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Authors: Juliet Chastain

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Vampire Cowboy

BOOK: Vampire Cowboy
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Vampire Cowboy

Juliet Chastain

 

One bad hand of cards stranded Eliza on a failing ranch in the middle of nowhere. She’d do anything to sell the ranch and make her way back to the city, even seduce the handsome stranger who rides into town and expresses an interest in her land.

It’s been hundreds of years since anything has caught Daniel’s interest. He doesn’t expect much in the two-bit dusty town he’s passing through to change that…until he sets eyes on the sassy, stubborn Eliza. A look ignites their chemistry and soon enough a shared dinner is tossed aside for more carnal delights.

Eliza and Daniel both have plenty of reasons to keep their affair to a single night, but the sex between them takes temptation to a whole new level. Now every time they try to walk away, they’re reminded that some cravings can never be satisfied.

 

Inside Scoop:
This 19
th
century western features a smooth-talking vampire looking to get a little wild on his way out West.

 

A Romantica®
western historical erotic romance
from Ellora’s Cave

Vampire Cowboy
Juliet Chastain

 

Chapter One

 

Every single person in the run-down saloon stared at Daniel when he walked in a few minutes after dark. No problem, he was used to being stared at—after all, with his pale skin, almost colorless eyes and dark-blond hair, he didn’t look like most other people. What he wasn’t used to was being laughed at. The sniggers that ran up and down the bar surprised and annoyed him.

He inhaled deeply. Along with the smell of beer, tobacco and the unwashed bodies of hard-working men filled the room. Preferable, he thought, to the odor of a roomful of perfumed dandies. He’d tired of that life—his elegant, decadent existence in Europe—and had crossed the ocean to America hoping to find something different. This tiny town of Haley, in the middle of nowhere, certainly was different. Everything was dry, dusty and colorless and so were the people who lived there.

He returned the smile of the sole woman in the place. She sat at the far end of the scarred bar, self-consciously patting the elaborate mass of ribbons and curls that framed her narrow face.
Bit scrawny for my taste,
he thought.
If I took her in my arms I’d feel every bone. I’d like someone with more flesh on her, but I can feed just as well from a thin woman as from a shapelier one.

A big man with a scowling, florid face turned on his bar stool to look him up and down.

“Whatcha smilin’ at, bunko?” the man rumbled.

“I’m smiling at the beautiful lady at the end of the bar.” Daniel bowed to her. “I came in here looking for a good game of cards.” He could sense trouble coming, which didn’t bother him particularly. He was stronger than any mortal—and faster.

Putting his hat on the bar, he parked himself on a seat facing outward, feet on the floor, ready in case the big man—or anyone in the saloon—was foolish enough to attack him. The man next to him, who smelled strongly of cow and tobacco, made as if to push the hat off the bar. Frowning, Daniel looked him full in the face. The cowboy paled, cleared his throat and changed his mind.

“Don’t wanna cause no problems,” he said.

“Then stay in your seat, friend,” Daniel advised. “I have no particular desire for trouble myself.”

The big man lurched to his feet and came over to stand right in front of Daniel, his meaty fists twitching.

“You think you’re a better man than us?”

“Not really. It’s true that I am better dressed, and cleaner too, but does that make me better?”
I can’t be a better man
, he thought,
because I’m not really a man at all. I was once, but that was a long time ago.

“Leave him be, Billy Joe,” said the man behind the bar. “What you want to drink, mister?”

“Cognac.” Daniel kept his unwavering gaze on Billy Joe’s angry face.

“Sorry, but we don’t got that. We got whiskey and bourbon and we got beer.”

“I’ll have bourbon,” Daniel said. “And please take care of the gentleman next to me at my expense.”

“You’re so white,” said Billy Joe. “I bet you never did an honest day’s work in your whole life. I bet you ain’t nothin’ but a goddamn sissy.” He stepped closer, his broad, red face only inches from Daniel’s. His breath reeked of whiskey. “And I don’t like the way you’re lookin’ at me.”

“To be perfectly honest, I don’t much care for the way you are studying me.”

The man swung at him. Not as clumsy as Daniel had expected, but just the same, he wasn’t there when the fist should have hit him. He pushed Billy Joe so hard that the man fell backward to the floor.

“Dicky, Albert,” Billy Joe roared. “Whatcha standing there for? Get the son of a bitch.”

Two men charged Daniel. He sent one flying in one direction and the other the opposite way. The first crashed into a cowboy running forward to join the fray. The second rammed butt first into a table where three men were yelling “You show him Albert” and “Git him Dickey”. Men and chairs went skittering across the dusty floor.

The bar that had, but a second before, been filled with excited shouting, became absolutely quiet.

“Anyone else?” Daniel inquired, barely raising his voice. Everyone stayed in his seat. A couple put their hands in the air in an “I give up” motion. The woman at the end of the bar nodded approvingly, her tight curls bouncing. The men he’d knocked aside slunk quietly to their seats. Billy Joe got slowly to his feet and lumbered forward.

“Bartender, a drink for every man who kept his seat,” Daniel said quickly. As Billy Joe dove for him, Daniel stepped neatly aside so the man went crashing head first into the bar.

When Daniel turned to help him to his feet, Billy Joe grabbed the heel of Daniel’s shiny, embossed-leather boot and yanked. To his own surprise, Daniel tumbled to the floor, landing facedown in the dust with a painful thud. In a flash a fat man climbed on top of him—an interesting sensation—and before he knew it, a few more men piled on as well. Shouting filled the room. He debated with himself how best to throw them off without seeming unnatural. He wanted to be on his feet before Billy Joe heaved himself up and decided to come over and kick him in the head.

Then the room went completely silent.

Daniel raised his head and saw the grimy doors of the bar swinging behind the woman who had just entered. She had a rifle held loosely on her arm. Her pale heart-shaped face was set in a ferocious frown.

Daniel noted that her small frame curved in all the right places, nicely filling her faded gown. Her breasts strained the bone buttons while her hips swelled provocatively below her narrow waist.
Hmmm,
he thought.
I’d love to hold that in my arms.

Her black hair was tied back severely. He imagined untying it and letting it fall about her shoulders like a dark curtain. The alabaster skin of her neck would call to him, beg him to push that dark curtain aside and… “Get up off the floor, all of you,” she snapped.

The men on top of him scrambled to their feet, collected their hats and went, shamefaced, to their seats. Daniel got up slowly and dusted himself off.

“And what is this?” Bright-blue eyes looked Daniel up and down disdainfully. “Looks like we have a fancy man here.”

“How do you do.” Daniel inclined his head, he didn’t think she’d go for a bow. He found her fierce frown charming.

“Where in tarnation did you come from?”

“England, actually,” he said.

“He whopped Billy Joe,” said the cowboy who’d been sitting next to him. “He whopped him good.”

She looked Daniel up and down again. “Glad to hear it,” she murmured, giving him a brief half-smile. A spark leaped between them, causing a sudden tightening in his groin, a quickening of his blood. Her smile was even more charming than her frown. She was the most delightful thing he’d seen so far in the dusty west. And the most enticing. Desire sang in his ears, his horn pushed hard against the stiff, still-new fabric of his cowboy-style pants. Physically she was the kind of woman he was drawn to, voluptuous with inviting white skin. But there was something more—he couldn’t figure what it was—about her.

She stood immobile for several heartbeats, her smile fading and her eyes widening as though she too felt the spark. Then she spun away from him. “Which one of you has been rustlin’ my cattle. Again!” She held the gun with the muzzle pointing to the floor, but as she turned, surveying the room with narrowed eyes, every man froze. “I know it was one of you gentlemen. You wouldn’t know anything about it now, would you, Billy Joe?”

“No, ma’am, I surely would not.” The large blue bandanna he held against his nose muffled his voice and was rapidly turning red with blood.

“What happened to your nose?”

“I, um, bumped it somehow.”

“Is that a fact?” She glanced at Daniel, who stood watching, amused. Her gaze met his for a few seconds. Every man in the barroom full of cowboys, cattle-ranchers and gamblers was afraid of her and, he suspected, desired her as well. He could almost smell the lust for her in the air along with the dust and the stink of cattle. His wasn’t the only heart that beat a little faster, his wasn’t the only horn that stirred and hardened.

She turned away. “Why do I not believe you? Where is your brother?”

“The sheriff is sittin’ in the jail house playin’ cards with the deputy.”

“Stealin’ his money, you mean.” She snorted. “You are dripping blood all over the floor. I think you better get on home and lie down on your back.”

“Yes, ma’am. I think I’ll do that.” Billy Joe heaved himself to his feet and walked a little unsteadily out the door.

Intrigued, Daniel asked, “May I be of assistance, madam?”

She looked him up and down for a third time with those bright bluer-than-the sky eyes. Then their gazes met. No mere spark this time—more like dynamite. Heat flared up from his groin and licked at his belly.

He lowered his eyes to a strand of black hair that had escaped its tie and curled invitingly on one side of her white throat. He imagined kissing her right there where the curl ended, where her alabaster skin would be soft, her flesh slightly yielding. Her blood would be rushing, calling him to lick and nip until he could wait no longer and then he’d—

“Don’t see how.” She turned on her heel and strode to the door. She paused, looking back at Daniel for an instant. She raised her brows. The heat roared through his belly, singed his heart. He managed to restrain the groan of raw desire that rose in his throat. Was he going mad? He wanted to stride across the floor, take her in his arms, kiss those delectable lips of hers, feel her breasts crushed against his chest, run his hands over her tempting body. Then she turned again and was gone. The men started talking once more.

Dazed, Daniel stood quietly for a minute. The fire still raged savagely though him. Fierce blood lust blazed and melted, becoming one with unrestrained carnal desire. He had to have her. Had he ever been overcome like this? It was madness. He was on fire after just a few glances from an angry American girl who appeared more interested in the whereabouts of her cattle than in him.

Daniel took a few breaths, willing the fire to subside. He turned to his neighbor and asked, “Who on earth was that?”

“That’s Miss Eliza Dunbro.”

“Good-looking woman.”

“Yes, sir, but you don’t want to get her mad. She’s as mean as a wet polecat when she loses her temper.”

Daniel considered that for a while. What on earth was a polecat? More importantly, how could he arrange to see more of this woman who attracted him so violently? Acknowledging there was nothing he could do for the moment, he asked, “Anyone here play a decent game of cards?”

He didn’t think there’d be more trouble, but just in case, he seated himself at the card table with his back to the wall, facing the room. The fat man who had sat on him came over, shook his hand as though to say “bygones should be bygones”, said his name was Henry and signaled to the cowboy who’d sat next to Daniel.

“C’mon, Seth,” Henry called out. “C’mon, Miss Susan.” The last he addressed to the thin woman at the end of the bar.

BOOK: Vampire Cowboy
7.9Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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