Vlad slipped into the house just before dawn. He found Natasha sitting in their double coffin, drumming her fingers on the open lid.

“So where have you been all night?” she said.

“Don’t start. I was out with the boys.”

“Uh huh. And I suppose that’s just blood on your collar.”

“Natasha, I’m three hundred years old. You are not my mother.”

“No, I’m your wife, in case you’ve forgotten.”

“I invite you out, but no, you want to stay in, watching TV and reading romance novels. You behave like an old woman.”

“I behave like a grownup. Vlad, ever since this fad of romancing humans began, you’ve been impossible. You aren’t going to find Sookie Stackhouse out there, no matter how hard you try. Or Bella Cullen either. It’s fantasy. You come home at all hours and then you’re restless in the coffin because instead of drinking blood, you’ve been smooching your dinner.”

“I swear to you, I wasn’t hanging out with a human.”

“And this werewolf thing. Since when did vampires and werewolves become buds? It’s ludicrous. They’re animals.”

“Some of the local pack are a lot of fun.”

“And what’s this about a woman who’s a vampire/werewolf hybrid? How kinky is that?”

“Oh… well…”

“Saaayyy… No… Tell me you wouldn’t hook up with a wolf. The idea makes me bristle.”

“Bristling is good.”

“You can sleep under the couch tonight, Mister. It’s just a matter of time before they pick you up hanging around the dog pound.”

Natasha lay back and pulled down the double lid with a slam.