Molly Harper knows how to make us laugh and bring the fun sexy at the same time. It’s no surprise VBC is excited for her new book The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires. This stand-alone book is set in the same town as Molly’s Nice Girls… books, but focuses on a daytime concierge for vampires.
The book comes out on July 31, but I have a taste of it for you right here. This comes from the beginning of chapter 14 when Iris’s little sister is getting ready for a date and is provided with a taser. Read to the end and I’ll be giving away a copy of the book.
The next sunset found me strapping on the hiking boots and the Jansport backpack I’d been using for these little excursions since high school. After massive apologies for her unauthorized school-night outing, Gigi announced that she had plans for the evening. Despite her assertions that she’d been at Ben’s so he could help her with a PowerPoint presentation for her final AP history project, my initial instinct was to ground her.
But Cal insisted that it was a good idea for her to be out of the house for the night. In fact, he was so insistent that I bit back my irritation at his interfering. Cal was worried, whether it was some unseen menace he felt coming or the idea of leaving Gigi unchaperoned in the house where Ben could come by for a “visit.” So Gigi was heading to Ben’s, where both parents were present and had a “the bedroom door stays open at all times” policy.
“Are you sure you’re up for this?” I asked, doublelacing my boots as we prepared for our outing.
He seemed insulted by the question. “I am stronger every day.”
I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t flex his arms to prove his point. (Don’t judge me. I like arms.) He was getting stronger, strong enough to leave the nest, so to speak. My time with him was coming to a close. I could feeling it slipping away like a clock winding down. I cleared my throat, eyeing his battered motorcycle boots, which would be pretty damn uncomfortable after a few miles. “I’m just saying, you don’t seem like the outdoorsy type. Do you even ride a motorcycle?”
“A few of them over time. There happens to be a motorcycle in my garage at this very moment,” he retorted. “And I slept outdoors for almost ten consecutive years.”
“I know you hate when I point this out, but that was a while ago.”
“You know you two sound like the Bickersons, right?”
Gigi giggled, bounding down the stairs and settling between us on the couch.
“When does the movie start?” I asked.
“Seven-thirty,” Gigi said. “Ben’s meeting me there. He’s got baseball practice. I will be home by ten-thirty, unless we stop for ice cream. And if we do, I’ll call you.”
“Good girl,” I said.
Cal cleared his throat. “And do you have the, er, item I gave you?”
I arched a brow at Gigi, who gleefully reached into her purse. “Cal got me Mace!”
“Aw!” I grinned at him. “That was thoughtful of you.”
“And a Taser!” Gigi exclaimed, whipping the pocketsized device out of her handbag.
“Are you insane?” I cried at my vampire, who was making “cut it out” gestures toward Gigi behind my back. “Why not just get her an Uzi?”
“Because Uzis don’t come in pink!” Gigi added, pulling the candy-colored stun gun out of its holster. She fired it up, giggling as an arc of light jumped between the two metal probes.
I shot an incredulous look at Cal. “How did you even get that?”
“Internet,” Cal mumbled. “I just want Ben to watch his step. A well-placed touch of the Taser can help keep someone on his best behavior.”
“You cannot take that to school, Geeg. I’m going to get phone calls,” I told her.
“I know,” she said, rolling her eyes. “Cal ordered a special mount for my car, so I can store it under the driver’s seat. He showed me how to fire it and which areas of the body work best. And if I Tase someone just to see if it works, he will take it away. And on that note, I’m going. I’ll call you.”
“Do not get that stuff out of your purse unless you feel uncomfortable,” I told her. “People have very little tolerance for accidental electrocution.”
Cal nudged her shoulder and told her, “Remember.”
Then he began an odd sort of dance in which he gestured to his neck, his armpits, and his groin. She rolled her eyes again and slung her arms around him. He froze, and I was about to warn her off, but he awkwardly patted her back. She gave me an absent wave and bolted out the door.
“What the hell?” I demanded, doing a bad impression of the dance he’d just performed.
“I was just reminding her of the most painful places to be Tased,” he said.
“You know, I’m going to forward the calls to your cell phone the first time she zaps some hapless classmate’s junk because she’s having a bad day.”
“It’s a risk I’m willing to take,” he said solemnly. He pulled a little box from behind the couch.
“I got one for you, too,” he said as I pulled out a frightening-looking box proclaiming the make and model of my very own Taser. It was green, with a floral print holster.
“Wow, Cal, I don’t know what to say.”
Really. How do you respond when someone gifts you with nonlethal law-enforcement equipment? If I was a rational person, I would thank him and turn it down. But considering the rate at which I’d been accosted, attacked, or just plain annoyed over the last few weeks, I thanked him politely and stuck it in my purse.
“Just say you’ll read the instruction manual,” he said sternly. “I think Gigi only skimmed it because she knew I was going to quiz her.”
He was really, sincerely, worried about her. I could see it written all over his face: the furrowed brow, the tense mouth. I saw that in my reflection more often than I cared to admit. Cal wasn’t just worried about this unknown entity targeting vampires. He wanted Gigi safe from everything, and just like me, he realized that placing her in a hermetically sealed habitat wasn’t possible.
Not to mention that it was cost-prohibitive.
For so long, I’d been the only one worrying about Gigi. To share that weight, however willingly I’d taken it on, was a sublime thing. Touched by his inappropriately applied concern, I kissed his mouth with a resounding smack. His arms wound around me, pulling me close. The tension seemed to melt away from my body.
“What was that for?” he asked, pushing waves of hair back from my face.
I rested my forehead against his throat and sighed.
One lucky VBC reader can bring home Molly Harper’s latest The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Contest is open to U.S. residents only and ends Aug. 13.