“Let me suck your cock.”
The vamp female tugged at Samson’s pants. She freed his flaccid shaft from the confinement of his jeans and sucked it into her gorgeous mouth. He watched her red lips close tightly around him as she worked him frantically. Up and down she moved, the warm wetness of her mouth lubricating him.
With her hand, she cupped his balls and squeezed them in perfect rhythm with her sucking. She was talented, no doubt. He buried his hands in her hair and moved his hips back and forth, trying to increase the friction.
“Harder.” His request was met with enthusiasm, her slurping sounds filling the dimly lit room.
He let his gaze sweep over her scantily clad body: hot curves, great ass, even a pretty face. Everything he could wish for in a sexual partner. Eager to give head, she would probably swallow too. Something he particularly appreciated. But despite feeling her tantalizing tongue run up and down his cock, despite the hard sucking motion, no erection was forthcoming. Her patience was wasted on him. Nothing moved.
Her head bobbed back and forth, her long brown hair brushing against his naked skin, catching in his pubic hair, but his body wasn’t in it, almost as if she was sucking off somebody else, not him.
Samson finally pushed her away, humiliated and frustrated. If vampires could blush from embarrassment, his face would have been as red as the vamp’s painted lips. Luckily, blushing was reserved for humans.
In lightning speed, he shoved his useless male equipment back into his pants and zipped up. Even faster, he fled her company. His only hope was that she would never know who he was. Good thing he was in a strange city and not back in San Francisco where he was as well-known as a pink horse.
A week after the embarrassing incident, his friend Amaury made a suggestion.
“Just give it a shot, Samson,” he insisted. “The guy is completely trustworthy. He won’t breathe a syllable to anybody about this.”
His old friend couldn’t possibly be serious. “A shrink? You want me to go see a shrink?”
“He’s helped me a lot before. What have you got to lose?”
His dignity, his pride.
“I guess if you vouch for him, I can give it a try.” And just like that, he’d caved. Was it desperation?
“And don’t judge him from the outside.”
The place was a joke. When Samson first entered the dark basement where the psychiatrist practiced, he wanted to run right back out. But the receptionist had already spotted him. With a saccharin sweet smile and straightened back, she put her large chest on display.
Great, a shrink operating from a dungeon and a Barbie doll as the gatekeeper!
“Mr. Woodford, please come in. Dr. Drake is expecting you,” her high-pitched voice invited him.
Once he’d made his way into Drake’s office, he knew it was a mistake. Instead of a couch there was a coffin. One of the wooden side panels had been removed so a live person could lie down in it comfortably as if lying down on a chaise lounge.
The guy had to be a lunatic. No self-respecting modern vamp would want to be caught dead in a coffin! Vampires in San Francisco were mainstreaming, adapting to the human lifestyle. Coffins were out. Tempur-Pedic mattresses were in.
The lanky man rounded his desk and stretched out his hand to greet him.
“If you think I’m going to lie down in the coffin, you’ve got it coming,” Samson barked.
“I see, we have our work cut out for us.” The doctor seemed unfazed by the rude remark. He pointed at the comfortable looking armchair. Reluctantly, Samson sat down.
Dr. Drake let himself fall in the chair opposite. As the doctor studied him for the first few minutes, Samson shifted nervously, hands clamped over the armrests of the chair.
“Can we get started? I believe I’m paying you by the hour.” Offensive was better than defensive, he’d learned early in life.
“We started the minute you came in here, but then I’m sure you knew that.” Dr. Drake’s smile was non-committal, his voice even.
Samson narrowed his eyes, trying to block out the implied reprimand. “Indeed.”
“Since when have you had these anger issues?”
The words were not what he’d expected. Maybe a question more along the lines of So, what brings you here?, but not this direct assault on his already battered psyche. He should have asked Amaury more about the doctor’s methods before agreeing to make an appointment.
“Anger issues? I don’t have anger issues. I’m here for …, the issue is …, uh, my problem has to do with …” God, since when could he not say the word sex without being flustered? He’d never had any problems expressing himself when it came to sex. His vocabulary included many choice four letter words he generally had no problem spurting from his lips whenever necessary.
“Uh-huh.” The doctor nodded as if he knew something Samson didn’t. “You think it’s a sexual problem. Interesting.”
Was the man a mind reader? Samson was aware that some vampires had additional gifts. He himself had a complete photographic memory. He knew that others of his kind could see the future or read minds, but he wasn’t sure how widespread those talents were.
He needed to know whether he was at a disadvantage with this man. He didn’t want to work with somebody who could read him like a book when he didn’t want to be read. “Do you read minds?”
Drake shook his head. “No. But your problem is not uncommon. It’s pretty easy to figure out. You exhibit signs of extreme anger and frustration.” He cleared his throat and leaned forward in emphasis. “Mr. Woodford, I’m well aware of who you are. You run one of the most successful companies in the vampire world, if not the most successful. You are rich beyond belief – and trust me this will not influence how much I’ll charge you –”
“Of course not,” Samson interrupted. The quack would charge him what he thought Samson was willing to pay. It wouldn’t be a first. He was used to people trying to inflate their prices because they knew he could afford it. But they usually tried only once. Nobody cheated him and got away with it.
“And at the same time, you haven’t been seen in society for quite some time when you should be out there, courting beautiful women. I suppose your breakup with Ilona Hampstead had something to do with this.”
“I’m not here to talk about her.” Samson let out a quick breath. He refused to even say her name. She had no part in his life, not anymore, and the mere mention of her name made his fangs itch for a vicious bite. He cracked his knuckles. Would the sound be the same if that woman’s neck snapped? It would be music to his ears.
“Maybe not about her, but maybe about what she did. There can only be one reason for this. And we both know what it is. So, the question is now, are you going to trust me to help you?”
Drake’s blue eyes punctuated his point.
“Do what?” Samson decided to stick with denial. It had worked so far.
“Get over the anger.” The doctor was as insistent as Samson was stubborn.
“I told you, it’s not an anger issue.”
A knowing smile anchored around the doctor’s lips. “Oh, I believe it is. Whatever she did, it angered you so much that it’s putting a block on your sexual drive as if you didn’t want to make yourself vulnerable again.”
“I’m not vulnerable. I never was. Not since I’ve been a vampire.” The last thing Samson wanted to feel was being vulnerable. To him it was synonymous to being weak. If the doctor wasn’t careful with his accusations he’d soon find himself at the receiving end of Samson’s claws. Maybe a physical fight would relieve his frustrations.
“Not in the physical sense of the word. We are all aware of your strength and your power. But I’m talking about your emotions. We all have them. We all struggle with them. Some more than others. Believe me, my calendar is booked solid with our fellow vampires who need help dealing with their emotions.”
The shrink looked at him. No, he couldn’t allow Drake to get this close. Emotions were a dangerous thing. They could destroy a man. Samson hauled himself out of the chair.
“I don’t think this is going to work.” The tightness in his chest bore witness to the effect Drake’s words had on him even though he was not ready to admit it. Not even to himself.
The doctor stood. “Ever since we’ve started mainstreaming,” Drake continued, undeterred, “my practice has quadrupled. Adapting to the way humans live their lives has taken a toll on many of us. We now have to deal with emotional issues we kept buried for centuries. Literally. You’re not alone. I can help you.”
Samson shook his head. Nobody could help him. He had to get through this on his own. “Send me your bill. Good bye, Doc.”
He stormed out, knowing the doctor had hit a nerve.
Well, sex was overrated anyway. At least it was what he was trying to convince himself of. There were nights when he believed his own lies, but it never lasted long. The truth was, he liked having sex, lots of it, but none of the sexy vampire women did it for him anymore. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t get an erection.
He’d never heard of such a thing happening to any vampire. Sexual virility was part and parcel of being a vamp in the first place. Being impotent was a foreign concept in the vampire world. Only humans became impotent. If the news became widespread he would lose all respect of his peers. It was unacceptable.
So eventually he’d conceded, and a month later he’d made another appointment in the hope there was something the quack could do for him.
Samson blinked and wiped away the memories of the last nine months. Tonight was his birthday. He would try to have some fun.
As he strode from his wingback armchair to the wet bar at the opposite end of his elegant sitting room, his movements were fluid, his body tall, muscular, yet slender.
Samson poured himself a glass of his favorite blood type and kicked it back like a human would down a shot of Tequila less the salt and lime. The thick liquid coated his throat and eased the thirst, dulling his hunger for other pleasures in the process. Good, no other pleasures would be satisfied tonight.
Same as the last two-hundred-and-seventy-six nights.
Not that he was counting.
Only his thirst for blood had been stilled, the rest of his body’s needs, while temporarily subdued, would go unmet. Sometimes he wished he could get drunk and forget about everything, but unfortunately, being a vampire meant he couldn’t get drunk like humans did. Alcohol had no effect on his body. What he’d give for a little numbness right now.
He had expressly told his pals not to get him any presents or throw him a party. Of course he knew it was futile and only a matter of time until they would be at his door. Like pilfering barbarians they would invade his home, raid his secret stash of quality drinks – mostly highly priced 0-neg - and waste his waking hours with old stories he’d heard a hundred times.
They had given him a surprise birthday party on his 200th birthday, and it would be no different today, on his 237th with pretty much the same cast of characters.
In anticipation of the inevitable invasion of his privacy, he had dressed in dapper black pants and a dark grey turtleneck. Except for his signet ring, he wore no jewelry.
The phone’s ring tore through the quiet of his home. He looked at the clock on the wall and saw that it was shortly before nine o’clock. Just as he’d thought, the boys were on their way.
“Hey, birthday boy. How is it hanging?”
Not a good choice of words, definitely not.
“What is it, Ricky?” Despite Ricky’s Irish heritage, he had adopted many California expressions and now sounded more like a beach-boy-surfer-dude than the Irish lad he was deep down.
“I just want to wish you a great birthday and see what you’re doing tonight.” Why Ricky had to keep up the pretense, Samson really didn’t know. Wasn’t he aware that his surprise birthday party was already out of the bag?
Samson cut to the chase. “When’s everybody coming?”
“What do you mean?”
“What time are you guys going to surprise me with a birthday party?”
“How did you know? Never mind. The guys wanted me to make sure you were there. So don’t leave the house. And if our other surprise arrives before us, keep her there.”
Not again. He should have known. He bit back his anger.
“When will you guys ever learn that I’m not into strippers?”
Never have been, never will be.
Ricky laughed. “Yes, yes, but this one is special. She’s not just a stripper. She does extras.”
Would he be up for extras? Very unlikely.
“I think she’ll do something for you, you know what I mean. She’s good, so give her a chance, will you? It’s for your own good. You can’t go on like this. Holly said –”
Samson cut him off. So much for having some fun tonight. “You told Holly? Are you fucking nuts? She’s the biggest gossip of the underworld! I told you in confidence. How could you?” His nostrils flared, and his eyes narrowed. With his fangs suddenly protruding from his mouth, he could have scared a champion wrestler from here till Tuesday. But Ricky wasn’t a wrestler, and he wasn’t scared easily. Not even till Monday.
“Careful how you talk about my girlfriend, Samson. She’s not a gossip. And besides, she suggested that stripper. She’s a friend of Holly’s.”
Perfect! A friend of Holly’s. Sure, this was guaranteed to work!
Samson still fumed but recognized it was too late to call the whole thing off. “Fine.”
He slammed the phone down, not giving Ricky a chance to elaborate any further. Great! Now that Holly knew about his little problem, soon the entire underworld of San Francisco would know. He’d be the laughing stock of every party, the butt of every joke.
How long would it take her to spread the news – a day, an hour, five minutes? How long until the snickering behind his back started? Why not take out a one page ad in the SF Vampire Chronicle himself to save her the trouble?
Samson Woodford, debonair bachelor vampire, can’t get it up!
Delilah Sheridan’s eyes hurt, but she continued scanning the rows of transactions for anything which looked out of place. Rubbing her stiff neck with her fingers, she longed for a massage or at least a fifteen minute soak in a hot tub, neither of which would happen tonight.
“Coffee?” John’s voice came from behind her.
She pushed a strain of her long dark hair behind her ear. “No, thanks, I want to be able to sleep tonight. I’ve been having such bad insomnia the last few nights. I’m probably still on New York time.” Her gaze remained fixed on her computer screen.
The night before she’d barely slept despite the comfortable mattress. And the few hours she had been able to sleep, she’d been tormented by dreams which didn’t make a lick of sense.
The large open plan office was practically deserted. The only people left were the two of them. John Reardon was the chief accountant for the San Francisco branch of the nationwide private company Delilah had come to audit.
“Yeah, I know what you mean. It’s not sleeping in your own bed, that’s what does it, right?” John sounded sympathetic.
“At least they put me up in a corporate apartment rather than at a hotel. I don’t get disturbed by the housekeeping staff.”
True, she was staying in a comfortable condo which belonged to the company, but what did it matter when she couldn’t sleep anyway? Before her trip to San Francisco she’d never had any problems with insomnia. On the contrary, she was known for being able to sleep wherever and whenever she put her head on a pillow. It didn’t even have to be a pillow.
Delilah rubbed her eyes then looked at her watch. It was past nine o’clock. She felt almost guilty having stayed so late. John had insisted being there as long as she was. He didn’t want to leave her alone at the offices. She guessed he didn’t trust auditors not to snoop around. He got that right. Not that she’d call it snooping since she had all the authorization she needed. In fact, she had very specific instructions.
She wasn’t just here to audit the branch office of the company, but to investigate some irregularities. Delilah was sure John had no idea about this. He’d been told that it was merely one of the usual audits Headquarters performed regularly.
“Sorry, John. I’m sure you’re ready to go home.”
She turned to him. Leaning against the edge of one of the desks, he lifted his coffee cup to his lips. His grey suit seemed ill-fitting, and the collar of his shirt looked frayed. He was quite tall and decent looking for an accountant. Boring, bland, but not ugly.
He probably didn’t appreciate having to stay at the office this late. Well, she was beat anyway, so maybe she should call it a day, even though she knew she would probably toss and turn all night no matter what.
A flicker of relief appeared in John’s eyes when she nodded. It took him all of two seconds to slip into his jacket and grab his briefcase. He sure was in a hurry to get out of there. She couldn’t blame him. He had a family waiting for him. And what did she have to go home to? It wasn’t even home.
Not that home would have been any more welcoming than the corporate apartment. Nobody was waiting for her. No man, not many friends, not even a cat or a dog. After this assignment was over and she was back in New York, she’d go out more and date. That was the plan. It was an excellent plan, one she’d made during every one of her out-of-town assignments and then promptly dismissed when she’d returned home. This time she meant it though. Really.
But for now, all she wanted was to get some takeout and go to sleep. John was kind enough to direct her toward Chinatown where she could pick up some food on her way back to the apartment. Even though she’d been to Chinatown before, her sense of direction was much less developed than her head for numbers. During the day she normally managed, but in the dark she turned into a lost cause when it came to finding her way.
It had started drizzling, and she didn’t want to hang around too long. She ducked into the first Chinese restaurant she encountered. The place was virtually empty.
The woman at the entrance attempted to show her to a table, but Delilah waved her off.
“Just takeout, please.”
The hostess handed her a menu. Delilah scanned it quickly, trying not to let her fingers linger too long on the sticky plastic cover. The menu presented too many choices. How many different ways could you cook beef? Beef with bamboo shoots, beef with mushrooms, spicy beef. Enough already. She would play it safe.
“I’ll have the Mongolian beef with brown rice, please.”
“Brown rice takes ten minutes.” The Chinese woman was as friendly as a viper and just as pretty. If she thought Delilah would change her mind to white rice with her look, she was out of luck.
“That’s ok. I’ll wait.”
Delilah sank onto one of the red plastic chairs near the door. This business trip was her first to San Francisco. As an independent contractor she normally performed special audits up and down the East Coast and rarely travelled further afield.
When the head office’s regular statistical checks had revealed that certain ratios in the San Francisco branch were off, they’d decided to use somebody who hadn’t had any prior contact with the West Coast staff and hired an outsider. It was smart. Auditors could become too cozy with the staff they were auditing. A regular change of auditors was generally a good idea.
If anybody could find out where the problem was buried, it was Delilah. Her specialty was forensic accounting. It wasn’t quite as exciting as police work, but it was probably the most exciting field in the accounting world, if there was such a thing. An oxymoron to some, but not to her. And besides, she was making a very decent living as an independent consultant.
This investigation should not present itself with too many difficulties. Certain ratios between assets and depreciation were off the charts and suggested that either somebody was completely incompetent or was trying to cheat the company. How, she didn’t know yet, but she would find out soon.
Delilah was tired and knew she needed a good night’s sleep, but she also dreaded going to bed. Some of her old nightmares had come back again and mixed with new ones. She hadn’t had any in a few months, but upon her arrival in San Francisco a few days ago, her bad dreams had started to reappear.
They were normally always the same. The old French farmhouse they’d lived in over twenty years ago when her father had taken a two-year overseas assignment as a visiting professor. The lavender fields surrounding the property. The crib. The silence. And then the faces of her parents. The tears on her mother’s face. The pain.
But this time the dreams had blended into other, more incomprehensible ones.
The Victorian house looked foreboding in the heavy rain. Light came from one of the windows; other than that it was dark. She ran faster and faster. Toward the house, to safety. She didn’t dare look behind her. He was still there, still following her. Hands clamped over her shoulder. Then suddenly her fists pounded into a heavy wooden door. Something gave way. She stumbled forward and fell. Into warmth, softness, safety. Home.
“Mongolian beef, brown rice.” The woman’s voice pierced through the recollection of her dream. Delilah paid her tab and took the food. She stopped dead at the door.
It had started raining in earnest. She had left her umbrella in the apartment, thinking she wouldn’t need it today. Instead of opting for her trench coat, she’d only put on a light jacket. Well, that turned out to be a bad choice.
Everybody had told her how unpredictable San Francisco weather could be, and now she would find out for herself. The weather report had indicated no rain until the weekend. Could she sue the weatherman? Probably not.
She had no choice but to brave it. Delilah knew she wasn’t far from the apartment, only about three blocks. Staying close to the buildings, she started running along the sidewalk then made a turn into the next street and another one a block further. The apartment couldn’t be far now. She looked around, but in the heavy rain she couldn’t recognize anything. Was it another block more?
Her clothes were already soaked, and she would have to jump into the shower to get warm again. Where the hell was she? She turned another corner and found herself in a small side street. It didn’t look familiar at all, but that wasn’t her biggest problem, neither was the relentless rain. The problem was the guy coming toward her. Even though she couldn’t make him out well, she would bet her retirement fund that he wasn’t there to lend her an umbrella.
His imposing frame was silhouetted against the dim light of a street lamp behind him. The chill of his look seeped into her body as a faint glimmer of light coming from a window appeared on the left side of his face. The scar puckering his skin didn’t inspire confidence.
Delilah turned back to where she came from. Before she was able to make two steps, a hand clamped over her shoulder, jerking her back. The sudden jolt made her lose her balance. She slipped on the wet sidewalk, her legs buckling beneath her. Her food dropped onto the ground as she tried to fight for balance and brace her fall.
The guy’s hand on her shoulder gripped harder as she screamed and tried to shake him off, crashing onto the sidewalk in the process. He bent down to pull her up. She yanked her head around. For the first time she could see his face clearly, clear enough to make an identification if need be. He was Caucasian and in his forties. Violence and the intention to unleash it on her was clearly written on his face.
Delilah couldn’t allow him to drag her into some dark hole. Number one in survival training was never to let the attacker move the victim to a secondary location. She had to fight him off here, where she had a chance of getting the attention of a passer-by.
With this rain, nobody would be outside. Not even a dog.
He jerked her up, seizing her by the collar of her jacket now, having released the painful grip on her shoulder. Quickly she stretched her arms back and slipped out of the jacket, leaving him holding onto it. Now she had a fighting chance.
He was startled, and she had a couple of seconds’ head start. She’d been a sprinter in college, and it came in handy, even though the slippery ground didn’t help – neither did the high heels of her shoes. Vanity would kill her one of these days.
With long strides she ran into the next street, her lean but strong legs pushing off the ground with a vehemence startling for her small body. He was close behind her. Faster. She had to run even faster. Her breath quickened as her lungs demanded more oxygen.
Scouting the area ahead of her, she made a split second decision and sprinted into the street to her right. A desperate glance over her shoulder confirmed that the brute was still chasing her.
Scanning the street, she spotted several Victorian residences on the other side. All of them were dark, except for one. It seemed oddly familiar with light shining through the windows in the front room. This was her chance, probably her only one. Not slowing down for even a second, she crossed the narrow street, ran up the few steps of the old Victorian and hammered at the door.
“Help! Help me!”
Frantically, she looked behind her while her fists continued pounding into the door. Her pursuer was less than half a block away and closing in, his face angry. If he reached her, he’d unleash his anger on her, and there was nowhere else to run.
Who the hell was banging on his door? Samson would have to teach his friends some manners. He realized it was raining cats and dogs outside, but it didn’t give them the right to damage his door. They’d be sorry in a second. He was in a foul mood as it was, and announcing themselves like barbarians did not endear them to him.
He yanked the door open.
A small figure with dripping wet hair and soaked clothes tumbled into his arms.
“Help me, please!” The female voice had an urgency to it he couldn’t ignore.
Instinctively he pulled her in and slammed the door shut again.
“Thank you.” The quiet mumble was almost inaudible but laced with genuine relief.
She lifted her head and looked up at him. Big green eyes, long thick lashes, luscious red lips. Her white blouse was soaked, and she could have won any wet t-shirt contest hands down. Not that he’d ever witnessed one. Her black lace bra featured her boobs prominently, 34C he guessed.
Of course, she was the stripper. So the guys had gotten him a stripper who would play the damsel in distress. It was different from the usual police woman or nurse, but still, it wouldn’t work.
The last time his friends had surprised him with a stripper, Officer Nasty had tried a strip search on him, leaving him entirely unaffected. Not even the tease of a little bondage had gotten his cock to wake from its deathlike sleep. What made Ricky think this damsel in distress could do any better?
She looked pretty enough, almost innocent. At least he could play along for a few minutes, see if anything moved. Without getting his hopes up, of course.
She smelled like a wet dog and something else, but he couldn’t pinpoint it.
“Some guy attacked me.” She stopped to catch her breath. “I have to call the police.” She shivered and sounded believable. The woman had obviously taken some acting classes.
“Well, why don’t we get you into the warmth first and get rid of your wet clothes.” That was surely the script she had in mind. What better reason to take off her clothes than because they were wet? He wouldn’t mind warming her. With his body.
A crease appeared between her eyebrows. “Just a phone call, please. I can get changed at home, thank you.” Her voice was clipped as if irritated.
Ah, so she wanted to play coy. Fine with him. He motioned her into the sitting room where a low fire crackled in the fireplace. She placed herself right in front of it and stretched her hands out toward the warmth. Her wet clothes clung to her body, emphasizing her tantalizing curves. Perfect proportions. Not too skinny, just enough flesh for him to have something to dig into. At least Ricky had picked somebody who physically appealed to him. It was a start.
“You’ll catch a cold in those wet clothes,” he whispered behind her. Her shoulders lifted, tension evident. She had obviously not felt him approach. What was wrong with her senses? As he cupped her shoulders with his hands, she shrieked and spun around. He recognized the glare in her eyes as a mixture of anger and fear.
“I have to go.”
Now it was getting interesting. She was playing hard to get. Ricky was right, she was good. Maybe she could stir something up for him, just maybe. He enjoyed a good hunt as much as the next vampire. And he hadn’t hunted in a while. Every woman had practically been handed to him on a platter, and as enticing as many of them had been, none had stirred him.
“Not so fast. I think you’re forgetting what you came here for. Let’s see what you’ve got to offer.” He let her know that he was willing to play along. Just for the hell of it.
The damsel threw him another scared look and made for the door. Samson was faster and cut her escape route off. He was enjoying himself now. In fact, he hadn’t had this much fun in a long time. Whatever Ricky was paying her, she was worth every dollar.
She breathed heavily, still pretending to be scared. He could almost smell her fear. It was exactly how he liked his prey. His hands dug into her shoulders to pull her close. He didn’t care that her wet clothes would ruin his dry-clean only pants and sweater.
“No, let me go!” Her desperate plea echoed in his vast home.
“You don’t want to go.” He soaked in her smell. Yes, wet dog, but something else too, something different. Was this little vampire vixen using some exotic perfume? It smelled delicious, tempting. A faint smell of lavender drifted into his nostrils.
Her terrified eyes looked up at him as she struggled under his hold.
“I’m sure Ricky paid you enough, and if not, I’m going to tip you generously.” Money was no object. If she could do something for him, he’d be more than generous.
“Paid me?” Her voice was a high shriek, her panic underscored by the widening of her eyes. Beautiful eyes, their green shimmering in hundreds of different facets.
Had the cad not paid her yet? Well, he could take care of that later, but right now he wanted something else. A little taste of those luscious lips and that sharp tongue of hers.
There was something about her. She’d awakened his interest. Samson lowered his head and pressed his lips onto hers. She tried wiggling out of his embrace, but her attempt was weak at best. He’d known vampire females to be nearly as strong as vampire males, but the specimen in his arms had obviously decided not to use her strength against him.
Her lips were soft, deliciously soft. Samson slid his hand behind her neck to keep her in place while he used his tongue to tempt her mouth open. He wanted to taste her, feel that tongue of hers, but she kept her lips firmly pressed together, seemingly unwilling to surrender too soon.
The woman still struggled, trying to wrestle free of him. He didn’t mind. In fact, the more she resisted the more he was aware of her body rubbing against his, and the more he wanted her. He continued his assault on her lips, sweeping over them with his moist tongue. He pressed her harder against him, running his other hand down her back to squeeze her cute little ass. Instead of her wet clothes, he felt the body heat buried underneath.
Her breasts were crushed against his chest, and her fast heartbeat reverberated through his body. He enjoyed her unusual softness. And then he noticed something else. He felt himself react to her. Blood suddenly pumped into his loins, surging to his cock. His pants tightened uncomfortably. But he wasn’t going to complain.
Samson released a moan of pleasure as he felt his hardening cock press against her stomach. She surely had to sense it too. He hadn’t felt an erection in so long, and the realization that his old body still worked was a birthday present he hadn’t expected. With his hand on her ass he hauled her closer into his body and ground his cock against her, letting her know that she’d achieved the impossible.
He would reward her plenty for it. Why hadn’t his shrink thought of this? All he needed was a woman who pretended not to want him, and his hunting instincts would kick in. Reverse psychology was all it was. He’d have to fire Drake. In all those months the quack hadn’t come up with anything helpful.
Suddenly her lips parted, and he didn’t hesitate slipping his tongue in greedily.
Oh God, yes!
Her mouth, her taste – it was all so different from anything he’d tasted before. His tongue swept in deeply, searching for hers. It wasn’t what he had expected. His body tensed as he explored her delicious mouth and played with her hesitant tongue, teasing her to give him more. He went deeper. Oh God, she was delicious.
With his hand on her neck he stroked her eagerly while his hand on her round ass couldn’t stop caressing her and pressing her harder against him. His cock was rock hard and ready to burst. Samson couldn’t remember ever having had an erection like this, not in the last hundred and fifty years anyway.
There was no way he’d let her go before he’d thoroughly fucked her. He wanted to bury himself in her for as long as he could and find the pleasure which had eluded him in the last nine months.
Samson swallowed more of her taste, gulped down more of her scent, and all of a sudden his nostrils flared.
Damn, what the hell was he doing?
He wasn’t kissing a vampire. She tasted human! His friends were killing him. They’d gotten him a human stripper! They should have warned him at least. He would hurt her if he wasn’t careful. If he lost control, he could bite her and drink her blood. Those idiots!
And then he felt the pain, a sharp stabbing und unexpected pain on his foot. He instantly let go of her and winced, hopping on one foot in an attempt to relieve the pain. She had driven her high heel into his Italian designer shoe with all her force.
What the fuck?
What had gotten into her? She’d kissed him back, she’d responded to him. There was no reason for her sudden outburst. And besides, Ricky had said she did extras. As he stared at her in disbelief, she glared at him furiously, and as if that wasn’t enough, she slapped him right across the cheek.
Stifled laughter behind him made him spin around in record speed. There they were: all his friends, watching him get hit by a woman. This would go down in the history books, the night Samson got slapped by a human female. What else was planned for his utter humiliation?
“What the hell are you doing, Samson?” Ricky shouted.
“What do you think I’m doing? I’m having fun with the stripper you got me for my birthday.” Since when was Ricky all prim and proper? After all, this was his idiotic idea.
“Stripper?” the woman yelled. “I’m not a stripper!”
Ricky shook his head, and the guys behind him couldn’t suppress their stupid grins like they were a bunch of college kids and not full-grown vampires.
“Are you blind, man? This is the stripper.” Ricky tilted his head to the woman in the short nurse’s uniform and garter belt who stood amongst his friends. Samson threw looks between the nurse and the damsel in distress like ping pong balls and knew Ricky was right.
“That-” Ricky pointed at the furious woman next to Samson, “-is a seriously pissed off lady, who you owe a huge apology. I’d start groveling right now.”
Good advice. Samson winced inwardly.
“Happy Birthday,” Amaury, his oldest friend, said. If he was trying to diffuse the situation, he’d have to work harder at it, because it sure wasn’t working.
“And congratulations,” Thomas added grinning, but he wasn’t congratulating him on his birthday. His eyes were fixed on Samson’s crotch. Nothing could escape Thomas’ keen eyes, ever, especially when it came to a male body. Samson understood immediately, but it didn’t make the situation any more comfortable. Eventually he’d have to face the woman he’d kissed so passionately, and it wasn’t something he felt comfortable with. Especially not with the raging hard-on bulging under his slacks. A hard-on which did not want to go down, not as long as he had her taste on his tongue.
She brushed past him to get out of the room. He couldn’t just let her leave. He owed her more than an apology. She had healed what his shrink hadn’t been able to fix even after many months of weekly sessions. He had to do something, anything.
She continued walking as if she hadn’t heard him. The guys parted to let her through.
“Please. I’m sorry. I didn’t know. I thought you were the … I’m sorry. You must think I’m a savage. Please, Miss, let me offer you some dry clothes, something to warm you up. I’ll have my chauffeur drive you home.”
She stopped and hesitated at the door.
“Please.” He didn’t care that his friends were watching him beg. He would deal with them later. Strangely, all he now wanted was for her not to be mad at him. He didn’t understand why he even cared; after all, she was only a human. Finally, her shoulders appeared to drop as if the tension in them released.
Delilah turned and looked at him. She knew it was still raining outside, and the thought of dry clothes and somebody driving her home was tempting, especially since she wasn’t quite sure if she would even find her way back to the apartment. Besides, the thug could still be lurking outside somewhere, and then she wouldn’t be any better off than before.
Now that he was looking at her with his puppy dog eyes, he looked warm and kind. He hadn’t looked like that only minutes ago. She had felt as if she had been his prey. He’d looked like a hunter. His kiss had been experienced, hungry, hot. And unfortunately exactly the way she liked it, which was why she hadn’t been able to resist him and finally kissed him back.
Delilah had felt his body pressed against hers, his hands touching her intimately. He had aroused her. She assumed it was merely a reflex her body produced, but deep down she knew that no reflex in the world could make her open up to a man who attacked her unless she wanted him.
During his kiss she’d felt flames of hot fire shoot through her as if her blood had started to boil. Nobody had ever kissed her like that. None of the guys she’d dated had come even close to making her body melt like it did under his touch.
But this wasn’t right. He’d just attacked her like a wild beast, because he thought she was some cheap stripper. There was no doubt in her mind as to his intentions. His erection was proof positive that had she not stopped him, he would have had her right there in the living room. It was not her idea of romance, no matter how long she hadn’t had sex.
She glanced at the woman in the nurse’s uniform. Disgusting! Her boobs looked fake and so did just about everything else about her. She looked cheap, and Delilah was sure the woman wasn’t just a stripper, but probably also a hooker. She could just about imagine what the tramp was hired to do.
So he had some crazy friends who gave him an even crazier birthday present. Unfortunately he had tried to unwrap the wrong present. Could she really be mistaken for a stripper that easily, or did the guy need glasses? Delilah looked down at herself and realized only now that her white blouse was completely soaked through, making it transparent, and her latest barely there Victoria’s Secret acquisition shone through. She secretly cursed her love for black underwear. No wonder he thought she was a stripper. Maybe this was all much more innocent than she’d initially thought.
“Dry clothes you said?” she finally asked him. Despite the warmth in the house, she felt cold and knew her nipples were uncomfortably hard, almost aching.
The beginning of a soft smile twisted the corners of his mouth upwards, and he nodded. “I can get you a sweater and some sweatpants. You can dry off in the bathroom.” He looked almost like a schoolboy now. “I’ll be back in a moment.”
She followed him with her eyes as he stalked up the stairs, strong legs taking two steps at a time, his tight butt shifting under the fabric. All muscle, no fat.
“I’m Ricky,” one of his friends introduced himself. “Sorry, I guess it was all my fault. I told Samson to expect a stripper. He’s normally a real gentleman. Please don’t hold this, uh, occurrence against him.” He was tall and good looking, with a boyish face of freckles and a full head of red hair. She detected a hint of an accent in his speech. Irish maybe?
“Absolutely,” the next one chimed in. “I’m Amaury.”
Amore? Like Italian for love?
What an odd name for a man. He stretched out his hand. She hesitated, but shook it nevertheless. His handshake was firm. “He’s been under a lot of stress lately. Please forgive him.” He was a large burly kind of guy with dark hair reaching to his shoulders. But he wasn’t a hippie. He seemed well-groomed, and his long hair suggested he wasn’t of this era. Rather he looked like he belonged into a historic novel, riding a horse to save his favorite lady. His blue eyes were piercing, his smile disarming as it spread from his lips to his entire face.
Each of his friends tried to make excuses for him. They seemed to be close. A man who had decent friends like that couldn’t be all bad. Of course, Charles Manson probably had friends too at some point, and it didn’t make him a good guy. Same went for Jack the Ripper. The Zodiac Killer came to mind. And her imagination was galloping off again.
“He’s really a great guy,” another one professed. “Thomas. Nice to meet you, Ma’am.”
Ma’am? Now that was formal.
His warm smile was in complete contrast to his attire: Thomas was dressed entirely in leather, his motorcycle helmet clenched under one arm.
A fourth guy was in the back. He seemed a little shy and just nodded at her. He was dressed in the same biker outfit as Thomas.
“That’s Milo,” Thomas introduced him and put his arm possessively around his shoulders. The presence of a couple of gay guys made her feel a little safer. How bad could things get if there was a gay couple in the room? At least she got the feeling that there’d be two guys who wouldn’t hit on her and would potentially protect her.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Delilah.” She shifted from one foot onto the other, feeling self-conscious about the fact that the men could see her bra. Her eyes looked for a safe place to pin her stare on.
“Delilah? As in Samson and Delilah?” Ricky asked with a smirk on his face.
The guys chuckled. She caught how Amaury jabbed Ricky in the ribs with his elbow, apparently trying to shut him up.
“Yes, it’s Delilah.” What had one of the guys called her rescuer after she’d slapped him? Had she caught the name correctly? Could his name really be Samson?
“That’s a nice name.” Amaury’s compliment sounded as if he wanted to fill the uncomfortable silence with something, anything.
“Samson, there you are,” Thomas suddenly said, looking toward the stairs.
Delilah lifted her gaze and saw Samson walking down. She couldn’t take her eyes off him.
She shouldn’t be gawking at him, but she couldn’t stop herself even if her life depended on it. He was tall, well over six feet and made a very impressive figure in his black pants and figure hugging grey turtleneck sweater. His hips were slender, his shoulders wide, and he looked like he was no stranger in a gym. His dark hair was longer than was the fashion. It gave him timeless beauty. His hazel eyes demanded her full attention.
He glided down the stairs as if he owned the world, exuding confidence beyond what she’d ever seen. With every step she felt drawn in by him even more, as if the closer he came, the less able she was to throw off the lines he was tossing out to reel her in. Yet, he was silent, not saying a single word as he approached.
Samson. The name suited him. This deadly sexy man had kissed her? What had she been thinking, pushing him away? Was she losing her mind? Obviously. There was no other explanation for it now. She knew what those lips could do to her, what those hands had awakened.
Just remembering those strong thighs pressed against her made her body temperature rise by a few degrees. A few more seconds and she’d have a fever she would need medical attention for. Or his attention. Preferably his attention, since a doctor could probably not help her with what she had. A severe attack of lust.
He stopped right in front of her, his gaze meeting hers. Delilah suddenly realized that she had been staring at him the entire time he’d made his way down the stairs. She was sure he had watched her examine him. Unable to tear herself away from him, she inhaled his purely masculine scent.
He handed her a stack of clothes, his hand accidentally touching hers as he did so, creating a spark of electricity in her.
“There is a guest bathroom at the end of the hall. Fresh towels are in the linen closet,” he said, his voice soft and gentle.
“Thank you.” Delilah felt her voice tremble, probably making her sound like a star-struck teenager.
As she walked down the hall to find the bathroom, she heard the men whisper, but couldn’t make out what they were saying. She glanced back before she entered the bathroom and found Samson looking at her. Those hazel colored eyes had followed her every move.
Samson turned back to his friends when he saw her close the door behind her.
“You guys are such assholes sometimes. I don’t know why I keep hanging out with you,” Samson accused them before getting his cell phone from the table. He speed dialed.
“It’s ‘cause you don’t have any other friends.” As so often Ricky had to state the obvious.
His call was answered instantly.
“Carl, please bring the car round in fifteen minutes.”
“Of course, sir.”
“Thank you.” He disconnected the call and turned back to the gang.
“So, looks like things are looking up,” Thomas remarked pointedly, grinning from one ear to the other.
“She’s human, you idiots!” Samson cursed under his breath.
And the hottest thing I’ve ever touched.
“Well, we didn’t send her here.” Ricky threw up his arms in defense. “So, who is she?”
“How the hell should I know? She almost broke my door down, asking for help.”
“I can play that, if that’s what turns you on.” Samson doubted the stripper’s claim and ignored her.
“Okay, everybody to the kitchen, and leave me alone with her for a few minutes.”
“With me?” the stripper purred.
No chance. Samson frowned. “No, with the human woman, damn it.”
He watched them as they disappeared through the dining room into the kitchen in the back of the house. Amaury’s palm had already connected with the woman’s ass. Samson shook his head. His friend hadn’t met a woman yet he didn’t like.
If he left the guys alone for too long, they would probably drink him out of house and home. He could see his blood supplies dwindling by the minute.
Samson went to the wet bar and poured two glasses of brandy. He had gotten used to the taste of brandy and liked the warming feeling it caused in his chest. Apart from that it would pass through his system without effect. Being able to deal with human drinks was helpful whenever he met with humans in a social situation.
Vampires mingled freely with their human counterparts who were oblivious to them being different. Some people were merely considered more eccentric than others. San Francisco was the perfect place for their kind. Practically everybody was a little weird, and nobody really gave a damn.
Vampire high society in San Francisco operated very much in the same way as the human high society of the city did. There were balls, the opera season, the symphony, gallery openings, ballet performances, recitals, and premieres of plays to be attended. Everybody who was somebody wanted to be seen.
Tonight Samson had something to celebrate. His hydraulics worked fine again, in fact, even better than before. His cock had been as hard as granite when he’d pressed his body against hers and had kissed her. How it had happened, he didn’t know and didn’t care, but at least he knew he was back. Damn, it felt good!
Samson turned to the door when he heard her steps. She wore one of his sweatshirts and sweatpants. Both were too large for her, but she had turned the sleeves over several times to make them fit. Damn, she looked cute. She had towel dried her long dark hair.
“Please, come in. Sit here. Warm yourself.”
She inched forward into the room, her movements hesitant, her eyes clearly watching him to determine if it was safe to approach. “Thank you.”
He handed her one of the glasses he had poured earlier. She reached out. Samson brushed her fingers with his when she took the glass from him. Cold. She sat down on the armchair closest to the fire and took a sip from her glass.
“Apologies, I haven’t introduced myself to you. I’m Samson Woodford.”
She looked up at him, and he realized that he was still standing. He took a seat opposite her to be on eyelevel with her.
“Delilah, Delilah Sheridan.”
Delilah? A beautiful name for a beautiful woman. A beautiful human woman.
Would she be his undoing just as the biblical Delilah had been his namesake’s downfall? Yet another good reason not to touch her again.
“I must apologize. I’ve been rude, and it’s inexcusable.”
Inexcusable, yes, but arousing nevertheless. He wanted to feel it again, the heat, the arousal, her body. Even now, dressed in shapeless clothes several sizes too large for her, she looked more tempting than any female vamp he’d ever set eyes on. Her scent teased his senses, threatening to overpower his good manners once more.
“It was a misunderstanding. Your friends explained.”
She seemed to be warming up. Her cheeks looked rosier now, probably from the warmth of the fire and the brandy she was sipping. If he could only lick the droplets of brandy off her lips, maybe his body would be appeased.
“How’s your foot? I’m so sorry.”
“It’ll be fine. Not to worry.”
If you kiss it and make it better.
“Thank you for helping me.”
“Goes without saying. Again, I’m truly sorry for having acted like a complete jerk.” Samson ran his hand through his hair. He recognized his gesture for what it was: indicating his nervousness, when he should have no reason to feel such a strange emotion.
“Where are your friends?”
Was she afraid of being alone with him? He had obviously scared her. He couldn’t blame her. Being alone with the man who’d attacked her, kissed her passionately and ground his erection against her, could not be a situation inspiring confidence. Could she see that his cock started twitching again, readying itself for her? Samson shifted in his chair and crossed his legs.
“I’ve sent them to the kitchen to get the party started. I assure you they will hear you if you feel the need to call for help. There’s not one amongst them who wouldn’t come running to help a woman in need of protection.”
“Oh.” Her surprised look gave him pause, as did the sudden blush on her cheeks. Maybe she didn’t feel threatened after all. “I’m sorry I interrupted your birthday party. I should be going.”
She made a move to get up, but he stopped her. “I’ve called my driver. He’ll be here in a few minutes to take you home.”
Delilah made a feeble attempt at rejecting his offer. “That’s really not necessary. I can take a taxi.”
“Please, allow me. It’s the least I can do after all I’ve put you through.”
She gave him a gorgeous smile. “Thank you. That’s very generous of you.”
“Tell me what happened out there.” He tilted his head toward the window, looking out at the darkness.
She swallowed hard. “Some guy came at me in an alley. I ran and slipped, and he grabbed me. And then I ran, and he followed me. He was so close behind me when you opened the door.”
She breathed heavily, obviously reliving her ordeal as she spoke.
“Are you sure he wasn’t just helping you up when you slipped?”
She shook her head. “I’m sure. I saw his face. He wasn’t friendly. He was chasing me.”
Had she overreacted? Maybe the whole incident was completely innocent. Women sometimes read things into a situation which weren’t even there.
“Can you describe him to me?”
“I only saw him briefly, but he was big, Caucasian, maybe in his early forties. There was a scar on his cheek.”
“Do you think you’d recognize him if you saw him again?”
She nodded confidently. “Definitely.”
A strand of her still wet hair caught on her cheek, and he had to use all his restraint not to reach forward to brush it out of her face. She wouldn’t appreciate any more physical advances from him, not even the tender touch he craved right now.
Tenderness wasn’t something any vampire was known for, least of all Samson. Lust, passion, yes, but tenderness? He rather savored this rare feeling.
He heard the front door open. Carl had a key to the house, as did his friends, except for Milo. A few seconds later Carl made himself known at the door to the living room.
“Sir, excuse the interruption, the car is ready when you need it.”
They got up from their chairs, and Samson regretted that he hadn’t told Carl to take his time. He had enjoyed the woman’s company and would have loved to enjoy her for a little bit longer. Enjoy her? What the hell was he thinking? It was better if she left now, before he did something really stupid. It had to end here and now.
“I’ll get my clothes. I left them in the bathroom.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll have them delivered to you tomorrow after they’ve been washed and pressed.”
Keeping her clothes for a little while longer would allow him to once again inhale her scent.
“But, that’s not –”
“– necessary?” He smiled. “Please allow me.”
It definitely wasn’t necessary, but his smile was so charming, Delilah couldn’t refuse him. It seemed he absolutely wanted to make it up to her.
“Carl, please drive Miss Sheridan home. She’ll give you her address. And make sure you escort her to the door and wait until she is safely inside. I don’t want anything to happen to her,” he instructed his driver.
She was flattered. He wanted to make sure she was safe.
“Thank you so much.” She stretched out her hand. “And happy birthday.”
Samson smiled and took her hand, but instead of shaking it, he slowly guided it to his mouth and kissed it lightly without breaking their eye contact. “Thank you.”
She felt a hot wave running all the way from her hand to her torso. God, he was handsome and a perfect gentleman - when he wasn’t assuming she was a stripper anyway. That was maybe something she could get past easily.
Delilah hesitantly turned away and followed the driver who led her outside, sheltering her under a large umbrella as he escorted her to a dark limousine. As she let herself fall back into the comfortable leather seats, she sighed. What a night! The thought of the thug who’d tried to attack her still made her shudder. But as a result of it she’d met the sexiest and most attractive man of her life, so who cared about the first part of the story?
“Where to, Miss Sheridan?”
She gave him the address of the corporate apartment. For a second she wondered whether she should ask him to drive her to a police station instead, but dismissed the idea. She didn’t want to spend half the night at a police station reporting the assault when most likely they’d never catch the guy anyway.
“Ah, that’s just a few blocks from here. We’ll be there in two minutes, Miss.”
Delilah settled back into the leather seats again and closed her eyes. Samson Woodford. Tall, dark, and handsome. The star in any woman’s wet dream. She touched her lips, the same lips he’d crushed with his. The brandy had obliterated his taste on her tongue, but she could still feel his body pressed against hers and his erection urging her to surrender to him.
Surrender. Give up control. The notion frightened and excited her at the same time. Of course, it would never happen. She would never see him again.
Copyright 2010 Tina Folsom
Copyright 2010 Tina Folsom