Beauty Dates the Beast

Chapter One

Midnight Liaisons,” I said as I cradled the office phone to my ear. “This is Bathsheba. How can I help you?”

“Hi,” the man breathed nervously into the other end of the phone. “I’m looking for … company. Tonight. Maybe a redhead.”

I winced. There was no way to misunderstand what he was looking for, as he’d clearly stated “redhead” in a rather obvious (and breathy) fashion. We got at least one of these kinds of calls a day, and I’d become an old hand at deflecting the creepiness of misguided callers. “Midnight Liaisons is a dating service, sir. Not an escort service.” Now please, never call again.

There was a pause on the other end of the line. “Oh,” he said. “Well, that’s fine. How can I access your website to look at the dating profiles? It won’t give me a password.”

“The password is your Alliance ID number,” I said, my voice effortlessly pleasant from years of answering questionable phone calls. “Or I can check your credentials and get you set up with a temporary log-in. If you can tell me who your pack leader is, I’d be more than happy to send through the background check—”

“My what?”

Definitely a civilian on the line. A “natural,” as my boss liked to joke around the office. I decided to play dumb anyhow. “If you don’t have a pack leader … perhaps your master?” If this guy was familiar with undead society at all, he’d catch the hint.

“Huh?”

“Coven? Fey king?” I couldn’t resist. “High lord?”

“What are you talking about, lady?” The man on the other end of the line had lost his patience. Gone was the smarmy tone, replaced by your typical, run-of-the-mill angry customer. Except he definitely wasn’t one of our customers.

“I’m sorry,” I said in my most sugary voice. “But Midnight Liaisons has an exclusive clientele. Our dating service is open to referrals from current clients only. Have a nice day, sir—”

“Now just a minute,” the man began, but I hung up on him anyway. The chances of him ever becoming a client were slim to none, unless he had the luck to run into a vampire looking for a new friend.

From the back of the room, Sara snickered as she typed at her desk. “You always get the weird ones.”

“Of course I do,” I said, turning in my chair to glance at her. Sara’s gaze was glued to her screen, but she had a smile on her face. “We get weird calls because the company name sounds like an escort service. And I get them because you’re not answering the phone.”

“I’m busy,” she said, but her mouth quirked.

“Part of your job is to answer the phone,” I retorted, exasperated. “I’m the office manager! If anyone shouldn’t have to answer the phone, it’s me.”

“But you’re so good at it,” Sara soothed me, grinning. “I’m not half as patient with the freaks as you are.”

I snorted.

Sara just laughed. Seeing as how she’s my baby sister, she got away with just about everything. She flipped through the slender stack of profiles on her desk. “Midnight Liaisons is a stupid name, but what else would you call a dating service that caters exclusively to the paranormal?”

“Bangs for Fangs? Flea-Collared Submissives?” I quipped, turning back to my screen to get rid of the flashing pop-up reminding me to log the call into the database. “Fresh Meat for Deadbeats?”

Sara made a small noise of dismay. “You’re too hard on them. Not everyone who has a tail is a jerk.”

I winced. That was careless of me. “Sorry,” I said, keeping my voice light and playful. “You know I didn’t