Thursday, October 30, 2014

12 – ‘Come gentle night…’

Some people just don’t listen. I was enjoying a quiet commune with nature in the courtyard when I heard voices. Felt the presence of both enemies and another dhampir.

OK, so I wasn’t exactly communing. More like looking for the resting place of a vampyre I’d followed here just before sun-up this morning. I’d been too far behind him to see exactly where he vanished to but I knew it was somewhere close.

Anyway, I heard the voices and figured maybe the dhampir had more on his hands than he could probably deal with alone. When I saw who it was I for damned sure knew he couldn’t. Stupid kid. Probably thought they were after his body not his head.

So I invited them into my lair, so to speak. They followed quickly, their leader dragging the kid with him. Shoving him hard when they got into the courtyard. Laughing when the kid stumbled and fell on hands and knees.

The two others circled to each side of me. They lunged at me with hands now turned to claws. One wasn’t too happy when I cut his off. Howled a lot. Noisy bastard. I whirled fast in time to avoid more than a serious gash to my arm from the other one. Ducked low. Brought my sword up fast. The silver did its work. More fucking howling. You’d think being a vampyre they’d have hissed. But they usually don’t when in pain.

As they bled profusely I turned to see what the leader was up to. He had the kid pulled back against his legs, one clawed finger pressed to his jugular.

“Stop right there or he dies,” the fucker said. A drop of blood appeared on the kid’s throat.

I shrugged. “No skin off my nose. Don’t even know him.” Smiled tightly as I moved towards the pair.

“Mine either,” the vampyre said as he pressed his claw deeper.

The kid suddenly grew some balls. Twisted hard away. Slammed his head back into the vampyre’s groin. Hell that had to have hurt. Even my balls shriveled as the bastard bent over gasping for breath. A second later breathing became academic as he turned to ash. I checked on the other two. Put them out of their misery.

Then went to see how the kid was doing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

11 - ‘Come gentle night…’

Kemp lost track of the time as he watched everything going on in the club. When the band came on stage he listened avidly, soaking up the music. The singer was, in his opinion, fantastic. If he could ever be even half that good he’d be happy.

After the first beer he decided to switch to soda, not liking the faint buzz the alcohol had given him. He’d had beer before, always with the same results and had long ago decided it really wasn’t for him.

After the band finished its second set he suddenly realized that it was late, and dark outside. He pushed away from the bar, stopped long enough to tell Sinclair and a couple of the waiters he’d met that he was leaving and then walked out onto the noisy, crowded street.

“Yes!” he almost shouted, now that he could express his feelings at finding a job so quickly. He pumped his fist in the air causing a couple of tourists to move warily out of his way. I knew I was right coming down here. And soon I’ll be able to pay my own way, but damn, first I need to go shopping. Not tonight though, it’s too late.

Turning the corner he started up the street that led back to the B&B. As he walked he started humming one of the songs the band had played, almost skipping along to the beat of it, oblivious to everything around him.

“Well, well, what have we here?”

The harsh voice brought Kemp back to reality. Ahead of him stood two men. The one who had spoken smirked at his surprise. “Looking for us?”

Kemp’s hands fisted as he momentarily stood his ground. “Not really.”

“Now why don’t I believe that?” The man took two steps forward and Kemp whirled around, ready to run, only to find a third man behind him.

“Where’s your weapon boy?”

“Weapon?” Kemp was now thoroughly confused.

“I think they mean something like this,” someone said quietly from the shadowed entrance to a courtyard between two of the buildings. Something silver flashed momentarily as the man added, “Shall we take this somewhere less public, gentlemen?”

The tallest of Kemp’s three assailants nodded. “Two for the price of one, I like that idea.” He strode forward, grabbing Kemp’s arm to pull him into the gloom, his two compatriots right behind them.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

10 - ‘Come gentle night…’

Sinclair chuckled. “Word of advice for the next time, never say you need a job. It makes you sound desperate.” Resting his elbows on the bar he said softly, “You’re real pretty. Do you think you can fend off guys that will for damned sure come on to you?”

“Yes sir. I’ve been doing it forever.”

“Kinda figured that would be the answer. Question. Why the hell do you want to work in a place like this anyway, when you’ll have to deal with that a lot?”

Kemp glanced towards the small bandstand at one end of the room before looking back at Sinclair. “Because, well…”

Sinclair obviously caught the look and shook his head slightly. “Don’t tell me you’re a musician trying to work your way into a gig? What instrument do you play?”

“I sing actually,” Kemp replied almost defiantly.

“You any good?”

Kemp shrugged. “Some people think so.”

“Other than family?”

With a small laugh Kemp said, “Since the only family I have is my brother that would be a ‘yes’.” There was no way he was going to mention the rest of his family. The part that resided in a large manor house thousands of miles from here.

“Next question, your ID’s from Washington. Are you a runaway?”

“No sir. My brother knows I’m here, if that’s what your asking.”

“And he knows, not to put too fine a point on it, what you are?”

“Yes sir and he’s got no real problem with it.”

Sinclair nodded and seemed to come to a decision. “Stop calling me ‘sir’, Kemp. Boss works better.”

Kemp’s face lit up in a wide smile. “Seriously?”

“Yes, seriously. You’ll start tomorrow, bussing. If you can handle that, and once you get to know the place and the customers, we’ll see about letting you wait tables.” He shot Kemp a look. “Don’t place your hopes on getting to sing here though. We’ve got a fine band and their singer is very good, and not willing to share the stage.”

“Thank you sir, umm I mean boss.”

“Welcome. Be here at five sharp. Wear black slacks and a white shirt. Generally you’ll start as six but there’s the usual paperwork to fill out and all that jazz. Now I’d better get back on the job before my bartender claims he’s being over-worked. Feel free to stick around and get the lay of the land. And welcome aboard.”

Saturday, October 25, 2014

'You Belong to Me' - coming Nov. 26th from Dreamspinner

You Belong to Me

Coming Nov.  26th - available now for pre-order.

Corey Byrne loves his family—as long as he only has to see them once a year. Since he’s not out to them, it makes things… tense. Returning to his job at a homeless shelter after Christmas, he finds someone has left him a very expensive present. Soon, he begins to get messages from the anonymous gift giver. Then Corey’s friend Brad is murdered in Corey’s apartment and undercover detective Scott Reed is assigned to protect Corey. As they work together to find the killer, they realize they’re starting to care about each other. However Scott is unwilling to act on his feelings unless Corey comes out to his family and coworkers. As the threats from the stalker intensify, Corey is forced to admit that love is too precious to hide from. Perhaps now is the time to be honest about who he is and accept the possibility of love in return—before it's too late.

Friday, October 24, 2014

9 - ‘Come gentle night…’

Kemp packed his things—all of one backpack worth of clothes and assorted personal items—and moved from the rattrap hotel to what turned out to be a small bed-and-breakfast not too far from the Quarter. The owner’s wife was very friendly, hovering over him like a mother hen with a chick. She insisted he join the other guests for supper once he’d unpacked. The room itself was small but homey, with multi-colored throw rugs on the hardwood floor and a cheerful comforter on the single bed. After putting away his meager belongings and talking a quick shower, he made his way back downstairs to the dining room. An older couple looked up from one table and smiled before returning to eating. At another table a family of four, the parents plus two young children, were chattering away as they waited for their meal to arrive. Shyly Kemp took a seat at a table in the corner and opened his book.

An hour later he was halfway through the book and finished with his meal, which he deemed one of the best he’d had in forever. Feeling at loose ends and not particularly tired, he decided to go to the Quarter to see if he could make contact with the people on the list his ‘guardian’ had given him.

The evening was young, the sidewalks still damp from a late afternoon rain shower. Kemp strolled slowly down the street from the B&B towards Bourbon Street. As he got closer he could hear music, and soon he melded in with the tourists who were headed in the same direction.

He found the first club easily enough, as soon as he turned onto Bourbon. While he checked it out from across the street he found himself amused at the tourists who would step inside and almost immediately leave again. "Guess not everyone who comes here is a liberal as the locals," he murmured as he crossed and entered.

It looked like any bar in any city from his rather limited perspective, except for one thing, there were almost no women there, just a few at tables at one side of the room. A couple of them were with male companions, the others sat in groups of two or three eyeing the men in the room. Kemp wondered how long it would take them to realize that those men were not available, at least to them. As he watched from the doorway he saw one pair finally figure it out amidst giggles and rolled eyes before they got up and left.

Silly twits, he thought as he walked hesitantly towards the bar.

“Well aren’t you a pretty one,” one of the men sitting there said, looking Kemp over thoroughly, his eyes lingering at his crotch.

“Eyes front,” his companion growled, but he too checked Kemp out before wrapping an arm around his friend’s waist possessively.

“Can I help you kid?” the bartender asked when Kemp took a stool well away from the pair.

“A beer please.”

The bartender snorted. “You sure you’re old enough?” he said, holding out his hand for Kemp’s ID. After checking it he handed it back, muttering, “Barely,” before asking, “Draft or bottle?”

“Bottle of, umm, Bud?”

The bartender nodded, handing it to him a moment later. Before he could take off Kemp asked, “Is Mr. Sinclair here?”

“Yeah, he’s around somewhere. Why?”

“I was told to talk to him about a job,” Kemp said, sitting straight, trying to look as if he knew what he was doing.

The bartender looked him over and nodded. “You’re talking to him. Know anything about waiting tables or bussing them?” 

“No sir, but I’m willing to learn. I really need a job.”

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

8 - ‘Come gentle night…’

“Here you go.” The man handed Kemp the driver’s license. As per the agreement with Leif, it was an excellent fabrication of one from the state of Washington, the thinking being that it would draw less scrutiny than one from Louisiana.

Kemp had to laugh when he saw that, according to the license, he’d turned twenty-one two days previously. Tucking it into his wallet and thanking the man again he turned to leave.

“Hang on kid, I got something for you,” the man said. “Be right back.”

Kemp shrugged and leaned against the short counter to wait, figuring it was probably some message from Leif. He’d only talked to him once, right after he’d gotten to New Orleans yesterday afternoon, calling collect from the phone booth in the lobby of his hotel. A cell phone was definitely not something that was in his budget at the moment. They’d talked for a while, Kemp assuring his brother that he was just fine and would call again once he’d settled in. He wasn’t about to admit that the only place he’d found that he could afford made his room back in Seattle look like one at the Ritz.

The man reappeared with some papers in his hand that he handed to Kemp.

“What’s this mean?” Kemp asked as he read one of them.

“It means you’ve been upgraded from hovel to halfway decent living quarters for the next month. You’re brother’s no fool. He checked out where the phone was you called from and then called me to find out what the place was like.” The man shrugged. “I told him and also let him know I could hook you up with a better place.”

“And how much is it going to cost me?” Kemp mentally checked his dwindling resources.

“For the moment, nothing. The place belongs to a friend and he’s willing to wait on the rent until you get a job. After that, well it’s affordable. The other paper is a list of a couple of places you might try getting that job. I know they’re reputable and the owners won’t try to take advantage of you, if you get my drift.”

Kemp looked at the names and nodded. He recognized them from his walk around the Quarter a couple of hours ago. He’d actually debated making them his first stops tomorrow when he began his job hunting.

“If I were you I’d go get your stuff and head to my friend’s place before it gets dark,” the man told him, a cautionary look in his eyes.

“You’re the second person who’s warned me about that.”

The man nodded. “And I think you know why, so heed the warning. You’re kind are not exactly popular in some circles.”

Kemp started to bristle angrily until he realized what the man was, or more to the point wasn’t saying. “Since you know Leif, I’ll take that for what I think you mean.”

The man laughed. “Trust me kid, I didn’t mean 'cause you're gay. Around this area that’s almost a selling point, not something to be ashamed of. Now get out of here, but keep in touch. Your brother’s appointed me sort of your guardian in absentia, for whatever that’s worth.”

“Yes sir, I will. And…”

“You say thanks one more time and I’ll wash my hands of you. Got that?” The man glowered at him before smiling, pointing to the door.

“Got it sir, but I do anyway,” Kemp replied as he left.

Monday, October 20, 2014

7 - ‘Come gentle night…’

“So your Leif’s brother huh? Sure don’t look like him. Him all big and brawny and you looking like you barely tip the scales at one thirty if you’re lucky.”

“One forty-five. Well maybe not now, I’ve sort of been fasting.”

“In other words it’s like Leif said, you’re probably living on the streets pretty much.” The man Kemp’s brother had sent him to for new ID looked him over and shook his head. “Gonna be hard to make anyone believe you’re over twenty-one.”

“I will be in a couple of years. I’ll just tell people I look young and then piss and moan about no one believing me.”

“Not too much or they’ll know the ID’s fake no matter how good a job I do. You keeping your own name on it?”

Kemp thought and then nodded. “Yeah, that way I won’t blow anyone off when they say my name, the way I might if I took a new one. I read that in a book a while back. It’s not like I’m on the run or anything.”

The man cocked an eyebrow but said nothing other than to tell Kemp to stand in front of the screen. Once he had, the man looked through the camera lens and shook his head. “Don’t smile, and hell, do you have a comb? Do something about the hair. You look like a damned high school dropout.”

Kemp rolled his eyes but did as the man said, combing his hair back and smooth and then staring at the camera soberly. After a couple of tries the man got a picture he approved of.

“Now get out of here, go get lunch or something. Be back at 4:30 and not a second sooner.”

“Yes sir, and thanks.”

“Don’t thank me, thank Leif. He’s paying the freight on this.”

Kemp nodded and left. He found a cheap diner, where he killed an hour over a burger and coke while reading a book he’d found stashed in a drawer at the run-down hotel where he was staying. Then, with three hours still to go he decided to catch the trolley into the Quarter and check out the clubs. Surely one of them would be looking for help and once he had his ID he’d be able to get a job. He knew better than to think he’d snag one as a singer but if he could be a waiter, or even a busboy if clubs had such things, at least he’d have a foot in the door.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

6 - ‘Come gentle night…’

“Thanks for the ride,” Kemp said as he got out of the car. The man just nodded as he pulled away. “You coulda said thanks back,” Kemp grumbled. After all he’d ‘paid’ for the ride by giving the man head a couple of times on their way from San Antonio to New Orleans. Then the man had unceremoniously dumped him at the edge of the highway, telling him he could probably catch a ride into the city proper from there.

Kemp could see the downtown from where he stood and figured he’d be better off walking than trying to catch one last ride. Sitting down on a convenient rock he opened his backpack and took out his other pair of shoes. They were ratty from wear, but when it came to walking, a lot much more comfortable than the ones he had on. Once he’d changed them he hefted his pack back on his shoulder and took off.

Two hours later, wiping the sweat from his forehead one more time, Kemp dropped down onto a bench next to a shop that seemed to carry voodoo paraphernalia. He looked around, smiling tiredly. The area was straight out of all the movies he’d seen of the city; old buildings with wrought iron balconies, music coming out of the open doors of some of the clubs and restaurants, with tourists, and he supposed locals as well, strolling down the street.

“Made it,” he whispered in awe. “It was worth all the creeps with their grabby hands and tiny dicks.” As with the last of his rides, he’d used his mouth, and occasionally other parts of his body, to pay for his traveling from Seattle to New Orleans. Hell, one look at him and the men had just assumed he’d do it, and who was he to tell them different if it got him a free ride.

He ran a hand through his hair, trying to un-plaster it from around his face, before taking out the wallet he’d bought to replace the one that he’d lost. After checking to make certain no one was paying attention to him, he quickly counted the cash he had left. Unless New Orleans was much more expensive than Seattle he could probably make it for a week, if he only ate once a day and found a cheap hotel to park himself at night. “Real cheap,” he mumbled under his breath. Until he got the lay of the land he wasn’t willing to sleep rough. So, for at least the next couple of nights he needed shelter.

“Guess it’s time to see what’s what,” he told himself, not realizing he’d said it out loud until a voice asked, “Need a guide?”

Glancing up he quickly shook his head. “Nope, I’m fine. Just needed to get my bearings is all,” he told the dark haired man who stood there.

The man shrugged his shoulders. “Word of warning kid, stay off the streets after dark unless you know what you’re doing.” He studied Kemp for a long moment, his lavender eyes seeming to see deep inside him. Then he turned and walked away.

‘Talk about weird,’ Kemp thought as he hoisted his backpack over one shoulder and began his search for food—and someplace to crash that he could afford.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

5 - ‘Come gentle night…’

Kemp pocketed the money without looking at it. At this point even twenty dollars would make his life easier, and knowing Leif, he had given him more than that.

“Thank you. I’ll keep in touch, I promise.”

Leif snorted. “Like you have a choice. Just, damn it be careful kid.” He got up and pulled Kemp into a bear hug. “You need me, I’ll be there.”

“I know. And I’ll call as soon as I figure out where I’m going to settle. Perhaps,” Kemp smiled as a sudden thought hit him. “Yeah, that would be perfect. No one will hassle me, and just maybe I can get a job doing what I do best.”

Leif stepped back to look at him, frowning deeply. “That hadn’t better be what it sounded like.”

It took Kemp a second to realize what he meant and then he shook his head. “Not even! No, I was thinking there are plenty of clubs there and it’s possible one of them would hire me on if they need a singer.”

Heaving in internal sigh of relief Leif nodded. “Possible, once you hit twenty-one.”

“Damn it, I forgot about that. Still, I am going down there.” He grinned. “Who knows, maybe I can hook up with someone to get me false ID.”

Leif chuckled. Instead of scolding his brother for even thinking that he said, “When you get there call me. I’ll have a name or two for you.”


“Yes, seriously. If that’s what it takes for you to get a legit job, I think I can arrange it. Of course, if my chief heard me saying that he’d bust me back down to a street cop.”

“My lips are sealed.” Kemp drew his fingers across them in a zipping motion. “So, anyway…” He looked up at his brother.

“Yeah, well like I said, be careful. Got that? And, umm, hell, Kemp, I love you.”

“Love you too, Leif. So you be careful too. And stay out of the sun and all that crap. I don’t want to loose you.”

“Will do. OK, enough of this mush, I gotta get moving.” Leif backed towards the door. “See you…whenever kid.”

Kemp nodded. “Whenever.”

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

4 - ‘Come gentle night…’

Leif shook his head in frustration as he listened to the shower turn on. He was sorely tempted to use Kemp’s idea in reverse, locking him in the bathroom until he saw reason. But knowing his brother that would never happen. For a nascent dhampir who was unwilling to use his abilities, or his strength, the kid could still be a royal pain in the ass. He would probably just crawl out the window to get away, assuming the bathroom had one.

“Damn it, Father, where are you when I need you.” He knew the answer to that; he was at his home in Europe with his human wife, living a life of luxury. Kemp was the result of that union. He on the other hand was the result of his Father’s turning him a few hundred years ago.

And there in lay the crux of Kemp’s problem. He had grown up in a household with two vampyres and his father’s visiting friends, and learned that not every vampyre was some evil spawn of the devil. As a result he had denied what he was supposed to be—and everything that came with it—when he had reached the age of eighteen. Rather than continue to live with his father, fighting the pull that would eventually drive him to kill those that his blood deemed were his enemies, Kemp had put as much distance as possible between them. The only reason he allowed his brother into his life was their strange mental connection.

Leif had been a cop in Seattle for years, first as a patrolman and then working his way up until now he was a sergeant on the force. He’d known the moment Kemp had arrived, and sought his younger brother out. Kemp had not been happy about that, refusing any help his brother had offered---insisting instead that he was going to be responsible for his own life for once. Looking around the dingy hotel room Leif shook his head, wondering if Kemp thought he was doing that successfully.

“I’m doing the best I can, Leif,” Kemp said as he came back into the room. “Yeah, I’m not rich. Okay, I’m poor. But I’ll make it eventually and on my own merits, not because you and dad helped or supported me.”

“Stubborn kid,” Leif said fondly. “But that doesn’t solve the immediate problem. I still need to take you in and get your statement, and then arrange for protection for you.

Kemp shook his head. “Like I said, you want a statement you take it here and now. And then I’m heading…umm…south maybe, where it doesn’t rain twenty-four/seven. Besides,” he glanced out the dingy window, “you don’t have time to take me in and go through all the rigmarole. Dawn will be here soon and you have to get home.”

As much as he hated admitting Kemp was right, he was. Taking out his notepad and a pen, Leif began quizzing his brother on what he’d seen. When they were finished, knowing it was just a salve to his conscience, he took out his wallet and handed Kemp a few bills. “It’s not much, but it can help. I know I can’t stop you leaving, since as you pointed out I have to get home before the sun gets too high, and I’m not about to cuff you and take you in at this point.”

Sunday, October 12, 2014

3 - ‘Come gentle night…’

“I’m not some superhero, damn it.”

“No, but you have a duty to use what is at your command. Just because you’re…” Leif looked Kemp over and shook his head.

“A skinny little fag that really can’t be like you no matter what?”

Leif chuckled in momentary amusement. “I was going to say a nice kid even if you are gay. Kemp, I don’t care that you’re that way. It’s really none of my business. I just…hell I knew something like this was going to happen sooner or later.”

“Getting psychic in your old age?”

“No.” He shook his head. “Actually I guess if I had to choose what I expected to happen, I’d have said you’d run into some punks or skin-heads who would have beaten you to a pulp, or worse, because you weren’t willing to defend yourself. I really didn’t expect anything like this.”

“Yeah, it wasn’t in my day-planner either. At least my ID isn’t valid these days.”

“No shit. But the picture and stats are, and once that goes out over the wires you’re going to have every cop in town looking for you. They’re not sure if you’re a witness or the killer, but either way they want to talk to you.”

“Fuck and double fuck,” Kemp muttered as he thought about that.

“Yeah, so why don’t you let me take you in. Tell my boss what you saw and he’ll have you put in some sort of protective custody until we catch the killers.”

“Wow, do I get a hunky detective to watch over me until that happens, like in the books?”

“No, Kemp, you’ll get me if I have anything to say about it.”

“Oh joy cajole. Like you did such a good job so far.” Kemp chewed his lip as he thought about it and then shook his head. “I’m leaving town.”

“The hell you are! First off, you’re a witness to a murder. Secondly, you have no money, and third, who is going to protect you?”

Kemp countered with, “First, I’ll give you an official statement of what I saw. That should cover the legalities or whatever. Second, I’ll hitch my way to wherever and third—well I’ll just be more careful.”

“And how am I going to explain why I didn’t bring you in with me?”

“You went to the john, I locked you in and ran. Happens all the time in books.”

“Kemp, damn it, this isn’t one of those fucked up stories you bury your nose in. This is real life. It doesn’t work that way.”

Swinging his legs off the side of the bed, barely avoiding kicking his brother in the process, Kemp got up and went in search of something to wear before heading to the bathroom. Looking back over his shoulder he said, “We’ll talk more when I get done in here.”

Friday, October 10, 2014

2 - ‘Come gentle night…’

“When will you use what you have available to you, instead of running like the scared little rabbit that you are,” a voice growled in frustration.

Kemp sighed mightily and rolled over on the threadbare sheets to look at the man who was speaking. “Can’t I even get a few hours sleep before you come bothering me,” he replied as he sat up, taking a quick check to make certain he’d actually remembered to put on briefs before he’d fallen into bed only a couple  of hours ago.

“Not when you make such a fool of yourself.” The man in question sat down on the side of the bed, frowning at Kemp. “Are you always going to be such a wimp?”

I’m not a wimp, just not tall and bulked out like you are. Kemp looked at his brother, noting as always the thick, muscular arms and broad shoulders under the dark blue shirt, and the short military cut of his hair above the handsome, if somewhat patronizing face. What he said in reply was, “Just why are you here Leif?”

“Because of what you did. Or more precisely what you didn’t do tonight. Now you have the authorities looking for you as well as those men.”

Kemp shrugged in indifference, although in point of fact his brother’s words sent a wave of fear through him. “By authorities I presume you mean the police. Why would they be on my ass?”

“Because, you little idiot, it seems you dropped something when you turned tail and ran. To be precise, your wallet. The least you could have done was make certain your pants pockets didn’t have holes in them.”

“Wasn’t in my pants, was in my jacket.” Kemp sighed again, this time in frustration. There went his last ten dollars. “How do you know it was cops that found it?”

“The same way I know about everything that happened.” His brother tapped his forehead. “As long as you refuse to use what you have, I’ll be connected to you when something bad happens. If I hadn’t been busy elsewhere at the time I would have ridden to the rescue.”

“On you big white steed, oh, right, it’s a car these days isn’t it?” Kemp snorted, putting a hand over his heart. “My hero.”

“I’ll ‘hero’ you, you little shit. Just because you look like a ninety pound weakling doesn’t mean you have to act like one.”

“Actually it does. It goes with what I am.” He pursed his lips and made a limp-wristed gesture knowing it would annoy his brother no end, even though that was far from how he really acted. He relented when he saw the look of pity cross his brother’s face. “OK, so I fucked up tonight by letting them know I was there.”

“You fucked up because you ran rather than dealing with them.”

Thursday, October 9, 2014

'Sui Generis' comes out tomorrow!

'Sui Generis'

Captured and tortured, Brand becomes...unique. He escapes and with Mag's help, he sets out to exact revenge. Soon life becomes complicated when they meet others willing to help them. Will they find his captor, and if so, what then?

Captured, imprisoned and tortured, Brand becomes...unique. After escaping, he vows revenge on his captor, Fedor. With the help of his friend and housemate, Mag, the search begins. Then others who also have a vested interest in finding Fedor become involved.

These others, who call themselves Enforcers, are not run-of-the-mill by any means. Their leader, Antton, convinces Mag that Brand is more than he seems. When Fedor captures Mag to demoralize Brand to force him to come to him, Brand and the Enforcers, including Randulf, set out to rescue him.

With that mission successfully completed, Brand admits he cares for Mag as much as Mag does him--something he has been previously unwilling to reveal.

Then Brand is invited to join the Enforcers--and accepts. The Enforcers receive another assignment and Brand and Mag meet Lew, Randulf's ex-lover. There's no love lost between those two, but Mag suspects that deep down they care for each other. He vows to force them to admit it--to themselves and to each other--if they survive the coming battle.

CONTENT ADVISORY: This is a re-release title.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

1 – ‘Come gentle night…’

Kemp crept wraithlike through the silent, rain washed streets, listening intently for any followers. He didn’t need this. Didn’t deserve it. All he’d wanted was to check the dumpster behind the bakery. Sometimes they tossed out the day-old breads and rolls, and if he was lucky he could beat the others to them. It wasn’t like he’d starve if he didn’t find something there. But he got tired of cheap burgers that were about all he could afford. That and soup kitchen slop. Almost every cent he made went to pay for the hole-in-the wall room at the cheap hotel. Day labor didn’t pay well, not when he didn’t get hired much. They’d take one look at him and figure he probably couldn’t even lift a shovel, much less use it correctly. So he got chosen when there was no one else, or when someone needed a flunky to do janitorial work. 

That’s why he did the dumpster-diving thing behind places where he knew he’d get something halfway edible to flesh out his meager diet. Like tonight. He’d been about to see what might have been in the bakery’s dumpster when he’d heard footsteps, several pairs. Pulling back into the corner between the dumpster and the wall he’d cautiously peeked over the top to see who was coming.

Two men came into sight, hauling a third one between them. When they were next to the dumpster one of the haulers had pulled out a knife. “You shoulda minded your own business,” he told the haulee, pressing the blade to his chest. The victim shook his head wildly, opening his mouth as if to yell for help. He didn’t get the chance as the knife entered his chest again and again, the rain washing the blood down to blend with the filth in the alley.

Kemp gasped. He couldn’t help it; he’d never seen a man killed before. Beat up, yeah. Hell that had happened to him a time or three. But murdered, never.

The two men dropped the body and turned towards him. Kemp took off running like the devil was after him, and as far as he was concerned it was. Two devils, their footsteps echoing down the alley behind him as he sped to the entrance. If he could make it to the street maybe he’d be okay. Maybe.

Skidding around the corner onto the sidewalk he gasped for breath. Ahead was a small all-night deli. He checked behind him for a second, saw the men a few yards away, and ran like hell, pulling the deli door open. It was almost empty. The lone waiter’s eyes followed him as he sped towards the rear of the deli. He’d been here before; he knew there were stairs at the back that led up to the roof. Not a safe place, but safer than here. Now.

“Open, open,” he panted as he pressed against the hatch. It fought him and then with a loud screech popped up. Climbing onto the roof he slammed the hatch shut again.

The rain beat down on him as he half ran, half stumbled to the roof’s edge. A rusty fire escape led back down to the alley. Hearing the sound of the hatch opening, he swung onto the fire escape and clambered down. As he got to the bottom he looked up, saw one man on the way down, the other looking over the edge of the roof at him. He dropped ungracefully into the alley and sped down it, taking only a quick, terrified glance at the body as he passed it.

He made his way through two more alleys, dodging in and out of shadows, checking behind him until he thought he’d finally lost the killers. Then he took to the streets again, slipping from shadow to shadow like a wraith as he made his way back to the hotel.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Cabbie and the Cop – 43

Another fare, another dollar. I gotta find a new job Simeon thought as he pulled his cab back into traffic. Not that he would, he liked what he did---both jobs.
It was still too warm, the pavement holding the heat of the day with no breeze to dispel it. Half the city folk who were still awake were happily ensconced in their air-conditioned homes or the local bars. The rest were wondering what they'd done to deserve another night with no respite from the heat. Or at least so he supposed.

He cruised down the avenue towards the nearest hotel, keeping an eye open for anyone who might need him while as usual ignoring the dispatcher. It was after all fifty-fifty that a potential fare who'd called in would either cancel, or grab another cab going by before he could get to the location.

As he started to pass the police station he saw a slender, blond-haired man standing in front of the entrance, his phone to his ear. Simeon honked then pulled over to the curb and Vergil jumped into the passenger seat.

"Did you call for a cab, sir?"

"Actually…" Vergil leaned over to give Simeon a hungry kiss. "I was going to but since one just happened to show up…"

"Pure luck; or happenstance."

"Either way it was fortuitous." Vergil sighed, sinking into the comfort of the seat, resting his head on the headrest. "Seems while I was gone someone decided to siphon the gas out of my car. I was about to call you when you showed up."

Simeon glanced worriedly at him. "Damn. I hope it didn't have to do with the job." 
"No it was just random but it still sucks. The job itself is over, successfully. Now…" Vergil grinned at his lover, "I have two days off to do what I please, or…" his grin widened, "who I please."

Without bothering to reply, Simeon called the dispatcher to let her know he was taking the rest of the night off and then turned the cab towards home—their home. They had a lot of catching up to do as Vergil had spent the last two weeks undercover, but before any of that happened there were more personal things which needed taking care of, such as reinforcing once again their love for each other. And the best place to do that was naked in their bed.

The End

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Cabbie and the Cop – 42

Vergil looked as if he was going to break into laughter, which he quickly suppressed, saying quite seriously, "You're right, that's always such a pain. You never know who might be listening in, even here, whereas your house probably has more security than the Pentagon."

"Exactly. Ergo… if you were living there it would make the whole thing a lot easier and safer and more convenient," Simeon said, his words almost meshing together in his hurry to get them out before he lost his nerve.  

"It would make a lot of things more `convenient'," Vergil agreed with a straight face. "So…" He looked guilelessly at Simeon, "when do you want me to move in?"

Simeon tried not to sigh in relief. It would sound so juvenile if he did. "Yesterday?"

"Well, it's a little late for that. Would tomorrow work? I'm off."

"Yes! I mean," Simeon tempered his voice, "Yes, tomorrow would be fine, except maybe tomorrow evening would be better so I can help?"

"Sure. It would give me time to pack up." Vergil was on his feet seconds later, closing the small distance between their chairs. Putting his hands on Simeon's shoulders he bent to kiss him. Suddenly he was in Simeon's lap as the kiss became passionate.

"I was afraid you'd think I was crazy, moving so fast," Simeon said when they finally came up for air.

"You are, and I do, but then I'm not exactly sane at the moment either." Vergil tangled his fingers in Simeon's hair, tugging lightly to urge him closer for another kiss.

"You're sure…"

"That I want to kiss you again? Oh yeah."

"No I mean…"

Leaning back, Vergil nodded. "Quite sure. Surprised as hell, but very, very sure."

"It won't be easy. Our hours are completely contradictory for starters."

"We've managed so far," Vergil pointed out.

"You like to cook, I rarely eat."

"But you can, and even if you don't, heck I'm used to cooking for one."

"I have enemies."

Vergil shrugged, even though he had been unaware of that fact. "We both do although mine are probably less inclined to set me on fire or decapitate me than yours are. If anyone shows up wanting to destroy one of us, well we'll have each other's backs so…" He chuckled, causing Simeon to look at him in question. "Are you trying to back out already?"

"Hell no! I just wanted to lay out what you, what we're getting into."

"Your orderly mind at work again. At least we're both neat-freaks so we won't be arguing about picking things up."

"But about other things?"

Vergil smiled, pressing a chaste kiss to Simeon's lips. "We wouldn't be human if we didn't argue occasionally."

"As you've pointed out, quite often actually, we aren't human."

"Semantics." Vergil rolled his eyes.

Simeon laughed. "Our favorite game."

Vergil snorted. "Second favorite maybe. My favorite game with you is…" His hand slid between them and he palmed Simeon's semi-hard erection through his slacks.

From that second on, for the next hour or more, all thoughts of future plans vanished as they lived totally in the present.