Wednesday, December 31, 2014

43 - ‘Come gentle night…’

Sinclair barely said ten words to Kemp the entire night and when it was time for Kemp to leave Sinclair was no where to be found. Changing back into his street clothes, Kemp decided to go hunting, hoping to find a vampyre to deal with to alleviate some of his tension. Remembering the feeling he’d gotten at the cemetery he headed back there. Not that the vampyre would be there at the moment but if he was right it would come back before dawn.

Deciding to check the parts of the cemetery he hadn’t had a chance to that afternoon, Kemp walked slowly along the paths, reading names, making up stories for those that were buried there. As he turned a corner onto the next path his eyes lit on the name embossed above one of the large tombs. ‘Rikard’.

He froze. It can’t be this simple He stared in disbelief, pressing his hand against the cold marble as if by doing that he could make a connection with Owen. He sensed nothing, but then he knew wouldn’t. Not now. But come dawn?

Sinking to the ground he rested his back against the tomb, vowing to stay awake until the first rays of sunlight lit the cemetery.

As they so often did, his thoughts flew to Owen  and he remembered their time together. The touches, the kisses, the softly whispered words they exchanged. The happiness they shared as they walked or very rarely visited a club to listen to the music and dance, holding each other, not wanting that night or any other to end.

“Well, well, what have we here?”

The harsh voice broke Kemp’s reverie and he realized he’d fallen asleep. He tried to get up but one of the vampyres gripped his shoulder, holding him where he was.

“I do believe it’s the baby dhampir we’ve heard about,” a second vampyre said. “The one Rikard’s Child used to be so entranced with before he learned it was just that, an entrancement. Too bad he’s not around or I’d call him to let him know we had the bastard that tried to use him.”

“I didn’t…” Kemp stammered.

“Not the way we heard it,” the third vampyre sneered. “Are you here now hoping that he’ll show up so you can enthrall him again?”

Kemp felt the hold on his shoulder loosen as they taunted him and twisted away, springing to his feet, his silver blades in each hand now. “Why I’m here is none of your business,” he said angrily as he lunged at the closest vampyre. His blade scored the vampyre’s arm causing him to retreat a couple of feet. The others hissed as they closed in on Kemp, claws and fangs extending.

Knowing he was outnumbered and unwilling to die just yet, Kemp sprang upwards, landing on the roof of Rikard’s tomb. He looked wildly about to see which way he could go, spotting another tall tomb a few yards away. After closing his eyes for a second to center himself he leapt.

Monday, December 29, 2014

42 - ‘Come gentle night…’

Kemp’s feet ached from all the walking he’d done in the last four hours. He also felt the beginnings of a headache from the tension as street after street of houses yielded no results. If Rikard did have a home here either he wasn’t in residence at the moment or he was so well shielded that Kemp wasn’t able to feel his presence.

It was time to stop for the day. He had a job to get to, assuming it was still his. After last night he wasn’t going to bet on that. Looking around he realized he was only a block from Lafayette Cemetery and wondered how many of his foes went to ground there during the daylight hours. He was certain if any had they were probably truly dead and gone by now as there were three, well now four if you counted him, dhampirs in the city. He’d have to ask Trevor next time he saw him. With a few minutes to spare he decided to wander through just to see if he could feel the presence of a vampyre.

The shadows had begun to lengthen giving an eerie quality to the paths winding between the tombs. As he strolled he found himself speculating about the history behind some of the families buried here as he read the names on the plaques and at the tops of family vaults. Once he thought he sensed a vampyre and made a mental note to tell Trevor, or come back here himself, maybe after work. The thought of work had him hurrying out of the cemetery. He’d probably be late as it was, if he didn’t get lucky and get to the trolley line ASAP.

Forty-five minutes later he was dashing into the club, pausing just inside the doorway when he saw Sinclair look up and scowl. The man beckoned him to come over, pointing to the end of the bar. Kemp stopped when he got there, waiting for a tongue lashing at the very least.

“You’re late,” Sinclair growled.

Kemp hung his head, “I know, I’m sorry.” After a long moment of tense silence he looked up at Sinclair. “I owe you an apology for last night.”

“Indeed you do. To me and to your father.”

“Is he… No, he’s not here.”


“Did he return home?”

“Nope.” Sinclair picked up a glass and began polishing it, letting Kemp stew.

“Are you going to tell me where he is then?”

“Nope. Now get back there and change. There are a dozen tables that need bussing.”

Taking a deep breath, about to ask again where his father was, Kemp decided he’d better do as Sinclair told him, since apparently he still had his job.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

41 - ‘Come gentle night…’

“So now what are you going to do? You’re probably out of a job after you’re little temper tantrum, and you managed brush off the one person who undoubtedly could find out where Rikard is, which is the first step to finding Owen again.”

Kemp’s sigh was low and mournful as he replied, “I don’t know Trev. I just…hell they were making me feel like a two-year old who needed his hand held to cross the street.” Rubbing  his eyes he said. “I know they mean well but there I was like it was the principal’s office and I’d been called in because I’d been disruptive and my father was called in to take me home. Shit, I’m tired of everyone thinking I need a keeper.”

“Maybe if you stopped acting like you did they’d back off.”

“What’s that supposed to mean,” Kemp asked petulantly.

“It means, what have you actually done on your own to find Owen? You have a clue to where he might be. Why haven’t you tried to get out there and look? Are you just going to sit around waiting, hoping I get some sort of information, which I already pointed out to you might not happen. You’ve been in town for a week now and other than going to work and wandering the streets afterwards hoping he’ll just suddenly appear, you’ve done nothing.”

“What the hell am I supposed to do, search every house in the Garden District?”

“You can sense vampyres, use that ability you idiot. Go out there during the day instead of sitting around here moping. It could take a while but at least you’ll be doing something and you just might get lucky.”

Kemp chewed on a fingernail as he thought about that. “I wish I’d been more…that I’d pushed him for more information about where he lived, but it didn’t seem important at the time. I guess I was so wrapped up in him and how I felt, how we felt, that it never even occurred to me that we’d ever be apart, until it happened. And then it was too late. So now, yeah I have to get off my ass and stop acting like the world owes me and do this myself—for us. If there still is an ‘us’.”

“About time you got that through that thick skull of yours. Since there’s no way he could know you’ve come back it’s all on your shoulders. Although I do think you owe your father an apology for how you acted.” When Kemp shook his head in denial Trevor growled, “You have to. If for no other reason than that he’s your father and he cares. Besides why let your pride get in the way of finding Owen? You said your father offered to help. Let him.” 

“Okay, I suppose you’re right about that. Assuming Sinclair’s still talking to me, I’ll apologize to him too.”

“Good. Now get some sleep and then hit the streets tomorrow. Well this afternoon.”

Thursday, December 25, 2014

40 - ‘Come gentle night…’

“He might, if he believed that was what was involved, Kemp, but for that to happen I have to believe it too.” Sinclair crossed his arms over his chest, staring at Kemp the way a father would at a son he thought was acting like a love-sick puppy.

Kemp glared angrily back at him. “I do love Owen!”

“You knew him for what, maybe a month or so? Lust and infatuation do not count as love. Did the two of you ever do anything more than kiss and grope a bit? My take on it, from where I’m sitting, is that the two of you probably were more into the fact that you’re each the antithesis of the other. It makes for great drama and at your age drama is what it’s all about; the whole Montague and Capulet syndrome.”

“We are not Romeo and Juliet thank you very much,” Kemp growled.

Sinclair snorted. “No, more Romeo and Romeo, but you know what I mean. The two of you get torn apart by your families and it’s suddenly ‘How can they do this to us? We love each other.’ Then you spend the next year pining away for him and decide to come down here to ride to his rescue and save him from his mean old Sire so that the two of you can ride off into the sunset together.”

“Mix your metaphors much,” someone asked laconically from the doorway.

Kemp whirled around at the sound of the familiar voice and then turned back just as fast to spit out at Sinclair, “You called him? How did you even know…” Turning back to the speaker he said adamantly, “I’m not going home with you and I’m not going back to Seattle.”

The well-dressed vampyre strolled casually into the room, nodding to Sinclair before pulling up a chair next to Kemp. “Did I say you had to do either of those things?”

“You’re here aren’t you?” Then he paused as something hit him. Glancing at Sinclair he said, “You knew all along. All this probing and talk tonight was just a damned act.”

Sinclair shrugged. “I had to get a real sense of how serious you were about Owen, as did your father. We weren’t willing to help you if your feelings really were just teen-aged angst and drama.”

Rian Marston put a hand on his son’s leg. “Mr. Sinclair and I are old friends so when Leif contacted me to tell me you’d run away—again—I got in touch with him to keep an eye out for you. Imagine my surprise when it turned out he not only knew you but that you were working for him. I know the whole story, no thanks to you.” Rian shot a disapproving look at Kemp. “My first thought was that this was indeed just an infatuation born of loneliness and possibly boredom on both your parts. However the more I thought about it the more I felt that was not the case, at least for you. For Owen it could be, as he was turned only a few months before you met him from what your brother said.”

“It’s not, he loves me too,” Kemp told him. “I know he does.”

“Only time will tell. I do believe that you’re in love with him. I can see it when I look at you. A father knows, especially when he’s a vampyre. However that is neither here nor there at the moment. First we have to find Rikard and hope that Owen is with him still or that he knows where his Child is.”

Suddenly, for no reason he could put his finger on, Kemp was angry as hell. “And now that you’re here won’t that be easy?” he spat out. “You can just ask the vampyres here in the city and they’ll bow to your authority because you want to help your poor kid who can’t do anything on his own. You, Sinclair, you are, what was it you said? Riding to the rescue? That’s what you’re both trying to do. And once you find him, then what are you going to do? Drag Owen away from his Sire to be with me? You know what, if that’s what you wanted you’d have done it a year ago but you didn’t, did you? So tell you what, don’t do me any favors by trying now. If we’re meant to be together then it’s up to me to find him. That’s why I came back and that’s what I’m going to do.” Before either man could respond Kemp pushed past his father and left the office, slamming the door behind him.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

39 - ‘Come gentle night…’

Sinclair shook his head. “No, I haven’t been spying on you Kemp. I happened to be on my way home one night when I saw you dealing with a vampyre. It was interesting to watch. You’re quite skilled for one so young. I’ve pretty much assumed, after that, that you must be a dhampir.”

Kemp looked at him, puzzled. “Why didn’t you say something?”

“It’s really none of my business as long as it doesn’t affect the club. But, having seen that, I had to wonder why you were hanging out with Mr. Rikard’s Child because you had to know what he was.”

Springing to his feet Kemp started to grab Sinclair’s arm, barely restraining himself as he said excitedly, “You know Owen? Do you know where he is?”

“Ahh, now we get to meat of your problem I think. No I don’t know him, although I met him once very briefly. I just know that Rikard is the young man’s Sire. As to where Owen is—or Rikard for that matter—I have no idea. I met Rikard a few years ago through a mutual friend. I’ve been known to befriend the occasional vampyre when they’ve needed help or a place to go to ground during the day when they’ve stayed out too long and couldn’t get home before sunrise. And don’t ask why, it’s a long story that I might tell you some other time.” Sinclair paused for a moment before continuing.

“Anyway, as I was saying, I met Rikard and we became if not friends, at least acquaintances. He’d stop in here on occasion or we’d meet for a late supper if he was in the neighborhood. He’s an interesting man, very forceful and very, very slow to trust, for obvious reasons. After a time I saw less and less of him. Then one evening about a year and a half ago I ran into him. He had a young man with him. Your friend Owen. We talked for a bit before he said he had to get going because he was teaching his Child the ways of the vampyre and how to safely feed without calling attention to himself. I took that to mean that Owen was freshly turned.”

Kemp nodded. “He told me when we met that it had only been six months or so. You don’t know where they live?”

“I’m sorry but no I don’t. Rikard was, quite naturally, very closed-mouthed about that. After all, I may have met him through a friend but I am a ‘mere’ human, at least in his eyes. Therefore there were some things he was unwilling to tell me.”

“I don’t suppose this friend of yours would know, would he?”

“He might, but as he’s a vampyre too I’m not all that certain he’d be willing to tell me unless there was a compelling reason to.” Sinclair replied, watching Kemp.

Kemp dropped his eyes, staring at the carpet before looking back at Sinclair. “Would he consider love a good enough reason?”

Sunday, December 21, 2014

38 - ‘Come gentle night…’

“Kemp,” Sinclair growled, snapping Kemp out of his reverie. “You’re off somewhere again. Want to talk about what’s going on?”

“I…I wish I could but it’s personal and…” Kemp picked up the tray and looked around to see which tables needed bussing.

Sinclair took the tray away from him, setting on the end of the bar. “I’d think we should talk, but in my office.”

“Boss, I’m sorry. I’ll do better, I promise.”

“My office,” Sinclair told him as he headed in that direction, not waiting to see if Kemp followed. When they were there Sinclair closed the door saying, “Have a seat.”

Kemp slumped down in the chair, waiting for the axe to drop. Rather than sitting as well Sinclair rested one hip on the edge of his desk as he looked at the young man.

“Perhaps, if you’d tell me what’s got you so distracted I could help you. Has one of the customers been bothering you, or,” he frowned, “one of my people?”

“Oh no, it’s not that,” Kemp hurriedly assured him.

“Does it have to do with why you so suddenly disappeared last year then? Were you in trouble because of…” Sinclair hesitated, apparently not quite certain how to broach the subject.

Kemp looked up at him with a frown. “Because of?”

Sinclair ran a hand through his short, dark hair as he nodded. “I’ve been here for a long time, Kemp. Long enough to know that there’s a lot of things going on in this city that most people are unaware of. A lot of umm, other types of beings here, including vampyres. And before you try to shut me down or tell me I’m crazy I happen to know that you know this too.”

“How?” Kemp whispered agitatedly.

“How do I know you know? First off because you carry two knives with you at all times. Silver ones if I’m not mistaken. And before you deny it I can tell you that you carry one in your boot and the other one sheathed at the back of your waistband.”

“How the hell? Have you been spying on me?” Kemp asked angrily.

Friday, December 19, 2014

37 - ‘Come gentle night…’

It took Kemp a minute to remember where he was when he woke up. When he did he shucked off the blanket and rolled onto his back to stare up at the ceiling. Can I really trust Trevor not to get in touch with Leif he wondered? And on the other side of that, would Trevor let Rikard know Kemp was back in the city? He’d said he wouldn’t interfere but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t if, for some reason, he thought it was Kemp’s best interests to drop his search .

He heard something and turned his head to see Trevor standing there watching him. The dhampir cocked an eyebrow. “Having second thoughts about being here?”

Resisting the temptation to deny it Kemp nodded. “Just a bit. Do you blame me? Between my brother and Owen’s Sire we’ve been, I don’t know if betrayed is the right word but it feels like from where I’m standing. And then you conveniently show up with an offer to help me, again.”

Trevor came over to the sofa, pushing Kemp’s legs back so he could sit down. “I know a lot about betrayal on a personal level Kemp. I may be many things but there’s one thing you can count on. I would never betray someone I considered a friend no matter the reason. I might argue the merits of what you’re trying to do but that’s as far as it goes. I’ve already placed a couple of calls for you as I promised, to find out if anyone knows where Rikard lives. It could take a while to get any answers. Vampyres are notoriously unwilling to give out that sort of information. Especially to a dhampir,” he added with a low chuckle. “In the mean time you’re welcome to bed down here until you find a place of your own. It’s safe enough all told and better than the cemetery.”

Wriggling his legs free from behind Trevor, Kemp sat up, pulling his knees up so that he could wrap his arms around them as he stared thoughtfully at the man. “You mean that don’t you.”

“Mean which?”

“The part about being my friend.”

“No you little shit; I was just talking through my hat. Yes damn it, I mean it.”

“Good, because I need one right now.”

“You think I don’t know that. Look kid. Okay, Kemp,” Trevor said before Kemp could protest, “I think you’re in for a lot of heartbreak but I’m willing to do what I can to help you locate Owen. And if you do I’ll be here afterwards whatever the results. That work for you?”

“Yeah. Yeah it does.” Kemp closed his eyes for a moment, remembering Owen as he had last seen him, the lost, pleading look in his eyes as Rikard spirited him away. “He’s out there somewhere and he needs me,” Kemp stated under his breath. Opening his eyes again he nodded, saying more to himself than for Trevor’s ears, “And I am going to find him.”

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

36 - ‘Come gentle night…’

“And that brings you up to date,” Kemp said as he finished his story. “I’m here and I’m staying until I find him.”

“Not to throw a spanner in the works, but what happens if you do find him and he’s no longer interested, or even has a boyfriend now?” Trevor asked, watching Kemp’s shoulders slump at the question.

“I’ve thought about that, believe me, and I don’t have an answer. I’m hoping that his feelings were, are as strong as mine and that he trusts me to keep my promise.” Kemp sighed, staring down at his clenched hands. “But I’m honest enough with myself to know that after a year with his Sire drumming into him that he’s better off without me, he may well have decided that’s the truth and moved on.”

“A definite possibility I’m afraid. Do you even know where to start looking for him?”

“Somewhere in the Garden District.”

“That’s a pretty large area to cover Kemp, especially if they don’t actually have a house there but are living in one without the owners knowing it. It’s possible with some of the bigger homes.”

“I got the impression that Rikard does own the place and that it’s not one of the fancier ones, though I could be mistaken.”

Trevor nodded. “Well for starters I can put out some feelers among a few acquaintances of mine who might know this Rikard, or at least know where he goes to ground. Let me point out though that even if we find his place there’s a good chance Owen will no longer be living with Rikard. It’s been well over a year since he was turned which means he should have been sent out to fend for himself.”

Kemp’s features darkened in despair. “If that’s the case he could be anywhere, or dead. How many dhampir are around here Trev?”

“Two besides me, not counting you. So yeah it’s more than possible your Owen could have run into one of them. They aren’t as willing to make a decision about the morals of a vampyre before dusting one as I am.”

Running a hand through his hair Kemp said quietly, “And Owen is young and one of the innocents in this world. Not a very good combination when it comes to staying alive.”

“In his case, not at all. Although from what I remember, he did seem to have a good head on his shoulders when he wasn’t mooning over you. So don’t give up hope quite yet.”

“I’m not giving up hope period, end of discussion. I’m going to keep my promise and find him.” Kemp fought back a yawn and lost.

“I think it’s time for bed for both of us. Since I only have one bedroom you get the sofa, which isn’t all that uncomfortable. I even have extra sheets and a blanket believe it or not. The result of Del domesticating me.”

Kemp yawned again. “Right now I could probably sleep on the floor and be happy.”

“Whichever works for you but trust me the sofa’s more comfortable,” Trevor said with a chuckle as he went to find bedding. By the time he returned a couple of minutes later Kemp was sprawled out, sound asleep on the sofa. Trevor smiled as he draped the blanket over him and then headed to bed himself.

Monday, December 15, 2014

35 - ‘Come gentle night…’

“Welcome back.” Trevor said, stepping fully into view. “And by the way, thanks for saving me the trouble of dealing with that one.”

Kemp grinned as he sheathed his knives. “Any time. Were you following me or is this just a coincidence?”

Trevor returned his grin with a sardonic smile. “Now how could I be following you when I didn’t know you were back until just a few moments ago, kid?”

“It’s Kemp, and I suppose you couldn’t have been following. But still you do manage to show up when I need you, so I could start to wonder how and why.”

“Right. Kemp. Sorry.” Trevor chuckled. “And trust me except for the first time it’s always been pure coincidence.” He leaned back against the brick wall of the building as he looked Kemp over carefully before asking, “Does anyone know you’re back in town?”

“Only the owner of the club where I used to work.. He hired me back. And,” Kemp’s mouth tightened, “I’m sure my brother has figured out that I’ve come down here again.”

“So you’re on the run from him, from the way you phrased that.”

“Yeah. Well not so much on the run as just wanting to steer clear of him if he comes looking for me.”

“I think I need to hear the whole story. All I know is that you suddenly disappeared. I was afraid at first that you’d had a run-in with a vampyre you couldn’t handle. But nothing on the grapevine said a dhampir had been killed, and believe me there would have been a lot of cheering in certain circles if that had been the case. “

“Well, what happened was…”

“Not here. Come on, I’m taking you home with me unless you already have a place. And since you’re toting that backpack I suspect you don’t.”

“Nope,” Kemp admitted. “I was heading for the cemetery when all this went down.”

Trevor shot him a look of disgust. “First off that would have been a stupid move. Secondly why didn’t you come to my place in the first place.”

Kemp chewed his lip, not willing to say that he wasn’t certain he trusted Trevor not to get word to his brother about where he could find him.

“I swear,” Trevor growled, obviously sensing exactly what Kemp was thinking. “Look, Kemp, assuming this is why your back and trying to avoid your brother, let me state once and for all that, while I might not have approved of your relationship with Owen, it’s between the two of you and no way would I interfere.”

“Thank you Trev. I wish everyone else felt the same way.”

“Adults like to think they know better than kids about what’s good for them. Not much you can do to change that,” Trevor replied as he took off walking.

Kemp hurried to catch up with him. “So if Leif comes looking you’ll keep quiet about me?”

“Yeah, sure. What the hell, said I would, didn’t I?”

Saturday, December 13, 2014

34 - ‘Come gentle night…’

As soon as he was off work for the night Kemp changed back into his jeans and shirt, checked that his knives weren’t visible, and headed out onto Bourbon. The night was warm and the street still crowded with tourists and locals out for a good time. Kemp knew he had very little cash to spare. That meant either going back to the rat-trap of a hotel he’d stayed at for a couple of nights the last time he’d been in New Orleans, or finding a safe place to sleep rough.  

He decided to check out some spots he knew of where it might still be safe to bed down for the night, away from prying eyes. One was down by the river front so he headed that way. As he walked the familiar streets he remembered all the times he and Owen had done the same thing. He paused at the spot where he’d first met Rikard, when the vampyre had thought he was going to slay Owen. He and Owen had laughed about that later but at the time Kemp hadn’t been sure he wouldn’t be the one dying.

When he got to the river front more memories came surging back of his times with Owen. This had been their favorite place in the city and they’d spent many hours here just talking and walking, getting to know each other. Kemp wondered if Owen had ever come here again after they’d been forced into separation.

It didn’t take long for him to discover that the spot he’d been looking for had been taken over by a couple of street kids who had no intention of sharing their space with him. So he headed back through the Quarter to the other side. He knew the place that he was thinking about would not be as safe, but if he was careful and stayed on high alert he’d be able to avoid any vampyres that used mausoleums in the cemetery as their hidey-holes during the day.

When he reached Rampart he paused, sensing the presence of a lone vampyre on the prowl. Locating him, Kemp watched from a distance as the vampyre homed in on a young man, obviously drunk, a few yards ahead of him. The vampyre caught up with his intended victim, gripping his arm to drag him into the darkened doorway of an abandoned building.

Kemp pulled out his knives as he quickly but silently joined the pair. The vampyre had shoved the inebriated man against the wall and was just about to start feasting when he must have felt Kemp’s arrival. He whirled around, claws and fangs at the ready. Kemp stepped into his space, smiling tightly as he adroitly avoided having his arm lacerated, while managing to make a telling strike across the vampyre’s bicep. Since the blades were silver the long gash he inflicted did not immediately heal. The vampyre swore angrily as he attempted to defend himself. The battle was short and ended badly for the vampyre. Once the ashes settled Kemp checked to make certain the young man was all right and then stepped back onto the street.

“Seems you’ve improved in the last year,” a voice said from the shadows of a nearby doorway.

Kemp spun around and his gaze met deep lavender eyes he knew well.

Friday, December 12, 2014

'The Hit Man Cometh' is out today!

Meet Mick, a man for whom death is a way of life.
The Hit Man Cometh

Mick is a hit man sent after Gavin. Can Gavin, an ex-conman and a shifter, convince Mick they should join forces before Mick kills him?

Mick Whalen is a hit man hired to kill Gavin Wilde. However, when he tracks Gavin to a remote mountain cabin, he discovers that killing the coyote shifter is not in the cards. Especially when Gavin offers sex as an incentive to spare his life—an offer Mick does not refuse.

At Gavin’s insistence, they find out who hired Mick before someone else is sent to finish the job. The most probable person is a vampire with an ax to grind because of something Gavin did to him in the past. With the help of Gavin’s bear shifter friend Torben, and Torben’s vampire friend Brynja, they set out to stop the vampire—perhaps permanently.

Mick and Gavin decide to join forces since, as Gavin points out, he can teleport Mick away after a hit. The contracts come, and their rough bouts of sex heat up in the process.
However, they’re almost killed on a job—a job no one knew about except Mick’s friend and handler Johnny. When Johnny is murdered, they team up with the two other hit men who also once worked for Johnny, to find and eliminate his killer as well.

With death and destruction now both men’s way of life, will it draw them closer together—or destroy what has become more than just a friendship? 
Reader Advisory: This book contains light BDSM.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

33 - ‘Come gentle night…’

Kemp made it to New Orleans with no real problems other than fending off the advances of one trucker, letting him know that the ride was appreciated but he wasn’t going to ‘service’ him in exchange for it. The man had immediately pulled to a stop and shoved Kemp from the cab. Only his quick reflexes kept Kemp from landing face-first on the gravel at the side of the highway.

Now he was standing outside the club where he’d worked so briefly before being forced to go home with Leif. This was the one place his brother hadn’t known about when he’d come to the city—and Kemp had kept it that way. After readjusting his pack Kemp pushed open the door and walked in. The place looked just as he remembered it, even to Sinclair standing behind the bar. When the man looked up and saw him, Kemp nodded, getting one in return as he made his way to a vacant stool at the end of the bar.

Sinclair came around the bar to stand beside him, looking him over. “You’ve grown up a bit from the look of it. You’ll even pass for twenty-one now.”

Kemp looked at him in surprise. “You knew?”

“I guessed. Didn’t know for certain until just now. So, are you looking for your job back? Not that I’m offering it quite yet.”

“I could use it, yes, but I can understand if you don’t trust me enough to give it to me since I left in such a hurry.” Kemp chewed on his lip as he waited for Sinclair to answer.

The man shrugged. “You’re not the first one that’s walked out without giving notice and you won’t be the last. At least while you were here you worked hard and were always on time. It’ll be the same thing, bussing, and the same hours.” He chuckled then. “Truth be told you’re a godsend right now. The last kid picked up and left after I reamed him for dropping another tray of dishes, the third time in two weeks. He was more interested in the customers than in what he was being paid to do. So you can start right now if you’re willing.”

Kemp sighed in relief. “More than willing. I even have slacks and a shirt though,” he winced, “the shirt might be a bit wrinkled.” He tapped his backpack.

“As long as it doesn’t look like you slept in it it’ll be okay—for tonight. Now get back there and get changed.”

“Yes, boss.” Kemp gave him a broad smile before hurrying off to get ready. With the first problem solved, all he had to do now was find somewhere safe to stay. And then start his search for Owen.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

32 - ‘Come gentle night…’

Kemp sighed with relief as soon as his brother left the bedroom. He’d known the question about Owen would come sooner or later and he’d carefully prepared his answer. He wasn’t still pining after Owen. He’d never been pining because he knew that sooner or later he would figure out a way to go back and find him. And when he’d said that it had been fun while it lasted that was the absolute truth even though he knew that Leif had taken it differently than he had meant it. As for the rest, it was quite possible that Rikard had taken Owen somewhere away from New Orleans, but that didn’t mean that Kemp couldn’t find him. “I’m resourceful if nothing else,” he murmured as he got ready to go shopping with Leif, “And patient.”

He practiced patience for another month, doing nothing that would set off his brother’s radar. He went out at night, sometimes with one friend or another that he’d had before he’d left for New Orleans, sometimes alone while he hunted for his enemies.

And all the time he was doing that he was making plans. He had money this time, from the job he’d had in New Orleans. Not a fortune by any means but enough that he could make his way back there without having to trade sex for rides. He had vowed from the moment he’d met Owen that he would never again use his body in that way. Of course he hadn’t foreseen what would happen after that fateful night but he intended to keep his vow nonetheless. He also had his fake ID back. It had taken a while to find where his brother had stashed it, and in point of fact he was a bit surprised but very glad that Leif had kept it.

The trick was going to be getting far enough away from the house and the city that his brother couldn’t catch up with him once he realized that he was gone.   And then to stay hidden once he got to New Orleans—because his brother wasn’t a fool, he’d know that was where he was going.

First things first though. He looked around the room that had been his for the last year. Everything appeared as it usually did, he’d made certain of that. The only thing out of place was the backpack sitting on his bed, crammed almost to overflowing with what he was taking with him. During the last couple of days he’d hit the thrift shops for new clothes and the drug store for a toothbrush and the rest of the grooming items he’d need. He knew that he couldn’t take what he already owned with him as that would immediately clue Leif in that he had fled.

As the first rays of sunlight slipped through the window he hefted the pack onto his shoulder and slipped out of his bedroom. Leif should be dead to the world by now but Kemp was taking no chances as he tiptoed down the hall to the stairs.

He was out of the house a few minutes later, having stopped in the kitchen just long enough to toss together a couple of sandwiches and grab some bottled water.

An hour later he was at the on-ramp to I-90 keeping an eye out for cops as he stuck out his thumb to hitch a ride.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

31 - ‘Come gentle night…’

“Some damned birthday, stuck here in this prison.” Kemp muttered as he looked out the window of his bedroom.

Leif shook his head. “I’d hardly call this a prison. You have the whole of Seattle at your disposal.”

With a snort Kemp rounded on his brother—not for the first time in the last year. “It is when I’m restricted to the house unless I have you in tow. You’d think by now you’d trust me enough to let me go out on my own. I’m more than able to take care of myself in all ways and you know it. If you remember I handled that punk bastard of a vampyre with no problems a couple of weeks ago.”

“With me as backup in case you needed it,” Leif pointed out.

“But I didn’t, did I? I haven’t for the last six months. Trevor trained me well and I’ve gotten better since then, both in finding them and taking them down.”

“I’ll admit that’s true. A few more years and you’ll be a good as Trevor’s reputed to be I suspect.” 

Leif devoutly wished there was still the connection, the link, that he'd once had with his brother. But that had vanished, as he’d known it would, when Kemp had stopped fighting what he was and accepted his birthright with all it entailed. If the link were still there he’d be more willing to let Kemp go off on his own, because then he’d know if Kemp got into more than he could handle. And he’d also know if his brother still harbored feelings for the fledgling vampyre in New Orleans and intended to go searching for him. That more than anything had him still keeping Kemp on a very short leash, watched over by two humans friends of his he’d hired to do just that when he wasn’t available.

“And until then I’m still a prisoner, right?” Kemp resisted the urge to hit something, preferably at this moment his over-bearing brother.

Leif rubbed his forehead as he thought about that. “I’ll answer that question if you answer mine first, and truthfully. Don’t bother trying to lie because I will know.”

As far as Kemp was concerned it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what the question was. He caught Leif’s eyes and said with all the veracity he could muster, “No Leif, I am not still pining after Owen. I know that’s a lost cause by now. He could be anywhere in the world, and undoubtedly by this time has found some nice young vampyre boyfriend that his Sire approves of whole heartedly.” He shrugged and gave a small, self-deprecating laugh. “It was fun while it lasted, which wasn’t very long, but it’s over.”

Leif studied his face and nodded slowly. “Then in answer to your question, no you won’t be a prisoner until your thirty. As far as I’m concerned you’re free to go where you want and do as you will as long as you remember that you have responsibilities that come with being a dhampir.”

Kemp’s face lit up even as he looked at his brother in surprise. “I am? Honest?”

“Yes, honest,” Leif replied with a laugh. “Just be careful is all I ask. Don’t try to take on more than you can handle.”

“Yes!” Kemp pumped his fist in the air. “That means I can go to that club to celebrate my birthday.”

“Umm, not even. Not until you’re twenty-one. And in case you’ve forgotten you don’t have ID that says you are any more and for damned sure I’m not taking you.”

Kemp’s shoulders slumped for a moment and then he smiled in acknowledgement. “All right. So, if I can’t do that for my birthday, how about we go shopping?”

Leif sighed but agreed. “Shopping it is. Just try not to bankrupt me.”

Friday, December 5, 2014

30 - ‘Come gentle night…’

Rikard’s eyebrow cocked as he replied, “Are you certain of that Kemp?” Turning he gestured and Leif strode into view.

“How…” Kemp stammered as he stared at his brother. “I didn’t feel you, or the presence of any other vampyre.”

“If you had accepted what you are long ago, when you should have, you would be strong enough now and Rikard would not have been able to mask me from you.” Leif shook his head, sighing deeply. “I’m sorry Kemp but he’s right, this can not continue. The two of you are both too new to what you are. I don’t agree with Rikard that you’re too young to know your feelings,” he shot a look at Rikard as he said that, “but together the two of you become so involved in those feelings and each other that you loose your concentration, making you vulnerable to any vampyre bent on your destruction.”

“Why would a vampyre want to hurt me,” Owen asked, frowning deeply.

“To harm me,” Rikard replied. “You are my creation. They could use you against me and you are too new to be able to resist.” He sighed as he looked at the young men still entwined in each other’s arms. “You have to believe that I wish things could be otherwise. I hold no ill feelings against you Kemp, but this was not meant to be.” He held out his hand to Owen. “Come my Child.”

“No father,” Owen said. Then he gasped as he felt himself being compelled to cross the distance that separated him from his Sire. “Please, no,” he begged. When he reached Rikard’s side the old vampyre gripped his shoulder. Owen turned his anguished gaze back to Kemp. “Help me,” he whispered.

Kemp tried to move forward, his hands reaching out for Owen. He found that his body was frozen in place. “Leif, please,” he begged, knowing this was his brother’s doing.

Leif looked at him sadly as he shook his head. “This is for the best; you’ll see that in time.”

Kemp’s eyes locked on Owen’s. “I’ll find you again, I promise.”

“I know,” Owen whispered. “In my heart I know. We will be together again.”

Without giving Owen time for another word to be spoken, Rikard led him into the dense shadows. Kemp watched until they disappeared from view. “I will return to you Owen. I will,” he said so softly his brother could barely hear him. Then, every line of his body tense with anguish and anger, he followed his brother away from the river front.