“When I signal,” Nikki whispered, “pinch me.”
She didn’t give me time to respond as she strode into the salon, pulling me with her. She aimed straight for a pair of the younger men with two women each on their laps, both fawning heavily over them.
My immediate instinct was that they were vampires, or perhaps wights, but as I got closer, I thought the one with light red hair had the slight yet powerful build of one of the fae. My encounters with their kind had been blessedly rare, but my old partner Max had run into them a few times and had described them and given me the literature to identify them.
The other one had a strong chin that he constantly kept lifted up, as if he were some kind of royalty. He well could have been as I suspected he the dark hair and nose reminded me of Slavic features, and I was fairly certain that he was a vampire, especially since one of the women who fawned over him wore a lace choker wide enough to cover any potential puncture wounds. I also recognized that glazed look in the eyes of someone whose will had been overtaken by a vampire.
“Make it soon,” I put almost no voice to the words to Nikki.
Nikki gave no indication she heard, though. When we reached the area, the two men regarded her passively, and me with disdain as she pushed me into a seat before plopping herself on my lap. Had this been another time and place, I would have greatly appreciated the feel of her there.
“Thomas,” Nikki inclined her chin to the Slavic man. “Or have you changed your name again?”
“Thomas still suits me. I had heard that you had adopted this man as your pet.”
“One wonders why,” said the redhead.
“Thomas, manners.” Nikki prompted.
“Of course,” Thomas said. “Nikki Alexander, this is . . . Sean.” The name didn’t come naturally, as if Thomas was trying to change it up.
Sean raised a glass of something. I didn’t drink enough to be able to identify liquor based on its color or glass.
“And your pet?” Sean asked.
“Not worth naming, or should I demand the names of yours?”
“Ha! Except that your pet is one that our conclave sentenced to death, yet your intervention spared his life, and now you bring him here. Why?”
Instead of answering Sean, she turned back to Thomas. “Does your friend truly not understand the delights of the flesh.” She wiggled again, and I felt myself growing, er, warmer.
“Ha! Truly? You could do better, Nikki.”
“There are more ways than one to be attractive, Thomas. I believe you have seen us at a ball or two.”
He was at some of those? Well, that’s embarrassing. Guess it doesn’t matter since I wasn’t investigating anything.
“Dancing. Yes. Well, I prefer my pretties in more horizontal movements.” Thomas raised his eyebrows suggestively. Sean rolled his eyes at the idea, clearly disinterested.
But he still has his own pair of pretties on his lap. What’s he get from them?