A Tracker who can find anyone except the mate he’s
Benjamin Coulton is a tracker employed by the Consortium, the ruling counsel of vampires.
When he’s sent to investigate a rogue vampire killing indiscriminately in a remote region of
Alaska. Bad weather hampers his effort and he loses the vampire he’s been tasked to find.
Leon Davis and his friend Brian agreed to be winter caretakers for several cabins and a
fishing lodge, thinking it would be easy money. They settle into their daily routine of
checking the cabins for animal break-ins, or broken water pipes, and prepare for a long
Until a run in with a vampire changes everything. Ben finds a newly turned vampire left for
dead by the rogue vampire, and suddenly Ben’s mission changes course. In the freezing
wilderness of Alaska, he uncovers more truths and the mate he’d always longed for… and
now the killer vampire is tracking them.
MM Paranormal Romance.
Letting my senses guide me, I came upon a small grouping of cabins that surrounded a lake,
just like the sign promised. It was so far removed from where I’d turned off the main road
that I couldn’t believe there could be a human out here. But there was.
I was slammed from behind and tumbled toward the ground but managed to land on my
feet before spinning to face whatever had attacked me.
Before me crouched a vampire who appeared to have been feeding to the point of being
blood crazed. He had no control over his instincts at this point and was consumed with the
need to feed, and by the way he bared his teeth at me, he didn’t know any better than to try
to feed on me. His face was partially hidden from view by the hood of his jacket,
and what looked like a stocking hat pulled down low.
“Stand down, vampire, or I will end you.” I readied for his attack that I knew would come. He
was far past caring about consequences and believe me, there would be consequences.
He snarled and attacked; grabbing my hair and running up the trunk of a tree, he ripped my
head back. Twisting around, I tore myself from his grip and stood on his back as I pressed
him into the snow.
“Get off me or you will die.” He fought, even though he knew he would not win. The
madness that overtook him left him unreasonable to a point he would not be saved, and I
grunted as he heaved me off him and against a tree.
He was up in a flash charging at me again. “Must feed,” he screamed, his hands curled into
claws as he charged. I spun as he reached me and pulled the knife from my waistband.
Though it only left him off balance for a split-second, it was enough to give me the
advantage. When he attacked again, I spun the knife and plunged it into his heart. It wasn’t
enough to destroy him, but it would injure him.
He screamed in pain before running off into the woods. Fuck, why did it always have to be
About the Author
BL Maxwell grew up in a
small town listening to her grandfather spin tales about his childhood. Later she became an
avid reader and after a certain vampire series she became obsessed with fanfiction. She
soon discovered Slash fanfiction and later discovered the MM genre and was hooked.
Mongrel, a creature more wolf than man, leads a lonely life
on the fringes of pack society—until the night a handsome vampire shows up with a
Bowie—a vampire cursed to a life of endless
nights—maintains close ties with his human family. When young girls in their village go
missing, he must act quickly. But to find them, he’ll need to convince the local werewolf
pack to loan him their best tracker—a wolf known as the Mongrel.
Though he hates the slur, Andras is used to being called Mongrel. When Bowie refuses to refer to him by anything but his given name, Andras can’t
help a flicker of unexpected trust toward the stranger. He volunteers to help Bowie, risking
Can two tender-hearted men overcome their traumatic
pasts and work together to rescue the girls before it’s too late? Or will the world’s most
prolific killer snuff the flames of their passion along with the lives of her captives?
This steamy love story spans the country of Hungary
as Andras and Bowie journey through cities and wilderness on their quest to right a killer’s
wicked wrongs. Mongrel features a sweetly possessive werewolf, a cinnamon roll of a
vampire, and the worst serial killer in history. A surprisingly fluffy MM Paranormal/Historical
Romance considering the subject matter.
HEA guaranteed with loads of laughs along the way
and no cliffhanger ending!
The Kingdom of Hungary,
I watch the ground pass by beneath my paws
rather than risk meeting the eyes of the other wolves. They probably aren’t looking anyway,
having better things to do than greet the
mongrel, even on a full moon. I’ve spent so long
pretending not to care it’s almost worked. Who needs them? Not me.
I give a full-body shake to settle my fur how I like it
and amble toward the heart of the village, a cool night breeze keeping me company. The
chattering of insects pings from the forest beyond a row of humble cottages as I continue
Anticipating tonight’s run has me eager. I imagine
the frantic heartbeat of my prey as I target my dinner. Pent-up energy dances in my muscles,
tickling every nerve and rumbling in my chest.
I love the hunt. Nothing else in my life brings the
satisfaction I take from stalking, chasing, and tearing into my prize. It’s one of the few
activities where the others tolerate my presence. Though they’ll never admit I’m the better
predator, they’re always willing to devour the feast I provide.
Only Ava treats me as equal. She’s too old and frail
to hunt for herself these days, but I’ll be sure to bring her a choice portion. Nothing beats a
fresh meal, and she deserves the pleasure more than anyone.
It wasn’t always like this. I had friends once when
childhood still sang with innocence and the world had yet to slam its doors on me. But
remembering better times only brings sorrow, so I move forward to whatever tonight might
Voices sound from fifty paces ahead. Odd because
most of the pack would normally have shifted by dusk. Among them, a voice I don’t
recognize floats to my ears.
“I must speak with your alpha,” says a smooth
tenor, calm, though his timbre vibrates with urgency. “The matter is vital.”
Risking an upward glance, I scan the gathering.
Jolan and Ozor, the pack’s enforcers, stand in their human forms facing the speaker, both
tense and braced for a fight. But the stranger’s posture isn’t threatening. He’s neat, wearing
charcoal stockings under a crisp blue tunic. Knee-high black boots gleam with a recent
polish. Spine straight, shoulders back, weight settled in the heels, not the toes. Nut-brown
hair hangs tied at his nape, most of it hidden beneath a fashionable black hat. If his features
weren’t puckered with annoyance, he might be handsome.
I creep closer on silent paws, ears flicked
“We’re busy,” barks Ozor. “Or hadn’t you noticed
the moon? Come back another night.”
The stranger’s lips part, but before he can reply,
Farkas storms through his front door.
Clad only in a pair of worn tan breeches, the pack
alpha thunders down the porch stairs and into the commons. Even barefoot, Farkas is
intimidating, towering head and shoulders over the others. His black eyes land on the
stranger in a threatening glower, but the man isn’t shaken.
“You’re the alpha, I presume?” The stranger
extends a hand, his movement graceful, as if he’s been invited to a friendly tea instead of
invading hostile werewolf territory on a full moon.
Farkas ignores the proffered hand. “Your kind isn’t
Wondering what that means, I inch forward so I can scent him for myself.
The stranger returns his arm to his side, fingers
curled but not fisted. “And you have my apologies, but this couldn’t be avoided.” His
eyebrows arch as he inclines his head. “We must speak.”
I sniff the air. His scent is masked by soaps.
Lavender was used for his clothes, rose for his skin and hair, but beneath the added
fragrance lies the spiced scent of blood—his own, yes, but also…someone else’s? That’s
“Then speak,” growls Farkas. “What do you want
from me, vampire?”
I’ve never seen one before. He looks so…human. Fragile. Not what I’d expect of a
blood-drinking night terror at all.
About the Author
Lee Colgin has loved
vampires since she read Dracula on a hot, sunny beach at 13 years old. She lives in North
Carolina with lots of dogs and her husband. No, he’s not a vampire, but she loves him
anyway. Lee likes to workout so she can eat the maximum amount of cookies with her pizza.
Ask her how much she can bench press.
How far will two sorcerers
go to save humanity? Will they give up their lives? Will they give up their
A broken mage. A penitent vampire. Can they put aside the
horrors of the past to save each other?
Plagued with erratic. volatile magic, Nicodemus Green
focuses his entire life to stop an evil sorcerer who brainwashes or kills anyone in his path to
domination. Ten years into this crusade, Nick stumbles upon his former Academy instructor
in the Austrian Alps. The strict and pious Byron Domitius has cloistered himself in an isolated
manor. Alone and starving, he hates the twisted, damned creature he has become.
A prophecy calls for Nick and Byron to bond by blood to
finally bring an end to the sorcerer’s hidden agenda. The two are forced to see beyond their
shared past, and Nick finds himself desiring more from his old instructor than just his magic.
But are these emotions real, or do they come from the heat of their bond?
Excerpt – Stargazing
They stood side by side, almost close, looking up at the twinkling stars. Byron pointed, and
Nick followed his finger to the sky.
“Perseus,” Byron said. “Do you see that, the upper right branch of Perseus? Do you know
what I’m talking about?”
“I had astronomy with you two years in a row. Or did you forget?”
“I didn’t forget. I nurtured the assumption that you and your gang of goons had more
important things to do than pay attention in my class.”
“Goons? We did pay attention. I know the constellation.” He didn’t remember it from
Byron’s class, though. They had a Mentor of the Month who lived at an observatory near the
top of Mt. St. Helens in Washington, and they’d spent hours staring at the stars. It had been
windy and cold, and the sky had been clear, the stars brilliant.
“Fine. That star, the bright one, is Algol. It means Demon Head. Fitting for the constellation
that is supposed to hold the head of Medusa.”
Nick hmmed to show he was listening. Byron’s voice was soothing, deep and
quiet in the dark of night. Comfortable. Safe. “Algol is actually a tertiary star, but the third
star is so weak, it puts off little shine. It’s used by celestials as a binary system to imbue
power into obsidian.”
“A twin star.” Suddenly invested, Nick gazed up with a sense of wonder. “Is that the power
that was in my obsidian, sir?”
Byron nodded, then turned to Nick, his dark eyes fathomless, his face young and smooth
and illuminated from above. “Yes. There are two stars there, circling one another. Their
individual gravitational pull keeps them in a perfect orbit, tethered in their eternal spin. And
together, they are brighter for it,” he said softly, reverently. The air felt heavy, and then
Byron faced the sky.
Nick watched his old professor out of the corner of his eyes, unmoving, like a statue, gazing
upon the night sky with a depth of sorrow and yearning Nick couldn’t understand, never
could understand, even after his years of wandering. He wanted to reach out, touch him,
perhaps melt his cold flesh, make him come alive with contact, and then he realized he was
staring and thinking inappropriate things.
He cleared his throat.
“Well, I should get back in, Byron. Enjoy your evening.”
Byron slowly looked down at him, a small smile on his lips, not a smirk, but a close cousin
like he could read Nick’s thoughts. Felt Nick’s desire like a breeze on his arms.
“You as well.”
About the Author
Nat Kennedy writes fantasy
fiction of all kinds. She strives to create engaging, plotty romantic stories. In her worlds,
Heroes abound. She lives in the Pacific Northwest where the rain keeps the world green.
Find her online at natkennedy.com or on IG natkennedybooks.
Is a human lifetime long
enough to learn to love a vampire?
A sequel to Blood Winter
Is a human lifetime long enough to learn to love a
The tumultuous events of the Blood Winter are a fading
nightmare, and Alec and Terje are trying to build a life together at Alec’s newly restored
ancestral home of Glenroe. There’s just one problem… Terje doesn’t appear to be
committed—constantly called away on mysterious errands and seemingly unable to forsake
his own kind. Alec begins to wonder if Terje is capable of loving anyone, let alone
When an old uni friend Jay Singh, recently out of the closet
and looking rather too good to be true, returns to Alec’s life, he becomes more conflicted
than ever. Things only escalate when Alec is forced into the social and political issues still
surrounding the haemophiles’ tumultuous integration into human society and soon it is
more than just his relationship on the line.
Can Alec figure out what kind of future is possible with a
vampire—and if it can ever be enough for either of them—before it’s too late?
Terje was brushing his long fingers through the hair on my
chest. I forced my eyes open, fighting back the warm oblivion that had threatened to steal
“No, I’m not.”
Terje chuckled softly and extricated himself from my arms. I
made a noise of protest, propping myself on my elbows as Terje started to collect his
clothing from the floor.
“What are you doing?”
“You should sleep,” Terje said, pulling on his jeans.
“This is the first night we’ve had together in weeks,” I
muttered, taking Terje by the wrist and pulling him close. “I’m not going to sleep for any of
Terje brushed a kiss across my forehead. “If you’re
“Of course I’m sure,” I said, annoyance bleeding into my
Terje, either not noticing or not caring about my reaction,
continued to dress, pulling on his T-shirt, shoes and light, black jacket. He always wore
muted tones, blacks and grays, sometimes pale blues. It should make someone with his pale
complexion look washed-out or even sickly. But against his smooth, pearlescent skin and
hair, it just made him look exotic, unearthly, surreal but achingly beautiful.
“Are we going somewhere?” I asked, breaking off from
staring to retrieve my underwear.
“I’d like to go for a walk,” Terje said, pulling a band out of
his pocket and tying his blue-white hair back into a tail. As I was the only one available to cut
it and I wasn’t the best hairdresser, he’d allowed it to grow long again. The shorter strands at
the front fell into his eyes, but it left the smooth lines of his neck free.
“In the park,” he replied, fetching a bottle from a bag he’d
dropped in the corner. “Below the castle.”
“They have that here,” Alec said, indicating the
“I prefer my own,” he replied. He opened the bottle, drank
deeply and color washed into his cheeks. He dropped the empty bottle in the specialist
canister next to the fridge and went toward the window.
“This is a safe place,” I muttered, grabbing a fresh shirt out
of my case. “You don’t have to go out of the window.”
“It’s better to be careful,” he said, then was gone.
I sighed, trying to fight the return of my frustration. I
finished dressing and hurried out into the busy city night. The air had cooled but the
towering stone buildings still retained some of the warmth from the day, giving the air an
enclosed feel. The sky arched black overhead, bleached featureless by streetlight.
Terje was nowhere in sight. I crossed the North Bridge,
heading for Market Street and the way down into the Princes Street Gardens. The noise of
people weaving between the bars, clubs and restaurants fell away as I descended the stairs
into the cool, fresh openness of the park. A train heading into Waverley station hissed by on
the rails above. As I ventured farther in to where the only light was from the LED lampposts
installed to lower light pollution, the stars finally became visible, glittering like diamonds on
a sheet of black velvet.
Edinburgh Castle glowered from its clifftop, all ramparts,
towers and impossibly large blocks of stone. I had always thought it looked forbidding, but
when Terje stepped out of the shadows to stand at my side and gaze up at it in quiet
wonder, I tried again to see it how he might see it.
“It’s beautiful, in its own way,” he had said the first time we
had visited Edinburgh, almost a year before. “It’s a promise to protect as well as to fight
Looking at his profile in the starlight, my anger faded and,
for the moment, I was just grateful he was back.
He laced his long fingers through my own. The memory of
Jay touching that same hand earlier that day rose in my mind but I shook it away, along with
the ghosting guilt. Terje sent me a sideways look and I was suddenly certain, however
impossible it was, that he knew. But then he started to walk down the path, drawing me
“We have a story about a haemophile that lived in the
castle in the middle ages,” Terje murmured as we walked. “Did I tell you that?”
“No, you didn’t. I’ve heard lots of ghost stories about it,” I
said absently. “Never anything about vampires.”
“It’s one of our stories. Like a cautionary folk tale…”
Terje’s forehead creased slightly in the pale light. “Very few
of our kind have ever lived outside of a commune. This one did. Her story, well…it doesn’t
About the Author
S.J. Coles is a Romance writer originally from Shropshire, UK.
She has been writing stories for as long as she has been able to read them. Her biggest
passion is exploring narratives through character relationships.
She finds writing
LGBT/paranormal romance provides many unique and fulfilling opportunities to explore
many (often neglected or under-represented) aspects of human experience, expectation,
emotion and sexuality.
Among her biggest influences
are LGBT Romance authors K J Charles and Josh Lanyon and Vampire Chronicles author Anne
Zen had only—literally
only—ever dreamed that someone would want him this much…
Zen is a half dark elf in a world that hates him, protected by
being raised by the Order of the Sun to become a priest. He longs for a different life with a
mysterious, beautiful man he only glimpses in dreams. After encountering an adventuring
party, Zen is drawn to accompany them to destroy a fabled vampire lord, but the pull he
feels toward those lands might be more fated than he realizes.
That night, before falling into an exhausted sleep—in his
tiny, wooden bed with minimal padding and coarse blankets—Zen gently touched the scar
that ran full circle around his neck. He tried ignoring it during the day, hidden by the high
collar of his vestments, but in bed, out of his robes, his fingers often strayed there.
He didn’t know what had caused the wire-thin line. He’d
had it all his life and often wondered if it had been a failed attempt to kill him as an infant.
Like Father Lewis had said, he’d been abandoned on the steps of the temple.
No one wanted a darkling child.
Zen’s existence, his life, was most people’s nightmare,
which was why it amazed and yet soothed him that he never experienced nightmares
himself. His dreams were sweet. There he had no scars. In his dreams, he was whole and
A warm, human hand trailed slowly across Zen’s unmarred
neck and down his naked body. Here his bed was plush and opulent, or perhaps it belonged
to the man he imagined himself with. Zen had never met anyone like him in waking life, yet
every dream he’d had since he first knew he desired men starred the same mysterious
Zen never saw his face clearly, but he was still a vision of
noble beauty. Skin pale as cream with soft color in his cheeks, neatly trimmed black hair that
occasionally fell into his eyes—and oh, his eyes. Some might think them haunting or eerie,
being such a rich, ruddy brown that they almost looked red, but Zen adored them. He
adored the smooth, flawless form laid out beside him, trim but well-muscled, and as naked
as he was.
Still, all those features painted an incomplete picture that
he could never quite bring into focus.
The man’s sex was impressive though, no doubt conjured
from Zen’s most carnal fantasies, as ruddy as his eyes, swollen and leaking wetness onto the
sheets. Zen had often longed to know the feel of it in his hands, his mouth, and deep inside
him, but his dreams never allowed more than a tease.
Zen didn’t know the man’s name and had never made one
up, but he thought of him as an angel, giving him pleasures where real life never could.
“You are a beautiful crystalline snowflake, my love, silver
and blue and pure blinding white.” He kissed Zen’s cheek, his fingertips tracing
mischievously down Zen’s stomach. His other hand ran blunt nails through Zen’s short white
That wasn’t right. Zen kept his snowy-white locks tied back,
but his hair fell well past his shoulders. Like the missing scar, he was different here in the
“I miss you,” his angel whispered and bent to kiss Zen’s lips.
Then touch me, Zen thought, pressing upward and opening his mouth to connect them more deeply,
while instantly wanting more.
He didn’t know why his mind created a human man instead
of someone more like him. Maybe because humans were all he’d ever known. The man was
stunning regardless and saw Zen the way he’d always wished someone would.
“Come, my love.”
Zen wanted to—
“Come to me. Come for me, my beautiful darkling, but come
to me as well.”
Zen didn’t understand. How much closer could they get?
His angel was between his legs, warm hand curling around him and squeezing with promise.
Still, for all the lust that stirred in Zen, it was the intimacy of another kiss to his cheek that
filled him with the most want.
“Please, love, come to me. Come…” He stroked Zen firmly
while licking up along one of his pointed darkling ears, inducing a deep shudder from low at
the base of Zen’s spine. “Come… my Zenos.”
Zen’s eyes snapped open as if triggered by a spring, his
sheets sticky and damp atop him from how he’d come before waking.
He rarely did that, usually waking hard and unfulfilled, and then taking himself in hand.
Today he’d made a mess, and it wasn’t even morning.
About the Author
Amanda Meuwissen is a
bisexual author, with a primary focus on M/M romance. As author of the paranormal
romance trilogy The Incubus Saga and several other titles with various publishers,
Amanda regularly attends local comic conventions for fun and to meet with fans, where she
will often be seen in costume as one of her favorite fictional characters. She lives in
Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband, John, and their cat, Helga.
Immortal blood is precious and Kokawa Taku’s makes him especially unique.
After vampire hunters force them to flee Tokyo, Taku and his lover, Thane, try to make a new life for themselves in England. But three months later Thane is still tormented by nightmares of the fire that almost cost them their lives. This leads to carelessness and the discovery of one of his victims.
When faced with threats from all sides Taku tries his best to protect them although his actions are met with disapproval and anger from Thane. Unknown to his lover, Taku is also struggling to keep hidden the truth of what really happened three months ago.
However, it is only a matter of time before Taku’s past and bloodline catches up with him.
Book Title: Never Change (Demon’s Blood universe short story)
Author: Shari Sakurai
Length: 47 pages
Release Date: December 1, 2018
It is part of the Demon’s Blood universe, but can be read as a standalone.
Thane’s arms curved around his back and he felt the younger vampire trembling as he rested his head on Taku’s shoulder. So easily broken, Taku often forgot what it had been like in the beginning. For him things had been different, he reminded himself. He had already known what it felt like to take a life.
With Nagasaki in the grip of a bitter winter, two vampires struggle to hunt in the challenging conditions. When an opportunity to feed from a dying man presents itself, Taku insists that they take advantage of it. Yet his newly turned lover is left feeling devastated by their actions. Seeing Thane so distraught is more than Taku can bear and so he makes a decision to shield Thane as much as he can from the darker side to their existence. However his desire to protect Thane might one day cost him everything.
Never Change is a short story set in the Demon’s Blood universe.
Book Title: Demon’s Life (Demon’s Blood universe #2)
Out of respect for the relationship we once had I will spare your life. However, if you try to obstruct me again then I will kill you
Vampires are now an endangered species. Possessed by the demon Kurai, Kokawa Taku has sworn to eradicate all those whom he deems inferior.
Determined to free Taku from the demon’s corruption, Thane seeks help from Taku’s sire, Takata Koji. Thane’s search for answers takes him to Hong Kong where he learns the devastating truth. That in order to save Taku, Thane may have to kill him.
Refusing to accept this, Thane makes a decision that places the fate of all vampires in the balance. However Thane is unaware of the betrayal around him and that his actions will either save Taku or destroy him.
Excerpt from Demon’s Blood (Demon’s Blood universe #1)
Ōtsuki, Kai Province, Honshū, JAPAN, 29 January 1714
Takata Koji knew he was dying. The sickness that had swept through his village had been relentless and had claimed the lives of scores already. He had fallen ill five days ago, two days after his younger sister, Kaede, died. The physician had just been to see him. The grim expression on the man’s face and the distraught weeping of his mother only confirmed what, deep down, Koji already knew. He did not want to die. He was only twenty-five. He wanted to cling onto life with every fibre of his being. But simply the will to live was not enough. Koji’s body ached and he could not get warm, no matter how many blankets his mother brought him. His voice had failed him two nights ago and was yet to return.
It was a cruel hand of fate that the direct descendants of the Takata clan had managed to survive elimination at the hands of their enemy only to perish now. The Okada clan had defeated his relatives almost a hundred and fifty years ago in battle. Of their branch of the family Koji was the only male born; the last heir. His mother could bear no more children.
Hearing the voices of his parents Koji glanced towards the shoji. He had only seen his father once since he became ill. His mother said the man was consumed by grief. Koji knew better than this. Takata Kazuhiro had talked of nothing other than reclaiming his clan’s status and land since Koji was a boy. Yet his own frailties had prevented him from achieving this himself. Some of the Takata clan’s descendants had managed to secure positions within the Tokugawa Shogunate. However, a poor background and ill health had prevented Kazuhiro from doing the same. Koji had been his last hope. It was more than his son dying; it was Kazuhiro’s dreams too.
Koji inhaled deeply, finding even this intake of air difficult as he shifted his position on the futon. The movement caused one of the woven blankets to slip off him and onto the tatami floor. There it remained. Koji lacked the strength to reach over for it. A hacking cough shook his fragile form. He had lost so much weight that his clothes hung off of him. The last time he had gazed at his reflection he had seen a corpse rather than a man staring back.
Koji gasped, fighting to catch his breath as the painful tickling sensation in the back of this throat relentlessly forced the violent coughing fit. A metallic taste welled up in his mouth and the frightened young man gagged over the side of the futon. The hand automatically flying to his mouth came back slicked with crimson.
“Nishimura-san!” his mother raced into his bedroom screaming for the physician at the sight of her son’s blood. Koji felt hands on his shoulders. He was roughly shaken when he failed to respond. Panicked golden eyes raised to meet his mother’s terrified ones even as his vision began to fail him.
Her cries were becoming fainter now and the darkness that he was falling into was more inviting. As much as he feared death, Koji now felt some relief at its embrace. He was so tired. As much as he wished to hold onto life he realised that, deep down, all he really wanted was to be free of the pain.
Candles flickered in the dark, the heat from their burning light touching his sensitive skin as he was drawn from unconsciousness once more. Hot, red wax dripped onto the stone altar from the ceiling above. One spot landed on his palm, causing a hiss of pain to escape him. The clan’s Mon – coat of arms – was etched crudely into the low ceiling. The large circle and rhombi making up the outline of the symbol seemed to swell in size the longer that he stared at them. The two smaller diamonds in the centre were coloured completely in red.
Koji could hear the hum of lowered voices around him yet they remained in shadow. He tugged weakly on the rope that bound his arms above his head and back against the stone surface. An unnecessary precaution, for the fever had robbed him of most of his strength. He could barely curl a palm into a fist.
A weakened cough alerted them to his wakefulness and one man stepped forward. Koji tried to make a sound but a gentle gasp was all that was permitted from dry lips as his father approached. Takata Kazuhiro’s stern expression did not falter although there was some regret lingering in his reddened eyes.
Kazuhiro sustained a leg injury in a fight before Koji was born and had walked with a stick ever since. He leaned heavily on this now, as though it would somehow give him strength. A candle lit lamp was held in his free hand. Koji shifted slightly under his father’s gaze not understanding the situation or the reason for the man’s silence. He had slowly begun to recognise the room that he was in and confusion filled him. It was the village shrine.
“Kazuhiro!” Another voice broke through the quiet murmurs. Koji’s gaze turned to the newcomer. Tears stained his mother’s cheeks. Her hair had fallen free from her usual ponytail to tangle around her face in wild waves. The streaks of silver were clearly visible now. Since he had fallen sick she seemed to have aged twenty years.
“Do not do this,” she pleaded softly of her husband. “Nishimura-san—”
“Cannot help him,” Kazuhiro finished for her. His words were as hard as stone. “This is the only way.”
“He is our son! And you would condemn him to this!”
“It will save his life,” Kazuhiro gestured to the two men – whom were neighbours of the Takata’s – standing behind him. “It is a great gift, Natsumi.”
“How can you call it a gift? It is a curse!”
Koji watched helplessly as the two younger men seized his mother and dragged her from his line of sight and back into shadow. He could make out her further protests and sobs for a few moments. A cry pierced the calm of the room. Then silence followed.
About the Author
Shari Sakurai is a British author of paranormal, horror, science fiction and fantasy novels that almost always feature a LGBTQ protagonist and/or antagonist. She has always loved to write and it is her escape from the sometimes stressful modern life!
Aside from writing, Shari enjoys reading, watching movies, listening to (loud!) music, going to rock concerts and learning more about other societies and cultures. Japanese culture is of particular interest to her and she often incorporates Japanese themes and influences into her work.
Shari loves a challenge and has taken part and won the National Novel Writing Month challenge eleven times!
Vampires are attempting to integrate into human society.
When Alec MacCarthy first meets a ‘haemophile’ in the flesh, it’s not the obvious dangers that frighten him.
Alec MacCarthy, Lord of Aviemore and largely-forgotten descendent of a once-proud family line, keeps the wolf from the door of the crumbling family mansion by restoring classic cars.
He leaves the real world alone and wishes nothing more than for it to return the favor. But in a reality where haemophiles—still colloquially known as vampires, despite the publicity campaigns—have come out of hiding and are attempting to integrate into human society, the real world is rapidly becoming a disrupted and conflicted mess that threatens to trouble even Alec in his remote Scottish hideaway.
When he unwittingly attends a Blood Party to please a friend, he has his first meeting with one of these mysterious and dangerous beings. Terje is like nothing he has ever encountered before…literally. His reactions are as troublesome as they are undeniable.
Alec’s snap decision to help the haemophile rather than sample his sense-heightening and addictive blood sets them both on a path that will lead them into a tangled web of intrigue with consequences that will change their lives—and the world—forever.
Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence, murder, kidnapping, blood stealing, drug use, addiction and blood drinking.
“You have questions.” He sat and uncorked the bottle. The electric lantern made his pale skin glow. It shone off his high cheekbones and the lines of his neck. His mouth was soft, his lips slightly curved, even at rest. I remembered it open, redder than blood, the teeth shockingly white and sharp. I remembered his hands, strong enough to crack the wood of the basement door, strong enough to break Brody’s bones. But now he sat easily in my kitchen chair, regarding me steadily with calm, entrancing eyes. He was terrifying, but he was beautiful, like a freezing winter morning in the very heart of the mountains. I bridled at the thought and dropped my gaze to the tabletop.
“How old are you?” I heard myself ask.
“Not old enough to have known Jacob More,” he said, with something like amusement in his voice.
“That’s not an answer.”
He still didn’t smile but something like humor flickered in the dark depths of his eyes. “I don’t know exactly. Over eighty, less than a hundred.”
“How do you not know how old you are?”
He lifted a shoulder in a half-shrug. “You stop counting after a while.” I narrowed my eyes and his mouth twitched. “And, well…at the time, it wasn’t considered important where I’m from.” His brow creased slightly, his eyes far away. “I remember the Second World War but not the first. Do I get to ask a question now?”
I chewed on the inside of my cheek, regarding him closely and trying not to think about the fluttering in my belly. “What question?”
“Is this really your home?”
He tilted his chin slightly. “I knew you must live here when we arrived. I could smell it. But the place looks like it belongs to someone else.”
Something prickled over the skin of my back. “Again, why do you care?”
“Just curious, like you.”
“I’m not curious about you,” I said in tight voice. “That’s not what this is.”
He inclined his head. “Very well. You don’t have to answer. Next question?”
I picked at a splinter on the table, not looking at him. “Daylight…”
“What about it?”
“Does it kill you?”
“The cellar?” He sipped his wine. His mouth was stained slightly pink. I hurriedly lifted my gaze. “We have to sleep, just like you do.”
“During the day?”
“We’re sensitive to sunlight,” he said slowly, factually. “We don’t produce melanin in the same way, so we burn easily. And it’s hard to see.”
“So you just…sleep?”
He frowned at his glass. “Not the way you sleep. The Blood requires us to…offline. Recharge.”
“Could you stay awake if you wanted? During the day?”
“Yes, though it’s hard. But the Blood wakes us if there’s a threat. Is it my turn now?”
I hesitated and reached for the other glass. “I thought you said you were supposed to answer my questions.”
“Polite conversation normally goes both ways.”
I fought a scowl. “We’re not exactly meeting at a dinner party here.”
“No,” he said softly, looking into the fire. “But that’s not my fault, is it?”
About the Author
S.J. Coles is a Romance writer originally from Shropshire, UK. She has been writing stories for as long as she has been able to read them. Her biggest passion is exploring narratives through character relationships.
She finds writing LGBT/paranormal romance provides many unique and fulfilling opportunities to explore many (often neglected or under-represented) aspects of human experience, expectation, emotion and sexuality.
Among her biggest influences are LGBT Romance authors K J Charles and Josh Lanyon and Vampire Chronicles author Anne Rice.
Personal assistant Sam Coleman can do it all: housekeeping, groundskeeping, bookkeeping. The catch? It’s a con.
Ed Simon, his newest millionaire boss, doesn’t know Sam Goldman is a Robin Hood for hire who targets rich jerks. Sure, Sam keeps the money for himself, his crew, and his real employers, but at least they only steal from bad people.
Until sweet, fumbling Ed, who doesn’t seem to have a single vice. Too bad the people who hired Sam won’t let him back out. They want Ed’s money, and they’ll hurt Sam and his friends to get it.
For years Ed has kept people at arm’s length, but Sam’s charms wear down his defenses—just as he learns their budding relationship was an act. Sam isn’t who Ed thought he was, but Ed has a dark secret too: he’s a vampire. And someone is framing him for a series of bloody murders.
When the real villains force their hand, Sam and Ed must choose: work together, trust each other, and give in to the feelings growing between them… or let what might have been bleed out like the victims piling at their feet.
Sam was exhausted, probably because he hadn’t slept well in the past two days, but when he was ready to call it a night and looked around for Ed, he was surprised to find him outside, already in the pool. Sam was usually gone before Ed took his swims.
The tricked-out radio by the patio doors was blasting loud enough to carry outside, playing Blue Oyster Cult and making Sam smile. He didn’t fear the reaper so much himself anymore either.
Ed wasn’t doing any complicated strokes, just floating serenely on his back, arms gently moving to keep him up while he gazed at the stars beginning to glitter above him. He’d left the doors open as if to invite Sam to watch, so it was easy to do so without calling much attention to himself.
Ed didn’t look like a predator while swimming, his trunks clinging to him, chest bare. Sometimes it was hard for Sam to accept that dissonance—this version of Ed compared to the swift, brutal one—but then, wasn’t a lion capable of seeming like a housecat even if it was always dangerous?
“Would you like to join me?” Ed called without turning to look at him. “I have an extra suit upstairs.”
Sam wondered if that made him the lion tamer.
Enjoying the way Ed’s eyes fixed to his mostly bare body when he descended from upstairs in the spare trunks, Sam took his time walking to the edge of the pool, set his clothes on one of the lounge chairs, and stepped off for a simple, smooth drop into the water. He shook the excess from his hair and face when he resurfaced, seeking out Ed at the other end.
“Tell me,” Sam said, lifting up to float lazily on his back, “even without your telescope, how many of those can you name?”
“The stars? Or constellations?” Ed lifted as well, both watching the sky as they orbited each other.
“Does it matter?”
“No. I can name most of them.”
“Then where am I?”
Ed navigated to drift up beside Sam, tracing over invisible lines in the sky. “Gemini. Sort of like two stick figures holdings hands.”
Sam chuckled. “And you?”
“Pisces is there.” Ed dragged his finger the other direction. “See the way the ends connect and then it makes a sort of tilted V?”
“Doesn’t really look like a fish.”
“We had to be more creative back then.”
Blinking as what Ed was implying sunk in, Sam righted himself, not sure if he could ask, “You mean…?”
“I’m not that old.” Ed grinned. He didn’t clarify how old he was, however.
“You know, one of these days, I’m going to get you up on that roof to use your telescope properly.”
Ed scrunched his nose. “I wasn’t lying about not caring for heights.”
“I figured. Any particular reason?”
“I don’t know. Maybe because there weren’t as many tall buildings in my time.”
“Which was…?” Sam tried again, but Ed glanced away.
“Is this our first date?”
“If it was, would you tell me?”
“I said my age wasn’t a first date reveal, so….”
Sam read Ed’s hesitancy and didn’t want to push. “I don’t think this counts.” He smirked when Ed looked at him with a start. “We need to leave the house for a real date.”
“We’ll have to start thinking about our rain check, then.” Ed smiled back at him.
Drifting closer, Sam slid his hands around Ed’s waist to finally connect and pull him in. Even in the heated pool, Ed’s skin felt bracing. “I guess we will,” he said and started to lean forward.
“Sam.” Ed wrapped his arms around Sam’s neck, but his hands fidgeted, and he held back from letting Sam reach his lips. “You’re not only pretending because you think this is the only way to be safe from me, are you?”
The idea that Ed still expected treachery surprised him, but then, Sam almost had betrayed him again, scared as he’d been. Ed was the most powerful and deadly creature he’d ever met, but he was still vulnerable, still so human.
“According to you,” Sam said, “I’m putting myself in more danger by being with you. You gave me an out, Eddie, and I chose to stay.”
About the Author
Amanda Meuwissen is a bisexual author, with a primary focus on M/M romance, and works in marketing for the software company Outsell. She has a Bachelor of Arts in a personally designed Creative Writing major from St. Olaf College, and is an avid consumer of fiction through film, prose, and video games. As author of the paranormal romance trilogy The Incubus Saga and several other titles through various publishers, Amanda regularly attends local comic conventions for fun and to meet with fans, where she will often be seen in costume as one of her favorite fictional characters. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, John, and their cat, Helga, and can be found at http://www.amandameuwissen.com.