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Incubus Dreams (Vampire Hunter 12) - Page 154


I wasn't sure that men were such bastards, but I knew better than to argue. "I'll come get you, just stay there, and don't do anything you'll regret when you wake up tomorrow."

She giggled; Ronnie never giggled. "Oh, I want to do something that Louie will regret tomorrow."

Shit. "Sit tight, don't do anything stupid. We'll be there as soon as we can." She hung up, still laughing.

I filled Micah in on the parts he'd missed. "You need to rest, Anita. I'll go get her."

"First, she's in the men-are-bastards mind-set, and she's wanting to do something that Louie will regret tomorrow. I think you alone wouldn't be a good idea, besides she's my friend. But I'm letting you come with me."

He was frowning at me.

I touched his arm. "Going to bed with you beside me is the best idea in the world right now, but going to bed without you is like the worst idea in the world. I think alone my head's going to turn ugly. Maybe going out is exactly what I need."

He frowned harder. "You can just call her a taxi."

"Ronnie and I just made up from a fight that's lasted for months. I don't want to lose her again."

"I'm not going to talk you out of this, am I?"

"No."

He smiled then, though his eyes still weren't happy. "Then let's go."

I smiled at him. "Thank you."

"What for, not arguing?"

"Yeah."

"But I'm driving."

I didn't argue. I did get my vampire hunter kit and my equipment bag. The equipment bag was new, but it held more weapons. It carried lots of guns, lots of ammo, pointy weapons, and it all looked like a medium sized black duffel bag, luggage thing.

Micah didn't argue about the extra firepower. He just held the door for me, since I had a bag in each hand. We met Nathaniel coming up the sidewalk. He grinned at me, until he saw my face and the bags. "What's wrong? What's happened?"

I looked at Micah, and he looked at me. "She's got a warrant, so she can carry her entire kit with her."

"You aren't going to catch vampires with her, are you?"

I sighed. "Right now, we're going to go rescue Ronnie. She's drunk as a skunk over the river at Incubus Dreams. The bartender took her keys."

Nathaniel's eyebrows went up. "Why go to that dump?"

I laughed and dropped a bag so I could hug him. He hugged me back. "Come with us, and we'll discuss it in the car. I want to get there before she does something stupid."

"You mean like get drunk at a strip club where I know the dancers will do a lot more than just strip for money?"

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I looked at him, and my eyes were wide. "Tell me you don't mean..."

He shrugged. "That's the rumor, and I believe the person who told me."

"Oh, shit." I started to run for the Jeep, because ha**ng s*x with a prostitute stripper would qualify nicely as something Louie would regret in the morning. The trouble with that kind of revenge is that you regret it so much more than whoever you're trying to hurt. I threw the bags in the back. Micah drove, and Nathaniel got in the back. We were off to try to save Ronnie from a fate worse than death, or something like that.

71

Incubus Dreams sits by itself in the middle of an open field, a distant stand of trees, and a gravel parking area. It sits by itself, partly by accident and partly because it is the only all-male show on this side of the river. Bright multicolored neon surrounded the entrance. There was a large printed sign on the door that read, "All-Male Dancers." It was a last chance for the drunks to make sure that this was what they wanted to see, and they weren't about to stumble into the wrong club.

The three of us stepped into the foyer, or whatever you call an open space with an empty display case and a little desklike area. There was no one behind it, no one to ask if we wanted to check our coats. I was actually the only one wearing a coat. It was mild for October, and lycanthropes tend to run warm. I had the short leather jacket on, mostly to hide the gun under my arm, more than to protect against the autumn chill. But whatever bouncer was supposed to check people out at the door wasn't at the door. We entered the club unmolested and unchecked out. Bad security, no cookie.

Of course, maybe they were counting on you being deafened and stunned for a moment by the music. It was so loud you could feel the bass in your bones, and not in a good way. You literally stood a moment on the raised area inside the doors, just trying to adjust your senses to the damn music. Who needs security when the music is like a blow against the side of your head? A headache started almost instantly, faint, but promising to be a real bitch. I went over how much money I had on me, and how much it would cost to get them to turn the music down. Twenty dollars, it'd be cheap at twenty dollars. Of course, the DJ in his raised booth would probably be offended. I tried to ignore the music and looked around the room, trying to spot Ronnie. How many tall, leggy blond women could there be here? More than you'd think. The room was packed. Shit.

We must have hesitated too long, because the DJ leaned down over his booth wall, which happened to be above us and to the left. He yelled, "Pay at the bar."

"What? "I yelled back.

He repeated himself, still yelling.

I took the opportunity to ask if he could turn the music down. He smiled, shook his head, and vanished behind his wall. I started to reach for my pocket, and Nathaniel touched my arm. He leaned in so that his face was almost touching my ear. "Don't offer money for him to turn it down, you might offend him."

I yelled back from an inch away, "Like I care."

Nathaniel smiled and yelled, "He could turn it louder."

I gave him wide eyes and let my hand fall back away from my jacket pocket. I didn't really think the music could get any louder, but just in case, I wouldn't tempt fate.

There was a dance floor to the right, and several small raised stages with shiny poles in their centers. A pool table to the left and little tables scattered around hither and yon. Bathrooms were strangely prominent against the far left wall. There seemed to be no door to the men's room, and no doors on any of the stalls, so even standing at the door you could see directly into it. That seemed weird. The bar was, of course, at the far side of the room.

There seemed to be a large group of women clustered around the nearest stage, though the stage itself was empty at the moment. But other than that one group of women, the rest of the customers were men. There were three blondes who could have been Ronnie, but when they turned, I realized they were so not Ronnie. The last blond was a man, who either liked the way he looked, or nature had been cruel. He'd have made a lovely women, but junior high must have been hell for him.

Micah got us both moving down the little steps and into the crowd, a hand on either of our arms. We threaded our way through the happy, mostly drunken crowd, and finally made it all the way across the room to the bar. We paid our cover charge, mostly by pantomime, because the bar was too wide to get close enough to yell in the guy's ear.

I tried to ask him where Ronnie was, but he just smiled, shook his head, and managed to hold an empty glass up, asking if we wanted a drink. Since I didn't have a blonde to hold up to ask if he'd seen one of those, I just shook my head, and we moved far enough away from the bar so that we weren't blocking those that did want a drink.

A man wearing only loose boxers and socks came out of a black-draped area to the side of the bar. That must be the dressing rooms.

We huddled, and I yelled, "Bathroom. I'll check the bathroom."

They both nodded, and we began to work our way around the bar toward the women's bathroom, which had a large piece of cloth suspended from the ceiling, covering the door. Maybe it was to hide the fact that the women's bathroom had a door, so the men wouldn't feel cheated.

There was a commode in the middle of the room across from the sink. It was just sitting there, in the middle of the floor, no stall, no nothing. It held water, and seemed to work, but it was just sitting there. There were two stalls against the wall, one had an "out of order" sign. There was also a line. None of the women in there was Ronnie. The walls must have been thicker than they seemed, because I could hear myself, say, "Ronnie, are you in here?"

No answer. I finally turned to a tall brown-haired woman and said, "My friend called me for a ride home. Five feet eight, blond, gray eyes, attractive. Too drunk to talk right."

The woman shook her head. A woman's voice from inside the stall yelled, "Hell, that could be almost every blonde we've seen tonight."

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