All right, ladies and gentlemen! There are several options for the March Getting to Know You interviewee! Pick your favorite and I’ll announce the winner on March 1st!
Note: Angel will have ONE more Q-and-A session, where he will answer as many or as few questions as pop up between now and the end of the month.
“Standing all alone, I see.”
The soft, English-accented voice was close, and she turned immediately. A tall young man in a tasteful, tailored tuxedo had approached her without her noticing. His hands were clasped behind his back, and he was smiling at her as if both amused and intrigued.
“My escort is talking with his sister.” She nodded across the room.
“Ah, yes.” He nodded. “Still, it seems a shame, to leave someone so beautiful without a dancing partner.”
Dahncing pahtnah. Bree would have loved him based on accent alone. He held out a hand, and his smile deepened. He was not exactly handsome, but there was something magnetic about him that was impossible to ignore. He made her want to impress him, and she had no idea why. “Would you do me the honor?”
She glanced back at Adam, still engaged in deep conversation with Celia. Sean had managed to get a glass of champagne and was looking like a dejected but eager puppy. “I can’t think of a reason to say no.” She smiled and placed her hand in his. “But if Adam cuts in, he gets first priority.”
“Understood.” He put a hand on her waist, took her other hand in his, and spun her gracefully onto the dance floor. She had thought his eyes were black, but under the light she could see they were a dark, royal blue. “Might I ask you your name?”
“December,” she told him, leaving her last name out. As charming as he seemed, something about him did not settle well. “And you?”
“Jasper Morgan.” He nodded toward Adam. “And you seem to be dating my brother.”
There was nothing threatening about the appearance of the new vampire. Short brown hair, a boyish face, and the aura of a rich college kid did not add up to make the most dangerous of first impressions, but, as Skata frequently had to remind himself, you couldn’t judge a vampire by appearance. The harmless, youthful exterior was a disguise for a monstrosity with four hundred years of accumulated speed, strength and cunning.
How he wished you could just take things at face value.
He joined Angel and Easton. Jackson noticed him and held out a hand, leaning forward to call over the music, “Jackson Montgomery.”
“Skata,” called Skata.
The vampire smiled. It was a large, friendly smile with no animosity behind it, and Skata knew he couldn’t trust that, either. “Quite the party, eh?”
There was no mistaking Jackson’s smooth, articulate English accent. “Uh,” said Skata, glancing around at the party scene carrying on around them. “Yeah.”
He tried not to gape when Easton tucked her arm around Jackson’s and said, “Let’s get a drink!”
“Why, Easton Everett,” Jackson teased. “I thought you despised me.”
“Uck, that was then.” She nudged him. “This is tonight, and tonight we’re supposed to have fun!”
He nodded. “You’re absolutely right. Lead on, fair lady!”
As soon as they left, Skata turned a simmering glare on Angel. “Don’t let them out of your sight.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” said Angel.
In his dream, he was jogging up the stairs to the bedroom. “Em, darlin’, are you home?”
The Honda was still parked in the driveway, but she might have gone for a walk down to the park, or maybe out to the pasture for a quick ride. That gave him enough time before they left to shower and change his clothes into something more appropriate for a fancy dinner.
He turned the knob and walked into his room, in the middle of shrugging off his Carhartt jacket, when he paused. “Em?”
His wife sat on the edge of the bed, angled away from him. Her dark hair tangled in undone waves, hanging over one shoulder and made it impossible to see her face. Her hands were in fists, clenching and unclenching in her lap.
“Em, is everything okay?”
She lifted her head and turned her face toward him, the movement slow and doll-like. Only then did he notice the open window. The chill that shivered through his bones had nothing to do with the winter air.
“Baby, you’re home.”
He sat up with a breath that left his lungs as reality came to life around him. It was just a dream. He pushed the blanket away and sat on the edge of the bed, gripping the blanket with both fists.
Stop it. Just stop it.
Without thinking, he stood up and slammed the window closed, then strode around the bed and slammed the other window. He pressed a fist to the glass and looked through his reflection to the other side. The street was lit with pale sunlight, and already the sky was beginning to darken.
“You’ve gotta be kidding me.” He sighed and pushed away from the window. Pain attacked every injury with the movement, but he only opened the door and shuffled out into the hallway. Maybe the half-breed had left his bag – sans the arsenal – somewhere. Everything he owned was in that bag.