Authors: Adrienne Barbeau
Tags: #Fiction, #Vampires, #General, #Fantasy, #Hollywood (Los Angeles; Calif.), #Mystery & Detective, #Contemporary, #Supernatural, #Motion picture producers and directors, #Occult fiction
Vampyres of Hollywood
(with Michael Scott)
There Are Worse Things I Could Do
THOMAS DUNNE BOOKS
ST. MARTIN’S PRESS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
THOMAS DUNNE BOOKS.
An imprint of St. Martin’s Press.
LOVE BITES. Copyright © 2010 by Adrienne Barbeau. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America. For information, address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.
Based upon the characters created by Adrienne Barbeau and Michael Scott in
Vampyres of Hollywood.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Barbeau, Adrienne, 1949–
Love bites / Adrienne Barbeau. — 1st ed.
1. Motion picture producers and directors—Fiction. 2. Vampires—Fiction. 3. Hollywood (Los Angeles, Calif.)—Fiction. I. Title.
First Edition: September 2010
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
For Billy, Cody, William, and Walker—the blessings in my life
Without Julie Smith—author, teacher, mentor, and all-round great new friend—this novel would be a novella. She guided me every step of the way and I couldn’t have done it without her.
I am indebted to all the wonderful people who helped me get these words on paper: to my always supportive husband, Billy Van Zandt, for knowing what works; to Meg Bennett, for her wisdom and advice; to Wyatt Harlan, for her brilliance and patience; to Glenn Casale and Brian Williams, for a peaceful place to write; to Eva Long and Sally Fallis, for reading the early words; to Officer Tony Lee of the Beverly Hills Police Department; to Sgt. Mitchel Grobeson, LAPD Retired; and to U.S. Marshall Scott Samuels, for the facts and details, even if I didn’t always incorporate them.
Huge thanks to Karyn Marcus, Elizabeth Curione, and all the folks at Thomas Dunne Books, and to Erin Brown, who showed me how to pull it all together.
This is the third time I get to thank Jane Dystel and Miriam Goderich and everyone at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. Without you, there wouldn’t have even been a first, and I am forever grateful.
I am nearly five hundred years old. My skin is flawless, my butt is tight, and my tits don’t need help staying up. Unless you impale me, dismember me, decapitate or drown me, you can’t do me much damage. I’ve been stabbed, scalded, and stretched on the rack, and I have survived. I’ve been burned, flayed, and shot, and I have survived. I’ve lived through the Thirty Years’ War, the French Revolution, and the Spanish Inquisition. The Taiping Rebellion, the Boxer Rebellion, two world wars, and a couple of scathing movie reviews from the
And two weeks ago, with a little help from my personal assistant and a hunky Beverly Hills cop, I managed to do away with the mother of all evil, leaving me the most powerful vampyre in North America. I’m not saying I’m invincible, but I’ve got a pretty good track record when it comes to dealing with danger.
So why was I so terrified to drive over the hill to Studio City to have Christmas Eve dinner with the parents of a man I barely know?
He looks like a cross between Springsteen and the model they use in all those paintings of Christ. Melt-in-your-mouth attractive. Water-in-the-desert attractive. Good-looking enough to get me going just staring at him, and that doesn’t happen very often, believe me. The last time was Nureyev, in the sixties. It’s the cheekbones. I like the ones you can cut paper on.
His name is Peter King, and he’s a detective with the Beverly Hills Police. Early forties. Divorced. We met two weeks ago when he was assigned by his Captain to investigate the murders of my business partner, three of my stars, and an employee of my film company, Anticipation Studios. Yes, five murders, all connected to me. I am Ovsanna Moore, writer, producer, and star of seventeen blockbuster horror films, several less than successful ones, and a few that went straight to DVD. In the film business, I’m known as a Scream Queen. In my private life—my very private life—I’m known as Ovsanna Hovannes Garabedian, Chatelaine of the Clan Dakhanavar of the First Bloodline. A vampyre.
A fairly powerful vampyre, when you consider my clan includes most of the A-list Hollywood stars, past and present.
Peter King knows what I am. And he’d asked me out just hours after he’d discovered my secret. I found that intriguing. I like a man who’s not put off by an extra set of teeth. I was intrigued enough to accept his invitation.
So there I was, standing in my dressing room on Christmas Eve, throwing clothes on the floor as fast as I could try them on and get them off again. I’d already eliminated a Costume National suit and my Diesel jeans. What should I wear to meet the family of a man I’d already fed on but barely knew? I was so nervous, if I’d had a gag reflex, I’d have been on my knees in front of the toilet.
Meeting his parents, for God’s sake? On Christmas Eve?
I’d just taken my Carolina Herrera smoke suede pants off the hanger when the fowl started honking.
Someone was in my yard.
I rely on a gaggle of geese to sound an alarm. It’s an idea I borrowed from Louis XVI, and I swear it’s more effective than my hightech security system. Like Louis, geese are territorial, and when they’re upset, they’re loud.
This time they were making a hell of a racket.
I let my senses sharpen. I am of the Dakhanavar clan—vampyre elite—with extremely honed sight, smell, and hearing. When I choose to, I can hear conversations taking place half a mile away. I stood still and listened.
I heard the geese.
I heard the koi in the pond. The waterfall hitting the stream. The neighbor’s cat cleaning herself out on the street. And more fucking geese.
But I couldn’t hear the intruder.
Maybe I had Marcel Marceau in my yard?
I couldn’t smell him, either, which meant he wasn’t human. Humans give off a distinctive scent specific to their tribe. What I did smell, over the goose shit and honeysuckle, was something pungent and feral.
I dropped the hanger and the pants on the floor and moved through my bedroom into my office. Whoever it was had had to scale the two-foot-wide, twelve-foot-tall stucco wall that surrounds my property—he wasn’t there by accident. I unsheathed my fangs but kept my claws in so I could use the computer to bring up the security cameras trained on the grounds.
I hit the keyboard and my forty-five-inch monitor split into eight screens, giving me a 360-degree view of my property. I could see the guest cottage, the pool, the squash court, the front drive—nothing there save honking fowl. They had spread all over the yard, which they didn’t usually do, and had completely abandoned their resting place by the waterfall. Which was where I finally saw movement: behind the thick bougainvillea on the far side of the stream.
You remember those scenes in
where David Boreanaz was standing on one side of the room and suddenly, without being seen, he was somewhere else? That’s what vampyres do. We transport ourselves so quickly that we become momentarily invisible. Something having to do with the speed of light. In the movies we call it “space-shifting.” I don’t do it very often; I don’t have the need. My lack of practice was evident in the several seconds it took me to get to my yard. I’ve got to get back in shape.
The smell near the water was overpowering, like burning manure, and I knew for certain whatever was there wasn’t human. Or female. No bitch on earth gives off that kind of stench. I dropped my fangs, let out my claws, and studied the ground as everything took on the glowing clarity of my vampyre vision.
The sound of his claws pushing off the cliff fifteen feet above me brought my head up, just in time to see him hurtling down on me from the waterfall. I threw out my arms to deflect him, and my nails sank into his fur. He was some sort of wolf, three times the size of a Grey, with rabid orange eyes and a coat so black that it disappeared against the darkening sky. I could feel it, though. A coarse, grimy undercoat, thick enough to act like armor, and then the outer pelage, as sharp as porcupine quills with razorlike edges. His muzzle was wide and long, overfilled with an extra set of yellow fangs that peeled his lips into a Jack Nicholson rictus and sprayed me with white foam. A Tom Savini wet dream. With foul breath.
I met him in midlaunch, and we went down in the water. He had me pinned beneath him with all four paws. The stream was only inches deep. I’d spent thousands of dollars lining it with broken tourmaline granite. The fucking rocks were making mincemeat of my back. If I’d known I’d be playing Little Red Riding Hood, I’d have bought moss. At least I was nude; having to bleach my own blood out of my suede pants would have left me doubly pissed.
He shifted his weight to his front paws, pressing my shoulders deeper into the rocks, and tried going for my neck with his fangs. I couldn’t throw him off. He must have weighed 250 pounds. I held him back with both hands, my claws slicing through his pelt into his flesh. His muzzle was inches from my face, snarling and slashing from side to side. His breath was rancid, infected, like the stench of a sewer. I couldn’t get close enough to get my mouth on him. Feral saliva dripped like acid in my eyes. I wedged a leg under his belly and gashed it with my claws. I tried again for his bowels, but he trapped my leg with his hind paw. Blood from his belly poured down on my breasts, pooling between them and sliming down through my legs into the water.
We struggled like that for minutes, holding each other at bay in a thrashing embrace. I was snarling; he was growling; the geese were honking. He was stronger than I was, in that position, anyway, and if I couldn’t do something to get out from under him soon, the only Peter I was going to be spending Christmas with was a guy in a robe with the key to a gate.
In the distance, I heard a siren and realized the silent perimeter alarms had been tripped. The security company I pay an arm and a leg to was sending its armed guards. I wasn’t sure how much help they’d be. If I couldn’t kill this thing, I doubted anyone else could.
The beast heard the siren seconds after I did, just as the car’s flashing lights turned the sky red outside my gates. There was a screech of brakes and voices shouting, and then the thing was off me, racing to the wall, scrabbling up and over, taking the twelve feet like it was a bunny hop. He disappeared into the wilds of Bel Air.
I closed my eyes and retracted my claws. My fangs slipped back inside their sheaths. I wasn’t worried about the security guards finding me naked; in all the trips they’ve made to the house over the years, they’ve never managed to have the right password with them or the right set of keys. It would probably take them half an hour to get in. By that time, I’d be presentable and apologizing profusely for the false alarm.
So I lay there in the water for a moment, watching my flesh mend itself in the lowering light, and thought about what had just attacked me.
It was a wolf, all right, but not your North American garden variety. He wasn’t a timber or a Grey. He was a were, and as soon as I’d touched him, I’d known what kind.
Werewolves come in several varieties. You’ve got humans who like using magic or a talisman (most often a wolf pelt) to shape-shift at will. They’re called boxenwolves or hexenwolves. I’ve seen a couple wearing their talismans around their necks, hanging out at the Magic Castle. That’s the landmark mansion on Franklin where you can have dinner and watch magicians entertain. The last time I went, Phyllis Diller was doing jokes about her husband, Fang, and the boxenwolves in the audience were eating it up. But they never let on that’s what they are, and nobody would believe them anyway.
Then there are humans who don’t have any control over their shape-shifting; they’ve been cursed by a devil or a demon, and when the full moon comes up, they’re possessed. The French call them loup-garoux; online they’re beta-wolves. Remember Joan Crawford?
And then there are humans who think they’re wolves and act like wolves and sometimes have the ferocity of wolves without doing any shape-shifting at all: lycanthropes. Like Joe Eszterhas.
This werewolf had never been human. He might be able to shift to human shape, but that was where the similarity ended. He wasn’t a boxenwolf or loup-garou or lycanthrope. This beast was a true were.
Werecreatures come in almost as many varieties as vampyres. They
vampyres, actually, although not purebred. The
in Japan, werefoxes in China, the
—hyena people—in Morocco, apemen in Sumatra,
in Malaysia. You think about an animal and somewhere on earth there’s probably a werecreature inhabiting that form. Weres are a breed born from the coupling of Lilith—the Night Hag—and an ancient Akhkharu serpent. They’re a vampyre hybrid that can only change into a specific beast shape, and they’re nothing but evil.
Who, I wondered, was this were, and why had he just tried to finish me off?