Ever since vampires had come out to the world, people had been obsessed. Take a walk on the wild side and see what the nightclub was all about.
Acadia Powell, on the other hand, didn’t do vampires. Nor did she do messy.
What she did do was stay away from people like Constantine Worth, Master of the City, and the most gorgeous man in the history of men. It didn’t matter that he had hypnotizing eyes, beautiful lips, and the sexiest body she’d ever had the privilege of laying eyes on.
It should be easy for her to stay away, but with each subsequent encounter, it’s becoming harder and harder to fight the growing need inside of her.
Constantine Worth knew that Acadia was off limits. Not only was she human and not willing to slum it with the undead, but she was also the baby sister of the city’s chief of police. The man that liked to arrest him every other day and twice on Sunday.
He should hate her based solely on the last name she shared with her brother. Yet each time he sees her, he forgets that he’s supposed to be playing nice. She sets his blood to boil, and each time she lets the verbal slurs flow, he finds it harder and harder to maintain his distance.
Soon, he will have to make a choice. Maintain his upstanding relationship with human law enforcement, or take what he wants, and damn the consequences.
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.
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
Rachael isn’t good at magic, and she’s not versed in life, but this witch wants to lay her hands on the sexy vampire who’s come to her in her dreams. She wants just one thing for Christmas wish — her vampire.
Gavin wants the witch in his dreams, but he doesn’t believe he’s worthy of her. Part of him wants to devour her magic and save himself, but what if being saved doesn’t involve dying?
Anything is possible with a little Christmas magic.
Christmas lights bathed the room in a rainbow of color. Tinsel glittered around her window, and the tiny Christmas tree turned in small revolutions on her dresser. She was in her room and safe.
She was also a witch who not only believed in the creatures of the night, but also in Christmas. Krampus could haunt her, too. She was a conundrum mixed with confusion.
She sighed. If she wanted the vampire to come to her in person, she’d have to appeal to a higher power. Her sisters wouldn’t help and would probably try to steal him away, if they didn’t kill him first. Krampus hated her because she wasn’t bad enough. Clumsy, yes. Prone to mistakes? Sure. But bad? No. The only shot she had was Santa.
Santa didn’t pay the coven much mind. It didn’t matter if she put out milk and cookies for him or that she believed he existed. If she existed and so did Krampus, why couldn’t Santa? Belief wasn’t enough. Santa wasn’t coming down her chimney.
Still, she could ask and believe.
She left her bed and ventured over to the window. Santa might not listen, but she had to try. Christmas was in two days, and she had a Christmas wish. If anyone could come through for her, it was Santa.
She held onto the windowsill. She hated being interrupted before she reached orgasm, but she needed her vampire to be there so she could. He mattered. Him being real mattered.
“Dear Santa, I should write a letter, but this seems faster. I could conjure you, but if I did, I’d probably give you four heads or turn you into a dragon by accident. Anyway, I’m tired of getting three-fourths of the way to climax and not being able to finish. Why? I know this seems like a strange thing to mention, but I’m trying to have sex in my dreams — which isn’t as good as the real thing — and it’s with a vampire. He could kill me, but I’m drawn to him. I don’t know who he is, Santa, but I want him. My Christmas wish is for the vampire in my dreams to come to me in real life. He might destroy me, but he might be what I need, and I want to find out. I accept the risk. Please, fulfill my Christmas wish and put a vampire under my tree.”
She swore she heard other voices and paused. Damn it. Her sisters must still be awake downstairs and heard her moving. If they did, they’d want her to get to work on whatever chore they’d found. They treated her like a fucking servant.
“Are you awake?” Serena, her oldest sister, called. “Rachael? If you’re awake, then there’s a sink full of dishes that need done.”
“It’s too early for her to be up,” Millie, her other sister, said. “She’s not awake. You’re imagining things.”
How could she sleep with the noise from her sisters downstairs? They treated her like a child and servant. The only way she’d have a chance at a life of her own would be to find the vampire and run the hell away.
“Please, Santa,” Rachael said. “I want my vampire for Christmas.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and white hot themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been nominated at the LRC for Best Author, Best Contemporary, Best Ménage, Best BDSM and Best Anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on various e-tailer sites.
When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice. She’s an active member of the Friends of the Keystone-LaGrange Public library.
It was the Great Lie, and it could destroy the Vampire Nation.
In First, We Kill All the Lawyers, vampire lawyer Donovan Trait survived repeated attacks by a serial killer. Now, after violating a marital agreement with the Vampire Coalition, and several ancient Vampire Laws, Donovan, and his newly-turned vampire bride are on the run. You see, in exchange for permitting a pure-blood vampire to marry a turned human, the Traits agreed to allow vampire scientists to monitor the conception and birth of their children. When Judge Shirley Magnusen Trait turns up accidentally pregnant on her wedding day, the fury of the Coalition is unleashed. The tribunal recommends unacceptable punitive action and the Traits are forced to flee to a mysterious island of vampire nuns. The Traits are, by profession, seekers of the truth. But this time, the truth may not set them free. In fact, it could start a revolution. Will the Traits escape the clutches of the Coalition and keep their babies safe? Or will their family be…eliminated?
Because I am fascinated by the games people play to find and secure a lasting relationship, which is not always love. There’s the chase, the courtship, the falling, the surrender. That’s what I try to capture in my stories.
Do you prefer a certain type of romantic hero?
I adore smart, dashing gentlemen who aren’t afraid to live on the edge. They can be a bad boy, a billionaire, a prince, or a secret agent. That hint of danger just hooks me! However, I they have to be paired with strong, independent women who aren’t afraid to fight for what they want, even love.
Why did you write “Ye Gods! The Law is an Ass?”
Donovan Trait is a vampire lawyer. In the human world, a very respected lawyer. I wanted to give him the opportunity to shine in the vampire world. So I created a scenario where his turned vampire bride Shirley is unfairly punished for an unintentionally violating their marital agreement, as well as other outdated, outrageous, and outright discriminatory laws—she unintentionally To survive and protect their unborn child, they must not only fight back, but also rebel. In this instance, human history provides them with the path. That gave me the opportunity to draw parallels between the fight for human rights and the rights of vampires who aren’t purebloods. It also allowed me to poke at the continued need of both societies to embrace social change. Perhaps surprisingly, the vampires lag far behind the humans in terms of equality and individual freedoms. However, in the end, the message is clear: Whether human or vampire, an individual is entitled to certain rights and liberties. And no human or vampire has a right to deny them.
About Seelie Kay:
Award-winning author Seelie Kay writes about lawyers in love, sometimes with a dash of kink.
Writing under a nom de plume, the former lawyer and journalist draws her stories from more than 30 years in the legal world. Seelie’s wicked pen has resulted in nineteen works of fiction, including the new paranormal romance series Donovan Trait, as well the erotic romance Kinky Briefs series and The Feisty Lawyers romantic suspense series. She also authored The Last Christmas, The Garage Dweller, A Touchdown to Remember, The President’s Wife, The President’s Daughter, Seizing Hope, The White House Wedding, and participated in the romance anthology Pieces of Us.
When not spinning romantic tales, Seelie ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. Currently, she resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, WI, where she enjoys opera, the Green Bay Packers, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine.
Seelie is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS: Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!
For the past few decades, vampiress Erin Morana has mourned the death of her sire, Jon. She’s done her best to move forward, and now she’s renovating the mansion once used by a psychopathic vampire. Between her magic lessons with the mage Lazarus and the anticipation of the birth of her best friend’s baby, Erin has her hands full.
An attack on a dark street, however, changes everything. Now she’s caught in the middle of a fight she has little hope of winning, but she isn’t alone.
Erin Morana grinned and let her best friend, Dana Reid, into the newly renovated mansion. “Like it?”
Dana wandered from room to room on the ground floor, stopped before Erin, and gave her a tight hug. “Oh, my God. It’s gorgeous. I can’t feel even the slightest hint of Harlan Yates here.”
“You can thank Lazarus and Jessie for that,” Erin said. The mage and his lover had been instrumental in fixing the atmosphere of Yates’ house of horrors.
Dana bumped Erin’s shoulder. “From what I’ve heard, you’re no slouch in the magic department.”
Erin shrugged. “I’m still learning. It’ll take years before I even come close to Jessie or Lazarus, but I love it.”
Dana nodded. She walked up the stairs, exploring more of the house. After their little group of vampires, demons, and mages had destroyed the last of Yates’ followers, Erin set about changing the house into an actual home for donors and vampires alike. She hated the word “coven” and chose to just call the place a safehouse instead. It was the kind of refuge she’d hoped Yates offered, only to find things under his rule vastly different and far from safe.
“Have you claimed a room yet?” Dana called from the railing above.
“Not yet.” Erin headed upstairs and met her friend. “I’ve been sleeping in the library downstairs. Feels too… weird when I’m here alone.”
Dana nodded. “I get that. If Saul hadn’t left his loft to me, I’d join you. Maybe I still will, though. I don’t know.”
“You think Haez will care?”
Dana snorted. “As long as we have our privacy, I don’t think he gives a damn. Of course, we’d need a second room for the baby when he gets here.” Dana rested a hand on her belly. The child was the result of Dana’s previous boyfriend, not the demon she now dated. But after one of Yates’ offspring bit Dana, there was no telling how the child would turn out. Up to that point, Dana had solely been a psivamp, but now she and her baby were hybrids, though, thankfully, he would only need energy. As far as she knew, anyway.
“I’m sure we can arrange that,” Erin said.
The front door downstairs opened, and they both looked down.
“You should keep your door locked, my dear,” Lazarus said by way of greeting. Many thought the mage to be a bit snobbish and coarse, but Erin liked him. He glanced up and waved. “Good evening, ladies.”
Erin smiled and hurried down the stairs. If anyone else had seen the hug they shared, they wouldn’t believe it. Lazarus felt like a father, not the magical mentor he’d become to her. “I’m sorry. Dana just got here, so I didn’t even think about it.”
Lazarus tsked but smiled. “Noted, but please, lock the door at all times.”
“I will,” Erin said. “I promise.”
“Very good.” Lazarus nodded at Dana as she came down the steps. “I believe Haez is returning this evening.”
Dana’s eyes lit up, and she smiled. “I know.” She practically bounced. “I need to go back to the loft before our gig. Then it’s showtime!”
Erin laughed as her friend left. Then she made a point of locking the front door. She turned to find Lazarus watching her. “What?”
“Are you certain you’re okay here alone?”
“I am.” Erin looked around at the place, unable to hide the pride she felt at the work she’d accomplished. “It feels more like a home now, and I’m hoping to find some new people to move in soon. I sleep in the library, but once I get a few tenants in, I’ll claim a room upstairs.”
“Very well,” Lazarus said. “For now, let us return to the kitchen. It’s the best place for practice, more open.”
“What are we going to work on today?” Erin asked as they entered the newly renovated kitchen and dining room.
Lazarus moved the dining table with no effort at all. For such a petite man, the mage possessed an inordinate amount of strength. He set the six chairs aside and nodded. “Much better. Your barriers are strong, but I feel they could be improved. Defense is paramount. Always remember that, my dear.”
For a moment, Erin lost herself in a memory. Jon had told her that very same thing, so long ago. If she’d learned then…
She shook her head and found Lazarus studying her, concern in his eyes. “Sorry.”
“Are you all right?”
She’d never gone into detail with anyone about Jon, not even Dana. She needed Lazarus’ lessons, but her heart and mind were elsewhere. “I…”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carys Seraphine is an alter ego of gay romance author Mychael Black. She lives on the Eastern Shore of the US with her family and their dog.
When Ember’s apartment burns down, two firemen offer their guesthouse for her to rent out. Not able to sleep on her friend’s couch any longer, she takes them up on their offer. One night smo
ke pours from their house. She rushes in to help them and discovers their secret.
With her restaurant being bought out from under her, Ember’s life is unraveling. She doesn’t know if she can trust her landlords. Someone knows what they truly are and kidnaps her to pressure her for information about the firemen. When she doesn’t talk about her green-skinned firemen, the situation only gets worse.
As love grows between Ember and her aliens, the world closes around them. She needs to get closer to them, but men invade their home. In order to save them, she will have to give up everything she knows.
Kilfanian Captain Hami comes to Earth to find his missing sister. But when his ship inadvertently causes a fire in a science building, he sees the glowing multicolored path that legend says leads Kilfanians to their mates. He follows that path into the blaze and finds a beautiful Human woman dying of smoke inhalation. To save her, he takes her to his ship for treatment.
Astrophysicist Amina Washington never expected to be abducted by aliens — especially not one so handsome and seductive. Amina is torn between their growing love and her need to return to Earth with proof of the existence of aliens.
Captivated, Hami finds himself questioning everything he believed about humans. Yet he and Amina are literally from different worlds. Can he find a future with a human woman who makes him want to be more than just a warrior of Kilfane? Especially when her people abducted his sister?
Moonshine: No one expects a werewolf to be running a moonshine still. Hell, a ridgerunner? Sure. He’s seen that coming from birth. What he didn’t inherit was lycanthropy. But life’s full of the unexpected. And now there’s David, self proclaimed expert tracker, and hunter of the bastard who turned them both. David is just the kind of trouble Jenson doesn’t need, and everything he wants.
Absinthe: Barthe and Rene have a real mess on their hands. Years ago, Barthe made a stupid mistake. Now Rene’s not sure he can believe Barthe will ever really want him. Add to their dilemma Barthe’s brother Bastien, and a werewolf caught half shifted… Can they come back together before they lose their love forever?
Skye: I’m a lone wolf, but I’ve left the forest to fight against demons who’ve taken over the world. Right now I’m with a pack in Baltimore, but their alpha respects my ways. I take assignments from him, but I live alone and fight alone — until the night I’m attacked by a swarm of bat demons and a hot little snake dancer jumps in to back me up. For me, it’s lust at first sight, but it’s more than that. I think this adorable little tough guy is my mate, even though he’s not a wolf.
Erik: I’m called Snake Charmer. Dancer. Contortionist. Spirit twin to an alien serpent who has always been my protector. My life has been a series of horrors with some beautiful experiences tossed in. I’ve learned to be independent, especially after my best friend and I were brutalized in an attack that left her dead. Now I’m out for revenge, and it’s brought me to Maryland, directly into the path of a gorgeous werewolf who makes me feel things I never dreamed of. It can’t last, though, and nothing, not even desire this deep, will come between me and my vendetta.
Warning: While set in a futuristic paranormal reality, Snake Charmer includes references to previous child abuse, rape, and murder that may be triggers to some readers.
Long, lean, wild and unconventional for an Omega, Zane rocks and rolls Alpha Grant’s world. Zane can’t be predicted. He can’t be contained. And Grant freaking loves it.
But it’s not all beer and BJs, even for these two. Grant’s never wanted to have kids of his own. His family is Legacy Tattoo, the business he finally reclaimed after his grandfather’s death. He’s dedicating his life to making it not just flourish but thrive. And he doesn’t know — yet — about Zane’s status as a single father to a rambunctious pre-K rebel.
Their love affair is gonna be complicated. And — downright combustible.
Cover Art by Bryan Keller
#LGBTQ+ #Mpreg #ParanormalRomance
Think werewolves aren’t real?
Tell that to the four women and one man who find themselves captive to the whims of the Zante pack’s males. Fierce, mythical, and sexy-as-sin, these delightfully debauched wolves guide their lovers through a journey of seductive exploration. Whether newly discovered or rekindled, their relationships are as passionate as they are.
And the women can give as good as they take. From a fairy bent on revenge to a vixen determined to destroy the pack, they’ll all discover that getting caught is its own reward.
Wild and dangerous, menacing and exciting, otherworldly and naughty to the last…
The men of the Zante pack will make a believer out of you.
Publisher’s Note: This box set contains the previously released novellas Firecrackers: Chemistry to Burn, Feral Magnetism, Feral Bachelorism, Feral Hedonism, and Feral Voyeurism.
Maxim, tall, whimsical, and a vampire, wants to hire a curator for his art collection. Robyn, a newly minted art historian looking for a job, loves fine art and old stuff, and Maxim soon realizes she is not just perfect for the job, but also for him.
Robyn never liked prejudices against vampires, werewolves, or Fae, but the moment she starts working for a vampire, things appear less black and white, especially when she begins to fall for her new boss.
Robyn and Maxim’s young love will have to overcome odds and odd vampires who take issue with the fact that Maxim happens to be a vampire hunter who doesn’t shy away from decapitating his own kind.
Brian seemed to be slipping. He’d called up to tell Maxim of the interviewee’s arrival only about twenty seconds before the elevator had dinged, which barely gave Maxim the time to refresh his memory in regard to her name.
Heath had left a file on his desk titled Interviews, and Maxim had complained at the sheer lack of imagination that was obvious in that title. Heath had used magic marker to write it, though, and Maxim had wondered, out loud, if Heath had missed the developmental stage crayons were clearly meant for. Upon which Heath had broken into verbiage that came odorously dripping from the verbiage gutter. Heath had informed him that he, Maxim, best not pull any of this bodily refuse with the artsy people. They were, after all, artsy people and not likely to enjoy such shenanigans, at least if Heath’s soliloquy was to be believed. It was a shame the creativity he had displayed in his colorful speech had not translated into the simplistic title of the file that had sparked it.
“Robyn with a y,” Maxim mumbled to himself as he walked toward the elevators. “Y, y, y… Why would whiskey-vending witches want vigor with their witchy wits?” He pushed a strand of his hair back behind his shoulder and put on a smile. He could smell the interviewee even before he saw her, some perfume he didn’t know, light and floral, forgettable as Valentine’s Days spent alone. The scent underneath that was sunshine-warmed skin, a slight note of crushed cardamom pods. A shame to hide that with such perfume.
When Maxim laid eyes on the interviewee, he could feel his pupils spill black, and he immediately understood why Brian had taken so long to pick up the phone. Robyn with a y Somerton was gorgeous, though very much on the skinny side, always something that made Maxim’s memories of hunger float back to the surface of his mind, no matter how long ago that had been. Her hair was dark and wonderful, lush ebony, and her gray eyes and pale skin made her deep purple dress look even better on her. But damn it, he had promised Heath.
“Miss Somerton, thanks for coming in for the interview. My name is Maxim Vallois. I believe you talked to my assistant over the phone?” Now, there’s some perfect manners for you right there, Heath. If only that dhampire brat were here to see it.
The shock on her face at seeing Maxim and realizing what he was would have been amusing, should have been amusing, but for the first time in decades, Maxim felt futile fury at the reaction rise inside of him. She did go a shade paler, though, which was pretty.
“Y-yes. About the curator position?” she said, catching herself rather quickly and reining her expression back into normal. Maxim liked her voice. It was calm, not shrill. Heath sometimes brought home shrill, and that was usually headache inducing, rhetorically speaking. Maxim did not actually get headaches.
“Certainly. Please, come in.” Part of him wondered whether she would run. She was wearing terrible heels for that, and because he cared and paid attention, Maxim was pretty sure she was already headed for at least one blister on her left heel. Maxim had never understood heels, nor foot binding. He had understood what it said about having power over women, but he’d loathed that, loathed that society made it necessary for women to give that power.
Not the time to wax philosophical, Maxim reminded himself. Heath, if he were here and not away doing something that had to do with banks and money, would have been seething in the acid of his own glaring stares already. Stares glare glistening staffs of seeping solace. Not my best one, Maxim thought.
Robyn with a y came forward. Clearly she had decided running would be stupid. Mmh, Heath. Did you get me a final girl? Maxim filed that as a nice line for later. When he would tell Heath he wanted Robyn with a y. He wasn’t even sure why. It sure as bodily refuse wasn’t the cheap perfume, and it wasn’t the mildly scrawny look that Maxim found mildly headache inducing. Perhaps it was that stare of not quite fear but close enough to fear. Or lust at first sight? Who knows. Whatever the why, Maxim wanted her.
Of course Maxim couldn’t just spring this on Y Robyn. It would sound as if he were planning to make her a plaything, something Maxim knew good and well vampires did. He could go off on a whole other tangent about that nasty habit. He had to at least give Y Robyn the impression she had won the job, and of course he needed to be able to tell Heath as well, so he led her to the cluttered table he had lovingly prepared for the magic marker interview.
“I’m sorry I’m late,” Y Robyn said when he shook her hand. “You know how fickle the subway can be.”
“I don’t, actually. But it’s no trouble. This way.” He made a mental note of checking out the subway. It might be fun, ethnologically speaking.
When Y Robyn saw his table, she summed it up wonderfully concisely. “Wow,” she said, and Maxim glanced at her saucer wide eyes and at the appealing slackness of her drooping jaw.
About Alexa Piper
Alexa Piper writes steamy romance that ranges from light to dark, from straight to queer. She’s also a coffee addict. Her retelling of Dracula, A Tale of Honey and Garnet Wine, might be a cursed manuscript, and every writer should have at least one of those. She also loves writing series, and her Fairview Chronicles follow a ragtag gang of supernaturals who try to make their city safer. Mostly. Connect with Alexa on Facebook or Instagram, follow her on Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter!
A month ago, Cheryl Parker thought she was an ordinary woman — a nurse, a mother, a woman whose lover had walked out. Now she’s gained incredible power thanks to an alien spirit who has made her immortal. She looks twenty again. And her ex is back.
It’s not unusual to discover an old lover kept secrets, but some are harder to believe than others. Ulf’s secret is that he’s an immortal vampire Knight of the Round Table. The good news is, he still loves Cheryl. The bad news is, he thinks the creature inhabiting her is a potential threat to humanity. The worst news is, there is a threat — and it could well kill them all.
Ulf wants nothing more than to be with Cheryl again. The problem is her magic resembles that of a dragon who tried to set a small town ablaze. And she knows more about the creature than she’s saying.
Even as passion rekindles between them, Cheryl and Ulf must overcome years of lies and mistrust. Otherwise they’re doomed — and so is everyone else. Because the creature stalking them is something worse than a dragon. Much, much worse.
Brandon Sanders was five years old. The odds were high he’d never see six.
Cheryl Parker stood at the foot of his hospital bed, watching the machines tracking his heartbeat, respiration, and blood oxygen. Eyelashes as thick and black as crow feathers stood out against his bloodless cheeks beneath the thick bandaging encircling his head. The tube of a ventilator distorted his mouth, the machine hissing as it breathed for him. She wondered whether his eyes were his mom’s soft brown or the blue-gray of his dad’s.
Jenny Sanders had said her son had played Hulk to his brother’s Iron Man all morning, running around the house, laughing and giggling. Until he’d raced out the front door into the yard, his brother hot on his heels…
Right into the path of his father’s practice tee shot. The golf ball slammed into Brandon’s temple in precisely the wrong spot, fracturing the thin bone and embedding fragments in his brain.
One frantic ambulance trip to Mecklenburg Memorial later, a neurosurgeon had removed a chunk of the boy’s skull to allow room for the swelling that would otherwise damage his brain. The doctor had tucked the square of bone beneath the skin of Brandon’s abdomen until it could be reattached once the danger was past. He’d cleaned out the skull fragments and closed, and the prayers had begun.
So far, they’d gone unanswered.
The ventricles of the child’s brain were filling with blood, a sign of encroaching brain death. More surgery was needed to repair the bleed, but it was too deep in the brain. Dr. Deepak Anand feared he couldn’t even get to the blood vessel without killing the child. Anand had spent all afternoon calling hospitals around the country, trying to find a neurosurgeon with the skill to risk operating. After one look at Brandon’s CT scans, they’d all turned him down.
The neurologist had scheduled a proof-of-life electroencephalogram for later tonight to see if Brandon was brain dead. If so, his parents would have to decide whether to take him off life support. Based on his declining vitals, nobody thought he had a prayer of passing the EEG.
Brandon had one chance, and one chance only. Cheryl.
She wasn’t a doctor, much less a neurosurgeon. Yes, she’d been a nurse for almost forty years, fifteen of them as a nursing supervisor. She’d treated thousands of sick and dying people, and she’d fought like hell for every one of them. Too often, there’d been nothing she could do. She’d been only human.
Cheryl wasn’t sure what she’d become last month, but “only human” no longer applied. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have to cast spells to make her twenties-looking face appear its true fifty-nine. Mirrors were still freaking her out. She’d glimpse herself and think, Who is that kid and what is she doing in my house?
So yeah, she had power. But this was brain damage that scared neurosurgeons who thought they were gods. Can I pull this off?
The answering silence in her head seemed to tick.
At last Gaia’s voice whispered through her mind like the sigh of leaves in a cold wind, inhuman and distant. If we do nothing, the Sight tells me his parents will be planning his funeral tomorrow.
Shit. She remembered the look on his father’s face. That stunned I’ve-killed-my-boy expression had made her worry Stephen Sanders would try to self-medicate with a bullet. Where would that leave his wife and eldest child?
Cheryl had never faced anything like this with her son Adam, but she could imagine how she’d feel. Paul would have been devastated…
Not Paul, she reminded herself. His name is Ulf. He lied about that like he lied about everything else. Despite the bitterness in that thought, there was longing in the next. Will he show up again tonight?
After twenty-eight years without a word, Ulf had dropped by half a dozen times in the last month. Probably making sure she hadn’t gone evil and started eating the neighbors.
Who the hell cares? she told herself impatiently. Healing this kid is what matters.
Besides, she’d violated her own code of magical ethics to create the opportunity. First she’d had to put a spell on Brandon’s parents to send them down to the cafeteria for dinner. Otherwise they wouldn’t have left for more than a few minutes. They’d be gone for the next hour. Then she’d compelled the medical staff to ignore anything odd going on in Brandon’s room. She’d laid a third spell on the equipment, making sure everything would maintain the same readings the machines were recording now. Otherwise, changes to Brandon’s heartbeat and respiration might raise questions later she wouldn’t want to answer.
Damn, she hated using her power to fuck with people’s heads. This was the same kind of shit witches had done to her. Guess I’ll just have to live with being a hypocrite. Gaia, can we pull this off in the time we have?
About Angela Knight
New York Times best-selling author Angela Knight’s first book was written in pencil and illustrated in crayon; she was nine years old at the time. A few years later, she read The Wolf and the Dove and fell in love with romance. In addition to her fiction work, Angela’s publishing career includes a stint as a comic book writer and ten years as a newspaper reporter. Several of her stories have won South Carolina Press Association awards. Angela lives in South Carolina with her husband, Michael, a detective with the Spartanburg PD.
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Four women find themselves thrust into a world where fantasy and reality intertwine in a more than pleasurable way. Where every single move made is completely for her satisfaction. Where even the darkest desires are fulfilled. Where the men of their dreams have one goal — to leave them sore, hoarse and still begging. A girl could get used to this…
Publisher’s Note: Executive Decisions contains the previously published novellas By The Numbers, One Night Only, Hidden Agenda, and Research Only.
“Good morning, D and S Attorneys, how may I help you?” Zoe Carter answered the phone professionally, as always. She always did her best no matter what job she was doing.
“You can start by making sure the damned coffee is fresh.” She grimaced. Unfortunately, her employers weren’t so congenial. From the sound of it, Sebastian Collingsworth wasn’t in a particularly good mood. “And get me a decent shirt from Julian’s.”
“Yes –” The line went dead. “– sir.” She sighed. “Good morning to you, too, asshole.”
Working for vampires sucked. Literally. Zoe Carter was just thankful she wasn’t on the menu.
She was the accountant and receptionist for Dorian and Sebastian Collingsworth, owners of D&S Collingsworth, Attorneys at Law, and had been for the last ten years. Because she was the most senior staff member — OK, so she was the only staff member — she saw the men at their best and worst. She also knew D&S Attorneys was only part of what the two big vampires did.
As a rule, the pair weren’t exactly morning people. Other than that, they didn’t seem to have any of the weaknesses she’d always thought vampires had. Instead, they had the arrogant belief they were superior to every being on the planet. Like most men she knew.
One thing the pair had on other men was the second job. They also worked for a very high-class escort service for women with particular and… intense tastes. On more than one occasion, they’d called her to come in before dawn to help one or both of them to their underground chamber at the office.
At first, she’d worried about them getting caught — and her being trapped in the middle of some illegal prostitution ring. Being paranoid made her hyper aware of the people around her, especially when the local sheriff was a frequent visitor. There seemed to be several people who not only knew about the side business the two vampires had going on, but also that they were vampires. When she’d questioned Dorian about it, he’d laughed at her, saying not everyone was so naive to believe everyone in the world was human. As if the whole friggin’ town of Mount Bell was populated with vampires!
There was no denying their sex appeal. Zoe creamed her panties every day she went to work. These men exuded sex. The nasty, raunchy kind. They definitely fit the part they were apparently expected to play. She had heard them talking on more than one occasion about enjoyable bouts of kink. It was definitely the kind of sex nice girls like herself didn’t participate in.
It was a good thing she was so good at her job. As it was, she had to constantly recheck her figures. She found concentration almost impossible at times. She was too busy trying to catch glimpses of the two sexy men.
The only bad thing was she couldn’t stand either of them. Oh, they were nice enough to almost everyone. Just not to her. The only reason she stayed was because every time she tried to leave, they’d give her a raise, or a “continuance bonus.”
Aside from that, they were the biggest assholes in the world. They never smiled at her, never told her she did a good job, and treated her like a servant. It was almost like they wanted her to hate them.
As to today, she’d had this morning’s conversation with one or the other of them several times over the years and she knew better than to come back with only a “decent shirt.” Before she left, she put on a pot of dark roast and took the company credit card. She’d get a complete change of clothing for each of them. Julian would know what she needed.
By the time the brothers entered the office via the back entrance, she was back with everything they could possibly need.
“God, I need a Scotch.”
Dorian looked like he’d been in a barroom brawl rather than on a date with some rich man or woman who needed companionship for the night and didn’t want complications. In fact, it looked like there had been plenty of complications last night. Blood and dirt streaked his clothing and face. His hair was a matted mess instead of the shiny, silky black it normally was.
“Just wash up and change clothes, Dorian. Griping about it isn’t helping.”
“If I’d known he was a junkie, I wouldn’t be in this situation, Sebastian. You’re the Psy. You should have warned me.” Both men were clearly agitated, and the longer Zoe listened to them, the more alarmed she grew. Dorian obviously expected Sebastian to have warned him about the drugs, but Zoe knew it was very likely Sebastian didn’t know. He could sense strong emotions, not read minds, and the strong emotions he could sense was what he fed from. As it was, she was terribly afraid they’d done something awful.
“What did you two do? If you’ve killed someone, I swear I’ll be the first one to go to the police.”
Dorian rolled his eyes and Sebastian gave her a scathing look. “Of course we didn’t kill anyone,” Sebastian snapped.
Dorian barked a sharp laugh. “No, but I may later. Doesn’t our contract state that drugs and alcohol are strictly prohibited?”
“Would you two stop for a minute?” As Dorian undressed, Zoe grew increasingly alarmed. When he took off his suit jacket and turned around, she saw nasty gashes on his back. They were deep and angry looking, already getting red at the edges as if infection was imminent. She approached Dorian and carefully touched the edge of one such gash.
“Fucking hell!” He jumped and whipped around. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
“This happened last night?” Zoe ignored her employer’s outburst. She was used to it. When she reached out again to touch the irritated skin to see if it was warm, Dorian rounded on her.
“Don’t fucking touch me! The only thing you need to concern yourself with is giving me the clothes I asked for, then getting the hell out!”
Zoe had never seen him like this. Sebastian gripped Dorian’s shoulder as if to hold the man back. Dorian looked absolutely furious. What the hell had she done to set him off?
“I was just trying to help. You’re hurt.”
“When I want your help, I’ll ask for it, mortal. Now get the fuck out!”
Zoe had never backed down from either of them before, but something in the way he looked at her scared the holy hell out of her. She backed out of the room, grabbed the clothes she’d acquired and tossed them in the general direction of the men. With one last angry look, Zoe turned and walked out the door.
Fuck it. She didn’t need this. She had a vacation coming. They’d have to live with her taking it early. Unless a couple weeks of solitude changed her mind, she wouldn’t be back.
Erotic romance author by night, emergency room tech/clerk by day, Marteeka Karland works really hard to drive everyone in her life completely and totally nuts. She has been creating stories from her warped imagination since she was in the third grade. Her love of writing blossomed throughout her teenage years until it developed into the totally unorthodox and irreverent style her English teachers tried so hard to rid her of.