Blood Doll, My Blood Doll – REVISED!

Chapter 1

09.19.2012

"I'll have sex with the bartender," the brown eyed executive, unfortunately a regular customer, managed to slur out.

He wasn't the first that night to order the terribly named drink, and he certainly wouldn't be the last. I still found myself wanting to punch him -and whoever the jackass was that invented the drink in the first place- right in the damned mouth. Instead, I shrugged and flashed him a smile, knowing that Simon would have my ass in a sling if I wasn't polite. Whatever the fuck Simon said, since he was the namesake and owner of the joint, you did.

I mixed the drink and set it down hard on the polished wood counter before the man, saying simply, "That's your last one for the night, Jer. I'm cutting you off." Anger flashed in his eyes and I leaned in closer to speak lowly. "Does your wife know where you are, or should I give her a call?" That shut him up and he sullenly nursed that last cocktail.

The whole "sex with the bartender" thing was getting old. Some nights the amount of phone numbers I got was higher than my tips, and that was just insane.

"Oi, Ronald! Why the frown on that pretty face of yourn?"

I was normally better at hiding my emotions while on the job, but there was also only one man who could call me that and live. I turned to see Ace Rogan grinning at me like an idiot, so I went to him to avoid too much eavesdropping on our conversation. I leaned both elbows on the bar to give him a more than healthy dose of porcelain pale cleavage, further accented by the black leather cropped vest I wore. I had to give him brownie points for his gaze only wandering south a second before his gorgeous emerald green eyes locked onto mine.

"It's Ronnie, not Ronald. You're lucky I love you, or I'd have to kick your ass purely on principle, Ace." Our banter was always good natured, like we were very old friends.

He grinned at that and retorted, "Ah, but ya do love me And so, I won't be needin' ta have my ass kicked, now will I?"

"Yeah, yeah. Don't rub it in, or I might change my mind." I snarked back.

If Irish accents weren't so damned sexy, I probably wouldn't have put up with his shit in the first place. Whenever Tobias "Ace" Rogan rolled into town, the shit hit the fan in spades. It was never healthy and I almost always came home sporting a fresh scar or four. I had never wanted to be a part of Ace's world, the world where all the monsters in the closet were legitimate and after your blood, but I knew that I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I didn't do everything in my power to help. There were times when I cursed my parents for instilling a moral fiber in me that was stronger than spider silk.

"So," he began. "When's your shift over?" His accent disappeared like he'd taken off a mask, and it had me wondering if he'd just adapted to blending in, or if the accent itself was a ruse. It always gave me the creeps when he just dropped the pleasant public facade, like he had some sort of controllable multiple personality disorder.

"Ten minutes," I answered with a glance at the clock.

"I'll see you out back in fifteen, then." With that he downed the rest of his drink, somehow delivered by one of the other barkeeps without me noticing. He walked off, like he expected me to just follow his orders like a good little soldier. Someone as dangerous as Ace Rogan shouldn't have known me better than a sibling would. And the alligators must have been chest deep for him to be so urgent about us meeting.

As I'd expected, he was waiting by his car, leaning nonchalantly against it and gazing up at the night sky. I watched him from a ways off, my apprehension about the whole situation steadily growing when he still didn't notice my presence. He had some of the sharpest senses I'd ever seen, and he wasn't the type of guy you could just sneak up on.

I enjoyed the view of his silhouette against the backdrop of a sputtering streetlight; the way the lean muscles of his arms were corded with veins, even at rest. The faintly shadowed outline of his sculpted abs and chiseled chest through the thin cotton of his tee shirt, the darkened mass of his thick, chestnut hair falling back from his face to accent an aquiline nose and full lips...

Damn. I really needed to get laid...

I shook my head, hoping to clear it and focus. Walking closer to Ace, I purposely made my footfalls heavier, and he finally noticed me. He looked ready to jump out of his skin, and upset that I could have gotten the drop on him.

"So… How bad is it?"

"Pretty damned bad," he stated flatly. Ace stepped close enough to touch me and looked down into my eyes, his whole expression pleading. "I need your help again, Veronica." He used my full name… That could only mean trouble of epic proportions.

"I kinda figured," I tried for flippant, but worry was evident in my tone. "So what's the job this time?"

He was quiet before he mumbled, "A routine slaying, is all."

I snorted. "Routine, my ass. You wouldn't need me for back up if it was just a routine execution, Ace."

His blank mask slid back into place, hiding any emotions he was feeling from me. "You always could read me like a book, Ronnie." For a few moments, he wouldn't say anything else, his mind seeming to pore over the best way to break it to me. "This one's already taken out the six people sent to exterminate it."

I wished he'd be a little more sensitive when he referred to vampires. Don't get me wrong, I don't do corpses, but… They were people, once. "If it's already taken out six people, what the hell makes you think the two of us can handle it?"

I hated it when he came to ask me for favors. After having to explain to the doctors how exactly I'd been impaled on a rapier, my insurance company had dropped me like a bad habit. That was almost six months ago, and it gave me matching scars on my stomach and back to remember the battle by.

Ace shook his head. "I don't know that we can."

"Then why..?"

He held up his hand to silence me, and I was surprised I listened. "Veronica… I want your help because I know I can't do this alone."

I pinched the bridge of my nose, feeling a migraine coming on at all this circle talk. "I'm just another gun, Ace. You've got plenty of guys who are bigger, stronger, faster, and a better shot than me. Unless I'm supposed to be a vamp snack, I don't see how I can be of any real help."

He gave me a look that practically screamed: Since when have you been able to read minds? My jaw dropped and I sputtered for a moment before I finally managed, "You can't be serious."

Ace nodded and hurried onward before I could protest further. "Ronnie, please. You're the only one that suits his… tastes."

I shook my head. I'd been chewed on by vampires before, and it wasn't something I could see willingly subjecting myself to. "No fucking way, Ace. I don't care if I'm the only one he'd think was tasty. Just no."

He sighed. "I thought you might say that. Think it over, Ronnie. I'll be back tomorrow to ask again." He climbed into his car and was gone without a backward glance.

I shook my head and went into my own vehicle, driving home. Ace wanted me to willingly become an appetizer for a vampire who'd already taken out six very good hunters. I'd have to ask him who, exactly, so I could better assess the situation. The whole dark and lonely ride home, I felt paranoid as hell, constantly checking my mirrors and to make sure there wasn't a boogie man in the back seat.

Author's notes: Resurrecting this series, finally! I hope that both old fans and new will like the new style! Leave me comments, loves!