Prologue

A slight, drunken giggle escaped Alicia Daniels' lips as she tried to keep herself from stumbling over the cracked and broken sidewalk running down the steep hill of Wisconsin Avenue NW where it ran from M Street to K Street. Her car was parked just a short distance away in one of the many lots underneath the Whitehurst Freeway, but it could just as easily have been Siberia given the weather. Although they were great to look at and made her long, shapely legs even sexier, high heels were never meant to traverse the snowy, ice slicked sidewalks of Washington, DC in mid-January.

She stopped briefly to gather her breath and steady her tipsy legs by leaning against one of the red brick walls of Club Night Dreams. It had been an almost perfect night. She and her friends from work had met at the club after a week of long nights putting the finishing touches to the DEA proposal that had just barely been submitted by the noon deadline. It had meant putting in almost eighty hours during the final five-day push, but the overtime more than made up for the lost hours of sleep. The only part that was truly frustrating was her sure knowledge that her flair for writing would be completely lost on an agency that always awarded to the lowest bidder.

She still wasn't certain working in the proposal department of the large government contractor was worth all the overtime necessary, but the almost recession-proof job was much safer than her stint as a part-time marketer for a cosmetic firm. It also allowed the use of her almost worthless BA in English since her long-held dreams of being a journalist were as dead as the engine in her last car.

The club, as usual for a Friday night, had been packed with people from all walks of life and almost every one of them beautiful in some way. Everyone from broom pushers to the highest muckety-mucks of government could be seen stomping and swaying to the heavy beat produced by the DJ of the most popular nightclub in DC.

She and her girlfriends had eaten a great meal in the third floor dining room and then had probably a few too many drinks from the bar as they danced the night away with one gorgeous guy after another. She was pretty sure that at least one of her compatriots had slipped away to one of the back rooms in the club to partake of the unique entertainment available to those willing to "donate." She had considered it herself, briefly, before deciding that she wasn't in the mood.

Pushing herself away from her cold perch with a long sigh she continued to carefully make her way to the bottom of the sharply inclined sidewalk. As she reached the corner she heard a brief, soft noise. She was turning her head to investigate when someone literally tripped over her foot. Even in her slightly inebriated state her reflexes were quick enough to throw an arm around the person's waist to keep them from falling to the frozen cement.

"Are you all right?" she asked as the slender woman in her arms got her feet back under her.

"Yes, yes, thank you so much," gasped the slightly taller woman before raising her eyes to look into Alicia's own muddy brown irises.

Alicia was captured by those bright, emerald orbs. She shook her head quickly to throw off the mesmerizing stupor of those deep green eyes only to be caught by the redhead's exotic beauty.

"Y-you're welcome," the brown haired technical writer stammered. "Didn't I see you in the club just a while ago?"

"Oh, yes," the woman replied with an embarrassed grin. "I stepped out of one of the side doors for a breath of fresh air but it closed and locked behind me. I was trying to get back to the entrance before I froze to death," she admitted as she held her bare arms across her buxom chest.

Alicia, herself trying to stay warm in her heavy wool coat, noticed that the woman that had tripped over her was still dressed only in a short gown of a shimmery light-green material with spaghetti straps. She didn't relish the idea of having to make her way up to the club's entrance and then back down again to her car, but her parents had taught her to always lend a helping hand whenever she could. One of the side effects of being raised a good Christian was to always follow the Golden Rule, no matter how inconvenient it might be at the time.

Opening the buttons on her oversized coat she pulled the woman close and wrapped her within the woolen folds. The look of thanks on the redhead's face was enough to bring a smile to her lips.

"Come on. Let's get you someplace warm," she said as a cold wind whipped down the valley created by the buildings on either side of Wisconsin.

"Hmm, this place seems warm enough to me," the beautiful woman purred in Alicia's ear as both arms snaked around her waist underneath the long coat and held her close. A very warm, very soft tongue slid from her ear to her collarbone sending a shiver of desire through the bi-curious Marymount graduate.

She had shared a couple of experimental nights of passion with other girls while attending the private Catholic college, but they had not been much to write home about and she hadn't played around like that since. Still, the scent, or pheromones, or whatever, being given off by the redhead set her thoughts to spinning as those deep green eyes once again seemed to draw her in.

"Y-you're a vampire, right?" Alicia stuttered, unable to look away. "That's why you were in Night Dreams?"

"Yes," the woman purred again, allowing her slightly longer than normal and pointed canines to protrude over her lower lip, the s coming out as a slight sibilant, "but I hadn't been there long enough to hook up with a donor yet."

Night Dreams was a club where the sun and moon met in harmony. Where the regular humans and the preternaturals of the nation's capital got together for fun, frivolity and the occasional pint of blood. It was all completely consensual with the humans being required to sign a waiver before being allowed entry and another before they were allowed to "donate." The vampires, werewolves and other creatures of the night were governed by an extremely strict code of behavior that was more stringent than the laws on the nation's books.

Alicia had heard rumors that violations of that code included severe penalties up to and including death.

But surely that was just a rumor.

Still, the somewhat decadent atmosphere, deep, pounding music, fantastic food and tasty drinks, even if they were a bit light on the alcohol content, had kept Night Dreams a staple of DC nightlife for over forty years. On any night of the week simple secretaries and office workers could rub shoulders with politicians, actors, and famous musicians in addition to the creatures that up until recently were mere fantasies of an author's imagination. More than one marriage between a celebrity, human or otherwise, and a relative nobody had started on the large dance floor of the most infamous nightclub in the entire metro area.

"I really don't have to return to the club right away," the redhead crooned softly. A well-manicured nail trailed lazily from the base of Alicia's spine up to her neck and then back again leaving an extremely pleasurable tingling sensation that suffused her body. "My townhouse is only two blocks away. Why don't we go there instead," she whispered, her lips just barely brushing against the shell of Alicia's ear.

The brown-eyed girl found herself nodding nod her acquiescence, unable to take her eyes from the beautiful woman in her arms as her muddled thoughts continued to spin. As she submissively allowed herself to be led down the slippery street, she tried to think of something, anything, to say, but found her tongue wouldn't do what she wanted. She kept falling deeper and deeper into those dark, sparkling green eyes; drowning in their boundless, paralyzing depths.

"Mmm, then again, I simply can't wait that long," the taller woman said breathily as she pulled Alicia into the small niche of a doorway. The redhead's hot tongue lapped eagerly at Alicia's neck, paying close attention to her pulse point. Alicia felt hot hands grab hold of her rear end as the woman's leg slipped between her own and her thigh pressed heavily into the writer. Alicia found herself unconsciously grinding against that muscular thigh, her hips moving of their own accord even as her own hands found the taller woman's butt and tried to pull her closer.

It had been years since Alicia's body had received this kind of attention from man or woman and her already fuzzy mind reveled in the feeling of passion rippling through her to the point where she barely felt the prick of those sharp canines piercing her skin. The result was an instantaneous flood of multiple orgasms, each one building and feeding off the previous until she no longer knew up from down, only shuddering ecstasy.

It was only when her eyesight began to waiver that Alicia realized that something was wrong. She had "donated" blood to vampires within the controlled environment of the club before and it had usually taken less than two or three minutes. It seemed to have gone much longer than that now and the woman was continuing to suckle at her neck. But the continuous waves of pleasure usurping her body were still affecting her thoughts, not allowing her to vocalize her growing concerns until her vision began to darken and her muscles began to go limp. Her attempt to voice her concern came out as a grunt.

"Don't worry," the woman said without lifting her sharp fangs from their hold on the shorter woman's neck, "the pleasure has just begun. I always satisfy my partners. It only seems fair to satisfy their needs…"

Alicia's head lolled in a nod as darkness finally claimed the young woman. She seemed to barely hear the next words from her preternatural lover as a whisper on the cold January wind.

"…before they satisfy mine."