Kiss of Venom - (Elemental Assassin, #8.5) Page 0,1

the ladies ever since we'd arrived, but then I realized that she was holding a round tray. The gold heart-and-arrow pendant that glimmered in the hollow of her throat marked her as more than just a waitress, though. The rune was Roslyn Phillips's symbol for her luxe nightclub - and all the hookers who worked here.

Several men and woman wearing the same necklace circulated around the dance floor and through the crowds at the bar, their gold runes flashing like neon signs underneath the club's black lights, letting everyone know that they were open for business. All of them were buff, beautiful, and baring a lot of skin, leaving little to the imagination. Most of them were vampires, and all of them would do whatever you wanted them to - for the right price.

The waitress cocked a hip to one side, her red-leather miniskirt riding up even higher on her toned thighs. "Hi there. My name's Sierra. Can I get you boys another round?"

Phillip gave her a slow, syrupy smile. "Sugar, you can get me just about anything that you like."

She giggled at that, having probably heard the same lame line from at least a dozen other men already tonight. She grinned at him, revealing a pair of small, pearl-white fangs. Phillip gave her a saucy wink, which made her giggle a bit more.

Then Sierra turned her seductive smile to me. "What about you, handsome? See anything on the menu that you like? Anything at all?" She drawled out the word anything, then licked her crimson lips, letting me know that she was on the menu too, as if that rune around her neck hadn't already clued me in to that fact.

Phillip smirked and waggled his eyebrows at me again, but I shook my head.

"Just another drink for me, please," I said, pushing my empty glass toward her.

She pouted a little, but she scooped up our glasses and sashayed away. Phillip leaned out of the booth and watched her go, admiring the view.

"That was a wasted opportunity, if you ask me," he said. "She was cute."

Sierra was cute, but she wasn't my type - because she didn't have clear gray eyes that could look right through you or a smile that could light up a room with just the barest curve of her lips. I didn't bother telling Phillip all that, though. He'd just say that I was being melancholy and maudlin, mooning over something that I couldn't have, something that I'd been stupid enough to throw away, something that I hadn't truly appreciated until it was gone.

Phillip took my lack of response as a sign to keep right on talking. "C'mon, Owen," he murmured, his gaze zooming over to a gorgeous redhead enthusiastically swiveling her hips - along with everything else - out on the dance floor. "We came here tonight to have some fun. Or have you forgotten?"

With his slicked-back blond ponytail, intense blue eyes, and strong, muscled body, Phillip attracted more than his share of admiring glances, especially given the sharp white Fiona Fine designer suit that he was sporting tonight. With my black hair, violet eyes, and far more subdued navy suit, I was the muted dark to his blazing light. I wasn't as pretty as Phillip, especially given my crooked nose and the scar on my chin from a long-ago fight, but I wasn't invisible either. I got my share of interested looks too. I just didn't feel like returning any of them. Yep, Owen Grayson was officially on wingman duty tonight.

"Oh, no," I replied in a mild voice. "I haven't forgotten anything. But it looks like you have - all about Eva."

Phillip quit ogling the redhead long enough to narrow his eyes at me. "What do you mean by that?"

"C'mon, Phillip. I might be an idiot, but I'm not blind," I said, mocking him with his own words. "I see the way the two of you look at each other."

He grimaced. "And I can see that you're not too happy about it. So I thought that I wouldn't bring it up tonight. Or any night, for that matter."

This time I waggled my eyebrows at him. "My baby sister being not so secretly in love with one of Ashland's most ruthless crime bosses. What's not to like?"

Phillip's grimace deepened because every word I said was true. Eva was crazy about him, and Phillip felt the same way about her, despite the fact that she was still in college and he, owner of the illustrious Delta