Crandall huddled in the captain’s chair behind Beryl’s seat as Jon drove slowly around the back of Blood Moon and parked beside the service entrance. He could feel them. There were at least a dozen vampires in the building already. He tried to remember that sinking feeling in the center of his chest from their last visit, but was certain it hadn’t been there. He’d knew, on sight, who would have fangs and who wouldn’t, but he couldn’t pinpoint them from the parking lot and, even standing in front of Angelo that first night, he hadn’t felt sick to his stomach. Tonight, he wished he hadn’t made Jon stop for that steak bomb on the way to the club.
Jon climbed out and opened the slider behind the driver’s door. Crandall glowered from the far side, the seat between him and the door removed for easy access to the storage area behind him. “You want to go around and tell them to open the door?” Jon asked as he dragged a black case across the floor of the van towards the opening.
Crandall clutched at his seat belt, not wanting to leave the vehicle. Suddenly, he felt trapped by the belt and flicked it off, wrenching it away from his shoulder as if it was a poisonous snake. “They know we’re here,” Crandall said once extricated. He leaned back against the window and stared out the maw of an opening to the club door over Jon’s shoulder.
“They don’t have security cameras back here,” Jon started. The door behind him swung open. He set his case down and turned to greet the man holding the door open. “Hello.” He threw out a hand and Crandall cringed back. “I’m Jon. I don’t think we were introduced last time.”
Sidney shook his hand. “Sidney, head of security here. I’m taking personal charge of your drummer and singer so that we don’t have a repeat incident.” He turned and gestured to another vampire standing just inside the door. “This is Jackson. He’ll be stationed outside the dressing room. No one but the band and any guests you personally approve will be permitted in the back hall.”
“Thanks, but I don’t think that’s necessary.” Jon glanced over his shoulder at Crandall. Something flickered over his face before facing Sidney again. “Do you think there will be more trouble?”
“There’s no reason not to be careful.” Sidney gestured at Jackson and the man leapt forward, grabbing the case that Jon had lifted from the car. “Jackson will help you get your things inside and he’ll escort you out after the show. Angelo takes great pride in this club and he will not stand for harassment of his entertainment.”
A third vampire glided through the doorway and stopped beside Sidney. Long, silvery-blond hair cascaded over her shoulder, reaching her waist. An ankle-length golden skirt split up one side revealing pale, lean legs supported by satin stilettos that matched her hair. Her amber eyes drooped, dusting long lashes over high, pale cheekbones. Her lips, painted with a hint of the lightest pink Crandall had ever seen crooked into a slight smile as she looked at him, into him, and through him. Crandall sucked in a breath and sat up, his hand shifting to the stake at his hip.
“Instinct is a powerful thing,” she whispered. “Resist it.”
Crandall narrowed his eyes, but left the stake in its makeshift holster.
“This is Rosey,” Sidney said. “She’s an ambassador for a special guest tonight. He may wish to meet you after the show, and if he does, Rosey will arrange it.” His gaze flicked past Jon to lock on Crandall. “Where is your drummer?”
Crandall sneered but said nothing. He wanted to tell Rosey he wasn’t meeting any of her friends, but something in her quiet, demure expression screamed lethal. He didn’t like to back down, but the same instinct that had him reaching for a weapon told him to wait for Mike before shooting off his mouth.
After another concerned frown at Crandall, Jon answered Sidney’s question. “He’s running late. Should be here in a few minutes.”
Satisfied, Sidney nodded. “If you need anything,” he said, and returned to the club, pausing to let Rosey pass through the doorway first.
“You okay?” Jon asked as soon as they both had disappeared.
“Fucking peachy,” Crandall grumbled.
“I thought this was your idea?”
With a glare that forced Jon to look away, Crandall said, “It was. I want this gig, but I don’t trust that guy as far as I could throw him.”
“Good luck with that.” Beryl popped her head in the open door. “He’s all muscle. You couldn’t throw him anywhere.”
“You wish.” Beryl grabbed her guitar case and spun around, heading for the club.
“You two should really make up your minds.” Jon dragged another case to the door of the van.
“About what?” Crandall stared at the black void beyond the club door.
“Sleeping together. Dating. Whatever it is you two do.”
“You’ve said that before.”
“Fucking permanently.” Then, as an afterthought, “I’m seeing someone else now.”
Jon straightened and looked up at Crandall. “Really? That’s great. Anyone I know?”
Crandall’s hazel eyes shifted away, ignoring the question, and not simply because a beat up Mustang rolled into the parking lot and stopped in front of the van.
Up Next: They All Fall Down