Chapter One

I rapped softly on Mr. Northman's door with my fingernails. Down the hall, the noise of the staff cleaning and closing up the bar for the night was loud but I knew my boss would hear the knock. There was silence from the other side of the door for a few moments before his gruff voice gave the call to enter. I opened the door just in time to catch an eyeful of bare stripper ass as a faceless red head rushed to pull up her sorry excuse for a skirt on her way out of the office.

I didn't bother to conceal my annoyance, rolling my eyes as I stalked across the small room. I dropped my stack of papers on the desk in front of my boss, ignoring his smug, amused grin.

"Sign these." He arched a brow at me and I sighed. "Please."

His sharp eyes scanned through the documents in seconds and he signed his name to them even faster.

"So what are your plans for the rest of this fine evening, Abby?" he asked as I gathered the mess of paperwork into a neat stack. He was certainly in a good mood tonight, or maybe it was just the feeding and... whatever else he'd been doing in here before I knocked.

"Sleep," I answered succinctly.

"How droll."

"Well, some of us have important things to do in the morning and require actual rest to function."

He looked mildly offended, but not in a serious way. "I rest."

"Not quite the same thing, is it?" With my papers in hand I turned to leave, but his cool hand on my arm stopped me.

"Come on. Stick around for a little while."

I sighed. Mr. Northman had been like this ever since his progeny, Pam, had relocated to Baton Rouge two weeks ago to manage the newest Fangtasia location. Somehow, though I never would have thought it possible, my boss seemed lonely. You would think that in a thousand years he would have accumulated a larger friendship base, but after Pam's departure it became obvious how few people he called close friends. When he had free time, he seemed at a loss of what to do with himself and consequently, "entertain Eric Northman when he's bored" had been added to my job description. Luckily for me, the amount of his time that could be considered "free" was marginal.

"Just a little while," I conceded, crossing the room to plop my tired bones down on the leather couch. Whenever I sat there, I fought the mental images of all the disgusting things that must transpire on it, mostly because it was such a damn comfortable couch. On Sundays, when the bar was closed and I was the only one here, I sometimes entertained the idea of stealing a quick nap on it. I'd yet to give in to that urge though.

"So what do you want to do?" His response was a lecherous grin and I shook my head, more because I'd set myself up for that than at him. "Seriously."

My boss and I had a strictly professional relationship. Well, we'd developed a bit of a comfortable acquaintance as well over the past year, but we never strayed into sexual territory. I had made that a very clear condition of my employment when I signed my contract. This was too good of a job to fuck up like that. Some people may think that working as the personal assistant to a vampire wouldn't be that great of a job, but those people had never worked for Eric Northman.

In my year's employment with him, I had come to realize that Mr. Northman valued good employees and did not hesitate to compensate them in a manner that would encourage their loyalty. I was easily making four times what I would have made in the same position working for a human employer. And the benefits were unbelievable.

Sure, as a twenty three year old, moderately attractive female I had to cope with a good deal of sexual innuendo from him but it wasn't vulgar or persistent. And in all honesty, when it comes from a man who looks like Eric Northman, it's hard not to take it as a compliment. Overall, I felt that we had developed a mutual respect for each other so it was easy to brush aside the lascivious looks and not-so-subtle suggestions.

Mr. Northman leaned back in his desk chair and tented his fingers in front of his chest thoughtfully. "Has Ginger left?"

I nodded. Pranking Ginger was one of our many boredom killers. She was the most gullible of all the waitstaff and had the most entertaining reactions to things like finding me "dead" in the dry storage room.

An idea occurred to me. "Want to go for a ride?"

He arched his brow curiously. "Where to?"

I shrugged. "Doesn't matter. I just want to drive the 'Vette."

There was a tense moment of silence and I wondered if I'd overstepped my bounds. Mr. Northman's car was one of the shiniest, prettiest things I'd ever seen and he took great care to keep it that way. Although I had no prior enthusiasm for sports cars, from the moment I saw it I knew I wanted to be behind the wheel at least once. I waited anxiously for his response.

After some thought, he reached into his desk drawer. A moment later a set of keys were flying through the air towards me. I caught them mid-air and was proud of it, though the force behind them left my hand tingling.

I leapt to my feet, giddy with excitement, which seemed to amuse my boss. "I'll grab my purse. Meet you outside!" I called as I dashed down the hall to my janitor's-closet-turned-office.

Mr. Northman was leaning against the Corvette when I burst through the back door. I clicked the button on the remote to disarm and unlock the car and he opened his door and slid smoothly into the passenger seat. I was less graceful as I jumped into the driver's side.

As I adjusted the seat and all the mirrors, I noticed him eyeing me doubtfully.

"I'm a really good driver. I promise," I said with a smile I hoped was reassuring. I hit the button for the sunroof and started the engine as it slid open. The car roared to life and I couldn't help the "Wooo!" that escaped my lips at the feel of it purring beneath my fingertips. Mr. Northman chuckled.

We pulled out of the parking lot and he directed me to head for the interstate. I happily obliged and within minutes we were speeding down the nearly empty lanes. The cool night air pouring in through the sunroof was refreshing and I felt myself relax behind the wheel. Mr. Northman apparently had no desire to relax though.

"Push it faster," he said, "There's no one out here."

I glanced at the speedometer. I was already doing 75 which was about as fast as I was really comfortable driving my boss's extremely expensive car down the interstate. I looked at him hesitantly.

"Come on," he urged.

I gave in and sped up to 80, then 85. He motioned with a finger for me to keep going and didn't appear concerned for the well being of his vehicle, so I obeyed and soon we were pushing 100. It was a rush! I laughed gleefully as the scenery outside the car blurred and we zoomed down the straight stretch of road.

Suddenly the rearview mirror lit up with blue lights and a second later a siren wailed behind us.

"Son of a bitch," I muttered. My adrenaline high crashed as I slowed the corvette and guided it onto the wide shoulder. I nervously fumbled with my purse for my license as the cop got out of his cruiser and approached my window. Mr. Northman put a hand on mine to stop me and shook his head silently. Before I could ask his meaning, a burly police officer filled the window of the Corvette.

"License and registration, please ma'am."

All my instincts as a young southern woman kicked in and I smiled my prettiest, most innocent smile at the man. I shook my head so that my hair, or the parts of it that weren't pulled back in the clip, fell over my shoulders and I discreetly tugged at the hem of my shirt to expose a bit of cleavage.

"Gosh, officer, I'm awfully sorry. I know I was speeding, but this car..." I ran my fingers over the steering wheel, caressing it like a lover. "It's just so... powerful. I just got carried away." I looked up at him through my eyelashes. "I'm sure a man such as yourself can understand..."

To my credit, the cop eyed me for a long moment and took a big swallow. But then his eyes fell on my passenger and I'm sure he had registered the "BLDSCKR" vanity plate. His face turned hard.

"License and registration, please," he repeated, more firmly this time.

I frowned and reached for my purse just as Mr. Northman leaned across the seat.

"Officer Carter," he said, looking into the man's eyes with an odd intensity. The officer's posture seemed to relax and I looked between the two with curiosity. "You're not going to give her a ticket," Mr. Northman said.

"Ma'am, I'm not going to ticket you," Officer Carter said in a flat voice.

I gaped at my boss. I'd heard of this before, the hypnotic power vampires have. But I'd never seen it in action. It was pretty amazing and I was a little excited.

"You're going to let us go with a warning."

"I'm going to let you off with a warning this time," the cop said. I laughed with glee and clapped my hands.

I'll admit, at that point I got a little carried away. "Tell him, 'These aren't the droids you're looking for.'," I urged.

Mr. Northman looked at me like I was crazy but bless him, he said it.

"These aren't the droids we're looking for," repeated zombie-cop.

I lost it then and dissolved into tear-inducing laughter. The officer walked back to his car and drove away while I was still bent over the steering wheel, clutching my sides.

I came to rights when the driver's door opened and Mr. Northman shooed me into the passenger seat, saying, "My turn."

I scooted over obligingly and buckled my seat belt. "That was awesome," I said as he pulled a quick u-turn and headed us back in the direction of Shreveport.

He chuckled. "Apparently."

"I would have gotten out of it myself if you hadn't been in the car."

"I'm sure," he said with a hearty laugh.

Mr. Northman was much more comfortable with speeding than I was. I suspected the speed limit wasn't something he paid much attention to on a normal basis. As we hit a long stretch of straight road, he floored it and I gasped at the unexpected force. He knew how to handle his car though, which wasn't really much of a surprise, but it sure was a fun ride. He drifted effortlessly through the curves and we sailed back into Shreveport at about 95mph.

Riding at such speeds seemed to have the opposite effect on me as driving at them did. Mr. Northman shook me awake as we pulled into the Fangtasia parking lot.

I yawned and fished my keys from my purse. "Thanks for letting me drive the 'Vette," I said.

"It was very amusing," he responded with a sideways smile. I was too tired to decide if that was an insult or not.

"See you tomorrow," I called tiredly as I walked to my car.

The Corvette idled in the lot until I put my car in drive and pulled away.