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The Vampire Next Door
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ISBN-10: 1-89484-155-7
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Romance/Fantasy/SF
eBook Length: 66 Pages
Published: November 2010
OUT OF PRINT

From inside the flap

Rudi Alexandrov wasn’t happy to discover his solicitor had sold off the carriage house, especially when his new neighbor disturbed his rest. Worse, when Tori Mahoney popped up on his back doorstep and discovered he was a vampire, he found out something even more unsettling about her--he couldn’t mesmerize her into forgetting what she’d seen.

The Vampire Next Door (Excerpt)


CHAPTER ONE

FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS

Lying in his bed he could hear them, violating the sanctity of his Lair. Heavy furniture scraped across the floor, jarring him awake.

With a deep sigh, he forced his frayed nerves to relax. And for a moment silence and darkness reigned in his private space. Rudi dozed, reaching after that elusive tendril of sleep. Then something heavy fell over in the house next door, startling him back to awareness.

His hands clenched in anger. He was Vampire, Lord of Darkness. He shouldn’t have to put up with this. But even vampires had to contend with their neighbors in this modern world. Part of life in the new millennium and all that rubbish.

He’d never meant to sell the carriage house on his property. He loathed having neighbors in such close proximity. Originally built on the same estate, the foundations of the two buildings were connected. Sound carried like a drum in his basement bedroom. Leaving the estate in the care of his solicitor during an extended stay in Europe had been a huge mistake. But who could have foreseen how expensive things would get in the twenty-first century or how little his artist’s salary would buy? His beleaguered solicitor had been forced to sell the carriage house to maintain the estate.

Since that misguided sale, the property had turned over several times, forcing him to deal with a constant stream of new neighbors. Another thud made him regret the situation even more.

Through a crack between the black velvet draperies on his four-poster bed, he could see the blinding glare of the sun still high in the sky. Nothing to be done about it; he was stuck there until dusk.

Curses! He needed his sleep. He had a review due this evening, one that had to be e-mailed before dawn to his editor.

The movers spent the rest of the afternoon thumping above his head, destroying the possibility of restful slumber. By the time the sun set in the western sky, he was ready to throttle his new neighbor.


***

Tori Mahoney stared across the sea of boxes crammed into the tiny house. The setting sun bathed the room in a feeble pink glow. She couldn’t remember in which box she’d packed her flashlight. She rubbed a grubby hand across her face and tucked a strand of red hair behind her ear. Her stomach growled in protest at having been deprived of food for most of the day. She should order pizza. But the phone company wasn’t due until tomorrow. Even with night falling, the tiny house held on tenaciously to the late June heat. A walk in the cool air would do her good. She’d stroll down to the local convenience store and buy some groceries.

Set on the periphery of downtown, her new home offered all the convenience the big city could offer. Yet in her tiny backyard, she could almost believe she was in the country. The owner had failed to get the sale price he wanted and agreed to rent it for a reasonable sum. Things were definitely looking up, Tori thought as she rounded the corner, her arms laden with grocery bags. It was then that she noticed the red envelope sticking out of her mailbox.

Setting the groceries down on the porch, she reached for the letter. She hadn’t sent out her change of address notices yet. No one except her mother had her new address. So the letter couldn’t be for her. She peered at the writing in the twilight. Sure enough the address read 216, not 216A. The letter belonged to her next-door neighbor, Rudi Alexandrov, according to the scrawl on the envelope. Well, she’d have some dinner and then she’d return it to him.


***

Rudi arose, frazzled and wrinkled, looking more like something that had crawled out from under a rock than his suave and debonair self, and crept up to his kitchen. Avoiding the last crimson rays of the dying sun, he pulled a bag of blood from the fridge and stared across the two-foot expanse that separated him from his noisy cohabitant.

Bagged blood was a pathetic substitute for the real thing, he thought as he punctured the blood bag with the tip of one razor-sharp incisor. A few pints tapped directly from the jugular vein of his noise-polluting neighbor would suit him better. He glanced down at his wrinkled silk pajamas. He couldn’t go next door looking like that. Lord of Darkness and all. He had appearances to keep up.