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All in Vein (EBOOK)

All in Vein (EBOOK)

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She’s an ex-assassin. He’s ex-military. Together they are Clean Scene Inc, where blood splatter matters, and these vamps, along with their adorable vampire kitty, are on the case.

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Give me a quick list: what can I expect?

  • Short Story
  • Vampires
  • Cozy Mystery
  • Paranormal

Want a sneak peek? Read a sample

“Good morning. Wanna see a dead body?”

I popped one eye open and squinted at my hunk-oh-spunk husband standing by the side of the bed. “Already? The moon has barely risen,” I groaned.

“Rise and shine, oh darling of my heart,” he crooned, playfully tugging the covers to the foot of the bed before opening the curtains to reveal the full moon, resplendent in the night sky. “We have a job to do.”

Halethorpe Daniel Carlson, aka Hal, was not only my husband of one-hundred-and-forty-six-years, but he was also my business partner. Clean Scene Incorporated, or CSI for short, specializes in bioremediation services. Or, in plain English, crime scene clean-up. I know, I know, not the sort of occupation you’d imagine for two vampires, right?

Fang, our utterly adorable black kitten, who had the misfortune of getting herself turned into a vampire (not by us!), mewled and stretched by my ear, batting at my hair as I turned my head to watch Hal at the window.

“You know what this beauty does?” He pointed to the moon. “It brings the magic out. Weird things happen on a full moon. Dangerous things. You know that, babe.”

I sighed, swinging my legs off the bed and dislodging Fang, who jumped to the floor and began playing with my toes. “What do we have? A witch who over-indulged in recharging her crystals? A werewolf loose in the City of Nightshade Bay? A demon?”

“Actually, this one is human.” Hal handed me a steaming cup of coffee. “Get that into ya. Put a little color in those cheeks.”

Our unique blend of coffee was a lifesaver. Literally. Blood beans, grown on a lush tropical island in Indonesia, are a miraculous concoction that sustains us in the short term. Of course, nothing nourishes a vampire like human blood, but between the beans and bagged blood we had stashed in the refrigerator, I only needed to drink from the vein on occasion.

I accepted the coffee with a grateful smile. “I need all the help I can get.” Closing my eyes, I sipped the hot brew, the heat of it spreading throughout my body, warming my skin.

“Sweetheart, you’re the most beautiful vampire I’ve ever laid eyes on. My heart beats only for you.”

“As does mine for you.” I winked. Some would say one hundred-and-forty-six years of marriage may make your love old and stale, perhaps non-existent. Not ours. Maybe it was due to being turned on the night of our wedding that bound us together so tightly, so intrinsically, that our union was destined to last throughout the ages. Or we just really liked each other, who knows?

“Come on, sweet cheeks, get a wriggle on. The van is locked and loaded.” Hal paced at the foot of the bed, doing his best to be patient but failing miserably. This was where we differed as vampires. Hal was an up and at ‘em at the first stroke of sunset type of guy, whereas I was a little more leisurely with my waking-up ritual. Okay, fine, I liked to sleep in.

“I’m coming. Keep your pants on.” I eyed the black leather pants in question, admiring how they clung to his muscular hips and cute butt. He caught me ogling and waggled his finger in my face. “Nuh-uh, none of that, young lady. We have work to do.”

I pouted dramatically. “Fine! I’d get ready a whole lot faster if you weren’t here to distract me, Hal Carlson.”

He shot me a mock salute, about-faced, and marched out of the bedroom, shrugging into his long black coat as he went. I chuckled at the visual. Hal liked to look the part of a dark, brooding vampire. What no one knew was what a pussy cat he really was, a gentle giant if there ever was one. Unless you got him riled, then all bets were off. Fang bounded after him, attempting to swipe the back of his coat with her razor-sharp claws. She missed, face-planting into the floor before springing back to her feet and pursuing Hal with a fierce determination.

Putting the coffee on the bedside table, I stood and stretched, running my fingers through my tangle of hair. Crossing to the bathroom, I took a quick shower before dressing in my ripped jeans, long-sleeved T-shirt, and plaid button-down over the top. Around my neck, my mother’s cross. The irony of a vampire wearing a cross was not lost on me, especially since folklore had it that we were soul-less, vile creatures, the un-dead, sucking the life out of our prey so we can live. Apparently, we are allergic to the cross, holy water, garlic, and sunlight.

That is not the case. Blood sustains us, yes, just like food sustains us as humans. We have souls. We have heartbeats, albeit very faint and very slow. We breathe. We are alive, and we can also die. Although not easily. Hal and I have had some close calls over our lifetime, especially given our past careers—Hal in the military and me an assassin for a secret organization. But those days are long behind us. Dark days that scarred our hearts and minds. Which is why we retired and started CSI together. Not only cleaning up crime scenes, but solving crimes too. Although, of course, under the guise of our role as cleaners. It wouldn’t do to have the police knowing what we really are.

“Mak!” Hal bellowed, knowing I’d be dawdling in the bathroom like I do every day.

“Coming!” I yelled back, pausing to check my reflection in the mirror one last time. Another truth about vampires—we aren’t frozen at the time of turning. We age, just excruciatingly slowly. I was twenty-five the day I married Hal and became a vampire, but now? I tilted my head and examined the fine lines and wrinkles and one gray hair that came with over a century of living. Now I’d say I looked a very decent forty-five-ish.

A quick coat of my favorite lipstick, and I was done, running barefoot down the stairs, only stopping to slide my feet into my red galoshes waiting by the door. Hal sat in the big red van by the curb, engine idling. Hefting myself into the passenger seat, I grinned, slamming the door shut.
“Whadda we have, hot stuff?”

“Full moon madness, my love. Full moon madness.” He gunned the engine, shifted into gear, and tore off down the street, tires screeching as the moon shone her rays over the city.

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