Max Stops the Presses: A Gardella Vampire Chronicles Short Story

Max Stops the Presses: A Gardella Vampire Chronicles Short Story by Colleen Gleason Read Free Book Online

Book: Max Stops the Presses: A Gardella Vampire Chronicles Short Story by Colleen Gleason Read Free Book Online
Authors: Colleen Gleason
Tags: gardella vampire chronicles, max pesaro, sebastian vioget, victoria gardella
 
    + In Which Max Stops the Presses +
     
     
    “That chit is the new
Venator?” Max lifted a brow. He lowered a
glass of very fine brandy and turned to his mentor
Eustacia.
    The elderly woman, whose
jet-black eyes still gleamed with the intelligence and ferocity of
a warrior, looked up at him archly. “Yes. And as you well know, she
is my great-niece. So take care what you say, my dear
boy.”
    Eustacia was the only
person who’d dare call Maximilian Pesaro “boy,” and the light in
her eyes told him how well she knew it. Nevertheless, he wasn’t the
least bit chastised, and he lifted the brandy to sip.
    The young woman in question
was no more than twenty, and, dressed in a pale, frothy pink frock,
she looked as if she’d blow over in a strong breeze. She had thick,
dark hair piled high at the back of her head, and it looked much
too heavy for her long, elegant neck. Jet beads and pink pearls
were woven through her curls. The gown’s bodice was cut low, as
fashion dictated, and displayed over the generous expanse of bosom
was a necklet of rosy pearl and quartz. A heavy silver crucifix
nestled just above the rise of her unarguably lovely
breasts.
    She conversed, laughed, and
flirted with a variety of young men, her diaphanous gown shifting
and flowing with each movement. She looked as if she hadn’t a
serious thought in her head, other than the filling of her dance
card—which she produced with a girlish flourish for some fop he
thought was called Rockley.
    Her name was
Victoria.
    Max was aware of an odd
sensation as he observed this latest, much-anticipated addition to
the Gardella family of vampire hunters. At first, he couldn’t
identify it. Not necessarily interest, but not necessarily
ambivalence. Disappointment, certainly—for how was a cloud-headed,
delicate, young woman like her going to combat Lilith…let alone lead the
contingent of Venators?
    Perhaps his reaction was
more like chagrin. After all, Eustacia was past eighty, and
soon—hopefully not too soon—her role as Illa Gardella would be
vacated.
    “How the blazes does she
expect to stake a vampire in that bloody gown?” A good thrust with
a stake, and one of those fine breasts would pop right out of her
bodice. If she didn’t get wrapped up in her skirts and land on her
arse first.
    “She’s a Gardella, Max.
She’ll manage.”
    “Bloody hell, I hope she’ll
do more than manage .” His attention wandered to Felicity Daniels, the newly
turned blonde vampire. He’d escorted the undead to the debut of
Miss Victoria Gardella Grantworth into London Society—and what
would also, thanks to Max, be her first encounter with a
vampire.
    Felicity, who had no idea
of the role she was meant to play this evening, or that she’d been
escorted by the infamous Max Pesaro, was eyeing with bald interest
the bare neck of a young woman who had large blue eyes and bright
red hair.
    Max glared at the clock.
“How long do you think it will take for your niece to realize there
is a vampire present?” The sooner he was gone from this stuffy
gathering, the sooner he could get to the Silver Chalice and find
out what the devil Vioget was up to.
    “I suspect she already
knows, Max. Kritanu says she has excellent instinct.” Eustacia laid
a soft, wrinkled hand on his sleeve. “Regardless, I trust you won’t
interfere.”
    “Why the hell would I
interfere? If she can’t stake a vampire under these conditions, she
has no business being a Venator.” With a brief bow, he excused
himself and went to corral Felicity before she lured the redheaded
chit into a salon or parlor. He’d loosen his collar and suggest a
walk in the gardens—and perhaps Miss Victoria Grantworth would put
aside her dance card for long enough to follow them.
    Or perhaps she wouldn’t,
and there would be no reason for him to ever see the chit
again.
     
    But, alas, that hope was
short-lived…for not ten minutes later, the blasted girl tried to
stake him.

 
    + +
+
    More than three

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