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It had been a tight touring schedule and tonight the demons were tired and hungry. Vic leaned against the bar, pale and brooding, sniffing the air occasionally for a whiff of his favorite blood type. Lazaro already had his eye on someone - a studious-looking sort who probably had just the type of intellectual brain he liked to call dinner. As for Bo...Ricky looked around. If the bass player wasn't in a dark corner with one of the girls who had been vying for his attention during the last set, then he was probably up to no good in the manager's office, maybe with the manager himself.
Ricky sipped his drink, thinking how he dreaded nights like this. He needed to do something fast and pacify the band members before things got out of control, but he was out of sorts, himself. Days on a tour bus with a group of demons, a naive fairy, and a sexy, moody, djinn could do that to a guy.
He had been hired to babysit demons, though, no matter that his alleged title was "manager," so he set his empty glass on the bar and went to Vic. "Come on, man. You've got a nice stash of blood products in the fridge backstage, remember?"
Vic scowled and showed a hint of fang. "All I have left is AB negative. Nasty stuff. And don't get me started on the plasma. After a few days it starts to taste like the plastic bag it's stored in."
"Maybe you can find a fresh meal later at the hotel." He grasped Vic by the sleeve of his leather coat and pulled.
"Not if Bo starts banging the maids again," Vic protested. Nevertheless, he went with Ricky to where Lazaro was lurking behind a heavy post, keeping an eye on his chosen meal.
"Give it up," Ricky said. "I have it on good authority he repeated third grade twice and dropped out of high school."
Lazaro made a face. "Stupid brains are mushy."
"Exactly. Now come on. Don't you have anything left in your cooler from when you raided that medical school a few days ago?"
"I'm tired of pickles."
"I'm tired of him eating that crap, too," Vic said. "Every time I try to talk to him, it's like formaldehyde-breath."
"At least I don't smell like hemoglobin."
"What's wrong with iron and oxygen, zombie freak?"
Ricky ignored their squabble and led them through the crowd to the backstage dressing room, glad they were too tired to fight him. Inside, they startled Bo on the sofa in the voluptuous embrace of the girl who had been taking door charges earlier.
The girl saw them and shrieked, Bo's incubus seduction spell broken. She squirmed out of his grasp, threw on her clothes and darted from the room.
"Damn you." Bo glared at Ricky. "You couldn't have waited another fifteen minutes?"
No, Ricky couldn't have waited. He needed Vic and Lazaro someplace safe, away from temptation, and besides, the band was entitled to a generous percent of the cover. "She needed to get back to her job taking money at the door."
"Like we care about money." Bo flung himself full length on the sofa.
"Uh...would you please put some pants on?"
"Why? Do I turn you on?"
"In your dreams. You go back on stage in another..." he looked at the time on his BlackBerry. "Ten minutes."
Bo shrugged in unconcern while Lazaro fumbled in a cooler for snacks and Vic bit into a plastic blood bag. Ricky headed for the door, in no frame of mind to watch the vampire and zombie feed.
He was in the hallway leaning against the door and wondering how much trouble the guys would give him when it was time to take the stage again, when Kalila walked up, her breasts nearly bursting out of her leather corset and her red hair shimmering below her waist. "So this is where you are."
Ricky suppressed a sigh. "Yes, you found me. What kind of trouble do I have to get you out of?"
Without a word, she kissed him, her lips golden honey and her body sweet fire. His mind a haze of heat and desire, Ricky pulled her to him. Nothing mattered in this moment; not the band, not the show, not even the air he breathed. The djinn was trouble, worse in her way than any of the others, but she was all he needed, now and forever.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Good news, peeps! Maelstrom is now available in print and Kindle versions from Amazon and e-book format from Fictionwise!.