She’d shown him the journal several times. It was rare, she’d pointed out, for a man to score over a five. That was why she was burdened with the sad task of trying out hundreds in order to find a few who were worthy.

He’d let her down as gently as possible since he needed to stay friendly with the celebrities of the vampire world so he could be successful in his career. And right now, success meant getting the damned commercial recorded. That meant he couldn’t afford to insult Simone or Pennington, who was still regarding him with a hopeful smile. Damn, the bull crap he put up with for his job.

“I—” His Droid vibrated. Thank God. “I’ve got to take this. Excuse me.” He paced across the studio. “Hey, Angus. Excellent timing. So do you have a day guard you can send?”

“Aye,” Angus replied. “I asked Robby and some of the lads to teleport over there and leave Rajiv.”

“Great. Thanks, dude.”

“We’re just about done here with our plan of action. Talk to you soon.” Angus hung up.

They had a plan. Excellent! Gregori smiled as he pocketed his phone.

Gordon rushed back into the studio. “We aired the announcement. Vamps are already teleporting into the lobby.”

“How many can you take in?” Gregori asked.

“Sly thinks we can take in hundreds,” Gordon referred to Sylvester, the station manager. “We have six large studios and an enormous basement.”

“Great!” Gregori gave everyone a thumbs-up. “You’ll all be safe with Rajiv watching out for you. He’s a were- tiger who can shift whenever he wants.”

“A were-tiger?” The makeup artist’s eyes grew wide. “Oh my. He sounds so . . .”

“Sexy,” Pennington whispered.

Gregori winced. At least the Vamps would be dead during the day, so Rajiv wouldn’t have to fight off a bunch of advances. He slapped his hands together. “So now that everybody’s happy, how about we get this commercial done?”

The crew shouted a victory cheer.

“Places!” Gordon shouted, and everyone scurried into position on or off set. “Let’s do it, people! Mark it.”

“Take number seventy-two.” A crew member clapped the sticks together on the slate.

Simone lounged on the ivory satin settee and leaned toward Pennington. Her eyes burned with hot passion. “I have a hunger that cannot be denied.”

Pennington flipped his hair back to expose his neck. “Take me. My body, my blood—I’m all yours.”

She ripped open his shirt. One of the buttons popped off and hit her in the eye.

“Ack!” She jumped to her feet, catching the boom operator by surprise and ramming her head into the large microphone suspended over them.

“Aarrgh!” She collapsed on the floor.

Everyone stared at her unconscious body for a few silent seconds.

“Cut,” Gordon muttered.

“Am I interrupting anything?” Robby MacKay strode into the studio.

“No,” the entire crew moaned.

“Rajiv is in the lobby.” Robby did a double take at Simone’s unconscious body. “We left a few cases of Chocolood and Bleer in the lobby so no one will go hungry.”

“Chocolood?” The makeup artist ran from the room.

“Free Bleer!” The male crew members dashed after her.

Robby motioned to Simone. “Is she all right?”

Gregori sighed. “She will be. I’ll teleport her back to the townhouse.”

Robby shook his head. “Leave her be. Angus and Roman want you at Romatech.”

“I’ll drop her off on the way—”

“Nay,” Robby interrupted. “They want you there now.”

Now? The sun would be up in less than an hour. What was so important that it couldn’t wait another night? Gregori turned to Gordon. “If Simone comes to, tell her I was called away. We’ll try again tomorrow.”

Gordon grimaced. “Must we?”

“Yes, I’ll—”

“I said now,” Robby interrupted Gregori and gave him a stern look.

“Okay! Don’t get your panties in a wad.” He glanced at Robby’s green and blue plaid kilt. “If you even wear underwear.”

Robby frowned as he grabbed on to Gregori’s arm. “Let’s go.”

Gregori stiffened with surprise. He was being escorted? What was the big hurry— His thoughts cut off as everything went black.

Chapter Two

The big strategy meeting had to be over. Gregori spotted about a dozen Coven Masters leaving the Romatech conference room as Robby ushered him down the hall.

He pulled his arm from Robby’s steel-like grip. “Look, dude, tell me what’s going on.”

Robby shrugged one shoulder. “Angus told me to bring you here now.”

“Yeah, I got the now part.” Gregori noted most of the Coven Masters were teleporting away. No doubt they wanted to leave New York before sunrise. He nodded at two who remained in the hall. “Hey, guys. What’s up?”

Rafferty McCall shook his hand. “Great idea about making emergency shelters.”

“Thanks,” he answered the West Coast Coven Master. Was that why he’d been summoned? They might need his help coordinating shelters across the world.

“I should get back to Louisiana.” Colbert GrandPied slapped Gregori on the shoulder. “Bonne chance, mon ami.

“Aye,” Rafferty agreed. “Good luck to you, lad.”

“For what?” Gregori asked, but the two Coven Masters teleported away.

“Why do I need luck all of a sudden?” Gregori asked Robby, but the Scottish vampire merely opened the conference room door and motioned for him to enter.

Gregori tamped down on his frustration. If there was any luck to be had, he sure as hell wasn’t getting any. The commercial was a disaster. Thanks to Simone, everyone at DVN would be spreading a rumor that he was gay. And then there was that little matter of the Vampire Apocalypse and their imminent deaths at the hands of wild- eyed mortals driven into a murderous frenzy by Corky’s damned video. An irritating prickle on the back of his neck warned him that it was about to get even worse.

If there was one thing he hated, it was walking into a situation uninformed and unprepared. He was accustomed to succeeding at whatever project he was assigned to, and as far as he was concerned, the secret to success was information. He liked to have all the facts beforehand, everything thoroughly researched, documented, and organized into strategic plans of action. He never walked into a conference room empty-handed . . . like he was doing now. Hell, he didn’t even know what this meeting was about.

Out of habit, he reached into his pocket for a stress ball, but no luck. He’d just have to bluff his way through, show them some positive attitude. Stay cool. Act like you belong. It’s the best way to fit in.

He slipped his tie back into place, then marched purposefully into the conference room. The long table was empty except at the far end, where five Vamps stopped their whispering to look at him.

He smiled. “You wanted to see me?”

No smiles in return. The prickle on the back of his neck grew more insistent. He’d known these guys for years. Why were they studying him like he was some sort of specimen?

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