Warning: Gets a little spicy!
Vlad realized he was holding her tightly. Too tightly? But she felt good in his arms, which honestly, was the worst news he could have received.
The desire to pin her down burned through him and it took everything he had to resist. Still, his mind betrayed him by playing out the scenario in living color.
He was not supposed to be dallying with this woman! He was supposed to be searching out a contestant, making their acquaintance, and beginning the process of seduction. After ten short weeks they’d win the prize, hand it over to him, and then he’d finally be free of his curse.
It was a solid plan, one that was unraveling the longer he stood holding Alice “Not madame” by the waist.
Sages help him she smelled divine, and the pulse thrumming in her throat promised something delicious and decadent.
He shook his head and stepped back. He needed to get control. He didn’t know who, or what she was, but she had spotted him. Did she work for Bloodvein? Some other vampire faction? San Myshuno had their own Queen (Contessa Arcadia) and he had taken great pains not to cross her or hunt in her favored territories. He didn’t need that headache alongside everything else.
He repeated his question, “How did you know?”
“I…umm…well…you know. The teeth. And I hear things…er…get told things,” she babbled nervously.
Was she a medium? He hadn’t sensed any ghosts but spirits were notorious gossips. She definitely wasn’t a witch, or fae, or any of the creatures he had ever encountered. Everything about her said normal sim, but there was a hint of something familiar, like a scent he couldn’t place, but it called to him.
“I’m sorry. That was rude. I forget that sometimes. You know how it goes, talking without thinking! Your teeth are fine! I like them. A lot!”
She liked his teeth? Vlad tried to tamp down the curl of pleasure that swept through him at the thought. She was…strange.
Intriguing, his conscience corrected.
And exciting, it added.
No. No! Vlad was not currently in the market for exciting. He had a plan. He just needed to threaten her and be done with it.
“I suggest, Alice “Not madame” that you forget I was here.”
He began to rise slowly, opening his arms in a way that generally made his enemies take an unsure step back. He wouldn’t reveal his true form yet, he’d save that for when—
She began to giggle. “Ohmigosh are you trying to hypnotize me? Does that work? Can you do that?”
Vlad dropped to the floor. “Of course not,” he said quickly.
“Now who’s being rude?” She paused and her eyes became unfocused. She turned her head slightly, “Okay, that was only once. I thought I needed you but false alarm. Take a hike.”
Vlad cocked his head. Now that he was paying attention, he could tell that she wasn’t talking to him. And she couldn’t be compelled? How?
“Fine!” she sighed, cutting her eyes to the side and then back to him again. “Listen, I’m very glad to meet you. I won’t tell anyone about you. I’ve got to get back to practicing my baking.”
Baking? Well, that certainly changed some things. Vlad stopped her before she could turn and go back into her room.
He gave her a bow. “You’re right, I was rude. I didn’t introduce myself. Vladislaus Straud, pleased to make your acquaintance.”
Her eyes widened but she bit her lip and didn’t say anything. The bowing had been a bit dramatic but he had done it on purpose. He meant to leave her a little off-kilter. Information was always shared freely when his prey felt unsure. He licked his lips at the thought. Alice “Not madame” was mouthwatering prey…
“You mentioned baking?” he prompted.
He couldn’t let her leave, not now. He needed more information on the…baking show. That was all. Just information.
She shook her head, seeming to snap out of it. “Oh, yeah, well…” she sounded embarrassed suddenly. “I’m sort of trying to compete in this baking contest and win the prize.” She mumbled the last part, which Vlad found cute.
No! Not cute! Alice “Not madame”—Martin, he corrected himself—was not his mark. He needed to seduce someone who was likely to make it onto the show and win. He needed someone calculating and confident, a brutal competitor. He needed a winner and Alice, with her nervous stammering and strange outbursts did not strike him as a winner.
He shook his head as if to clear it and realized he had missed half of what she was saying.
Sages, her mouth. It captivated his attention. He tried to focus on her words. That’s what he was here for: words and information. He repeated this to himself as a reminder.
“…so that’s how I ended up here. Anyways, I’ve got to try out at least a brownie or something—” she paused. “Wait! A mixer? Tonight? When were you going to tell me about this? I hate parties!” she exclaimed.
She had that far off look in her eyes again. Vlad could sympathize. He hated parties too. If it wasn’t other vampires trying to curry favor with him, it was Bloodvein or Miss Hell putting on some absurd display. This was exactly the kind of information he needed.
“A mixer?” he started to ask, but was cut off by a voice shouting down the hall.