Nicola C. Matthews
Angel H. Scott
© 2016 by Nicola C. Matthews
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the author.
an imprint of X-Isle United Publishers
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, or to any other written publication is coincidental and not intended by the author.
“I don’t understand what you have against this,” George Smith, otherwise known as The Great Georgio, said as he stared at her with his faded green eyes. “You’re not exactly young, but you still look good enough to fool a lot of people, plus you’ve kept yourself up, haven’t gotten all fat like most women do when they hit middle age.”
Alicia Stone glared at her employer. “I’m twenty-nine, you asshole. I’m hardly ‘middle aged.’ And aren’t you like fucking eighty or something by now?”
George rolled his eyes. “I’m fifty-eight, and like I said, you’re getting on up there. Becoming a vampire is one of those things where you really have to do it before your mid-twenties or else you’ve missed the boat, kinda like being a singer or a model.”
She slammed down the bottle of soda she had been drinking, causing some of it to splash out into the cup holder of the van. George paid no attention as he kept his eyes on the road, darting a glance her way as he spoke. “Don’t take this shit personally, Alice, I’m just telling you like it is. The last thing you want is to be a thirty-something woman with laugh-lines and a sagging ass and drooping tits for the rest of eternity. I’m doing you a favor here. I mean, I get that if I become a vampire, I’m resigned to look like this for the rest of my life. But there’s still hope for you, you know?”
“Yeah, right,” she muttered under her breath, looking out the window at the rolling landscape.
“Come on, I know it hurts but it’s the truth and you know it. You’re damn near thirty, you barely graduated high school, you have no marketable skills, and unless you plan to become a hooker or join the porn industry, you aren’t exactly crawling in job opportunities right now.” He glanced at her, scratching at the fake mustache which was still glued to his upper lip. “Whether you like it or not, you’re kinda stuck with me, and I’m only trying to do what’s best for both you and the show.”
“I have a business degree, remember, dumbass?” she asked as she flipped him off before returning her gaze to the passing landscape. “And I will have you know I still look damn good, you mofo. I see people well into their fifties doing modeling and shit, thank you very fucking much. You make it sound like I have one foot in the grave already.” She glanced over at him before going back to staring at the passing trees and cars as they sped down the highway.
“That’s why I said you should become a vampire. Being a vampire is better. This way you can do the things you want to do. You could still be a model if you want to. You would have a lot more opportunities than you do now, and you wouldn’t have to worry about getting too old for the industry. Hell, when you have all of eternity to come up with a business plan, you don’t have to worry about it failing or coming up with capital or other business-related bullshit. You could even start your own modeling company if that’s what you wanted. Get my point?”
She tried not to grind her teeth. Fuck, he was such a damn prick sometimes, but he had a point. Their show would draw a much better crowd if he could stick real swords through her without fear of killing her. What magic show had that in it? She was surprised no one else had thought of it before. Or maybe they had, and they were just so good at making it look like an illusion no one had caught on to it yet.
“How the hell did you even come up with this crazy-ass scheme? I mean, why now? Why didn’t you decide to do this ten years ago?”
“Look, I saw an opportunity present itself and I’m looking to capitalize on it. Nothing more, nothing less.”
“Fine,” she said with a sigh. “How the hell do you propose we go about asking him? Am I just supposed to call him up, say, ‘Hey, it’s Alice, remember me? I’m the woman who cracked open your skull at the magic show. By the way, will you do me a solid and turn me into a vampire so my idiot employer can stick swords through my torso instead of learning how to be a real illusionist?’”
“You’re not funny, you know that?”
“What the fuck ever,” she said with a snort. “Well then, what do you suggest I do? He probably lives in Los Angeles or something and we’re currently stuck in the middle of fucking Texas of all places. You think we can just drive half-way across the country and show up at his front door and hope we don’t both end up becoming late-night snacks?”
“We still have his phone, remember? That’s leverage. You just call up one of his buddies, tell him you have his phone, and offer to meet him to give it back.”
Alicia shook her head in disgust. “You ever heard of the mail, dumbass? Why would we drive all the way to California just to return a phone when we can just ship that shit overnight and it be back in his hands by lunch time tomorrow?”
“Will you start thinking outside the box, Alice?” George asked with an over exaggerated flourish of his hand. “We’re not driving all the way to California.”
“Well I fucking hope not,” she said. She wedged her tongue in between her teeth, forcing herself to calm down before she chipped a tooth. “You are really trying my patience, you know that?” she asked.
He laughed. “Nonsense, I just haven’t told you my plan yet.”
She threw her hands up in the air. “I asked you what the plan was thirty miles back. What the fuck are you waiting for?” Her head swung around as they passed their exit. “Where the fuck are we going? You just missed the exit.” She grunted softly as the van whizzed by the sign.
“Hold on to your fucking britches. Damn woman,” George said with a long sigh. “You sure do try my patience sometimes.”
“And you sure can be a total twat-waffle most of the time.”
“If you must know, we are going to Vegas.”
“Vegas?” she asked in astonishment. “Why the fuck are we going to Vegas? I thought you got banned from ever holding another show there. George, what are you up to?”
He snorted. “Only from the larger casinos,” he said. “The band is playing a gig there two days from now. I called and got our schedule rearranged, so now we have a show scheduled the same evening as the concert. It’s the perfect excuse for you to contact this Jeremy character and set up a meeting after their gig. He gets his phone back, you two meet, and then all you have to do is show some skin and sit back and let his vampire nature take its course.”
She stared at him. “I don’t even know where to begin to point out all that’s wrong with that plan. And how the fuck do you know where they are going to be playing in the first place?”
“What? I know how to use the fucking internet. I checked out their website, got their tour dates.”
“Yeah, okay, congratulations, you know how to use a search engine, but Vegas? Why the fuck are we driving all the way to Vegas? We might as well have just driven to LA. They didn’t have a show any closer?”
“Not where I have a friend who owes me a favor. I can’t just cancel shows, you know. That means we don’t get to eat. So I called up my buddy from Two Rivers Casino and managed to get us a spot in their annual magic convention. It took some doing, and we go on last, but at least this way we get paid and don’t have to worry about the show I had to cancel in New Mexico.”
Alicia settled back into her seat as their van headed north. Whether she liked it or not, it looked like she was stuck carrying out George’s plan, at least until they got to Vegas.
She wasn’t sure she liked this idea. Becoming a vampire meant a lot of change, for both of them. They would have to get a new van outfitted with the special UV tint, she would need a safe place to sleep during the day, and heaven only knew what the fuck she was supposed to do about food. She sure as fuck hoped he had a friend who worked at a blood bank or something, otherwise things could get very ugly very quickly.
“Well, since you seem to be so hell-bent on going through with this, I guess you better tell me what’s going to happen once we get to Vegas.”
“Relax, Alicia. I’ve got it all planned out.”
She winced. She could just imagine how this shit was going to go.