Authors: Isabel Jordan
"Harper is a heroine you can get behind! She's witty, crazy, kick ass, and amazing! Noah is my new book boyfriend! He's the bad boy we all want and your mom hates but then she falls in love with him too! ”
—Indy Book Fairy
"Fresh and fun. Relaxed with a good dose of humor."
—Lanie's Book Thoughts
"Semi-Charmed is well-paced, fun and easy to read."
—TJ Loves to Read
"The hero and heroine were intriguing and engaging."
"Holy crap! That was awesome! More please!! Brilliantly funny, sexy, charming, and awesome."
—Me, Myself & Books
“If you are a fan of the Sookie Stackhouse books, Buffy the Vampire slayer, and the likes, you will enjoy this book a great deal.”
—The Book Disciple
Copyright © 2015 by Isabel Jordan
All Rights Reserved.
This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed herein are fictitious and are not based on any real persons living or dead.
First and foremost, thanks to my husband, who tolerated a full year of my Yosemite-Sam-like muttering around the house while I struggled to figure out what to do with these characters. It couldn’t have been easy. And your knowledge of social media (you know, the interwebs, the twerking, the hash browns, and such) has been invaluable. Sleedleshoo!
Thanks to my son, because he’s awesome and inspires me just by being around. And he doesn’t find it at all weird that I refer to my office as The Fortress of Solitude. Gotta love him for that.
I also want to thank my parents, who have always offered unconditional support. The babysitting, dog care, and lawn maintenance is also pretty fabulous, and definitely made it so that I’d have plenty of writing time.
Special thanks to my primary BETA, L.E. Wilson, for her feedback on a really, really, really rough draft. (Did I say it was REALLY rough?) I’m so glad you loved the elevator scene (and the exploding ovaries comment you made? So graphic, yet so perfectly…writerly. Best compliment a romance writer could’ve ever received).
Thanks to Scott Boucher for the fan-freakin’-tastic cover art, and for introducing me to all of my binge-watching TV favorites. It’s always a pleasure to work with someone who gets—and shares—my juvenile sense of humor.
Thanks to Renee Wright, editor extraordinaire. Without your mad skills, Harper would’ve had a sea squirt on her arm. I really owe you for that one.
And last but certainly not least, thanks to everyone who took a chance on an unknown indie author and read Semi-Charmed. You all made my dreams come true! “Thanks” doesn’t seem like a big enough word to convey how much you all mean to me.
Whispering Hope, New York
Harper Hall never thought she’d receive a marriage proposal while straddling a vampire stripper on the floor of the Kitty Kat Palace.
The stripper in question was named Candy Kane, which, unfortunately for her, was her real name. She’d been arrested a few weeks ago for illegal use of vampire mind control and was released on a twenty-thousand dollar bond. She failed to show for her court appearance. That’s when she became Harper’s problem.
Ah, the glamorous life of a paranormal PI.
Skip tracing, or tracking down bail jumpers, was Harper’s least favorite kind of case. Bounty hunters and other PIs didn’t want to go after vampires because they
resisted being brought in, resulting in all kinds of fucked-up, fang-y asshattery.
Hence her current position straddling Candy’s face-down, prone body, which she’d pinned to the sticky strip club floor—
—with her weight.
Sadly, skip tracing paid twice as much as any case she’d ever had, so she found herself doing it with disturbing regularity of late. Riddick seemed to enjoy it, though, given the semi-feral gleam in his eyes at the moment.
Her partner, Noah Riddick, had just slammed Candy’s boyfriend face-first into the wall and wrenched his arms behind his back with enough force to break a normal human’s bones. Fortunately, Candy’s boyfriend, a real charmer by the name of Big Willy, was also a vampire.
And having had the, uh, pleasure of seeing the all-vampire male review he put on at the brand new show club—Vamp Me—in downtown Whispering Hope, Harper could truly say he did the Big Willy moniker proud.
Apparently, Candy and Willy planned to rob patrons at the Kitty Kat Palace by way of Candy’s mind control. By the time she was done with the hapless losers who requested lap dances, they’d think it was
idea to hand their wallets and phones and car keys over to Willy.
What they hadn’t counted on was the bar’s owner, Carlos Mendoza, calling Harper the second Willy hit the door.
Carlos would tell everyone he ratted out Willy and Candy out of concern for his patrons, but Harper knew he was probably just pissed off that the Bonnie and Clyde wannabes hadn’t offered him a cut of their earnings.
“Get off me, you whore!”
Harper pressed her knee down harder against Candy’s spine and wrenched the vamp’s arms up higher behind her back to still her wild squirming. “Those who live in glass
shouldn’t throw stones, sister,” she said. “And I’m not the one pinned to the floor of a strip club wearing nothing but a set of heart-shaped pasties and a bedazzled G-string.”
She glanced over at Riddick just in time to see Big Willy throw his head back toward Riddick’s face in an attempt to break his nose. Riddick neatly avoided the head-butt, grabbed a fistful of Willy’s shoulder-length, dishwater-dull blond hair and slammed the vamp’s face into the wall.
Willy groaned. “You broke my fucking nose, asshole!”
Only it sounded like, “Ew boke my fuckin’ bose, ash hoe,” which made Harper giggle.
Riddick shrugged and recaptured Big Willy’s arms, binding his wrists behind his back with a zip tie. “I told you to stand still or I’d start breaking your bones.”
“I didn’t do anything wrong, man.”
Harper rolled her eyes. “Yeah, right. Did you forget I’m psychic, Willy?” She tapped her temple with her index finger. “Past, present, and future, all up here. And as soon as I touched your girl here I saw everything.”
And when she said “everything,” she meant
. Not only had Candy and Big Willy robbed patrons at every strip club within a hundred-mile radius of Whispering Hope, they also had a very…
sex life. She’d seen things she was pretty sure weren’t legal in most states. And some that seemed to defy physics.
“You can’t prove anything,” Willy said petulantly.
“No, but I’m pretty sure there’s a reward for anyone who has information on the strip club robberies, which,
“Fucking bitch,” he muttered.
The words had barely left Willy’s mouth before Riddick kicked him in the back of the knee hard enough that bone and cartilage snapped and cracked. Willy screeched like a little girl and fell to the ground, clutching his temporarily ruined knee. It would take a young vampire like Willy at least a week to heal an injury like that.
Harper frowned at Riddick. “Was that necessary?”
He nodded. “I feel pretty good about it.”
“You could’ve given him a warning.”
She sighed. Riddick’s protectiveness occasionally bordered on obsessive. She’d told him repeatedly that she could take care of herself, and breaking someone’s bones over a little name-calling wasn’t necessary. But he just couldn’t seem to help himself.
She supposed it was romantic…in a psychotic sort of way.
Then he smiled at her, and her consternation vanished. Her heart kicked into an irregular, giddy rhythm that might’ve worried her if it didn’t happen every time he flashed that sexy grin at her.
And the way he looked at the moment didn’t exactly help slow her heart rate, either.
His thick black hair fell to his collar in careless disarray, giving him a just-fucked look that made her thoughts lean toward dirty, dirty things. He had the kind of lean, toned body that screamed badass instead of gym rat. And his face…
they had a face like Riddick’s.
And he was all hers.
Suck it, other women everywhere!
“Let me go,” Candy commanded, her normal Betty-Boop voice an octave lower than usual.
Harper tightened her hold on Candy’s arms. “Don’t embarrass yourself. Mind control doesn’t work on me. Strong with the force am I,” she added in her best Yoda voice, which was really kind of awful, now that she thought about it.
Note to self: no more Yoda voice.
“Don’t bother trying it on him, either.” She tipped her head in Riddick’s direction. “He’s immune, too.”
Riddick gave her a mock bow as Willy continued to writhe on the ground at his feet.
Candy tipped her head to the side and glared up at Harper out of the corner of her eye. “I remember you two now,” she hissed. “You worked for Sentry. You’re murderers!”
is a little harsh, Harper thought, feeling vaguely offended.
Harper had been recruited by Sentry when she was just a kid. The psychic visions she’d been “gifted” with were a great asset to the organization. They allowed slayers to get the jump on vampires and other paranormal threats to humanity. And threats were eliminated with extreme prejudice. Until vampires came out of the coffin, that is.
About seven years ago, when vampires earned human rights, public backlash had shut Sentry down. No one liked the idea of a covert government agency putting vampires down like rabid dogs, so ex-Sentry employees were often met with prejudice and disdain these days, especially by prospective employers (hence her glamorous current gig).
And as if that weren’t bad enough, since then, Harper had spent enough time with vampires to know that like humans, they weren’t
bad, as Sentry had led her to believe most of her life.
She’d no doubt be judged one day for her actions—no matter how misled she might have been by Sentry. But she’d be
if a thieving little wench like Candy would be doing the judging.
A muscle in Riddick’s jaw twitched, letting her know he didn’t like Candy’s little reminder about Sentry, either.
Riddick had been a slayer for Sentry—but not just
slayer. His strength, speed, and hunting ability hadn’t come from Sentry-administered drugs, as it had for other slayers. Riddick had been born with his talents.
According to Mischa, her BFF who’d worked for Sentry as a watcher, natural-born slayers were no better than wild animals: unpredictable, untamable, deadly if provoked. Riddick struggled every day to keep his inner beast in check and remain in control.
And for the most part, Willy’s shattered knee notwithstanding, he succeeded. He was her partner. The guy who’d helped her triple the agency’s business over the past year. The guy who’d saved her life. Twice. The guy who always let her have the last piece of pie. The guy who held her while she slept every night, all night, even though he could only sleep about four hours at a time.
The guy who was an absolute
And in Harper’s experience, men who knew their way around a clitoris
a G-spot were rare animals indeed.
“Sticks and stones, sweetheart,” she said lightly. “Call me whatever you want, but don’t insult him or I’ll make what he did to your boyfriend’s knee look like a love tap. I’ve been authorized to bring you in using
force is necessary.”
Which was a total lie, but Candy didn’t need to know that.
“Oh, you’re in luuuuvvvv.” Candy sneered. “How pathetic.”
“Yep. And you’re going to jail mostly naked. Who’s pathetic now?”
That shut her right up. Thank God.
“Hey, Riddick, do you have an extra zip tie?”
What a stupid question, she thought as he reached into his leather trench coat. The man was a walking arsenal. He had everything from silver knives and short swords to zip ties, cuffs, and duct tape on him at all times.
Her hand brushed his when she reached for the tie, and a vision hit her right between the eyes. Harper pressed her hands to her temples, letting the vision roll over her.
She waited to see the usual vampires and blood and death, but they never came. Instead of some random victim, this time Harper’s vision was of…well, Harper.
She stood on worn red velvet carpet at what looked like an altar. An old man in an even older suit stood before her, holding a Bible. Next to her was Riddick. They looked happy, if a little (okay, a lot) dirty and disheveled. And just as Riddick moved to slide a ring on her finger, the vision faded.