Although Sophie Hahn works as a paranormal researcher, she doesn’t believe in ghosts, werewolves, or anything to do with the supernatural world. But when Sophie’s boss is convinced that her best friend Dao is slowly being killed by a female vampire, her beliefs are put to the test. Sure Dao bears more than a passing resemblance to a walking skeleton, but his new wife doesn’t look capable or hurting a fly let alone sucking the life out of someone. On the other hand, watching Dao wither away to nothing isn’t an option. So if Sophie has to go vampire hunting, she’ll do it...
That’s when Sophie meets sexy college professor and vampire Ric Vogel, who asks her to be a partner on his search for two ancient relics that have the power to end his people’s suffering forever and save Dao. Sophie finds herself falling hard for Ric. What is she thinking by lusting after a vampire? Maybe he isn’t a vampire. After all, she doesn’t believe they exist. All she knows is that Ric’s blond, seductive looks are very real and his love bites feel too good to resist. But is Sophie prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for the vamp of her dreams?
“Absolutely delicious! A fantastic book that will keep you reading all night long.” Gena Showalter
"REAL VAMPS DON'T DRINK O-NEG is a hilarious, wacky paranormal romance that will keep you chuckling through the entire tale. The plot is wonderfully convoluted and you never really suspect what is going to happen next." Romance Junkies
"Excuse me," Sophie asked the librarian a couple of hours later. She glanced down at the piece of paper she'd ripped from Tim's notebook then continued, "You got rid of the good old card catalogue and I'll admit I'm far behind the common kindergartner when it comes to computers--a real crime considering what I do for a living, but that’s beside the point. Where might I find a book on rare biblical relics?"
The middle aged woman, slim and scholarly-looking with her brown hair pulled into a neat bun at the base of her skull gave Sophie a pleasant if not a little condescending smile. "Let me see what I can find." She tapped a few keys, moved the mouse around a bit then looked up. "I'm sorry. I'm not finding anything under 'biblical relics.' However, you may find what you need under religious relics. Those are in the two-thirties. The non-fiction shelves are in this direction and they are numbered. In particular, this book, Religious Relics, Icons, Visions and Cures by James Murrow may be of some help. The call number is 231.7M."
"Thank you." Sophie repeated the title and number in her head as she walked in the general direction of the nonfiction shelves. She scanned the numbers on the ends of the shelves until she found the two to three hundred section then focused on the books on the shelves as she walked toward the back of the section. "Two-twenty, two-thirty, two-forty..." When she reached the two-seventies, she stopped and skimmed the numbers on the book spines. "Two-seventy point three, point eight. Two-seventy one...two-seventy one point three, point seven, A, B, C...G, P. Hey, no M?" Turning her body, while still reading the book spines, she started walking toward the very back of the section. But a brick wall stopped her before she reached the end.
As she twisted her neck to inspect the wall, she realized immediately it wasn't your garden variety brick wall. This one was wide, tall, hard and nummy, with a head full of blonde curls and eyes the shade of a Hershey bar.
Those eyes traveled over her features for an instant, making her feel all goosebumpy inside, then returned to the book that was partly blocking her view of his face.
She wondered if the rest of his face looked as good as the part she saw. Then she shook her head and reminded herself she was on the hunt for a book, not a delish man who knew how to fill out a t-shirt and pair of snug jeans properly. "Sorry," she muttered to the wall.
"Not a problem." He stepped aside to let her pass. Naturally, his bulk took up a fair amount of the narrow aisle way between shelves, which meant to pass, she had to get mighty close to him. She turned sideways, her front facing him, of course--wouldn't want to show him her less-than-desirable backside--and took a single shuffling step.
As she paused, her body mere inches from his, the girly part of her--the part she'd begun to think had abandoned her ages ago--woke up from its slumber and started getting all vocal, protesting and demanding equal time as the logical part reminded her she was there to find a book not ogle a good looking library patron. Being she was short, at eye level was the broadest chest she'd ever seen. Hugged in black cotton, it was pure, unadulterated temptation. The way the thin fabric skimmed over the lines of his sculpted muscles made her toes curl.
Okay, maybe a little ogling wouldn't be out of order.
"Excuse me?" the wall said. His book slid lower, blocking a significant part of those yummy pecs.
With that lovely view obscured, she went for the face, hoping it would be as pleasant as the rest of him.
She felt her breath literally catch in her throat, like in the romance novels she loved to read. Oh my. Was it ever!
Not quite as pretty as John Schneider back in his Dukes of Hazzard days, he had that All American cutie pie thing going for him. But this wholesome boy-next-door was all grown up and one-hundred percent bad boy. The angular line of his jaw and cheekbones, the coating of dark blond stubble and the wicked glint in his liquid chocolate eyes was enough to make her inner girl swoon with delight. Immediately, without thinking, she checked his left hand for a ring.
When her gaze returned to his face, she noted that one eyebrow had lifted in question. And one corner of his mouth had lifted in amusement, which reminded her that she'd been standing there, sandwiched between his scrumptious body and the bookshelf for probably too long for safety--his safety, that is.
"Sorry..." she mumbled, not sure what else to say. She'd never behaved like this around a man before. Granted, she'd never seen a man this gorgeous before--at least not in real life. In the movies, yes. On TV, yes. In her dreams, oh yes. "I'll just shuffle off to Buffalo now."
His chuckle hit her right in the belly, where it bubbled and tickled her insides. Her face heated.
"I'm guessing you're either a displaced New Yorker or a dancer then?" he asked in a low, rumbly voice that made that inner girly part perk up and take notice, along with a few other parts of her anatomy.
"Actually, neither. I'm just a secretary from Hazel Park." Who thinks you're yummy. Want to go check out the park down the street? I know where there’s a cozy, dark little corner where we could have some privacy, let our tongues get acquainted.
Both his other eyebrow and the right side of his mouth joined the left in their raised positions, producing the kind of smile that could drop a girl of weaker constitution at fifty paces.
She took another step and cleared her throat because she was sure something very large had become wedged in there somehow when she wasn't looking. "Doing some research on religious relics. I was looking for a book called..." She tried to remember the title but realized it had slipped her mind eons ago, like the second she'd seen him. "Oh, shoot. I forgot. Something about relics and cures."
He held up the book he'd been reading, turned it over and read the title, "You mean, Religious Relics, Icons, Visions and Cures by James Murrow?"
"Yes! That's the one. Oh. You're reading it then? Were you going to check it out?"
"I was thinking about it."
"Oh drats! I...er..." She dropped her gaze to his toes because that seemed to be the only body part she could look at and still be able to operate her brain and took a third sidestep, which landed her a fairly safe distance from him. "I don't suppose I could convince you let me have it instead?"
"Hmmm. As much as I'd love to see how you intended to do that, I have to be honest and say no. I really need this book."
"What about bribery? I'm not rich but I'd be willing to clean out my bank account to get my hands on it."
To his credit, he looked genuinely remorseful as he shook his head. "Sorry again. But I promise I'll return it as soon as I'm through."
"Three weeks could be too late. I need to find the Roman-ick Yee-how-shoo-ah and Mawmee Dah-veed before my best friend becomes dinner for his wife."
"You mean Romakh Yehowshu'a and Mawgane Dahveed?"
"Yes. That's what I said, er, wasn't it?"
He nodded. "Close enough."
"Anyway, I don't expect you to believe me, but I need to find out about those relics because I think I might need them to help a friend of mine."
"Your friend's married to a lamia?"
She threw her hands in the air. "Why is it that everyone seems to know about those lamiae people but me? Well, at least I know now that Tim isn't completely crackers or making it up."
"My boss. He's a paranormal researcher and half the time you can't believe a word he says. Good guy but if you ask me, he's a few cards shy of a full deck if you know what I mean. The things he believes in."
"Oh, I don't know. Ghosts, vampires and the like. I don't believe a bit of it but my pal's pretty sick and although I figure a trip to a medical doctor--and maybe a vacation--would probably take care of whatever his problem is, I owe it to him to check out all possibilities. I try to have an open mind, you see. I've even been to a massage therapist once. Now, that was an experience, let me tell you. But I draw the line at believing in creatures of the night."
He looked far too amused for her comfort. "Ah, yes. Those are pretty silly superstitions, aren't they?"
"Yes! Thank you. A voice of reason. Silly superstitions, unless you're one of those weirdo's who go to the dentist and pay for bonding so you can look like a vampire. To each their own, I guess."
"Yes. That's a wise stand to take." He nodded. His eyes sparkled as his grin turned wry.
"Are you humoring me?"
In a flash the expression changed again, this time turning all innocent. She didn't buy it. Not at all. But that didn't stop it from making various and sundry parts of her warm and toasty. "Who me? Oh, no. I never humor a woman. It's not a smart thing to do."
"You got that right, buster." She gave him a playful jab in the stomach. Her knuckles struck cotton-sheathed concrete and popped. "Youch!" She shook her hand. "Spend some serious time in the gym, do ya?"
"I used to. Yes. Been taking it easy these days." He tucked the book under his arm, caught her wrist in a grip that felt like steel bands and stared into her eyes. Once again, she felt her breath catch in her throat. His gaze was intense. It seemed to delve deep into her brain. She giggled at the funny feeling inside her head, a soft tickling she'd never felt before, like there was a bunny rustling around in there. A flash of heat shot through her body, blazing a zig-zaggy path down her torso, through her groin and down to the ground. Then a wave of ice cold followed, making her shiver and coating her entire body in goose bumps.
Who was this man? More, why did he make her feel like she was going to alternately melt and freeze after the most innocent touch?
Copyright Tawny Taylor, 2007