Corky smiled sweetly. "I'm a fair person, so I'm going to let you, the viewers, decide. Email me at the address on the screen, Corky at DVN.com, and vote for which answer is correct. Is Don Orlando a stinking fraud or merely an odious pig?"
Darcy sighed. She still needed to talk to Maggie.
"And now for the main story," Corky continued with a wide grin. "Everyone is eagerly awaiting the first show of a hot new series that will debut tomorrow night, then air every Wednesday and Saturday. It's the vampire world's first reality show, The Sexiest Man on Earth. It stars the famous former harem of coven master Roman Draganesti and some of the hunkiest, sexiest men in the vampire world!"
An aerial shot of the penthouse roof came on screen. Darcy sat up. Her nerves tensed.
Sly waved a dismissive hand. "Don't worry. I asked Bernie to give her a little advance footage. It's just teaser stuff, great for promotion."
"Here at Live with the Undead, we're going to treat you to an exclusive preview of DVN's hottest new show," Corky continued. "And just how hot is this show going to be?" She laughed. "Hot enough to smoke up your screen, and we'll show you what I mean. Believe me, this guy gets my vote for The Sexiest Man on Earth."
A scene wavered on the screen as if a cameraman was struggling to focus on something in the distance. Slowly, the image grew sharper.
"Yes!" Sly slapped a hand against his thigh.
The picture was a bit hazy since it was recorded at a distance in the dark without sufficient lighting. But it was certainly clear enough to make Darcy want to scream.
"I knew that hot tub was a great idea." Sly grinned. "Look at this. Off comes the dress. Then the guy throws it into the pool."
Darcy sank in her chair. "You've seen this before?"
"Sure. Bernie showed it to me last night. We watched it about ten times. Now here's my favorite part." Sly pointed at the television. "Off comes the bra."
Darcy covered her mouth to keep from groaning out loud.
"Wow, that's cool," the technician said, his eyes riveted to the screen.
Sly turned to Darcy, smiling. "Great work, Newhart. I just wish it had come out a bit clearer. So, was that one of Draganesti's ex-harem ladies?"
Darcy winced. "You could say that." Oh, God, this was terrible. The only thing keeping her from running from the building, screaming and ripping out her hair, was the fact that the recording had been fuzzy. It was just clear enough to tell there were two nearly naked bodies making out in the hot tub, but the faces weren't clear. Thank God. She was safe for now.
"Man, is she hot. I need to get to know her a little better, if you know what I mean." Sly winked. "So tell me, Newhart, who is she?"
Darcy swallowed hard. If the truth got out, Sly would probably fire her as a director and offer her a job as DVN's first p**n star. "I believe the woman in question was unaware that she was being recorded."
"So?" Sly scratched at his goatee. "She was in a hot tub. It's not like she had any expectation of privacy."
"A good point." And one she would be sure to remember in the future. Although she doubted she'd ever experience such a sexy scene again in her long, miserable life. "I don't believe I should divulge the woman's name without her permission."
"Well, you should. I could make her a star." Sly handed her his card. "Just give her this and tell her I want to meet her."
"Will do." Darcy dropped the card into her purse. "I need to work now, or we won't have the show ready for tomorrow night."
"Fine. Make it great." Sly sauntered out the door.
With a sigh, Darcy switched off Corky's show. "Let's get back to work."
The technician finished scribbling a note, then handed it to her. "Could you, uh, give this to the lady in the hot tub?"
Darcy noticed his name and phone number on the note. Rick was one of the few mortals who worked at DVN. "You realize the lady in question is a vampire?"
"Yeah." He sipped from his coffee. "So?"
"You don't think it could be dangerous to date a vampire?"
He reached into his paper bag and removed a doughnut. "I work with you all. You seem safe enough to me." He crammed half the doughnut into his mouth.
The hot, yeasty smell was heavenly. Darcy was so tempted, but the last time she'd tried real food, it hadn't stayed down.
"I just want some fun, and that lady is hot." Rick stuffed the rest of the doughnut in his mouth. "Besides, it's not like I'm looking for a commitment, you know."
"I see. You don't think there could be a lasting relationship between a mortal and a Vamp."
"Not really." He licked the sugar off his fingers. "Can I ask you something?"
Darcy nodded. She'd known a relationship with Adam couldn't work. She just hadn't expected the truth to hurt this much.
"Is it hard giving up real food?"
She turned away. "Yes." She dropped Rick's note into her purse. "Let's get back to work."
They'd been working about ten minutes when the door cracked open and DVN's receptionist peeked in.
Darcy glanced up. "Can I help you?"
"Yes." She slipped inside. "Corky asked me to give this to you, so you could pass it on to the sexy guy in the hot tub." She handed Darcy a business card. Corky had written on the back Call me. She'd included her private phone number and a drawing in red ink of two entwined hearts.
"How sweet," Darcy ground out, tempted to rip the card in two. "Anything else? I have work to do."
The receptionist blushed almost as red as the dyed streaks in her hair. "Could you, uh, give him this, too? But don't tell Corky. She'd kill me."
"What is it?" Darcy accepted the note.
"It's my phone number." The receptionist rushed from the room.
Darcy tossed the card and note into her purse. So, it was Adam's lucky day. He was rapidly acquiring a fan club. And all because he knew how to remove a lady's bra in record time.
She took a deep breath and shoved her frustrated emotions to the side. She could scream later. Right now, she needed to work. Five minutes later, the door opened. She glanced up. Well, speak of the devil.
"Good evening." Don Orlando swaggered into the room. He was wearing black leather pants low on his hips, and a black silk cape, which looked a bit odd without a shirt underneath. He took a wide stance in his black leather boots. His hair was so black, Darcy suspected it must be dyed. Did that mean his mound of chest hair was dyed, too? Just how much of Don Orlando was fiction? No one seemed to know his real name.
He raked his dark eyes over her and smiled slowly. "You know who I am, of course."
Either a stinky fraud or an odious pig, according to Corky. "Yes, I do."
"I wish to know the name of the sexy woman in the hot tub."
Darcy stifled a groan. "I can't divulge her name."
He smirked. "Just tell her Don Orlando de Corazon, the greatest lover in the vampire world, wishes to woo her. She will comply."
"Right." Over my dead body, which was unfortunately, too close to the truth. Darcy stood and headed to the door. "I have a lot of work to do. So, if you could move your little booties somewhere else, I'd appreciate it."
He turned with a flourish of his cape and left. Darcy shut the door and locked it.
Austin rose before dawn and went to the office. Since it was a Saturday, Sean wasn't there, and he was grateful for that. He didn't want to answer questions. He borrowed a white surveillance van from Homeland Security and visited a local cable company where flashing his badge got him a clipboard full of invoices and a work shirt with the company logo. He drove to DVN and arrived by eight o'clock in the morning.
"We got a complaint about four in the morning from Sylvester Bacchus," he explained to the mortal security guard. "The internet connection was going on and off."
"Really?" The guard took the clipboard and regarded the invoice with a suspicious eye. "I wasn't notified about this."
"They probably forgot to tell you." You will believe me, Austin projected his thoughts into the guard's head.
The guard handed the clipboard back. "Come on in."
"Thanks. This won't take long." Austin headed for the offices with his tool box. Sylvester Bacchus's office was easy to find since he had a big brass name-plate on his door. Austin closed the door and went to work. The computers at DVN were basically dinosaurs, so he had to download everything onto disks. When he was done, he made sure everything looked the way it had before.