Six years ago I wasn't dark enough to do this right, maybe that's even why I stopped. I think I might be now. check out this scene i rewrote today and see what you think:
“Okay,” I said. “I’m impressed.”
“Why?” Donaven asked.
“You got us into Strawberry Moon in under ten minutes. That’s impressive.”
“Eh,” Donaven shrugged the compliment off. “I killed some people who know some people…you know how it is.”
“So where is this Martinique woman, anyway?” I asked, pretending I hadn’t heard his comment, for which I should be arresting him, and looking around casually.
“She’s right over...” Donaven reached over his head as if he was stretching, then brought his arm down straight and looked down its length. “...there.”
“Oh, very suave,” I said, following the line his arm formed to the social butterfly herself. Surrounded by half a dozen fawning drink-buyers, I might add. So inconspicuous. As I watched, I felt a little burst of power leak out of her skin, and saw her eyes flash yellow.
She wasn’t hiding what she was at all, she was flaunting it.
“What flavor is she?” I asked, still watching.
“Lynx,” Donaven said, sipping his drink.
“Never met one of those before,” I commented, turning back to Donaven and raising an eyebrow.
“It’s rare. Hard to catch.” Donaven wasn’t telling me something, I could feel it. I stared at him evenly, letting him see my willingness to wait for his information.
“Word has it…” he said slowly, drawing out the suspense and enjoying it, “that she came by it…voluntarily.”
He let that one sit like a cannonball in the conversation while I absorbed that. But there was more.
“And when I say voluntarily…”
“Donaven,” I said sweetly, letting him now see that my patience was at an end, “please just tell me your little secret before I do damage to you.”
“…I mean she paid for it, paid enough that she had to go running to Bradley for the cash. He had to pay back some interesting people some serious money. But one could argue it was a business expense.”
Donaven nodded towards Martinique again. Fighting down my disgust, I turned to watch her flirting heavily with the men gathered around her, leaning on them heavily and whispering things in their ears.
“She’s not too bright, is she?” I asked, trying to keep at least some of the distaste out of my voice.
“No,” Donaven shook his head pleasantly. “But why do you ask?”
“After Bradley shelled out all the cash for that fur, it seems to me that he wouldn’t be too pleased to see her rub it against other guys. In his own club, no less.”
“I sure wouldn’t let my girlfriend do it,” Donaven finished his drink and hailed the waitress for another.
“I think we all know where most of your girlfriends end up,” I smiled back just as pleasantly.
“Only two.” Donaven’s charming smile didn’t dim, but it drained out of his eyes. “And one was a mistake.”
“Killing her?” I couldn’t resist asking.
“Sleeping with her,” he replied in a flat, emotionless tone.
In that moment, I held a perfect understanding of how carefully, how glacially alone Donaven was. On purpose.
It was like looking into a mirror. I knew without asking that Donaven was seeing himself in my eyes at the same time, seeing the exact same thing.
The moment was timeless, simultaneously endless and ephemeral. The pull of Donaven’s eyes was magnetic and irresistible, exactly like looking into the eyes of a vampire, and I knew instinctively that if he was the undead he could have rolled me with those midnight blues in a heartbeat. The part of me that unconsciously judges personal power levels told me that if he was ever bitten, Donaven would be a Master Vampire, and he would be one fast.
We blinked at the same time and the moment ended. Rationally, I thought I should have been unsettled by the exchange we had just had and which I didn’t fully understand. But a more visceral, primal part of me had been satisfied by something it had seen in Donaven’s stare, and as it slunk back into my unconscious, I let it go. Never question the lower brain, it knows what it’s doing.
“So who hired you to knock off the party animal?” I asked to fill the space, picking up our earlier conversation.
“You didn’t think I’d really tell you, did you?” Donaven responded with a small, but real, smile, now being very careful not to meet my eyes.
“Not really,” I shrugged in return. “But I like to tell people I still do a little police work from time to time.”
Donaven opened his mouth to say something flip, then froze. Something in his tense stare put me in immediate full-alert, but before I could even ask, Donaven grabbed my wrist and yanked me underneath the table, and a split-second later gunfire and screams shattered the air. He threw himself down on top of me, and since the largest gun either of us had was a 9mm Firestar, we pretty much prayed that no one shot us. And the only thing I clearly remember about the whole situation is that Donaven had on really nice aftershave. I squeezed my eyes shut and concentrated on that thought really hard until the room was suddenly and deathly quiet.
“Are we dead?” I whispered. “And don’t you dare say ‘I’m holding an angel, what does that tell you?’.”
“I wasn’t going to say any such thing,” Donaven whispered back, his audible smile telling me otherwise. I snorted and began to wriggle out from under the table.
“Shouldn’t we wait for the police?” Donaven asked.
“I AM the police,” I reminded him tersely, busy fighting with my dress, which refused to wriggle along with me, much to Donaven’s amusement.
By the time we had both made it out from under the table, the police were already there.
“How did I know you would be here!” I heard one the cops call behind me. I turned to recognize Mark Lang, a colleague of mine from the Regional Preternatural Investigation Squad, or RPIT (say “rip it”). Broken glass crunched under his feet as he crossed the room. “You two alive?” he asked.
“I think we’re alright,” Donaven said
“Hey, Mark,” I said as I finished smoothing my wayward skirt down.
“Donaven Necara,” Donaven introduced himself, shaking Mark’s hand.
“Mark Lang, Jeanne’s on my squad,” Mark said. Something flickered behind his eyes, but Mark obviously didn’t make the connection between Donaven, my date, and Neco, the professional hit man we’d been tracking. Thank God for small favors anyway.
“What happened here?” Mark asked me, pulling his little notebook and scribbling some notes.
“ I didn’t see a thing,” I responded, pointing at the wreckage that had been my chair. “Back to the door.”
Back to the door?! My paranoid voice shouted at me. What’s WRONG with you?!
“‘Bout twenty guys, all sporting automatics,” Donaven supplied. “Just stormed the place and fired away. Any casualties?”
“Just some minor injuries, looks like,” Mark said, glancing around as other people emerged from underneath tables. “This was meant to be property damage.”
“They succeeded,” I commented, taking in the shattered room. I glanced at Donaven. “You’re bleeding,” I informed him. He looked at me blankly. I reached up and touched his forehead, and my hand came away smeared with blood.
“Is it bad?” he asked, still sounding supremely unconcerned.
“No,” I answered, trying to wipe away enough blood to see the actual cut, “it’s not that bad, it’s just bleeding like a Russian czar.”
“You should probably have that checked out,” Mark said, thumbing at the door where I could see ambulance lights reflecting off the glass shards left in the panes. “I’ve got what I need from you two.”
“I’ll take him out,” I offered, hoping to illicit a grin from Donaven. No such luck; his face remained an impassive mask. Wondering what was up with him, I took him outside and stood by while the paramedic cleaned off his cut and taped some gauze to it.
“Well,” I told him, “You shouldn’t have a scar marring your classical features. Incidentally, thanks for pulling me under the table. Sorry you had to lay on top me.”
“I don’t mind,” Donaven gave a faint grin, looking a bit more like himself.
“I didn’t think you would,” I said dryly.
“You know,” started Donaven mischievously, “concussion victims shouldn’t be left alone for twenty-four hours.”
“Is that so.”
“Yup. And we shouldn’t be allowed to fall asleep, either.”
“Donaven, you’re smart. You can do better than that.”
“Probably,” Donaven admitted happily. “Do I have to?”
“Tell you what. You take me to a restaurant that doesn’t explode and you can do what you want.”
“I’m not sure that’s possible,” he said, looking very serious. I laughed in spite of myself.
“Come on,” I said, pulling him to his feet. “Someone has to drive me home.”
Maybe I pulled too hard, or maybe Donaven stood up too fast, but Donaven ended up closer to me than I expected and we accidentally caught eyes again.
It was only for an instant, but the image of Donaven as a vampire took over me again, along with an unsolicited fantasy…
Pale skin…dark hair wrapped in my hand…strong hands gripping me…the sharp graze of a fang against my throat…
A breathy gasp broke the spell, and I realized it belonged to me. Still gazing into Donaven’s eyes, I saw the spell break for him too, and I knew he had just seen something very similar, if not the same thing.
I hated my loss of self-control for the second time that night, and Donaven looked as angry as I felt, anger I knew was directed at himself rather than me.
“Donaven,” I said, flinching at how husky my voice was. I lowered my voice so that it wasn’t so noticeable. “Please take me home.”
The ride home was silent, both of us looking anywhere but at the other. We didn’t even look at each other when I got out of the car at my apartment building.
“I’ll be in touch tomorrow,” Donaven said, after I had turned my back. His voice sounded raw. I nodded without turning around, listened until I heard the car drive away.
I stayed up most of the rest of the night, trying to figure out the source of my strange behavior. There was no good excuse for my lack of defense around Donaven, not in my apartment, and certainly not in the club. The overpowering visions were what bothered me most of all; I had only felt something like that once before: when I’d had my mind rolled by a very powerful, very scary vampire.
I shivered just thinking about Jaqueline again. It’d been a long time since I’d thought of her, and for good reason. The night she woke my dormant animator ‘talents’, she rolled my mind over and over, until I couldn’t tell the difference between the fantasies and the real world. She’d’ve broken my mind and made me her human servant, if some ‘talents’ of mine that she hadn’t counted on hadn’t come along as part and parcel with that whole animator thing.
Since then, I’d done everything in my power to make sure I was never, ever rolled again. And I’d succeeded. Until tonight.
Donaven had rolled me with his eyes, just like a vampire, I was sure of it. But he wasn’t a vampire, I was sure of that too. It didn’t make any sense, none of it did. I clenched my hand in frustration and it felt tacky. I looked down to see Donaven’s drying blood still staining my hand. I went to the sink and began to scrub it off, still thinking.
Finally, I scrubbed my face with my hands and gave up, hoping to catch a few hours of sleep before work that day. But when I closed my eyes, the images played on the back of my eyelids, images of skin and hair like hot silk. They were just fantasies this time, nothing sinister, but the reminder of where they had come from lingered strong.
I admitted to myself that my situation was not being helped by the fact that I was totally hot for Donaven on a non-supernatural level. I gave in, knowing that fighting the fantasies would only prolong the insomnia. My last conscious thought was a vague hope that my cross wouldn’t glow if it touched Donaven.
Not that it wouldn’t be sort of erotic if it did. Me, him, the soft glow of a holy object…
what you need to know: Donaven, an assassin for hire, is taking Jeanne to the nightclub Strawberry Moon to get her help on his latest assignment, a lycanthrope named Dina Martinique. Other than that, a basic knowledge of Anita Blake lore is helpful, but i don't think necessary.