, in an actual bed. (No coffins here.)

Robert shuffled into the kitchen a few minutes later. I was sitting at the dining table and sipping a cup of English breakfast tea, though it wasn’t any time near breakfast—at least not for most humans in the Pacific Time Zone. Robert was barefooted and shirtless, wearing light grey drawstring pajama bottoms. The waistband on his pants was resting way down low on his chiseled torso, right on the arch of his hips. Robert’s impeccable handsomeness made me tingle right down to the pores of my skin, like it always did. Robert looked gorgeous all the time, but I especially loved his boyish bed head look.

He pecked me on the cheek. “Hello, sweetheart.”

Our daily ritual still astounded me. Living in a mansion, sipping gourmet tea, and having a magnificent vampire call me sweetheart—these were not things I was accustomed to. I was poor growing up in Florida— living off food stamps in a trailer park kind of poor—and the only other serious boyfriend I’d had besides Robert had been a liar and a cheat. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined my life being so grand.

I tried not reflecting on it too much. I didn’t want to jinx things.

Robert poured himself a glass of blood and pulled a chair up next to me at the table. By now I was used to seeing Robert casually sipping plasma as if it were nothing more than grape juice. It used to stagger me a great deal, but one tended to get over shock quickly when congregating with vampires.

It was the weekend, which meant that I had Robert to myself for two whole days. As CEO of Bramson Enterprises, the weekdays were hectic for Robert. He made obscene amounts of money, but he hustled damn hard for it. I hardly conversed with him on the days he worked from home; his cell phone buzzed incessantly and his fingers constantly tapped on his laptop. Sometimes he toiled straight through the day in his underground office. But the weekends were all mine. I didn’t know where Robert stashed his electronics, but he never touched them during our couple time.

“What are you looking at so intently?” Robert asked, leaning over and placing a hand on my knee. His fingers traveled up my thigh and then to my rear, which he gave a gentle pat.

I sighed. “The classifieds.” I graduated from Dewhurst University with a degree in psychology not too long ago. Job-hunting was not going well.

“And?”

I shook my head. “I’m beginning to question why I bothered going to college in the first place.”

“I’m sure you’ll find something.”

I flicked a hand at the newspaper. “They all require experience. But how am I supposed to get experience if nobody will hire me unless I already have it?”

“You raise a valid point.” Robert had heard this diatribe before. Many times.

“I mean, seriously, what are these people on?” I fumed. “Do you want to hear something ridiculous?”

“Yes, love,” he smiled, indulging me. Robert wasn’t the least bit troubled by my nonexistent income. He had enough money to support the two of us a thousand lifetimes over. But I wanted to contribute.

I thrust a finger at one of the ads, bunching the newspaper. I’d had way too much caffeine. That was some strong breakfast tea. “Here’s a job listing for a counselor at a group home for the developmentally disabled.” I ticked the requirements off on my fingers as I listed them. “They want candidates to have a bachelor’s degree, two or more years of job practice working with the mentally challenged, and CPR certification. Oh, and here’s the best one:
Candidates must possess a willingness to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.
This means that the poor sod they hire is going to have to deal with changing crappy diapers or, worse, wiping down the bathroom walls after a resident wipes—”

Robert made a face.

“You get the picture. Anyway, they want all these things, yet guess how much the job pays?”

“I don’t know, but it should be no less than a million dollars a year,” Robert said mildly.

“Twelve dollars an hour! Twelve dollars! Can you believe it?”

“No. I really can’t.”

“How do they expect someone living in San Francisco to survive off that kind of wage?” I pushed the newspaper aside. “Okay, I’m done ranting now.”

He said, “I thought you were thinking about going to graduate school?”

“I am, but I still want to be employed. I worked so hard to get that degree. I’d like to put it to use, even if for a little while.”

Robert pulled me into his arms. “There’s no rush for you to find a job. I have—”

I wiggled out of his arms and threw up my hands. “I know, I know—you have plenty of money.”

He bit back a smile. “Well, it’s true.” He reached out to pull me close again. “You’re so cute when you’re angry, Mercy.”

I crumpled against his chest. Goodness, he smelled divine. Robert was vampire but he was still manly, and that was his trademark scent: sheer manliness. I wished I could roll around in it. Suddenly I wasn’t so discouraged by the bleak job market.

“Yah, yah,” I grumbled against his smooth pecs. “But I bet I’d be a lot cuter if I were employed.”

His chest vibrated against my face as he laughed.

I sat up and looked at him squarely.

“Yes, my sweet firecracker?” he smiled.

“This is going to sound insane, but you feel warm.” Robert’s temperature never fluctuated. His vampire skin was perpetually chilly since he was technically dead.

“I am?”

I touched his cheek. “You are hot! Have you been standing by the fire?”

“No, I just got out of bed. But it’s funny that you say that. I
do
feel warm . . . on the inside.” He felt over his chest and torso, designating the area he was referring to.

“I didn’t think you guys could feel internal temperature?”

“We can’t.”

If I didn’t know better, I’d have thought Robert looked worried. But of course he had nothing to worry about. Vampires never got sick. They didn’t even have a pulse. They also didn’t age, sweat, breathe, or need to use the bathroom like humans. They couldn’t produce offspring, either. Vampires were kind of like bloodsucking mannequins with vocal cords and emotions.

“So then why—”

“I have no idea.” He shrugged. “Maybe it’s one of those things. A freak occurrence.”

“But you feel okay otherwise? Has this ever happened to you before?”

He shook his head and his dark hair glinted under the pendant lamp hanging over the table. “Mercy, I’m fit as a fiddle.”

“If you say so.”

Changing the subject, he said, “How would you like to spend the weekend, my darling?”

Weekend plans could be tricky when the outings had to be organized around eluding the sun. Robert’s life depended on it, after all, so we had to be careful. Still, we had a bounty of activities to choose from.

I rustled through the newspaper in search of the entertainment section. Robert and I were huge theatre buffs. I said, “I heard about a new play that just came out.
Scissor Rose
or . . .”

“Ah, I think you mean
Scissor Lilly
.”

“That’s it. I heard it was good.”

BOOK: Mercy's Danger: Montgomery's Vampires Trilogy (Book #2) (Montgomery's Vampires Series)
8.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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