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Book 3 in the Bitten by Love series
Dreading the prospect of losing her position on the Vampire Committee, Victoria is forced to integrate with the mortal population. She hasn’t stepped outside since her husband died nearly 40 years ago and the thought of being treated like the 17-year-old she resembles frustrates her. But when she discovers that Ben, her hot & sexy driver’s ed teacher, is blind, she gives into temptation and flirts. She never expects to fall in love.
Ben knows he shouldn’t get involved with Victoria—she’s his student. But something compels him toward her. She makes him feel young, alive, and more importantly, whole.
Victoria would love nothing better than to have Ben as a mate, but fears he wouldn’t want to be blind forever. As she struggles to keep her identity hidden from him, an old acquaintance of Victoria’s turns up and is willing to do anything to win her love, including disposing of her boyfriend.
A Mythical Press Romance
When life became rough, nothing worked better at soothing her spirit than the silky texture of her handkerchief. Now if she could only get her life upgraded to rough.
Victoria sat with her head down, the smooth material failing miserably to calm her. She couldn’t have heard the Head of the Committee correctly. Never in all her years had she been called into his office for disciplinary action.
“Do you understand me?” he asked.
“You had a meeting without me?” she asked. “What have I done wrong?”
Barnet came from behind his desk looking more fatherly than her own father had. The smattering of grey in his hair only enhanced that image. He sat in the chair beside her. “Victoria, we’re concerned. Staying holed up is not healthy and it’s not been fair to the other members.”
“I am not holed up. I go out.” Just because she lived at Headquarters, which was her right, didn’t mean she stayed in her room. The Underground Atlanta shopping mall was but a doorway away.
“The Underground is not going out. Seeing the stars, walking in Centennial Park, driving to an assignment, now that’s going out.”
She didn’t even know where that park was located. Had it even existed before 1967? And what was so great about seeing the stars? They couldn’t have changed. But what he was asking her to do… “You don’t play fair, Barnet.”
“Don’t go there, Victoria. We’ve been more than fair. Forty-plus years of exile is long enough. Actually, it’s been too long. If you wish to remain on the Committee, you will attend class tonight.”
“Why can’t you just give me the manual? I’ll read it. I promise.”
Barnet smiled. “That would kind of defeat the purpose. We want you out of Headquarters, mingling with the population. You can’t get that with reading.”
“And a driving class is supposed to accomplish this? I don’t even own a car.”
“Are you afraid to drive? Is that it?”
Not so much driving, only what driving stood for, but she wouldn’t admit that. “Can’t very well be afraid of something I’ve never done before.”
He rose. “Then there is nothing to discuss.”
“Is this at least an adult class?”
He let out an exaggerated sigh. “I won’t lie to you. It’s possible the class will be filled with teenagers. Most adults already know how to drive. As Henrik should have taught you.”
She moaned. It was worse than she’d thought. “You can’t do this to me! They’re going to treat me like…like one of them.”
“Only if you act like one.”
Oh, what did Barnet know? He hadn’t been turned at seventeen. No, his turning had happened after his forty-second birthday.
“The school thinks you’re twenty-two. You act like twenty-two, they’ll treat you accordingly.”
How about if she acted three hundred and eighty-one? How might they treat her then?
* * * *
The front door slammed and Ben all but jumped off the couch. That’s what he got for reading ’Salem’s Lot. Vampires. He shuddered. Thank God they didn’t exist.
The scent of lilacs preceded Susannah’s entrance. “Ben! I’m so glad you’re here.”
“Where else would I be?” he muttered. Sometimes he really wondered about her mind. Had turning forty done that to her? Is that what he had to look forward to next year? Papers to his right rustled and the scent intensified. Ben marked his spot in the book and turned toward his sister. “What’s wrong?”
“My instructor for tonight’s class quit on me. Last minute. I can’t afford to cancel this class. I need you to teach it.”
Ben laughed. Sometimes Susannah had a rich sense of humor. She sure knew how to play it, acting all serious. “That’s a good one.”
“I’m not kidding.”
Shit. “Why can’t you do it?”
“Because I’m already teaching another class.”
“Then put them together.”
“I can’t. It’s the driving portion. Do you want to take that one over instead?”
She placed her hand on his knee. “I’m sorry, but I need the money. We need the money. You have to help me, here.”
“No one’s going to believe I can teach them the rules of driving.”
“You’ve taught it before. You know the class.”
His pulse raced. Yeah, but that wasn’t the point and she knew it. “Can’t you just cancel tonight’s class? I’m sure you’ll find someone.”
“Not last minute. And not at the rate I can afford to pay. Please, Ben. I haven’t asked for much, have I? I let you live here.”
He rose. “So you’re saying if I don’t do it, you’ll kick me out? Nice, Suze.”
She grabbed his arm. “No, of course not. But if I cancel this class, we may both be out. I’ll be short on rent. Your tutoring income can’t cover it.”
He sat back on the couch. “You said it was enough.”
“Normally, it is. But…”
The emergency room. Shit. He covered his face. “I told you I shouldn’t have gone.”
“Like I was going to stitch you up. Sure. Next time maybe I will.” She was getting angry. Her voice raised an octave, usually a good indication.
He puffed out a breath. “Suze, I want to help, but if I’m the teacher on record—”
“You won’t be. I will.”
“No one’s going to know. After I’m finished with my driving class, I’ll take over yours. Please, Ben.”
Who in their right mind would believe he could teach driver’s education? Maybe agreeing would make her see what a terrible mistake it was. “Fine. I’ll do it.”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you.” She hugged him tight and nearly knocked him over. “Now hurry up and get changed. Class starts in an hour.”
Crap. What the hell had he gotten himself into?
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