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“Stake” knifes and Dinner in the Bronx with @MargoBondCollins #FourthWallFriday


                I don’t get back to my old neighborhood in the Bronx nearly often enough these days. But whenever I can, I love to go back and walk through the Fordham University campus, with its gothic-style buildings and, in the spring and summer, gorgeous flowers and wide green lawns.

                The only thing I really don’t like about the Bronx? All the vampires.

                So when I hit New York City, I always make it a point to call The Shop, the vampire-hunting headquarters in Manhattan where Elle Dupree (a Fordham grad-student-turned-vampire-hunter) spends a lot of time these days. I never know who’s going to answer, but last time it was Tony, the doctor of the crew, and he invited me to join the rest of Nick’s old team for dinner.

                “Roberto’s?” I asked.

                “Absolutely.” I could hear the smile in Tony’s voice. So my first night in, I met up with Elle, Tony, John (the weapons guy) and Dom (the computer guy).

                Roberto’s has always been my favorite restaurant in the Bronx’s Little Italy (don’t listen to the hype—Arthur Avenue in the Bronx is the most authentic Little Italy in New York City). As usual, I spent the time between ordering our drinks and ordering dinner stuffing as much of Roberto’s homemade bread into my mouth as possible—and Elle spent her time trying to convince one of the guys to split with her a steak smothered in gorgonzola and beer sauce. And as usual, they all declined.

                “No way!” said Dom. “I’m getting my own food. I start sharing your steak and next thing you know, you’re gonna want to move into my place and put up flower pictures or some such shit.”

                Elle threw a crust of bread at his head. “I don’t have flower pictures up on my wall,” she said. “I’ve got crosses. And a couple of stakes for easy access.”

                John picked up the bread crust from where it had fallen on the table and popped it in his mouth. “Bet that goes over great with the guys.”

                “Yeah? And what do you have on your walls?”

                “Flower pictures.” He winked at me, and Elle scowled at him

                “Liar,” she said.

                “No, really. It helps with the ladies. They come in and see all my beautiful pictures and fall into bed.”

                Dom and Tony cracked up laughing. I just shook my head, but Elle kept poking at him. “Oh, please. Like that face could get a woman up to your apartment in the first place.”

                Dom and Tony whooped with laughter and Dom gave Elle high-fives over the table.

                At that moment, our waiter appeared at our table with a bottle of wine held out in presentation.

                “Um. I don’t think we ordered that,” I said.

                “It’s from the gentleman at the bar,” he said. I looked over at the bar next to the front entrance and saw a man who looked like he was probably in his mid-thirties. His longish blond hair just brushed his shoulders and about a day’s heavy beard growth covered his jaw. His blue eyes crinkled at the corners and his cheeks dimpled as he smiled at all of us, meeting our eyes in turn, and raised a glass of red wine in a toast.

                “Who’s that?” Tony asked.

                “Who cares?” said Dom, waving at the man and nodding at the waiter to pour a glass of wine for him. “Free wine is always good.”

                “Do you know him, Elle?” John asked.

                She shook her head without taking her eyes off the stranger. “I don’t know,” she said. “But wow, he’s pretty.”

                The man tipped his wineglass back and finished off his drink, then rose to leave. He was wearing jeans and a dark blue button-down shirt. He had on dark brown cowboy boots, I saw, and as he turned away from the bar, he picked up a black felt cowboy hat from the seat next to him and put it on his head. On anyone else, I might have assumed that the hats and boot were an affectation. On him, they just looked right.

                He caught my eye again and nodded, touching the brim of the hat and strolled toward the door.

                That’s when I realized that he wasn’t casting a reflection in the mirror behind the bar. I looked from the mirror to the man and back again, my eyes reflected back to me right in the spot where his reflection should have been. The vampire in the cowboy hat grinned at me, flashing just the tiniest hint of a fang, and winked as he pushed out through the door and into the night air.

                “Dammit!” I said, slapping at Elle’s arm. I am in no way prepared to deal with vampires, but she is—and she was already in motion. I scrabbled to follow her, knocking over the glass the waiter had just placed by my elbow. Dark red wine spilled onto the white tablecloth and down the side of the table into my lap. The waiter, flustered, started apologizing profusely and dabbing at my lap with a napkin.

                “Never mind,” I said, pushing the waiter away and trying to get past him to the door, but Elle was ahead of me, pulling her stake knife out of its sheath down the small of her back as she followed the vampire outside.

                By the time I got there, he was gone, and Elle after him. Of course. I scanned the sidewalks, the fire escapes, the tops of the buildings around me. Gone. I stomped my foot on the ground and cursed. Loudly. Elle came back from around the corner, shaking her head.

                “I think,” Tony said from behind me, where he stood with the door open, “that you and Elle should know that pushing down waiters, pulling knives out of your pants, and screaming curse words is not really appropriate behavior for your better dining establishments.”

                “God. Did you see that?” I asked. “He was playing with us.”

                “Yeah, I saw it. But he’s gone now, and standing out here while your food gets cold isn’t going to help find him. Come back in and let’s figure out what to do next.” Tony gestured us back inside.

                Our food was already on the table when we threaded our way back through the tables and to our spots. The other diners had food, too, but they weren’t paying much attention to it. They were staring at us. Elle ignored them, but I slid into my seat and sunk down as far as I could.

                “Sorry, guys. Didn’t mean to make a scene.”

                “No prob,” said Dom. He leaned over to the older couple seated at the table next to us and whispered conspiratorially in his heaviest New York accent, “Gang war. He comes back in here, she’s gonna cut him.” He jerked his head toward me. The couple, probably in their sixties, shrank away from our table, eyes wide. They began frantically signaling the waiter for their check.

                “Don’t fuck with the tourists,” John said. “Vamp?” he asked, turning to Elle.

                “Yeah. Didn’t see it until he was almost gone.” She shook her blonde hair and rolled her eyes. “I need to up my game, I think.”

                “You did better than me–I didn’t see it at all,” Dom said.

                “What was he doing in here?” I asked.

                “I’ve got a better question,” Tony said. “How did he know who we are?”

                We all sat silent for a moment, considering that.

                “So,” I said finally. “Are we going to tell your boss about this, or are you going to track this cowboy vampire down all by yourselves?”

                And more to the point, I thought, can I tag along while you do?

                After all, I’ve got a sequel to write.


About Margo Bond Collins

"Stake" knifes and Dinner in the Bronx with @MargoBondCollins #FourthWallFriday

Margo Bond Collins is the author of Legally Undead, first in an urban fantasy series coming in 2014 from World Weaver Press, Waking Up Dead, first in a paranormal mystery series from Solstice Publishing , and Fairy, Texas, a YA paranormal romance series (also from Solstice). She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, several spoiled cats, and a ridiculous turtle. She teaches college English online. She loves paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters.

Find more from her on her Amazon page, stalk her Pins on Pinterest, add her to your circles on Google+ and of course add Legally Undead to your Goodreads bookshelves! Not enough places to follow her? Well here are the rest, make sure you tweet and say hey, she loves the attention 😉


“Stake” knifes and Dinner in the Bronx with @MargoBondCollins #FourthWallFridayLegally Undead
Series: Vampirarchy, #1
by Margo Bond Collins
Published by World Weaver Press
Genres: Fantasy, Urban, Urban Fantasy
Source & Buy Links: Author
Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Kobo • • Goodreads •

Elle Dupree has her life all figured out: first a wedding, then her Ph.D., then swank faculty parties where she’ll serve wine and cheese and introduce people to her husband the lawyer.

But those plans disintegrate when she walks in on a vampire sucking the blood from her fiancé, Greg. Horrified, she screams and runs—not away from the vampire, but toward it, brandishing a wooden letter opener.

As she slams the improvised stake into the vampire’s heart, a team of black-clad men bursts into the apartment. Turning to face them, Elle realizes Greg’s body is gone—and her perfect life falls apart.

I received this book from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Read my Review  of Legally Undead


One Comment

  1. Thanks so much for letting me hang out here today and talk about some of my favorite vampire-hunting folks! 🙂

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