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.
The Age of Man has passed, and a new age is upon the Earth. An age of magic and technology ruled by the supernatural beings that once hid amongst humanity has begun.
Talos – Vampyr King, Supernatural Council Member, and Despiser of Humans. Fate has a surprise up their sleeve for him.
Bayne – Raised by the human resistance, Would-be Assassin, and Despiser of Supernatural Beings. He’s ready to sacrifice himself to kill his enemy.
Bayne is thrust into a world he thinks he knows but quickly discovers his whole life has been built on lies. Talos, perfectly happy ruling his corner of the world, is faced with an unexpected and unwelcome change that comes with the mate chosen by Fate. Together they must discover how to live and, in the end, love one another. But will Fate have more in store for them than just learning to love the species they hate?
Bloodlines of Fate is a new urban fantasy series set in a world destroyed by humans and resurrected by supernatural beings. Fate has many plans for the vampires, fae, unicorns, therianthropes, and humans of this new world. While their mates may be fated, learning to love isn’t that easy.
This book contains depictions of gladiatorial combat, snarky fem twinks who will cut you, kings in stilettos, and awkward heats with a pinch of daddy kink.
Talos strode calmly into his office. His skin tingled with pins and needles all over. Odin and Majid were on his heels, and Majid closed the door behind him. Talos leaned on his teak desk as his discovery crashed into him. Claws extended from his fingertips and dug into the dense wood, marring its polished surface.
“Why of all days would this happen today?” Talos asked Fate.
“Brother, what is it?” Odin closed in and put a reassuring hand on Talos’ back, but it made his skin crawl. He shrugged Odin off and turned back around.
“It’s him.” Talos still couldn’t believe it. He wanted to race to his bedroom to confirm it, but he had to wait.
Majid cocked his head and narrowed his eyes. “What do you mean, it’s him?”
Talos looked up at Odin and realization dawned on Odin’s face. “Oh, him him?” Talos could only nod. His throat constricted.
“I knew I had to come to you, Brother. And it seems this is why. I was there when our father found his beloved, your pa.”
Talos sat on the edge of the desk, crossed his arms, and massaged his temples with one hand. Majid stepped closer, started to put his hand on Talos, then took his hand back with an apologetic smile.
“Congratulations on finding your mate, my old friend.”
Talos raised his head with a weary smile. “Thank you, and that was a magnificent display in there. I’ll never tire of seeing you get horny.” Talos chuckled softly. “Although my new mate called you a horse. Apparently, he’s never heard of a black unicorn.”
Majid snorted. “He’s lucky I can’t read his thoughts like you can,” he scowled.
Odin’s deep booming laugh caused Majid to snort again. Odin cleared his throat nervously, trying to cut off his laughter.
“Your idea to let one of the other resistance members through with him was good. It gave me an idea as to what kind of man my mate is. He was scared but he held his ground. His stubbornness to see his mission through shored him up. It’s going to be interesting to see how he reacts to spending an eternity with us leeches.”
Majid smirked. “You know how much I like a good impaling.”
“I got something you can impale.” Odin shook his butt at Majid and Talos snorted out a laugh.
Majid ignored Odin’s interruption. “Your mate jumped a little, but you’re right. He held steady even when I slowly killed that weakling.” He scoffed in disgust. “Like anyone that weak would have made it through the selection process. It’s a wonder they survived the games. They were lucky to have been killed by me.”
“It is quite an honor. I think it’s been a full month since you’ve impaled someone in the throne room.” Talos rubbed his forehead. His skin continued to tingle. “I won’t be able to bond with him until his blood is clean.”
“Gideon is having the hemodialysis machine brought to your chambers along with a bed he can be properly restrained on. The doctors estimate it’ll only take two rounds for his blood to be cleaner than when he was born,” Majid reassured Talos.
“He will fight. I have no doubt. And we will most likely have to sedate him,” Talos added.
“The sooner you get it done, the better, brother. Your body will not allow you to wait too long.”
“It’s almost dawn now.” Talos looked at the clock on his wall. “Go to bed. Majid will stay up with me to watch over my mate.”
About the Author
A.G. Carothers is actually a dragon very cleverly disguised as a human. They are a non-binary author of LGBTQIA Romance and Urban Fantasy, who enjoys writing original and entertaining stories. They are very excited to share the worlds they’ve created with you.
A.G. currently lives in Tennessee with their platonic life partner, who is not a dragon. They yearn to live back in Europe and will some day. In their spare time they are addicted to losing themselves in the lovely worlds created by other authors A.G. is committed to writing the stories they see in their head without restrictions. Love is blind and doesn’t see gender, race, or sexuality.
Not all vampires are idly rich. Some of them have day jobs. Er, night jobs.
In a world struggling to come to grips with the existence of vampires, where reactions range from excitement to fear to determined disbelief, these vampires are just trying to make ends meet. Some of them do mundane work—like waiting tables or driving a cab. Others have more prestigious careers in medicine and crime prevention. But what all their jobs have in common is people. Unpredictable, interesting, frustrating, hostile, helpless, tasty people.
Whether they’re pouring drinks, answering phones, hacking into a computer system, or serving up the perfect food/wine pairing, these working stiffs are too busy to fall in love. Or are they?
This International Workers Day, celebrate by sinking your teeth into thirteen awesome stories about vampires at work. Because even the undead have to earn a living.
Proceeds benefit the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
Bad Blood by Lyra Evans
Dr. Alek Matsouka and Dr. James Crawford have been at each other’s throats since the first night of their ER residency. And not in the way that gets Alek fed. He doesn’t know why Crawford is so hostile—whether he’s an anti-Vampire bigot or just hates that Alek is the better doctor—but Alek does like to provoke the arrogant prick. When their competitive antics get the better of them one night and a case takes a dangerous turn, both doctors will have to face the truth of their bad blood—or risk their careers.
Bad Decision by H.L Day
A stranger searching for a night of ecstasy with a vampire. A cabbie with the irrational urge to stop him from making the worst decision of his life. The next few hours could be lifechanging for both men.
Call My Number by Megs Pritchard
He always calls when I’m working. He has my direct number too. We both know why he does, but he knows I won’t accept his obvious invitation… until I do. How will he react, my sweet human, when his vampire comes calling?
Dial a Vamp by Roberta Blablanski
Wyatt’s life is in a total slump and working as a phone sex operator doesn’t help his frustrations. After a century, being a vampire is getting old and losing its appeal. He feels stuck and aimless, until one phone call changes his immortal life.
Fangs for the Memories by Sadie Jay
Rollie Brown was 20 years old when he staked his vampire boyfriend. Now, fifteen years later, he’s discovered Alex is alive, bartending, and more forgiving than Rollie deserves. They might have a second chance at love—but first they have to rescue Rollie’s wayward ex.
Fire and Ice Cold Skin by Mel Gough
When a firefighter takes pity on a gorgeous young man who has been made homeless by a blaze, he has no idea who he’s invited into his home—and soon into his heart.
How To Keep an Author (Alive) by AJ Sherwood
The funny thing about living forever is that you still have bills to pay, which is why Justus is now working for JD Cooper. The man is a writing raconteur—known to craft a mean mystery—but he’s one step away from hoarder level. When Justus takes a job as his housekeeper, he expects eccentricity. But he gets so much more.
Graveyard Cops by Crystel Greene
Police officer Jesse Hendricks, twenty-one since 1900 and hating being a vampire, is secretly in love with his patrol partner Angelico “Lico” DiMarco. Chronically upbeat Lico doesn’t believe in anything supernatural, thankfully, but he keeps teasing Jesse for his vampire-like reserve, pallor, and beauty in the most annoying of ways. Then, one fateful night, Jesse is injured with a silver blade and needs to feed to survive. Lico steps up and saves him—body and soul.
Life Hacks by Eliott Griffen
Josh is a corporate big shot, living the life he thought he wanted. Vin is a vampire on the hunt, with zero self-confidence and a truckload of regrets. Living on opposite sides of the equation, they have nothing in common, until one day their lives collide in the worlds of ones and zeros.
Long Haul by Tanya Chris
When Vlad intervenes to stop a shakedown in progress, he doesn’t plan on keeping the young sex worker he saves, but Silver has an irresistible tenacity. He also has a little something extra in his blood—something that drives Vlad wild in both good and bad ways.
Off the Menu by R.J. Sorrento
Johnny Russo, a newbie-vampire and chef, refuses to feed from humans. His new job at a Chicago restaurant is going well until he’s forced to work with Nate Beaumont, a handsome but snobby sommelier with an intoxicating scent. The tension between them builds for weeks, and Johnny fights the urge to feed. Despite first impressions, they could be good together if Johnny can be himself. But feeding from Nate might make him feel less than human, and Johnny would be crushed if Nate sees him as a novelty instead of boyfriend material.
Overexposed by K. Evan Coles
Crime scene photographer Noah Green may be the only vampire employed by the NYPD’s Crime Scene Unit, but he keeps his head down and stays focused on the work. While shooting a murder scene one night, Noah is dismayed to discover he knows the only witness, bakery manager Dan Kaes, a human who has intrigued Noah from their very first meeting. Combining forces with the police to keep their witness safe, Noah welcomes Dan into his home, only to find that keeping him at arm’s length is harder than he ever imagined.
Quality Assured by Edie Montreux
Quality Analyst Kellan Ford doesn’t know what to expect when Medicorp overnight representative Derek Houston’s calls aren’t recording properly. Kellan’s side-by-side evaluation turns into an early-morning field trip and changes everything Kellan knows about vampires. Is he doomed to die at the hands of vampires like his sister did, or can Derek offer him a new lease on life?
Short excerpt from Fangs for the Memories by Sadie Jay
I tried to not stare but I couldn’t help myself. He was exactly the same except his long white hair was streaked with a rainbow of colors and pulled up into a messy bun. An inch taller than my five foot nine, he was straight and lanky. There was no curve to him at all, not an ounce of fat. Under the sleeves of his dress shirt, I pictured his ropey forearms with raised veins, easy to trace with a fingertip, while his hip and rib bones would be well defined under his skin. I admittedly have a thing for skinny men.
I still saw his translucent albino skin in my dreams, and his silvery blue eyes that darkened with anger. Or with desire. His feathery white eyelashes, his straight nose, his thin lips framing his over-wide mouth. When I’d met him, back when I was 19 and taking night classes, I thought he was the most exotic, beautiful person I’d ever met.
He still was.
Excerpt from How to Keep an Author (Alive) by AJ Sherwood
“I need to know how to tie a person down like this on the table and make it realistic. I mean, can I tie down both legs? Or would that make it too awkward for the attacker?”
Rubbing at my forehead, I tried for patience. “Coop. I’ve never tied someone down for sex. I have no idea.”
He came up on an elbow, looking at me curiously. “Really? Oh, right, the vampire-sexual-feeding thing. How does that work, anyway?”
“There’s a mild aphrodisiac in our saliva that—you know what, I’m not having this conversation with you.”
Cooper didn’t pout, but it was a near thing. He loved asking me questions about vampirism and how it all worked. Often inappropriate questions, at that.
“Okay, tell me later. For now, come help me figure this out. I’m stuck on this scene until I do.”
After two months of dealing with these sorts of weird requests, I’d more or less become immune to them. At least he hadn’t tried to smother me in my sleep again. It made sense that he’d gone through a housekeeper every month before my arrival. A lot of the help he asked for bordered on sexual harassment. Like now. He honestly didn’t mean it that way, though, which was why I was willing to play along.
Shrugging, I abandoned my wall perch to come forward. “You said the potential victim is a man?”
“Yes.” Cooper smiled, delighted I was cooperating.
“Hmmm. Yeah, I don’t think you can tie both legs down.” Knowing he would prefer a hands-on approach, I grabbed the leg tied down and hoisted it up as much as I could. “And even this is too tight. I can’t roll your hips up and into position like this. And think, too, pants have to come off, at least partway.”
“All very good points and what made me wonder. The few times I’ve had anal sex—”
I about swallowed my tongue. Just what had he casually confessed?!
“—I was on hands and knees, so I wasn’t sure.” Cooper did an awkward half-crunch. “So, say my character is in this position. Loosen that rope, let me see how much play has to be there. Yeah, okay, like that. Can you—”
This man, seriously. He was bad for my heart. He kept tapping into emotions I didn’t know I had, and he did it effortlessly and in strange ways that ambushed my guard. I liked him. I knew I did, but it was a precarious situation. I had no idea how he felt about me because his behavior was so oddball, I found him impossible to read.
Take this situation right now. Someone with a crush would use this situation to perhaps slyly flirt or signal their interest. But he was just trying to experiment and prove a point. Right…? I think. It left me in a strange emotional limbo because I didn’t know how to react to him. I knew what he wanted me to do, but I hesitated, because I had a feeling something would change if I did. If I even mimicked having sex with him, it would unlock a door in my head I’d kept chained shut. And yet.
I moved like I’d been hypnotized, because touching him like that was too much of a temptation. Even with clothes in the way. I moved in and set my groin against his ass, lifting his legs up to make the position possible. It looked awkward and uncomfortable on his part.
Cooper’s expression didn’t betray any awkwardness, though. His lips parted as he stared up at me with a sort of bludgeoned surprise. A blush spread across his pale skin, and his breath quickened a touch.
An impulse stole over me—to lean in, to close the gap between our bodies, to get him off this damn table. He was all warm skin, the heat of him pouring into me even through our jeans. I could feel his leg twitch, the urge to wrap around my waist clear, and I wanted that quite badly. Oh god. Oh god, he was attracted to me after all. That reaction was unmistakable. But did that mean I should act on it? He was still my employer. What if this went very, very wrong?
“Should I leave?”
The female voice startled me so badly I dropped Cooper’s legs.