circa July 1997
Warning: This story contains adult scenes.
She walked out of the club at a little after 2 am. God, she was tired.
It seemed like every night she danced the crazies got worse. It wasn't
fun anymore. Her sister always told her to quit when it wasn't fun, but
she was past that now. She needed the money and the tips were
incredible. Men would pay a fortune for fantasy sex. So she had to
take her clothes off to get the big bucks. So she had to put up with
the crazies that pounded on her door and followed her home
periodically. She could handle it. She was, after all, an educated,
bright articulate woman who could take on the world at any time.
Jeannie walked down the alley toward her car and wrapped the jacket
around her tighter as the wind picked up. She didn't hear him until it
was too late and her scream vanished with the wind.
Natalie squatted by the body looking for any samples of skin under the
nails before she bagged the hands. Schanke questioned the owner of the
club who found the body in the alley as he'd left to go home. He hadn't
heard or seen anything. Nat could hear bits and pieces of the conversation
as she finished her preliminary work.
Nick finished the background check and preliminary interview with the
deceased roommate and needed more. He squatted down beside the body and
watched Nat work. It never ceased to amaze him how calm and detached
she seemed when she worked. He envied her that. It was like a switch
that she turned on and off at will. She told him once it was the
practiced 'shell' approach. It was the only way to survive in medical
school, but it seemed to Nick that lately, she forgot to take it off
more times than not. Of course, who was he to talk about closing himself
off from people and the real world. It made it hurt less when it came
time to move on. Maybe that's why he'd noticed it of late. She was
becoming more like him all the time.
"Got anything, Nat?"
She had been watching his face periodically trying to figure out what he
was thinking. Nick was so good at hiding his feelings and it bothered
her more than she was willing to admit. "Not much different than the
other 2 this month. She was beaten, raped and killed right here if I'm
guessing....and very quickly. He didn't take time to clean up after
himself. There's semen on her thighs and the ground, as well as the
blood. Most of it's hers as near as I can tell. I won't know positively
until I get it all back to the lab. She's in her late twenties or early
thirties, athletic, good health and obviously a dancer. Anything
helpful from the roommate?"
"Not really." He sighed and helped Nat up as she stripped off her
rubber gloves. "Roommate said she danced usually till closing because
the tips were better than the early shift. She worked 3 nights a
week." He smiled and touched her elbow to make her look at him
directly. "How did you know she was a dancer?"
Nat stooped over and pulled the sheet off the girls legs. "Dancers
calves....and you don't keep those thighs without lots of exercise. Put it
together and you have a dancer. Since this is not the ballet's back
alley, it means she's an exotic or interpretive dancer. Both of which
are common in this part of town. Who was watching and got excited
enough to do something more intense than watch is your department,
Detective!" She smiled but it didn't really reach her eyes and Nick
noticed. "Catch him, Nick, before he does it again." She glanced back
at the dead woman with regret on her face. "She didn't deserve that....no
woman does." She turned and headed for the car.
Nick watched her go, more confused than ever about her behavior.
Something was bothering her. They needed to talk....and soon.
Marissa Devoux walked into the ladies room in her perfectly matched
burgundy suit and pumps. She checked the hem to make sure it hung even
over her flat stomach and stopped mid-thigh. She brushed her long
blonde hair, then applied lipstick over slightly pouty lips before she
admired her profile in the mirror. She was the latest addition to
Metro's nightwatch. Her specialty was computer programming, but in
reality, it was chasing men. She spent as many hours in the gym working
out as she did working the computer. Every other spare minute she
possessed she dated, manipulated, fondled, coerced, connived and
controlled the men around her. She was the blonde shark relentless in
her pursuit of the perfect male specimen....and she had made her choice.
Jane Collier from traffic entered shortly thereafter.
"Hi, Marissa. How's it going?" Jane and Marissa had been friends for
years, dating all the way back to high school. Where Jane was the more
athletic type and loved the active lifestyle of a cop, Marissa preferred
her strenuous activities restricted to the bedroom.
"Great, Janie. I finally narrowed my scope down to one man in Metro.
Not that I don't find all the others nice, but there's only one that
really intrigues me." Marrisa smiled and presented the "Bet you can't
guess who look" to her friend.
"Let me guess, Marissa......Detective Nick Knight?" Jane smiled a knowing
smile at her friend.
Disappointed that her friend knew her so well, she let her lower lip
pout with practiced art. "How did you know?"
Jane chuckled at her friends pose. "You and every other female in this
precinct. The elusive, unpredictable, blonde, blue eyed, sometimes
nightmare of Metro's nightwatch. The most decorated, full-fledged hero
of the department with the highest arrest record, a man that is never
seen in the daylight due to some mysterious sun allergy, that never
talks about his background or family...that Nick Knight. Can't imagine
why you would set your sights on him. Ye who still seeks the perfect
man. Lots of luck! You will need it."
"Other woman may have tried and failed, but they're not me. You know I
always get what I want." Marissa turned back to the mirror to admire her
"You may have a problem. Nick is not the usual guy. The only person
he seems to be interested in is Dr. Lambert. Rumor has it that they are
a lot closer than 'just friends'. They have been seen together numerous
times on their nights off and just last month Eileen, from records, hit
on Nick and he politely turned her down. You've met Eileen, Marissa.
She is flat out gorgeous and eats men at the same rate you do."
"I've heard the rumors, Jane, and I've met Dr. Lambert. Trust me when I
say she is nooooo competition. Well, unless you consider short little
mousy brunettes that smell like formaldehyde competition.....and her
wardrobe. Please!!! Baggy scrubs are not my idea of covering figure
Both women laughed as they gathered their cosmetics and exited the
As the door shut, Natalie open the stall where she had stood silently
and walked quietly to the mirror. A single tear ran down her cheek
which she quickly brushed away only to find another taking its place.
Natalie dropped the files on Nick's desk and headed back to the morgue.
It was nearly dawn and Nick should be home by now. The words of the two
women in the bathroom echoed in her mind as she walked out of the
building and headed for at least 3 more hours of work. They were
right. Nothing exciting about scrubs and rubber gloves, and as much as
she hated to admit it, her hair was a little dull compared to what it
used to be. Lack of sleep, sun and enough time for proper exercise did
that to your hair as well as numerous bad things to your body. The
whole episode began to create some real doubts in her mind and Nick's
beautiful eyes kept staring back at her as she let her thoughts run over
the last couple of months. Up until now, she had never regretted her
job or working night shift Maybe his backing off from her was more than
controlling the beast.
Their relationship had been in a state of change lately and she wasn't
sure just how he felt, so SHE had backed off a little. He was so hard
to read at times. He cared about her, but just how much, and in what
way, she wasn't sure. Somehow along this little road they had been
traveling, she had fallen in love with her best friend. A best friend
that just happened to be a 800 year old vampire. Was it even
possible for him to love her back in the way she wanted....no....needed?
She didn't know and she didn't think Nick did either. The closer they
got, the more complicated and risky it became. They both knew it. She
knew Nick had considered leaving, but he hadn't. She tried walking away
after the asteroid affair and couldn't . It almost ripped her heart out. Could
she survive it when he walked way? She didn't know, and the thought scared
her down to her very soul. She needed to know how he felt....how he really
felt about her and then she could deal with everything else.
It was almost 10 am before she opened the lift door. The loft was deathly
quiet with nothing but a single candle lit on the piano. Nick would be
soundly sleeping by now. Somehow, after finishing the autopsy on
Jeannie, she found herself automatically coming here. Even though her
body was exhausted, her mind was still in control. Calmly she went to
the refrigerator and removed one of Nick's bottles and drained it down
Nick's mind was drifting in an out of that stage somewhere between dreams
and slightly awake. He had dreamed of Natalie in his arms again.
Sleeping peacefully and unafraid. He had awakened the last 3 evenings
to the same dream. It was so vivid in his mind that at one point he could
almost feel her soft warm lips gently brushing his chest as she slept.
He could smell her hair and feel those silky soft curls under his
fingertips, alive with the essence of her mortality. His desire for her
was increasing and the need to be one with her was almost a mantra that
echoed softly in his subconscious.
Finally, when he awoke with her name on his lips, she moaned softly and
snuggled closer into his embrace. Her rubbed her back slowly through
the silk pajama top and basked in the warmth that was only Natalie. He
didn't want the dream to fade. It was so real that he could actually
smell her blood pumping through her veins, until he awoke completely to
find her asleep in his arms.
Stunned to find Natalie really in his bed wearing his silk pajama top,
he stopped the motion of his hand which caused her to whimper slightly
in her sleep. His own heart lurched and beat one time as he realized
his dreams were now a reality. His beloved Natalie was sound asleep in
his arms completely unafraid of him or the outside world. Her faith and trust
in him filled him with something that he thought long gone. Hope flooded
him body and soul. He pulled her deeper into his embrace with one arm and
threw the covers over her with the other. As the covers warmed her feet and
derriere, she snuggled closer to him. He kissed the top of her head, relaxed,
and let himself drift back to sleep.
Several hours later, Nick woke to the automatic opening of the shutters
announcing the arrival of dusk. Natalie still slept peacefully in his
arms. Her deep steady breathing indicated her exhaustion and with her so
close, his need to feed was becoming critical. With a sigh of regret,
he gently removed himself from her embrace and covered her back up
snugly. Not that sleeping by him did anything to make her warm.
Silently, he slipped downstairs to the refrigerator to feed.
Hunger gnawed at him as Natalie's heartbeat echoed through his mind. He
grabbed a mug from the shelf and poured it full before bringing it to
his lips. As the first drops of the fluid crossed his tongue and down
his throat, he staggered as the emotion and loved washed over him. It
was so intense and complete, it overwhelmed him causing him to sway
slightly and drop to the floor.
Natalie's memories, pain, fears and love were his with that one taste.
Nick stared at the mug in his hands as he sat on the floor. Almost like
a junkie he brought the cup back to his lips and drank slowly savoring
every little nuance he felt in her blood. She had held nothing
back as her warmth and love cradled him, caressed him, and beguiled him
to the point he had to have more. Slowly he crawled to his feet and
grabbed the bottle from the counter. Forgoing the glass, he drank deeply
of everything that was Natalie. When he finished he sank back to the
floor and tried to understand all that he felt from her. Her needs, her
fears, her desires all radiated through him as he breathed slowly and
let himself become one with what was truly Natalie.
The past few months had taken their toll on both of them. She had
backed off to give him space because she thought he needed distance to
deal with the changes in his life. She thought that's what he wanted.
Her concern was all for him and not herself, as usual. Yet raw pain
radiated through her soul. Her need for him was growing, and the loss
of the closeness they had shared in the past she interpreted as his need
to distance himself before he left. She thought he was leaving because
they had gotten to close! It screamed through his mind. The pain it
caused her to even think of life without him overwhelmed him. She loved
him no matter what he was a was and was willing to risk everything to be
In her heart she had given him the most precious thing she owned, her
soul. In giving him her blood she risked everything. There would be
nothing she could hide from him and the direction of their relationship
was solely in his hands. She had put all her trust and faith in him in
one bottle, one action and was willing to live with his decision...but it
had to be made now. She couldn't go on they way they were. They had
reached a crossroad and she couldn't give anymore. It was Nick's turn.
Nick stared at the bottle in his hands and let the blood tears flow down
his cheeks. He glanced up to find her sitting on the floor in front of
A single tear streaked down her face and her hands trembled slightly in
her lap as she waited silently. Her eyes locked with his before she
finally reached to brush the offending tear away.
Nick stopped her fingers as they brushed her cheek and pulled her into
his arms. He buried his face in her soft hair and wept freely. The
thought of how he had hurt her tore at his heart and then she began to
sob in his arms.
Feeling her pain seep through him as she wept, he pulled her closer
until he had her cradled in his lap. He ran his fingers through her
hair and kissed her neck gently. Finally getting control of himself, he
pulled her face off his shoulders and held it between both his hands.
He let his lips touch hers slightly and then with more pressure. Her
taste and warmth washed over him and he knew without a doubt he could
not live without this woman. He released her lips and kissed her
cheeks, then her eyes and finally laid his forehead on hers before he
"I love you, Natalie." He made her eyes meet his before he finished.
"You are my light in the darkness. My hope for a future and I cannot
bear the thought of living without you." He pulled her lips back to his
and molded her body against him until her heat penetrated his cool
Relief washed through her as the words she so desperately needed to hear
poured from his lips. His kiss was filled with such passion and hope
for them she thought she would die with pleasure. She let her arms
encircle his neck and then slowly ran her fingers through his hair as
their tongues fenced with each other. Physical need engulfed them both
as he pushed her down on the floor and stretched his body on top of
hers. He let his hands roam up and down her sides, on to her bare thighs
eliciting a groan of pleasure from her lips. His need now evident by
the bulge in his silk pajama bottoms. She arched into him and ground
her pelvis into his. Nick surrendered her lips to trail kisses down her
neck to the vein he wanted so dearly to taste.
Her blood still washed through him from the sample he had before and he
wanted more. He wanted her love and her warmth as well as her body, but
most of all he wanted her to feel his love for her. She had to be free
from all doubts about his love, and she had to fully understand what he
was or their could be no future for them. Their breaths now coming in
gasps, he released his lips from her neck and pulled away. She whimpered
and reached for him as he sat.
"Don't leave me like this, Nick....Please! Make love to me. Drink my
blood. Let me be one with you." Her eyes pleaded with him with raw
need and pain.
He pulled her back into his lap and tried to control the beast within.
When his eyes met hers, gold flecks still circled his blue ones. "Not
like this, Natalie. You have to be sure. You have to understand what I
truly am and what I truly feel for you. Only then do we have a chance
together." Fear was etched into his face.
She watched his eyes and trembled when she saw the fear in his eyes.
Fear of rejection, loss of control, what? She did not know but it
didn't matter. He was offering her more than a physical union, more
than just sex. He was offering a window into his heart. She caressed
his face with her fingertips and lightly kissed his lips. "Tell me what to
do, Nick. Tell me....and fear nothing because I love you. I have faith in
you....in us. We have a future together. I know that as sure as I breathe."
"Give me your wrist."
She offered it to him freely and waited.
Nick's fangs descended and he sliced his own wrist letting the blood
flow freely, then reached for hers hesitantly. Gently he sliced her
wrist with his fangs and her blood surged into his mouth. The
temptation to drink was overwhelming. Just one more taste, to feel her
love course through him. He broke away from her wrists gasping as he
tried to control the beast. He stared at her blood beginning to pool
slightly on her wrist and then flow freely. Physical pain assailed
his entire body as the need to be with her engulfed him, when her warm
hand touched his cheek and her voice soothed the beast.
"Let me feel it, Nick. Let me feel all of it...all that you are....all that
you feel, and the beast. I need to know." Her blues locked with his
amber ones with a confidence that she didn't know she possessed.
Nick placed his bleeding wrist to hers and pulled her into his arms. As
his blood flowed into hers, he concentrated on slowing the images. He
couldn't control them, but he could slow them down enough to not
His power radiated through her as his blood touched hers and she closed
her eyes. Great power and strength coursed through her until she was
almost dizzy with it and then images began. So quickly at first, she
could not decipher what they were...then more slowly as Nick slowed his
breathing and concentrated. She saw Janette, LaCroix, the crusades,
Alyssa, death ,pain, envy and evil all rolled into one. She could feel
his pain and regret, the disgust, the beast all coursing through her at
once. She gasped for breath as they assailed her and then there was
warmth. A peace that she never knew existed engulfed her, cradled her
and she pushed into it. She wanted more. It was such exquisite
pleasure that her body craved it. Then it turned to images of she and
Nick at the Christmas party, Valentines day, teasing Schanke, playing
tricks on Schank, their first meeting as she touched his cool skin and
the fear that she would reject him if she truly understood everything.
His love for her washed through her like a tidal wave crashing to shore
and for the first time since she met him, there was no doubt in her
She opened her eyes to find his closed tightly as he concentrated. She
touched his lips gently with hers, pulled her wrist away and clasped it
tightly in her other hand to stop the bleeding . Then she sat back to
watch him closely.
When she pulled her wrist free, a great void engulfed him and he groaned
with the loss as he opened his eyes. His eyes locked with hers seeking
the answer to the question he feared most.
A single tear escaped her eye when she realized just how much pain he
lived with each day to just be around her. The torture he put himself
through to fight the beast and its desire to kill and feed indiscriminately.
She marveled at his strength and finally understood that his rejection of
her was based on love and the need to protect her from himself...and she
loved him more for it.
She leaned into him and stopped with her lips only a hairs distance from
his as she whispered. "Fear not, my beloved. I will love you throughout
eternity and nothing will prevent us from being together....not what you
have been or what you are. I am yours, body and soul, for as long as you
will have me. Say only to me that you feel the same way and there is
nothing we cannot conquer together." She touched his lips gently to
hers and melted her body into his.
With a sigh of relief he wrapped his arms around her and deepened the
kiss. He let all the love in his heart caress her through their new blood bond
and his lips. Her heart beat with joy and happiness and he could feel
it all. He had never experienced such peace. "I shall love you forever,
Natalie Lambert. No more secrets between you and I...never again"
Natalie pulled away from him slightly and smiled. "Forever is a long
time, Nick Knight, .....but I will hold you to that."
Nick smoothed her hair away from her face and then kissed her nose. "By
the way....I think you are the sexiest woman I have ever known."
She looked at him skeptically but didn't speak.
"My blood doesn't lie." He awaited her response but she only smiled
and fell back into his arms.
2 weeks later:
Marissa had spent two weeks dropping little innuendoes around the
precinct that she and Nick were an item. Whenever she was near him she
always managed a little touch or a endearing smile that implied more
than friendship. He had not responded in kind. He was polite and a
little cold at times, but always professional. The only time she saw
him lighten up was when that mousy little coroner Dr. Lambert was
around. Apparently it was true, she and Nick were an item, but just not
vocal about it. Well, that was about to change and she was going to
make sure at least Schanke and Miller were present for the information
to get back to Natalie. She needed to put a little doubt in the woman's
mind and take charge of this relationship. After all, she was the
sexiest thing this precinct had seen in years.
Marissa walked in carrying the computer printout in her hand as she
scanned the precinct. Schanke was at the desk and Miller was pouring
coffee. It was perfect. It was a little risky with Reese in his
office, but she would chance it.
"Hi, Schanke. How's it going tonight? I heard you finally got a leads on
the dancer murders." She sauntered by leisurely, eyeing Nick at his
desk with a sensual sway to her hips.
Schanke just rolled his eyes and admired the view. She was up to
something that much was certain, but Schanke was speechless when she
walked over to Nick's desk and plopped down into his lap.
With a quick glance and smile at Schanke, she planted a kiss on Nick's
lips and wrapped her arms around his neck. She wiggled provocative
against him while she kissed him passionately. Miller dropped his
coffee mug as he watched.
Nick, totally unprepared, sat stunned as she kissed him. Finally coming
to his senses, he pushed her away from his lips and stood her up. Anger
flared in his eyes as he forced her arms from around his neck. He was
too much of a gentlemen to cause a scene, so he said nothing as he
stepped back away from her.
Reese yelled through the door. "Knight! In my office NOW!"
Nick glared at Marissa and went into the Captain's office preparing for
the lecture he was sure to come.
Marissa turned and smiled at Schanke and then Miller with an all
knowing smile and slowly walked out of the squad room.
Schanke stood speechless at the scene he had just witnessed as Miller
came up and shook his shoulder. "I guess the rumors are true then.
Marissa and Nick are a hot item. God, what a lucky guy...he has to be one of
the hottest women I have seen in ages. The only thing that can come close
to her is the dancer over at the 'Hidden Box'.
"What?" Schanke was slowly recovering.
"I said that dancer over at the 'Hidden Box' was the only woman I have
ever seen that could hold a candle to Marissa.. Nick's a lucky man."
Miller strolled off shaking his head mumbling about great legs and nice
Schanke stared at Nick in the Captain's office for a moment and then
headed for the morgue. He was going to get to the bottom of this one
way or another.
He hadn't believed a word of the rumors because Nick never gave any
indication that they were true. He just simply ignored them as he did
anything else that was personal. Finding information about the guy was
like pulling teeth. He just didn't see it as anybody's business but his
own, and he never went public with anything.
God knows I would Schanke thought if he had Marissa climbing his bones and
Natalie as well. It was nice, if you could pull it off, but he was sure Nick and
Nat were a great deal closer than 'just friends'. They spent entirely too much
time together for that. He was going to Natalie. Maybe she didn't know
this was going on. Maybe she.....He never completed the thought.
He pushed through the morgue door to find Nat calmly typing a report on
"Hi, Schanke!" She was incredibly chipper lately and she almost glowed.
God he hated to be the bearer of bad tiding if she didn't know. How
was he going to put this delicately?
Grace burst through the door, slamming it angrily against the wall as
she walked in. "Okay, Nat! Enough is enough! That bimbo Marissa just
threw herself in Nick's arms and kissed him in front of the whole
precinct. Rumor has it they have been seeing each other for the last 2
weeks and they are spending all their free days together. What gives,
girl?" Grace stood with her arms across her chest tapping her foot on
the floor as Schanke walked up beside her and took the same position.
"Yeah, Natalie.....what gives with you and Nick?" Schanke tried to look
mean but just couldn't manage it.
Natalie stared at her two friends and the angry picture they presented
and burst out laughing.
Schanke and Grace couldn't believe her reaction and in unison placed
their hands on their hips and screamed. "NATALIE!"
Nat stifled her laughter to small giggles until she finally got
control.. She knew they meant well, but the picture of the two of them
was just too priceless for words.
"Look, Schanke....Grace....let's think this through logically, okay?" Nat
gave them her best professional eye as she tried to hide the smile.
"First, Schank....were you there when Marissa laid one on Nick?"
Schanke shook his head positively.
"All right! Did Nick kiss Marissa back or did she do all the kissing
and fondling....and I'm sure she felt him up. It's her style." She
stared Schanke straight in the eye causing him to flinch and then think.
"Well, ah....now that I think about it. Nick pushed her away and stood
her up." Schanke began to smile as he realized, Nick really wasn't an
active participant in the scene in the precinct.... but a victim. "Yeah,
he didn't kiss her back at all, but he didn't cause a scene
either." Schanke thought a little longer before he continued. "....but he
wouldn't either. He just doesn't do that sort of thing." Schanke
seemed relieved with the information that his partner wasn't a complete
two timing playboy. It was frightening to think that it was Natalie who
saw through the whole ploy, and she wasn't even present.
Nat smiled from ear to ear as Grace lightened up but still looked
"What about the rumors that they have been seen with each other on
Nick's days off?" Grace was still worried for her friend. She didn't
want her hurt just because she was naive.
"Grace. Think about what you just said. Nick wouldn't spend his days
off with Marissa unless he liked the idea of being toast. He's allergic
to the sun. Remember?.....Besides I think it would get quite crowded at
his loft with 3 of us there on his days off. I have been with Nick for the
last 2 weeks including the days and nights he had off..... and I can assure you
that Marissa was nowhere around. She's playing games and becoming
frustrated, so she has resorted to manipulation. It won't work with Nick, and
the fact that she did it in front of the whole precinct says she's desperate.
She wants me to react and there's no need. I trust Nick....completely!"
Nick stood quietly at the door as Nat finished the sentence. Her trust
in him made him smile as he walked into the room. There was no doubt in
her voice and her heart never skipped a beat until she saw him cross the
Nick looked at Nat and then focused on Schanke and Grace. "At least
someone has faith in me." Nick leaned over and kissed Natalie lightly
on the lips and pulled her into his arms where she gladly went without
As the couple stood before them both Grace and Schanke breathed a sigh
of relief. "Well, partner, I'm glad to see you have at least the good
taste to stay with the best woman of the group. Unless of course you
decide you want to chase that new dancer over at the 'Hidden Box' that
Miller and half the precinct are talking about." Schanke chuckled as
the daggers flew from Nat's eyes at him. "I think we should check her
out, partner. She might be involved with these exotic dancer murders
somehow. At least it's worth a peek. Don't you think?" Schanke loved
to rile Natalie and getting Nick in trouble was just such fun.
"Come on, Schank. We have work to do and I don't think the 'Hidden Box'
has the answers we need, ...but their dancers may be targets. Our killer
has gone 2 weeks without a victim. He's overdue. We need to cover all
the bars that sport dance floors and at least warn them." Nick grabbed
Schanke by the arm and led him out the door.
Nat chuckled as she watched the partners disappear through the door.
Another body lay in the morgue. It was found early this morning by the
club owner of the 'Hidden Box'. She was one of his best dancers. She
had been fine at 2 a.m. when she finished her set and that was the last
anyone saw of her. Nick and Schanke were in route to question the
fellow dancers and bartenders to see if they could get a composite of
what the guy looked like. Anything would be helpful.. There were no
witnesses to any of the 4 murders and the autopsies all indicated the
same thing....beaten, raped and then violently murdered. All done by
the same man, only this time the owner was sure that one of the other
dancers had seen who the woman left with....They had a possible witness.
As Nick drove the Caddy toward the 'Hidden Box' his mind drifted to the
night before. He and Natalie had different days off this week and he
missed their special time together. Each night when she slept in his
arms, they got closer and the desire to consummate the relationship was
growing completely out of control. He knew the dangers and so did she,
so they were taking it slowly. One step at a time....together. He
continued to drink the protein shakes but the very thought of the taste of
her blood would push him over the edge, and he would run headlong to
the refrigerator to feed. Things were different now. She understood
and just helped him get through it without condemning him for it or
lecturing him on backsliding. She finally really understood what he
struggled with on a daily basis. It brought a smile to his face.
"You know you've got to stop doing that, Nick." Schanke slapped him on the
"What?" Nick feigned pain.
"Smiling uncontrollably for no reason. People are starting to talk.
They say you are a goner. No hope....nada....hit big time by the love bug.
Wedding bells are in your future, partner. You got all the signs.
Nick stared at Schanke briefly before returning his eyes to the road.
"You think, Schanke? Married? It has a nice ring to it.....doesn't it?"
Nick smiled to himself with the thought of Natalie in a white dress.
"Jeez, you got it bad! You are in major trouble, partner."
Nick pulled the Caddy into a slot near the entrance and Schanke pushed
open his door first. Before they entered, they took a quick tour of the
alley where the body was found. Nick used his special powers to focus
on anything unusual that the forensic team might have missed. Coming up
empty, they entered the club in search of the owner.
The 'Hidden Box' was a relatively new upscale bar and dance floor.
Since opening 4 months ago, they had grown with the reputation of
putting on the best floor shows in the city. Their dancers ranged from
exotic to interpretive but not strip. Their dancers never fully
undressed under any circumstances and the tips were always generous.
The place was jam packed. Nick and Schanke were amazed that at 8pm
there was not an empty table. The bar was packed 3 deep. Most of the
doorways held 4 or 5 people, just standing and waiting.
"I hope the fire inspector doesn't get wind of this place.
Unbelievable...there must be over 300 people in this joint." Schanke
scanned the building as he tried to estimate the number of people more
Nick displayed his badge to the bartender and asked for the manager.
The bartender motioned toward the back of the room at the tall dark
haired man. Schanke and Nick took off in his direction.
"Mr. Levine?" Nick showed him his badge as he asked the question. "We
need to ask you a few questions about the murder last night of one of
Levine motioned them over to his private table and offered them a seat.
"Anything I can do to help, Detective. Sherri was a sweet girl and a
great dancer. The rest of the girls are nervous and I can't blame
them. This is the fourth girl in the city. What's being done about
this?" Levine was genuinely worried about his girls. It wasn't faked
or oversimplified. He was frightened for them.
"What can you tell us about the man she left with, Mr. Levine?" Nick
had a difficult time focusing on his heartbeat to determine his truthfulness
due to all the bodies in the room.
"Not much I'm afraid, Detective. You will have to talk to Miss Shadow
when she comes in. Claris told me Shadow saw them leave together before
she did her set."
"Where can we find this Miss Shadow, Mr. Levine. We need to talk with
Levine looked at them like they were both daft.
Schanke couldn't stand it anymore. "Is this place always this packed?"
Levine chuckled. "You officers don't get out much, do you?" He
hesitated and then continued not really expecting a response. "This
place is like this every night waiting for Shadow to dance. They come
to see her. The word is out and my business has quadrupled since she
started dancing here."
"I'll bite!" Schanke said. "What so special about this dancer?"
"She only dances in the shadows. At first I thought she was nuts when
she approached me, but I have to admit it's the sexiest thing I have
ever seen....and the mystery."
"What mystery?" Nick's curiosity was peaked now.
"The fact that you never know when she is going to dance. She just
shows up, dances, drives them crazy and leaves. I have never seen
her dressed the same or with the same color of hair twice since I met
her. She wears sunglasses and a long black trenchcoat when she comes in
"Are you saying, Mr Levine, that she doesn't work for you as a regular
and you have no idea who she is or when she will dance?" Nick was
astounded and slightly confused.
"That's right, Detective! She just shows up, we drop the screen and
turn on the light, she does the rest. Each time it's a different
dance. She has done everything from interpretive jazz to incredibly
exotic stuff. She makes over a $1000 a night in tips and believe it or
not, the fact that they don't know if she'll show up makes it even more
exciting. She has some incredible routines and her costumes are really
"So if she doesn't work for you on salary, she just takes the tips?"
"She doesn't even do that. She has me collect them and send them over
to the nuns over on 4th that run the Children's Home. She checks with
them and if I don't deliver, she lets me know and won't show up for
several days. It kills me, so I make sure they get it the next day
now." Levine seemed a little ashamed of his behavior for trying to
cheat the children.
"Let me get this straight!" Schanke almost yelled in disbelief. "Your
telling me you have a woman who shows up unannounced, dances for tips,
and doesn't take the money after all that.
"You got it, Detective. She's a complete mystery woman. The girls named
her Shadow because that's all you really see of the real woman. She's
pleasant, cordial to everyone and incredibly sexy when she dances. I
think she dances for the pleasure of it, or maybe because it makes her
feel sexy. Some woman crave that, you know. All I know is that it's
great for business and I will take her anytime she decides to dance.
I'd give you more information if I had it, but you're just going to
have to wait like the rest of them to see her." Levine nodded toward
the rest of the room.
Nick and Schank finally took a closer look at the room. They were
patiently waiting. The floor show currently going on was interpretive
dance and very clever, but nothing to excite the crowd. They were
pleasant with their responses, but obviously waited for better things.
"You will excuse me, detectives, I have an establishment to run. Feel
free to sit here and wait and see if Miss Shadow shows up. Sometime she
shows up two nights in a row just to fool them. You might get lucky.
If she comes in, I'll see if she will talk to you before the set. You'll
never catch her after. She splits pretty quickly because she doesn't want
the crazies tailing her home." Levine excused himself and left to
check the supplies at the bar.
Nick and Schanke started working the room. They flashed the dead girls
picture to the clientele as well as the dancers when they were not on
stage. Apparently Miss Shadow was the only one close enough to see the
guy Sherri left with. They regrouped 3 hours later right around 1 am at
the table from which they started.
"Any luck?" Schanke asked hopefully as Nick sat down to face the stage
"Nothing that we don't already know. She left with a tall dark-
haired guy somewhere in his mid 30's. That's it! Two of the girls said
they were sure Shadow saw Sherri leave, but whether she saw the guy,
they couldn't answer that. I can just hear Reese now when we tell him
we are going to have to spend countless hours and money sitting in an
exotic dance bar to find a witness. He will go ballistic." Nick ran
his hands through his hair in frustration when the pale silk screen on
the stage began to unroll silently to the stage.
The crowd erupted with applause and cat calls as well as the chant
"Shadow...... Shadow...... Shadow......."
Levine stepped on stage momentarily and quieted the crowd. "Okay,
people, you are going to have to be patient. Miss Shadow has arrived
and WILL perform tonight, but I want everyone in their seats when she starts
or she will split before it's over. Everybody got that?" Levine placed
both hands on his hips with a determined stare as he awaited their
"No problem, Arnie!" came the unanimous shout from the crowd as they
all began to search for their seats. Arnie Levine motioned for Nick
and Schanke to follow him. He met them at the side of the stage.
"I told Shadow you were here and needed to speak with her. She said you
got 5 minutes and then she performs and splits. You do anything shaky
and I'm to throw you out or she never performs again. You aren't going
to do anything stupid, are you?" Levine's eyes pleaded with Nick and
then Schanke. He didn't want to lose his gold mine...at least not yet
Nick put on his best police 'I'm just doing my job' look before he
responded. "We're just going to ask her a few questions and find out
what she knows. It's in everybody's interest, including hers. Dancers
are this guy's only target so far."
Levine nodded his head in agreement and led them backstage to her
dressing room. He tapped lightly and announced himself and waited.
"Come in," came a soft voice from the other side of the door. Nick,
Schanke, and Levine entered the room. A changing screen was in the far
corner next to a small vanity with makeup and costumes draped over the
chair. A leather whip and spiked thigh high leather boots sat waiting
by the chair.
Levine cleared his throat. "Shadow. These policemen are here to talk
to you about Sherri." It was apparent that Miss Shadow was still
changing into her costume behind the screen. A vague outline could be
seen and Schanke's eyes never left the image as he spoke.
"Miss Shadow, I'm Detective Schanke and this is Detective Knight from
Metro Homicide. We just need a few minutes of your time to ask
some questions about the murder last night.
Schanke finally tore his eyes from the screen to check on Nick who had been
unusually quiet since they entered. Schanke figured Nick must have been
ogling the merchandise as bad as himself, but he turned to find his partner
staring at the screen with a confused look on his face. That was the
look.....confused or upset. Schanke grabbed Nick's arm jerking him back to
reality. "Nick? You okay?"
Out from behind the screen walked a petite black haired woman wearing
sunglasses. Her straight black hair swung well below her waist as the
full length black silk Japanese robe clung softly to her figure. Her
eyes were covered with dark sunglasses. She casually walked over to the
vanity and raised one delicate foot slowly and pulled the leather thigh
boot over her leg. The motion was slow, sensual and so provocative
Schanke's mouth dropped as he stared speechless at this petite woman.
How much costume was beneath the robe was not obvious, but Schank had a
burning desire to find out.
Nick was the first to find his voice. "Miss Shadow, we need to know if
you saw the gentlemen that left with Sherri last night after her set.
If you get a good look at his face?" Nick watched her finish with the
second boot and gracefully return her leg to the floor.
She slowly walked across the room. Every motion was deliberate and
sensual. She screamed 'take me' with her walk, her shoulders, her hips
and finally her lips. She stopped only a hairs breath away from Nick
and slowly slid her finger down his shirt front stopping at his belt and
lingered slightly. Having sized Nick up she moved her attentions to
Schanke and slowly ran her fingertips up his arm until they brushed under
his chin. She smiled slightly as her perfume radiated throughout the room.
Slowly she let her the flat of her hand trace Schanke's side and stop at
his hip. Just far enough to entice and tease but not fulfill an immediate need.
Then she spoke.
"I saw the man, Detective...." Her voice was sensual, as well as soft, now
and she slowly walked back to Nick to size him up more closely.
Her eyes locked with his through the dark lenses and she slowly ran both
her hands up his shirt front stopping at his neck. She pulled his face
down to hers and whispered...."I can give you everything you want,
Detective......descriptions, drawing, or anything else you might need......or
want." She released him and stepped back displaying a great deal of leg
encased in leather through the silky material of the robe, and smiled
knowingly. "I dance for you tonight, Detective Nick night,....remember
Schanke stood mesmerized as this woman came on to Nick. Oh, Hell she
came on to him as well, but nothing like that. If he wasn't a married man,
he would have thrown her down on that couch he spied on the other side of the
room faster than she could spit. Nick was always the lucky one.
Shadow presented her backside to them coyly as she sauntered back
towards the screen to finish dressing. "Come see me after the
performance, Detective Knight, and I'll tell you everything you need to
know. Now, gentlemen, you will excuse me as I finish dressing. The crowd
will get restless." She disappeared behind the screen dismissing them.
"Miss Shadow???." Schanke refused to give up that easily when Nick grabbed
his arm and pulled him out the door.
"Nick, you aren't going to let her go on. That wacko might be out there
watching and she knows what he looks like. She could be in danger!"
Schanke was out of breathe by the time he finished.
"Are you finished now, Schank?" Nick smiled at his partner.
Schank shook his head wearily and let his eyes drift back to the door
behind them. "Was that the sexiest thing you have ever seen or what?"
Nick looked back at the door and smiled from ear to ear. "Sexy, sensual
and in complete control. She's in no danger, Schank. She may know what
he looks like but he doesn't know anything about her. She could
probably change and be Myra then walk right out of here without you
or I knowing any different."
"What are you saying, Nick? That that was a disguise? You've got to be
kidding. Somebody who acts and dresses like that could not ever be
anything but sexy." Schanke shook his head in disbelief.
"Come on, Schank! She's dancing this one for me and frankly I don't want
to miss it."
Song by Madonna off the Erotica album
Song title Erotic
Nick and Schank esat down at Levine's table as the lights dimmed
throughout the bar. Suddenly the spotlight hit both front and back of
the silkscreen now covering the stage, leaving only a small dark spot
on the left side of the stage. The light shimmered on the surface
causing a ripple effect as a low fan was turned on behind stage and the
music started with a low, throbbing beat almost animalistic in nature.
The volume increased and behind the screen on the far side appeared a
man dressed in what appeared to be tight leather pants or jeans with no
shirt and a flowing trenchcoat that fluttered around him as he walked
slowly toward the center stage behind the screen. The silk screen
moved only slightly now and the shadow of the man increased in size as
he came closer to the front of the stage. Although his facial features
could not be distinguished, almost every shape, contour or nuance to his
clothing could be distinguished or imagined. He was what you wanted to
The throbbing of the music increased until the steady beat filtered into
your mind and under your skin. The only dark spot behind the screen was
now instantly lit. There before them in the shadows stood a woman. Her
hair was a mass of curls, almost below her shoulders, bushed out wild,
like a lion's mane and flowing softly in the breeze created by the fan.
As she stepped gracefully into the main light, the wind whipped the
fringed slits of her costume freely about her lithe body. Beneath the
skirt she sported very little but thigh high leather 3 inch heeled boots
and what appeared in the shadow of the screen to be a leather thong
like, ultra tight g-string. It disappeared up across her pubic bone and
connected to a thin metal buckle on her flat stomach finally cupping her
perfect formed breasts in a basque made of the same leather material.
Her hands were encased in elbow-length triangle dancers gloves with open
fingers and palms for the use of her hands and long nails. Around her
neck, there was a collar that appeared to have spikes protruding outward
that disappeared into her hair when she swayed provocatively with the
music. In one hand she carried a whip with long
tendrils that she drug slowly behind her.
Her movements were subtle and sensual. With each step she gracefully ran
her fingers on her right hand up her sides almost in a caress, as she
watched it intently and let her body responded to its own touch....and
then the words filled the room with Madonna's voice.
"My name is Dita.
I'll be your mistress tonight.
I'll be your loved one, darling
Turn out the light.
As the words echoed through the room the front stage light vanished
leaving only the back light on the screen and the dancers. The effect
created was dramatic as it painted very distinct images on the screen
almost to the point of clarity; yet you could not actually see their
faces. You could see, but not see, and the mind was left to draw its own
With each word she moved closer to the man and danced slowly around him.
She let her fingers that did not grasp the whip touch only the surface
of his jacket. Then she returned to his front grazing his bare chest
only momentarily with her lips and pivoted away.
I'll be your sorceress,
your heart's magician.
I'm not a witch.
I'm your love technician.
The whip cracked loudly as she snapped it at him, hitting the floor only
inches from his feet. Her male companion turned slightly facing the
front of the screen and appeared haughty. Finally he crossed his arms
in front of his chest.
She moved slowly in a circle back to him using the whip as a ribbon
dancer would, caressing her body with each movement and beat of the
I'll be your guiding light
in your darkest hour.
I'm gonna change your life.
When she reached him from behind she snapped the whip over his shoulder
and turned him forcibly around with it till they were face to face in a
side profile to the audience.
I'm like a poison flower
Give it up.
Do as I say.
Give it up and let me have my way.
She held him firmly as she rubbed her body close to his and pulled his
jacket off in one smooth motion.
I'll give you love.
I'll hit you like a truck.
I'll give you love....
I'll teach you how to.....ooooohhh....
She let her hands have free reign over his naked torso and ran them
slowly down his tightly encased thighs both front and back as the chorus
echoed through the incredibly silent bar. Even the bartender stopped
mixing drinks when the front light vanished. All eyes were glued to the
silk screen, including Nick's and Schanke's.
put your hands all over my body.
All over me......
Nick felt the beast begin to surface as his eyes never left the screen,
as well as every other male in the room. The male dancer tried hard
not to respond to the attention he was receiving but the bulge in his
tight pants grew at an increasing rate as he gave in to the caresses she
lavished on him.
Just as quickly as she came to him, she left. Snapping the whip at him
when he reached for her retreating form. Once again she let her hands
roam her own body as she slipped slowly to the floor and started
crawling like a lioness toward her prey.
We could use the cage.
I've got a lot of rope.
I'm not full of rage,
I'm full of hope.
This is not a crime
and you're not on trial
Bend over, baby
I'm gonna make you smile.
As the verse ended, she had slowly unwound off the floor presenting her
perfectly formed backside to the audience and her partner. He reached
to touch her, but she grabbed both hands and pulled them around her
holding each in her hands as she slid hard up against his body.
I'm gonna make you smile,
Light the candles
'til they're nice and soft.
And when they start to drip,
I'm gonna get you off....
She slowly traced her tongue down his chest eliciting groans from not
only her dance partner, but numerous male patrons watching. Never once
did she release his hands, as she slid slowly down his body tracing
small circles with her tongue.
Give it up.
Do as I say.
Give it up and let me have my way.
I'll give you love.
I'll hit you like a truck
I'll give you love......
I'll teach you how to....oooohhhhh
She was on her knees before his bulging manhood and he stood frozen
before her. She released his hands and trailed hers sensually down his
Nick lurched from his chair followed by Schanke, who almost tackled him
from behind before he reached the stage. Schanke held Nick tightly as
their eyes stayed glued to the screen before them and the chorus
put your hands all over my body.....
all over me....
all over me.....
The dancer reached to grab Shadow's hair and push her face into his
enlarged manhood, causing her to sit, then lay, and roll away from him
on the floor.....He started for her, as did several men behind the
screen, only to be stopped by bodyguards hidden in the doorways through
the performance. The huge bodyguard holding the male dancer behind the
screen physically had to restrain the dancer as she continued. She
arched on her back and caressed her body as if her male counterpart was
contributing to her pleasure.
I could bring you much pleasure.
Only the one that hurts you
can make you feel better.
Only the one that inflicts the pain....
can take it all away.
She rolled to her knees and then her feet and stood brazenly before the
male dancer now held forcibly by the bodyguard and let the wind whip her
skirt around her thighs as she slowly licked her lips provocatively.
The whip snapped at them and the lights disappeared. The men at once
charged the stage and the screen soon disappeared in shreds. Nick
freed himself and disappeared behind stage before Schanke could object
or restrain him further.
Nick prepared to use his vampire skills on the door to her dressing
room, found it unlocked and stepped in only moments before 4 men lunged
at the now locked door. Nick put his full weight and strength against
the door to keep them out.
She stepped out from behind the privacy screen still in full costume.
The g-string was truly a black leather with a matching dog collar with
spikes. Her hair was wild and free and she sported leopard face paint
and a black leather headband that matched the design on her boots. The
skirt that appeared on stage as filmy tendrils that swirled around her
legs was actually made of fine soft black leather strands. The whip
she carried on stage was still in her hand as she approached him with
his back forced up against the door.
Silently she walked towards him as his blue eyes tinged in gold locked
with hers. Each motion was designed to entice and beckon him. She ran
her hands up his arms slowly feeling the tension and strain he placed on
the door to keep it closed. She stopped with her lips only a breath
away. Ever so slowly she let her tongue trace his lips and then he
"Did that make you feel sexy ?" He said in a raspy voice struggling to
keep the beast at bay.
Her eyes twinkled as she allowed her tongue to trace his now present
fangs and then plung into his more-than-willing mouth. A low growl
emanated from his chest as he released the now quiet door and pulled her
tight up against his already hard body.
She ran her hands down his flat stomach on to his now fully erect
manhood and kneaded him forcefully and stated calmly, "...Yes...."
Nick ran his hand up both sides of her face and pulled her lips back to
She deepened the kiss and molded her body even closer to his until her
lungs demanded air. She broke the kiss and stepped back from him
slightly to breathe. His golden eyes stared back at her with raw need.
She bathed in the desire and power that radiated from him....totally
Desire and lust poured through his body beyond anything he'd ever felt.
It wasn't the beast the required feeding, but the man inside. Whatever
the spell she'd cast over him , he went willingly, as did she. She
stretched her arms out to him. He leaned over and scooped her up,
bringing her willing lips back to his. With vampire speed, he headed for
the small couch at the side of the room.
Placing small kisses over her face and down her neck, he laid her down
and stretched his hard body over hers. The temptation of the blood
surging through her veins called to him, yet it didn't control him.
Something else drove him onward as he kissed and sucked gently on her
neck, not breaking the skin but savoring her taste and warmth as his
potential lover. Pure raw lust overcame him as she arched in to him and
he recaptured her lips filled with demanding need.. Her tongue met him
stroke for stroke, as he broke the kiss this time gasping for air and
moaning softly to her.
"What have you done to me, Natalie? What magic is this?"
Natalie ran her hand through his silky hair and stared at the man she
loved. "I danced for you tonight, Nick......I want to make love to the man
underneath the beast." She lightly kissed his lips and slowly ran her
tongue over his fangs.
"I want to be one with you in every way possible." She trailed her
fingertips gently down the side of his face onto his neck and smiled
seductively. "You didn't charge across the stage and rip Jacob's throat
out, so I know who has control." She let her fingers graze his eyes
slightly and he closed them to hide the gold.
"Don't, Nick!" She made him look at her again. "Don't hide from me. I
know what you are and I can see the vampire, but the man wants me." She
arched her pelvis into his groin and ground her self hard against his
erection. "The man controls the vampire now, and has ever since I met
you. Only.....now, we both know it!"
Nick moaned with desire as her heat radiated through him. His lips
found hers, first hard with need, and then more gently as she relaxed
into his embrace. She let her fingers run down the hard planes of his back
as his hands found her breasts and kneaded softly. A groan of sheer
pleasure escaped her lips as her nipples hardened under his touch. She
wanted to be next to his skin. To feel that hardness inside her, his power, and
most of all his love. This was beyond desire as she let her hands find
the front of his shirt and ripped it open. Unable to control the urge
she pressed hard against his bare chest only to find her costume still
hampering her efforts to feel his skin against hers.
His lips worshiped hers and dueled with her tongue, as she pressed next
to his cool skin. The warmth of her skin hampered only by the small
leather g-string and basque further enticed him to lose all
restraints. He caressed her with his hands as they glided down her
sweat sheened body, pulling the offending clothing away as they went.
He kissed her breast softly, then gently nipped her, causing two small
droplets of blood to form, which he sucked gently away. Her love warmed
him and pushed him forward. He sucked gently on her nipple causing her to
moan softly and offer her neck. He released her briefly, causing a whimper
of neglect. "No, Nick!"
He pushed off her reluctantly and pulled her boots free from her thighs,
kissing down the calf of her leg to the tips of her toes. Sucking them
gently into his mouth, she gasped with pleasure. She leaned back on
the couch as he removed the second boot and gave it similar treatment.
Running his hands along her inner thigh as he sucked her toes into his
cool mouth, he found what he sought Quickly he spread her legs and
buried his face into her mound. Only his name escaped her lips as his
tongue plunged within her hot chamber. Her juice flowed freely and he
tasted all that she was...and he wanted more.....He had to have more. She
whimpered softly as she pushed his head further into her core seeking
relief from the tension building within her. Her body tightened as he
nipped at her clit and alternately plunged his tongue within her.
"Nick!" She screamed his name as her orgasm overtook her. He sucked and
drank his love's warmth and need as he buried his face within her. The
beast raged within him for release as he pulled himself back to her lips
and removed the dog collar from around her neck.
With ragged breaths, he stood and removed his jeans. Slowly, he eased
his cool body on top of hers letting every curve of his body rub hard
against hers. His erection throbbed with need and desire, but fear of
hurting her slowed his onslaught. Completely naked in each other arms,
they fondled, kissed, and discovered every inch of each other's bodies.
Natalie ground her pelvis into his as his manhood screamed for relief.
"Help me, Natalie....."Nick begged her between breaths
Without hesitation she offered him her neck as the blood rushed through
her veins beckoning him with every beat of her heart.
Her scent, filled with love, along with her faith in him, pushed him over
the edge. He sank his shaft deep within her and his fangs into her neck.
With the first mouthful he was lost. He buried himself deeper within
her and sucked gently of her blood. Her desire overwhelmed him and he
pumped harder seeking to fulfill the need they both sought. With each
stroke, her pleasure increased and he pushed into their blood link. He
wanted her to feel all his love for her as he felt hers. She met him
stroke for stroke as he continued to sheath himself deeper each time
inside her. As he touched her core, her body screamed with release, and
he pumped his seed within her letting himself go to a feeling he thought
never existed. He was lost to the feeling of mortal love that pumped
through her blood and his. The sensations overwhelmed him and he passed
it through their blood bond as he drank one last time and released
When his eyes met hers, they were filled with joy and happiness. At long
last they were one.....both in body and blood. He pushed her hair away
from her face gently, as he supported his weight on top of hers. Then
gently he kissed her forehead. He smiled that boyish grin she loved so
much and pushed with his now soft member within her.
"Now that I know you love me in spite of what I am, do you want to tell
me what this is all about? Or am I to take it that seducing several
hundred men in under 10 minutes is your idea of a fun date?"
She wrapped her legs around his waist and physically tightened her muscles
around his shaft then smiled coyly. "I had to do something to push you
over the edge. To make you see me as something more than a porcelain
goddess you place on a pedestal everyday. I'm a woman, Nick....and..... I
have needs." She pulled him back to her. Slowly she rubbed her breast
along his chest and sucked gently on his lower lip while she ground her
hips into his. She was rewarded for her efforts as she felt him stiffen
within her quickly. She smiled when she released his lips and he pushed further
He pulled out suddenly and then thrust hard back into her, causing him
to stiffen more and her to gasp in pleasure. "Well, then, I think I should
not let those needs get out of hand again.....ever." His lips ground into
hers as his body began thrusting deeper with each stroke and they were
lost to the rest of the world.
Nick lay beside Natalie stroking her face lightly with his fingertips as
she slept peacefully in his arms. Although he had taken blood each time
they made love, her skin still shone with a healthy glow. The second
time he had needed less than the first, and that gave him hope. His
need to be with her was even stronger the second time, but it had not
required as much blood to satiate the beast. Natalie stirred with his
touch and finally awoke to find him smiling at her with bright blue
Her entire body felt warm and she felt herself adrift in a safe cocoon.
It was so pleasant that she didn't want to leave. The second time they
made love was even more intense than the first, and when her body had
responded to his, what they shared was more than pleasurable, more than
erotic. It was a completeness and joining of not only bodies but souls
as well. He was as much a part of her as Richard, or her mother or
father had been. When he joined with her, a joy that she never knew
possible caressed her to the point of ecstasy. Was this due to the
vampire or just her feelings for Nick? She didn't know, nor at this
point did she even care. She felt his light touch caressing her cheek
and awoke to his beautiful blues eyes. God.....she loved him....and he
loved her back! She never wanted this to end.....ever.
She smiled back at him and let her cheek rest in the cup of his hand as
he caressed her face. "Tell me what you're thinking, Nick."
Gently he leaned forward and kissed her nose and then her lips briefly.
"I was thinking just how out of character this was for you." He
motioned to the now discarded costume and whip lying on the floor.
"...until I realized just how frustrated you were....and how restricted you
were in finding a release that you could live with." He slowly ran his
fingers down her side and onto her naked thigh still lying partially
under him. "So, I guess if erotic dancing in front of strangers makes
you feel sexy, then I don't object." He lightly pinched her rear end as
his hand ran over it. "Just don't let them touch!"
She jumped and squealed when he pinched her butt and quickly wrapped her
arms around his neck. "I promise!" She smiled wickedly and rubbed her
naked body up against his. "I won't have this need to feel sexy if I
get as much of this as I need." She had ran her hands down his side and
onto his tight ass and squeezed his buns. "Then I won't need to dance
for anyone but you!" She forced his willing lips back to hers and let
her hands roam freely over his body as their tongues fenced with each
Someone banged on the locked door and tried the knob. Nick broke off
the kiss and jumped up, pulling Natalie with him in one smooth motion.
"It's Schank!" Nick motioned to the door as Nat stared at him blankly,
then she glanced at the clock on the wall. It was almost an hour and
half after the show. Her face reddened under what was left of the face paint
that wasn't on Nick or his shirt, as she look first at him and then
herself. "I think I'm going to have a lot of explaining to do after
teasing him like I did earlier." She grabbed her costume off the floor
and ran for the privacy screen to dress as Nick used vampire speed to
throw on his own clothes. Nick stared at his shirt with the missing buttons and
made a quick stab at wiping the face paint off his face. This was not going to
"Nick!" Natalie spoke softly from behind the screen. "I saw the guy's
face.... the one that left with Sherri. I can identify him!" She stuck her head
around the screen as Schanke pounded louder on the door and started
yelling. Her eyes locked with Nick's and he nodded his head in
understanding. Finally, he unlocked the door and pulled it open.
Schanke virtually fell into the room due to the pressure he had been
applying on the door with his shoulder. Nick caught him before he hit
"Schank, what are you doing?" Nick looked at him in disbelief. He
should have left an hour ago.
Schank dusted imaginary dust off his coat sleeve before he met Nick's
eyes. "Oh, come on, Nick. I have been looking this place over for you. I even
started back to the precinct until I saw your car in the parking lot. I
checked all the rooms once and they were locked and this one was
guarded, so I figured you couldn't be in here....guess I was wrong." Schanke
stared at Nick's shirt with the missing buttons and the face paint smeared along
the sleeve. As he looked closer, he saw remnants of the paint on his neck and
lower jaw as well.
Anger flashed in his eyes as he pushed his face into Nick's. "You're making a
mistake here, Nick. Don't screw up your relationship with Natalie for this little
piece of skirt! You hurt Nat and you're going to have to answer to
me!" He poked Nick in the shoulder as he spoke, forcing him back against
Someone cleared their throat behind him and Schanke turned to find the
long black haired woman they met earlier standing behind him. This time
she wore a trenchcoat over jeans and low healed boots. Still wearing
the sunglasses, she walked closer and stopped only inches from him and
let her hand run down the front lapel of his jacket slowly.
Schanke's breath caught in his throat. She stood only inches away from
him as her perfume surrounded him in a cloud of femininity.
"You would protect your friend from me, Detective? I am a big mistake
in your eyes? A mistake that your partner cannot handle.....cannot afford or
this little relationship of his will falter?" She let her hand lay softly, unmoving
now, on his jacket as she awaited his answer.
Schanke stuttered slightly. "A mistake....no.....yes.....I mean....." Schank
removed her hand and stood back to catch his breath and arrange his thoughts.
If she wasn't so damn sexy, he could think clearer. What was it about this
woman? Finally, he had control of the mush he called a brain again and
stared at his partner who had now crossed the room to stand by this
bewitching creature. "It's just that Natalie is a very special lady,
and I don't want her to get hurt because you can't keep your hands off
the blonde enigma here." Schnake glared at Nick as if he had betrayed
Natalie on purpose.
The petite woman smiled and removed her sunglasses with one hand and the
wig with the other and then chuckled. "Thanks, Schank! Glad someone's
watching out for my interests." Nick reached over and pulled her up
against his side as Schanke's mouth dropped open and he stumbled slightly
"NATALIE????" He squeaked when his voice returned to his lips.
Nick laughed and Nat smiled ear to ear.
"No way! There is NO WAY! You can't make me believe that you are....."
"The Shadow Dancer....Schank! Sorry to disappoint you, but I am. I used
to dance in college. It was my escape from reality....and it made me
feel sexy. Something I don't get to do much of in my line of work. Let's be
honest, Schank, with the hours I keep and the clothes I have to wear most of
the time, feeling sexy is out of the question. I needed a release.....an escape
from the little pedestal you all seem to have put me on." She walked over to
him, blue eyes glittering in the light like diamonds, and stopped less than an
inch away from his face. She placed her hands on her hips and glared into his
"You have a problem with that, Detective?"
This was the Natalie he knew....fearless....taking crap from no one.....in
charge. "No problem, Nat! None at all! You want to dance on your
nights off to blow off a little steam. Great! Works for me!" Schanke looked to
Nick for support.
"Hey, help me out here, Nick!" Schanke backed away slightly from Natalie
as Nick snickered under his breath.
Natalie stepped back to Nick, gently kissed him on the lips, and then
turned her attention back to Schanke. "Thanks for thinking about me,
Schanke." She looked at Nick and touched his cheek lovingly and then
returned her attention to Schanke. "I really mean that....I'm glad you're my
Schank esighed with relief and leaned up against the wall and shook his
head. "No one is going to believe this.....no one." Then the reason they were
here in the first place struck him. "If you really are the Shadow
Dancer, then you saw that guy that left with Sherri last night?"
"Yeah, Schank I saw him very clearly. I went into the precinct earlier
this evening and had Frank work up a composite. I told the Captain the
story and took him the drawing. I ask him to not tell either one of you
until I had a chance to explain to Nick. The picture was on the street
as of 2 am. I had that much time to get it straightened out with Nick"
She reached over and took Nick's hand in hers and squeezed it gently.
"I think we got it straightened out...didn't we?"
Nick squeezed her hand back and then lovingly kissed her on the lips.
"All straight. Let's go talk to the Captain."
7 days later:
Schanke and Nick sat in front of Reese's desk as he paced back and forth
mumbling, stopping and finally turned in frustration to both of them
sitting quietly in front of his desk. "We got no leads on the man,
gentlemen, and I can see only one way for us to draw him out."
"Cap, he knows he's hot. He's probably changed his appearance to slip by
our undercover people at the bars and dance clubs. There's no way this
guy's going to stay away from them. It's not in his psych profile.
He's here....We just have to get him to make a move." Nick was as
frustrated as the Captain. They had placed undercover policemen in
every dance club in the city. IDs were checked every night with no
luck, but he was here. Nick could feel it.
"I'm glad you agree, Nick. We set up a target and cover her like a
blanket. When he makes his move, we've got him." Reese stared at Nick
intently, waiting for him to understand.
Nick stared at Reese momentarily and it finally hit him. Lunging out of
the chair so hard it hit the wall behind him. "NO! NO WAY, Captain!"
Schanke jumped between his partner and the Captain. "Nick, take it
easy!" Schanke placed both his arms on his partner's shoulders and pushed
him back against the wall, before he attacked the Captain.
Glaring at the Captain and then Schanke, Nick almost growled, "He wants
to use Natalie as bait, Schank." Nick waited for the Captain to deny it
as both men focused their attention on him doggedly.
"Nick, you know the only thing that is going to draw this guy out is
something that he sees as sexy, desirable, accessible and helpless.
Someone that supposedly has no male companion....and let's be honest, the
'Shadow Dancer' definitely fits that description. She's known as the
sexiest dancer in town and refuses any male companionship offered to
her. Of course, we know why that is, but the rest of this city does
not. No one outside this room knows that Natalie is the 'Shadow Dancer'....and
Natalie has already agreed to do it." Reese wanted Nick
to accept this, but he couldn't blame him for his reaction. He sure
wouldn't want to risk losing Denise.
He wasn't sure how he'd handle it if Denise told him she was going to
do something like this. Knowing how long it had taken Nick and Natalie
to work things out between them only made this decision harder. If
they lost the 'Shadow Dancer', he would lose his best ME and his best cop.
But, the final decision had been Natalie's. The more he learned about
the woman, the more he admired her. He still couldn't believe that SHE
was the 'Shadow Dancer' but all the pieces fit and Schanke and Nick
verified her story when they returned from the Hidden Box.
Anger radiated from Nick. He was not buying any of this. This was
Natalie, his Natalie and no sicko was going to get a chance at raping
her if he had anything to say about it. Gold flecks edged his eyes as
Schanke held him against the wall and he glared at the Captain. Reese
wisely stepped back , not ready to go up physically against Nick in his
current state of mind.
Natalie was crossing the parking lot heading for the precinct's main entrance
when intense anger washed over her. It was so sudden, she staggered
momentarily and grabbed the nearest car for support. As the anger
subsided fear took its place and Natalie knew the Captain had told
Nick. She had better hurry before things got out of hand.
She reached the Captain's office as the Captain stepped back abruptly
from Nick. "NICK!" She almost screamed his name and 3 heads snapped in
her direction. "Let him go, Schanke!" She spoke to the Captain but
never took her eyes off Nick. "Let me talk to him.....alone." She walked
over to Nick and placed her head on his shoulder and arms around his waist.
Immediately he relaxed and wrapped his arms around her and breathed in the
scent that was only Natalie. With one word....one touch....the beast was gone.
Reese and Schanke nodded and walked out of the room shutting the door
completely behind them.
"I need a drink, and I don't mean water either." He stared at Schanke.
"I understand now why they call him the "The Knightmare" when he's
pissed. I thought he was going to come after me.....Jeez! Did you see his
eyes. I swear they turned golden." Reese shook his head in disbelief.
"Not that I blame him. If that was Denise offering to do that, I think I
would lose it too."
Schanke stared at the door for a moment. "I've seen him ticked before,
but nothing like that. That was more than anger.....that was fear......pure,
raw, unadulterated fear. I'd go crazy if Myra did a third of what Natalie does.
I can imagine how I would feel if she told me she was bait for the worst serial
rapist and murderer in Toronto in 10 years."
Schank shook his head in dismay and wonder. "Now that I think about it,
I think Nick took it really well."
Nick buried his head in her hair and concentrated on getting the beast
under control. He knew his eyes had flashed and he didn't care. This
was Natalie they were talking about using as bait. Not a trained
policewoman....but Nat....his Nat.
She held him close and let her warmth and love calm his fears as well as
her own. She had reservations about saying yes to this plan, but she
knew that she, 'The Shadow Dancer', was the only sure fire bait this
crazy would go after. It was just a matter of where and when, and
frankly, she wanted Nick around when it happened. The only way she
could assure herself of that was to bait this madman while Nick,
Schanke, and the rest of the force had her under surveillance. Besides,
she had a secret weapon that no other policewoman could possibly have
and she was sure she would have to use it. First she had to convince
Nick to go along with it and that might be a challenge.
"You got it under control now?" She asked calmly as she pulled away from
him slightly. She locked her gaze with his now blue eyes and continued.
"Before you go off on this, I want you to understand. This is the only
answer...and I need to do this. Not just for me, but for us." He started
to speak and she placed her finger over his lips. "You know as well as
I do that this guy hasn't left town, and he will continue to kill
innocent women....dancers. That's all he's fascinated with and I'm sure he
has watched me dance. I'm the perfect choice for him. He just needs an
opportunity and if he doesn't find it now, he will find it later when
everyone has let down their guard.
He will come after me and I'd rather have him do it now instead of later. Now I
can have full backup and you at my side." She waited for his reaction. She
watched fear etch his eyes as well as understanding. She was right and he
knew it. As long as she was the 'Shadow Dancer' she would be a target of this
He pulled her back into his arms and laid his head on top hers. "This is
crazy, Nat....and it scares the Hell out of me." He held her firmly
hoping it would all go away, but he knew she was right. She was who she
was, Natalie Lambert, MD, Medical examiner, The Shadow Dancer and his
heart. If he denied her what she was then he was no better than
LaCroix. He did not want a slave. He wanted her love and that meant
accepting all of who she is just as she had accepted him.
She relaxed in his arms and breathed deeply of the spicy cologne he wore
and the leather jacket he was wearing. He had accepted her for what she
was and she loved him even more. "I love you, Nick....more every day if
She pulled her head off his shoulder and gazed into his worried blue
eyes. "We have a secret weapon. It will be all right."
Nick looked at her questionably.
"I have you, Nick. You are my secret weapon and we are bound by not
only love but blood. I can feel you now and you can feel me. What
other dancer or policewoman could have that advantage. If I'm in
trouble you will know. You and I are connected. I don't understand
it, but it's there and we can use it to get rid of this piece of trash
that preys on helpless women."
He marveled at her courage, her heart, her faith in him. He would not
let her down. He studied the resolve in her face and then he gently
kissed her lips. "I am now officially the 'Shadow Dancer's' shadow.
You don't leave my side until this madman is behind bars. Deal?" He held
her face between his hands. It was the only answer he would accept and
she would have been a fool to turn it down.
"Deal! Should I call you SDS for short? By the way can you dance?"
Nick rolled his eyes and pulled her back into his arms.
The bar had been jam-packed every night for 8 nights. They were all
beginning to get nervous that 'Shadow Dancer' was gone for good, scared
off by all the murders. Levine wasn't certain what had transpired with
the cops, but he saw her leave with them 7 nights ago. Maybe she was in
protective custody. She hadn't gone over a week since she'd started
Damn! That last number she did almost got his place torn up,
but he had made so much money that night and since, he was willing to
forgive her. She had done some erotic stuff before, but that was
beyond anything he had every witnessed including some of the best
stripers in the world. Shadow didn't need to take her clothes off to
drive the crowd wild. Where has this woman been? She could be making a
fortune with a talent like that. Levine knew that money was not why she
danced, so he put his wishful thinking aside and just prayed she would
show up and dance tonight.
Moments later the bartender motioned him aside and whispered the answer
to his prayer. With a smile on his face, he walked back to the dressing
area and caught Wanda's eye. "Where is she?"
Wanda motioned toward the farthest dressing room. "She's got company
with her." Wanda smiled and turned toward the stage for her last set.
Levine knocked and then entered when commanded. Shadow stood before
him in a one piece ankle length leotard of black silk with high heels and a
flowing , see through transparent cover the shimmered in the light as she
walked. It was like diamonds of light over the darkness that started at her
shoulders, tapered to fit her waist and split into 8 or 9 pieces ended mid thigh.
It was designed to pick of every piece of light and enhance every motion of the
body underneath. She wore long black straight hair brushed loosely about her
shoulders as well as her usual black sunglasses. B
Behind her stood the blonde cop that was with her when she left 7 nights ago.
He wore tight black leather pants and boots with a white, open collared shirt
that billowed freely about the arms. Looking closer you could see elegant
ruffles that flowed elegantly over the backs of his hands from the tapered wrist
of the sleeve. It reminded Levine of the shirts pirates wore sailing the open
seas. It made the Nick appear sleek, strikingly handsome, and extremely
sensual. Odd he hadn't noticed his good looks before, but the effect of the
couple together was almost breathtaking.
"Shadow? What's up?"
"I have a bodyguard, Mr. Levine. I hope you or Jacob don't mind. I'm a
material witness now, and the only way I was allowed to dance was if
Detective Knight is glued to my side." She motioned to Nick who stood
slightly behind her.
Nick nodded to Levine and smiled.
"You look great, Detective." He smiled back at Nick and then clasped
Shadow's hand. "I'll take you anyway you want to dance, Miss Shadow.
You know that. Besides, with you at his side he won't have to dance
anyway." Levine kissed the back of her hand before he let it drop.
"How long do you need to set up your props.?"
"5 minutes, Arnie. We'll be ready. Got the big speakers on?"
"I'll flip the switch. Wanda will handle your tape and the light sequencer.
"That's perfect, Arnie.....thanks!"
Levine walked out of the dressing room whistling, flipped the switch for
the Dolby speakers and the switch for the new silk screen he had
installed just for Shadow. He smiled. Life was good.
The crowd became silent as soon as the screen began to drop, followed
closely by wild cheering. Arnie walked on stage and finally quieted
"She needs 5 minutes, guys. So find your seats and fill the glasses now
because 'The Shadow Dancer' performs tonight."
The lights dimmed in the bar and the front stage light hit the screen as
the first strains of the music echoed through the speakers. Behind the
screen was a petite figure lying on a bed. A small window could be seen
beside it and a door across the room stood partially open. The music
was both rhythmic and melodious as Celine Dion's voice sang the first few
lines. The figure lying on the bed sat up and drew the covers around
There were nights when the wind was so cold,
But my body froze in bed if I listened
to it right outside the window.
There were days when the sun was so cruel,
All my tears turn to dust,
And I just knew my eyes were dry enough forever.
In time to the music, the figure slowly threw the covers off her and
stepped gracefully out of bed. The shimmering overlay flowed evenly around
her slim leotard clad figure as she walked. It served to make a shadow on
shadow effect on the front screen as her long straight hair blended into the
upper fabric adding yet another layer. Each step created the illusion of
more movement than was actually occurring and camaflouged her petite
stature. She appeared much taller than she actually was.
I finished crying in the instant that you left.
I can't remember where, or when, or how.....
But I banished every memory you and I had ever made...
She slowly wiped the tears from her eyes and slammed the door with force
and stared at it intently. As it slammed, the front lights went out and
the back light flipped on . Highlighted now was a man standing beside
the bed as she faced the door. He was tall and slim, encased in skin
tight dark pants with a flowing shirt, his hair ruffled as if disturbed
from sleep. He appeared rugged and sensual. He was frozen in place as
the music continued and she slowly turned.
She appeared surprised to see him standing there. Slowly she reached for him
and finally danced in small circles until they stood face to face. He remained
motionless during her actions. She let one hand touch the edge of his
sleeve and run slowly down his arm. She watched it intently as if amazed that
the figure before her was real.
But when you touch me like this,
And when you hold me like that
I just have to admit,
That it's all coming back to me....
She made another circle around him gracefully as she touched him in
disbelief. Stopping in front of him, her hand raised ever so slowly and
traced her fingertips down his face.
When I touch you like this,
And when I hold you, like that.
It's hard to believe,
But it's all coming back to me.
It's all coming back to me now....
She raised her arms to his neck and slowly slid her hands down his shirt
front, stopping only briefly on his flat stomach and then continued lower.
There were moments of gold,
And there were flashes of light.
There were things I'd never do again
But they always seemed right.
There were nights of endless pleasure
It was more than any love ever combined.....
She let her hands roam freely as she swayed to the music in almost a
dream like state and raised her lips to his as he started to become
noticeably aroused. She rubbed her entire body up his as the song
If I kiss you like this,
If you whisper like that.
It was lost long ago,
But it's all coming back to me.
Her lips met his and he gave into the sensation and the music. His arms
wrapped around her as his lips deepened the kiss and the passion ignited
between them on stage. Slowly he ran his hands down her side and swayed
with her to each beat, increasing not only her need but his as well. Then she
pulled abruptly away, but he held on to her fingertips and pulled her
If you want me like this,
If you need me like that.
It was that long ago,
But it's all coming back to me....
He pulled her hard against him again and bent her backwards. He let her
swing out effortlessly toward the audience and then brought her back
into his embrace before he pressed his lips next to hers only a whisper
It's so hard to resist,
And it's all coming back to me.
I can barely recall,
But it's all coming back to me now....
It's all coming back....
He brushed his lips to hers, then lifted her high above him for several
beats and let her slide down his hard body. As she melted her curves
to his, he ran his hands under the filmy cover and stripped it away.
She placed both hand on his chest as he held her firmly and pressed his
lower body into hers.
There were those empty threats and hollow lies,
And when ever you try to hurt me,
I'd just hurt you even worse,
But so much deeper.
She pushed away from him now and started for the door only to be caught
by his hands on her shoulder.
There were hours that just went on for days.
When alone at last we caught up all the chances
that were lost to us forever.
She pulled the door open slightly then turned to face him and slammed the
door in the process.
But you were history with the slammin of the door,
And I made myself so strong again somehow.....
And I never wasted any of my time on you again.....
She walked defiantly back to him and stopped only inches away.
But if I touch you like this,
And If you kiss me like that
It was so long ago,
But it's all coming back to me..
He let his hands trace up her neck and followed with his lips.
But if you touch me like this,
And if I kiss you like that.
It was gone with the wind,
But it's all coming back to me.
It's all coming back....
It's all coming back to me now.....
She pressed hard into his body as he lifted her off the floor and then
down. They began to move together across the floor effortlessly,
as if they were one, in time to the music. Once again he raised her high
into the air and let her slide down his body, again capturing her lips as
they passed. She withdrew her lips and pressed kisses down his neck
until she ripped his shirt open in obvious need.
There were moments of gold,
And there were flashes of light.
There were things I'd never do again.
But then they always seemed right.
There were nights of endless pleasure,
It was more than all your loves combined....
She turned in his arms and leaned back into him as his hands slid up her
thighs and stomach. He caressed her openly until she writhed under his
touch and arched into him.
But if you touch me like this,
When you hold me like that.
It was gone with the wind
But it's all coming back to me.....
She stopped his hands before they reached her breasts and stepped back .
When you see me like this,
And when I see you like that,
Then we see what we want to see
All coming back to me.
The flesh and the fantasy
All coming back to me
I can barely recall,
But it's all coming back to me now.....
She reached with her fingertips to him. They touched, then he pulled
her in a dancer circle back into his arms and pushed her out the second
time. Frozen in time and space she stared at him for several beats, and
then he pulled her back into his arms as they dropped together and
rolled onto the floor gracefully. Rolling twice, he stopped with her
under him as he supported his weight effortlessly above her. Slowly he ran
his hand down her breasts and onto her stomach.
If you forgive me all this,
If I forgive you all that.
We forgive and forget,
And it's all coming back to me.
He ran his hand lower and she arched into it eliciting a moan that the
audience never heard. He stopped only inches above her pubic bone.
When you see me like this,
And I see you like that.
We see just what we want to see
all coming back to me.
I can barely recall,
But it's all coming back to me......now
It's all coming back to me now......
She raised her hands to his head and pulled it toward her slowly as she
moved rhythmically to his touch.
It's all coming back to me now....
When you kiss me like this,
His hand ran lower as she arched into him again and pulled his lips
When I touch you like that,
It's all coming back to me now......
His whole body stretched closer to hers as his lips came nearer, yet not
If you do it like this,
It's all coming back to me now.......
She pressed her body fully against him as their lips finally met and he
gave into the feeling He laid fully on top of her and engulfed her
totally in his embrace as the final words echoed through the speaker and
the stage went dark..
And if we........
Natalie moaned in Nick's arms as he finished the kiss and the applause
and cheers echoed throughout the bar.
Natalie lay silently in Nick's arms, simply enjoying the feel of him and
smiled when he broke the kiss. "You are full of surprises, Nick
Knight!......And don't ever tell me you can't dance."
Nick kissed her nose, rose swiftly and pulled her to her feet
hearing footsteps coming from behind stage. They were about to have
Nat stared at Nick's fully aroused state in the tight leather pants and
giggled. "I think I like you in leather, Nick." She reached to rub his manhood
and tease him further.
Nick grabbed her hand and brought it to his lips instead. "Later, love,
when we don't have an audience. He quickly directed her off stage to
the dressing room.
Schanke stood by Levine at the bar after filling him in about all the
undercover people in the establishment . Naturally, he never mentioned
he knew the Shadow Dancer personally and neither did any of the
undercover policeman working the detail. As the lights dimmed and
number proceeded, all attention was focused on the stage.
As the back stage light flickered out at the finish of the number, Schanke
dropped his beer glass while he stared at Nick and Nat on stage. He shook his
head in disbelief at what he'd seen from his normally reserved partner
and the top ME of the city. Levine's comments broke his stare and he
finally snapped his mouth shut as the applause started and echoed
throughout the room.
Levine assumed the blonde cop would just stand there during the number
as Jacob did on frequent occasions when she needed a male dancer. Tthis was
completely unexpected, and he stood in awe as the scene before him unfolded
when realization finally hit him.
"My God! They're lovers!" It was a statement not a question, as he
turned to Schanke for confirmation.
Schanke recovered quickly. "What......What makes you think that? It was
just a performance. Just like all the rest she's done." Schanke looked
for his beer, but couldn't find it. He needed a drink.
"She kissed him....and she let him touch her. She has NEVER done that
before. He knows her. More than that...... he knows her intimately. You
don't get that kind of passion and reaction from someone you are just
guarding." Levine smiled smugly, as Schanke's ear receiver from one of
the check points came in a little to loudly.
"Schank,e this is Jones by the west door. Were's Nick? I can't imagine
what his view was like on stage watching that one! Damn! I still have
a hard on. I thought he was going to take her right there on stage. I
think I've led a sheltered life. I should be here every night to watch
her perform. My God that was sexy! Wish I could get my wife to do that."
"Cut the chatter, Jones. We need this line clear for important stuff,
not sleazy comments." Schanke bit back into his small microphone, trying not
to be noticed as he did it.
"Well?" Levine focused his attention on Schank and awaited an answer.
"Are you going to deny that they are lovers or what?"
Schanke put on his 'tough cop persona' and glared intently at Levine.
"It WAS A PERFORMANCE! They had to get this guy ticked off enough to
come after her tonight. We'll see if it works. As far as whether my
partner and Miss Shadow know each other....I don't have a clue. Nick is
not overly talkative about his personal life. So just go back to work
and let us do our job. She's brought you enough business to keep your
bartender pouring until way after closing." Schanke turned and drifted
with the crowd unobtrusively and waited for a signal from Nick.
Nat and Nick returned to her dressing room. As soon as the door closed,
Nick pulled her hard against his body and let his lips taste hers. She
willingly opened her mouth and let his tongue explore unhampered as her
hands ran slowly over his thighs, then his tight leather-encased ass, and finally
pulled him hard up against her. He was fully aroused and so was she. Another
2 minutes on stage with him, and she would probably have ripped his
He moaned deep from within his chest as she rubbed her leotard clad body
over his shaft. Every fiber of his body wanted her, but something in
the back of his mind nudged his common sense. Nat was in danger and it
was his job to protect her. He couldn't do that being distracted like
this. He didn't like it, but broke off the kiss. Natalie whimpered and
then laid her head on his shoulder quietly until her breathing returned
"I know....I know......" she said softly into his shoulder. Once her breathing
had slowed she let her eyes meet his and finally brushed her lips against his
quickly. "I'll go change." As she pulled away, there was a soft knock on the
Nick stepped behind the door and motioned for Nat to move away when an
older voice came clearly through the wood frame. "I have flowers for
Nick looked through the peep hole at a delivery man in his mid 50's
wearing a uniform with "Flowers by Julian" emblazoned on the back. He
seemed a little agitated at the delay and knocked again. "Flowers for
Miss Shadow. Come on, lady. I haven't got all day."
Natalie placed her sunglasses back on her face as Nick stepped behind
the door. Natalie unlocked it and greeted the man cheerfully. "I'm Miss
Shadow." She smiled and reached for the flowers.
The delivery man withdrew them quickly and stared at her intently. "How
do I know you're the 'Shadow Dancer'?"
Nat smiled, turned and virtually swayed back into the room a few steps
then stopped and cast him a seductive pose as she flipped her hair and
He stepped into the room slightly, following her movements intently and
finally decided she was who he sought. "You have to sign for these, Miss
Nat gracefully walked over to him and took the pen and delivery order
slip to sign. As he reached to take the pen from her hand he touched
the top of it and a needle extended. In the time it takes to blink, he
jammed it into her hand.
Stunned, Natalie stared at the needle protruding from her hand and felt
the world start to spin. The delivery man smiled wickedly. Blackness
was overtaking her swiftly and her mouth wouldn't work, but her mind
screamed for Nick.
"You didn't think I would let him have you..... did you?" He growled and
threw the flowers on the floor as he watched her struggle against the drug.
As the flowers hit the floor, so did the delivery man. It was like
being hit by a truck. In the instant it takes to breathe, he found
himself pinned against the wall with all the air expelled from his lungs.
Facing him was the blonde dancer, still clad in black leather pants. Only his
eyes weren't normal. They were gold. Anger radiated from him in palpable
waves. He struggled against Nick's grip in vain while Nat screamed to Nick
through their link.
Nick turned to see Natalie collapsing. He threw the delivery man across
the room in one swift motion and caught Natalie before she hit the
floor. The delivery man hit the wall hard, knocking him unconscious.
"Nat? Nat? Come on? Tell me where you're hurt." Nick cradled her in
his arms and searched for the injury site. He could see nothing and she
was losing consciousness. "Fight it, Natalie! Reach out with our link.
Come on, Nat! Please?" He cradled her head next to his and reached out
with his mind when the word 'drugged' washed through him. He
immediately hit the emergency button to Schanke and started searching her
arms. When he reached her palm, he found the hole. He picked her up
and started for the door.
A voice from behind him made him freeze. "If I can't have her, neither
can you." The sound of the hammer on a 38 being pulled back forced Nick
Schanke entered the door and screamed "Police!" as the shot fired from
the madman's gun. Schanke fired a second later as he watched his
partner throw his body over Natalie to protect her. The bullet caught
him full in the back, driving both he and Natalie against the wall.
Blood poured from Nick's back as he gasped for air with the impact.
Schanke did a quick check of the gunman to find him dead and started for
Nick and Nat on the floor. As Schanke reached his side, Nick pulled himself
off Natalie with labored breaths as pain ravaged his body. The exit wound
created by the bullet as it left his body was bigger than the entry.
Schanke grabbed Nick's shoulder.
Nick doubled over from the pain, held his chest and upper abdomen where
the blood flow seemed the heaviest and pushed away Schanke's arm that held
him from Natalie. He coughed blood as he searched her for other wounds and
found her side bleeding heavily. He turned to find Schanke staring at him and
yelling something into the microphone.
"Get the paramedic in here! Officers down! Hurry!" Schanke stared at
Nick as his eyes glowed amber, then gold and his fangs dropped.
His control was almost gone as his body tried to tell him what it needed
to heal, but the man still loved the woman on the floor. The man won
the battle. "Help her, Schank. He shot her full of drugs. I don't know
what kind....she needs help now." He was light headed and fell slightly
forward before he caught himself.
"Nick, you need help man. What the Hell is happening?" Schanke tried
to make Nick lay down, but Nick pushed him away angrily.
"She needs help..... now, Schank. There's no time for the paramedics."
Nick's golden eyes and the anger that radiated from him stopped Schanke
Slowly, with great effort, Nick picked up Nat into his arms and flew out
the door. The paramedics showed up 2 minutes later to find only Schanke
sitting over the now dead body of the city's worst serial rapist in years without
Nick flew Natalie to the nearest hospital and ran through the emergency
"I have a woman who needs help here." He laid her gingerly on the
closest stretcher as the nurses and doctors began to pour in their
"I'm a police officer!" Nick flashed his badge as he tried to talk
without coughing blood. "She's been drugged with something and shot!"
"We'll take care of her, Officer, but you need help as well." She
stared at the blood soaked shirt and his ashen face.
Nick touched the now healing wounds and realized what she thought.
"No! I'm okay, it's only stage blood. We were on stage when ....." They
started wheeling Natalie down the hall and Nick followed along when the
nurse touched his arm gently.
"We'll take care of her, Officer. She'll be all right. You go over
there and fill out the paper work." She motioned to the sign in desk at
the entrance. "We'll tell you as soon as we know something....and get
out of that shirt before we admit you as well." She smiled encouragingly
and ran down the hall into Emergency Room 3.
Nick needed blood and a clean shirt if he was to make it through the
night without doing something stupid. He watched a man enter the mens
room down the hall and made a decision.
Swiftly he entered the room. The gentleman was washing his hands. Nick
checked the room for others and pushed out with his heartbeat. Within
minutes Nick had a jacket and shirt. He stepped into the nearest room
and checked for blood. The thought of human blood excited him and he
berated himself for the feeling, but he knew under the circumstances
there was no alternative. Several rooms later he found a fresh unit
just hung for a patient. He drained it and pressed the call button for
the nurse, leaving just enough in the bag to keep air from running
through the lines before the nurse got there. It took him a good 10
minutes to find enough food to expedite the healing of his body and
satiate the beast before he lost control. He returned to the emergency
room to wait for word and give them all the information on Nat.
Nick paced back and forth for over 30 minutes waiting. His wounds were
almost completely healed and he needed to feed, but he wasn't going
anywhere until he knew Natalie was okay. The doctor appeared at the
door moments later.
"Detective Knight?" She questioned.
"Yes?" Nick tried to analyze her facial expression, but was lost.
"Dr. Lambert will be all right. Apparently the bullet went through
something else before it hit her. It was really only a flesh wound.
The drug he gave her was a knock-out drug used by a good number of the
street people. It's cheap to come by and easy to deliver. Active in
under a minute and you are out like a light for a good half hour or
better. She regained consciousness in the ER and we had to sedate her
a little. She'll be a little groggy for awhile, but you should be able
to take her home in a couple of hours." The look of relief on the
Detective face was all the thanks she needed. This was what being a
doctor was all about to her....happy endings. She smiled and offered him
"Thanks, Doctor!.....Thanks A lot!" Nick sighed with relief and finally
smiled at her. "Can I see her now?"
"In about 15 minutes. We're going to put her in observation for a
couple of hours. You can stay with her there. One of the nurses will
come and get you."
Nick took a chair in the waiting room and started to relax. Nat was
going to be okay. A single tear escaped his eye as he sat staring out
the window alone as he waited.
A couple hours later, Schanke walked into the observation room. Nick sat
at Natalie's side holding her hand as his head rested on his forearm on
the bed. He was the picture of a man exhausted not gunshot. He had
talked to the doctor before entering the room and learned Natalie would
be released before morning if everything stayed the same....but he needed
answers before then.
Schanke walked up to the bed when Natalie opened her eyes and smiled.
"Hey, Schank?" She whispered softly.
"Hi, Nat!" Schanke stared at Nick briefly and then returned his eyes to
hers. "What's going on, Nat? Is Nick okay? He took a 38 slug through the
back, his eyes went weird, and then he flew....I really mean flew you out
of that club and here to the hospital.....and before you start asking me if
I've been drinking or try to convince me I'm nuts....I didn't imagine
it. I know what I saw." Schanke stared at Nick as he slowly raised his
head off the bed. His blue eyes locked with Schanke's as he concentrated on his
"You only saw me cover Natalie's body with mine, Schanke. The blood you
saw was Nat's on my shirt. I was stressed to the max and worried about
Natalie. I wouldn't wait for the paramedics. You couldn't stop me. I
ran out of the building carrying her to a passing car and we got in."
Nick pushed out with his hypnotic voice with each beat of his heart.
"Natalie's blood.....passing car......" Schanke repeated everything twice
before Nick released his hold.
Schanke shook his head as the fog cleared. "Wow! Nat you were really
lucky on that one. Good thing Nicky boy was there. I thought sure he
was dead when I saw the blood. At least I know why he freaked when he
saw it. If all that was yours then I wouldn't have waited for the
parmedics either. Captain wants you to come down to the precinct and
fill in the holes, Nick. For some reason I thought you were hurt too,
and when we couldn't find you.....man the precinct was going ape. I had
better call and tell them you're both going to be okay."
Schanke leaned over and kissed Nat on the cheek. "Be back to help the
blonde bomb here take you home. By the way, Nick, why didn't you tell
me you had done erotic sleaze in public before. That was some show you
two put on and believe me when I say it's going to cost you both biggggg time
to keep it quiet that you were both on that stage." Schanke tipped
a make believe hat with a knowing smile and disappeared out the door.
"Well, Nick Knight, that was an impressive bit of mind control. You
just think of that now or have you been contemplating the alternatives
that the Captain would find acceptable for the last couple of hours
while I slept?" She reached over and touched his worried face.
He grasped her hand next to his cheek, then turned it and kissed the
palm. Rising up slightly he leaned over and placed a soft kiss on her
lips and laid his forehead on hers. "I thought I lost you, Nat.
When you faded through our link, I thought somebody had put a stake in
my heart." He kissed her lips softly again and then met her eyes.
"I love you too, Nick." She smiled and brought his lips back to hers
with a gentle touch of her fingers, then released them. "I can't
promise never to do that again because I don't know what our future
holds,...... but I know I want to spend it with you.....and I think it's
time the 'Shadow Dancer' retired."
Nick ran both his hands into her hair and locked his blue eyes with
hers. "I will hold you to BOTH of those promises, Natalie Lambert!" He
pulled her lips back to his and let his mouth and body rekindle the fire that
burned within them both.