Vampires Need Not...Apply Online

Prologue

Near Sedona, Arizona. Estate of Kinich Ahau, ex–God of the Sun. New Year’s Day

Teetering on the very edge of a long white sofa, Penelope stared up at the oversized, round clock mounted on the wall. In ten minutes, the sun would set and the man they once knew as the God of the Sun would awake. Changed. She hoped.

Sadly, there’d been a hell of a lot of hoping lately and little good it did her or her two friends, Emma and Helena, sitting patiently at her side. Like Penelope, the other two women had been thrust into this new world—filled with gods, vampires, and other immortal combinations in between—by means of the men they’d fallen in love with.

Bottom line? Not going so great.

Helena, the blonde who held two bags of blood in her lap, reached for Penelope and smoothed down her frizzy hair. “Don’t worry. Kinich will wake up. He will.”

Pen nodded. She must look like a mess. Why hadn’t she taken the time to at least run a brush through her hair for him? He loved her dark hair. Maybe because she didn’t truly believe he’d come back to life. “I don’t know what’s worse, thinking I’ve lost him forever or knowing if he wakes up, he’ll be something he hates.”

Emma chimed in, “He doesn’t hate vampires. He hates being immortal.”

Pen shrugged. “Guess it really doesn’t matter now what he hates.” Kinich would either wake up or he wouldn’t. If he didn’t, she might not have the will to go on without him. Too much had happened. She needed him. She loved him. And most of all, she wanted him to know she was sorry for ever doubting him. He’d given his life to save them all.

Tick.

Another move of the hand.

Tock.

And another.

Nine more minutes.

The doorbell jolted the three women.

“Dammit.” Emma, who wore her combat-ready outfit—black cargos and a black tee that made her red hair look like the flame on the tip of a match—marched to the door. “I told everyone not to disturb us.”

Penelope knew that would never happen. A few hundred soldiers lurked outside and a handful of deities waited in the kitchen, snacking on cookies; new vampires weren’t known to be friendly. But Penelope insisted on having only her closest friends by her side for the moment of truth. Besides, Helena was a new vampire herself—a long story—and knew what to do.

Emma unlocked the dead bolt. “Some idiot probably forgot my orders. I’ll send him away—” The door flew open with a cold gust of desert wind and debris. It took a moment for the three women to register who stood in the doorway.

The creature, with long, matted dreads beaded with human teeth, wore nothing more than a loincloth over her soot-covered body.

Christ almighty, it can’t be, thought Pen, as the smell of Maaskab—good old-fashioned, supernatural, pre-Hispanic death and darkness—entered her nose.

Before Emma could drop a single f-bomb, the dark priestess raised her hand and blew Emma across the large, open living room, slamming her against the wall.

Helena screamed and rushed to Emma’s side.

Paralyzed with fear, Penelope watched helplessly as the Maaskab woman glided into the living room and stood before her, a mere two yards away.

The woman raised her gaunt, grimy finger, complete with overgrown grime-caked fingernail, and pointed directly at Penelope. “Youuuu.”

Holy wheat toast. Penelope instinctively stepped back. The woman’s voice felt like razor blades inside her ears. Penelope had to think fast. Not only did she fear for her life and for those of her friends, but both she and Emma were pregnant. Helena had a baby daughter. Think, dammit. Think.

Penelope considered drawing the power of the sun, an ability she’d recently gained when she had become the interim Sun God—another long story—but releasing that much heat into the room might fry everyone in it.

Grab the monster’s arm. Channel it directly into her.

“Youuuu,” the Maaskab woman said once again.

“Damn, lady.” Penelope covered her ears. “Did you swallow a bucket of rusty nails? That voice… gaaaahh.”

The monster grunted. “I come with a message.”

“For me?” Penelope took a step forward.

The woman nodded, and her eyes, pits of blackness framed with cherry red, clawed at Penelope’s very soul. “It is for you I bring… the message.”

Jeez. I get it. You have a message. Penelope took another cautious step toward the treacherous woman. “So what are you waiting for?”

“Pen, get away from her,” she heard Emma grumble from behind.

Not on your life. Pen moved another inch. “I’m waiting, old woman. Wow me.”

The Maaskab growled.

Another step.

“Don’t hurt my grandmother,”