Argeneau 16, Under a Vampire Moon Page 0,1

eyebrow. “Let Aunt Beth nurse you back to health and happiness. I promise you are going to have a very good time on this trip. You will laugh and have fun and even get laid. It will be the time of your life.”

“Right,” Carolyn said dryly, some of her tension returning.

The last thing she wanted at this point was to get involved with another man. Been there, done that, got the divorce lawyer to prove it, she thought grimly, and then glanced to the bartender as he returned with two wineglasses and two shot glasses, both with golden liquid in them.

“Thank you,” Bethany said cheerfully, pushing one of the shot glasses toward Carolyn and then lifting the other as she turned on her bar stool to face her. “So… ” She paused and waited pointedly.

Carolyn picked up her shot glass with resignation.

“To a good time in St. Lucia,” Bethany said firmly and tossed back her shot.

Carolyn raised the small glass to her own lips and took a sip, grimacing as the liquid burned its way across her tongue.

Bethany set her glass down with a gasp, glanced to Carolyn and frowned when she saw her still full shot glass. “Down it,” she said firmly. “Dr. Beth’s orders.”


“Down it,” Bethany repeated pushing the glass to her lips.

Carolyn did as ordered, gasping and coughing as the liquid burned down her throat and slammed into her stomach.

“That a girl,” Bethany said with approval. Slapping her back with one hand, she took the empty glass from her with the other and set it in front of the bartender, saying, “Two more.”

“Beth,” Carolyn got out, her voice raspy, “I haven’t drunk in ages. I—”

“You haven’t done a lot of things in ages,” Beth interrupted as the bartender refilled their shot glasses. “And you’re going to do them all here. So don’t even try to fight it. Trust me, I know what’s best for you.”

Carolyn shook her head, but accepted the shot when the bartender pushed it toward her.

Beth clinked her glass and said, “To freedom.”

Carolyn downed the shot without prompting this time and waited for the coughing fit to follow, but suspected her throat was still numb from the first shot. This one went down more smoothly, and she only had to clear her throat a little afterward. She set the glass down and pointed out, “I’m not free yet.”

“Semantics.” Bethany gestured for the bartender to pour them both another. “The worst is over. Now it’s just a matter of waiting for the courts to do their thing.”

“Yeah,” Carolyn murmured as another shot appeared before her.

Raising her glass, Bethany said, “Here’s hoping they’re quicker about it than they have been with everything else.”

Carolyn drank, but as she set the empty glass back, she said, “I don’t really care. I’m in no rush.”

Bethany scowled as she gestured to the bartender again. “I swear, every time you say that it sends a shudder down my back. It makes me think you don’t want the divorce at all. That you’re still hung up on him and want to get back together.”

“No,” Carolyn assured her solemnly. “That isn’t the case at all. But I’m also not eager to rush into a new relationship.

In fact, I’ve decided marriage just isn’t for me. So what do I care if it takes a while to resolve the old one?”

“Right.” She smiled. “It doesn’t matter. You got everything you wanted.”

Carolyn snorted. “What I wanted was a happy marriage.

Failing that, I wanted a fair divorce settlement.”

“Then that’s our next toast,” Bethany said cheerfully.

“To the incredible Larry Templeton, lawyer extraordinaire who is going to get you everything you deserve and more.”

Carolyn raised her shot glass, but found it hard to smile. Bethany was trying to cheer her up and ensure she enjoyed this vacation, but she simply wasn’t in the mood. Carolyn was heartsore, bruised, disillusioned, and, frankly, depressed. And she suspected being at this resort in the Caribbean wasn’t going to help. It was obviously a popular place for honeymooners. Everyone was smiling and happy and full of love and hope. It was a depressing counterpoint to her own state, mid-divorce and traveling with a friend. At forty-two she was also old. Or at least she felt old. Christ, she’d never felt so old in her life, Carolyn acknowledged unhappily; old, jaundiced, beaten down. How had she gotten this way?


Carolyn pushed her less than pleasant thoughts away and lowered her shot glass to glance at Bethany. Her eyebrows pulled together when she saw the uncertain