Dakota Shelton, the newest sentry for the Presidium, the vampire government, was not an easy man to ignore.

His six foot two inch broad shouldered frame towered over her easily but there was something else about him that set her on edge. It was the way he carried himself. He moved effortlessly and casually, as if he was just the good-old boy from Texas he claimed to be.

But Trixie knew better.

He was a sentry, a member of the elite vampire police force, and he was anything but good. Beneath that easy breezy charm lurked an executioner who could kill her, and anyone else nearby, in the blink of an eye. Dakota was deadly, stealthy, and full of swagger and that was probably why she found him undeniably attractive.

She never could steer clear of dangerous men.

If Trixie La Roux had one talent in this shitty crazy world, it was picking the wrong guy. As a human, her poor choices in men constantly got her into trouble. When Olivia had found her in the abandoned subway tunnels of Manhattan, Trixie had just had her heart stomped on by yet another guy. He’d betrayed her, thrown her away and tossed her aside like she was nothing.

Men lied.

They did and said anything to get what they wanted.

They made promises that were never kept.

In the end she was always alone.

Abandoned.

Worthless.

She was powerless…until she became a vampire.

Once Trixie was turned, she slipped easily into the strength and independence that came with immortality. Being a vamp was clear and uncomplicated. There was no guesswork about how to navigate the world and better yet, there was no addiction. She had finally been freed of the drugs that had kept her prisoner as a human.

She refused to be addicted to anyone or anything ever again.

“So what’s in the box, darlin’?” He inched closer. “I bet it’s real nice.”

“Quit calling me that, would ya?”

“Why?” His grin broadened. “What would you prefer? Sweetie pie? Honey bee? Or maybe, sugar?”

“As if!” Trixie snorted with a laugh.  In spite of how sexist it was to call her or any woman by pet names, she was surprised to find herself amused. Coming from him it seemed kind of…appropriate. “How about if you try using my name? Like, I totally have one, thank you very much. Jeez, get with the program, cowboy. Don’t you know that it’s chauvinistic to refer to a woman with names like that?”

“Come on, now,” he sighed. “I’m just bein’ my normal self, is all, Miss Trixie.”

“Not Miss Trixie,” she said with waning patience. “Trixie. Okay? Like, just plain old Trixie.”

“Girl,” he said through a laugh, “you are anythin’ but plain.”

“And you are anything but normal.” She chuckled and sliced a sidelong glance in his direction. “Sally.”

“Why are you always lookin’ to pick a fight with me?” Dakota asked, stopping in front of the Czars’ apartment door. “Were you this feisty as a human?”

“I guess you’ll never know.” Trixie stuck her tongue out at him. “I’m all vampire and being feisty is totally my thing, man.”