‘New Vampire Online’

Chapter One FREE Preview

Months have passed since Cate the Vampire met Conrad, another vampire in New Vampire in Town.  Her tale continues in this free preview from New Vampire Online. (This story is a standalone.)

Cate the young vampire

Cate the young vampire

Chapter One 

Click.  There.  It’s done.  This week’s advice post for my website, Howtolooklikeamoviestar.com, is live.

A few months ago when we were brainstorming ideas for a website, Conrad suggested that I do individual consulting, one-to-one, using Skype, in addition to selling high-end make-up on the site.  He told me I should charge $550 per consultation.

“$550?”  I know he saw a look of absolute disbelief on my face. “No one will pay $550 for online beauty advice, even from a make-up professional with my credentials.  Besides, no one looks good on Skype—and the best make-up in the world won’t change that.”

He answered that the only way to find out is to test it.  I told him I’d test it later and, as far as I am concerned, ‘later’ is never going to happen.  After all, it is my website.  He may have helped set it up, but the website address is registered in my name.  I own it free and clear.  I am now an online capitalist entrepreneur which in today’s digital-obsessed world is a much more impressive title than Hollywood make-up artist.

In my new career as an entrepreneur I sell a line of private label make-up and skin care products which I’ve named “Catalina di Lusso”—that’s my name plus “luxury” in Italian.  Instead of one-to-one consultations, I post answers to questions that come from my customers.  And do the questions ever flood in!  It’s been a steady stream of emails from one young woman after another—from Miami, from Buenos Aires, from Berlin, from L.A.  (I don’t have distribution in Asia yet.) Almost all of them want to learn how to look like some pop-starlet-of-the-moment.  Quite often I have to dig through celebrity magazines online to find out what Miss Pop Starlet looks like, particularly ones in Europe and South America.  After that I have to figure out what recommendations to make based on a paparazzo’s crummy photos.  It is très challenging!

What ever happened to wanting to look like the classics like Rita Hayworth or Marilyn Monroe?  Or the most gorgeous of them all—Elizabeth Taylor?

Those are just three of the fifteen screen beauties whose faces are on my site.  Beside each one is a list of the cosmetics on the face. Yes, I admit the digital artist and I had to do a little subtle color balancing to get the faces to match my Catalina di Lusso make-up, but not one movie star photo looks as if it has been Photoshopped.

It took weeks and weeks to put together all the bits and pieces for the site, and finally ‘Launch Day’ came.  I was so nervous I couldn’t drink a thing.  (I live on a liquid diet these days.) I almost collapsed with relief when Howtolooklikeamoviestar.com went live and real sales began on day one. Even Conrad was impressed. And my advice posts are among the most visited pages.

Of course, there is no doubt that I am absolutely, positively qualified to give this advice.  I’m a second-generation make-up artist.  My Mom has done make-up on a soap opera for over 30 years and I learned a lot from her. After high school, I spent a year at art school, but decided against becoming an artist—except on the faces of attractive actors and actresses.  Based on a recommendation from Mom, I managed to land a job doing make-up on another soap.  I also did make-up on a couple of important indie films—one won an award at a Canadian film festival.  But that career is behind me. The hours are all wrong for me now.

While the $550 consultation idea was not right for me, I still think Conrad is so smart and full of good ideas.  He is also a sexy-as-sin Cuban-American—well, mostly, American from Florida.  The Cuban grandmother part shows up in his pale café au lait skin, his silky dark brown hair, and his love of dancing, especially Latin dances.

He also helped work out the deals with the companies that supply the products I sell on the site so I don’t have to maintain an inventory or hire people to handle shipping.  Even better, because there are no returns allowed for cosmetics, I don’t need a big customer service staff.  Best of all, most of these companies are owned by night people like me and Conrad.  Well, vampires like me and Conrad.

Yes, yes.  I know it sounds odd for a vampire to be giving beauty advice on the internet, but online enterprises are really becoming the businesses of choice for working vampires these days.  The reason is obvious: there is no night or day online.  So while I am asleep during daylight hours, women around the world are examining their faces closely in mirrors and deciding to change their appearances.  Some rush out to a nearby beauty supply store and buy new colors of the same old products and—no surprise here—end up with pretty much the same old look.

Many of them, though, search online for new solutions and thousands have found Howtolooklikeamoviestar.com.   Not only can they buy a full range of make-up and skin care products on the site, they can learn how to apply Catalina di Lusso cosmetics properly by following the detailed instructional videos showing me applying make-up to human models.

My videographer, Rob, a local Vegas vampire, made sure that I look absolutely human in the videos.  No hint of my fangs shows in any of them.  What a sweetheart he is.  I gave him a plastic bag of blood from the blood bank as a bonus ‘Thank You’ for doing such a good job.   In truth, I didn’t want him to be tempted to have one of the human models for dinner.  I could tell he was positively drooling over one of the blondes.  He is so boyishly good looking with his curly brown hair and twinkly eyes that he could have lured her into his arms—and fangs—with a wink and a smile.  It wouldn’t help the Catalina di Lusso corporate image at all if one of the models was found dead and drained out in the desert somewhere.

The bottom line is that I now have a very nice income.  Conrad’s excellent advice has definitely paid off.

Not that he is perfect.  He doesn’t always seem to be on speaking terms with Truth and obviously has spent a lot of time in the company of Trouble.  Then there is the fact that he is very protective.  Almost too protective.

These days, though, sexy and smart outweigh everything else.  I live with him in his spectacular mid-century modern home in Las Vegas.  My RV, now fully restored, is parked out back in the service area in case I decide to leave.  Not that leaving is on my mind right now, but you never know what the future might bring.

I look up from my laptop and gaze out over the shimmering blue swimming pool in the still Nevada night.  The garden surrounding the pool looks so green and tropical, like the Caribbean or the south of Mexico.  There is nothing like running a successful company wearing a blue striped bikini (my corporate blue color!) while seated beside a big pool in a private paradise.  It is a little cooler tonight—cooler than it has been since I arrived here last summer.  Fall must be on the way, so my CEO-in-a-bikini days may soon be over for this year.

I hear footsteps behind me and smile as a hand drifts softly across the nape of my neck and settles lightly on my bare shoulder.  I glance down at it and my eyes pop wide open when I see boney fingers on a ghostly white hand.  Not Conrad!  I shriek, leap up and spin around, almost dropping my laptop in the pool.

“Conrad,” I call out in a squeaky voice toward the open doors at the back of the house. “You have company.”

On the terrace in front of me stands a zombie with a big, ghastly smile on his face.  At least he looks like a zombie.  He is over six feet tall with lank, dishwater blond hair falling over one eye.  His other eye has a smudgy black circle under it.  His skin is almost greenish white, his narrow lips look like he’s wearing Maybelline’s On Fire Red.  His baggy tuxedo is a faded rusty black.

“Oh vhat a sveet morsel you are,” he whispers, leaning so close to me that I can smell his minty breath.  “Darlink, you look good enough to eat.”

My mind is racing: he can’t be a zombie.  Zombies don’t exist. All the so-called zombies tested by scientists have ended up being nothing more than ordinary humans who have eaten a narcotic plant or a bad batch of a designer drug. Vampires are real, but walking-around-dead zombies are not.

Before I can call out to Conrad again, he comes out of the house wearing blue jeans and a pale blue t-shirt.

“Hey, Evgeny,” he says as he saunters, barefooted, across the terrace and slides his arm around my shoulders.  “Why don’t you call before you show up?”

The tall creature ignores the question and continues smiling at me.  I am definitely sensing that he sees me as food.  It is très unsettling.

* * *

New Vampire Online ebook cover

New Vampire Online

New Vampire Online is available on Kindle. (And it’s free for Kindle Unlimited sunbscribers.)