“So, you’re really not a vampire?” the pretty young woman leaned forward on her barstool, showing off her cleavage. Her blonde hair spilling in curls around her shoulders. The side of her red lipstick was smeared along her cheek.
I handed her a napkin and indicated on my own face where she needed to wipe.
With a nervous laugh, she dabbed at the lipstick.
In the past, I might have entertained her, but I had a feisty brunette waiting for me Fae-side. I’d only been away from her for a day and I was already missing her. Couldn’t even call her or send her a text. The human world with all their technology had a distinct advantage over my kind. Sure, we had magic, but no one had crafted a spell to send a message from the human world into ours or vice versa.
I stroked my chin considering the business patent on any invention. Would make a ton of allies and money…not that I needed either.
“Malcolm?” the woman purred, running her hand up my thigh.
“Sorry, Luv,” I gently picked her hand up and off my leg, “I’m no vampire and I’m taken.”
The perky blonde licked her lips, glancing around the bar. “I don’t see anyone here, but us.”
“I’m not interested. Try Jerry though, he’s not only a hell of a bartender but single.”
Not caring what the women thought, I stood and strode to the back of the bar. It was past closing time and I had let the women stay after to finish their drinks which they had purposely nursed for another hour.
Never kicked women out of my bar before, but something inside me was screaming to get back home—to Avery. I quickly shoved empty beer bottles into the trash and tossed it out into the dumpster.
Only reason I hadn’t shut down our bars ranging across three neighboring towns was Avery had said there was a connection somehow to the missing women and mine. A few ladies had visited Darrius’ and Simeon’s bars, but mine had the most cases. Which meant a serial kidnapper was somehow watching and taking any of the women who had tasted the golden martini to see if they were the missing Fae queen or not. The drink made human women giddy and very relaxed. Only now did we realize it set them up as prime victims. I growled and punched the side of the dumpster.
Somehow our unknown enemy was able to detect the Fae Snapdragon’s nectar in each woman. And the fact this was still happening meant either the guilty person hadn’t known that we found Avery and that she took the throne. Or they didn’t care. Like they’d gotten a taste for killing.
I hated that our actions had harmed innocents, but without the elixir, we might never have discovered Avery was the missing Dragon-Fae princess.
It was like for every one thing we accomplished, bad things drew to us like maggots.
“Hey, boss?” Jerry called out from the back door. His black hair tucked under his baseball cap. “Everything okay?”
“Yeah.” I tossed in the last trash bag. “You headed out?”
He nodded. “I’ve locked up the front for you.”
“Have a good night. Drive carefully.”
“Will do, boss.” He turned away, then snapped his fingers. “Oh yeah, we’re out of the Golden Martini mix. But I scrounged up enough to give them each a glass before they left.”
I froze, terror raced through me. “Wha—we didn’t have any left.”
“Nah, we got a delivery of it about two weeks ago.” Jerry pushed his hands into his pockets. “The women love that drink. It’s our most pop—”
“What delivery?” Fae-nectar wasn’t something you could just order online. It was only available to Fae royalty and had to be smuggled across the border when Darrius, Simeon and I brought it over.
“Dunno. Just some guy dropped it off.” He shuffled from foot to foot.
“What did he look like? Young or old any markings on his face or anything?” I didn’t want to freak the kid out, but this might be a clue as to who was taking the women.
A panicked look came into his brown eyes. “Sorry, I don’t remember. H-he didn’t ask for a signature though. Just said you’d taken care of everything and left the box.”
His words sank into my gut and twisted like knives. Whoever had taken the women in the past was still at it, just like Avery had said. And now that I knew he was after these women as my best guess, I might be able to catch-up to them. Save them. “Did the women leave with anyone? Take an uber?” I dashed the distance between us. “Where did they go?”
“Mr. Gould, you’re scaring me.” Jerry tugged on his shirt and it was just then that I realized I had gripped the material.
I let go of his shirt with unease hurtling through me.
“Didn’t see which way they went. I was busy cleaning up.”
I clenched my fists. “Tell me exactly what happened.”
“The girls asked for the special. I made it for them. They drank it, laughing at some joke as I closed out and they walked out of the bar. That’s it.”
“You did great, Jerry. Thanks.” I forced myself to unclench my hands. Didn’t need to freak the kid out any more than I already had. “See you Friday, okay?”
He swallowed and nodded.
I hurried out of the alley to the front of the bar, hoping to see some clue as to where the women went. Or that I was hugely mistaken, and the women were safely on their way home. Except all of this was too coincidental of the women having the elixir then leaving the bar right after. A ride home would’ve taken a bit longer to get here.
I ran along the sidewalk, hunting for any clues of where the women went or any sign of abduction.
Not too many Fae could detect Fae-nectar enough to know when a human had tasted it. But I had no idea on the Unseelie side of the realm. Those bastards were capable of nearly anything. They were the ones who crafted the monsters and night terrors of Fae-tales.
I skidded to a stop at one of my bar’s napkins cartwheeling down the street. Bright red lipstick like the blonde had been wearing was spread across the surface.
My heart thumped in my ears as I raced for the evidence and snagged the napkin before it careened into the sewer grate. I placed the napkin in my pocket and headed in the direction from where I’d seen it flying.
Many Fae couldn’t touch iron but could be using a specially-made vehicle or had brought something else just as fast. If he was shadow kin, he could ride the darkness as easily as walking.
Either way, I intended to find the bastard and end this.