I pulled into my driveway at 4:30 in the morning. There was a strange car parked on my street, a white Taurus. As I walked past I peeked inside and saw the bubble light. Cop. And when I entered my house I could smell Detective Nick Berry's clean, distinctive scent. Which, by the way, I'd never been able to do before. Whenever I saw him at the station, all I could smell were stale croissants (the doughnut thing is a myth) and old coffee.

He hurried out of my kitchen and stopped dead when he saw me. His jaw sagged and he made a motion toward the gun in his shoulder holster.

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"Oh, that's nice," I snapped. "Don't you dare pull a gun on me in my own house. And where's your warrant?"

"I didn't need one, seeing as how you're dead."

"Boy, Jessica just couldn't wait to tell you, could she?" I'd strangle her the next time I saw her. I said my undeath wasn't a secret, but I didn't mean she should run to the cops first thing. Her matchmaking was going to be the end of me. Well, probably not. "That jerk...friends are such a mixed blessing."

"I didn't believe her-figured it was a rotten joke--but promised her I'd check it out. Did you know it's against the law to fake your own death? The D.A.'s gonna be pissed."

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"Believe it or not, Nick, that is the least of my problems right now."

He'd been staring at me while we talked, and as I kicked off my tennis shoes he crossed the room. To my complete astonishment, he pulled me into his arms like a hero in a romance novel.

"God," he said, staring into my eyes. We were exactly the same height, so it was a little unnerving. His eyes were light brown, with green flecks. His pupils were huge. "You're so beautiful."

I was still frozen with amazement. Nick had touched me a few times-mostly to shake my hand, and once our fingers brushed when he handed me a Milky Way-but he'd always been cool, pleasant, and nice. Nice Guy nice. I had sensed zero interest, which is why I'd never pursued him-and why Jessica's hints and intimations were so annoying. But now-

"God," he said again, and kissed me. Except it was more like he was trying to swallow me. His tongue shoved into my mouth and suddenly I was breathing his breath. This was startling, but not unpleasant. Then: "Ow!" He jerked back and touched his lower lip, where a tiny drop of blood welled. "You bit me."

"Sorry-you thtartled me. I mean, you took me by thurprise. Oh, thit." I could not look away from that tiny little crimson drop. It gleamed. It beckoned. It begged to be tasted. "Nick, you thould go. Right now."

"But you're so beautiful," he whispered, and kissed me again, more gently. I tasted his blood, and that was that. Had I thought I was thirsty before? The strongest, most compelling craving I had ever known completely took me over. I kissed him back, sucked on his lower lip, and then we were tearing at each other's clothes like a couple of horny teenagers. I heard the 'clunk' of his holster hitting the floor, heard the jingle of the coins in his pockets as his slacks hit the floor in a polyester puddle, heard the riiiiiiiiiiiip that meant I'd need to buy a new t-shirt. I had no idea what had happened to my leggings. He could have eaten them for all I would have noticed.

I tore my mouth from his, jerked his face to the side, and bit him on the side of the neck. I wasn't remotely horrified. There was no reticence at all, no maidenly shrinking at the thought of drinking his blood like it was a Cosmopolitan. I couldn't wait. I wouldn't wait.

I'd been prepared to really bite down, but my fangs slid through his skin like a laser scalpel, and then his blood was flooding my mouth. My knees buckled as my body truly came alive for the first time since that Aztek knocked me into a tree. Everything was suddenly loud and bright and vivid; Nick's heartbeat thundered in my ears. I could smell his sweat. I could smell his lust-like crisp shavings of cedar.

I felt myself get slammed up against the wall and thought, oh, oh, Nick doesn't think much of this...poor bastard. However, my thoughts were wrong, because he grabbed me around the thighs, and then I felt him shove himself inside me, all at once, all the way.

Now, I can count the number of sexual partners I've had on one hand. On three fingers, in fact. Madame Slut I am not. And with every one, as with most women, it took time and manipulation to make me come. That whole three strokes and it's time to ride the orgasm train thing is a pure myth, and I feel sorry for women who believe it and then think there's something wrong with them when they need more than a slap and tickle to get off.

That said, when Nick slammed into me, when he took his cock in hand and shoved me apart and entered me with a brutal thrust while his blood was in my mouth, I was instantly jolted into orgasm. It was a shallow one, the kind you get when you're diddling with yourself and squeeze your knees together at just the right moment, but a come is a come (I should stitch that on a sampler sometime). Drinking blood had made everything more there, all sensations were more intense and opened a vein of sensuality I never dreamed existed.

He thrust, he shoved, his broad swimmer's chest was pressed up against mine hard enough to flatten my breasts. He was sweating and panting and groaning, and I realized I didn't need to drink anymore, my thirst was gone and I felt better than I ever had. I felt like jumping over the house. Maybe I even could.

I stopped drinking and pulled back, licking the bite mark to get the last few drops. Nick throbbed between my legs and then he was collapsing out of me, clutching me with both hands as he fought to keep his feet. I could feel his come running down my thighs; it burned, probably because I was so cold. And I was shocked-I could have run (and won) a marathon, and poor Nick looked half dead.

"Oh, Jesus-"

"Don't," he whispered against my neck.

"Nick, I'm so sorry, I-"

"Don't stop," he managed. "Do more. Bite me. Again."

The full impact of his request hit me, and in my horror I nearly dropped him. I suddenly remembered the church janitor...

...and the minister...

...and how odd they'd seemed, odd but, as I was having such a strange night myself I'd shrugged off their reactions. Now here was Nick, a perfectly pleasant man who had showed no interest in me except as a witness, Nick with his pants around his ankles and his dick in his hand and blood on his throat, Nick who wanted me to bite him again. Again!

Not only could I live through car crashes and electrocution, not only could I toss grown men like they were magazines, but I could make men want me. They looked at me and wanted me, didn't care if I drained them dry as long as they could fuck me while I did it.

I got ready to yowl with horror and frustration, when I got a grip...

...and instead picked Nick up and carried him to my room like he was a blonde, male Scarlett and I was an undead Rhett.

"So it's true."

"What is, Nick?"

"Vampires."

"...yes. It's true. I'm really, really sorry."

He propped himself up on an elbow and looked down at me. We'd been lying in bed, side by side, for about ten minutes. I was both relieved and frightened when he started talking. "Don't be sorry. That was the best of my life. Did you-" He paused. "Did you get enough to...eat?"

I winced. "Yes. I'm fine. Thank you." And now, the incredible awkwardness between two acquaintances who decided to have sex and now have to chat. This was new to me. I'd never fucked anyone I wasn't in love with before. And fucking was about all it was, too. "Uh...are you okay?"

He touched his neck. I was amazed to see the bite mark was almost entirely healed. "It hardly even hurts."

"Like a dog, I apparently have an enzyme in my saliva that speeds up healing."

He burst out laughing. Oh, thank goodness. Then he was rolling over on top of me and nibbling my throat. "Time for another drink?" he asked, and the naked eagerness in his voice made my heart lurch.

"No." I pushed him, but he immediately settled back on top of me. "Absolutely not."

"I don't mind-"

"Dammit! You do, I bet, way down deep inside you, you probably mind plenty. Nick, I bit you! I drank your blood and I didn't even ask."

"And I took you," he said quietly, "and didn't even ask."

I snorted. "Trust me, you didn't do a thing I didn't allow. You couldn't have hurt me and you sure as shit can't force me."

He was still lying on top of me and I could feel his groin pressing against mine; he was throbbing and hard as a pipe. Amazing! The guy had to be in his forties. "Come on," he said coaxingly. "Let me in...and I'll let you in."

"No no no. Never again, Detective Barry, absolutely not. It'd be like rape. It is rape."

He laughed at me, but stopped when I asked, "How'd you feel about me before I died?"

"Uh...I thought you were great. Really cute, too."

"Ever want to slam me up against a wall and screw the bejeezus out of me while I drank your blood?"

"Uh..."

"Exactly. You never. But you're ready to go right now, and you don't even mind if I drink your blood while we screw. Hello? This is not normal behavior. It's not me you want. It's-it's whatever makes me a vampire. A supernatural gift or whatever-but it's not me. It's my undead pheromones. And that's why we're done."

He protested, but I turned a deaf ear, helped him find his gun, dressed him, and had to bodily push him out my front door. Even so, he hammered on it for five minutes, begging to be let back in.

I fled to my bedroom and put a pillow over my head, but I could still hear him.

In the movies, vampires are always these all-powerful jerks who use people like Kleenex. Now I could see why. A clean-cut Boy Next Door nice guy who lets you drink his blood while he fucks you raw, then begs for more of the same, will let you do anything.

Anything at all.

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