Nathan gets a visit from his friend, Terra, a detective with the Atlanta police, and is worried by her appearance. She tells him she's frustrated that she hasn't caught the Slasher, a serial killer plaguing the city. As they talk, Nathan uncovers other problems in Terra's life: her new partner's a jerk, her boyfriend is a wonderful man, but rotten in bed, and her parents want her to bring her new beau to their New Year's party.
Helping with Terra's boyfriend is easy. Nathan joins them in the bedroom and gives the young man lessons. And he even helps Terra by posing as her date for the New Year's party. But when he finds one of the Slasher's victims, Nathan is mistaken for the killer. And if that isn't bad enough, at the party he meets an alluring woman who reminds him of the gypsy who got him staked years ago. Will he survive this encounter without giving away his secret?
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He couldn't resist the challenge. "Is it your latest case? Or your new partner? Your family? Your new beau--"
Terra's heart rate jumped.
"Ah, it's the young man."
Her frown deepened. "He's not that young. He's thirty-three."
Nathan sighed. "Youth is a relative thing, I'm afraid."
Her frown faded as she looked across the table at him, and a wry grin tugged at the edges of her tender mouth. "Yeah, I guess it is."
"What's wrong with ... Sam, is it?"
"Nothing's wrong. He's perfect. He's incredibly polite and nice, and he's tall and good-looking. He brings flowers whenever he picks me up, and he holds doors for me. When he talks about his work, he's passionate. He really cares about children, and people in general. He's perfect."
"You're repeating yourself."
She didn't respond.
Nathan rose and walked slowly around the table. "Let me see if I have all the facts. He's a gentleman, and an attractive one at that. Is he saddled with ex-wives?"
She shrugged. "He's not rich, but he makes a good living."
He stopped directly behind her, amused by her attempt to look relaxed. Holding the back of her chair, he leaned over to speak softly near her ear. "Have you two been intimate?"
She swallowed hard. "Yeah, sure."
A hint of lavender clung to her soft hair, and Nathan remembered how feathery the ends felt against his lips. "And did you find the experience ... satisfying?"
She swallowed again.
Ah, he'd hit the proverbial nail.
After filling his nostrils with her scent once more, Nathan straightened and continued his path around the table. "So, what do you plan to do about this problem?"
"Do? Whatthe hell can I do?"
"Discuss it with him?"
Terra pounded both fists onto the table. "What am I supposed to do, say, 'Sam, you're wonderful, but you're a rotten lover'?"
She shrugged, trying to shield her acute disappointment from him, but he saw it in her eyes. He should probably be sorry that he gave her a taste of the sexual pleasure only possible with a vampire. All mortal men would pale in comparison.
Somehow, he just couldn't regret their encounter.
But he could help her. "There is another way."
"Do you plan to spend an evening with your young man anytime soon?"
"Your place or his?"
"He's picking me up at my apartment and we're going to a movie. Why?"
Nathan returned to his chair. "Tell him that your plans have changed, and invite me to join you."
Terra's eyes widened, then she blushed as she cleared her throat. "Nathan."
"If you'd prefer to settle for rotten, it's your choice."
"What exactly do you have planned?"
"He arched one eyebrow. "Don't you trust me?"
"Of course." She swallowed hard. "He won't, you know, remember anything, will he?"
"Only the important parts."