Blood, Cupcakes and Wicked Business by Rochelle Pearson by Rochelle Pearson - Read Online

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Blood, Cupcakes and Wicked Business - Rochelle Pearson

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GLOSSARY

Adela

/Ad·dell·uh/

––––––––

Noun

A magic enriched tree made entirely of obsidian rock, rooted in a moat of salt water; located near the east side edge on a supernaturally inhabited island called Grimstone. Created by six supernatural beings known as The Hallow Six, the tree’s power hides the island’s identity from mortals, and allows the walking dead to bask in sunlight without fear of turning into dust or in need of sunblock. Merfolk can shed their fins for adequate limbs to properly ride tandem bicycles. The tree is mainly known to represent the freedom of magic, the overabundance of preternatural life, and unity of any and all creatures, living or undead, among the Island of Grimstone.

...Although Adela’s alliance with the very place unites and encourages free lifestyles for the things that go bump in the night—chaos is always near to disrupt the order of peace. After all, it is the land of the monsters.

Chapter One

Ron, you’re needed in his office.

Now? Veronica frowned, gesturing to the purse she’d just set down next to her computer, which she hadn’t even logged on to yet. Damn, can I blink a few dozen times before getting summoned?

Now, Mona said, giving her a pointed look, glancing briefly at the office window—they were on the fiftieth floor in The Tower—a warning to not jump out. Regardless of Veronica being a vampire and could handle such gruesome, pavement-landing descents.

She gazed sorrowfully at the blood-peppermint latte in her hand.

Un-sipped.

Under appreciated.

We’ll meet again. I promise.

She grumbled a Fine, and grabbed the electronic tablet she uses to store Mr. Elwood’s schedule, notes, and other important items. She trailed behind Mona, the dutiful, petite, gray-skinned demoness with horns, out to the hallway. Veronica couldn’t even stab her frustration into the floor with black pump heels since it was carpeted.

She settled on a colossal eye roll.

I saw that, Mona snickered. The demoness had stellar senses. Veronica smirked, for sure the demon knew she was doing that as well. Mona is dead-ass sharp as a whip, a force to be reckoned with. She’s perfect as their boss, Keeland Elwood’s, hellhound. Phone calls were useless, thus Mona personally dragged workers’ behinds to the King of Pompous when they were needed immediately. Veronica was one of the few who’s garnered a soft spot with her. The little gray-skinned demon loved her juicy resume when she applied for this job, which in hindsight is like a market cashier position up against her qualifications. Still, it’s a job that doesn’t contain a dump load of stress, and it’s not high profile with heavy responsibilities that’ll gain major attention, like she was used to. It’s low-key.

It’s being an assistant. Mr. Elwood’s personal assistant.

Veronica credits herself for being an organized individual. She can push to have something done for an employer. Mona saw that drive and no sooner Veronica was dismissed from the interview conducted a while back then was called the next day, being asked whether she wanted her last name: Ardelean, as a desk plate, or hung on the outside the door to her new office.

She said both.

Mona admitted the vampire is an exceptionally confident, grab ‘em by the metaphorical horns—in Veronica’s case—individual. Precisely what Mr. Elwood needs as an assistant. The work pace tends to get fast and she sure as hell can keep up. However, she lived too damn long to not have caught the over enthusiastic ploy Mona touted when talking about Keeland Elwood, the lovely new boss... insert fucking eye-roll. Shame on Veronica again for not doing her homework. She’s his thirty-seventh assistant in the last six months. Good Goddess, where’s the hills? Because she should have ran towards them.

Back in her homeland, Bucharest, Romania, her father, along with his business team, shaped her into the woman she is today, right out the cold womb of her undead mother. Veronica lived a take-no-prisoners lifestyle in the Ardelean household. She was bred to snatch the things she wanted and sink her fangs into what she desired. Spine straight, all work, no play.

So, was there any fun? No. It was nonexistent. The deprivation of simple pleasures was every day’s theme.

Love...

She wasn’t given beautiful gifts as a child. Nothing was handed to her that produced a smile. She was first introduced to love when she’d happen to stumble across blood-laced cupcakes at the age of three hundred and fifty—the vampire equivalent of early twenties in human years. Sad, isn’t it?

Four hundred now, nothing’s changed. She’s still single as can be and solely responsible for making herself happy. Not a hard task. Thankfully, vampires not being able to consume real food is a myth, because sweet pastries send her non-beating heart a flutter. Just imagine it does, that’s what I do. The undead certainly can eat, but the flavor level, no matter the dish, is really low. Adding specific types of blood that mimic the flavors of food heightens the taste.

No one had told her this before earlier in life.

Then again, why would they, when everyone around her, herself included during childhood, drank human blood, a one and only sustenance—something she won’t miss. Sometimes Veronica scours her memories and wonder how the human source was acquired. Had she indulged in the blood of a mortal who willingly supplied it? Or was that person taken and robbed of it all and then added to the devastatingly long list of missing people in the country?

These are now deemed dark memories. At one point, they used to be normal.

Now she sustains her thirst with animal blood. The good she had taken from all those years of being morphed into the coveted jewel of her father was being independent and succeeding at everything she does. But also, much to his dislike, the dormant rebellious fire she kept hidden from him blazes freely now.

A different creature than them all.

No man will ever control what she wants, or do, in her life.

That’s why she ditched his strict reign in Romania and moved to the Island of Grimstone. Two months in, she relaxed, gazed at everyone while walking the streets, skips like a schoolgirl to Mystique Beach—a location that’s fast become her favorite spot. Like seriously, she’d never even been to a beach before! It was knee-crippling harsh once she discovered there were elixirs for vampires to drink to roam under the sun in the human world.

Turns out, the elders in her family knew. Yet, she was quite literally kept in the dark.

Grimstone, her new home—gods, home—Grimstone’s magic allows her comfortably under the rays of light the same way other supernaturals strolling along do. They smile at one another—a gesture that’s foreign to her. She savors her precious newfound freedom. Not to be mistaken, it’s not like she was being forced to remain miserable in Bucharest as a kind of prisoner. Though, it’s not like the box she felt she was pushed into had any space, either. I would say it’s a breath of fresh air being here—if I could breathe, of course.

But old habits die hard...

Mona knocked on Keeland’s giant door, dragging Veronica to the present.

Come in, a deep voice said.

I ran from one controlling man to another. Except this time, lines were drawn. Cross them, a blanket of nightmares shall be unleashed.

* * *

Spartan. Dark. Intimate...

This is what surrounded Veronica inside Keeland Elwood’s domain.

Wicked... like the man sitting behind the ginormous glossy oak desk. Can an office also be described as asshole-y?

Thank you, Mona. He nodded toward the door. Clearly dismissed, she winked at Veronica then quietly slipped out, clicking the door shut.

Miss Ardelean take a seat.

He hasn’t looked at me. That’s okay. His avoidance of her presences gave time to unashamedly let her eyes drift over him. He might have a jerk-wad attitude, but he’s still fine as hell. The times she stood next to him, feeling like a mountain dwarf, she was so small compared to his almost seven-foot stature. Impressive, how Elves can be lean and high, like the ancient trees their magic derives from.

Clear, smooth pale skin contrasted with his mid-back-length basil green hair. Naturally bone straight. The fucker hasn’t a clue the daily morning fight she has with her wavy blue-black mane.

See, now I’m irritated all over again.

Six-inch pointed ears sliced through the green curtain. Square cut jaw. Sharp cheekbones. Male Elven faces are known to be described as beautiful. Angelic. Almost feminine-like.

Not Keeland. Danger etches his features.

So... sexy.

Here, to clear up her confusing hormonal tandems quickly: she’s attracted to Keeland. His attitude? Not so much.

But why hasn't she quit, you’re probably thinking? Why even waste her nonexistent breath? Besides being stubborn as hell, she never was one to give up—leaving a horrifying home in Romania certainly does not count. Another reason, stemming deep in the trenches of her brain, she wants—needs—to prove that she can face head-on difficult situations, but be allowed to put her foot down or voice what’s on her mind without being horribly punished.

Plus, she really does like this job.

Resurrect. It’s a tight-knit corporation that locates abandoned buildings around the world and buys them from their negligent owners. Then notify other business owners who are looking for property to expand their brand in the human world that an site is available, and renovate the property any way they want.

Resurrect does all the work, making next business ventures easier for those in need. One hundred percent success rate. New clients flood in every day.

The man behind the desk is a powerhouse. Not surprising, he’s the damn CEO and wants anything but failure.

Veronica had to admit they have that in common.

Keeland was wary upon their first meeting, gauging how long she would last, but, despite her inner reservations about his character, he’s hardcore. Professional as hell. They get shit done. That’s what’s important.

She let my gaze travel to Keeland again. The last feature that always sucked the undead life outta her was... those eyes. The color of deep jade.

Oh, shit, they’re fixed on me now...

She shifted on twitchy feet, realizing she’d been standing and staring since she entered. How long had he been watching me while I zoned out?

Veronica. He quirked an eyebrow. Amusement flashed in his gaze and a hint of something else.

Heat?

Impossible. Those eyes absorb all of her, heel to neck, reaching again to meet blood-red eyes.

Definitely heat.

For some confusing reason, she liked it. Her body was like what humans call pinup. Large breasts nipped waist,