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Dead End Dating

A Novel of Vampire Love

Dead End Dating by Kimberly Raye
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A vivacious vampire with a flair for accessorizing, Lil Marchette is unlike most of her kind. She prefers lively shades of pink to dismal black (soo not her color), plus she’s a hopeless romantic. In need of a steady paycheck to support a compulsive cosmetics habit, Lil starts Dead End Dating (DED), a Manhattan-based matchmaking service that helps smart, sophisticated singles like herself find eternity mates–and may even help her stake a claim to her very own Count Right!

When Lil meets geeky vampire Francis Deville, she knows he’s the perfect first client. If she can hook up Francis–after a little revamping, of course–she will prove her skills to the vampire community and turn DED into the hottest dating service in the Big Apple. But just as her business takes off, Lil meets the (literally) drop-dead gorgeous bounty hunter Ty Bonner, who is hot on the chase of a serial killer. Instantly drawn to the luscious vamp stud, Lil really wants a taste. But as a made vampire, Ty can’t procreate–and Lil will settle for nothing less. Luckily, between “vampifying” Francis and helping Ty solve his murder mystery, Lil has no time for silly romantic entanglements . . . even if Ty is all that and a Bloody Mary chaser!

From the Paperback edition.
Random House Publishing Group; August 2006
ISBN 9780345495273
Read online, or download in secure EPUB
Title: Dead End Dating
Author: Kimberly Raye

For those of you who don’t already know me, my name is the Countess Lilliana Arabella Guinevere du Marchette (yeah, I know), but my friends call me Lil.

I mean, really, what were my folks thinking? It’s hard enough being a single, jobless, five-hundred-year-old female vampire in this day and age without the whole pretentious French royalty thing and an ancient lame-ass name that doesn’t even fit in the box on a Visa application. Talk about another cross to bear. (Oops, poor word choice. My bad.)

Let’s just say life is tough for any woman, and death isn’t much better. We’re still expected to live up to this whole Night-Feeding Barbie image—perfect figure, perfect hair, perfect clothes, perfect incisors—and procreate, hunt for the family, and make sure little Morticia doesn’t color on the walls and baby Vlad doesn’t eat the eyes off his Count Dracula doll. Talk about stress.

For the typical committed female vampire, that is.

I, on the other hand, haven’t had a decent date in the past one hundred years, much less found Count Right, so my life is a bit simpler. Notice I say “simpler” rather than lonelier. Because I am not, repeat not, lonely.

I’m a single, hot, happening vampire with a flair for accessorizing, a handful of super-sweet friends—literally—and a very expensive therapist. ’Nuff said.

Now where was I? Oh, yeah—me making my own way in the world. First on my list is finding an apartment. A girl can live with her parents for only so many centuries without having a nervous breakdown. Second is getting a job. Neither of which should pose a problem for someone like me. Pure vampires (those born rather than made) are an ambitious, take-charge-and-make-things-happen race, and so most of us are filthy rich. If I were so inclined, I could easily use my family’s green to find a suitable apartment in Manhattan (complete with a live-in maid, which is almost worth being eternally indebted to my folks considering the fact that I hate to clean) and go to work for my father managing his New York University location of Midnight Moe’s.

What is Midnight Moe’s, you say?

Think copy machines. Think printing services. Think two hundred locations nationwide (near a university near you).

Think bor-ing.

While I have nothing against copying or printing, I simply can’t see myself standing behind the counter from dusk ’til dawn, wearing a lime green polo shirt with “Midnight Moe’s” embroidered across the pocket, and matching Dockers. Lime green is so not my color (I’m a winter, and anything out of my range makes me look, well, dead.) As for the Dockers . . . they’re Dockers. (Shudder.) So you can see why the thought of spending eternity gainfully employed in the family business is enough to make me want to stake myself.

You’ve probably guessed by now that I’m not like most other vamps. Except maybe one, that is. My father says I’m the spitting image of my great aunt Sophie, who nuked herself, just last year, in a tanning bed she purchased off the QVC channel. She was a total nonconformist when it came to the whole vamp image, with her blond highlights, pale peach nail polish, and addiction to Hawaiian-print sarongs.

Personally, I wouldn’t be caught dead in a Hawaiian-print anything. Likewise, why would I crawl into a Sunsation 5000 when Clinique makes the most rockin’ sunless tanning spray in the perfect shade of medium gold? Not! I don’t care for pale peach, either, but I do have highlights and I’m definitely a nonconformist (aka the daughter that was switched at birth or so my mother tells the women in her Happy Hunting Club).

You see, I don’t do black. I don’t prowl the streets, biting unsuspecting victims (unless he’s really, really cute). I don’t sleep in a cramped coffin. I don’t go all orgasmic at the mention of Marilyn Manson. (Hel-lo? The guy is so totally unhot, even if he does have the whole night-creature look going on.) Nor am I a cold, ruthless, unfeeling bitch, unless you’re the Princess Colette du Guilliam, the blond-haired, blue-eyed slut who stole my very first boyfriend.

My favorite color is pink. Biting is so over. I’d rather drink my dinner out of a martini glass and follow it up with a cosmopolitan chaser. I sleep in a king-sized bed on a pillow-top mattress (yum). I score a ten on the O-meter when it comes to Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, and Toby Keith (I know, I know, he’s so not my type, but there’s just something about the cowboy hat). I’ve also been known to cry during the MasterCard commercials. And—this is the eighth deadly sin as far as my kind are concerned—I’m a closet romantic.

I absolutely, positively love love.

I love everything about it, from that first initial glance between two strangers, to the earth-shattering moment when both realize that they are meant to be together forever (deep sigh). My favorite movie is Pretty Woman, followed by An Officer and a Gentleman and The Terminator (the movie itself isn’t all that touching, but the one love scene really rocks). My favorite holiday is Valentine’s Day, and I have a heart-shaped tattoo at the left side of my bikini line. And I actually jumped up and down when Carrie ended up with Big in the final episode of Sex and the City.

So it only stands to reason that I should forgo Moe’s and opt for something a little more romantic to pay the bills.

Vampires need love, too.

Okay, most of my brethren would argue this with me because they (a) don’t believe in the concept and are, for the most part, vicious bloodsuckers, and (b) aren’t nearly as enlightened as I am. But while the average Joe Vamp doesn’t buy into the “L” concept, he’s still hard-pressed to find an eternity mate for all those practical reasons mentioned above (see little Morticia and baby Vlad). Who better to hook him up than yours truly?

For a fee, of course. After all, a girl’s gotta eat (okay, so this girl’s gotta keep up her supply of MAC bronzing powder, but you get the idea). Which is why I’m not limiting my services to vamps. Hence my fantabulous entrepreneurial brainstorm: Dead End Dating. A Manhattan-based, equal-opportunity matchmaking service for the smart, savvy, sophisticated single sick and tired of dead-end dating, and the smart, savvy, sophisticated single vampire looking for just that.

I know, I know. It’s brilliant. What can I say? Genius runs in my family (ever heard of Marie Curie?). Anyhow, it’s a great plan, one that I’ve already put into motion. Last week, I leased the perfect office space just around the corner from my favorite Starbucks (ah, the smell of mocha latte and maple scones), and I hired my first employee: Evie Dalton. Evie is as human as they come, but I’m a sucker (no pun intended) for an impressive interview ensemble—DKNY miniature jacket, boot-cut Gucci corduroys, Kenneth Cole boots, and the pièce de résistance—a rhinestone belt to die for.

So here I sit on a clear, moonlit October evening in Manhattan, my laptop open in front of me, ready and willing to change someone’s destiny. To pluck them from the pit of loneliness and lift them into the blessed light of companionship. To save them from the jaws of isolation and deliver them into the warm, comforting embrace of . . . Well, you get the picture.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll find my own eternity mate while I’m dishing out happily ever afters.

Of course, I’m not getting my hopes up, mind you—I’m even pickier when it comes to men than I am with accessories. For now, I’m willing to settle for paying the bills, particularly the whopper of a Visa bill that’s headed my way after funding this latest venture.

Not that I’m worried. Once my ad runs in all of the local papers, the masses will be climbing over one another to get to my office (I’m picturing a half-off sale at Barney’s). The funds will roll in and I won’t have to crawl back to my folks in Connecticut and endure yet another Sunday night dinner with a prospective Count Right. Did I mention that my mother has a habit of fixing me up? She doesn’t buy into the whole non-lonely spiel.

Anyhow, I just know Dead End Dating is going to be it. The next big thing. My ticket to complete financial independence and personal fulfillment. Or, at the very least, a really cool way to pay next month’s rent.

The matchmaking biz totally rocks.

From the Paperback edition.