Angelo prowled through Blood Moon looking for a fight. He employed a number of other Immortale to run the club, but everyone knew better than to get underfoot when his mood was as stormy as his gaze. Immortal did not mean immune to pain and fear, but it usually went hand in hand with smart, as in smart enough to stay the hell out of the vampire’s way when he was angry. Usually blue, Angelo’s eyes roiled with shades of a storm cloud about to unleash its furious deluge. Though he’d prefer a reason to react and vent, he held in his anger, never one to exercise authority with a lead fist simply for the sake of violence.
His long black hair cascaded over his shoulders and down his back. When he spun towards the stairs to the second floor, a raven tendril fell across his face. He yanked his hair back and sunk two fingers into the tiny front pockets of his leather pants. The pants fit like a second skin and thus the pockets were merely decoration. Not much more than an elastic band would fit in them. Tonight, even his hair ties were avoiding him.
With a grumble and a growl, he released the makeshift ponytail and bounded up the stairs three at a time. As he rounded the corner landing, he saw a light on under his office door. No one was permitted in his office without both his presence and his invitation.
Angelo threw the door open, lips peeled back from fangs thirsting for blood, ready to dole out a swift lesson on respect. Sprawled on his sofa, a young woman with a lithe body and waves of rich brown hair smiled up at him.
“Buonanotte,” she purred. Thick lashes shaded dark eyes the hue of coffee beans. She stretched, taunting him with her body. “Are you in a foul mood again, beloved? Shall I leave you to brood in peace?”
“No,” he snapped. She raised an eyebrow, but her smile did not falter. Angelo took a deep, unnecessary breath and exhaled slowly. She had taught him that – to use breathing to focus and disburse unusable, unhelpful energy. “No, stay,” he said softly. “Why are you here?”
She said up, her posture formal and stiff. “I have word that Max expects to be received tomorrow night.”
Angelo froze half-sitting. “Maximian Lucanus, here? Why?”
“Sit,” she said. He did and she continued. “He did not send an official agenda for his visit, but the message mentioned an interest in our inappropriate entertainment last month.”
Again, he took a deep breath, exhaled, and this time punctuated the attempt to calm himself with his anger. “Fuck!” He sat and slammed his fist down on the desk. “I invited them to fill in Saturday.” He glanced at her, but she gave no reaction. He hit the desk again.
“He expects them to be here.”
“Fuck, M’Ral, Do you know if they called back yet?”
“I do not know.”
Angelo grabbed the phone, balancing it between ear and shoulder as he flipped through a black leather binder on his desk. He dialed a number, held a curt, quick conversation in a low, growling tone, and then slammed the phone back into its cradle.
The woman stood as he concluded his conversation. She moved behind him, her hands gripping his shoulders, fingers digging into thick muscles. He relaxed under her touch as she kneaded the tension from his body.
“Thank you,” he said.
“For my betrothed, it is nothing. Niente.”
He closed his eyes and leaned into her touch.
She smiled and leaned over him, her lips near his ear. “I know you well. I know what you need.”
“How could you not? Any chance Dante will be in town tomorrow?”
She laughed softly and ran her fingers through his hair, combing into a loose ponytail. “You will do what you need to do. You do not need assistance.”
“An elder,” he said with a snort.
“The lord of this area. We are not required to entertain Max as often as other regions for their overseers.”
Angelo smiled and turned his chair to look up at her. “So practical,” he said. “You are good for me.”
“And you for me,” she said with a tiny nod of her head.
He tangled his fingers in her hair and pulled her mouth to his. He caught her lip with one fang; her blood split into their kiss. The taste of her settled his fury much more efficiently than any breathing exercise ever could.
Up Next: Sustenance