Home > The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire (Half-Moon Hollow #3)

The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire (Half-Moon Hollow #3)
Molly Harper

1

You never get a second chance to make a first exsanguination.

—The Office After Dark: A Guide to Maintaining a Safe, Productive Vampire Workplace The sensible beige pantsuit was mocking me.

It was hanging there, in my closet, all tailored and boring. And beige. Yes, wear me to work, and let all of your new coworkers know that you have no personality! it jeered at me. Look at you, all nervous and twitchy. Why don’t you just stay home and work for the Apple store, you big baby?

“That is one judgmental pantsuit.” I flopped back onto my bed and stared at the ceiling. I deserved this job. I was qualified for it. I’d gone through a particularly difficult test of my intelligence and ingenuity to get it. So why was I so nervous about my first day?

“Because you are Queen of All Neurotics,” I grumbled, scrubbing my hand over my face. “Long may you reign.”

Honestly, I was nervous because this job—programming an internal search engine of vampires’ living descendants for the World Council for the Equal Treatment of the Undead—meant something. Because if I played my cards right, this would be the only first day of work I would ever go through. The Council was known for offering increasingly attractive perks and salaries to hold on to competent human employees, resulting in lifelong appointments. Then again, if I played my cards wrong, this could be my last-ever first day of work, because I would be dead.

OK, if I continued this line of thinking, what would the final outcome be? Not taking the job with the Council. And then I tried to picture my sister Iris’s face if I told her that I’d decided not to take the job after all. First there would be elation, and then relief, and then would come the “I told you so’s.” I really hated the “I told you so’s,” which were sometimes accompanied by interpretive dance.

Even after having months to adjust, Iris was “displeased” about my employment, which was like saying PETA was displeased by the popularity of TripleMeat Whataburgers. Iris wanted me to work in some respectable office, where my coworkers wouldn’t pose an immediate threat to my person. It was nice to know she cared about my safety, but seriously, she was getting on my nerves.

“Right. Spiting your sister is an excellent personal motivator. Let’s go.” I launched myself out of bed, slipped into the suit, and pinned my hair into a responsible-looking chignon. I was thankful, at least, that I didn’t have to deal with Iris’s hair. It wasn’t that her dark curly hair wasn’t beautiful, because it totally was, especially now that she had all that vampire-makeover mojo on her side and looked like a sexy undead Snow White—if Snow White was remotely sexy or tousled, which was tough to pull off in that Disney headband. The point was, I could barely handle my own heavy dark hair. I couldn’t imagine throwing crazy curlicues into the mix.

Iris and I also shared our mother’s cornflower-blue eyes and delicate features, though I’d inherited Dad’s height. It really irritated Iris when her “little sister” propped her elbow on top of Iris’s head. Which meant I did it every chance I got.

Yawning, I picked up my equally practical beige pumps and checked my purse for the third time that afternoon. I’d stayed up all night, then slept through the morning, in an attempt to adjust my schedule to my new hours, working from two p.m. until two a.m. This was considered the early-bird shift for vampires, and it was going to be an adjustment for my very human body clock. But at least I would see more of my recently vampirized sister and her equally undead husband.

The house, as expected, was pitch-black, thanks to the heavy-duty sunshades my brother-in-law had installed to protect him and Iris from sun exposure. Carefully, I clicked a button at the end of the hall and waited for the circular “tap lights” to illuminate the stairs.

I turned the corner into the kitchen and punched in my personal security code. Before I could use my “clearance” to open the downstairs windows, I felt a sudden strike at my neck, the sensation of hands closing around my shoulders. I gasped as my unseen assailant yanked me back against his chest, hissing in my ear. I curled my fingers around the offending hands and dropped into “base,” the stable fighting stance taught to me by the jiujitsu instructor Cal had insisted I train with for the past five months. Spreading my arms wide to loosen his grip, I thrust my hips back, knocking him off-balance. I stopped my face-to-floor descent with my palms, cupped both hands around his foot, and yanked—hard. The force of my pull was enough to send him toppling back on his ass.

I sprang up and flicked on the lights to see my beloved brother-in-law sprawled on the floor with a big, stupid grin on his face.

“Cletus Calix!” I yelled, giving him one last kick to the ribs before climbing onto one of the breakfast bar stools. “What is wrong with you?”

“I just wanted to get your blood going with a prework reflex test,” he said, pushing to his feet. “Well done, you. Your reaction times are much faster.”

I grunted and threw a banana at his dark head; of course, he caught it, because he has superhuman response times. Totally unfair. Cal had thrown these little tests at me nearly every day since I’d come home for the summer. Always at a different time, always with a different mode of attack. The fact that Cal had probably downed a half-dozen espressos just so he could get up at this hour was somehow very sweet and super-irritating all at the same time. I understood that he wanted proof that I could defend myself if necessary and that the insane amount of time and money he’d spent on my martial-arts education wasn’t wasted. But seriously, I just wanted to make coffee without someone putting me in a choke hold.

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