Authors: Tracey H. Kitts
Till the Break of Dawn
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Till the Break of Dawn Copyright © December, 2010 Tracey H. Kitts
Cover art by Tracey H. Kitts
Photos used from
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This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.
Till the break of Dawn
Tracey H. Kitts
To Jordan for helping with my plot twist. Priscilla, for listening to every word in this book several times. Jeremy, for putting up with me in general. And last but not least to Justina, the Jager Queen. Long may she be kept out of bars.
Other books by Tracey H. Kitts
The Lilith Mercury, Werewolf Hunter Series
Object of My Affection
The Dread Moon
A Dream Forbidden
Books unrelated to the series
Once in a Blue Moon
Diary of an Incubus
Till the break of Dawn
Three Days of Night
Touch of an Incubus
Frank and The Werewolf Tamer
The Eternal Kiss
Writing as T.K. Hardin
Dracula: In the Flesh
Our Place already had customers lining up by the time I got there. This wasn’t entirely unusual seeing as how we were the only place within a fifty mile radius to sell beer on Sunday. I still wasn’t sure how Jamie got the license for that. The Deep South is strange. No beer in most states on Sunday. Everyone parties like hell the rest of the week and stocks up on Saturday night. The appearance of the familiar one-story brick building brought a smile to my face, even if the crowd didn’t. However, my temporary dejection had nothing to do with the people outside. After all, if we didn’t have business, we didn’t make any money.
Tonight’s crowd was bigger than usual though, and it had little to do with the beer.
“Just a few more minutes, guys,” I said as I took out my keys.
“Honey, you can’t keep us out here much longer, it’s supposed to rain.”
I smiled at George. We’d gone to school together and he never missed a fight. The way he said “honey” was more of a provocation than an endearment. But that was just George. He enjoyed provoking people, especially me.
“You’re here early, sugar. Not my fault.” I smiled sweetly before turning to open the door and locking it back to the sounds of laughter from the men outside. By their reaction it was obvious they were well acquainted with George as well.
As soon as I walked in Jamie yelled, “Did you forget it was fight night?”
She was already behind the bar getting everything ready. From the sounds of the pots and pans banging in the background our cook, Terry, was already there too.
“I never forget fight night,” I said wearily.
As I walked to the back to put up my purse Jamie said, “Oh, right. Sorry.”
My cowboy boots echoed on the wooden floor as I made my way down the hall to the back office. I put my purse on the desk, tossing my keys on top so I wouldn’t forget them. I kept a hat and t-shirt in the office just in case I forgot to wear one with the bar’s logo or hadn’t done my laundry, like tonight.
I was just pulling on the tight orange t-shirt that said “Our Place” right across my boobs when Jamie walked in. She is several inches taller than me with long black hair that she usually wears in a ponytail. Her cowboy hat was already in place and looked quite natural at the jaunty angle she always wore it. Her t-shirt was purple. We didn’t have an official color.
“Sorry I was late.”
Jamie loved the bar and I hated to let her down. But I was never quite myself before watching the fights.
“You’re my business partner. You can be five minutes late if you want to.”
The bar belonged to us so technically I could show up when I wanted. It was “our place.” After all, that’s why we picked the name. Jamie walked over and hopped up on the desk. The scent of her perfume reminded me of cotton candy. I liked the fragrance but wished she’d wear it less often. It always made me hungry. Her blue eyes were full of concern when she looked at me and I felt like a wimp for not being able to suck it up and hide my feelings better.
“Are you okay? I know you don’t like to watch the fights—”
“I’m fine,” I said, cutting off whatever else she was going to say.
I turned to the full-length mirror on the back of the door, and fluffed my long red hair a few times before putting the cowboy hat on and laughing. What can I say; it went well with the cut-off jean shorts.
“I still can’t believe we picked this as our uniform.”
She laughed. “Hey, it’s the south. It works.”
Jamie was a stripper down in Orlando before moving here nine years ago. When we met I was a struggling twenty-one-year-old waitress looking for someone to help share the rent. She came into the restaurant where I worked and ordered a cup of coffee. It’s not like me to start up a conversation with strange, sad-looking women. But she looked like she needed someone to talk to and my shift was almost over. We hit it off instantly and had been friends ever since. She is two years older than me, but it doesn’t really show. I’ve always thought she was beautiful. At five-foot-nine and built the way she is she has always reminded me of a superhero. You know, the kind that could wear stars and stripes and still manage to look sexy.
So, how did we end up as business partners? Well, a few years ago we put our last two dollars and fifty cents together to buy a five dollar lottery ticket. Believe it or not, we actually won. Since we had contributed exactly the same amount, we both owned exactly half of the business. Both of us had always wanted a place of our own and in the area where we lived (a little place called Happy, Florida) a bar seemed like the most likely type of business to be successful. We have been open for three years now and have more than doubled our money. You know how people say you’ve got a better chance of getting hit by lightning than winning the lottery? Personally, I’d always expected to be hit by lightning. The shock of our winnings still hadn’t worn off.
Jamie still looked to be reading my facial expression and when she scooted off the desk and gave me a big hug I knew something was up. “You could always get back in touch with him, you know?”
Him. Why did she have to go there? This was not the first time we’d had this conversation. Very few main events went by when we didn’t have the same discussion.
I shook my head. “I don’t think that would be a good idea.” I gestured to the room around us. “Winning the money to start this place is the only good luck I’ve ever had.”
She patted my shoulder. “You and me both, babe.”
Despite our winnings, Jamie and I weren’t rich. We’d won enough to pay off our debts and start a business. Sure, that was great. But we weren’t millionaires or anything. We were just finally starting to be successful for the first time in both our lives.
“I’m gonna go see if Terry needs any help.”
Jamie smiled and turned to the mirror to adjust her hat. “All right. I guess I can go ahead and open early. Weather report said it was supposed to rain tonight.”
I laughed softly. “Yeah, that’s what George said.”
“Shit, George is here?”
I took her by the shoulders and turned her toward the door. “He’s one of our best customers. Just smile and pretend you like him.”
like him. He just needs to stop asking me out. Hell, you sound like Billy.”
We both laughed. Billy was the name of the guy who owned the club where she used to dance. When we got assholes in the bar I would tease her with his words, “Just smile and pretend you like him.” Billy must have been a nice guy because they still kept in touch. George on the other hand could be sweet if he wasn’t so persistent. It was really starting to get old.
Terry was nowhere to be seen when I walked into the kitchen. This was strange seeing as how he is six-foot-four. I heard something fall and walked around the counter to find him sitting in the floor in front of the refrigerator.
“Need some help?”
“We ain’t got no fucking cheese.”
I smiled at Terry’s usual language. It wasn’t that I didn’t curse. On the contrary, I can be quite the potty mouth at times. But Terry’s normal, everyday conversation could make sailors blush. Even though I was sorry to see him frustrated, it helped to take my mind off my own feelings and that was a good thing.
“Then we’ll just tell people we’re out of cheese tonight.”
I offered him a hand up, but he refused and pulled himself up using the counter. I wasn’t sure I could have supported his weight, but I felt it would have been rude not to offer.
He winced and I asked, “Is your leg bothering you?”
Terry’s right leg was artificial from below the knee down. He lost it in an accident when we were in high school. At the time I was a freshman and he was a senior. Trying to find work in an area where there were mostly manual labor jobs had been a real bitch for him. I didn’t win enough to be able to give him money, but I could give him a job. Unfortunately, all he could cook was burgers and fries. Oh, and anything you could drop in grease.
“Just a little. Nothing I can’t handle.”
“You know if you stand for too long that happens. Why don’t you get that stool back in here?”
His smirk might have seemed rude to some, but I knew it was about the closest he came to a smile most of the time. “Why don’t you stop babying me and go tell them motherfuckers we ain’t got no cheese?”
Jamie and I took turns waiting tables and mixing drinks, even though we had two other waitresses. Since she was already behind the bar when I walked out that meant I got to wait tables. Every now and then we’d hire some extra help, like during the holidays. But for the most part people seemed more than willing to wait a little longer as long as the food was good and the drinks weren’t watered down. It didn’t hurt that we had a huge plasma screen television on both ends of the bar so that everyone could come by to watch most any sports event. The more word spread about Our Place, the busier we got. It was getting hard to keep up.
The evening went by in a blur of beer and pretzels. We were so swamped that I almost didn’t get a chance to breathe. The event everyone had come to see was nearly over when I propped up beside George at the bar and Jamie handed me a glass of water.
“I can’t wait,” George said, his excitement obvious. “Nightmare is up next. It’s the main event!”
I put the water down without taking a sip. George had no idea he’d hit a touchy subject.
“So, what do you think?” George asked, elbowing me. “You think he can take this new guy, what’s-his-face?”
“I don’t see why not.”
Nightmare had been the most feared undefeated fighter for the past twenty-six years and at one time I was probably his biggest fan. He was the leading name in the business. And what business is that you might ask? It’s called the P.F.C. or Preternatural Fight Club and it was all the rage. Vampires, werewolves, and any other beastie that saw fit could now beat the crap out of each other in no holds barred fighting. And, they could get paid for it. It was the hottest thing since professional wrestling. Well, since
professional wrestling. The P.F.C. was still wrestling and the shows were just as scripted. The real difference was that the matches were not. The entire act, right up until the bell chimed was fake. But no one ever knew who was going to win a P.F.C. fight. Not to mention they could get really brutal. Sometimes wrestlers lost body parts. But the good thing about being a vampire or a werewolf was, they could grow it back.