Rock felt himself smiling as the world seemed to spin behind his closed eyelids to the drumming beat of Kiss. The taste of perfection lingered on his tongue, sweeter than a Texas sunset and drowning out everything but the flavor of something so foreign and yet so familiar...
Something he ached to sink his fangs into.
The world screeched to a halt like the sound of his Kiss record being snatched off the turntable after Babs Braveheart had gotten her hands on it. Better the record than him, who she’d come to stake after his herd had flattened a section of her fence.
Funny how he hadn’t thought of that busted record or the smell of garlic from the homemade necklace Babs had worn that night in decades. Now that he thought about it, he couldn’t quite remember what triggered the memory to begin with. It was damn hard to think at all when he felt hotter than a billygoat with a blowtorch and his gums ached like Buffi had hit him with her meat mallet.
Both of which should have been enough to silence the Kiss song stuck in his head. Instead he heard himself singing the words aloud like he was having some kind of out-of-body experience. He knew it was him—and damn he could sing—but it felt like he couldn’t stop singing along any more than he could stop craving the flavor that was already fading away.
He needed more. And he really needed to replace that Kiss album.
“I wanna Rock and roll all night—” He hissed out a breath at the sudden stinging pain in his cheek. “Tarnation.”
“Rock, baby? Are you okay?”
He opened his eyes and saw his gorgeous lupine lover leaning over him. He gave her a lopsided grin, thinking he’d wipe away the water on her cheeks—had it rained?—but somehow he missed touching her.
Laughing at his sudden lack of coordination, he closed his eyes. Christ, he needed to take a piss. “I wanna Rock and roll all night and party every day.”
“Are you…drunk?” Buffi’s disbelief had him trying to sit up, though he rather liked lying there feeling the world dip and spin and… Sweet heavens he was hungry.
He glanced at the deep valley between Buffi’s breasts and was instantly harder than the time he’d been roped into being part of the test group for Viagra for vampires. Not that he’d ever had a problem in that department, as those cheerleaders could attest to.
No, it wasn’t sex he was hungry for. There was something else he was craving. Something…
He saw the shattered glass on the floor, and the drops of…blood? His stomach clenched even as he realized that the red liquid’s consistency didn’t match the B-word. Neither did the smell. Beneath the coppery fragrance that usually had him seeing stars was a richer, full-bodied scent that had his mouth throbbing like his fangs had burst clear through his gums.
Whatever it was on the floor—he needed it. Now.
Vaguely aware that he was still singing and had forgotten part of the second verse—Buffi was likely too distracted by his throaty baritone to notice—he rolled onto his belly and shimmied over to the broken glass. He dipped his fingers in the liquid.
“Can’t.” Too late, he lifted his fingers to his mouth and sighed at the exquisite taste. Before he could stop himself, he licked every drop off the floor with the same enthusiasm his wanton wolf would attack a bowl of water after a run, only without the drool—he hoped.
Twice he had to spit out a sliver of glass, but he didn’t care, not when it tasted better than anything his temperamental chef Marcel had ever dreamed up.
Feeling a little dizzy again, he grinned, then remembered he still needed take a piss. He should go find the boys—his boys—and teach them how to take a leak like a man. Assuming they were potty-trained. God, he hoped so.
Yeah, he’d do that, right after another drink from the bottle of wine Buffi had snatched off the tray next to Vince Yardley. Poor guy looked white as a ghost. Maybe he needed to have a drink.
Looking both relieved and confused, Buffi leaned over him, her gaze sliding between him and the bottle of wine clutched in her fingers. She sniffed the contents. “I definitely smell blood, and some kind of poison.”
“Billy Bob Bobson,” Rock growled, the tip of his fang dragging across his bottom lip when he snarled. “He and Chastity were trying to poison you. He must have cut himself in the process.” After three tries Rock made it upright. “I’ll protect you from the likes of him. You and our boys.”
Her eyes widened. “You mean, you believe they’re yours and forgive me for not telling you about them sooner?”
“Not even the fact that you occasionally drink from the toilet would stop me from making the four of us a family.”
Her face broke into a wide grin before she scowled. “You sure this isn’t some lame-brained attempt to get your hands on the winery?”
“I swear it’s the truth. Cross my heart and hope to die a painful, sun-blistering death.” Which he’d come awfully close to on the ride back to his ranch and his return ride to save the woman he loved.
Buffi cocked her head as though she could tell by the sound of his voice if he was sincere.
She hesitated only another moment, then flung herself at him. “I’ve never seen such a reckless, selfless act as deliberately drinking a glass of poison meant for me when you could have just as easily tossed it aside. You really do love me, don’t you? Rock? Rock!”
His gaze had drifted down to the bottle she still held at her side. “I think I need another drink, Buffi.”
She leaned back, bringing the bottle up for closer inspection. “But it has blood in it. Are you sure you can handle that?”
He nodded, waiting a second for the fleeting nausea to pass before he spoke. “It’s more than just blood now. It’s hemovino.”
“Blood wine?” She glanced at the contents of the bottle. “I suppose it is.”
“You know what that means right?”
“That now you’ll able to drink blood?”
“Of course not.” He took the bottle and brought it up to his mouth. “Now it means I’ll be able to drink blood.”
Buffi gave him a strange look that he quickly dismissed. Sometimes understanding this female was as hard as nailing Jello to a tree. Assuming this was one of those times when he was just better off ignoring the puzzled look on her face, he whooped and swung her around in his arms.
“Need a ride?” Chastity turned her head just as Billy Bob pulled his car up alongside of her.
“Go away.” She strutted forward, dragging her Louis Vuitton suitcase behind her. It was full of every expensive gift Rock had given her that she could round up, plus a few other items she’d liberated from Rock’s house.
It was the least she deserved for being passed over for that hussy Buffi. She’d bet the scheming home-wrecker was already banging Rock like a screen door caught in a hurricane. Although Chastity refused to think about what kind of kinky things the pair of them had been up to, for Buffi to end up pregnant with dog boys.
She shuddered and continued along, wincing at the blisters on her heels. She’d only reached the end of Rock’s driveway and already she suspected her five-inch heels wouldn’t survive another mile, much less stopping and wasting time with the likes of the vampire hunter responsible for her losing her gazillionaire cowboy.
“Leave me alone.”
“You know I can’t do that after all we’ve been through together.”
She rolled her eyes, then staggered when her right heel snapped. She limped along anyway, even when her suitcase tipped off its wheels and she dragged it behind her.
The car stopped and she heard the mini Cooper’s door flung open. “Chastity, just listen to me.”
“I have nothing to say to you.”
He caught her arm and swung her around. “Well I have something to say to you.” The harsh, possessive tone of his voice seemed to surprise him as much as it did her.
She blinked up at him, letting go of her suitcase to push him away. He didn’t budge, his chest impossibly hard and muscular beneath her palms. Despite her better judgment—which she did have no matter who thought she was one fry short of a happy meal—she ran her hands over his chest.
Pleasure speared through her dewy womanhood, and she purred like a stray feline in heat.
Billy Bob glanced around. “What is that god awful sound?”
She tried to pull away.
“Chastity.” Billy Bob caught her by her breasts, gently cradling them the way she’d seen men cradle women’s faces between theirs palms at the climax of all those romantic movies she loved to watch.
Her heart sped up at the tenderness in his eyes.
“We belong together. It doesn’t matter to me if you’re as sharp as a cue ball or have slightly uneven boobs or that your master plans are about as useful as a trapdoor on a canoe.” He tugged at a strand of hair stuck at the corner of her mouth. “I’ve fallen for you, Chastity. Run away with me. We don’t need vampires or cowboys or expensive things that aren’t nearly as breathtaking as you. All we really need is each other to be happy.”
“Oh, Billy Bob.” She leaned up and pressed her lips to his. “You had me at, ‘Need a ride.’”
Two Years Later
“I shouldn’t be surprised to find you out here.”
Buffi lifted her head off her paws and wagged her tail when she spotted Rock step beneath the grape arbor. She glanced once more at the moon-drenched landscape stretched out in front of her where they’d expanded the thriving vineyard to accommodate their new cliental. Who knew there were so many vampires out there with the same affliction Rock suffered from? They’d started out catering to that group exclusively, then branched out as much of the vampire race embraced hemovino.
With a happy woof, she circled Rock, then shifted back to her human form. His gaze instantly heated at the sight of her naked body, and she took a playful step away from him.
“Are the kids all sleeping?”
“Just got the twins down. They had to help me hogtie the triplets to their beds after their bloodshakes. Good thing those troublesome vixens are as adorable as their mama.”
Buffi propped a hand on her hip. “Bloodshakes? At this time of night? I swear those girls have you wrapped around their chubby little fingers.”
“Not as much as their mama does.” He stepped up behind her and ensnared her wrists faster than the calves he roped from his brief stint on the rodeo circuit a few months back.
Buffi held the twins responsible for that that short-lived fantasy. Monk had been stung after stirring up a hornet’s nest and had tried to buck Rock off his back. Stubborn vampire that he was, Rock had rode it out and the boys had looked at him like he was some kind of rodeo god ever since. Of course Rock had taken their adoration to a whole new level, but after witnessing a few too many bloody injuries on the circuit, he’d thankfully hung up his bronco buckle for good.
“Don’t tell me you came out here to try and seduce me, Rock?”
“Good looking zillionaire vampire cowboys don’t try anything. They get ‘er done.”
Buffi rolled her eyes. “You’ve been watching Larry the Cable guy again, haven’t you? You didn’t let the twins watch this time, did you?”
His callused hands slid up her stomach, distracting her. “Do we really need to waste time talking about appropriate television programing when we could be playing ride the fangy stallion?”
She sighed dreamily. “I love it when you talk dirty to me.”
“I’m just getting warmed up, darlin’.”
“Good, now shut up for a second and kiss me.”
“Yes ma’am.” He spun her in his arms and captured her mouth in a sizzling kiss that stole her breath.
“Mmmm,” she murmured against his lips. “I like the way you say that.”
“Ma’am,” he repeated again, coaxing her down to the ground and covering her with his rock-hard body.
She looped her arms around his neck. “I love you Rock Fangsworthy.”
He grinned. “You always say that right before I give you the best eight seconds of your life.”
“I really mean it, Rock. You’re the zillionaire vampire cowboy of my dreams.