Nightfall (Blood Magic #1) by L.H. Cosway

1.



“I’m the one who eats actual food here, so I know what I’m talking about.”

“Well, I might not eat, but I know for a fact that you don’t put chorizo in paella. I was once invited to dinner at Salvador Dalí’s house in Figueres. Paella was served, and I remember a distinct lack of the spiced sausage.”

I might not eat?

Salvador Dali?

Who the hell were these oddballs?

I was at work, mindlessly sticking price tags on tins of baked beans, when I overheard the oddest conversation. It wasn’t way out of the ordinary for me to see or hear weird crap when working the night shift at Hagan’s 24-hour grocery. I was kind of desensitised after witnessing one woman crack open a box of tampons before pulling down her pants in the middle of the aisle and, well, you know the rest.

People could be really disgusting sometimes.

I leaned closer to the shelves and strained my ears to listen.

“Hey, if she wants to put chorizo in the dish, then let her,” another voice said. This one male. “What difference does it make? I’d like to get out of here sometime in the next century.”

“Ugh, fine,” the woman groaned. “I’ll pass on the chorizo. I can’t believe I gave Ethan the opportunity to name drop. I’ll never learn.”

“When you’ve been alive as long as I have, you meet a few historical figures along the way,” the first man, Ethan, said casually.

I furrowed my brow. These three were definitely on drugs. The Yellowbranch Forest, just outside the city limits, was famous for its psilocybin. I shook my head, chuckling to myself, as I refocused on pricing tins. Head down, I continued to listen to their bizarre conversation when I heard them come my way.

“Did you ever cross paths with Da Vinci?” the second man asked. “I heard he was partial to handsome young gentlemen like you.”

“He was sadly before my time, but unlike some, dear Lucas, I’ve never felt myself swayed by the same sex.” A pause. “Actually, I tell a lie. I did once consider letting Bosie go down on me. He was terribly pretty and very persuasive.”

I arched an eyebrow. Maybe they were role-playing, or practicing lines for a TV show. Chancing a quick peek, I spotted a red-haired woman, a tall, blond man, and a dark-haired guy idling by the jarred sauces. Hmm, they were definitely attractive enough to be actors.

“I’m sure you only considered it,” the dark-haired man scoffed. “I’ve never known you to turn down oral pleasure.”

“I do have some restraint,” the blond man shot back before going markedly silent. His nostrils flared like he was sampling the air. It reminded me of my dad’s Pitbull, Bruiser, and how he used to stand by the back door, sniffing the air before he decided to go outside.

A moment later the blond man’s eyes met mine, and I gasped, dropping the tin of beans I’d been holding. Were his eyes gold? Acting on instinct, I bent to pick up the tin but found he’d gotten there before me. He was fast. He lifted the tin and handed it to me. “Here you go.” His eyes drifted down to the name tag on my uniform. “Tegan.”

“Thanks,” I whispered, blinking rapidly. Up close he was even more attractive. I’d go as far as to say he was beautiful.

“She smells unusual, doesn’t she?” the red-haired woman commented, tilting her head as she took me in.

“Yes, rather unusual indeed,” the blond man agreed. I noticed a slightly Eastern European lilt in his accent.

His curious eyes wandered over me, and for a second, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. The tiny hairs on my arms stood on end and some weird part of my brain yelled that I should get away from him fast.

Then, the glass sliding doors at the entrance of the store opened and a voice shouted, “I have a weapon. Come out here and open the till NOW!”

The blond man raised an eyebrow, muttering blandly, “That is quite the threat.”

“Quite,” I agreed as my stomach turned over in fear. It was just my luck that someone decided to rob the place when I was the only one on shift. Again. This was why I hated working at night. The dark brought out all the crazies. I’d also left my phone in my locker at the back of the store.

“Excuse me,” I said to Mr Blond and Beautiful as I stood and went to confront the piece of shit who just threatened me. The first time this happened, I froze and the thief got away with all the money from the register, as well as what was in the safe. Mr Hagen said he’d fire me if I let the store get robbed again, and I couldn’t afford to lose this job right now.