I was a child when enemies destroyed our clan. My mother escaped and tried to raise me in secret, but without my fathers’ blood, she aged and died. Now I am the last head of the Lună vampire clan. My enemies think I am dead, my clan is scattered to the winds, and I am just coming into my powers. I will claim my birthright, rebuild my clan, and destroy our enemies. I’m just going to need a bit of help.
Luckily I know where to find it. A hot team of human mercenaries specializing in security is looking for their next job. They’re exactly what I need. Now I just need to convince them to believe me, keep my secrets, and rain hell on my enemies.
And if Lună is still watching out for me, maybe I’ll finally get laid.
Season Content Notes: abduction, blood
I squatted next to my mother’s grave and watched Lună play hide and seek with the clouds. My skin tingled with the power of her light.
“I think I’ve found them,” I told Mama. “I’ve been stalking them online a while, but I wasn’t sure. I finally got to see them in person. And I felt it. Lună likes them. I think.”
Lună’s light caressed my face, and I heard the memory of laughter. I was still learning to hear Lună’s voice, too young to hear clearly, and with Mama gone, there was no one to teach me. But with her face unveiled, it was easier to recognize her amusement. She liked how excited I was.
“Emil and Ozanna like them, too. Ozanna won’t admit it, though. She says I picked them because of how hot they are.” I ran my hand over the freshly cut grass that grew from Mama’s body. It had been a trick to get her buried here, in a Jewish graveyard. But my people and the Jews both understood the importance of going back to the earth. Mama was the grass now, which would also return to the earth to grow again and again.
And because Mama was the grass, Mama heard me. Even if she couldn’t answer.
“They are hot. All different kinds of hot.” I’d found a picture of them after a job gone wrong. They probably would have preferred not to get into a running firefight. But I’d fallen asleep that night dreaming of ripped clothes, skin gleaming with sweat and smeared with dirt and blood, and eyes shining with victory. The woman they’d been guarding had been leaning on Marcus, a bit bloody and exhausted herself, but still on her feet. “They kick ass, and they’re hot, and Lună likes them. Sound like my kind of sotii, right?
“I just hope they’re kind too.”
I stood up and shook out my legs. They’d been going numb.
“I’ll be, ah… meeting them tomorrow. You wouldn’t approve how, but my dads’ all knew you were a vampire. These people don’t. So don’t start lecturing.” Mama didn’t, of course. I smiled sadly. “I’ll be back in a week to tell you how it goes.”
Marcus Lear woke up slowly and immediately knew that something was wrong. After over 20 years in the security business, long trained habit had him snapping awake. Or should have. The dark didn’t bother him at first — he always kept his room dark. But he was sitting up, and when he tried to stretch, only his left arm would move.
That finally woke him up.
He was sitting up, alright: tied to a chair (except his left arm was free) and blindfolded. Around him, he heard some rustling, a quiet grunt, a scraping sound like a chair moving on a hard floor, tile or concrete. Other people with him, also tied up. Those quiet sounds echoed a bit; otherwise, it was silent. No noise of other people, no cars driving by. Where the hell were they? A basement somewhere?
“Don’t.” The deep, sultry voice with the faintest hint of an accent rang out of the darkness. It ran straight down Marcus’ spine to his groin; for a dizzying moment, he wondered if he was dreaming. BDSM fantasies weren’t usually his thing. But for that voice, he’d be happy to make an exception. “Don’t take off the blindfold. It’s for your sake as much as mine.”
And that was the bucket of cold water. The threat was politely phrased, but it was a threat.
A chair scraped again, out and in. In front of him, this time. Someone else, probably the woman behind the voice, had joined them. He hadn’t heard her footsteps at all. She might have been barefoot or wearing soft-soled shoes…
“Ms. Nastasia, I assume you brought us here for a reason. How about you tell us what you want from us?” Whoever ‘us’ was. Marcus hoped the rest of his team wasn’t there, but he wouldn’t have bet on it.
They’d been together, celebrating the end of a successful job with a night out. He remembered Karen whipping them all at the bar trivia game — again — and then nothing else. Drugged, probably.
“Marcus — is it okay if I call you Marcus? I hope we’ll get to know each other very well.” Her emphasis on that ‘very’ hit him with another zing of arousal.
“Fuck!” The word slipped out before he could stop himself and the woman giggled. To his left, he heard someone else swear under their breath. Sounded like Leyla. She’d had a weird kink for giggles as long as he’d known her, so he wasn’t the only one in danger of tripping over his own balls.
“Sure,” he said, trying to sound relaxed, “we can keep it informal.”
“Thank you.” She paused. “Before we begin, I promise I didn’t leave all of you with an arm free by accident. I’m not that much of a fool. I…” she stumbled a moment, “that is…” Marcus realized the confident, sexy vixen he’d been picturing wasn’t that confident, after all. He heard her take a deep breath. “It is an old custom that I doubt will mean much to you. But as a good faith offering, there is food and water. Nothing poisoned or… unsafe.”
“Thank you, Nastasia,” Marcus replied.
“Appreciate it.” Leyla, definitely to his left.
“Ma’am.” Benj, also left but a bit further than Leyla.
“Thanks.” Victor sounded curtly from Marcus’ right.
No one else spoke. Karen either wasn’t there or hadn’t realized that the others had been using the chance to say something as a way to give a subtle roll call. With that woman, it could be… A clatter from the right, sounding closer than Victor.
“Bread and salt,” Karen said. “Hospitality oath. Old, old stuff. Middle ages.”
Marcus rolled his eyes. No one could see it, so he might as well indulge. That was so… Karen.
At least he knew where everyone was — seated around a table with their disturbingly sexy captor. He needed to stop thinking of her as sexy and get his head in the game.
“You do know it!” Their captor sounded delighted. “I mean it. Don’t force my hand, and I promise you’re safe here.”
“Force your hand such as, for instance, get a look at your face so we can identify you later,” Benj said. “That’s fine, ma’am. Long as you keep talking, I’m happy to sit here with my eyes closed for a while. Just a while, mind you.”
Marcus would have kicked Benj if he could. Flirting with the woman who kidnapped you and politely threatened to kill you was not a healthy negotiating tactic.
But Nastasia laughed a little sadly. “I think you’ll be happier with your fantasies.”
“Don’t worry,” Victor said. “Benj will always prefer a badass woman who can take us all down than a pretty face.”
Marcus hadn’t expected the marksman to speak up at all. He was the epitome of ‘walk softly and carry a big stick.’ That voice was getting to all of them. Karen might be keeping her head, but Marcus wouldn’t bet on it.
“I cheated.” Nastasia replied to Victor, “But I wouldn’t mind trying some hand-to-hand later if you stick around.”
“That implies we have a choice.” Marcus tried to steer the conversation back to getting them the hell out of there. “So let’s get back to why you took us in the first place.”
“Of course.” A pause. “I supposed you could say that I want to offer you a job. A permanent position.”
Marcus was surprised by how unsurprised he was. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he’d been putting clues together, and apparently, two plus two did make five.
“And I assume there’s a reason you couldn’t go through headquarters?”
“A few. As you might guess, the biggest one is just… privacy. I know your company is used to handling a lot of secrets. But I’m… my secrets aren’t ordinary ones.”
“Secret is one thing,” Marcus said, “Illegal is another.”
“No! No, I’m not… what a drug lord or something? I’m… an heiress, I guess you’d say? With a lot of enemies and only a few people, I can trust.
“Also, I’m not looking to hire Hartford Security. I’m looking to hire you. You’d need to resign from your contracts — I would cover any early-out fees.
“And like I said, this is a permanent position. It took me a while to find the right team — people with no relationships who might be willing to disappear from their old lives, some of the best in your field, and… um… sorry Marcus, but one thing I looked for was ‘close to retirement.’ ”
“We don’t say the r-word,” Benj said in a whisper that could have carried across a football field.
It took Marcus a moment to get his jaw to unclench. “Even assuming I was ‘close to retirement,’ why would that be something you wanted?” Marcus kicked himself even as he asked the question. That was a negotiating question when he could have just said ‘no’ and seen if she was serious about not trying to hold onto them. Before he could take it back, she was talking.
“This is the part I could never figure out how to do…” she murmured.
“The position comes with a… unique benefits package? I thought someone… ah… ‘close to retirement’ might be easier to convince to take a chance.”
His cock had its own ideas on what that ‘unique benefits package’ might be, but Marcus made himself focus. “We’re all ears.”
A deep breath and then, in a voice that managed to be firm but also frightened.
“I don’t expect you — any of you — to believe me. But I am a vampire.
“And I can make you — or keep you — young.”
Last Lady of Lună S1, E2