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REAL VAMPIRES: GLORY DOES VEGAS
Dragon Lady Publishing
REAL VAMPIRES: GLORY DOES VEGAS
Copyright © 2021 by Gerry Bartlett
Dragon Lady Publishing
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Cover Design & Interior Format by The Killion Group, Inc.
This book is dedicated to all the loyal readers who started the Real Vampires series with me in 2007 when Real Vampires Have Curves first hit shelves, yes, bookshelves in stores. This prequel set in Las Vegas tells the story of what happened just before Gloriana headed to Austin, Texas and her new life there. So pretend with me that it’s 2005. Remember that year? I can’t believe that’s when I started writing the series and sold the first Real Vampires book to Berkley Publishing. I hope you enjoy this new journey. There have been other prequels and a total of seventeen other books in this series. I can’t believe Glory Does Vegas is number eighteen! Thanks for refusing to let Glory die!
About the Author
Also by Gerry Bartlett
“Igot fired from another one, Valdez.” I tried to slam the glass door but it gently glided shut. Just like everything in Las Vegas, it was customer friendly. “If I don’t find something soon, we’ll be living in the car again.”
“What did you do this time?” Valdez hopped into the passenger seat. He winced when I did slam the car door. “Really? Did you have to do that? You almost caught my tail.” He studied it for injury. “Jeez, Glory, I didn’t do anything.”
“You didn’t help. Lying on the sidewalk, staring inside like you were starving.” I turned the key, pumping the gas until the engine caught. It was acting up and that was all I needed—car trouble.
“I am starving. You forgot to feed me when you started your shift.” He added a soulful look in case I didn’t believe him. “Gloriana St. Clair, arrested for animal cruelty. Oops, make that Gloria Simpson this week.”
“Give me a break. Are you telling me you didn’t eat while I was sleeping?” I’m a vampire. It’s summer and I’m dead for the long, long daylight hours. This guy’s a shape-shifter stuck in a cute Labradoodle’s body. He’s supposed to be my bodyguard, but he can certainly manage to feed himself while watching over me. It’s not like I lock up the snacks.
“Have you looked in the pantry lately, woman? Or how about the fridge? A mouse would starve.” He lay on the seat with a sigh. “Thanks to your run-ins with the master, my contract says I’m stuck in this dog body. So how am I going to get to the local Stop and Shop? Huh? If some of the folks at the diner didn’t take pity and slip me a piece of bacon from time to time, I’d fade away.”
“Jeremiah is being unreasonable. But then, what’s new?” I checked my side mirror and eased into traffic. I felt like crying. It had been hard enough finding the job as a waitress, but to lose it so fast… That’s my life. I have few marketable skills, thanks to being a four-hundred-year-old woman in a body that looks twenty-one. I just don’t get computers and, honestly, don’t want to understand technology. What education I have has been sketchy at best. I learn on the job, you could say.
I like things the old-fashioned way. On paper. But that hadn’t been why I’d been fired. No, it was the handsy boss who’d wanted to get personal in the break room. I’d said “No” and here we were. I could file a complaint with someone official but then they might take a hard look at my papers. I’d gotten the social security card, driver’s license and birth certificate from a member of the vampire network in my new name. It had cost me my savings. I sure couldn’t afford to burn through another one if it proved less than perfect. I swear the next one I got, I was going back to Gloriana St. Clair, the first name I could remember, long story.
“You’re awfully quiet. What did that asshole do?” Valdez sat up. “Go back. I’ll show him how to treat you.”
“Forget it. He also needed me to work a day shift. I couldn’t do it. You know how it goes.” I sighed and turned into the parking lot of the apartment complex where I’d been lucky enough to find a place with a roommate who also worked nights. She wasn’t thrilled about the dog, but as long as I paid my share of the rent, she put up with Valdez.
Jeremiah, who now called himself Jeremy Blade, is my sire. You know, in the vampire world, he’s the one who turned me vampire. I was so in love with him back then that I asked him to do it. I’m not sorry. Hey, I’ve lived through some pretty amazing years. Some not so amazing, like two world wars, but I survived them. Our relationship got rocky and I finally insisted we take a break. He insisted I take a bodyguard with me.
He meant well, I know that, but how can I have a life, a real life with dating and maybe a serious relationship, if I’m saddled with a bodyguard? My guards used to be hot guys from the Valdez family. It just happened in the beginning and I liked it that way, at first. But when I went out on my own, I realized the man was a liability and put my foot down. Jerry insisted and it