Vampire Blues Online - Vampire for Hire 4.4 - J.R. Rain



Four Stories


Chapter One

On the way to Kingsley’s, just as I passed under a massive billboard of Judge Judy smiling down warmly—yet judgmentally—my cell phone rang. I glanced at the faceplate. Caller unknown.

I clicked on my Bluetooth. “Moon Investigations.”

“Hi,” said the voice of an elderly lady. “I’ve never, you know, called a private investigator before. I’m a little nervous.”

“We’re just like other people,” I said. “Just a lot cooler.”

“Oh, ha-ha.” She laughed good-naturedly. “Yes, I’m sure you are.”

I headed up Bastanchury Avenue, which would soon loop me around to the foothills above Yorba Linda. “How can I help you?”

“Well, I need some help,” she said, pausing. A pregnant pause. I know pregnant pauses. She had a cheating husband on her hands.

“You think your husband’s cheating on you,” I said, gunning the minivan and just making it through a yellow light.

“How-how did you know?”

“Call it a hunch,” I said. Actually, these days I didn’t know what to call it. My old hunches and my powerful new sixth sense had fused into one. Hunch or not, I wasn’t in the mood for another cheating spouse case. In fact, I could barely stomach them these days. I said, “I’m sorry to hear about your husband, but I’m a little booked right now. I know of a great detective out of Huntington Beach. Actually, don’t let him know that I said that, since he’s already got a big head—”

“No. Please. Please, I want a woman to help me. Only a woman.” She took in a lot of air while I came to a stop at a red light. I was the only one sitting at the intersection. So who was I waiting for? She went on, “I’m kind of down on men right now, if you know what I mean.”

Actually, I did. I had gone through a similar reaction with my ex-husband, Danny. In fact, I even recalled writing to Fang that I hated all men.

I said, “I’m sure there are other female private investigators who would be more than happy—”

“There aren’t. I’ve looked. You’re the only one in the Yellow Pages. At least, the only one with a woman’s name.”

The light turned green. Kingsley was waiting for me with a chilled glass of the red stuff. I hadn’t eaten in two days. I was ravenous and I was cranky. I said, “Let me be blunt: My own husband cheated on me not long ago. The very thought of working on another cheating spouse case turns my stomach. I’m just not the right person for this.”

“I’m so sorry to hear that.”

“Thank you,” I said.

I could almost see her frowning. Hell, maybe I could see her frowning. In fact, the woman in my thoughts had a thick head of curly red hair. She looked a bit like Lucille Ball in her dotage. Then again, that could have all just been my imagination. And I’ve always loved Lucille Ball.

“Well, thank you anyway,” she said. “I will keep looking.”

The pain in her voice found its way straight to my heart. Normally, such pain didn’t register very deeply. After all, I spend half my time hearing heart-breaking stories. But this woman’s pain reached me somehow. Perhaps because I had seen her in my thoughts. Or perhaps because she reminded me of Lucille Ball. Either way, I couldn’t let her hang up just yet.

“Wait,” I said. “Let me give you some advice. Ninety-five percent of the people who come to me with concerns of spousal misconduct are right.”

“So, you’re saying that more than likely he is cheating?”

“I’m saying that more than likely your instincts are spot on.”

In my mind I could almost see her closing her eyes and nodding, her red, curly hair bouncing. “I see. Well, that’s not good enough for me, Miss Moon. I need to know. I need to know for sure.” There was a long pause and I could tell she was crying. “I won’t trouble you any—”

“Wait,” I said again, truly hating myself for what I was about to say next. I had a big case I was unofficially working with Detective Sherbet of the Fullerton P.D. and it was getting dangerous. I had stumbled across another victim of the “Orange County Stalker” that was only minutes old—the body still warm with blood pooling under the corpse. I had to stop myself from having a taste and leaving behind my DNA for the coroner’s office. Self-discipline was a bitch, but far be it from me to taint a crime scene with