Trixie couldn’t remember the last time she went to a little girl’s birthday party but it certainly wasn’t since becoming a vampire.
Olivia and Doug might have been two of the world’s most powerful vampires, but they had also become the first vampire parents in recorded history. Today was their daughter Emily’s second birthday and they were throwing her a big old party, complete with birthday cake and balloons.
Trixie had gone back and forth all day long about whether or not to attend.
Being around little Emily was bittersweet on a regular day and the birthday celebration would only heighten Trixie’s struggle. But choosing not to go would have been selfish. Trixie’s personal drama wasn’t Emily’s fault, and she didn’t want to disappoint the adorable little redheaded cherub. Not only that, Emily was Olivia’s daughter and since Olivia was Trixie’s maker, that made her family.
Not showing up would have been rotten.
Olivia would have understood if Trixie bailed out; she knew her better than anyone else. But Olivia’s Bloodmate, Doug, wouldn’t understand her absence from such a celebrated event. Neither would the other members of the coven.
Nope. Trixie decided to do what she always did. She’d put on a smile, make a wise-ass comment or two, and act like nothing and nobody bothered her.
A familiar voice pulled her from her thoughts as she strode down the stone hallways of the Presidium’s underground facility, buried deep beneath Fort Tryon Park and The Cloisters in New York City, “Well, smack my ass and call me Sally.”
The deep southern drawl echoed around her, stopping Trixie dead in her tracks. A shiver of lust whispered beneath her skin as it usually did whenever he was nearby, but she swiftly shoved it aside.
“Okay, Sally.” Trixie rolled her shoulder and fought the buzz of attraction. “But you can smack your own ass.”
“What’s the matter, darlin’?” The rumbling baritone of his voice soaked with that southern twang, drifted over her shoulder but she didn’t spare him a glance. Trixie continued toward Olivia and Doug’s apartment door, forcing herself to put one foot in front of the other. “Don’t I even get a hello?”
“Hello, Dakota,” she said, with a roll of her eyes.
Coming to this little gathering for Emily was difficult enough and his arrival only ratcheted her anxiety up a notch. Damn it. Why wasn’t he out on patrol? Over the past few months, the cocky and admittedly gorgeous sentry, had become more and more present in her little corner of the universe.
Trixie fiddled with the box in her hands, the one she’d wrapped carefully with the pink and white skull and crossbones paper. She didn’t even bother to put a card with it. Everyone would know who’d brought it. She was the only coven member with bright pink hair and a penchant for skulls and crossbones, after all.
“That your present for little Emily?” He asked. “You wrapped it real nice.”
He got closer by the second.
“No,” Trixie snorted. “I just like carrying around a gift wrapped box for the hell of it. You know, for shits and giggles.”
She was being a snot but she couldn’t help herself.
Trixie kept her gaze pinned to the mammoth mahogany door at the end of the hallway and tried not to notice that he’d sidled up next to her, his stride matching hers.
Dakota Shelton, the newest sentry for the Presidium, the vampire government, was not an easy man to ignore.
His six foot two inch broad shouldered frame towered over her easily but there was something else about him that set her on edge. It was the way he carried himself. He moved effortlessly and casually, as if he was just the good-old boy from Texas he claimed to be.
But Trixie knew better.
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