With Mike at his back and Sidney’s bulk between him and the girl, Crandall had the moment to get annoyed at the entire situation. He wouldn’t have feared her even if Sidney hadn’t sworn his own life to protect him and Mike, but now that he had nothing better to do than to study her, Crandall sucked in a sharp breath. The power that emanated from the tiny woman washed over him like a tidal wave, breaking through his senses and tightening his chest as if he swallowed a briny wave.
“Who the fuck is she?” Crandall hissed. He stepped forward, but Mike held him back with the arm that remained around his shoulders. Mike’s free hand slid over Crandall’s hip and eased the stake from its holster.
“She’s no one,” Sidney said without looking back at the pair. He glared at the girl, using his height to tower over her. “She knows the rules and she’s going to return to the club floor immediately.”
Jackson kept a hold on her arms, his fangs bared but his snarl silent.
Defiant green eyes cut up to Sidney. “I’m not doing anything wrong,” she said. “Leave me alone.”
“Look here,” Sidney shook a finger in front of her face. “I don’t care who you know. No one except me and Angelo are getting past this doorway. Got it?”
“Let. Go. Of. Me.” Her tone remained soft and feminine, yet clearly came from a woman accustomed to getting her way. The power Crandall had sensed had ebbed, but now swelled again as she demanded her freedom and tugged away from Jackson. She broke free of his grasp but made no move to back away from the hall or to enter it. “I only want to meet the band.”
Crandall twisted away from Mike and stepped forward, stopping just behind and to Sidney’s left. He sensed her power, but not malice. He couldn’t do either before any of the vampire shit started, but whatever unknown instinct told him she could break the necks of both Sidney and Jackson if she chose also told him she meant what she said.
As confident in his decision as when he sang on stage, Crandall pushed Sidney and said, “Get over yourself.” The vampire didn’t move, so Crandall squeezed past him to stand in the doorway, scowling at the woman. “Who the fuck are you?”
She thrust out her hand, small and soft with perfectly shaped nails painted the same shade of red as her lips. “I’m Nicoletta, but my friends call me Nica.”
“Nica. Like Madonna? No last name?” Crandall crossed his arms, tucking his fingers under his armpits. Even pretty girls didn’t get handshakes.
Nica giggled and smiled, lowering her gaze with her hand. Her long lashes dusted her faintly freckled cheeks. “You don’t know much about Immortale then? Neither do I, really.” She shrugged and made it look provocative. With a sigh, she turned her heart-shaped face up to meet his stare without shyness. “I belong to House Lucanus.” In her pause, she grinned. “You’ll get to meet that one later tonight. I hope you fare better than I did my first night.” She winked and giggled, and then looked away, her expression hardening when she noticed Jackson standing nearby, still too close for Crandall’s comfort and, apparently, hers as well.
Amused at the way Sidney and Jackson looked ready to shit bricks over her presence, Crandall returned her smile and waved a hand past the wall of meat called the head of Blood Moon’s security. “Come on back and meet everyone then, Nica of House Luca.”
“Lucanus,” she corrected. As she stepped forward to follow Crandall’s gesture, Sidney stepped into the gap, cutting off her route.
“Back off,” Crandall growled. He glared over Sidney’s right shoulder. He didn’t like the way he used his power as Angelo’s security man to get his way. “She’s my guest.”
“She’s not permitted.”
Crandall’s gaze snapped, boring into the vampire. “Are you afraid you can’t control this little five-foot, hundred pound girl?”
Nica giggled beside him. She hooked her arm through his and steered him past Sidney. She leaned close, and before Crandall could step out of her personal space, she whispered in his ear freezing his retreat. “I think there’s smoke coming out of Sid’s ears. Good job.” She giggled and the sound sent a shiver through Crandall’s body. She smelled like peppermint and roses. Her touch cooled his skin, relaxing the burn of adrenaline that social confrontations always caused.
“Crandall,” Mike called.
Crandall didn’t look back. He leaned towards Nica and whispered into the bouncy curls near her ear. “That’s my drummer. He’s a bit high-strung for a guy that hits things all night.”
Nica giggled. “He seems alright,” she said.
“The rest of the band are back here.” He paused at the closed dressing room door, but didn’t look back at Mike or his immortal guards. “You’re fucking cute for a Fang,” he said.
Nica beamed and ducked her head in an appreciative nod. “Thank you. You’re not bad yourself.”
Up Next: Words are Just Words