“Mad? I’m furious!” Lauren huffed as only a vampire can, expelling a hint of purple-tinged haze into the front seat of John’s Cadillac.“Can’t you put the freaking Mafia off until the baby’s born?”

If John’s eyebrows arched any higher, they’d bump the roof. “I detect a trace of venom in your sweet breath, my love.”

“A trace? It’ll probably corrode the dashboard.” Lauren angled her body to the door, where a subsequent puff fogged the window with violet iridescence. “And you’re avoiding my question.” She tapped her foot on the zebra-patterned floor mat. “You just passed the Florida Bar exam, for Pete’s sake. Did your first client have to be the most dangerous man in Orlando?”

The air in the car was so thick with Lauren’s disapproval; John had to fan the space between them to squint at her. “Honey, I’ve had far more dangerous adversaries in my 500 years. He’s only human, after all.”

“Are you kidding? He has an army of contacts—all over the globe.” Lauren shook her head, rolled down the window and waved out some of the haze. “You think you’re safe because he doesn’t know you’re a vampire, but what if he finds out?” She looked back at John. “He’ll load his gun with silver bullets faster than you can say ‘Dracula.’”

“Lauren, I’ll be fine, and I would never put you and our baby in harm’s way.”

John reached over to touch Lauren’s tummy, which had recently blossomed with roundness.

“I am so not happy about this.” Lauren folded her arms over her bulge and chewed on her top lip. She continued to stew for a minute, building up her next head of steam. “What if he captures you and wraps you up in silver chains? Lots of help I’d be. I can’t even morph to bat form in my present condition.”

John ran a hand over Lauren’s hair. “You have to trust me.” He veered onto the entrance ramp for Interstate 4 and merged between two cars that were barely a Volkswagen length apart, let alone a Cadillac. Lauren gasped as both startled drivers laid on their horns, but John ignored them and continued to weave through the heavy traffic, creating spaces that humans couldn’t fathom.

Lauren squeezed her eyes shut. “I know I encouraged you to get your driver’s license, but reckless driving can get you a whopping fine and possible suspension.”

John laughed and then touched Lauren’s cheek. “Don’t worry; the Orlando Police are in my debt. They won’t ticket me.” John exited Interstate 4 at the Altamonte ramp and deftly wound his way through residential neighborhoods. Careening around the final curve on Palmer Avenue, he slowed just before he reached their street, Bonita Place.

“Why don’t you leave the car there?” She pointed to the circular driveway in front of their large Victorian home.

“Don’t you think I can fit it in the garage?”

Lauren rolled her eyes. “Not without a crowbar. It’s a Goodwill warehouse in there. Until I get rid of the stuff from my house, there’s no room.”

John hit the button for the garage opener, and in a matter of seconds, wedged the big car between Lauren’s floral sofa and her two overstuffed chairs. “Voila!”

Lauren blew her bangs out of her eyes. “That’s the final driving lesson for you, Bubba. Next stop, NASCAR.”

“That would be fun.” John laughed. “Do you think I could drive the Viagra car?”

“Considering that’s the last drug you’d need, it’s a good cover. But I know my NASCAR, and Viagra isn’t a sponsor this year. Maybe you could drive the Prilosec car.” She couldn’t help but smile.

“For heartburn? Don’t think so.” John reached over and unbuckled Lauren’s seat belt. “The only heartburn I have is the pain of you being angry with me.” He gave her that gorgeous lopsided smile, the one he’d held in abeyance for 500 years, until he met her.

She opened her car door and swung her legs to the garage floor. Turning to look at John across the black hood, she sighed. There he stood, the sexiest, most handsome man in the universe, looking back at her with those violet eyes. He ran his tongue across his top lip. Oh, Lordy. “Sometimes you make me crazy, but I’ll love you forever, John.”

He rounded the car at vampire speed to sweep her into his arms.

“Consider this a reprieve,” Lauren said, “but only for as long as it takes me to have an orgasm.” She batted her eyelashes playfully.

“In that case, I shall take my time.” He pressed her against the door of the car and wedged his thigh between her legs.

“Squeeze,” she commanded, taking his hand and placing it on her breast.

“Oh, I’ll do better than that.” He pulled up her tank top and drew her nipple into his mouth, sucking hungrily.

As desire gripped her core, she reached to free his penis from his jeans. “Now.”

“No, I told you. I’m taking my bloody time.” He gathered her into his arms and carried her to the house.

Crackling with electricity from head to toe, she squealed when he kicked the back door open. “If you’re as anxious as I am, let’s christen the kitchen,” she said.

“Only if you promise not to dispel that purple haze, again. You’ll kill the African violets.”

“I promise,” she said.

He plunked her down, albeit gently, on the kitchen counter. Spreading her legs under her handkerchief skirt, he played in her juices for a while, and then he took her chin in his hand as he plunged into her depths with his cock. “Nothing,” he said, “nothing in the world comes close to this.”

She moved against him hungrily, but he pulled back. “Not so fast,” he said, withdrawing his penis. “Let’s give each room its due.”

Lauren’s sexual frustration mounted as John teased her nipples through the butler’s pantry, licked her clit on the living room couch, and bent her over the foyer banister to enter her briefly from behind. By the time they reached their bedroom, she was frantic with pent up desire.

“Tonight, I say when.” He carried her to the bed and then moved away from her to the Palladian window. He stood in profile, his erection prominent in the diffused light of the moon.

She swallowed hard, waiting. After a few agonizing moments, he turned to her.

“You have to trust me, Lauren. In everything.” He moved slowly to the bed and eased his hand up the inside of her thigh. “When.”* * *

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