Excerpt from Vampires of Noctra: Blood Bounty

Vampires of Noctra: Blood Bounty

#MM #pirates #bdsm #historical #vampires #darkfantasy #erotichorror #gayerotica

VON1_BloodBounty_smA 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. 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 come to know this lusty crew and their magnetic captain. Until he comes under the supernatural, relentless spell of the Night Stalker.

EXCERPT

Donté stroked his tongue over Vasily’s bulging pecs, tugged on a nipple, chewing at it lightly. Vasily’s cries crescendoed and dropped, rose again and again, like surging waves lapping at the hull of the Night Stalker. Needy, in delirium, far removed from reality.

Donté’s fangs sank into the supple muscle of Vasily’s chest and the young man cried out, spurting his seed into Donté’s hand. The vampire supped on his youthful, vibrant lifeblood, his cock still buried in Vasily’s ass.

Extracting his fangs, Donté swirled his tongue over the puncture marks, leaving faint red indentations in his wake. He studied Vasily’s chest, admiring the tracks decorated across his warm human flesh. Every sailor in the vampire captain’s crew sported the vampire piercings upon their skin, each crew member having been personally handpicked by either Donté or Donté’s vampire sire, Captain Sterling Savoir, to serve as members of their respective crews.

Human, well-mannered, beautiful young men, all committed to serving the vampire masters of Noctra Island.

Donté traced the piercings, listened to the thundering heartbeat, the shallow breaths of his lover for the night. This was the second time he’d fed from Vasily in less than a fortnight and he would savor tonight. The young man’s blood was too rich, too addictive. If Donté fed from him once more before the next full moon, he was likely to draw the young man too close to the crossover. He dared not take the chance.

Easing his still hard cock from inside Vasily, Donté lifted from the bed and walked over to the table. It was early yet, hardly a stroke after midnight, and he planned to savor his young sailor until the first misty fingers of dawn cut through the night. At the rate Donté was going Vasily might not last if Donté didn’t slow down. Sips only, no more than a pint of Vasily’s blood or he’d push him too close to the edge. Donté poured some of the finely aged French burgundy into a goblet.

He took a moment to glance up, pinning the other bound man on the opposite side of the room beneath a hard stare.

“Do you see what you’re missing?” Not quite all of his crew were as well-mannered as he liked. “You could have been where he is, Velvet, if you hadn’t disobeyed my command.”

Velvet, a gunner’s mate of unique precision and fortitude, was stretched out, hands manacled high above his head, his hard cock and heavy balls harnessed, a lead weight swinging with each surge of the ship, two more weights tugged at his distended tits.

Velvet was as beautiful as any of the men on the ship, and most of the time he listened to orders. Tonight called for discipline in Velvet’s case. A hair trigger temper requiring a strong hand, he’d been less than humble, so certain he’d be the one to entertain the captain tonight. Well, Velvet was entertaining the master all right, but not in the way the rebellious young sailor expected.

Donté would not tolerate jealousy, or assumption, among his crew. The captain treated all of his mates equally and he would not have any of them attempting to usurp his authority and causing dissension on the ship. One day, Velvet would learn his place. Or else spend more time on the wall than in the captain’s bed.

Donté sauntered over to Velvet and trailed his cool fingertips over the man’s sweat-soaked chest. He hefted one of the weights in the palm of his hand and then allowed it to drop away. Velvet’s long drawn out hiss as it dragged against a tit satisfied Donté that the action reminded the man of his unhappy state.

Dropping forward, Donté razed his sharp teeth over Velvet’s flesh. Lines of red tracked his path. But he didn’t sink them into Velvet’s flesh. He didn’t feed.

“Please, Master, I’m sorry for what I did. I’ll never do it again.”

“I wish I believed you, Velvet. But this isn’t the first time, is it? Not even the second. You’re smart enough to make first gunner, but your temper and lack of self-control are your downfall. Be thankful I didn’t turn you over to Margan and have him assign you to the bilge pump tonight—wallowing in stinking water for a night might teach you a lesson. That might have been a more fitting punishment. We’ll see what a night of discipline on my wall will do for your manners.”

Donté swung away, ignoring the pleading look in the beautiful sailor’s whiskey-colored eyes. Swift discipline and heavy bondage was the only thing Velvet understood. For at least a short time. Sterling handled this one with a firmer hand. Sterling would have had him strapped to the main mast, a discipline wedge shoved up his ass, and a hundred lashes to stripe his back. Donté’s master, Savoir was a much sterner taskmaster when it came to discipline. Unfortunately, Sterling and the Black Star hadn’t been due to leave Noctra for another month and, as usual, this beautiful gunner had gotten Donté to agree to take him on. Velvet’s blood was some of the richest among the human residents of Noctra, and his skill with the cannon exceeded by few. If only his temperament better aligned with his name, they all would be much happier.

Yet both Sterling and Donté liked a challenge now and then, which is why Velvet was allowed to remain. Velvet might be a bit of a scallywag in many ways, but he was just too luscious to exile…or kill. Donté walked over to the big white cat lying on a stretch of crimson and cream Persian rug in a corner of the room. He leaned down to pet the huge Bengal outcast.

“You’ll keep him in line, won’t you? Too bad he doesn’t have your understanding of self-preservation.” The snow-white, almost totally stripeless tiger leaned into the stroke of the vampire. Few animals on the mainland accepted the touch of a vampire. But Khan was different—he was as cursed as any vampire, and his connection to the vampire was unique.

Donté turned his attention back to Vasily still stretched out on the bed, eyes closed. Picking up the goblet, Donté moved back to his lusty donor for the evening. Gently lifting Vasily’s head, he tipped the goblet and allowed some of the wine to trickle into his mouth.

Vasily’s eyelids fluttered opened and he gulped at the wine until the goblet was empty.

“That’s better, sweeting. The color is returning to your face. Are you feeling more yourself?”

Donté set the goblet on the nightstand and picked up the wet cloth from the mauve-colored porcelain basin and bathed Vasily’s stomach and flaccid penis. Returning the cloth to the bowl, he leaned toward Vasily and pressed his lips to the young man’s mouth. Vasily’s lips parted and Donté thrust his tongue deep inside. The rattle of the chains binding Vasily to the bed bled through the needy moans as the sexy young sailor shifted and arched, begging for his master’s touch. Donté heard a whimper from the other side of the room. Then a deep, warning growl from Khan. Donté ignored Velvet. There would be time enough to decide what to do about him later. For now, he was simply a decoration on his wall, reminded of his place by Khan.

“Would you like something to eat before we continue?”

Vasily gazed up at him with worshipful eyes. “Whatever you want, Captain.”

Donté couldn’t help smiling. Vasily was a good boy and very respectful. A week of serving on the Night Stalker and Vasily had no qualms about turning his back on his past life. Of offering his blood and service to the Noctra vampires.

Donté rose and stepped to the table at the center of the room where a tray of food rested. He didn’t partake, but he had to maintain the strength of his two human lovers. He picked up a thick slice of bread and a small wedge of cheese and returned to the bed. He hand-fed Vasily slowly, punctuating each serving with drugging kisses in between until his sweet supplicant finished the bread and cheese. By then, Vasily’s cock was thick and hard, bobbing against his flat abdomen. Yes, he was revived and appeared more than ready to serve his master once more.

Donté picked up the oil to prepare Vasily’s passage once again. A snarl curled his lip when a knock sounded at the door. Donté glared at the root of his irritation. Who dared to interrupt? Swift punishment would be exacted for the defiance of his standing orders…unless it was an emergency. He set down the bottle of oil to the side and rose from the bed.

“Enter,” he roared with the force of a fierce gale. After a moment of hesitation, the door slowly opened. It was Jupiter, his first mate, who edged his way into the cabin. He looked straight at the captain, neither sliding a sidelong glance toward Velvet, nor toward the bed where Vasily, his second mate, was stretched out.

“Permission to speak, Cap’n.”

Donté waved a hand in the air. “What is it? This better be important.”

“We’ve spied someone in the water, sir. The men are about to bring him on board. I thought you’d want to be informed.”

All of Donté’s crew had preternatural eyesight—one of the dark gifts of human service to the vampires of Noctra. Although the black sloop skimmed through the ocean in the dead of night, it might as well have been daylight for their sharp eyesight.

“Does he look promising?” Donté dressed quickly, donning a pair of black breeches and then pulling on a white linen shirt.

“Hard to tell, sir. He was a ways out. Margan send two men out to retrieve him. Looks to be a survivor from another downed ship.”

Was there any other kind this far out to sea? Most of Donté’s crew were survivors from sacrifices to the dangerous, unpredictable seas. Many on the very verge of drowning or being eaten alive by hungry sharks, or worse. Men who’d been thankful for the captain’s beneficence in saving them from a fate far worse than their untimely death in the surging waters.

There’d been a storm the previous night, which might cause a ship to founder. Donté straightened after pulling on the second black leather thigh-high boot.

“Have Liam see to my men, Jupiter.” He glanced over at Velvet. “Leave him for another hour and then release him. In the meantime, take gentle care of Vasily. I’ve fed well and he may be light-headed. I don’t want him up and around before he’s recovered.”

Jupiter nodded. “Yes, Cap’n.”

Donté returned to the bed, leaned down, and kissed Vasily. “Another night, sweeting.” Then he strode out of the cabin, along the passage and headed to the main deck.

As Donté stepped onto the deck Margan and Onyx hauled a very bedraggled man onto the deck with help from several of the sailors. The stranger collapsed against the railing, salt water splashing onto the deck. It was hard to tell much about him considering the exhausted state of the man, but from first glance he certainly looked…intriguing.

The crew made way for the captain to get through. Several of the men held torches, providing a soft glow of light. Donté nudged the half-drowned man with the point of his well-polished black boot. The eyelids of the young man splayed out on the deck fluttered opened. What stunning blue eyes, was Donté first thought. Clear and sparkling like the sea, framed with long sooty lashes. Yes, definitely worth an interrupted hour of his time.

The young man staring up at Donté looked shaken, yet alert.

“What’s your name, lad?”

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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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Foreplay Enticement – Vampires of Noctra: Blood Bounty

Just a bit of refresh on the “meat” of Blood Bounty

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.  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 come to know this lusty crew and their magnetic captain.  Until he comes under the supernatural, relentless spell of the Night Stalker.

Mix  a rescue at sea, a vampire captain, a handsome virile pirate crew, one lone vampire hunter, some nasty zombies, some seductive BDSM, a big boat, and a vast sea.

“Enter,” he roared with the force of a fierce gale. After a moment of hesitation, the door slowly opened. It was Jupiter, his first mate, who edged his way into the cabin. He looked straight at the captain, neither sliding a sidelong glance toward Velvet, nor toward the bed where Vasily, his second mate, was stretched out.

“Permission to speak, Cap’n.”

Donté waved a hand in the air. “What is it? This better be important.”

“We’ve spied someone in the water, sir. The men are about to bring him on board. I thought you’d want to be informed.”

All of Donté’s crew had preternatural eyesight—one of the dark gifts of human service to the vampires of Noctra. Although the black sloop skimmed through the ocean in the dead of night, it might as well have been daylight for their sharp eyesight.

“Does he look promising?” Donté dressed quickly, donning a pair of black breeches and then pulling on a white linen shirt.

“Hard to tell, sir. He was a ways out. Margan send two men out to retrieve him. Looks to be a survivor from another downed ship.”

Was there any other kind this far out to sea? Most of Donté’s crew were survivors from sacrifices to the dangerous, unpredictable seas. Many on the very verge of drowning or being eaten alive by hungry sharks, or worse. Men who’d been thankful for the captain’s beneficence in saving them from a fate far worse than their untimely death in the surging waters.

There’d been a storm the previous night, which might cause a ship to founder. Donté straightened after pulling on the second black leather thigh-high boot.

“Have Liam see to my men, Jupiter.” He glanced over at Velvet. “Leave him for another hour and then release him. In the meantime, take gentle care of Vasily. I’ve fed well and he may be light-headed. I don’t want him up and around before he’s recovered.”

Jupiter nodded. “Yes, Cap’n.”

Donté returned to the bed, leaned down, and kissed Vasily. “Another night, sweeting.” Then he strode out of the cabin, along the passage and headed to the main deck.

As Donté stepped onto the deck Margan and Onyx hauled a very bedraggled man onto the deck with help from several of the sailors. The stranger collapsed against the railing, salt water splashing onto the deck. It was hard to tell much about him considering the exhausted state of the man, but from first glance he certainly looked…intriguing.

The crew made way for the captain to get through. Several of the men held torches, providing a soft glow of light. Donté nudged the half-drowned man with the point of his well-polished black boot. The eyelids of the young man splayed out on the deck fluttered opened. What stunning blue eyes, was Donté first thought. Clear and sparkling like the sea, framed with long sooty lashes. Yes, definitely worth an interrupted hour of his time.

The young man staring up at Donté looked shaken, yet alert.

“What’s your name, lad?”

Donté saw his pink tongue dart out to wet his lips. “Templeton, sir. Skye Templeton. I was on the merchant ship, Topaz, heading back from the West Indies when a storm hit.”

Skye. Donté liked the sound of the name. He dropped down onto his haunches and studied the young man carefully. He pushed back a thick lock of wet hair and Skye shuddered.

“Well, you’re safe now. We’ll get you back to land. What sort of goods were you carrying?”

“Spices, and silks, Captain. All gone down with the ship.”

“So, you’re a merchant then? Or were you perhaps one of the crew?” By the looks of his damaged and wet clothing, he was a gentleman of some means. Even wet they seemed to be a cut of fine quality material.

The look in Skye’s eyes faltered, his glance swiftly taking in the men hovering around, and then flitted back to the captain. One hand moved to his hip. A reflex action. At another time there might have been a pistol, or a sword, perhaps.

Donté’s curiosity was aroused. Was the young man just a merchant, or something more? Skye allowed his hand to drop away. Definitely not a stupid man. Very much a man of some intelligence—and caution. Donté liked that. He had a feeling it might be a bit of a challenge getting this young man to submit and join his crew. As a connoisseur of fine human flesh and blood, just by looking at the self-professed merchant, he bet the young man’s blood was a very expensive vintage of life-giving fluid. Definitely a prize he was not going to toss back to the sea without further careful examination.

Donté straightened to his feet and held out a hand. Skye seemed to consider for a moment and then hesitantly accepted the offer, and Donté easily brought him to his feet. Inches separated them. He could feel the heat of the young man even through the wet, clinging layers of his clothes. He smelled of the salty ocean, of youth, and vitality. Exhausted to be sure, but Donté had a feeling it wouldn’t take much to get him back on his feet.

Donté held his gaze for long moments. The quiet night was broken only by the creaking of the ship and the flapping of the sails in the strong wind. His gaze dropped to Skye’s finely defined lips, traced over the tightly stretched pale skin highlighted in full lunar ambiance and warm firelight. His blue eyes were shadowed, dark half-moons beneath them. If it hadn’t been for that—

Skye stepped away and the spell was broken. Donté could sense the young man’s wariness. But he appeared interested. Maybe intrigued might be a better word.

“Onyx, take our exhausted friend and assign him a berth below. And find him some dry clothes. Check with Nathan and get him something to eat.” He turned back to Skye. “We’ll talk later.”

Onyx stepped forward. “Aye-aye, Cap’n, right away.” He looked at Skye. “Follow me and we’ll get you settled.” He headed toward the companionway that led to the lower decks. Donté watched Skye stumble after him, then he turned back to the rest of the crew.

“Back to work. The night’s still young.” The rest of the men quickly dispersed.

The hold overflowed with bounty and he’d planned to head back to Noctra soon. Maybe a few more days out might not be such a bad thing. It might serve him well to search the area for any other lost souls. Or evidence that a downed ship really had existed.

But right now he had two other sailors who deserved his attention. There were still a few hours left to the evening. He might even release Velvet and allow him into his bed. Donté felt rather pleased just now with the addition of young Skye Templeton. And he was hungry.

His men would not let Skye Templeton out their sights until they could gauge the young man’s intentions. They might try to fuck him for the fun of it, but they would fight to the man to protect their vampire captain. One thing Donté knew he could count on was the loyalty of his crew.

Play hard, fight rough, and yield to their vampire master. Would he gain another willing supplicant? Only time would tell.

Donté opened the polished wooden door to his cabin. Vasily had been unchained and was sitting up on the edge of the bed a glass of wine in one hand and a wedge of cheese in the other. It appeared Liam was just about to attend to the gunner chained to the captain’s wall. Velvet was still bound, his cock deep purple, hard and bobbing, the weight still dancing above the floorboards, his nipples clamped, his body stretched tight, blood pulsing thickly through every fiber. Donté could hear the thundering beat of his heart.

“Thank you, Liam. You may go. I’ll attend to Velvet.”

“Yes, Cap’n.” Without delay Liam left the cabin. Donté watched him leave, admiring the breadth of his shoulders. Another excellent specimen of manhood attached to his crew as his gaze dropped to the sweet, tight ass of the man as he walked out the door. He should make better use of the young carpenter, who happened to be particularly adept with his hands.

As the door closed Donté turned to look at Vasily. His heartbeat was strong as well, not quite as thunderous as Velvet’s, but still sounding fully recovered from his earlier…exertions.

They were both beautifully angelic in their own way, with more of a fallen angel appeal. Both with silky, black braided locks that dusted their shoulders, and bronzed skin from long hours of work on deck during daylight.

Donté took good care of his human servants and they glowed with health and vibrancy. He took great pride in the humans who served him. Loyalty was not something that could be bought or beaten into men. Respect was earned. His men gave trust and loyalty because he respected their humanness. But he ruled his ship with iron command.

It had been a long voyage and everyone was ready to get back to Noctra. Just a few more days and he’d give the order. But not just yet.

He gazed hungrily at his two beautiful young men. “Shall we continue, gentlemen? I suddenly have a voracious appetite once again and I’ll need both of you to satisfy my thirst.”

Vampires of Noctra: Blood Bounty. Now available at Amazon

 

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Excerpt: Blood Bounty, Vampires of Noctra

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“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 Donte’, the vampire captain saw confusion swirling within the blueness of his pupils. “No. I-I thought–”

Ah, revelation swept through Donte’. “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.”

Donte’ 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?”

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

“What happened to the others?”

Donte’ 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.”

Donte’ watched as Skye swung the axe from his shoulder and dropped it to the deck. Donte’ 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.”

Donte’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. Donte’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, Donte’ 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 Donte’ against the rail, as he took control of the passionate kiss. He thrust his tongue between Donte’s lips; his determined hands cupped the vampire’s cheeks, facing down the danger of such a predatory master.

If Donte 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.

Donte 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 Donte’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.”