Zytarri: Blood for Blood, an excerpt

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#futuristic #fantasy #vampires #aliens #erotic romance #science fiction #MF

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The Past…

Leora Saguna has become what her kind fear most—a blood huntress. Fueled by a lust for revenge for the assassination of her Alpha, she has violated every Sangorrian law to track the murderers down. And one day return to her infant daughter, Katriel.

Each time Noah Chisca watches his mark take macabre delight in her task, he is one dead bandit closer to earning the highest bounty of his career. Yet he can’t deny the desire that twists his gut. He takes her captive; she takes him as her mate.

The Present…

Katriel knows bonding with the mate her mother has chosen will ensure her future as heir. But the memory of the forbidden warrior monk who stole her heart haunts her, and she rebels.

Valyn’s identity is hidden until he’s proven himself worthy of Katriel. But fighting a deadly dragon is only the beginning of their nightmare, as sinister forces conspire to shake the foundations of Sangorrian society and unleash a reign of blood that may destroy them all.

EXCERPT

He tracked her for long hours, watched as the sun arrowed downward to a point where it stretched to a carpet of gold across the horizon. The sight was breathtaking as the light settled upon the shores of the murderous Sabul Sea, turning the acidic water a fiery red. Noah wondered if the crimson shade reminded the woman of her home planet. He quickened his pace as she headed toward the razor-sharp black volcanic ledge teetering over the surge.

If she dove into those swirling waters, her flesh would burn and peel away, a thousand times worse than any damage a blazing-red midday Zadolan sun would do to her. Far worse than any punishment and execution her own kind would inflict upon her for her vengeful misdeeds. It would be a slow and agonizing death, if the sea serpents didn’t get to her first. His long-legged strides shifted into a jog as he watched her remove her sword and carefully lay it on the ground. She slowly removed her skins of battle—she unlaced the tall boots and removed them, then she unlaced and removed the brown vest. As she began to remove the last piece, his pace increased to a dead run. He couldn’t take the time to appreciate the stunning, pale beauty of her skin. He could think only of what that terrible sea would do to her, and if she jumped, there was no way he could save her. He had to get to her before that happened.

Now naked, she knelt and prayed to her gods. Noah hoped her meditation would offer him just enough time to reach her. As he climbed the vicious volcanic rock, scoring his flesh to get to her, she gracefully rose to her feet and stood at the rim, gazing down into the roiling sea. The sunset bathed her in its pale copper light, and in any other circumstances, the vision would have frozen him dead in his tracks. Like a goddess, she stood poised above the deadly waters, arms stretched above her head.

It was just as she leaped that he caught her, a strong arm banded around her, dragging her away from the edge, sending them both to the ground. He twisted, taking the brunt of the rocky surface, locking her to him, protecting her. He wasn’t ready for the suddenness of her transition. The weary woman he’d tracked morphed almost instantaneously into a snarling, vicious she-cat. Fangs snapping, claws striking out at him, they rolled over the jagged ground. Her teeth scraped across his neck. He grabbed a hank of her hair and yanked back. As fast as she was, he anticipated her every move, foiled her attempts to maim him, to kill him—to drink him dry.

Wounds littered her body and blood dripped from the rocks by the time he had her on her belly, her hands and feet tethered with bindings of tough leather. Breathing hard, he yanked her up. Her black hair spilled over her shoulders, cloaking her nakedness. He wanted to push it back, to expose her and drink in her beauty. Almost as if she heard his thoughts, she lifted her head and glared at him. Her mane flew back. She straightened her shoulders and lifted her head proudly, her lips drawn tight in a twisted semblance of a smile. “So kill me,” she said. “Or do you mean to have the savage Sangorrian first and then kill her?”

By the gods, she was magnificent. If he followed the lawless rabble of Zadolan, he would take her right now. Spread her out on this hard, unyielding rock and brutally fuck her, and then slit her throat. If he were true to his blood and to the barbarian he’d been brought up to be, that was what he would have done. It would have made his job easier. The council had not demanded she be returned alive.

But Noah Chisca had made his destiny his own. And within him dwelled an ethical imperative not grounded in Zadolan lawlessness. He’d created his own set of laws. He wasn’t after rape. He didn’t want the money the council had offered. He didn’t want her dead.

“Don’t presume to know me, Leora Saguna of Ebonnia.” He grabbed her arms and yanked her against his body. “I’ve tracked you since your first kill. I could have had you any time I wanted. Your council wants you back—dead or alive.”

“So kill me now. It seems to me I would be much less of a burden that way. You’re a bounty hunter—I would expect you’d prefer the most expedient way of collecting your reward.”

“It’s a hefty one, I’ll give you that. As I have few needs, it would set me up nicely for the rest of my life.”

She closed her eyes and tilted her head back, exposing her long, beautiful neck. “Then do it.”

He curled his hand into her hair and gazed at her lush, blood-tinged lips and the hint of lethal incisors. And then he swooped down to capture her mouth with his own, tasting her savage nature, exploring the passion of her mouth. He drank of her as greedily as she’d drunk the blood of her enemies.

He pulled her closer to him as he deepened the kiss, felt his own blood fill her mouth as her teeth razed his tongue and his lips. The fire inside him roared with a savageness he’d never experienced before.

And then she became a heavy weight in his arms. He pulled back and studied her. He loosened his tight grip and lifted her unconscious body into his arms. His strong, beautiful blood huntress had fainted.

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Eternity (the wedding) – an excerpt

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Blurb:

(#erotichorror #vampires #darkromance #MF #MMF #MMM #BDSM #darkfantasy)

In the end he begged to serve the demonic vampire who made him. Maximilian Wolffe was unwillingly turned vampire in 1570. A brutal master should always beware of what he creates.

He claimed her as his servitess. In 1872 Venice, Max and Claudio hunt the streets of Venice. What Max finds is not what he expects–a woman to equal his passion. He claims her and then one day, abandons her. To save her. The memory of his vampiress may be the only thing that saves him from the beast within.

And now he’s back to claim what is his.

EXCERPT:

“To our future, cara.”

She swallowed the sparkling liquid. Max took her in his arms, kissed her and then picked her up and carried her to the bed where Achille awaited.

“You will be the first,” she said as she looked up at Max. “You will claim my virginity in this as you have claimed my blood.”

He looked down at her, his pupils dark chasms growing wider and deeper. And she felt herself falling. She wished he were as easy to read for her as she apparently was for him.

He turned his gaze to Achille. “Unlace her dress,” he commanded. He turned back to Lena, then lowered his head to kiss her. Kisses that were drugging and had her gasping for breath, her body burning. Up until this moment he had made love to her in every conceivable way except one, stopping just shy of breaching her virginal barrier.

The bed shifted as Achille climbed onto it and started to unlace her dress. It drooped down her shoulders. It was Max’s hands that went to the hooks on the front of her corset and released them one by one and tossed it away. Achille removed the bustle and petticoats. Max pulled the chemise over her head, then Achille removed the pins from her hair, allowing a cloud of dark brown curls to spill over her shoulders.

Max slowly removed her stockings, carefully rolling them down her legs. Achille placed kisses along her bare shoulders. Extending one of her arms, he trailed kisses along her forearm, pressed a heated kiss to the sensitive crease at her elbow and down along her wrists. It was Max’s cool lips at the soles of her feet, across the top. Separating her thighs, he kissed his way along her calf, over her vulnerable tendon, sucking each toe into his mouth.

Achille kissed each fingertip. Turning her hand palm up, he spent a considerable amount of time licking across the sensitive flesh, then sucking on first her index finger and then her middle finger.

She shuddered at the exquisite sensations that ran through her from head to toe as these men fondled her, petted her, drove her passion higher and higher.

The two men took a long time undressing her, worshiping each inch of her body. She didn’t know where Max’s clothing had gone, but the next thing she realized he was naked.

Achille sat behind her, bracing her, his large hands cupped her breasts, kneading the engorged, rounded globes. Max had something in his hands and she wasn’t quite certain what they were. Black pearls swung from the ends of what looked like tiny sharp jaws, yet they were different.

Achille cupped one breast from beneath. With his other hand he elongated her nipple She sucked in a breath at the sharp pain that shot to her womb. Her dark nipple stood out prominently, the rosy color deepening. She gasped as Max bonded the pearl to the hard bead.

“Made especially for you, my dear,” Max murmured.

Once the pearls were fastened, Achille smoothed his dark fingers around the areola and the rival sensations that attacked her burned her right through to her core.

She arched up as the pinching sensation altered and became molten lava that poured through her to pool in her vagina. Her breathing grew shallow even as Achille continued to stroke the globes of her engorged flesh. Several times he stopped and flicked a pearl, sending more exquisite sensations coursing through her body.

Max widened her thighs; her labia lips parted. The dark curls covering her mound glistened with her juices beneath the candlelight. Max leaned forward to press a kiss to her clitoris and then licked between her lips. She melted as his tongue swiped over her slit, jumped when he flicked a tongue over her sensitive clitoris. Her reaction was immediate. Her climax powerful.

She had hardly recovered when he fitted himself between her thighs, his cock poised at her opening, the head slipping inside, her body opened to receive him. He rocked slowly against her, shallow thrusts, carefully deepening an inch more each time as he allowed her body to become accustomed to his size.

She rocked against him. Achille’s hands were still on her breasts; the small pearls bobbed. Through her delirium she saw Max look at Achille and nod.

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Talent Scout – an excerpt

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(#MMM #vampires #darkfantasy #BDSM #erotichorror)

Two vampires hunt for entertainment-and dinner-on a dark, seductive night. Yum-yum… Vampire blood games require a unique sort of “talent scout.” Claud plays front man for the powerful Silas, ferreting out tasty treats to satisfy the ancient master he adores. And Silas likes to add a special twist to their blood hunts. But it’s not all games, since Claud knows his days as Silas’s lover could be numbered if he fails in his task, and he loves Silas too much to take a chance on failing him. Now, Claud locates tonight’s main dish–a young, handsome hustler named Jimmie. Will Claud’s choice of human playmate “live up” to Silas’s expectations and provide an evening of adventurous, entertaining passion, the vampire way?

EXCERPT:

I entered the darkness of the compartment, the rhythmic rumbling of the train beneath my feet as it winged its way along the tracks. I thought it was taking me home, but in fact, it was leading me to a place far more exciting. Silas turned to look at me from across the small compartment. I know it was small, but in that moment as his hypnotic gaze attached to mine, it seemed far larger.

“Close the door,” he said softly, although I did not see his lips move, it seemed I heard him inside my mind. It was a request I could not refuse.

Once the door was fastened, I remember hearing the snick of a lock and vaguely wondered how it had been accomplished, because I certainly hadn’t been the one to engage it.

Before I could blink, he was on me, spinning me, pressing his lips to mine, driving me back against the door. My mind was a blur, my cock hard as rock, and I could feel his granite length against me as he molded me to him.

I couldn’t catch my breath, nor did I want to as I sucked him inside me. He was pushing at my jacket and then ripping at my shirt, baring my chest, securing my arms above my head.

“Will you be mine, Claud? Only mine?” he whispered into my ear, then nipped the cusp. I felt a trickle of blood slide down my ear. It never even crossed my mind to be curious as to how he knew my name. Nor in the heat of that instant did it matter.

He looked down at me as I stood imprisoned by my own clothing and his bottomless black gaze. I slowly nodded. I remember his smile, the glow in his black eyes that now seemed so very red, so very bright in the dusky, humid closeness of that cabin.

I say he looked down because at that moment he seemed to have grown much larger, dominating me completely. “Then you’re mine, boy. Tonight you belong to me.”

I couldn’t utter a sound. It was as though my vocal chords had been cut off. I felt myself falling, drifting into darkness, and I was only partially aware of what was happening, yet helpless to stop it. Even if I had wanted to.

I felt my eyelids drift closed and my head dropped to the side exposing my neck, and in a sense I was offering myself to him. I no longer felt the coldness of his skin, only the heat of my need to be taken by him.

I felt his wet mouth at my neck, his teeth scored across my skin, down my chest, and settled at a peaked nipple, sucking it deep into his mouth.

I never felt so consumed before as his mouth traveled over my body. I was in a hypnotic trance, a puppet awaiting the commands of the master puppeteer. Something locked my hands above my head, drew me up so my feet no longer touched the floor. I dangled there like a hunter’s prize buck ready to be flayed and dressed. And I loved it. I loved the sense of helplessness. I was so hot and hard I couldn’t stand it.

“Open your eyes, boy, and look at me.”

Slowly my lids raised and I gazed into his glowing eyes. I should have felt fear at what I saw there, but it was far from fear what I felt. Far from it. My heart beat faster. I was mesmerized.

“Do you want me to possess you? You must tell me. I must hear the words.”

Were there any words beyond yes? None that were in my vocabulary at this moment.

“Take me, Silas. Fuck me. Let me suck you. Do anything you want to me.”

I saw the smile reach the corner of his lips, his eyes glowed brighter, casting a red aura across my dangling body. His eyes were glittering black diamonds shaded with crimson–a light that seemed to shine from within, remote and bottomless, and I felt myself falling into them. Dizziness swept through me and I felt the world spinning around me, faster and faster. And there was nothing I could do to stop it. This forceful man held me within his grip and was free to do anything he wanted to me. With my permission.

I swayed with the motion of the train, my arms stretched out, my wrists bound above me. Silas undid my trousers and shoved them down my legs. The brisk air assaulted the heat of my body. He touched me, stroked me, drove my lust higher and higher. Somehow my clothes were gone and I hung there, naked.

Red leather straps appeared just above my knees. Straps with rings. A leather collar gripped my throat, chains dangling. I couldn’t begin to fathom how the bindings had gotten there. I didn’t care. He lifted first one leg, pushed it back, drew the chain behind my back, then bound my leg in place and then he bound the other in the same manner, opening and stretching me. My cock bobbed and swayed with the motion of the train. My weight, bearing down upon my bound arms, was painful.

“Very nice, Claud. Very nice indeed. Do you still want to give yourself to me?”

I could feel the stretch on my thighs, the freedom of my cock, the constriction of the leather restraints. My heartbeat quickened. The pain in my bound arms was almost more than I could stand. Each sway of the train bore down on me. I wasn’t certain how much more I could take. I so wanted to come. I wanted him to touch me, to stroke me. To fuck me.

“Yes, Silas. Do it.”

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Siren’s Nocturne – EXCERPT

Lucille is a very sexy human who has tried to deny her nature. She has needs that can’t be assuaged by one mortal man. Powers she doesn’t understand. There is one man who may be able to answer her questions. She’s about to discover he’s no ordinary mortal. Etienne is someone from her past who just happens to be a seductive demon who wants her for himself. He’s been patient long enough. Once she learns her true destiny, how long before these nocturnal lovers devour each other? Hel’s dominion await.

EXCERPT

SirensNocturne2_lgThe night should frighten her, but this was her home ground. She actually felt more at ease in the darkness than she ever had during daylight. She and Etienne had often traversed the night long after her parents were asleep. He would call to her and she would climb down from her window to join him on their nightly excursions.

On many occasion in the past Lucille had thought that must be the reason daylight seemed to sap her strength. She had become so used to the night. As soon as the sun set, it felt as though energy flowed through her, calling her out to adventure in the darkness.

She hadn’t realized how much she missed Etienne and this place. Not until this very moment. It seemed to Lucille that she had spent so many years fighting her true calling, pushing against walls that refused to budge. Tonight it was as though she flew across the ground, weightless and free.

She inhaled the night air deeply, filling her lungs with its moist density, before entering the pavilion proper.

As she arrived at the entrance to the foyer, she halted when she noticed the hundred or so black candles burning brightly scattered through the main room. It was as though the flames hovered in the air, the candles themselves blending into the shadows of the room. And then she gasped and drew back when she saw the two pale bodies, a woman with long, flowing dark brown hair that spilled over the edges of the white marble altar, stretched out at the feet of the statue of Hel.

Lucille drew back into the shadows and set down the lantern at her feet. Flickering candlelight bathed the flesh of the naked woman sprawled on the altar, a man poised over her on his knees. Flesh so pale it matched the pristine marble of the altar upon which the woman lay. Lucille’s gaze focused on the strange wispy cloud hovering between the woman’s lips and the man’s. Undulating and swirling between them.

Lucille’s acute eyesight, particularly in the most limited illumination, had been another curiosity. Tonight it worked to her advantage as her sharp gaze flashed over the man’s body, noting the column of marble white, rigid cock swinging between his legs as he seemed to inhale the ethereal cloud, rocking his body over the woman. Tight, muscled buttocks flexed with his movements as he undulated back and forth, the image weaving a seductive spell through Lucille.

The woman’s body levered and arched up, pressing against the man as though locked to him by the odd misty vapor. Her head tossed back and forth and Lucille could hear her throaty moans echo throughout the chamber. Sounds of pleasure, a keening pitch to the tone that vibrated within Lucille.

It made her yearn to be the woman, to feel the man touching her, fucking her. Something seemed so familiar about him. About the act that was being performed before her right now. Her breaths quickened as she watched, the flood of her juices evidence of the depth of her arousal as she watched the erotic passion play.

The woman dropped back down onto the ledge as though weakened by whatever had just taken place; the vapor dissipated. Her head lolled to the side, the crimson mask glittering in firelight, her eyelids fluttering as though she couldn’t keep her eyes opened.
Lucille was shocked to realize it was a look she’d often seen on Brad’s face after they’d made love until the wee hours before dawn broke.

The man rose up, grabbed the woman’s lush, pale thighs and yanked her to him, positioning his cock at her entrance. As he slammed into her, a strange white light flooded the woman, and the man stroked his hands over her body, a path of pale light trailing his every touch like bits of lightning, flickering in his wake. Veins of light littered her flesh, ragged arcs of energy racing over her skin, sucked to the surface by the path of his hands over her body.

What was he doing to the woman? Lucille had never seen anything like it. The fascination held her rooted to the spot, unable to move. The heat of sexual frenzy bloomed over her own flesh at the terrible, seductive sight.

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Blood Bounty – an Excerpt

A vampire with a raging thirst for human blood and erotic pleasure; a man with a secret mission to find and destroy the undead. But lusty midnight passions defy logic, while boundaries and duty hold no sway on the decks of the Night Stalker. Captain Dontè Lucienne is the vampire captain of the Night Stalker. His crew is human, men who serve the vampires of Noctra, providing sustenance, as well as loyalty. They are fighters as well as lovers, and devoted to their vampire masters. They would destroy any who tried to kill their captain. Skye Templeton is a man on a dangerous mission. Plucked from the swelling seas by the crew of the Night Stalker, he’s exactly where he needs to be. Will he come out alive, or end up as fodder to the lust of the vampirate captain? His duty is clear, at least until he comes to know this licentious crew and their magnetic leader…until he comes under the supernatural, relentless spell of the Night Stalker.

EXCERPT

“Why?” he asked Skye, pointing to the blood and hair-encrusted axe.

Skye shrugged. “It seemed the thing to do at the time.”

“Do you know what they are? What they were?”

This time when Skye looked at Donté, the vampire captain saw confusion swirling within the blueness of his pupils. “No. I-I thought–”

VON1_BloodBounty_smAh, revelation swept through Donté. “The axe was for me, wasn’t it?”

Skye looked him square in the eye. “I thought you meant to kill all those people. You’re a vampire, what else was I supposed to think?”

“My reputation. They all think the vampires of Noctra sail the seas in search of victims to gorge our thirst. Isn’t that right?” Skye’s hands tightened around the axe handle.

“What else are we supposed to think? Vampires trail a heavy reputation of killing in order to appease their hunger.”
Donté started at him for a long time. His instincts told him Skye had been sent here to kill him. So why did he hesitate to have done with Templeton right this minute?

He nodded to the axe. “Well, here you are. And here I am. So why don’t you finish the deed you’ve come here to do?”

“How do you know I was sent to kill you?”

Donté shrugged. “You wouldn’t be the first.”

“What happened to the others?”

Donté looked back across to the other ship. “A few are now part of my crew. The others,” he looked down at the water. “A few have found everlasting peace or hell, depending on your perspective.”

“You’re a vampire. You have everlasting life.”

Donté watched as Skye swung the axe from his shoulder and dropped it to the deck. Donté looked down at the discarded weapon and almost felt a twinge of regret. What he wouldn’t give to have all of this done and over with. There was so little he found pleasure in any more. So many lovers dead, so many of his crew sacrificed. He felt the first heat of dawn’s fingers against his neck. All he had to do was remain on deck and it would be over with once and for all. He looked at Skye.

“You could have killed me tonight. My focus was on the undead on the ship. My men might have thought it an accident in the surge of bloodlust and they would have let you go.”

“Yes. That’s true.”

“So, why didn’t you?” He was curious to know the young man’s answer. There was something that intrigued him about Skye Templeton. This was a strong, intelligent man, rather unlike the rest of his crew. Most of them had spent their lives following the orders of others. But not this one. He definitely felt a strong attraction for the man–and it was more than his blood. Yet, his attention was drawn to the purple vein pulsing in Skye’s neck.

“I won’t become part of your food stores, Captain.”

Donté’s attention refocused on Skye’s face. “Do you think I need another?” He swept an arm in a semi-circle. “I have a crew of men more than eager to quench my thirst. Willingly. Do you think I need you?”

There was something indefinable in Skye’s expression. Donté’s attention turned to his mouth. Templeton meant to hold himself apart from the rest of his crew. But there was an element of desire and yet defiance in the way he held himself. A flagrant challenge to the vampire captain to force the young man’s submission.

“You will yield to me. Eventually.”

Those beautiful lips curved into a smile. A tongue slipped out to wet the elegant fullness. Suddenly, Donté swooped forward and possessed them, curling a hand tightly into the long blond locks. Taking what he wanted, tasting the sweetness of strong defiance in the young merchant’s kiss.

Skye pressed forward, off-balancing the vampire, pressing advantage, forcing Donté against the rail, as he took control of the passionate kiss. He thrust his tongue between Donté’s lips; his determined hands cupped the vampire’s cheeks, facing down the danger of such a predatory master.

If Donté had a heart that beat, it would have drum rolled a fast and furious pace as desire roared for Skye Templeton. He pulled free from Skye’s lips and stumbled away. He put the weakness that consumed him down to weariness from the night’s battle.

Donté slid his tongue over his lower, engorged lip and felt a trickle of blood and wiped it away.

“You challenge what you have no understanding of,” he said. He fought the desire to have this human in his bed right this minute. Bound to it, supping from him at his leisure. Or hanging on his wall, the bite of metal binding him in Donté’s presence. There was something in Skye Templeton, something so different and so desirable. So forbidden.

“I’ll give you what you need, my captain, all in good time.”

“Your blood?”

Skye smiled. But it was a strange look of mastery to the expression. “Your marks will never mar my flesh, Donté Lucienne. But perhaps my marks will decorate yours.”

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Deadeye – EXCERPT

Dark and deadly adventure awaits in the old-west town of Deadeye. Vitus, a displaced Roman soldier, and Caecilia, handmaiden to a lusty goddess, must embrace a world of lustful and devious demons, in a town of high-stakes gamblers, quick and murderous gunslingers, vicious outlaws, and pretty soiled doves in order to succeed in their mission. And then there’s the hell-zombies who guard the place.

deadeye_smJustus, an incubus, is the son of the demon lord of Infernia, who also happens to own this decadent western town–a lusty sex demon who must shed his dark shadow in order to accept his destiny as a Nacraecian Dreamweaver Sorcerer, a destiny inherited from the blood of his dreamweaver mother. There’s more dangers than what’s just on the surface awaiting these three.

Three who meet, three who must face their duty to claim their destinies, three who risk everything to be free.

EXCERPT

1880s, The American West

Caecilia.

Where was she now? He’d last caught sight of her—what was it? Paris, a century ago. She’d been working on the stage at the time. Vitus had been sent there to retrieve one of Apollo’s daughters and dispense with the demi-god who had spirited her away. Vitus didn’t allow himself to dwell on Caecilia’s whereabouts too often. It did no good, served no purpose, other than to irritate the hell out of him.

The living had a way of thinking of hell in simplified terms, Vitus thought as he leaned forward in his saddle and surveyed the deadly western landscape spread out before him. The sun beat down hot and boiling. The saddle leather creaked as he leaned back, pulled out the makings and rolled himself a cigarette. He stuck it between his lips, lit it, and inhaled deeply, then released the smoke into the air. One of the simple pleasures he’d embraced from this time, and this untamed western land was one of the few places that challenged his innate warrior nature.

Gods and their vengeance. Long lasting and purely hell on earth. But even hell was only what you made it and not exactly the same for everyone. Being dropped into the court of Apollo had not led to an easy path for Vitus, but it was one he was familiar with and one he had learned to embrace.

I don’t need another lover, Roman. I want a gladiator to entertain me. I’ve become bored and I thank Diana for her most timely gift. Let us hope you prove to be worth the time. Immortality should offer plenty of opportunity for you to hone your skills. We shall see.

“Hey, stranger. You heading down there?”

Vitus tugged at the corner of his black felt hat and dipped it down lower. Fingers whispered across the handle of his Colt as he twisted around to inspect the newcomer. He liked the feel of the weapons of this age as he had the swords and daggers of his own time. In some ways they were faster and more efficient. A sword allowed for a bit more artistic endeavor, but when up against other weapons of the same caliber, one had to make do. Or die.“Ponderin’ the possibilities,” Vitus responded. Language was another thing that had turned serviceable. Earthy and practical. Lazy language that masked intention. In this land he’d had to adapt, to learn their language, assume their mannerisms, adopt their clothing. Folks were wary of people who spoke differently, had different ways about them, different rituals. So he’d adapted. The gods enjoyed this age of bloodshed, of lawlessness. They bathed endlessly in the violence.

“You know what’s down there, don’t you?” the dandified down-and-out gambler in the threadbare suit asked Vitus.

“Yep, I’ve heard.” Vitus squinted as he focused on the now fiery-tinged landscape. He felt the ferocity of that heat just beneath his skin. The pain was welcome and he absorbed its rejuvenating intensity.

“A king’s ransom at those tables in Deadeye. A poker game to beat any other, I hear.”

“So they say.” Deadly games, no matter the choice. “Surprised you didn’t take the midnight train into Deadeye. Would have been safer than crossing the desert.”

“No ticket. Ain’t easy to come by. I’ve already waited months kicking my heels in that one-horse town on the other side of the ravine. Lost my partner there when he got too antsy and tried to lift a ticket that warn’t his. Damn gunfighter shot him right between the eyes. Thought it best I hightail it outta there a’fore I was next. So, want some company?” the newcomer asked hopefully.

Deadeye. That’s what they called a shot like that in these parts. A shot like that got you respect on this side of the ravine. It gave you position, one of the fastest ways to get an audience with Zevodious.

The gambler looked so pale and cool to Vitus. He wanted to draw the gambler to him, to absorb the chilliness of his flesh. At least cooler compared to Vitus’s own flesh. But if he touched the gambler, Vitus would quench himself with the bracing human energy, like a tall icy drink of water. Attractive human energy undulated around the man. It was pretty, sexually enticing in a human sort of way. It was bright enough to light the sky in the dead of night. Not obvious to humans—but to Vitus’s kind—those of the night? He would be a beacon to the hell-zombies who would just be rising and surely ravenous. Not much flesh on the gambler—he’d obviously seen lean times. The creatures would make short shrift of him. Vitus doubted the man would make it much past sunset if he went down there right now.

“Nope. Not too keen on crossing the Saguaro at sundown. Wouldn’t advise it. You go down there now, you go it alone.”

“No need to be unfriendly. My name’s Cuthbert. You got a name, stranger?”

Vitus didn’t even turn to look at the man. He knew the lure of gold wouldn’t keep the idealistic fool from trying to cross the Flats. Yep, sun-up as opposed to sundown would be a better time for Vitus to make his way on down to cross Temptation Flats. No reason to put himself out fighting off hell-zombies when there wasn’t a need to do such. He nudged his horse off to the right and away from Cuthbert.

“Hey, where you going?”

Vitus didn’t even slow, his mind on other matters. He’d made his intentions clear enough. Every man made his own choices, and lived or died with them.

“Well, fuck you. I’m not waiting another damned minute to get what’s coming to me. More for me when I get there.”

Get what’s coming to him. Sure enough he’d be on the receiving end of some mighty focused attention. Vitus heard the desperate bravado tingeing those words. He might have kept the gambler for the night, fucked him, enjoyed him and his cool, pale energy. Vitus could have warmed Cuthbert thoroughly with his own fire until the gambler completely forgot what he came here to do. The gods would have enjoyed the lusty exhibition—they always had enjoyed a taste for earthy. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time.

But the moment they navigated Temptation the gambler would only have lost his soul in Deadeye, one way or the other. Why put it off? Vitus wasn’t that needy. Not yet. Nor did he care that much what happened to the gambler. Not really. Another soul to be claimed by Zevodious.

He heard the click of the gambler’s tongue against his teeth as Cuthbert urged his horse forward and down the ridge. Vitus looked at the horizon, at the blaze of fiery orange coals stretched across the sky.

“Shit. What do you think, hoss? Let the bastards split him open and use him serviceable. Earthy and practical. Lazy language that masked intention. In this land he’d had to adapt, to learn their language, assume their mannerisms, adopt their clothing. Folks were wary of people who spoke differently, had different ways about them, different rituals. So he’d adapted. The gods enjoyed this age of bloodshed, of lawlessness. They bathed endlessly in the violence.

“You know what’s down there, don’t you?” the dandified down-and-out gambler in the threadbare suit asked Vitus.

“Yep, I’ve heard.” Vitus squinted as he focused on the now fiery-tinged landscape. He felt the ferocity of that heat just beneath his skin. The pain was welcome and he absorbed its rejuvenating intensity.

“A king’s ransom at those tables in Deadeye. A poker game to beat any other, I hear.”

“So they say.” Deadly games, no matter the choice. “Surprised you didn’t take the midnight train into Deadeye. Would have been safer than crossing the desert.”

“No ticket. Ain’t easy to come by. I’ve already waited months kicking my heels in that one-horse town on the other side of the ravine. Lost my partner there when he got too antsy and tried to lift a ticket that warn’t his. Damn gunfighter shot him right between the eyes. Thought it best I hightail it outta there a’fore I was next. So, want some company?” the newcomer asked hopefully.

Deadeye. That’s what they called a shot like that in these parts. A shot like that got you respect on this side of the ravine. It gave you position, one of the fastest ways to get an audience with Zevodious.

The gambler looked so pale and cool to Vitus. He wanted to draw the gambler to him, to absorb the chilliness of his flesh. At least cooler compared to Vitus’s own flesh. But if he touched the gambler, Vitus would quench himself with the bracing human energy, like a tall icy drink of water. Attractive human energy undulated around the man. It was pretty, sexually enticing in a human sort of way. It was bright enough to light the sky in the dead of night. Not obvious to humans—but to Vitus’s kind—those of the night? He would be a beacon to the hell-zombies who would just be rising and surely ravenous. Not much flesh on the gambler—he’d obviously seen lean times. The creatures would make short shrift of him. Vitus doubted the man would make it much past sunset if he went down there right now.

“Nope. Not too keen on crossing the Saguaro at sundown. Wouldn’t advise it. You go down there now, you go it alone.”

“No need to be unfriendly. My name’s Cuthbert. You got a name, stranger?”

Vitus didn’t even turn to look at the man. He knew the lure of gold wouldn’t keep the idealistic fool from trying to cross the Flats. Yep, sun-up as opposed to sundown would be a better time for Vitus to make his way on down to cross Temptation Flats. No reason to put himself out fighting off hell-zombies when there wasn’t a need to do such. He nudged his horse off to the right and away from Cuthbert.

“Hey, where you going?”

Vitus didn’t even slow, his mind on other matters. He’d made his intentions clear enough. Every man made his own choices, and lived or died with them.

“Well, fuck you. I’m not waiting another damned minute to get what’s coming to me. More for me when I get there.”

Get what’s coming to him. Sure enough he’d be on the receiving end of some mighty focused attention. Vitus heard the desperate bravado tingeing those words. He might have kept the gambler for the night, fucked him, enjoyed him and his cool, pale energy. Vitus could have warmed Cuthbert thoroughly with his own fire until the gambler completely forgot what he came here to do. The gods would have enjoyed the lusty exhibition—they always had enjoyed a taste for earthy. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time.

But the moment they navigated Temptation the gambler would only have lost his soul in Deadeye, one way or the other. Why put it off? Vitus wasn’t that needy. Not yet. Nor did he care that much what happened to the gambler. Not really. Another soul to be claimed by Zevodious.

He heard the click of the gambler’s tongue against his teeth as Cuthbert urged his horse forward and down the ridge. Vitus looked at the horizon, at the blaze of fiery orange coals stretched across the sky.

“Shit. What do you think, hoss? Let the bastards split him open and use him as an appetizer? Or try to save his sorry gambler ass? And for what? He’ll just put himself right in the path of killing in some other damned fashion? But hell-zombies—there could be an easier way, I reckon.”

Storm tossed his head, eyes of crimson flame rolling back. The silver bridle jangled, sharp hooves stomped impatiently.

“I was afraid you’d say that.” Vitus tossed the remains of his cigarette. He opened his black duster and checked each of the pockets, considering which of the array of weapons would get the job done the fastest. He checked the special bullets in the twin silver-plated five-shot Colt pistols. He checked the keen edge on the single-edged hunting cleaver. And then there was his favorite—the three-pointed African iron-forged throwing knife gifted to him by a chief several years back when he’d saved the man’s son. Yep, his personal arsenal was in order.

He nudged Storm forward and down the slope just as he heard the first muffled scream. The gambler’s terrified horse, eyes rolling back, galloped past them headed back up the ridge. The second scream echoed through the darkened sky. “Come on, hoss, sounds like ole Cuthbert needs some help. Zevodious’s hell-boys are getting ready to have themselves some fun tonight.”

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ComeIntoMyParlor_sm

Come Into My Parlor

(#erotica #darkromance #mystery #contemporary #MF)

Murder. Will he solve the crime or succumb to the widow’s seduction?
The murder victim had been discovered naked and handcuffed to a bed. Pandora Edwina Willmington was Detective Alex Johnson’s prime suspect. He was certain she was guilty as sin. Coming face to face with the beautiful, sensual suspect fueled far different thoughts than escorting the young, wealthy widow to jail.

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