Joshua’s spending more and more time at club Sub Rosa. It’s time he emerges from the shadows to take a more active role. Pursuit of the aloof nightclub owner obsessed with voyeurism carries him over the edge. The stranger’s scent awakens a desire Joshua has not felt in centuries. He vows to have the man. If it means bleeding dry everyone close to either of them, so be it.
Mason Kildare, owner of Sub Rosa, doesn’t play in his own backyard. Instead he frequents other night spots in search of fulfillment. A reserved disposition coupled with gray hair keeps most of the young men he finds attractive at arm’s length, but not Joshua. Joshua storms Mason’s defenses, breaking them down one by one. By the time he discovers Joshua’s bloody secret, Mason has lost more than his body — he’s given away his soul.
Available Today at Changeling Press
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2022 J. Hali Steele
Two groups of patrons had already been discouraged from reaching the corner table, but from previous visits, Joshua knew the spot would soon be occupied. His quarry was later than usual, so he keep his long legs stretched across the aisle. Used to wearing button down shirts, tonight his collar strangled him. He tugged at the neck before undoing another button.
Three youthful revelers snatched attention as they noisily closed in on the table. “Excuse us, dude.” Guy didn’t even look twenty-one.
Largest of the gathering took control. “We want that table. Move your legs. We can get by.”
“Please find another table.” Instinct told Joshua this would get messy. “You passed two.” All this effort to crawl in bed with a man for one night. Sensation sliding down his spine belied that thought. One night my ass. Normally dead calm, Joshua’s annoyance toughened his words. “Stand against the wall for all I care.”
When the one closest to the big man stepped near and bumped his legs, Joshua stood. At least two inches taller, he leaned in and quietly warned, “Touch me once more, and I’ll break every finger on both of your hands. Then how will you play with your tiny dick?”
Stepping back, one of the followers informed his friend, “I don’t mind another table.”
“I mind, and since you’re up, we’ll slip by.”
Spying the man he came to see enter and stroll to the end of the long bar, Joshua decided not to waste more time. He grasped the man’s hand and bent it at the wrist, intending to cause a sprain. “Take. Another. Table.”
“Jesus Christ! You son of a bitch!”
“I’m struggling not to break your hand.” Joshua opted for wrapping his fingers around the cretin’s thick neck. Allowing one fingernail to puncture skin, he effortlessly lifted the idiot an inch off the floor — not enough for customers to notice, but sufficient for the bastard to know he was out matched. “I asked nicely, but you had to take the Lord’s name in vain.”
His friends shuffled backward. “They’re deserting you.” Letting the man’s feet touch the floor, Joshua smiled before licking blood from his finger. “Ah, it’s your lover’s birthday. Fucking him later should make keeping your balls attached a prime concern. Turn and move on.”
“Holy shit, you’re nuts!” The man’s eyes popped wide in their sockets.
That rattle him more.
“Hopefully he never discovers you’re screwing his best friend.”
“I… how… Hold on a minute.”
The waiter picked that moment to make rounds. “Can I get you anything else?” The waiter noticed the intruder and shoved a napkin into his hand. “You’re bleeding.”
“I — I’m good.” He rubbed his neck. “Sorry.”
“I’ll have a lager.” Joshua sat back in his chair. “Send a bottle of your best champagne to this young man’s table.” His boyfriend deserved a decent night out. The blood Joshua had accessed allowed him to deliver a mental prod. Go.
“Uh, thanks, man.”
“Enjoy your partner’s birthday.”
“That was severe.” Sten Majković, Joshua’s best friend, the vampire king, and a royal pain in the ass, sat across the table.
Joshua swiveled in his seat to face Sten. “Who invited you?”
He’d die for this man. Damn near had on two or three occasions. But Sten picked the worst of times to surface. More disturbing was the fact Joshua hadn’t sensed his presence. Not a single drop of his blood pulsed in alert. Joshua was one of less than a handful of vampires who had the pleasure of Sten’s lifeforce, so his manifestation without prior warning should have been impossible, and elicited concern. Scrutinizing his guest, Joshua realized Stan was fingering a coin Joshua had bequeathed him. That provided some explanation. The talisman gave his king insight into Joshua’s life that no one else experienced.
The handsome man Joshua had in his crosshairs was wearing an impeccable navy suit. He strode toward the table Joshua had taken such pains to keep available. His heralding scent and the way his lean body moved had undoubtedly helped distract Joshua, enabling Sten to gain residence at his table unnoticed.
His leader’s intense brown eyes wouldn’t miss Joshua’s interest.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
J. Hali Steele wishes she could grow fur, wings, or fangs, so she can stay warm, fly, or just plain bite the crap out of… Well, she can’t do those things but she wishes she could!
Multi-published and Amazon bestselling author of Romance in Paranormal, Fantasy, and Contemporary worlds which include ReligErotica and LGBTQ stories where humans, vampyres, shapeshifters and angels collide-they collide a lot! When J. Hali’s not writing or reading, she can be found snuggled in front of the TV with a cat in her lap, and a cup of coffee.
Growl and roar — it’s okay to let the beast out. — J. Hali Steele