That's what they always say, and for now, vampire hunter Delia hopes it's true. After years of mediocre performances, she's still nothing more than a grunt in her hunter league, stuck on surveillance duty and low-level vamp busts.
So, when her informant drops an amazing lead in her lap, she jumps at the opportunity to take down the region's rumored vampire leader at an invite-only masquerade ball. Clad in a mask and uncomfortable dress, Delia throws herself into the fray—only to realize she’s woefully unprepared for the night that awaits her.
Also… Some ridiculously attractive guy dressed as the Fool keeps distracting her.
One night. One job. One man. One chance to change her life.
All she has to do is not screw it up.
The Fool is a novella intended for readers aged 18+, and is the prologue for the paranormal romance serial Games We Play.
“You look bored.”
The observation came two hours into the night, just as Delia reached the bottom of her first drink. She’d abandoned socializing for a bit, preferring to watch the interactions between couples and groups and individuals from a safe distance off to side. Scowling, she turned on her heel to stare down the idiot who made the comment, only to find her glare losing some of its venom when she spotted him. Lounging against the wall, the man was dressed simply in a black dress shirt rolled to his elbows and a pair of pressed black trousers. He might have looked like the hotel staff had it not been for the expensive watch and the gold and purple mask. Little bells jingled with the slightest movement, and she realized he’d chosen a jester’s mask for the evening.
Who voluntarily decides to be the fool at a masquerade ball?
At least she wasn’t the only one who missed the boat on the whole “formal” shtick.
Delia raised an eyebrow at him. “Excuse me?”
His overwhelming handsomeness didn’t excuse rudeness. Delia wasn’t bored. She was working. Like a serious vampire hunter who…was sick of watching idiots get progressively drunk. And mildly frustrated that she couldn’t tell vamp from human with all the pomp and circumstance.
Pushing himself off the wall, the stranger strolled toward her, oozing casual and collected like it was his job. She tried not to let her stare linger on the sharp cut of his jawline or the tousled effect of his dark hair—or the broadness of his shoulders and the taut muscularity of his arms. Tall but not excessively wide. Physically fit without being off-putting.
“I apologize,” he offered, a hand on his chest as he bowed a little. “You look beautiful, fair creature. Fairest of all the fair creatures this night—”
“Oh my god, okay,” Delia said with a slight groan, rolling her eyes as he straightened up. His smirk did not go unnoticed. “I’d rather be bored than whatever that was.”
His mask covered almost all of his face, stopping just above his lips. The dull gold hue of the part covering his face made his eyes stand out: bright blue, almost unnervingly so. Delia’s first thought was that they were the eyes of a vamp, and her defences shot up immediately.
“What’s your name, fair creature?” He held out his hand for her to shake, and Delia quickly tucked her clutch under her arm.
“Delia,” she said as she slipped her hand into his larger one, surprised at its warmth. Vamps were cold—frigid and dead. Diseased, some said. He was definitely human, but unfamiliar to her, even with the mask—not one of the local elites, that was for sure. “And yourself?”
“What is the purpose of wearing masks if we expose ourselves, Delia?” His grip tightened.
She yanked her hand away when she realized she’d been played. Lips pressed together irritably, she turned and refocused on the masquerade guests.
Moments later, a presence hovered dangerously close, well inside her personal bubble, and she flinched when he tucked her hair behind her shoulder.
“But you can call me the Fool if you wish.”
As a freelance ghostwriter, she has written thirteen books, which range from romance to horror, full-length to novella-sized. A handful are currently on the market, and she stalks their "authors" with fiendish delight. She loves writing realistic characters in fantastical settings.