Miss Me When the Sun Goes Down

BOOK: Miss Me When the Sun Goes Down
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Miss Me

When the Sun Goes Down

 

By

Lisa Olsen

 

Copyright © 201
3 Lisa Olsen, all rights reserved.

 

Cover Images licensed by Depositphotos.com/Michael Adamczyk/Syda Productions

 

This book is sold subject to the conditions that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, copied, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any other format or changed in any way, including the author’s name and title, and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

 

This is a work of fiction.  Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination, or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.  The use of any real person, company or product names are for literary effect only and used without permission.  The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for third-party websites or their content.

 

Visit the author’s website at
http://www.lisaolsen.net

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

Chocolate covered thanks to my editing team, Beckie Pimentel, Marilyn Weaver, and James Olsen for really coming through in a time crunch to get this sucker ready for publication!  Randi Pandi, thanks for all your support and great feedback, as usual.   Thanks to everyone who voted on the cover art and voted to make
Follow Me When the Sun Goes Down
my next writing project.  I love getting your input on my website! 

 

Chapter One

 

I couldn’t breathe. 

Okay, so technically I didn’t need to breathe (being a vampire and all), but my lungs seized up tight, squeezing my chest like a bear hug from a linebacker.  Little old me, Anja Evans
– art college drop out, relative newbie in vampire society and newly single without Bishop by my side – the new Jarl of the Northwest?  Great googly moogly… how did I get myself into these things?

What did that even mean?  From Jarrod and Leander’s pretty speech, it was clear they wanted my counsel and protection (as if I could provide either!)
and were willing to pay top dollar for it.  It would’ve been laughable if everyone in the bar hadn’t all been staring at me with adoring puppydog eyes, absolutely convinced in my ability to deliver. 

I opened my mouth to protest, and nothing came out but a squeak, which was thankfully swallowed by the ocean of well-wishers, plying our table with free drinks.  Ellie ate it up, her naturally boisterous personality having no trouble making friends in a new city, while Maggie was more reserved, though I could see the excitement shining behind her pretty hazel eyes.  My new bodyguards, Gunnar and Isak, looked impassive as always, glowering behind me in what was supposed to be a
n intimidating stance, I’m sure. 

My eyes sought out Rob, finding him leaning against the bar, the hint of a smile playing over his lips.  Despite
his laid-back demeanor, there was nothing casual in the way his eyes slid over the room.  Alert, they missed nothing.  Despite having foisted me off on the hired goons behind me, I knew he still had my back, watching carefully for any hint of danger.  Dressed in his usual blue jeans with a tight t-shirt stretched across his muscular form, with more stubble on his jaw than on his closely shaven head, he gave off just the right touch of menace to keep a cushion of space around him.  Overall appealing, in a dangerous sort of way, but I kind of missed the suit.

I shot him a pleading
glance, hoping he’d come and scare off some of the crowd jostling my table, but he gave a slow shake of the head, leaving me to deal with it.  It made sense, I supposed, he was leaving anyway.  It’d be better to learn how to take care of that sort of thing on my own. 

The din was overpowering to my sensitive ears.  Almost everyone else in the Bleeding Hart was a vampire too, didn’t it bother them?  Apparently not, from the way they clamored for my attention, shoutin
g to outdo each other.  It got easier once I figured out they didn’t actually care what I had to say in response.  All that was required of me was to nod and smile, as long as I gave them some acknowledgement.  Somehow or other I managed to keep it together until it was just Rob and me in the car, my new bodyguards escorting Ellie and Maggie back to the apartment. 

At first I slumped against the leather seat, exhau
sted, while Rob drove smoothly through the hilly streets of San Francisco.  But the farther away I got from my new subjects, the more it sank in.  I had subjects.  I had a territory.  I had a position. 
Now
I felt like I was about to hyperventilate. 

“Oh G
od… what happened back there?” I moaned, voice muffled by my hands.  “What the heck is a Jarl anyways?”

A grave
lly laugh rumbled from Rob’s chest, his rough British accent lending a streetwise twist to his words.  “Don’t get your knickers in a knot, it’s nothing you can’t handle.  It’s sort of like the chief of these parts.  You should be glad, yeah?  It’s a grand honor.”

Glad?  All I wanted to do was
come home and curl up into a ball to lick my wounds after Bishop’s rejection – the last thing I wanted was to be thrust into the spotlight.  “But… I’m not a four hundred year old vampire, remember?  I’ve only been at this for a couple of months.  How can I possibly qualify for something like this?” 


They’ve already been treating you as such, coming to you for counsel and you’ve been aces at it.  Why not make it formal-like and get the recognition you deserve?  Not to mention a bit of scratch.”

He was right on that count, I could use the money.  Even with Bishop staying indefinitely in England, I didn’t feel right about
living at his place anymore.  That left me cramming into my old apartment with Maggie and Ellie, and that meant paying rent.  I couldn’t depend on my parents for money anymore either, not since I’d dropped out of college.  At some point I’d have to have a serious conversation with them about that, but I had too many other things to worry about at the moment.  “You knew they were going to do that and you let it happen, didn’t you?” My blue eyes swung towards him accusingly.  “Why didn’t you warn me what to expect?”


I suspected as much,” Rob replied with a half shrug.  “You’re worried you might bodge it up?”


The thought had come to mind, yes.”  Even with my newly found ability to compel other vampires (or maybe especially because of it), I didn’t feel confident about dispensing counsel or protection to anyone.  How could I be responsible for an entire district if I couldn’t even get my own life in order? 

“You realize I have no idea how to do this job, right?  I mean, how often am I supposed to give counsel?  Will it always be at the Hart, or am I expected to see people
at my place?  How am I supposed to keep them from finding out I’m a fraud if they see I’m holed up in a tiny apartment with two other girls?”

“That’s for you to decide.  You’re the Jarl, remember?”
He shot me an amused smirk.  “Look, you set the rules, you determine how much you want to take on.  Plus, you can afford to get your own place now with that box of cash.  It’ll be easy peasey.”

Somehow I didn’t think it’d be as simple as he let on.  “And what kind of protection can I really give people against the Order?”

“You can bloody well offer more protection against them than any other vamp in these parts.” 

“You mean with my compulsion.”

“Too right.”

It wasn’t something I wanted to rely on, or even develop as a talent.  So far it’d been more trouble than it was worth.  But what if he was right?  What if I could use my ability for good?  If I’d known about my ability to compel other vampires in time, could I have saved Scotty and Marta’s lives?  That was something to think about. 

All at once I realized we weren’t headed back to my apartment.  “Where are we going?”

“I thought you might like to pick up some things from your boy’s flat, seeing as how…”

“Seeing as how he’s not my boy any more,” I sighed, looking out the window. 

“He’ll come ‘round, you’ll see.”

“Not unless he’s magically able to get over his trust issues, he won’t.”  Not that I blamed him.  If I knew the person I was in love with had the ability to alter my thoughts and memories with a single glance, I’d think twice about getting involved with them too.  Actually, I had – with my Sire, Jakob – hadn’t I?  So far I wasn’t aware that he’d tried to compel me into having feelings for him, but the threat was always there.   

We rode in silence for the rest of the way,
and when he pulled into the parking lot behind Bishop’s building, I didn’t move a muscle.  “I’m not sure how long it’ll take me to get my stuff together.  Do you want to come up?” 

“I’ll see you up to the door.  I’ve already told your new bodyguards to come round after they drop off the girls.” 

Then he was planning on ditching me sooner than later.  I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of his replacements.  “Are you sure about those guys?  They look kinda rough and imposing.”

“That’s their job.”

“Yes, but… what are they like?”

“How do you mean?”  His forehead scrunched up in confusion and I searched for the right words to make him understand. 

“What are they like when they’re not standing around looking rough and imposing?  These guys are going to be with me all the time, right?  Are they always going to be standing stock still like bookends, or will they relax and have a cup of tea with me like you do?” 


I’ve no idea.  I just know they’re the best I could send for to look after you.”  Rob got out of the car and came around to open my door.  I felt silly sitting there like a pouting child with him standing around waiting, so I left the security of the car and headed up the stairs to Bishop’s door. 

“I still don’t think you should have to pay for them.  I can afford the
m now, can’t I?”  I wasn’t entirely sure how much was in that moneybox, but it looked like a fair amount of cash.

“You could, but it’s already been taken care of.”

“I’m not your responsibility though.  Jakob’s the one who hired you.  Maybe he should have to pay for them?” 


I wanted to see you looked after.” 

He sounded almost wistful, and I wondered, not for the first time, whose idea it was for him to leave in the first place.  “
You could always stick around, if you wanted to really make sure I was safe.”  My voice was hopeful as I leaned against the doorframe, at least until I caught his expression and I knew the answer to that.  “You’ll come back after your business is over though, right?”

“I don’t know
.  I can’t say when I’ll be in these parts again.” He looked away.


Oh.”  My voice sounded small to my ears.  “Where will you be going?”


It’s better that you don’t know.”

I
t started to sink in that this was a different kettle of fish than I’d been expecting.  Knowing Rob would be leaving, I always supposed that he’d be back after whatever he had to take care of was wrapped up.  But it became clear I wasn’t losing Rob for a while, now it felt like I was really losing him.  As in forever.  “Okay, so I can respect that babysitting me isn’t the most glorious of jobs, but… at least promise we’ll stay in touch.” 


I don’t want you to get your hopes up on that score.  Where I’m headed, it might not be possible for a while.” 

My eyes narrowed, trying my best to read between the lines. 
“Are you saying I won’t see you again?”


It’s hard to say, but it isn’t likely to be for a while.  Not until I can get some things sorted.”  Rob wouldn’t meet my gaze, suddenly more interested in the scuff on the top of his shoe. 

I
t was all too much.  First Bishop, then Bridget, now Rob…  I’d thought maybe I could limp along for a while and not mess things up too badly until he got back.  But how was I supposed to get along completely on my own?  As much as I enjoyed getting to know Ellie and Maggie, I couldn’t be myself around them.  They depended on me for too much. 

“Rob…
I need you,” I pleaded, willing him to look at me.  I wasn’t too proud to let him see the naked fear in my eyes.  “How else am I going to get through this?”

Rob’s head came up at the panic in my voice, his f
eatures softening as he leaned forward to deliver the smallest brush of lips to my brow.  “No, you don't.  You can handle anything you've a mind to take on.”


So this is it then.” 


I’m afraid so.”

“I don’t want to say goodbye.” 
I know, I know… it was so selfish of me, but goodbye sounded so final. 

“Say cheers then.”  The corner of his mouth tugged up into a half smile.  “You’ll be alright, Anja.  I wouldn’t leave if I didn’t truly believe it.”

I drew myself up, refusing to completely fall apart in front of him once I heard the absolute assurance in his voice.  Even if it was all a load of bunk designed to bolster my confidence, it’d have to be enough.  “Cheers, Rob.  Thanks for everything, you’ve been a good friend.  I really do hope we meet again.”

“Never can tell.”  His lips twitched
into a fleeting smile, as he shuffled backwards on the landing.  “I’ll wait outside until the boys get here to bring you home.”

“Rob…” I reached out to call him back, but no flash of brilliance struck to change his mind.  “I think… tell them, I’m spending the night here.  They can meet me here when the sun goes down tomorrow.”

“As you wish.”  The warmth was gone from his lips, but not his eyes as he turned to descend the stairs.

BOOK: Miss Me When the Sun Goes Down
5.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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