Moon Dragon - J.R. Rain

J.R. Rain - Vampire for Hire #10 - Moon Dragon

Moon Dragon (Vampire for Hire #10)
J.R. Rain

fantasy/vampires/mystery/romance/werewolves

Chapter One

Last night, Sixty Minutes ran a segment on Judge Judy, which I made a point to record.

Now, with a pile of clean laundry in front of me and a pair of Anthony’s briefs momentarily forgotten over one shoulder—a pair I had dubbed “The Forever Stain”—I sat, transfixed, for the entire segment.

I watched Judge Judy’s rise from a small New Jersey Family Appellate Court judge to one of the highest-paid TV personalities today. The highest-paid part surprised me. Then again, I think she deserves every penny. After all, she is a role model for many, and the voice of reason to all. Anyway, the segment showed a softer side of the judge, and I appreciated seeing that. I like her softer side. She is a mother and grandmother. Someday, I hope to be a grandmother, too.

That I would be the world’s youngest-looking grandmother was another story. That my granddaughters or grandsons would, within a few decades, look older than me, was...well, the same story. That I might never meet them was too heartbreaking to consider. Perhaps I would be introduced as a long-lost aunt or something.

I sighed when the segment was over. The judge has a beautiful life, a challenging job, and grandkids everywhere. She has aged gracefully, seemingly stronger now than ever.

Myself, I have been a vampire now for nine years. I had been turned in my late twenties. Twenty-eight, in fact. I still looked twenty-eight, perhaps even younger. Perhaps closer to twenty-five or twenty-six. I should be on the cusp of looking like I was forty. Instead, I look like I am a few years out of grad school.

I might look young. I might have the strength of ten women. I might even occasionally turn into a giant vampire bat. But raising two kids—one of whom was a teenager and the other was damn close—seriously took a superhuman effort. How mortals did it, I would never know.

I sighed heavily when I turned off the TV, briefly jealous of the life Judge Judy had created, and wondering how the hell my life was going to turn out, knowing I would have to cross that bridge when I got there.

My doorbell rang.

I looked at the time on my cell. My potential client was early.

I glanced at the laundry piles scattered over the couch and recliner and shrugged. That’s what my potential client got for being early. Still, I quickly shoved the briefs under the biggest pile. No one deserved to see The Forever Stain. Even early clients. Hell, even my worst enemies. Truly cruel and unusual punishment.

I had long since ditched my annoying habit of reaching up for my sunglasses every time I opened the front door, or checking my exposed skin for sunblock. Indeed, those habits had been eradicated in this past year. A year I had spent “living in the light,” as Allison liked to put it. Allison is annoying too, but I love her.

Now, I confidently opened the front door and ushered in a woman I knew. A woman I loathed. A woman I nearly slammed the front door on, or tripped as she came in. Or blindsided and tackled her to the floor where I wanted to give her the world’s biggest noogie and wedgie and then drag her over to my bathroom toilet for a “swirlie,” as the kids used to call it back when I was in high school.

But I didn’t.

I had been preparing myself all day to see Nancy Pearson. Or, as she liked to be called in a former life, Sugar Pearson.

She was, of course, the woman my murdered ex-husband had cheated on me with while we were married. She had called earlier today and requested to see me. I had nearly told her to go to hell. In fact, I was fairly certain I had thought it loud enough for her to hear it, because she had said, “Excuse me” at one point.

Anyway, she needed help and thought I was the right woman for the job.

Oh, joy.

So, being the sucker that I am—or, as Kingsley puts it, the bleeding heart that I am—I allowed the woman into my home, the woman who’d helped to destroy my marriage. I led her down the hall and into my office.

I settled behind my desk, and she did the same in front of my desk, in one of the three client chairs.

“So,” I said, noticing my heartbeat had picked up its