When we last left our story, we were in the Blood and Spirits Bar where a horde of thirsty vampires was about to make a Happy Hour cocktail out of our hapless heroine . . .
“Um, you don’t want me. My blood’s no good. Pretty bad, in fact. I’m anemic. Very, very anemic.” The circle of blood suckers started closing in and with Vlad the bartender at her back, she had no where to run. “My doctor said I should eat more red meat. Take iron supplements. But I don’t. So my blood is very thin. Practically water. No nutritional value whatsoever.”
“Oh, we don’t mind,” the man behind her whispered, low and ominous. “Consider yourself a tasty appetizer before the main course starts straggling in.”
Just then the back door to the restaurant burst, open revealing the shape of a man backlit in the opening. A collective hiss erupted from the vamps and they eased back.
“You won’t be making a snack out the woman. Let her go.”
The bartender pinned her in front of him, his strong arm snaked around her throat. “She came in of her own free will.”
“Doesn’t look like she’s staying of her own free will to me.”
“That’s for her to decide.”
Tessa stared at the man in the doorway. Silhouetted as he was, she couldn’t make out his face. Was he her savior or something worse than the fanged patrons surrounding her?
The bartender’s arm loosened only to have him brush her hair away from her neck. His breath hot on her skin, she felt the graze of two fangs as he scraped them against where her jugular beat a frantic pulse beneath her skin.
Decision made. “Him!” Tessa croaked. “I’d rather go with him.”
The bartender chuckled. “Fine with me. But not before one little taste.”
“Great.” The man in the doorway sighed heavily. “Looks like things are going to get ugly then.”
He stepped into the room and pulled something long and twisted out of his leather coat.
“Is that supposed to be a stake?” Tessa asked, her hopes that he would be any help diminishing by the second. That didn’t look like any vampire impaling devise from any movie she’d ever seen.
“It’s a stake made from the wood of the grapevine. The vitis vinifera, to be exact. It’s the only thing that’ll kill a wine vamp.”
A rush of wind cut through the room and the candle flames danced as the horde of vampires disappeared. Now it was just her, Vlad the bartender and Van Helsing with his grapevine stick.
“Looks like your regulars were the smart ones. So, are you going to let her go or am I going to have to shut you down, permanently?”
“You can’t do this. I have a valid blood license for this place.”
“Valid only for vamps and willing patrons. From where I’m standing, she doesn’t look so willing.”
Good grief. Who was this guy, the health inspector for vampire restaurants? She couldn’t wait to see what the next issue of the dining guide said about this place…if she lived that long.