BLOOD ASCENDANT (Blood Stone: Book 5)
A Vampire Menage Urban Fantasy Romance
“…a must read if you love vampires, action, suspense, and love!” — Amazon reader
EXCERPT FROM BLOOD ASCENDANT
COPYRIGHT © TRACY COOPER-POSEY 2016
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
There were not many people who earned Rory’s respect. Benjamin Lyon was one of them. Not because he was her boss and certainly not because he was once a lover. Among all the super-smart and over-intelligent people that worked at the NASA Ames Research Centre, Ben was one of those who knew how to think.
In her opinion, at least.
When Ben pushed open the heavy glass door and dropped into the visitor chair next to her desk, Rory sat back and gave him her full attention. It was usually worth the time to do so. “You look tired,” she told him.
“Three states in three days. My brain is fried,” he confessed and scrubbed at his face with both hands.
“New Mexico, Houston and…?” Those were the two other NASA facilities that Ben was usually called in to.
“Louisiana, this time.” He sat up again. “I didn’t get a chance to talk to you before I left last week.”
“You left very clear instructions,” she assured him.
“I mean, talk.” His gaze met hers.
Rory drew in a slow, controlled breath. “About?” Was Ben going to be a problem after all? He had been very adult about the end of their relationship and that had been a year ago. Rory had learned, though, that men were often very possessive about women they had slept with. They often felt as though they had a claim on them, even though Rory had been very clear about the end of the affair. She had learned to be perfectly straightforward about it.
“It’s about Corbin,” Ben said and grimaced.
Corbin Parish was a different matter. If anyone might be inclined to cause trouble, it would be him. She had cut all ties to him only a week into their relationship when she had discovered his unforgiveable flaw.
“What has Corbin done now?” she asked Ben.
He leaned forward with a heavy sigh. “He came and saw me the day before I left last week, in a total muck sweat about you. He wanted me to fire you.”
“I don’t believe that is a call Corbin gets to make.” Corbin was less senior than her and in a different department.
Ben lifted his head to look at her with blood-shot eyes. “He’d just found out you are…are…”
“You can say it. I am a vampire.”
Ben shook his head. “It still feels too surreal to say it aloud,” he confessed. “Although, as soon as I found out that you were, it was like a huge thing clicked together in my mind. It just made sense, given what I know about you.”
“Then you are not bigotted the way Corbin is,” Rory surmised.
“Not even close,” Ben assured her. “That’s why he wants you fired, you know. He quoted a lot of standard employment contract terms like failure to disclose and conflict of interest. I think he even tried non-performance.”
“I do my work and then some, as we all do,” Rory pointed out.
“Corbin seemed to feel that as you are a vampire, you should be working longer because you don’t sleep.”
Rory laughed. “His arguments are conflicting. What, exactly, is he objecting to? My nature, or my performance?”
“I think, what it comes down to is, he’s just an asshole with an axe to grind and this gives him an excuse. I sent him away with a flea in his ear.”
“Yet you still felt it necessary to tell me at the first possible moment and in person, too.”
Ben nodded. “It’s Corbin Parish. I don’t like the guy and I didn’t, even before he decided your ‘no’ wasn’t good enough. I just can’t object about him officially because he’s a talented scientist. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t watch my back if I ever got on the wrong side of him. You’ve managed to get on the wrong side of him, Rory.”
She sighed. “What is it about men like him? If I’d known, I would never have…well…” She gave Ben a tight smile.
“It’s the hormones, honey.” He grinned back. “We just haven’t evolved enough yet, I guess.”
“Present company excepted,” she assured him.
“Thanks.” He got to his feet and rotated his head, stretching the neck muscles. “Watch your back, Rory. I mean, your actual back. Corbin is the type of guy that, a hundred years ago, would have been running around in a white sheet, lynching black people. Now, with all this bullshit about vampires in the news, he can hate vampires right out in the open and not be slaughtered for it.”
“Thank you. I appreciate the warning,” Rory told him.
“Back to work.” He left her alone.
Rory returned to her project and promptly forgot about Corbin Parish. Everything Ben said about him was true and had been true of a great many people in her life. She didn’t let it worry her. She had learned how to handle the Corbin Parishs of the world long ago.
When the Santa Clara police knocked on her door, three hours later, Rory realized she should have paid more attention, after all.