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There were many things that Laura Hollis hadn’t expected in her life. High on that list was being bitten by a vampire as she walked to her apartment through a questionable alley coming home from the grocery store at 11pm at night.

But here she was, backed against a wall while a scary, ultra-fangy vampire held her still using a single hand while the vampire’s other wiped furiously at her own eyes. Laura struggled, trying to break free from the grip locked around her arm but the vampire was strong. Like, super strong.

Also the vampire was hot.

It was just an observation. For the journalistic nature of it all. Assuming Laura survived long enough to write this down. But pale skin, superb bone structure, and jet black hair apparently worked for the female fang and blood type.

Turns out that bear spray is less effective.

Well, the vampire certainly seemed displeased as she swatted her eyes. But the canister had easily been knocked from her hand with an angry curse and Laura certainly hadn’t been able to run away like the description on the back of the can strongly advised.

Apparently vampires and bears were not equivalents.

To review, Option 1: The Bear Spray had failed. Option 2: Krav Maga that vampire into submission seemed highly unlikely based on the strength of the vampires grip on her arm. So Option 3 it was.

Laura let out a bloodcurdling scream. It was loud and wordless and everything she’d practiced when her Dad had dragged her out to those fields so they could practice proper vocalizations without being arrested. She gave it a 9 out of 10, impressed with the way her voice rebounded off the alley walls but losing some of the oomph due to the sound absorption of the garbage bags.

She really didn’t want to die in a shady back alley that reeked of week old sushi and questionable dairy products.

The vampire’s hand clamped across her mouth, cutting off the scream before it even had to time peter out. Laura had always had excellent lung capacity. Years of swimming lessons and a failed experience with a bassoon that had been bigger than she was.

With one hand holding her arm and one on her mouth, Laura improvised. She quickly bit down on the vampire’s digits, nipping at the vampire’s skin with a snap of her teeth. It tasted like bear spray. She hoped you couldn’t acquire vampirism by biting a vampire. There wasn’t exactly someone she could call to ask these kind of question. From what she understood of cannibalism it didn’t work like that. Although it hardly seemed a fair comparison. Not that there really was a relevant comparison.

Also, probably not the time.

The vampire hissed, pushing harder against Laura’s mouth to keep it closed. Laura met the woman’s gaze, wagging her eyebrows in an effort to seem suave and fearless. A girl confident enough to wiggle her eyebrows in the face of a vampire was someone who couldn’t be bested.

For a moment, Laura thought she’d actually made her point, setting off the little cheerleaders living her head as the vampire quirked an eyebrow at her. They had pom poms and fireworks and these tiny skirts that, as a feminist she wasn’t entirely on board with but, as a human with eyes, she was fond of.

Then the cheerleaders were promptly murdered as the vampire lunged forward. The hand on her mouth sliding to her head, exposing her neck.

With her mouth free, Laura couldn’t hold in the gasp that leaked out as the vampire’s fangs broke the skin of her neck. Two tiny pinpricks of pain that shot straight from her neck to curl in her temples and give her a migraine. She would have expected that after hundreds of years of evolution that vampires would have some venom to get rid of the pain factor. A ‘get bitten but get the best high of your life’ type deal.

Turns out trashy sci-fi novels had lied to her.

If she survived this then she’d be sending some very irate emails.

Not that she was likely going to survive this.

Although, it probably made more sense this way. The predator doesn’t usually care how the prey feels if the prey is just going to die anyway. Still, a girl could dream. She could almost picture the fangs settling into the large artery on her neck for the good oxygenated blood. None of the weak stuff from the veins.

Laf would be proud of her science knowledge in her last moments.

Laura felt her knees buckle slightly as the vampire leaned in, her lips following her fangs to Laura’s neck and sucking hard. Circumstances weren’t ideal but Laura could actually think of worse ways to die that were equally unexpected. Gored by a unicorn for not being quite as virtuous as her father thought. Eaten by the lochness monster because she tripped and fell off the tour boat. Locked under a fairy spell and forced to dance her nights away until she dropped from exhaustion because she couldn’t quite resist not eating the cookies at their banquet table.

Relatively speaking, if she had to pick a way to be murdered, death by the lips of a hot woman sucking her neck and sensually pulling their bodies flush together wasn’t the absolute worst way to go.

The vampire could have been a dude.

Suddenly Laura was pushed back, reeling away as the vampire’s fangs ripped from her skin and tore an even bigger hole in her skin. Her neck throbbed and she felt small rivulets of blood drip down to her collarbone.

Laura stumbled against the wall. Woozy. Rude. If you’re going to eat a girl at least finish the job.

“Cupcake, what was that?” the vampire snarled, her voice husky.

Forcing her eyes open and too woozy to run, Laura leaned against the wall. When she looked over the vampire was hunched over and spitting vigorously on the ground.

Laura lifted a hand to her neck in an attempt to stop the bleeding, “You know,” she said, “you’re really killing the whole mysterious vampire of the night vibe you had going on there.”

The vampire scowled at her and straightened, “well, I’m not the one with the false advertising.”

“Beg your pardon?” Laura asked, wondering exactly how fruitless it would be take off running down the alley.

“Your blood tastes like the backside of a sweaty troll,” the vampire drawled, eyes narrowed.

Laura blinked, absorbing that information through her hazy vision. Why in the world would anyone, vampire or otherwise, have any concept as to what the backside of a troll tastes like. Not that she was judging. But that can’t have been a pleasurable experience.

“What a minute,” Laura said, “Are you saying my blood tastes bad? Like irregularly bad?” She didn’t give the vampire time to answer. “You are! You totally just spat my blood out like I’m rotten brussel sprout or haggis or something. Seriously? I get bitten by a vampire, resign myself to an inevitable death only to be saved by the fact that my blood is disgusting.”

Laura took a few wobbly steps away from the wall as she continued, “I mean. Come on. How bad could it really have been? Yeah, I like cookies but come on. Spitting out your food. That’s like, poor table manners. You’ve got to be like centuries old or something. Certainly you’d have time to pick up a book on basic etiquette. How not to insult your host 101. Spitting out my blood,” Laura grumbled, “I worked hard on that.”

The vampire’s mouth opened, then closed. She gave the girl a once-over, dragging her gaze from Laura’s toes to the tip of her head. Laura tried not to shiver under the gaze, keeping her frown firmly entrenched on her face.

“Cupcake,” the woman said at last, “Are you actually complaining that I haven’t eaten you?”

Now Laura let herself blush, “No,” she said, “but you just spat my blood on the ground. I need that blood. If I don’t get to use it for it’s intended purpose at least don’t waste it! What could possibly have been so bad about it?”

With a whoosh, Laura found herself nose to nose with the vampire. The two weren’t touching but if Laura moved anything from her chin to her toes then she’d be brushing against the vampire. The hot vampire.

Who was evil and blood-wasting.

She focused on the important facts.

Laura let out a breath as the vampire stared down at her, slightly taller than she was. No breath came back. Her silent partner so close, so still. Breathless. Literally. Laura zeroed in on the vampire’s fangs. Smaller than she would have expected, they barely peaked out from the woman’s upper lip. Shiny white, they glinted under the steady light of the moon.

And the blood.

The red of Laura’s blood was stained across the woman’s lips and a single drop still lingered on the side of a fang. Laura watched it slowly creep downward, perching on the tip of the tooth like a raindrop on the end of a needle.

“No, cupcake,” when the woman spoke, Laura dragged her eyes from her lips, “your blood wasn’t that bad.” She paused, “but there’s clearly something wrong with it. It doesn’t match you at all.”

“Match me?” Laura asked, “Like expecting chocolate and getting the taste of lemon pie” Both delicious when you were ready for it. Perhaps certain people just exuded a sense of AB positive. Maybe she came across a little too B, not enough A. Vampires probably had blood-dar or something and she’d mucked it up.

A smile flicked across the vampire’s face and was gone. “Not quite, cupcake.”

The woman leaned forward, leaning into Laura and inhaling sharply, her eyes closing at the scent. Laura probably really should have been more afraid, that was the same look she gave when she smelled fresh cookies.

“I could smell you all the way through the store,” the vampire continued in a low rasp, “I caught your scent by the eggs. Like sunshine in summertime or apple pie on a window sill or horseback ride through a field. So I went searching and found you by the check-out.” The vampire’s nose dropped to her unbitten neck and Laura tensed. But the woman only ran her nose above Laura’s shoulder, “and I just knew that you’d be a delectable treat. The best in years. Your smell. Your naive provincial face.”

“Hey, now,” Laura objected.

“I tracked you for blocks cupcake,” the woman kept going, “waiting for you to slip into some nice subtle corner. And then, when I finally had you. I was so ready. A dessert to top off the century. And then,” the woman pulled back to look her in the eyes, “you have the sheer audacity to taste nothing like you smelled.”

Laura stomped her foot, “Well, pardon me! It’s not like I can exactly control what my blood tastes like. It’s not usually a complaint. Next time I’ll be sure to eat some seasoning or something.”

“It’s certainly not going to make it worse.” The woman rolled her eyes

“I’ll be sure to warn the next vampire I meet,” Laura said, “careful. I know I smell great but I taste like crap.”

The woman shook her head, still staring at Laura like she was a mystery, “Not crap, cupcake. Missed potential. You were so close. I could taste the potential. But you’re missing something. Like a cake that someone forgot to ice.”

“Cake, even without icing, is still delicious,” Laura pointed out, “And apparently I’m spit-out worthy.” Testing her balance and finding it significantly improved, Laura trotted past the vampire to her fallen groceries. She gather up the bags, swinging them over her arms, “I’ve never spat out cake in my life, icing or otherwise.”

She tried to ignore the vampire’s eyes on her, “That bunched up face you make when you’re angry is hilarious, cutie.”

“Do the pet names usually work?” Laura snapped, “because you’d think you’d have a little more game than this?”

The woman’s smirk grew to insufferable levels, “I don’t play with my food, cupcake.”

“Charming,” Laura said. One of the bags split open and she groaned, watching the contents spill out. A white bottle rolled over to rest by the vampire’s feet. Grabbing the groceries and stuffing them into the other bags, she said, “Look if you’re not going to kill me, would you mind passing me that?”

“Seriously, cupcake?” the vampire groaned.

“My name is Laura,” Laura said firmly, “and yeah, seriously. You owe me for spitting out my life fluid.”

“You ruined my dinner,” the woman quipped but dutifully reaching down and snatching the bottle. She looked down at the label.

When the woman didn’t move, Laura snapped, “Could you maybe bring that over here?”

“What are these?” the woman asked, too casually.

“My iron pills,” Laura said, struggling with the bags “I’ve got anemia. Just hand them over and I”ll be on my way. You can go back to stalking the night. I’ll even give you a two minute head start before I call the cops.”

Immediately, the woman was right by her side taking a deep sniff. Laura’s head jerked up to see a grin slowly crawling across the woman’s face, “Anemia, eh? The blood problem? The totally treatable blood problem?” Despite the anatomical impossibility, Laura’s heart dropped into her stomach where it was slowly eaten by her stomach acid. “Oh cupcake,” the woman took another sniff, “I’m not going anywhere.”