It was a rare quiet night at the Compton house. He had a monthly conference call with the Authority to join in at two, but his other major call of the night had been rescheduled. He had two hours to himself before he absolutely had to do anything. And he planned to enjoy it.

A nice book, a glass of blood. Silence. It was bliss.

And it lasted all of twenty minutes.

“Sire?”

He sighed as he grabbed the receipt-come-bookmark. His guards knew not to bother him without reason.

“Yes, Mark?”

“There is a Mr. Harris at the gate seeking a meeting with you.”

He was mildly intrigued. “Brett? Brent? Some kind of name like that?”

“Yes, sir.”

“He’s the owner of our defective donor service.” He looked at his calendar and sure enough, the meeting was on there. He must have forgotten to set the reminder, probably because this meeting was low priority for him. The owner’d already been cleared of involvement in the plot. So much for his open schedule. “Take the usual precautions and let him in.”

“Understood.”

That gave him enough time to at least finish the chapter he’d been reading.

“Your Majesty,” the human said with a deep bow.

“Mr. Harris,” he said as he slammed the book shut. “It’s nice putting a face to a name.”

“Thank you for agreeing to discuss this. I greatly appreciate the honor you have shown me by allowing us to operate in your Kingdom and I wanted be sure that you were aware that I am doing everything in my power to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”

“I am glad to hear that. I would hate to hear that an unsafe purveyor was operating in my Kingdom. Though you do understand my trust has been shattered.” He picked his drink up and took a sip. “Which, of course, makes me wonder whether I should have your permit renewed when it comes up again.”

A fine band of sweat broke out on the human’s forehead. Even though the owner was not a vampire, it still catered to his subjects, and therefore, they still played by his rules. The human authorities didn’t seem to mind as long as they got their own share of taxes and other fees.

“Of course you are concerned about the welfare of your citizens. I am hoping that I can alleviate those concerns.”

Bill watched as the man slid an envelope towards him. It was slim. For a bribe, he would have expected cash. But he didn’t find a check inside.

It was a contract.

It was his contract.

Only better.

Before he got 20.

This new contract, he would get 25%

Smart human.

“30%.”

The man swallowed thickly, but finally nodded.

Bill amended the contract once more and the human added his initials.

“I have full faith that you will continue to serve Louisiana faithfully. I would suggest that you screen your donors better going forward. I will not be so forgiving should I hear any other incidents of this nature again. Understood?”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

He offered his hand and the human shook it.

“A good night to you, then.”

A nod and a bow and the human was gone.

Bill picked his book up once more. If only all of his interruptions could be so profitable.

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