First released in 2004 as part of an anthology, Frannie makes her single title debut today. So if you like vamps with lots of action, humor and red hot loving, here’s your second chance to discover life as one of the newly undead through Frannie’s eyes!
“…Frannie and Niall are a lusty couple that will make you laugh out loud. Niall’s patience is continually tested by Frannie’s outrageous actions. The author has created a wonderful couple that will not be forgotten…”
5 Flames, Tewanda, Sizzling Romances on FRANKIE ‘N’ THE PRIVATE DICK
“Vampires can have love lives just as screwed up as anybody else’s, and here’s the proof.”
Hoot Island on FRANKIE ‘N’ THE PRIVATE DICK
Bent on catching her cheating fiancé in the act, Frannie Valentine got sidetracked by a little thing like dying. When she awakens, Frannie learns her pampered “life” will never be the same, so she turns to the man responsible for her “undeadness” and demands he take on the responsibility of teaching her the biz-the PI biz.
Niall Keegan never intended to make himself a mate, but Frannie’s string of minor disasters, which ended with her dying in his arms, took the decision right out of his hands. While the mating part isn’t bad, making the disaster-prone Frannie a PI may just be the death of him.
Niall Keegan waited in an anteroom of the funeral home hidden behind a thick velvet curtain as mourners gathered in the parlor. Dusk had fallen an hour ago, and he’d hurried here to continue his vigil.
However, he had taken the precaution of feeding just before entering the building—on a haughty doorman at a hotel he’d passed, and then a woman walking her ferociously growling Pekinese.
His appetite had been off since the night he drank from the fragrantly delicious vessel that was Francesca Valentine. But he’d forced himself to feed anyway. Tonight, he’d need his strength.
Guilt and anticipation made his stomach roil. It wasn’t every day a man took a mate. Not that he’d given the idea much thought before that night outside the Lizards ‘n’ Suds as he’d held her slender, fragile body while her life slipped away. But Frannie’s pale face and large, brown eyes had pleaded with him to end her pain. She lay dying because of him.
He hadn’t any choice. If he had, he might have gone for someone a little less flashy—less obviously high-maintenance. Someone less self-absorbed. But he couldn’t regret the package. He could lose himself for months, maybe years, exploring her sweetly curved body.
But first things first, he had to rescue her from her coffin before the burial in the morning. He knew firsthand how traumatic waking inside a closed pine box could be.
He wiped his sweaty palms on his blue jeans and peeked from behind the curtain.
The voices of those gathered to pay their respects to the nearly departed Francesca were muffled. Most stood in awkward little circles, their expressions appropriately sad. The women blubbered into handkerchiefs, no doubt kept in scented drawers for just such an occasion. Many of the men wore expensive suits with heavy golden jewelry. Friends of the fiancé.
His gaze narrowed on the fiancé who sat in a folding chair, his back shaking with his deep sobs. The blonde woman, his secretary Raeline Curtis, sat beside him patting his shoulder.
Watching the couple with avid interest was Grazia D’Amato, leaning heavily on her cane.
Donatella Valentine stood next to the closed casket, arguing with the funeral home director. From the set of her chin and ramrod-straight back, she wasn’t complimenting him on the spray of gardenias that decorated the top of the gleaming casket. “I specifically requested the casket be opened tonight.” Her imperious voice rose above the sound of Vinnie weeping.
The tall, gaunt director tugged at the collar of his dress shirt, his cheeks growing red. “That won’t be possible tonight. She’s not prepared. My cosmetician isn’t anywhere to be found.”
“But I want to see my baby one last time—” Donatella’s jaw tightened and her lips trembled.
Niall almost felt sorry for the woman. Her machinations had set this chain of events into action. She had to feel a world of guilt settling on her shoulders over her daughter’s fate. He’d never collect his fee from her now.
Then Niall noted a movement from a doorway opposite his hiding place. A slender woman in a knee-length black dress paused at the entrance. Despite the dark glasses and the frightful bun she’d forced her brunette hair into, he knew in an instant he was staring at Frannie.
He held back a groan. How the hell would he get to her before she caused a scene? Likely, she didn’t fully understand what had happened. And there were “rules” she shouldn’t break—like not revealing herself to a crowd of people who knew her when she lived!
Just as he reached for the curtain and yanked it back, a commotion sounded behind Donatella and the director. All eyes turned in their direction, expressions filling with horror and dismay as thumps and a muffled caterwauling emanated from the casket.
Niall blew out a deep breath, immediately guessing what had happened to the missing cosmetician. While everyone else’s attention was turned to the drama at the head of the parlor, he skirted the crowd until he reached Frannie. Her attention was also on the elderly woman being assisted from the coffin by burly henchmen.
Hands on her hips, Donatella glowered at the director. “You’ve lost my daughter!”
The director stuttered a response, which was quickly lost in the excited chatter from the mourners.
The old woman wept hysterically, muttering about naked people rising from the dead. As the women crowded around her to soothe her, her gaze fell on Frannie. “She’s over there! The zombie’s loose! Run!” the old woman screamed.
Niall didn’t waste a second. He grabbed Frannie’s hand and pulled her behind him, racing for the exit, the sound of Grazia D’Amato’s laughter cackling in the distance.
“Wait a darn minute!” Frannie screeched. “They’ve made a mistake.”
“No time to explain,” he shouted over his shoulder. The thunder of feet pounding behind them spurred him faster. He pushed the bar on an emergency exit and lunged into the darkness, dragging Frannie with him.
He didn’t slow down until he turned the corner. Reaching his taxi, he flung open the passenger seat door and shoved her roughly inside, then trotted around to slide behind the wheel.
“You’re insane!” Frannie pushed back the hair falling into her face and grabbed the door handle.
He pulled back her arm. “Not now, sweetheart.” He turned the key in the ignition and hit the gas just as a group of tough-looking, well-dressed men barreled around the corner.
“He’s kidnapping me!” Frannie screamed, pounding on the window.
In the midst of the crowd stood Vinnie, his mouth gaping open. As they pulled away, Niall was very gratified to see the capo slip to the pavement in a dead faint.
Frannie rounded on Niall as he steered the taxi deftly among the cars crowding the busy street. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? Are you insane?”
“I must be,” he muttered.
“Stop this cab this instant! I have to go back.” He hit the brakes, and Frannie braced herself against the dash in front of her.
“Sorry, love. There’s no going back.” He spun the steering wheel and forced the lumbering taxi to dart into the oncoming lane of traffic, before pulling past two cars and sliding neatly to the right in front of them, just missing a head-on collision with a delivery truck.
Frannie grabbed her seatbelt and buckled herself in.
“We have to get a few miles between us and your friends first,” he said calmly.
Frannie tore the sunglasses from her face and tossed them. They bounced off his head and clattered to the floorboard. “This is all your doing!”
“Guilty.” His cheerful tone rankled.
“Was this some sort of plot? I bet you set this whole thing up. Did you drug me to make everyone think I was dead?”
“You are dead, love.”
She snorted. “I’m in a speeding taxi with a crazy man. I’m every bit as alive as you!” she shouted.
“True,” he said, then laughed.
The bastard had the nerve to laugh at her! “So are you doing this for ransom?”
“No, I told you. You’re dead.”
“Everyone thinks I’m dead—or did! Now they’ll be looking for you.” She shuddered—they wouldn’t be nice about it when they did catch up to him. Why that bothered her considering her current predicament was a mystery. “You can’t hide from those people,” she said, her tone imploring him to understand.
“I won’t have to. They know what we are.”
“What? Fugitives? Maybe you. I’m a victim—and Vinnie Ricchione’s fiancée. They will most certainly look for me. Do you even know who you’re messing with?”
“Honey, after they scrape him off the sidewalk, Carmen Gambuti will set your fiancé straight.”
“I knew it! You do know who they are. You’re working for a rival family.”
“Nope. Wrong again. But I have done some work for Carmen a time or two.”
Frannie settled back against her seat. How had she ever thought this man was someone she could manipulate? He was crazy! Certifiably so. Carmen would grind his handsome carcass into mincemeat without losing a minute of sleep.
They raced past brightly lit shops and restaurants. Past a deli that made the most amazing Reubens, an Indian restaurant whose Tambouri chicken was so tender the meat melted in her mouth. “I’m hungry.” Her stomach knotted, and she thought she might puke if she didn’t eat soon.
“I know you are. I’ll be takin’ care of that.”
“I’m hungry now!” Distressed, she opened her seatbelt—it cut into her tummy. Hunger boiled like acid inside her now.
“Almost there, baby.”
“You’re passing everything.” Familiar gleaming, golden arches conjured pictures of hamburgers, dripping with juicy grease and blood… “Stop there!”
“I know what you’re wantin’—and I promise you that’s not it.”
“Hurry!” she sobbed.
Niall turned down a dark street and hit a garage door opener clipped to the visor in front of him, and a metal door rose. He drove inside and cut the engine.
As the door slid closed behind them, Frannie fumbled for the door handle and nearly fell out onto the concrete, but Niall was already there to help her. Crying softly, Frannie gripped his shoulders. “Help me!”
“Baby, hold on.” He lifted her easily into his arms and headed toward a door.
Frannie pressed her hot face into the curve of his neck as he shouldered his way through the door and down a passage that led past a glass-fronted office, then beyond it to an apartment door.
He smelled unbelievably delicious—of musk and spicy aftershave. Rubbing her nose along his skin, she noted the pulse of his blood, racing just beneath the surface. She gave his neck a little lick, so small she hoped he didn’t notice. She had to know how he tasted.
Fumbling to reach the keys in his pocket, he laughed—a short, strangled sound. “Hold that thought.” He shifted her, and the deadbolt clicked. The door swung open, and he lurched toward a sofa, dropping her onto it.
Frannie yelped and came to her knees in the middle of the overstuffed navy cushions. She knew she should bolt for the open door, but her heart pounded loudly, the sound was almost as distracting as the warm, lusty scent of the man.
He kicked the door closed and turned toward her, pulling his shirt from his jeans, yanking open the buttons until his chest was bare.
Intellectually, she knew she should scream bloody murder. However, her physical need for him was too strong. It coiled like a snake, wrapping around and around itself, deep inside her belly, constricting around her core.
He raised his hand and pointed to a vein that pulsed just to the side of the strong column of his throat. “Bite me here.”
She didn’t ask what he meant. A picture filled her mind of long teeth sinking into flesh, of blood washing down her throat. Frannie mewled and reached out her arms as Niall sank to his knees before her.
Her lips closed over his flesh, and she didn’t have another coherent thought. She bit deeply, and blood gushed into her mouth—hot, coppery, salty blood.
But it wasn’t enough—he wasn’t close enough. She crawled over him, parting her legs to straddle him, rubbing her clothed breasts along his chest as she drank.
He groaned and his hands grabbed her ass, pulling her groin flush with his.
Her nipples beaded instantly. He still wasn’t close enough. She pushed the shirt off his shoulders and glided her hands over his naked back, kneading the muscles there like bread dough, trying to shape him, to draw all of him inside her—now!
“Trust me?” he asked, his voice strained.
“Mmmm.” She gripped his shoulders, but couldn’t stop drinking long enough to even nod.
Her dress parted down the back with a loud renting sound, then her bra followed with a snap.
Cool air hit her back and Frannie shuddered, knowing soon his hands would follow.
Clumsily, he pulled away the fabric bunched between them until she was naked, save for her panties and her thigh-high hose. The hard points of her breasts nestled into the fur on his chest, and she sighed.
He tugged the clasp that held up her hair until it sprang open, and raked his fingers through her hair. Next, he tore away her white panties, then he reached between them and opened his pants.
As quickly as his sex was freed, she centered her hot pussy over him and sank down, taking him deep into her body—his cock piercing her tender flesh as surely as her teeth penetrated his neck.
She needed no encouragement to move on him—up and down, up and down—until the moist heat building in her cunt rivaled, and then surpassed, her hunger. Withdrawing her teeth, she rubbed her tongue on the little holes on his neck—a kiss of gratitude, and then she let her head fall back as wave after wave of release washed over her.
And still it wasn’t enough. She fell back on the carpet, bringing him with her, and wrapped her legs around his waist. “More!”
He groaned and rose over her, supported on his arms. His face was flushed; his eyes glittered brightly. “Fuck me! I knew you’d be like this.” He pulled partway out, until only the head of his penis remained inside her dewy warmth, then slammed back inside.
Frannie screamed and tilted her hips to take him deeper, savoring each glide and jerk of his hips as he tunneled inside her pussy. Sweet Mary, how he filled her!
His cock crowded her vagina, stretching her, reaching so deep he pounded against her womb. Then that glorious feeling, the one that felt like Pop Rocks bursting on her tongue, exploded in her core, radiating through her legs and belly like falling stars streaking though a nighttime sky.
When it passed, Frannie found herself staring up at Niall. Their bodies were still fused together, but his gaze held a wariness that brought her to her full senses with a sickening crash.
Ohmygod! I sucked blood from his neck and fucked him like a cat in yowling-loud heat!
Me—almost a married lady!