Chapter 2

Sam isn’t pleased that I’ve made a list of my own when he comes over after the girls leave.  He scoffs at all my choices, but rolls his eyes at Number Five.  “All the way at the end, Sook?  I would have thought he’d be Number One.”

“You don’t have the right to get all snippy over this.  It was your idea to begin with.  If you get a list, so do I.  Besides, it’s all really just fun and pretend, right?” I ask with a slight sneer.  He really does annoy me with his double standards sometimes.

“A list of celebrities you would theoretically sleep with is one thing; actively fantasizing about one of them when you’re fucking your actual boyfriend is another.  I know you do.”


I just smirk, too tipsy and tired to get into it with him.  We have to whole weekend to go over this before work on Monday.  I plan on using a great deal of tomorrow to recover from the hangover I’m sure to have after downing five of Kennedy’s strong-but-smooth margaritas.  Sliding past Sam, I make my way into the bedroom and change into my pajamas.  “You staying or going home?”

He decides to go home and leave me to my own devices, which is fine with me.  I love him, but damn if he doesn’t wear on my nerves sometimes.  He gives me a quick kiss and reminds me that we’re having dinner at the lake tomorrow evening.

Like I thought, I wake up queasy with a headache.  I knock back some Advil and take a cold bottle of water back to bed with me and bury me head under a pillow, waiting for the awfulness of the tequila-triple sec hangover to fade.  Finally, a little after noon, I start to feel more like a human and drag myself to the shower.

Weekends in the early spring around here are boring, but it’s what I’ve grown up with.  It gets lively around Easter when the first snowbirds and tourists start to arrive and is busy until mid-October when they all leave.  The lake is a great place to live, provided you can handle five months of nothing.

Sam decides to spend the night Saturday and we work together on my yard on Sunday, prepping my garden for the plants I want to put in in a few weeks and trying to mentally design the landscaping.  We retire in front of the TV and split the choices: Sam gets his ghost trackers, I get my HBO.

When I flip the channel anxiously at nine o’clock, Sam grimaces and heads to the kitchen to make a snack or… really do anything that will keep him from having to watch me watch the TV.  It’s a shame, because he actually likes the show, with the exception of the lead actor.

The series is about a Russian crime lord (nicknamed “The Vampire” because of his bloody trail of victims) and how he handles day to day life with his family, his businesses, and his moral code between the two.  The actress that plays his sister is the queen ice bitch discussed between the girls last night.  Sam rarely misses an episode, but he does leave the room if she’s not on screen.

After the shows, Sam heads back to his house as I live inconveniently far away from where he works.  As usual for Sunday nights, we kiss and snuggle a bit before he leaves.  I grab a magazine from the coffee table and head to bed, not really tired enough to go to sleep.  I just flip though, reading the little blurbs that interest me and looking at the pictures of the various stars.  I see that Eric Northman has signed on to film another movie while his show is on hiatus, per usual.  Since the show started getting ratings, his bankability as a star has been steadily on the rise for the past four or five years.

Flicking out my lights, I lay the magazine on my nightstand and turn over to go to sleep.  I get it while I can; when the tourists start coming, I will be on-call for weeks at a time.

I make it in and say a quick hello to Mr. Norris, my boss at the rental agency where I work.  We lease out houses and condos around the lake by the week and the month; I manage a third of them along with Holly and our friend Danielle that I graduated high school with.  After we all have our computers booted up, Mr. Norris calls us in for a meeting, which is definitely unusual.

“So ladies, we’ve been contracted by Ocella Pictures.  They are filming a movie on the lake this spring and summer and they want to rent houses for their leads and some smaller apartments and condos for the supporting cast.  Danielle, since you handle the smaller properties, start pulling some files for three and four bedrooms.  Sookie, I need you to find four houses: lakefront, luxurious, full-furnished, and lots of amenities.  You know what to look for.  Holly, you’ll help either of them if they need it; flip through some of your properties to see if any of them match the requirements as well.  The properties have to be available for three months, so no reservations on any of them.  Our commission off this is going to make the rest of this summer cake, girls.  Let me see what you can find by the end of the day.”

I’m really excited.  The spring and summer rentals are lucrative enough to get us by during the dry winter months, but this is even more than I can think of.  I’m lucky to rent out the high end houses for a week per month during the peak season and I’ll be getting commission on not one, but four for three whole months!  I rush back to my desk to pull the files I have on the big houses, hoping to find a few that don’t have anything reserved on it yet.

That’s the tricky part.  Some of these houses are rented for the following year at the check-out for the current year.  I massage my temples; the longer I look, the fewer options I seem to be able to find.  Danielle is having better luck because she has corporate apartments specifically for long term rentals under her management.  I sigh and call for Holly to bring over some of her files so we can hopefully find four unoccupied, luxury rental houses.

We eventually do finally find what we need – new houses that just signed with us that haven’t been on the books for rental yet.  At four o’clock, we head into Mr. Norris’s office and present him with our finds.  He approves and signs off on holding the houses for the three months.  I ask as we get ready to leave, “Do you know what movie they’re filming? Who’s going to be in it?”

He rolls his shoulders as he thinks.  “Something about a comedy.  A straight-laced psychiatrist being followed on vacation by one of his patients.  Bill Compton is rumored to be playing the loon, if what I’ve heard is right.  Umm… Felicia Miller is playing the doctor’s love interest… Thalia Moore is in the cast somewhere as a lead, but I’m not sure… the doctor…” he stops and smirks at me, “is being played by Eric Northman.”

It’s a very good thing breathing is an instinct.

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