Smashed (Alexa O'Brien, Huntress #8.5)

Smashed (Alexa O'Brien, Huntress #8.5)
Trina M. Lee

Chapter One

Her eyes were blue.

I could still see the way she’d looked at me. Such loathing. Such fear. Those dark-blue eyes were so deep, so encompassing. They were my eyes. And it pained me to see them on her now that she had risen.

“Hey, brother, are you in there?” Jenner’s inquiry broke through my thoughts, pulling me from the memory. “You’re turning out to be a really shitty wingman.”

“Sorry,” I murmured, unable to tear my thoughts from Alexa. She wasn’t just my lover; she was a piece of me that I couldn’t function without. Jenner didn’t fully get that, nor did I expect him to.

Jenner huffed, impatient and on the prowl. He eyed up the stripper gyrating on a pole atop the stage before us. It had been his idea to come to such a place after I’d refused to step foot back inside The Wicked Kiss.

Since the birth of the original blood den back in Las Vegas many years ago, I’d held the place in contempt. It was a filthy way of satisfying the hunger. It turned vampires into business partners with those they fed on. Being a predator was natural, instinctive. The Wicked Kiss dirtied that up, turning the hunt into a business transaction that gave humans the power to say yes.

I’d never believed in that kind of thing. Willing victims made the entire process a complete bore. There was no excitement, no rush in taking a victim who wanted it. Sure it might be a means to an end that kept the newer vampires in line, but I wasn’t new and I wasn’t about to be neutered by such a ridiculous place.

Of course, the fact that Alexa and Kale owned and operated the local club had much to do with my avoidance currently. It was their domain. Not mine. And I wanted nothing to do with it.

So Jenner and I sat at a table near the front of the stage, watching as various women danced about with the intent to titillate, never knowing that they were being appraised for much more than their bodies.

“I bet that one’s a screamer,” Jenner mused, grinning as he stood up to slip some cash into the woman’s g-string. The dark-haired dancer smiled coyly and blew him a kiss. “She’s going to be blowing a hell of a lot more later.”

I repressed the urge to pummel him. Try as I might to convince Jenner to return home to Vegas, he’d insisted on staying. He meant well. Still his appetite was insatiable, and his determination to get me out of the house was tiresome.

“Have you picked one out yet?” I asked, boredom heavy in my tone.

The dancer on stage shimmied out of her tiny g-string and threw it into the face of a man at the next table. He clutched it tight in a fist and hollered victoriously.

“Me? What about you?” Jenner countered, his watchful gaze scrutinizing me. “It’s been a week now, Arys. You can’t keep torturing yourself like this.”

“The only torture I’m experiencing is the sound of your nagging voice,” I said with a smirk.

He frowned and smoothed a hand through his short, dark hair. Heaven forbid even a strand be out of place. Jenner was very concerned with his appearance. It was in his nature. He was a performer, always on stage inside his own mind.

“Look, I get it. She’s the last one that you…drank from. But she can’t always be the last one. Abstaining is dangerous, especially for you. Pick out a girl. We’ll get a private dance. It will be fun. Like old times.” Jenner gave me a hearty pat on the back and awaited my choice.

Arguing with him was pointless simply because he was right. Holding out was only going to make things a lot worse for me and my unlucky victim when I did snap.

“Fine,” I said with a forced sigh of exasperation. “That one.”

My victim of choice was a tall, curvy redhead working the guys at the next table. It was easy enough to get her attention without saying a word. I wanted her, and with that intent in mind, I drew her gaze my way with no effort at all.

She gave Jenner and me a once over before abandoning the table of human men and gravitating toward us. Her dark eyes held an eager glint. Adjusting her ample cleavage, she leaned on our table, giving us a good view.

“How’s your night going, boys?” she purred, most likely having performed this routine countless times.

Jenner’s face lit up, like a kid in a candy shop. “It’s looking better now.”

“Can I interest you in a private dance?” She held out a hand to Jenner who took it graciously. “I’m Brandy. I promise to send you home happy.”

Playing along, Jenner brought her hand to his lips. Brushing a kiss across her knuckles, he used his vampire wiles to draw her in. A blush spread across her cheeks.

“How does two at a time sound?” he asked, his gaze locked on hers, drawing her deeper.

“Ah, so that’s how you like it, huh?” She managed to tear her gaze away long enough to look at me. “I think I can manage that. It’ll cost you double.”

“Not a problem. Lead the way.”

Jenner’s eagerness was palpable. It was infectious, waking my bloodlust for the first time in many days. I followed the two of them through the seedy little strip club to a door marked as private. We entered to find an area with small, sectioned off rooms, similar to the change area in a clothing store but bigger. It was filthy, reeking of sweat, sex, and dirty money. As I anticipated spilling her blood, none of that mattered.

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