Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Dreamscape by Rose Anderson
Now available at Bookstrand
Lanie sat on the stairs, pulling old carpet tacks from the bunching old runner and talking on the phone to Lexie about their dinner plans. She had no idea Jason sat on the stair above carefully contemplating how he might reveal himself without frightening her. Discovering her tack hammer misplaced for the third time, she gave up on the frustrating task and went to get ready for her blind date.
Her bath had the same effect on him as it had the other times he watched her bathe. She stood wrapping hair and body in thick towels, looking for all the world like she’d just emerged from the Turkish baths. Over her shoulder, in the mirror, he watched her fascinating application of tints and lash color, though, in his opinion, she was just as beautiful with as without. His cock grew soft once she began to dry her hair with a gadget he had never seen before. Margaret certainly didn’t have one of these noisy electrical hot air blowers. His body roused again when she put her undergarments on. Her pantalets were nothing more than a Y-shaped piece of material that accented her adorable rounded backside. Her brassiere was crafted from very feminine black lace, low enough that the rosy hue of her areolas slightly peeked above the edge. A French milliner couldn’t have chosen better. She dabbed perfume behind her ears, on the inside of her wrists and at the spot above her heart. Although the fragrance was faint, he was surprised he could smell the familiar floral scent on her as she passed. That sense had been dead as long as he. Holding this piece of clothing or that before her, she appraised her reflection in the mirror with each. After four considerations, the dress she settled on was black and short—too short. He found himself frowning.
The frown persisted as the mantle clock stuck ten o’clock and deepened when it struck eleven. By eleven-thirty-two, he was in a fine pique.
Hearing Lanie’s automobile roll onto the gravel drive, he invisibly materialized downstairs to meet her at the door with his arms folded across his chest in irritation. Leaning against the wall, looking her over from head to toe as she came in talking on her telephone, he thought her lips were a little chafed, a little too swollen. She’d kissed the man she’d just met that night, no doubt more than once. The thought annoyed him more than the late hour.
“No really, I had a nice time with Jim.” She laughed. “Yes, nosy, I let him kiss me. Lexie, I know, but please no more dates until I finish the clinic. Please? I have too much to do to get sidetracked.” She laughed again. “I don’t know, maybe I will see him again. He kissed fine! Of course you can set us up again when I get things done here. I don’t know how long it’s going to be—I have the clinic to open! Yes, I know you do. No, when I’m done you’ll be the first to know. I promise. Love you, too.” She hung up the phone shaking her head. “Sheesh,” she said in exasperation, but the over-kissed smile lingered.
Irritated a great deal, he followed her upstairs and watched as she washed her face, brushed her teeth, and changed into her worn, comfortable-looking clothing. Still invisible, he didn’t follow behind her when she went back downstairs. Rather he focused his mind and appeared alongside her at the bottom.
Heading to the parlor, Lanie turned on Margaret’s television and took a seat on the sofa directly across. When kissing her date goodnight, the man suddenly had the arms of an octopus. Picking up the remote, she proceeded to flip through channels, feeling wired from fending off her date’s sweet but unwanted attentions.
Watching her, Jason shook his head. “Oh no, sweetheart, I haven’t waited the entire night for you to lose yourself to this contrivance.” With that he projected his spirit energy into the wires that fed the machine electricity. The screen instantly filled with snow.
Lanie frowned at the snowy screen and flipped through channel after channel looking for better reception. “Oh, come on!” she told the television. After another run-through, she gave up and turned it off. “Damn it. All I wanted to do was unwind before bed.” She ran an exasperated hand over her face. There was a lot to do the following day and she knew it would take hours for her to fall asleep. A thought came to her. Most over-the-counter sleep aides were antihistamine-based. Having seasonal allergies, that was something she had readily available. That would certainly make her sleepy. No, I don’t like how my head feels in the morning. Instead she headed to the kitchen for a cup of chamomile tea.
Jason watched her go, feeling the slightest remorse for haunting her television. He reasoned he didn’t like that noisy box that, for all appearances, put Margaret into a daily trance. He followed her into the kitchen where he noticed her lips again. His remorse evaporated. Sharing passionate kisses with a man you just met! Annoyed, Jason swept his hand across the counter and knocked the spoon to the floor with a clatter.
Lanie jumped at the sound. Frowning, she reached under the chair where a spoon had inexplicably fallen then looked around for anything that might have knocked it on the floor, hoping she didn’t have large mice or, God forbid, rats. Setting it in the sink, she said, “I think I have ghosts.”
Jason’s anger instantly faded as her statement took him by surprise.
Testing her, he slowly opened the cabinet door, the old hinges squeaking and groaning. She turned to the sound of the swinging door, and he watched her face carefully. No fear, just curiosity. The whistling kettle diverted her attention. Once more he found himself wishing he were able to sit over a cup of tea and talk with her. He wanted to know where she’d been tonight and why she’d kissed a man she hardly knew. He wanted to know why she haunted his thoughts as surely as he haunted these halls. But moving a spoon and a cupboard door was a far cry from materializing in full form before her.
Taking a seat in the chair across from her as she scribbled small pictures onto her notepad, flowers mostly, daisies and lily-of-the-valley, he read the messages she wrote to herself regarding what needed to be done the following morning. This list was the shortest yet. Occasionally she’d look at the cabinet door to see if it would actually move again. He was tempted, but a part of him was too afraid she’d leave, never to return. Then the moment he had waited the entire day for happened. She yawned.
“You’re tired, you should rest,” he whispered. He could see the suggestion taking root in her mind. Putting her nearly full cup in the sink, she headed to bed.
Watching her sleep, Jason sat beside her a long while thinking on how lovely she looked tonight. He would have loved to have been the man to take her out on the town, to the theater perhaps. Out for dinner, certainly. If his own kisses had swelled those luscious lips, he would have ventured from her sweet mouth to the tops of those exquisite breasts so tantalizingly displayed in the decollete of her neckline. His entire being desired to lose himself in the living heat of her. There was simply no stopping himself from caressing her, having lost that particular battle of conscience the first night she lay in his bed. He’d convinced himself that as long as he kept his baser needs to himself, touching her while she was completely unaware was a harmless compulsion.
Materializing just under the linens, his glowing form lit the sheet like a Japanese lantern. He whispered to her unconscious mind as she lay curled on her side, “Lay back for me, sweetheart, let me look at you fully while I feel how warm you are.”
Unconsciously responding to his suggestion, she rolled on her back, one arm tossed casually over her pillow.
Once more marveling that he was able to touch her at all, he swept her raven hair back from her lovely face, his thumb lightly tracing the delicate arch of her eyebrow. Touching her skin was like touching a rose petal in his garden, a warm sun-kissed rose petal. Gliding his hands over her warmth, he caressed her trim belly and arms all the while carefully avoiding the dove-soft breasts as any gentleman might unless given leave. Though it was true she hadn’t granted leave for any touching, the fragment of his gentlemanly comportment quickly faded as her living heat seeped into him.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
I wrote Stacy's Dad Has Got It Going On last summer, thinking I'd put together a nice little fluffy sex romp about a geek girl and her roommate's father. And, in essence, I suppose that's what it ended up being, plot-wise, but I didn't expect the characters to take such firm hold. I didn't expect them to flesh out quite so fully. But they were insistent.
After I'd written this book, I realized it wasn't just for the nerdy girls who want to express themselves sexually in a non-Girls Gone Wild sort of way (like me) but it was also very much for those who grew up with addiction in their households (...like me).
There's something that stays with you all your life if you were raised by a parent or guardian with an addiction. It's a quality of trepidation, an immediate mistrust not only of people but of the potential impact of all substances. In this book, Savannah, the girl who falls for her roommate's dad, is all about clean living, and probably more out of fear of what alcohol and other things might do to her...or make her do.
But she really resents the assumptions other people make about her based on her choice not to drink or do drugs--people ask her to her face if she's a recovering alcoholic, or if she's a religious nut. She's been so focused on school and high achievements that she hasn't given much thought to guys, even though GOD does she love to get laid when the opportunity arises.
Against all odds, and much to my bewildered satisfaction, this book blossoms into a romance when Savannah, who is so like me in so many ways, finds someone who understands the quirks leftover from childhood and still a driving force of her life and personality. Let's just say it surprised me, and I always love it when a book can do that.
Stacy's Dad Has Got It Going On
By Giselle Renarde
Savannah vaguely recalls meeting her roommate’s father years ago, but it isn’t until Eric shows up unannounced one evening that she realizes a fundamental truth about him: Stacy’s dad has got it going on! His career in humanitarian relief makes him college-girl catnip, and his good looks and hot body only sweeten the deal.
Eric doesn’t visit as often as he should, but after catching his wife red-handed with a younger man, he doesn’t know where to turn for consolation. He’s hurt and vulnerable, and though Stacy does her best to cheer him up, no amount of daughterly compassion’s going to heal Eric’s bruised ego. Savannah knows he needs a special woman to lick his wounds. Too bad nobody warned her Eric would bring more baggage than she'd bargained for.
“I’m not going to the hospital.”
“Yes you are,” Eric replied simply. But instead of pulling off his pajama pants and pulling on his jeans, he collapsed beside her on the couch. “Just give me five more minutes.”
She sighed and reached again for the remote, this time with more care. “See?” she said, turning down the volume. “As long as I don’t move too quickly, I’m fine. I’ll just put another round of ice on my ankle and in the morning I’ll be healed.”
Eric’s eyes popped wide open at the mention of ice. “You know, that’s not a bad idea.” Pressing both hands down on the couch, he pushed himself up and hobbled to the kitchen. He sighed as he opened the freezer. The cold seemed to revive him. He brought the tray out and snapped it back and forth before dumping the ice into a metal mixing bowl. Even before leaving the kitchen, he picked up one piece and traced it along the base of his jaw and down his neck. “That’s better,” he said. “Nothing like ice dripping down your neck to wake a guy up.”
“If you say so.” Savannah chuckled. “That’s never been my game.”
He brought the ice to the TV room and sat on the coffee table before placing the metal bowl on her ankle. She flinched, but she didn’t move her foot away. Anything so unnerving must be a help.
“How does that feel?” Eric teased.
He moved the bowl from her ankle and set it on top of a magazine. From it, he swiped a single cube. Savannah cringed as she watched it coming for her, but when the ice made contact with her skin, she was surprised it wasn’t painfully cold. If anything, it tickled.
“How about this?” Eric asked, tracing the cube around her slightly swollen ankle. “How does this feel?”
The ice melted quickly between his fingers and her flesh. Droplets of water trickled down her foot and dripped from her heel onto the throw pillow underneath.
“Good,” she said. To her surprise, it was true. “It feels really good, actually.”
“What if I do this?” Eric asked, picking up a fresh cube and tracing it up the inside of her calf. Shifting her robe aside, he circled it around her knee before drawing it slowing up her thigh. The cold made her tremble now. She felt its effects more between her legs than she had against her ankle. A whole line of water droplets tumbled down her inner thigh, soaking the terrycloth beneath her. She knew where he was going with this, and she wanted to show him she was on board.
Savannah untied her belt and let her robe fall open at the front. Her breasts were warm and soft with sleep. “Do my tits,” she bid. “With the ice. Make them hard.”
A churlish grin bled upon Eric’s pink lips. “You want me to?”
Now Available from eXcessica and All Romace ebooks and many other e-tailers. E-book and PAPERBACK Coming Soon to Amazon!
Canada just got hotter!
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
In celebration of Passion's Victory's third anniversary today.
2008 CAPA Nominee
When passion is the prize, it’s time to change the rules….
Micah Souther is young, talented, and gay. As the junior owner of the family business, he knows better than to look for love “on the clock.”
Jonas Chadwick is the new guy at the firm. Older, wiser, and a survivor of the school of hard knocks, he’s not in the market for an office romance, even if he knows for certain his young boss is gay.
One kiss is all it takes to send Micah and Jonas on a collision course, and when bodies collide, the friction gets hot...
...My pulse pounded loudly in my ears and my cock rose, anticipating something I knew wasn’t a certainty. He’d come back, but for what? His warm lips found mine, seeking permission. I opened to him, inviting him to plunder at will. He did, thrusting his tongue into my mouth. I met him eagerly, hungrily. I wanted this, and more.
Jonas’ strong fingers encircled my wrist and he lifted my arm above my head as his body pinned me, full length, against my front door. He pressed the hard ridge of his erection firmly to mine. I reached for him with my free hand, wanting to feel his length and girth, but he grabbed that wrist, too, and lifted it beside the other. I bucked against him, totally turned on by the aggression I sensed in him.
“Be still,” he growled in my ear. He trailed kisses down my neck, even as his grip tightened. I struggled to break free of the vise grip he had on my wrists.
His pelvis ground against mine. I tilted my head and delved into the heat of his mouth. I moaned. He moaned. I wanted my hands free in the worst way. I needed to touch him, caress the sensitive, silky skin I knew sheathed his penis. I ached to feel his lips on my cock.
I threw my weight forward, desperate to force him to take a step back. It worked and I quickly spun him around and pinned him with my body. He grunted as he came in contact with the door and his lips bowed beneath mine. His strong fingers released my hands, and I reached for him, gathering him to me. His muscled thigh slipped between mine and applied upward pressure on my balls. Instead of worrying about injury I pressed down, reveling in the tingling sensation.
“Jonas,” I murmured against his smiling lips. “Talk to…” His tongue flicked to mine, cutting off my request for a moment of conversation.
Any of my neighbors watching were getting quite a sideshow. I shoved my hand in my pocket, fumbling for my keys. They fell from my shaking fingers to the porch decking. Jonas pushed me back, breaking physical contact. I longed to see his eyes, to get some idea of what he thought, what he felt.
“Bend over and pick them up,” he said cheerfully as he rubbed my nipple.
I stared at him and tried to catch my breath. “Not in front of you, Chadwick. I know all about men like you.”
“Do you?” Something rough and dark in his voice gave me pause. What demon did he battle?
“I know enough.” I pushed him back against the side of the house, not with some little force. “Why did you come back?”
“I don’t know. Maybe to satisfy my curiosity.”
“Bullshit.” I fisted my hands in his shirt and gave him a shake. “We take this inside, make it private, or we’re done here.”
Jonas stared at me for the longest twenty seconds of my life, then he nodded. I released him and he bent over, snagged my keys, and dropped them into my outstretched palm. I unlocked the door and invited the devil into my home for the second time in one day.
“I need a drink. Do you want one, Jonas?” I needed to haul him into my bedroom and have my way with him, that’s what I needed. My insides quivered. I shivered despite the warm evening.
But I knew, to my sorrow, that quickie sex now would be a mistake, and I bet he knew it, too.
“I’ll take a brandy, if you have it.”
“I hope you’ll settle for bourbon.”
I poured us each a generous shot and handed him one. He nodded and tossed it back like a pro. I followed suit, and we set out empties down on the counter in unison. Jonas reached for me again. I lifted my chin and stared him down. His hand dropped to his side.
I wanted him. God, how I wanted him. I ached with it. His gaze met mine before flicking down to the bulge in my pants and back up.
“It’s a sock,” I told him cheerily, in the same tone that he’d used to tell me to bend over.
“Hmm. Well, that’s the risk we run, isn’t it?”
I snorted. “Ya think?” I went to check his package, and he moved away.
“Shy?” I hardly thought shyness to be a problem for him given his examination of my tonsils with his tongue.
“Let’s just say I’m cautious...”
2008 CAPA Nominee
2008 Amber Heat Wave Winner
One of the Top Ten Bestsellers at
Amber Allure November and December 2008
A TASTE OF VICTORY (PAPERBACK)
Website at: http://www.kckendricks.com
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Sunday, August 14, 2011
I'm writing here about some things I know. Like Alan Brynton, my author in this novella, I had a publisher's deadline looming and no ideas for a story. Struggling with this horrible block, I realized we'd had a lot of sadness in our small family because of the sudden traumatic loss of some important pets. The block lifted when I decided to honor them by including dogs in my story.
Old Stones And New Wine is dedicated to our Salukis in the sky. We miss them.
Copyright © 2011 by Carolina Valdez
Cover art © 2011 by Trace Edward Zaber
Publisher: Amber Quill Press - Allure
To be released: Sunday, August 14, 2011
Victimized by the con man he’d been married to, and grieving the death of a beloved dog, internationally known mystery writer Alan Brynton plunges into a complete writing block. Needing the income and desperate to meet his publisher’s deadline, he leaves Los Angeles and rents a house in a village in the south of France. Beside the blue Rhone River, among lush vineyards in wineproducing Provence, he struggles to overcome anger and grief to break the hold the block has on him.
When rescuing an injured dog, he meets and finds himself falling for the irresistibly charming Frenchman, Jacques Marchand. But Jacques has the same easy charm his ex had, and having been burned in his marriage, Alan no longer trusts his ability to know who a person really is. He can’t risk being victimized again, but can he risk losing the intoxicating “new wine” Jacques is to him?
...Alan watched Jacques shrug out of his suit coat and hang it beside the raincoat. Jacques ran his hands through his wet hair, and Alan’s dick responded to sudden, electric sparks of desire shooting right through him.
“I’ll get a towel.” Did he really sound so lame? Alan’s tongue had trouble forming words. His cock had no trouble filling and rising. He turned away and hurried to the bath.
Alan handed a white towel to Jacques, who dropped it over his dark hair and blotted with one hand, while his other reached for Alan and pulled him close.
“You look very sexy in your nightwear, Alan Brynton.” His gaze fell on Alan’s crotch. “I see you’re feeling sexy, too. I hope that’s all for me.”
His hand teased as it brushed over Alan’s cock before he leaned in and tilted his head enough to capture Alan’s mouth. Alan opened to him, forgetting to breathe as sensations rolled over him. The smell of Jacques’s cologne and the lingering taste of the rich wine he must’ve had for dinner made the moment real. He closed his hands over the butt he’d ridden behind and ached to touch only hours ago. The cheeks were hard and firm, but just soft enough to be squeezed. He pulled this lover tight against his groin, reveling in the stiff cock he felt enclosed in suit pants as it pressed against his.
“I’m at a disadvantage. I’m not wearing a shirt, but you are,” Alan said. He reached up and tugged until the tie’s knot came completely undone and the silky fabric fell to the floor. His hands found the rest of the shirt buttons, and Jacques watched as his fingers slipped the rest of them out of their holes.
Jacques undid the last buttons at his wrists. He shifted restlessly as Alan pulled the shirt out of his trousers and then off his shoulders.
Alan pressed his lips to the pounding pulse beat in Jacques’s neck and grazed his skin with his teeth as he ran his hands down the pelt of dark hair covering the wide chest. He felt for a belt.
“I left it in the car.” Desire made Jacques’s voice unsteady.
Alan stilled. The impact of the words settled in. “You planned this.”
“I did, mon amour.”
Alan found his zipper, and Jacques stopped his hand. “Be very careful…my underwear’s with my belt.”
Alan thought his knees would give way with the need to hurry before he exploded and stained his pajamas. “In that case…” He slid his other hand inside and covered Jacques’s warm and inviting package...
The French Connection...
Cathedrals and vineyards. The lively pulse of New Orleans. The soft cadence of tender, Gallic words. The settings? Anywhere French serves as the prevailing tongue, and from that, you know romance is in the air...
Five Amber Allure authors bring you five stories of French-inspired gay romance, each tale bringing its own unique flavor to the table.
ISBN-13: 978-1-61124-158-7 (Electronic)
Some secrets should be kept close; some are best carved in stone...
In the year 1288, Amiens Cathedral is still a hive of construction. Philippe works as a painter, cheerfully decorating the stone carvings. Lamed in the crusades, alone in the world, he feels he has found the perfect life, with a safe place to sleep and work he loves. He tells himself he is content, that is, until the night he spies a handsome man in a scarlet cloak, kneeling in the sanctuary and clearly distraught. For Philippe, the world will be forever changed.
Lord Étienne Michelant has fallen far and fast. Once the beloved youngest son of a powerful family, he now has nothing and, unbeknownst to church officials, he lives atop the cathedral’s unfinished tower. In Philippe, Étienne finds everything he ever wanted in a man, and he curses fate that they met now. Tangled in dangerous secrets and arcane enchantments, Étienne knows any hope of love is futile.
Philippe’s interest in Étienne quickly evolves into something personal. But Étienne talks to statues of gargoyles and refuses to leave his tower refuge. Is Philippe’s new love interest merely mad, or does he hide dangerous secrets?
Genres: Gay / Historical / Fantasy / Witchcraft / Magic
Heat Level: 3
Length: Novella (27k words)
Teddy Bardin married Auguste, whom he thought was the man of his dreams, and to start a new life with his husband, he moved from New York in Paris, the city of light. Now, on a rainy afternoon, a life-shattering telephone call arrives, and Teddy learns that Auguste has been in a car accident.
After racing to the hospital to visit his stricken husband, Teddy is in for another emotional shock—listed among Auguste’s injuries is a nearly severed penis. It comes as an even bigger surprise when Teddy learns that Auguste was with another man who was orally pleasuring him at the moment of impact. And that’s only the beginning in a series of heartbreaking discoveries.
Teddy quickly comes to realize he must make some tough decisions about his future, especially about his marriage and unfaithful husband...and also his growing obsession with Pierre, the other important man in Auguste’s life...
Genres: Gay / Contemporary
Heat Level: 2
Length: Extended Amber Kiss (17k words)
To celebrate their reunion after a six-month work-related separation, Alain and his partner James have planned to meet up for the perfect dream vacation. When James calls with what Alain expects to be details of his arrival time at the first stop on their itinerary, James says he won’t be joining him. He’s met someone new, the temporary assignment has turned into a permanent job, and sorry, but their relationship is over.
Alain leaves the hotel, hoping the sights and sounds of the city will help distract him from the shock of James’ desertion, maybe stop him from trying to figure out ways of changing the unchangeable. As evening turns to night, he continues walking, up one street and down the next until music drifting up from a basement nightclub catches his attention. The singer’s voice is distinctive, different, and it sounds like Kenny Dumaine, a man Alain met in his hometown a couple of years ago.
Kenny doesn’t remember him at first. But Alain is drinking heavily, and when he mentions what sounds like a romance gone wrong, Kenny recalls the circumstances of their first meeting. Alain had helped him out of a bad spot, and now it looks like he needs the favor returned. Kenny was attracted to Alain first time around, and although things never turned physical, that hasn’t changed. As an entertainer, always on the move, he’s learned to keep things casual. His last performance is the following night, and the next day he’ll be gone. Where’s the harm in offering an old acquaintance a little badly needed TLC?
Genres: Gay / Contemporary / The Arts
Heat Level: 2
Length: Novella (20k words)
Sequel to Amber Allure’s Best Seller Pioneers...
Sebastian LaGrange is a distinguished man of a certain age. He’s quite content to spend his days worrying about his dear renters Lane and Matt, and to spend his days in his French Quarter cottage. Life is good. Comfortable. Predictable.
But when he meets Raymond Chou, a man with an accent that gives him goose bumps and makes him think of younger days, he’s completely thrown off. Is Raymond serious? Is he really courting Sebastian? And is Sebastian seriously thinking of letting him?
Raymond is everything Sebastian could want in a lover, but is Sebastian too afraid of love to give Ray a chance?
After all, at their age, they aren’t supposed to fall in love, are they?
Genres: Gay / Contemporary / Interracial / Multicultural
Heat Level: 2
Length: Novella (29k words)
by Carolina Valdez
ISBN-13: 978-1-61124-160-0 (Electronic)
“A jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou.”—Omar Khayyám
Victimized by the con man to whom he’d been married, and grieving the death of a beloved dog, internationally known mystery writer Alan Brynton plunges into complete writers block. Needing the income, and desperate to meet his publisher’s deadline, he leaves Los Angeles and rents a house in a village in the south of France. Beside the blue Rhone River, among lush vineyards in wine-producing Provence, he struggles to overcome anger and grief in order to break the hold the block has on him.
When rescuing an injured dog, Alan meets and finds himself falling for the irresistibly charming Frenchman, Jacques Marchand. But Jacques has the same easy charm Alan’s ex had, and having been burned in his marriage, Alan no longer trusts his ability to know who a person really is. He can’t risk being victimized again, but can he risk losing the intoxicating “new wine” Jacques is to him?
Genres: Gay / Contemporary / The Arts / Interracial / Multicultural / Exhibitionism / Public Places
Heat Level: 3
Length: Novella (29k words)
Come join us on our romp through all things French!
The French Connection, a GLBT AmberPax™ collection - available as individual titles, but a positively sinful steal at the discounted price for the set.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
M/M Dark Fantasy
from Amber Allure
Josh hunts vampires with relentless, cold precision until the night he confronts a gorgeous hunk of vamp in the woods outside Ithaca. Richard destroys all of Josh’s prejudices about vampires in the first few moments of conversation, and the sexual sparks between them ignite almost as quickly. Richard offers the stability Josh never had, while Josh offers the healing Richard needs so desperately.
But it’s nearly impossible just to walk away from a life of violence. An attack one evening leaves a friend in the hospital, Richard with a bullet through his chest, muttering about strange creatures, and Josh fighting to piece together what really happened. Are Richard’s nightmare attackers real, or is Josh’s favorite vamp losing his mind? Is there a reasonable explanation or has the hunter now become prey?
Richard’s eyelids snapped open, his ears deafened by the thundering of his own heartbeat. Since the change, waking always ambushed him this way, the abrupt shift from not-there to painfully present like a tiger leaping on him from a tree limb above his head. Only when he had been gravely wounded or had neglected his feedings too long did the hard edges of waking soften to something more normal.
He hated it, that moment of doubt, wondering, once again, if he woke up secure. A few deep breaths calmed his heart. He lay still, taking stock. Bedroom. Yes. Which one? Sarasota…Portland…no, Ithaca. The house in the hills. A life stirred out in the hallway, a heart that beat to a familiar rhythm.
Confusion furrowed his brow. William? No, of course not…Josh. He smiled at the memory of those skilled hands on his skin, the ferocious, consuming need the little hunter exuded when aroused. God, what fire lay under the sarcastic exterior, what depths of tender passion roiled in that hard-muscled, compact body…
Wait. A second heart beat alongside the first outside his door, faster than the first, most likely out of fear.
Sorrow and rage welled up in his chest. Why had he been so quick to trust? To fall headfirst into the hunter’s trap of seduction? Now Josh had help. They waited for him to emerge. A man like that would want him awake and alert, of that he was certain. The revenge-mongers never want to take you in your sleep.
Fog-silent, he rose and eased to the steel door of his room. The hinges, hung on the inside, meant no one could get in with a screwdriver. The heavy bolt ensured that it would take a blowtorch and a good deal of effort to break in at all.
Richard slid his back against the wall beside the door, in case of missiles aimed at his bedroom. Without exposing himself to any would-be assassin’s line of sight, he shot the bolt open and flung the door wide.
No crossbow bolts flew. No shots rang out. No hunters raced through the doorway screaming for blood.
“Dude?” Josh’s voice floated to him from the hallway, tense and wary. “You’re, ah, kinda growling. You have a bad dream or something?”
Richard kept his voice low, but failed to keep the threat out of his tone. “Who’s out there with you?”
Josh said something half-audible. He almost sounded embarrassed.
“Kat?” Richard snarled. “Who is Kat?”
“No, not Kat. A cat. She was hanging around your porch and she looked kinda hungry…”
A quick dart of his head around the doorframe confirmed what Richard’s sense of smell would have told him if he had been calmer. The second heart beat so fast because it was felis catus, a little gray shorthair with eyes wide as saucers. Cat. Josh. No other scents lingered in the house.
He passed a hand over his face and came out to lean against the wall facing Josh. “Sorry.”
Josh snorted and put the startled cat down. “Not exactly all sunshine and flowers when he first wakes up, is he, Miss Kitty?” She raced down the stairs, tail fluffed like a bottlebrush. “I was just coming to kiss you good morning. Or good afternoon. Or whatever.”
“Yeah. You said six hours.”
Richard cleared his throat, as much a habit when he was uncomfortable as to clear the last remnants of growl from his speech. “I did. I didn’t think…I’m out of the habit of having company when I wake. Maybe best to give me some room until I’m accustomed to another life in the house again.”
“Got it.” Josh held up his hands with a crooked grin. “Some guys need their space first thing. Not a morning person. Hey, it’s cool. But you could’ve told me you have a case of raving paranoia.”
A weak chuckle got past Richard’s chagrin. “I think, my dear, that I have reason to be paranoid. It keeps one’s head attached to one’s neck.”
“Yeah. Nice head, too.” Josh had the audacity to wink at him before he swaggered after the cat.
With a view of the most desirable backside he had seen in several centuries, high, tight half-globes of muscle clad in clinging denim, Richard indulged in a long ogle before he pushed off the wall and headed to the shower. Not only had Josh not betrayed him, he had endured Richard at his most animalistic with humor and patience. Perhaps this would work after all...A Different Breed
by Angel Martinez
A Golden Blush Winner and Miz Love Top Pick
ISBN-13: 978-1-61124-025-2 (Electronic)
ISBN-13: 978-1-61124-991-0 (Paperback)
From Amber Allure: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/DifferentBreed.html
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Angel-Martinez/321299159973