No Laughing Matter [Werewolf Mafia Book 1]
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by Michelle Marquis
Category: Erotica/Paranormal Erotica/Dark Fantasy
Description: For Officer Violet Malone it's the opportunity she's been hoping for. After years of serving on the mean streets as a beat cop, she finally has a chance to get back to the undercover work she loves. So when she gets summoned by the Vampire High King to infiltrate the Werewolf Mafia, she quickly takes the job. But what she doesn't count on is how steamy it can get working with sexy ex-werewolf Black Jack Heckle, or dealing with the terrible new animal he has turned himself into.
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2011
eBookwise Release Date: January 2011
13 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [165 KB]
Reading time: 100-140 min.
Rating: 4 Hearts! "No Laughing Matter was a fun and easy read. If you like to read something light and charming then this is the book for you? Readers will enjoy M ichelle Marquis's Werewolf Mafia Book 1: No Laughing Matter. I look forward to seeing if she gives us more in this series."
Marissa, Sizzling Hot Books
Violet Malone drove her Honda Civic into the parking lot of the Scarlet Mansion feeling a little nervous. She twisted her rearview mirror around and stared at her reflection. As usual, her wavy brown hair was a mess. In a hopeless attempt to tame it, she raked her hand through the thick mane several times. All she did was make it worse. Then her rearview mirror, which was supposed to be attached with Gorilla Glue, fell off onto the floorboard. Whatever. She abandoned both the mirror and the hair fix. They'll just have to accept me as I am.
Violet stepped out of the car and stared up at the mansion. Somewhere in the darkness a hawk screeched as if on cue. The house looked more like a museum than someone's residence. But then, that was the vampires; most were all pretension and flash with little substance. The house belonged to Victor Lee Scarlet, the vampire High King who was rumored to be over two-thousand years old. Violet wondered what it would be like to be that old. Had he met any famous people from history? She imagined him shaking hands with George Washington or Benjamin Franklin and thought that would have been very cool indeed. But this wasn't a social trip. She had business. No time for chitchat this time.
The door was opened by some lady who looked like the femme fatale in any B horror movie, take a pick. She had curly dark hair, large brown eyes and a body that was on the skinny side of anorexic. The woman wore a long, blue dress with a plunging neckline showing off lots of boob. Violet had good boobs, too, but she never saw the need to show them off. The dress almost seemed to scream, "Here are my boobs! Make sure to ogle them!"
"Yes?" The woman had the same ugly tone Violet imagined people used with vacuum salesmen.
"My name is Officer Violet Malone. I'm here for a meeting with Victor."
The horror movie chick eyed her up and down, but kept blocking the door.
Violet figured this woman was a kink, one of the people who weren't vampires themselves, but hung out with them. These hangers-on always thought they were all that just because they were banging the undead.
Violet wasn't about to be treated like a garbage collector by this thing. "Get the fuck out of the way."
The kink moved back and made a sweeping gesture with her hand. All she needed was a candelabrum in the other. "By all means, come in." She left Violet at the door and marched off to a side room. Violet wondered if she was going to tell on her.
Did I hurt your feelings? Well boo-fucking-hoo.
Out back some people were talking. She followed the sound through the house to the large stone patio. Three vampires sat around a round table sipping something from silver goblets. One was a narrow-faced woman with moon-white hair, the second a man who looked more like a lumberjack than a vampire and the third was Victor. She recognized him from a small painting that hung in her supervisor's office. Although High King of the Vampires, Victor wasn't one to flaunt his position with fancy dress or haughty manners. He wore black jeans, combat boots and nothing else, at least not tonight. He had an impressive amount of chest hair with a thick trail of it running down his belly until it ended at the border of his jeans. Victor was oh-so-very-yummy in a chocolate cake kind of way.
Having never met a High King, Violet had no idea how to address him. So she settled for the awkward, "You wanted to see me, your Highness?"
"Funny," he said. She guessed he wasn't into fancy titles either. He pushed a vacant chair away from the table with his boot. "Sit."
Violet sat, feeling like the first course at a banquet. She gave the woman a tense smile that wasn't returned.
"Just for the record," the white-haired woman said, "when you address Victor in public, it's your Majesty."
Now that Violet was closer, she noticed that the woman's face was a perfect elongated oval--and not a flattering one at that. She was just short of attractive but her exotic features made her interesting to look at. She was probably stared at a lot even when she was alive. But as a vampire, her brand of weird fit right in.
Victor waved a hand dismissively. "You can just call me Victor, Officer Malone."
Violet glanced from the High King to the woman. The female vampire seemed to have given up the fight and was staring off as if Violet had just disappeared.
Time to get down to business. "Thank you, sir, and if it's okay with you, you can just call me Violet. My superior said you wanted to talk about the Werewolf Mafia?"
Victor sprawled in his seat. "Yes, I have a recruitment job for you."
Recruiting disgruntled mafia members was pretty routine work. Every few months or so, the vampires would tip the cops off to a potential defector and then her department would take it from there. It was how paranormal law enforcement kept the mafia from getting too troublesome. "Who's the mark, one of their girlfriends?"
"No. This is a bigger fish. You've probably heard of him. This mark is one of their top enforcers, Black Jack Heckle."
An icicle of dread froze in her heart. Black Jack had gotten his nickname because of his habit of wearing black all the time. No one had ever seen him in any other color and besides being odd, he was also notoriously dangerous. What is this, a joke? I haven't dealt with a werewolf enforcer since... She interlaced her fingers until the knuckles turned white.
"Are you okay?" the white woman asked.
"Yes, I'm fine. Just a little surprised you've gotten intelligence on such a high profile enforcer. What makes you think he'd be interested?"
"He's dropped out of the mafia and is hiding out at home. Our informants tell us that he was a werewolf. "But now he's something else."
Victor scratched his chest. "That's right."
"What do you mean by that?"
The white-haired woman leaned forward and placed her goblet on the table. "Something else means the mafia has managed to turn him into a different kind of shifter. Witnesses have only seen him shift once. They describe an animal bigger and far more dangerous than any ordinary werewolf."
Violet didn't like the sound of this at all. "Like one of the big cats? Is that what you mean?"
Victor frowned. "Honestly, Violet, we don't know what he is. All we can be sure of is the Zombie King Seth is also behind this. He's been helping Jesse by doing the research and providing the experimental drugs to change these werewolves into more lethal animals. I'm not going to lie to you. This is as risky an assignment as it gets. One of our last informants was murdered by the mafia a few days ago for asking too many questions." Victor sipped from his goblet. "I can't stress enough how badly we need Heckle. We need to know what's going on. You're the most decorated law enforcement officer on the force. If anyone can turn him, it's you."
"Even if he does go for it, he's not exactly going to be easy to control."
Victor stroked the razor stubble along his cheek. "Maybe you can help with that. Heckle has apparently become a very lonely man and--"
Oh, here we go. "Listen, I'm as dedicated to the force as the next shifter, and God knows I've slept with my share of creeps for the job, but I don't do werewolves. Period."
Victor shifted in his chair. "Honestly, I don't care how you turn him, just as long as it gets done reliably. But turning Heckle is only half the job. We also have intelligence the mafia is planning to use these new animals on an attack against the Scarlet Mansion. We need you to use Heckle to infiltrate them and find out as much information as you can."
There was a long, tense pause in the conversation. I'm not ready for this. I should have had someone else take this fucking assignment.
"Someone told me you were a Zombie POW during the Winter War," the white woman said.
Images flashed through Violet's mind: a coffin; darkness; cold. Even though they were outside, she felt enclosed and confined. She gulped down some air. She could almost feel the lid of that pine box closing... Violet blinked several times to clear her head. "I was."
"How long were you captive?" Victor asked.
She swallowed, trying to moisturize her parched throat. "Thirty days."
Everyone stared at her. She really wanted to change the subject. "So, you still think I'm the right one for the job?"
"I think you're perfect. I understand your sister dated Jesse James some years ago," Victor said.
She forced herself to relax. It's okay. Your captivity was a long time ago. "That's right. But there won't be any way to infiltrate the mafia through her. She's dead."
The lumberjack vampire brought his heavy eyebrows down so they shadowed his eyes. "What happened?"
"I'm not sure. She was always emotionally fragile. My sister was one of those people who depended too much on others for her happiness. She and Jesse dated for a few months. He got bored and broke it off. She committed suicide that night."
Victor's gaze searched her face. He didn't seem to find what he was looking for. He made a steeple with his fingers and tapped the tip against his lips. He reminded Violet of a psychiatrist listening to a patient. "Even though she's passed on, your sister can still be your way in. You just say she talked about the life and you grew curious and wanted to see for yourself."
Violet leaned forward and traced a pattern on the iron table. "How many werewolves has Jesse changed anyway? I mean, are we talking a few or a lot?"
"We don't know," Victor said.
Violet tried not to look panicked. "If they have a bunch of these things, could we be talking about another Winter War here?"
The white woman stiffened. "We might be."
Violet nodded digesting everything. "So who do I report to?"
"You report directly to me," Victor said. He reached across the table and handed her a piece of paper with an address on it. "This is Jack's address. You're going to have to convince him to not only get back into the mafia, but to help you get in, too. Do you think you can do it?"
Violet stood up. "I can't make any promises, but I'll do my best."
"The future stability of the Vampire Kingdom rests on your success," the vampire woman said. "Don't fuck this up."
Violet pocketed the address. Yeah, nothing like a little pressure to make me feel at ease. "Thanks for the vote of confidence. I'll be in touch."
She showed herself out and made her way back to the Honda. She climbed into the car, stepped on something hard, and heard a loud crunch. She reached down and grabbed her broken rearview mirror. Well isn't that just great? Seven years of bad luck. I wonder if that takes effect immediately.