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mixing business with pleasure

Raina comes to Jean-Claude with a business proposition.  (Takes place after "The Lunatic Cafe."
Rated PG-13
Disclaimer:  The Anitaverse belongs to author Laurell K. Hamilton.  No profit will be made from this, I guarantee it.


It didn't matter that he was now the Master of the City.  Jean-Claude still had businesses to oversee and he would do what he needed to keep them running smoothly. 
Helping the staff at Guilty Pleasures cover employee break times might seem beneath someone of his present status, but Jean-Claude didn't mind a few menial tasks now and then. He actually enjoyed watching the front door. It got him out of the office and gave him a chance to take in a little
fresh air, observe the thrumming weekend street life, and interact more intimately with his club's patrons as they tentatively passed him to make their way inside.

He had been watching a couple across the street--the way they looked at one another and held hands as they walked by--but something made him suddenly turn from them. It was an awareness of sorts, as if his senses had been tuned to her proximity.

He spied Anita a block away, heading for a car parked on one of the side streets, accompanied by a man Jean-Claude recognized as a detective from the Regional Preternatural Investigation Team.

Hoping she would turn around and look his way by the sheer force of his will, Jean-Claude fixed his eyes on her and watched as she walked around the car to the passenger side. She reached for the door handle, hesitated, and suddenly looked around, her hand already closing around her gun. She had it drawn in the blink of an eye, but casually reholstered it as her gaze fell upon Jean-Claude.

The corners of Jean-Claude's mouth turned up slowly in a smile. Always alert, ever ready, that was his little animator. He saw the tension in her body ease when she realized he was not coming towards her, but only standing at the nightclub's door. She did not offer him a smile in return or any other sign of pleasure at their unexpected exchange. But Jean-Claude anticipated that. The vampire took heart in the fact at least she did not glare at him with as much hostility as she used to.

Jean-Claude held her gaze, but whether it was by his power or her own freewill, he wasn't sure. Pursing his full lips, he covered them with hisfingertips and blew her a kiss.

Anita immediately dropped her eyes from his and frowned. She flung open the car door and climbed inside.

Jean-Claude sighed wistfully as he watched the car drive away. Sometimes he wished he had more power over her, or at the very least, he wished he were more appealing to her.

The master vampire turned back towards the door, sensing another presence directly behind him, and found himself face to face with the werewolf,Raina, Marcus' lupa.

In a sharp contrast to Anita, Raina offered Jean-Claude a seductive smile and slipped her arms around his neck, pressing herself up against him unabashedly. It didn't surprise Jean-Claude, he knew Raina's nature. Her idea of flirting was more like foreplay.

"When are you going to stop pining for her?" Raina whispered in his ear."She's never going to willingly join you. The word on the street is she despises you."

Jean-Claude shook his head slowly, letting the werewolf's hands slither brazenly over his body, taking comfort in the fact some women still found him appealing.

"She does not despise me," he argued quietly, keeping his tone purposefully passive. Raina grinned. "Okay...so she just doesn't like you very much," she continued, burying her face in the vampire's thick hair. She started nibbling on the curve of his ear, sending tiny tremors down the length
of his body.

"I have not given her very many reasons to like me," Jean-Claude admitted thoughtfully. "She is strong-willed and independent, but she will come tome in time." He paused and looked down the street to where he had last seen Anita before she got in the car with the detective. "I know she desires
me," he added, reaching up to take hold of Raina's shoulders.

"All women desire you," the werewolf whispered back. "We can't help ourselves."

Raina's compliment made Jean-Claude smile. He faced her and nuzzled her cheek, deeply inhaling the heady musky scent of her skin mingled with traces of perfume. How easy it would be to lose himself for an hour or two with this wolf. He knew he need only ask. Raina would readily comply. Whenever
she was near him, she went out of her way to let him know just how willing she was, despite her bond with Marcus.

"And do you desire me, Raina?" he murmured against her skin. He slipped hisarms around her back, holding her to him. Her body was incredibly warm.Feeling the soft curves of her flesh pressed against him was an intoxicating sensation.

Raina laughed lightly. "If you have to ask that, Jean-Claude," she chided,"you haven't been paying attention."

Jean-Claude sighed softly. "Is that why you are here? In pursuit of a little extracurricular activity?"

At that, the werewolf's hands stilled and she blinked back at the vampire in surprise, obviously not expecting him to have asked such a thing.

"I'm always looking for action," she admitted. "But actually I came here because I have a business proposition for you. I wanted to find out how receptive you'd be to the idea." She smiled then, and gestured at the entrance to the club. "Can we talk about it inside?"

Intrigued, Jean-Claude studied Raina's expression, waiting for her toelaborate. She only locked her eyes on his and twirled her fingers around a strand of his hair.

"So you are here on business, cherie? Not pleasure?" the vampire prodded."What a pity." He looked away from her and pretended to pout. "I thought you had come to keep me company tonight."

Raina leaned forward. "My business is pleasure," she breathed into his ear. "That's why I would really rather discuss it inside...in the privacy of your office."

Jean-Claude faced Raina again and smiled slowly, catching her innuendo.Just as he opened his mouth to reply, his doorman emerged from the clubhaving finished his break, relieving the master vampire of his
temporary post.

"Then let us retire to the privacy of my office," Jean-Claude murmured,stressing the word 'privacy'. He released Raina and jogged up the steps, not bothering to acknowledge his employee. He merely continued on through the door, certain Raina was following him, and moved swiftly through the club, back to the seclusion of his office.

Raina glided in after him and Jean-Claude closed the door behind her. As he turned to face her, the lupa threw herself against him with such force, she slammed him into the door. Her mouth covered his in a smothering embrace,as her hands pried his shirt completely open. Pinning him there with the weight of her body, she rubbed her hips provocatively over his.

It took Jean-Claude a couple of heartbeats to recover from his surprise enough to succumb to her passion. Indulgently acknowledging his arousal, he placed his hands on her slim waist and drew her tightly against him, kissing her back. Raina groaned and writhed against him, dragging her long
tapered nails across the span of his bare chest.

Jean-Claude groaned in reply. He slid his lips over her chin and down her throat, pausing to lick the thin skin over her pulse. Her heart was pounding and the vampire could smell the hot sweetness of her blood. Baring his fangs, he touched the tips to her neck, but Raina reached up and took his chin in her hand and turned his head away from her throat.

She covered his mouth with a quick, placating kiss. "That wasn't exactly the hunger I had in mind to satisfy in you tonight," she whispered against his lips, then delved her tongue into his mouth and kissed him more deeply.

Her prolonged kiss left the vampire gasping for air. He bowed his head and passed his tongue over his tender lips. "Forgive me. I get a little single-minded at times," he apologized.

The lupa released a long, drawn-out sigh. "Don't sweat it. You'll be perfect, Jean-Claude. Perfect."

"Perfect for what, my lovely wolf?" Jean-Claude whispered, raising his head.

Raina laughed lightly. "For my new business." She seized his head in her hands and kissed him again.

"You mentioned a... proposition?" the vampire asked breathlessly, before pressing his lips into hers for another passionate kiss. Her kisses were addictive.

Did he really want to talk business when parts of his body were screaming at him, pleading with him, to surrender to this woman? Perhaps if they could just get the business part of the evening over with, and then they would be free to concentrate on other, more intimate matters, he thought.

"Yes," Raina exhaled a few moments later, yanking Jean-Claude's shirt off his right shoulder. The lupa bent forward and nibbled on his skin as herhand slid between his legs. She squeezed him firmly, rubbing him with her wrist.

Jean-Claude thrust his hands into her long hair, leaning his head back against the door and closing his eyes. Lapsing into a sensual stupor, he moaned appreciatively and kneaded her scalp with his fingertips.

Dragging her mouth over his chest, Raina bent lower to flick his exposed nipple with the tip of her tongue, then covered it with her mouth, sucking on it fervently.

Then Jean-Claude felt the edge of her teeth against his skin. Before he realized what she was doing, she bit down on him, hard. It caught him off guard, making his reaction to the sharp, sudden pain, all the more volatile.

The vampire jerked away from her. He grabbed a fistful of her hair and snapped her head back, forcing her to look up at him.

"Do not try to dine on me and I promise not to dine on you," he murmured breathily with just a hint of warning in his voice.

Raina flashed a lecherous smile. "Just a little priming, lover, to get you in the mood," she half-growled, lowering her head to his chest once more. He tensed slightly at the touch of her lips on his skin, but Raina
soothingly stroked the inside of his thigh until he relaxed again, then she traced his scar wetly with her tongue and kissed the center of his chest.

The vampire took a deep, ragged breath as her hand settled back between his legs, his mind centering on the weight and heat of her palm pressing against him as she continued to caress him. "So...what can I do for you, ma cherie?"he asked tonelessly, lulled back into a languid daze by her sensual ministrations.

"Oh, what couldn't you do for me, Jean-Claude?" she replied finally,straightening. "Let's sit, shall we?" She wrapped her arm around the back of the vampire's neck and drew him away from the door, leading him towards the large white sofa in the middle of the room.

Slightly stunned by the werewolf's sudden down-to-business demeanor,Jean-Claude went with her, leery, aroused, and curious at the same time.

Raina urged him down on the sofa beside her and offered him a sly smile."Gabriel and I have recently started our own little enterprise," she toldthe vampire, leaning forward to teasingly brush his lips with hers."There's a huge market out there for it. We believe it will turn a profit within a month of its launch."

Now that Raina had finally begun talking business, Jean-Claude found hewasn't ready to shift down into that gear yet. Still under the influence of what she had done to him at the door, he grasped her head in his hands and pulled her to him for a more thorough kiss.

She was so beautiful, so sexy, and so utterly ripe for the taking. Business was the last thing he wanted to discuss right now. He positioned himself over her and passed his hand up her thigh and under the short leather skirt she wore. It was immediately apparent to him that she wasn't wearing anything underneath that skirt. Distracted now, several minutes passed before he replied to Raina's statement.

"Ah. Congratulations on your endeavor," he muttered, urging her to lie backin the cushions as he moved to unfasten the top button of his jeans.

"Yes, I'm excited," Raina responded enthusiastically.

Jean-Claude smiled at her double entendre. "So am I," he whispered slyly. She must need financial backing, he thought to himself. She was probably here to negotiate a sum. He sighed heavily.

If they were going to discuss business, he needed to cease what he was doing and start thinking more clearly. Empires had been surrendered in the throes of passion. He had to be careful. He wondered why he was tormenting himself with her like this, but it didn't stop him from unbuttoning her blouse. She wasn't wearing anything underneath that either.

Gazing at her with a smoldering expression, the vampire trailed his handsover her shoulders and down to her breasts, raising gooseflesh on her heatedskin from the coolness of his fingers. He touched her nipples lightly,brushing them with his fingertips until they stood taunt and erect againsthis palms.

"You are beautiful," he sighed and bent to kiss her.

The werewolf abruptly shifted her position beneath Jean-Claude, stretching out completely and drawing her legs up and around the vampire's hips.

"Then fuck me," she growled, her eyes darkening with need. She reached upand embedded her nails in his sides, pulling him down on top of her. She kissed him aggressively and with such reckless force, she split his upper lip.

The vampire retaliated with an equally punishing kiss, piercing her tongue with his fangs and clamping his teeth down on it relentlessly until she finally cried out and released him. Blood trickled out of the corner
of Raina's mouth and she swallowed convulsively and grinned. Jean-Claude touched the back of his hand to his bruised and bleeding lip and frowned.They both stared inquiringly at each other, breathing erratically.

"Must we play so rough?" Jean-Claude admonished the lupa, leaning as faraway from her as he could. He glanced at the wounds on his side, feeling blood welling up from them too.

"But I like it rough. It's not like we are actually going to hurt each other," Raina replied quietly. She reached up and stroked the side of his face.

Jean-Claude sighed. "I do not mind a little pain, my wolf," he admitted."But tonight I am simply not in that frame of mind." He didn't want to hurt her and he didn't want to be hurt, but it was becoming obvious he had chosen the wrong lover to exchange tenderness with. He took her hand in his and kissed it softly. "There is just as much pleasure to be had in a caress as light as a feather or a breath of a kiss or a rhythm so languid and sensual it touches every fiber of your body." He leaned down and brushed his lipsover hers. "Let me show you this."

Raina only sighed and pouted. "Oh all right. I promise I'll try to behave from now on. I keep forgetting you're into those coy, self-righteous,virginal types now." She grinned wickedly. "...Goes by the name of
Blake and has a penchant for breaking vampires' hearts with big wooden sticks."

Jean-Claude flashed his fangs at the werewolf beneath him. "Let's leave Anita out of this unless you truly want me to punish you."

Now Raina laughed and slid her hands around Jean-Claude's waist to press him closer against her. "Now that's tempting," she rumbled seductively. "Very,very tempting. But let me have a sampling of your expertise first. Be gentle with me if that's what you want. God, you're so perfect for this."

Jean-Claude peered down at her cautiously. "You keep saying that. Perfect for what?" Settling himself on top of the werewolf, Jean-Claude propped his torso up on his elbows on either side of her shoulders, freeing his hands to stroke the hair back from her face. He kissed her cheeks and eyes, running his fingertips over her brow.

"Our films," Raina replied, slipping her hands under his shirt to caress his punctured sides.

"Films?" His hands stilled momentarily as his mind digested this odd bit of information.

"Yes," she acknowledged, wedging her hands between their bodies. Her fingers worked determinedly on the remaining buttons down the front of his pants. "Gabriel and I are going to make porno films."

Jean-Claude started to laugh before she could continue. He leaned away from her and studied her expression closely.

"Pornography. Why am I not surprised?" he teased, but then it hit him.Raina wanted him for her films. In a twisted sort of way, it was flattering, but nothing, absolutely nothing, could make him engage in
sexual relations for the entertainment of others.

The last remnants of the master vampire's libido completely evaporated with the thought, but that was fine with him. He abruptly realized he had had enough of the lupa tonight anyway. Jean-Claude wondered what rejecting Raina at this point would provoke from her. The lupa was powerful...and a
tempest when angered. He could not afford to offend her outright.

He felt the werewolf rub the back of his thigh with her heel seductively, but it only made him tense. He closed his eyes and cursed himself. Playing with Raina was like playing with fire. Even a small flame too often got out of hand. Fanning the flames the way he had been would only make the fire grow, and soon the fire would be raging out of his control. He hated being out of control.

Raina had managed to completely unbutton his jeans and peeled one side back to expose his hip. She slid her hand audaciously beneath the black denim.

"What do you think? Sound fun?"

Jean-Claude forced himself to smile. He shrugged gracefully, running his hand down her arm. "Pornography is...not exactly my style, cherie." Hegrasped her wrist and gently pulled her hand free of his clothing, but then laced his fingers through hers and brushed her knuckles with his lips to placate her.

"Our films are going to be different," she went on enthusiastically. "Ours are going to feature preternatural sex. Lots of graphic S&M, bondage, maybe a rape or two. We're going to feed the public's morbid fascination while we feed their lusts. I want you and I to be the first to satisfy them. I want us to bleed each other while we fuck each other on film."

Something else suddenly occurred to Jean-Claude. "You came here tonight to 'try me out'," he stated, his voice soft and low. "Didn't you?"

Raina smiled wickedly. "Well, what better way to find out how compatible we would be?" she confessed. Her smile widened. "Then, you do have quite the reputation, Jean-Claude. I wanted to see for myself if all those delicious rumors about you were true. I know you must enjoy pain as much as I enjoy causing it to have endured the sorts of things you have through the years."With that, she savagely raked her nails across his lower back and stared up at him, carefully noting his reaction to the pain she inflicted on him.

The vampire inhaled a short, quick breath then released it slowly. He looked back at the werewolf passively, refusing to give her what she wanted.

Raina frowned. "Don't try to deny what you're feeling," she continued."Let yourself go." She passed her hands languidly over the welts she had raised as if trying to soothe away his pain now. "I want real passion in my films as much as I want real powers and real pain. Just think how pretty your dark red blood will look on film slowly trickling over your beautiful white skin." She moaned softly. "I get wet just thinking about it." She drew Jean-Claude back down to her for a soft, lingering kiss.

Her kiss was sultry and sensual, but Jean-Claude could not bring himself to kiss her back. The master vampire slowly pulled away from her and sat up."And have I passed your test?" he questioned her, his voice deep and slightly melancholy. "Have I lived up to the rumors you have heard?"

Staring up at him through narrowed eyes, Raina nodded slowly. "From what you've shown me so far."

Jean-Claude looked down at her and sighed heavily. Raina was a very beautiful woman but the master vampire knew he cared nothing for her beyond that, and at this point, even the physical attraction he felt towards her was beginning to wane. How different tonight would have been had they actually had feelings for each other. What a difference the presence of those feelings made to sex. Making love was so much sweeter than...'fucking'.

Thoughts of Anita wafted unbidden through his mind. She wanted him and he wanted her, yet they had never been intimate with each other. Lust was not enough to bring Anita to him. She needed to feel something more substantial before giving herself to someone. And in that moment, Jean-Claude
desired that 'substantial something' above anything else. He realized he did notcare to have sex anymore without it.

Apparently feeling neglected, Raina whined and reached out to him encouragingly. "I'd like you to show me more. If you're willing, we could always do a little rehearsing...."

Slightly ashamed of himself, Jean-Claude slowly shook his head. "Perhaps I've been a little too willing," he stated flatly. Thankfully, he and Raina hadn't actually engaged in anything significant tonight, yet he still felt as if he had betrayed the feelings he harbored for Anita.

The vampire rose off the couch and stood with his back to the lupa as he righted his disheveled clothes. If he was ever going to win Anita's affection, he needed to start earning it and he would never earn it if
he wantonly slept with every woman he desired. Jean-Claude frowned. It mattered to him because he knew if he continued on the way he had been, Anita would never believe what he felt for her was real.

The last thing he needed right now was to give Anita something else about him she found distasteful. He knew presently, the things she disliked about him grossly outnumbered what she liked. That was another reason for him not to agree to appear in Raina's films. If Anita ever discovered he had starred in a sadomasochistic porn film with a female werewolf, Anita would be truly repulsed.

Clinging to the hope he would eventually win her over in time, made him all the more determined to stay celibate for her. He knew when Anita finally did give in to him, it would make their coupling more meaningful for both of them. Far beyond anything Raina or anyone else had to offer him. Yes.
Hewould wait for Anita. He would exist solely on the anticipation of the time when her heart became his and she would come to him willingly.

Raina was obviously becoming uncomfortable with the vampire's prolonged silence. She sat up and took Jean-Claude's hand in hers, turning him backaround to face her.

"Say yes, Jean-Claude. Gabriel and I already have a studio set up," she continued. "I've already procured several of my wolves as actors. Gabrielis giving me some of his leopards. But for our first film, we need
someone special. Someone that will pique the public's interest." She paused and brought his hand to her lips and kissed it. "That's where you come in. Nothing is more intriguing than a vampire; the tourism in this city is proofof that. You're sexy as hell, and above all, you're...experienced in the sort of things I want in my films."

Jean-Claude struggled to frame a tactful response. "As truly flattered as I am by your generous offer of starring in a porn film with you, and as scintillating as the idea of this sounds, my wolf, I am afraid I must
decline. My mystery is what many find...intriguing about me. If I give away my secrets to the cameras, where would that leave me?"

Raina released the vampire's hand with an exasperated sigh and stood up."All right, Jean-Claude, let's cut the bullshit. What is it going to take to get you in my film? You can have a cut in the profits, if you like.
After you do me, you can fuck whoever you want for the cameras. You can do whatever the hell you want with your partners too--drain them dry for all Icare, just as long as you let me film it."

"No," the vampire said firmly.

Raina slipped her hand around his waist and down over his buttocks, tracingthe seam of his jeans. "C'mon. You know you want to."

His patience wearing thin, Jean-Claude leaned close to her, his lips hovering over hers as he spoke. "That is where you are wrong. I do not want to, and the beauty of being my own master is that I do not have to if I do not want to. No one can make me now." He turned away from her then and stalked over to the door. "If you have no further business to discuss with me, then I bid you good-night, Raina."

The lupa placed her hands on her hips and stared at the vampire for a longtime before finally shaking her head and swearing under her breath. She hastily re-buttoned her blouse and smoothed out her skirt.

"After all the support Marcus and I have given you since you've become Master of the City, I would have thought you would feel a little more obligated," she stated coolly, striding towards the door. "I'm not
giving up you know. I want you and eventually I will get you, one way or another.Don't make me bring Marcus in on this, Jean-Claude. You need our backing tohold this city and you know it." She stood before him and smiled smugly.

Jean-Claude gazed back at the werewolf, his face a mask of nonchalance, but his eyes held just a spark of indignation. "Granted, I presently need your backing to hold this city, but you forget, you need my backing as well. I am keenly aware of the tentative grasp Marcus currently has on his throne. Should the young wolf, Richard Zeeman decide to challenge Marcus, he would pose a serious threat to your reign."

Raina's smile slowly dissolved into a snarl. "Richard Zeeman is no threat to us. He isn't powerful enough. He doesn't stand a chance."

Jean-Claude's smile was more genuine. "Richard and I have become fairly close as of late. I know him. I know his heart. He is more powerful than you realize. And any power he may lack, I can supply. If he wants Marcus' throne, he shall have it. I will see that he does." He leaned towards her and shook his head. "Do not threaten me again, ma cherie. You will only regret it in the end."

The lupa closed her eyes tightly and clenched her fists at her sides. "Damnit, Jean-Claude. Let's not get into a war over this. We can work something out. One film, that's all I'm asking."

Not bothering to reply, Jean-Claude merely opened the door and held it forher. Resigned, Raina started to leave, but paused and looked him ove rslowly, her demeanor changing, her expression softening.

"I know we would be excellent together. We would scorch the screen." She reached up and placed her hand over the cross-shaped scar on his chest."Think about it, okay?" she entreated quietly.

Sighing, Jean-Claude nodded. "Very well. I shall think about it." He knew he wouldn't, but if it would get her to leave he'd agree to anything.

Raina's face immediately brightened. She smiled and stole a kiss before slipping out the door.

Jean-Claude closed it firmly behind her and leaned against it. He waited several minutes before opening it again and pivoting into the hall. He was going back to the Circus of the Damned. He wanted to be alone for the rest of the night to think things over. Not Raina's films, but other, more important things.

He also had the sudden urge to take a long, hot shower.



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