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When Nathan first saw her, his heart would have stopped, if it hadn't already done so ages ago.
It wasn't her physical appearance that drew his attention. In a city the size of Atlanta, she was no more unique than any other relatively attractive young woman.
It was something else--something different. He felt as if he'd turned a corner in a desert city to find an exotic flower and was compelled to take a deep draught of its scent.
Changing his path, he followed the woman into a shop filled with video tapes, and observed her from a dozen feet away.
She couldn't be as much as five and a half feet tall, and her thick dark hair fell nearly to her waist. Her figure wasn't spectacular, yet she was nicely rounded. She wore black jeans and a black cotton blouse, and hid her eyes behind sunglasses.
Nathan frowned. Sunglasses at night?
Pretending to study the back of a taped movie container, he approached her, wondering if she might be one of his own kind trying to hide her presence. He waited for the awareness to tingle at the back of his neck, but nothing happened.
No vampire was that good at disguise. She wasn't a child of the night.
He stepped closer and the sound of her heartbeat verified his verdict.
So, what was she?
Her scent was odd. She smelled of herbs and smoke and honeysuckle, all mixed together in a very feminine package. Was she simply a mortal woman? If so, why did it seem that his head had suddenly filled with fog?
She moved toward him and he turned to face the shelf. Her sleeve brushed against his arm as she walked past, and the fog thickened and swirled wildly around him. He felt as if he were lifting off the ground, although he knew he wasn't.
"Nate?Come on, baby, let's do it."
"What?" He spun around and staggered back a step, entangling himself in strings of beads blocking a doorway. He stood in darkness--no bright lights, no shelves of plastic tape containers.
A woman laughed and he stared across the room at Star.
Nathan battled his way free of the beads and glanced down at his empty hands. Hadn't he been holding a video case?
"Come on, Nate. This is great shit, but it's gonna wear off if you don't hurry."
Nathan straightened and looked around. What was he doing in Star's trailer? The small window to his left suggested the darkness of New Mexico nights, but it was impossible, wasn't it? Hadn't he just been in a video shop in downtown Atlanta? Hadn't the millennium passed a few years back?
How could it be 1964?
The answer was obvious; it couldn't be.
He turned his attention to the young woman who lay across the tie-dyed bedspread, her body bare but for the thin black choker around her neck. "What the hell are you doing here?" he asked.
Star laughed. "I live here."
Star sat up, one leg drawn to the side. "I'll have to light another joint if you don't get busy."
She waved her hand absently. "You know, take off the threads. Free your body, and I'll blow your mind." Blue eyes glistening in candlelight, she laughed again.
He'd forgotten just how lyrical her laugh was.
Was this a dream of some kind? He'd never had one quite so real. Incense and marijuana smoke thickened the cool night air as it blew in, and outside a pair of coyotes yapped.
"What's the deal, man? You plannin' to make me beg or something? That's so square." Moving with fluid grace, Star rose from the small bed and crossed the room. Grinning, she started at his shoulders and ran her hands down the front of his shirt.
Her touch was real enough. Heat sizzled through the fabric to his cold skin.
Posted January 4, 2011
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