Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Eagle of Ice, Scorpion of Fire released today!
For centuries, Katharine has been making her own rules, flying above base human complications with an icy outlook, feeding and living on the poor fools caught in the flames of passion. Beautiful and chill, she runs her love life like she runs her master’s business – with the steel grip that only someone with an eternity’s experience can wield.
Years ago, Jared Aquino had been one of Katharine’s pets, a toy for the vampire to feed from, to play with. He left with his skin intact and now he’s back with a secret and a plan to get what he always wanted from Katharine. The question is, will Jared’s fire blaze hot enough to melt Katharine’s will and expose her vulnerable heart?
She loved the sound of her boot heels on the tile, the sharp, quick click-clack a warning, a promise, a threat. Katharine had a closet full-ankle boots for jeans, calf boots in supple leather for the office, for under her business skirts. Thigh high, six-inch stilettos for play, the vinyl ready to be nuzzled, licked, worshipped.
Her blonde hair was pulled up into a tight bun, makeup carefully applied, protective glasses on as she walked into the board meeting for Intensity Incorporated's quarterly stockholders update. The men stood as she entered; the two women glared. It was Hell to be the competition. If they only knew.
"Hello Frank, Eddie, Rick. Are we ready to begin?"
From milk maid for a toothless witch on the Viking coast to whore—to secretary—to Queen Bee with a hefty amount of power and voting percentage and a corner office—Katharine was proof positive that a woman with a little sense, a lot of talent, and an enormous amount of time to spare could make it in the world.
And make the men she stepped over to get there kiss her boots and thank her.
"Actually, Katharine, we're waiting for someone." Frank gave her an apologetic smile from behind his horn rimmed glasses, pushing his graying hair back into its tidy comb-over. "Would you like Anne to get you some coffee?"
"Cream, no sugar." Coffee. At least it was exceptional coffee. What she really wanted was a pretty man, stretched and nude at her feet, neck stretched and arched and offered over to her hunger. She sat down, laptop on the table. Eddie stood and hooked her into the secured network with a quiet smile which she answered with a nod. "Who are we waiting for?"
It wasn't as if these were open meetings.
Frank cleared his throat and looked at Eddie, who in turn looked at Rick. Finally it was Aleene who spoke up, looking pleased as punch.
"Our new shareholder, Katharine. The one who bought Artie out when he retired. The transaction was finalized last week. Didn't Frank tell you?"
It would take more than a new shareholder to rattle her—after all, no one knew that the owner of this company was her own sire and that she was simply playing, occupying her time—and she arched one eyebrow up, deflating Frank with a look. "It must have slipped his mind. I hear that happens in later middle age."
"Well, it's a good thing you're getting some new blood in here then, isn't it?" The voice was smooth, urbane, and the man who used it matched perfectly. Expensive suit, good shoes, a two-hundred dollar haircut...and a face she'd hoped she would never have to see again in his lifetime.
Jared Aquino placed his briefcase on the table and sat opposite her, smiling all around. "Thanks for waiting. I apologize for the delay. Shall we begin?"
It took all of her hard-earned control to not gape, not stare. The little bastard looked like he'd done well for himself. Katharine wondered exactly how many women he'd left, and owed money, in the last ten years to be able to afford that suit.
Frank nodded, starting a PowerPoint slide show on the corporation's third-quarter profits, the projected returns for fourth quarter. She cued up her new line—a series of custom pheromone perfumes, very exclusive, very expensive.
It was going to make them a fortune.
It was going to make her a fortune.
Rick and Aleene were always her naysayers, and today was no exception. Rick started with, "That seems awfully chancy, Katharine."
Aleene followed with, "Have you researched this fully?"
"No, Aleene. I was wandering aimlessly down the boulevard last night and thought, 'my, wouldn't it be charming to risk millions of dollars on a whim'." Stupid twat. It took a concentrated effort not to bare her teeth and growl. "If you had read through the information disseminated Monday, you would have discovered all of the R&D reports.
"The project is a sure thing. And, as we don't produce the product until the individual pays for it, all the capital we're investing is a very specific advertising campaign, packaging, that avenue."
She'd been working with Carol and Olaf in the chemistry lab for months. The concept was stunning. And, given the reaction of her latest pets, completely effective.
"I think it's a sound idea. People are very into that sort of product right now, and I can only say that if Katharine thinks it's effective, it will be for sure. She has a nose for these things." She got a long, slow look as Jared spoke up for her. There was something dangerous in those dark eyes that hadn't been there all those years ago.
"I appreciate the vote of confidence." She tapped a few notes into her laptop, long nails clicking. As soon as this meeting was over, she was calling Silvestri. Jared was the only one of her pets to voluntarily leave her, the only one that might have been a lover in time. Hopefully he wasn’t looking for trouble. It got harder and harder as time passed to hide desiccated bodies. "Tell me, what is your area of expertise in the industry?"
"Well, I started in research and development, but I found I was much better at the marketing aspect of it. In the last five years I've done very successful turn around campaigns for places like Chanel and Dior, and I've been a consultant for a dozen more. My references are available, if you'd like to look them over some time."
The way he lounged back in his chair like a big cat made her grit her teeth.
Buy it here