Tuesday, March 31, 2015

29 - The darkest night will pass…

Kemp slid over, snuggling against the cool body next to him. He was sore in places he hadn’t been in---he couldn’t remember how long. Not that he was going to complain; far from it. As soon as evening came he intended to go for at least one repeat performance before Seth had leave for work. He started to doze off again when he heard the sound of someone unlocking the front door to the house.

Instantly he was on his feet, his blades gripped tightly in each hand as he moved stealthily to the bedroom door. Peering cautiously out into the hallway he froze when the tip of a silver sword pressed against his throat.

“Damn, Trev, would you warn a guy that you’re back in the city.” Kemp stepped into the hall to look at his friend.

Trevor shook his head. “Since when has this house become clothing optional and who’s the vampyre in my bed? And you’d better say Seth or I’m having your head examined.”

“Seth, and he’s already given my head a through examination thanks.” Kemp replied straight-faced.

“Gods, I think I liked you better when you were morose. That was awful. Now go put on some jeans and come out and talk to me. I want to know exactly what’s going on and why.”

A few minutes later Kemp sat down at the table across from Trevor, talking a big gulp of hot coffee. “So ask away.”

“How long have you two been sharing my bed?”

“Since last night. And before you get pissed, we were going to use the floor but it was too damned hard even with a couple of blankets laid down.”

“I don’t care about the bed. The question is, is this a serious relationship or just a one night stand?”

Kemp smiled. “He doesn’t do those.”

“What about you?” Trevor asked knowingly.

“I’m not a virgin, but I’m not a whore either. It’s been years since I used my body to earn my way down here the first time. Something, by the way, that I’d rather not let Seth know about until, well, until I know that we really have something going on between us.”

“Are you having second thoughts?”

“I’m not,” Kemp replied adamantly, “but he’s older than me. A lot older and wiser. Once he realizes he’s thinking of hooking up with someone a tenth of his age he might change his mind.”

“I doubt that. You’ve got a lot to offer and if he’s got an ounce of sense he already knows that.”

“I hope so.” Kemp glanced towards the bedroom. “I really hope so.”

Monday, March 30, 2015

Two cover reveals!

When his sister is murdered, Myles gains custody of her son, Simon. He also has to handle the reappearance of his ex lover, Zayne. While trying to come to grips with both--problems--another woman is murdered. Will love blossom again? Or will Simon, and the murders, drive the two men apart?

 Coming in print
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?

What do you do when you find out the man of your dreams may just be a creature out of a nightmare? That's what Ryan must decide when he invites Adrian to be his housemate.

Talbot, a loner--and lonely---hybrid dhampir/werewolf, is asked to help the Enforcers find a turncoat in their midst. Reluctantly agreeing, he meets werewolf Ulrik and things become...interesting, when the team is sent to New Orleans to stop a rogue and catch a traitor.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

28 - The darkest night will pass…

“Where the hell are you?” Seth muttered as he paced back and forth in front of the club. He’d been doing that for the last forty-five minutes, and with each step he was getting more worried. Every person who came into view earned a fast glance and mounting hope until he realized they weren’t Kemp. “If you’ve gone and gotten yourself killed I’m going to shoot you,” he growled loudly enough that a man passing him quickly stepped into the street to place a good distance between them.

“Now would I do that?” Kemp said quietly from behind him.

Seth spun around, his eyes widening. “Looks like you came close,” he stated, taking in Kemp’s torn, blood-stained shirt and the parallel claw marks down one side of his chest.

“Seems the vampyre took poorly to the idea that I was going to destroy him. Being somewhere close to old, he knew what he was doing when he fought back.”

“You won I hope.”

“Barely, but yeah.”

Seth pulled him in a tight, if careful, embrace, hissing, “Why didn’t you call me, I’d have come to help.”

“I don’t have a number for you?” Kemp shifted slightly to keep from staining Seth’s shirt. “Would you really have done that? Come and fought him too?”

“Damned straight. I don’t like the murderous bastards any more than you do, even if they are my kind.” He brushed a straggling lock of hair back from Kemp’s face. “Besides, it could be the only way I get to spend any quality time with you.”

“So you’re not planning on coming home with me.” Kemp let a grin quirk his lips to hide the fear that Seth would say ‘no’.

“I don’t know,” Seth replied. “I suppose I could be persuaded to, with the right incentive. I told you I don’t go home with just any guy that asks me.”

“What about one who thinks he wants to find out what’s under all those clothes?”

Seth snorted. “I think you pretty much saw it all a few hours ago.”

“Not here.” Kemp pressed his hand against the hard outline of Seth’s cock under the tight jeans.

“Damn,” Seth hissed, the touch flooding his senses with a ravenous need for more. “How close..?”

Kemp cocked an eyebrow. “From the feel of it you’re real close,” he teased.

“Okay, brat, you know what I meant. If it’s more than a few blocks, I’m going to break a cardinal rule and take you right here in front of God and everyone.”

“Brat?” Kemp chuckled. “Just for that I might leave you here to take care of the problem all by yourself.”

“Don’t. You. Dare.”

Looking up at him, Kemp smiled before kissing him soundly. “I wouldn’t think of it.” Slipping his arm around Seth’s waist, he tugged slightly to get him moving. “It’s only a few blocks. Think you’ll make it?”

“Maybe. If we walk fast.”

Friday, March 27, 2015

27 - The darkest night will pass…

“Not long enough to do what I want,” Seth murmured as he looked at Kemp, his eyes bright with need and desire.

“I…well,” Kemp whispered. “After?”

“Oh most definitely after. I don’t want some quickie in the men’s room.”

Kemp didn’t know quite how to respond to that. “Meaning…” He paused and Seth immediately understood.

“No, no, I didn’t mean that the way it sounded. Well I did, but not the way you took it.” He cupped Kemp’s face in one hand, not caring that they were standing there impeding the other dancers on the floor. “I don’t…damn…I’m not looking for a fast bit of sex and then back to work. That’s not me. If I find a man I’m interested in, I want more than that. Much more.”

It took a moment for Kemp to process what Seth was saying. “How can you be interested in me?”

Seth snorted softly as he took Kemp’s hand, leading him away from the crowd to an empty space at the edge of the room. Leaning back against the wall, he wrapped his arms around Kemp’s waist loosely to keep him from moving away.

“Why shouldn’t I be interested? You’re smart I think—most of the time—and sexy and just a bit scary.”

“Scary?” Kemp laughed. “Me?”

“Yes, you. I…” Seth took a deep breath, about to admit something he wasn’t certain he should. “I saw you late one night, dealing with a vampyre. You were a totally different person then. All business and deadly. Very deadly.”

“I would hope so,” Kemp replied somewhat tersely. “It is what I was created for. I’m surprised, after seeing it, that you’d want anything to do with me.” He tried to pull away but Seth wasn’t having any of it.

“I knew what you were even before I met you. You know that. And I was prepared to hate you on sight. But I didn’t.” Tracing a knuckle along the line of Kemp’s jaw, Seth told him, “I saw sadness in you that I wanted to ease. I wanted to take away your pain.”

Kemp smiled, leaning into the touch. “So you decided to lecture me almost ad nauseam.”

“I did and since you’re here I guess it worked.”

“I guess it did.” Without thinking about the consequences, Kemp kissed Seth. Just a swift touch of their lips that gave promise there would be more, if that was what Seth wanted. “When do you get off,” he asked quietly as he pulled away.

Seth told him, saying he’d wait for him outside the club if Kemp was delayed. He took a moment to return the kiss, slowly and gently. “Until then,” he murmured.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

26 - The darkest night will pass…

Turning slowly, Kemp tried to locate where the vampyre was in the club. When he homed in on his location, Kemp pushed his way through the crowds and stopped in shock. There in front of him, on the third small stage, was Seth—dancing. He seemed oblivious to everything but the beat of the music, although—like the other two dancers—he adroitly evaded the men reaching for him, unless they were thrusting cash into his waistband.

“Now this I didn’t expect at all,” Kemp said to no one in particular.

The red-head next to him chuckled. “What? Pretty boys dancing? It happens every night here.” He eyed Kemp with interest, then, obviously noting he was alone, without a by-your-leave he grabbed Kemp's hands and pulled him into the center of the dance floor. It was so crowded that they were forced into full-body contact to avoid the other dancers. Kemp almost protested and then gave in to the hard beat of the music, putting his arms around the taller man’s neck.

“Nice,” the man murmured, his lips pressed against Kemp’s ear. When he began to nibble, Kemp shivered in response, torn between freeing himself and letting what ever would happen next, happen.

“I guess you decided to take my advice,” a voice said from behind him.

Kemp twisted enough to see Seth standing there, a smirk on his face. He shrugged and replied, “Yeah, and?”

“And you’re not a bad dancer but you need a better partner.”

The red-head scowled at Seth. “Back off, he’s mine.”

“Excuse me? I’m no one’s unless I choose to be,” Kemp told him scathingly as he dropped his arms and stepped back, right into Seth.

Seth laughed, grabbing Kemp to steady him. “I might rescind my comment on your dancing,” he said.

“Or let me prove that I really do know what I’m doing, with the right partner?”

“You’re on.” Seth pulled him close, his hands sliding down Kemp’s back to grip his ass as they moved to the pounding rhythms.

“Are you going to get in trouble, dancing with a customer?” Kemp asked, wrapping his arms around Seth’s waist. Suddenly he realized that he was holding, and being held by, a damned near naked male. And his body was responding to that fact.

Seth grinned, obviously feeling Kemp’s hardness pressing against his own burgeoning erection. “I’m on break right now,” he said a bit huskily.

Kemp chewed his lip as he looked up at him. “For how long?”

Monday, March 23, 2015

25 - The darkest night will pass…

After a week of prowling the streets alone, dealing with vampyres who needed his attention, Kemp decided he had to take a break for a few hours. It wasn’t as if being a dhampir was a job that allowed for weekends off. It was dusk to dawn seven days a week. But even Trevor admitted they were allowed to let things slide occasionally for some free time for themselves.

The problem was, he didn’t know what he wanted to do. The idea of killing time window shopping the Quarter held no appeal, and he wasn’t the least bit hungry, even if he was willing to pay Quarter prices for food. He could head back to the house, but he’d just rattle around feeling guilty for not being out protecting the innocent populace of the city.

Loud music from the various clubs assailed his ears as he passed them. Maybe now’s the time to take that first step. He knew which ones were predominantly gay spots, with a few curious tourists in the mix. He thought about going to Sinclair’s, but decided he didn’t want his ex-boss keeping a fatherly eye on him.

“Next bar I pass I go into,” he muttered to himself. “Okay, the next gay bar,” he added as he looked through one doorway to discover the place was filled with young straights on the make.

He smiled when he saw a sign a few yards down the street. He’d heard about the place. It was friendly, jumping and as safe as any bar in the Quarter could be

Once inside, he scoped the place out, settling for sitting at the bar where he could nurse a drink and watch the activity. The guys ranged from barely legal to old, but were predominately within his age range. At first glance none of them came close to interesting him—and that hadn’t changed half an hour later.

He was ready to call it a night and get back to work when he heard the music change in the adjoining room. Glancing over he saw what he’d missed before—there was a large dance floor there filled with writhing bodies. “Damn, I almost blew it,” he said under his breath as he got up to go check it out.

Slipping in he found an empty space along one wall and leaned back to watch. It soon became apparent something was going on at the far end of the room. Probably go-go boys showing off their talents. He remembered when he and Owen had gone to one of the clubs which featured them. The guys had been cute and sexy and hands-off. Owen had been both shocked and enthralled at the same time and Kemp had… He pushed the memory away. That was the past and he had to keep it there if he was going to move on.

Inching his way along the wall he finally got close enough to spot the entertainers between the bodies of the men gathered on the floor in front of them. The two he could see were slim, well-built, and very good at keeping just out of reach of groping hands.

He froze suddenly, sensing the presence of a vampyre.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

24 - The darkest night will pass…

“Could I have found a worse job?” Seth muttered to himself as he handed over the room key a lady of the evening and her john.

He suspected he could have, although he wasn’t sure what it would have been. Maybe cleaning sewers or emptying dumpsters. Or stripping the sheets off the beds at this sleazy hotel before the next ‘customer’ arrived. The very thought of doing that made him shudder.

Checking the clock yet again, he realized he still had an hour to go before he could head back to Rikard’s. He opened the paper he’d been reading and began searching the want-ads. There had to be something there he could do. Tracing his finger down the columns, he realized yet again there were few, if any jobs that would allow him to start after dark and leave before dawn. Well, few which didn’t also require that he be trained to do them. When he’d first started looking he’d thought being a security guard would be perfect, until he found out they would run a background check on him. That could have been amusing, to say the least.

He had to stop twice more to take money and hand over keys, before his finger landed on a job which sounded interesting and like something he could actually do and have fun with. Grabbing the phone he called the number in the ad and within minutes he had an interview set up for the next evening.

Two nights later he was dressed, barely, as he danced on one of the small stages at a gay bar in the heart of the Quarter. He’d been surprised when the manager had taken one look at him and said, “If you know your right foot from your left and can move to the beat you’re hired.” It turned out the club had lost two of its dancers in the last few days and was desperate to find anyone who was young enough and sexy enough to keep the customers’ attention.

Seth grinned as a cute blonde slipped some bills into the waistband of his skintight shorts, dancing back before the guy could touch more than the club allowed. He’d found out very quickly that the customers liked to try doing that, so he learned how to move away to the beat of the music without insulting the men.

However, he wasn’t above doing some checking out of his own of the guys on the dance floor. They ran the gamut from young and cute, to thirty-something and knowing, to old and hopeful. And as fate would have it, the only ones he found remotely interesting seemed to be attached at the hip to the men they were dancing with, be they partners or just a pick-up for the evening.

Not that Seth was really looking for anyone. He discovered years ago he wasn’t into one night stands. If he did meet someone who interested him, he made that fact known immediately. It did nothing for his sex life he’d found out, much to his amused frustration.

At the end of the evening he found himself more than a few dollars richer, and the possessor of several phone numbers that had been slipped to him along with the bills. The numbers he tossed, the bills he put in his wallet. Then he finished dressing and headed home.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

23 - The darkest night will pass…

With Trevor out of town, Kemp had to put his job on hold, which did not make his boss happy. And Kemp couldn’t even tell him the real reason why, blaming it instead on family business he had to deal with. Leif was now back in Seattle, having promised to keep in touch, so Kemp had Trevor’s house to himself. Not that he got much chance to use it other than to sleep, but he’d become used to that. It was having no one to talk to that was getting to him. Lonely nights patrolling the streets, always tense as he looked for vampyres that needed his attention, gave him too much time think

The more he thought, the more he realized that Seth had been correct. For the past three years almost his sole focus had been on Owen; on him and then on feeling sorry for himself for having lost him. How the hell has anyone been able to put up with me? he wondered. And what chances have I missed, as Seth said, because I wouldn’t let go of the past?

By the fourth night, finding himself again avoiding the riverfront area where he and Owen had spent so much time—instead of checking it out as he should have—he took himself in hand.

This had got to stop. Now, he scolded himself. I’m a grown man. I can’t let the past rule me the way it has been.

He forced himself to cross the street. As he walked along the path by the river he began to realize that the pain was gone, replaced by a sense of acceptance. He would never forget Owen—he had been his first love—but indeed it was now time to move on. “I’ll always miss you, and love you,” he murmured under his breath. “But I need to begin living again.”

He waited, almost as if expecting an answer, and then laughed to himself. This wasn’t some romance novel where the ghost of a past love would come back to give the hero their permission to get on with his life. This was reality and the choice was his alone to make. He looked around, smiled softly, and whispered, “Good-bye.”

Then, feeling as if a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders, he went in search of vampyres.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

22 - The darkest night will pass…

“By the way Seth, you rather deftly avoided my implied question a while ago.” Rikard said as he watched the young vampyre finish feeding.

Once he’d sealed the bite wounds and erased the donor’s memory of what had happened, Seth smiled. “And just what question was that?”

“If you find Kemp interesting?”

“Of course I do. He’s the first dhampir I’ve met. Well him and Trevor. I find that quite fascinating. They’re not at all what I expected.”

“I’m sure they’re not. They don’t have horns and claws and long spiked tails.”

Seth gave Rikard a ‘duh’ look. “That’s not what I meant and you know it. But I did expect a great deal of hostility, even hatred, and they don’t seem to have that at all. Well, towards us at least.”

“Believe me, according to the stories I’ve heard, that’s exactly how Trevor was until fairly recently. He killed us without a thought. Now he makes it a practice to slay only those of us who are killers or brutal towards our donors. Kemp’s story is different but the results are the same.”

“Kemp’s going to be a force to reckon with in time I think, given who his father is.”

“Indeed. He and his brother, who as you now know is Rian’s Child. You also will have powers beyond your years. In fact I suspect you do already. You just need to be taught to use them.”

“I suppose, if my abilities would let me deal with rogues the way you did with Hakim. I just don’t want to become like him, or Khalid.”

“What you become, how you act, has nothing to do with the fact that you’re a vampyre. The concern you showed Kemp should prove that to you.”

“And you managed to bring the conversation back around to him again,” Seth said, smiling in amusement.

Rikard chuckled. “I’m clever that way. Seriously, however, you could do worse than to become his friend. He’s a good young man, and I truly think he needs to be around someone his own age who understands him. Emphasis on ‘his own age’. And before you protest, Seth, you may be older than him in reality but I think up here,” Rikard tapped his forehead, “you’re still twenty-four in a great many ways.”

“I’ll…take that under advisement. However, before I do anything else I do have to find a job and a place of my own. I appreciate the offer to live with you and I’m not turning it down. I just have to be my own person. Something I haven’t really been since I first met Khalid. Those two years with Mark were the closest I ever came to that.”

“I understand. Feel free to be my guest until you get on your feet. And afterward, well as cliché as it may sound, think of me as a father, or maybe an uncle—willing to give you advice when you ask for it, and to have you over for the holidays, especially Christmas. I do love having someone to give presents to.”

“Now that, sir, is an offer I most certainly cannot refuse.”

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Meet 'The City PI and the Country Cop' ......

The City PI and the Country Cop

Now available at

A murder in a small Colorado town closely resembles unsolved crimes committed by a serial killer almost thirty years ago. Private investigator Teague Donovan learns of the recent murder and is instantly drawn to the case, because one of the victims in the past was his best friend, and he is determined to bring the killer to justice.

Hoyt Newman, the detective in charge of the most recent case, is none too happy with Teague's interfering. At least not until a second homeless boy is tortured and killed. As the two men work together, they begin to develop an interest in each other -- one that seems fated not to come to fruition since Teague is city, through and through, and Hoyt is definitely country to the core.

    Teague entered the building, stopping at the front desk to tell the female officer manning it that he was there to see Detective Newman. She made a call then told him to have a seat. "He'll be down to get you soon," she said with a bit of a smirk.

    Wondering what that was all about, Teague crossed to the bench along one wall to wait. Twenty minutes later he knew why the woman at the desk had reacted the way she had. He was about to call it a day, figuring the detective was blowing him off, when the door at the far end of the room opened. A tall, dark-haired man entered. He glanced at the desk clerk, she nodded toward Teague, and the man crossed the room to where Teague sat.

    "Mr. Donovan? I'm Detective Newman. If you'll follow me." The man didn't smile. In fact his lips were drawn together in a tight line as he turned and swiftly headed back to the door he'd come through.

    "Oh boy," Teague muttered under his breath as he went after the detective. They walked down a long hallway to a flight of stairs and from they went up to the second floor hallway. Newman opened a door halfway down, leading the way into the almost empty squad room -- a fact that didn't surprise Teague since it was Sunday morning. When they reached a desk along one wall Newman indicated with a gesture that Teague should sit in the chair beside it.

    "I should preface this by telling you," Newman said as he sat, "that I don't appreciate Detective Slater foisting you on me."

    "Understandable," Teague replied. "I'd probably feel the same way if I was in your shoes. Did he tell you why I'm interested in the case you're handling?"

    "The one involving the kid, Lee Grimes, who was tortured and subsequently murdered? No, he didn't."

    "All right. I'll start at the beginning."

    "This should be interesting," Newman said, his attention more on a pile of notes on his desk than on Teague. He picked one up, scanning it quickly before setting it aside.

    Repressing a sigh of indignation, Teague told him, "I knew one of the victims of the serial killer who struck in Collingswood and the Grande County area."

    "I'm sure there were people who knew each one of them. They didn't come all the way out here on some wild goose chase, thinking my case might be related to Slater's cold cases. Hell, I already told him it wasn't."

    "Because of the fact those three boys were murdered almost thirty years ago?"

    "Yeah. And there are some major differences between the killing of Grimes and their murders."

    "There are also equally major similarities."

    "Copycat killing," Newman replied tightly.

    "Possibly. Or the killer is back. Him or his apprentice, or both."

    Newman cocked an eyebrow at that, finally focusing his full attention on Teague. "Apprentice?"

    "It's been known to happen before. A serial killer gets too old or too sick to do the killings himself, but he needs the rush, so he finds someone younger with the same bent and trains him how to kill and get away with it."

    "If -- and I'm nowhere near convinced -- the murder of Lee Grimes is connected to the past ones in the Grande County area" -- Newman nodded slowly -- "that might explain the differences." He tapped his fingers thoughtfully on the desk. "The apprentice, if he exists, might not get off on full-blown torture."

    "Yet," Teague emphasized. "If this was his first attempt ..."

    "You're jumping to conclusions and you know it. I'm still betting we have a copycat here. Someone who decided to try his hand at murder, and maybe read online stories about the Collingswood serial killer." Leaning back, Newman studied Teague. "You want to catch the guy who killed your friend so you're grabbing at straws. Why the interest now and not when it happened?"

    Teague smiled dryly. "First off, when it happened I was eighteen. Secondly, Chris's body wasn't identified until two years ago when Slater reopened the cold case file on the serial killings."

    "Okay. But if you knew then, why wait until now to put your nose into this?"

    "Because Slater wouldn't tell me anything about his cases when I first asked him about them, right after I found out that Chris was a victim. It took Grimes death to get him to open up some and even then he was dubious at best that he should do so."

    "How did you convince him?" Newman asked sardonically. "Tell him you could do what the cops can't because you're a civilian?"

    "A well trained civilian since I'm a private detective with my own agency and have been in the business for the last twenty years."

    "Yeah, he said you were a PI. Not that it gives you the right to play fast and loose with the law."

    Looking at Newman calculatingly, Teague replied, "A right? No. But if I'm careful ..." Gauging Newman's reaction to his words.

21 - The darkest night will pass…

“Kemp. Kemp!”


Trevor sighed dramatically. “Damn, there is someone alive and aware inside that head of yours. I was beginning to wonder.”

“Sorry, I was just thinking.”

“Care to share?” Trevor stopped walking to look at his companion.

Kemp shook his head. “It wasn’t anything important.”

“I beg to disagree. It must have been fairly important because you totally did not react to that vampyre in the alley we just passed.”

“Oh hell, sorry. Do we need to go back and deal with him?”

“No, he’s relatively benign. So, spill it now, because you know that one way or another I’m going to drag it out of you before the night is over.”

“Okay, in the interests of keeping my sanity, such as it is, I’ll tell you. I was thinking about what Seth said last night.”


Kemp shrugged. “Maybe he’s right. Maybe it is time for me to stop burying my emotions.”

“I agree, as long as in the process you don’t go off half-cocked in the other direction.”

“I doubt that’s going to happen,” Kemp told him with a small chuckle. “It’s not like I’ve had tons of guys throwing themselves at my feet in a desperate attempt to gain my attention.”

“Well you probably haven’t been giving off the right signals. Scowling at a man when he looks at you with even a touch of interest, tends to send the wrong message.”

“I do that?” Kemp looked at Trevor in surprise.

“Big time kid. I’ve seen it happen at least three times when I’ve dropped by the club to pick you up.”

“I suppose I’ll have to watch that then, if I want to try to…I don’t know, meet someone at least.”

“Might be a good idea.” Trevor started walking again, saying casually, “Oh, by the way I’m going to take off for a week or so.”

“You’re what? Why?”

“You’re not the only one who’s been thinking about what was said last night. So I figured maybe I should head north and go see Del.”

Looking at him seriously Kemp said, “I think that would be a very good idea.”

“So I have your permission then?” Trevor grinned.

“Only if you promise to come back no matter what happens. I really don’t want to take over your territory quite yet, on a long term basis.”

“This is my city, I’ll be back, I promise.”

Friday, March 13, 2015

20 - The darkest night will pass…

“You’re jumping to conclusions about me.” Seth told Rikard. “For all you know I’m all about women.”

“Perhaps, but I doubt it. I’ve been around for more years than I care to think about, and have become fairly perceptive about things like that. You may be bi-sexual and enjoy the pleasures of a female from time to time, but when it comes to looking for love, it’s a man you want.” As they turned the corner and the lights from the shops shown a few blocks ahead of them Rikard, slowed his pace. Turning to look at Seth he said, “Tell me about him.”

“I assume you don’t mean Kemp,” Seth replied with a slight smile. “Alright, not that there’s that much to tell. I met him during the War Between the States. I was Khalid’s Child, but at that point he had other things to occupy his time and gave me free rein to do as I wanted, as long as I never forgot that he owned me. And what I wanted to do was travel. Of course, given that there was a war going on, that was somewhat restricted but I did make my way south, ending up in Atlanta. Mark was a young, human civilian working as a clerk in one of the shops.”

Seth sighed as he remembered. “There was an instant attraction that soon grew into love on both our parts. Of course we had to hide it. Homosexuality was not accepted back then and could have caused him a great deal of trouble had anyone found out.”

“Did he know that you were a vampyre?”

“Not until the very end and then it was too late.” Seth’s face shut down and his pace quickened. Only when Rikard put a hand on his shoulder did he slow down and continue his story. “We had two wonderful years together, despite the war raging in the country. And then…then came the battle for Atlanta. Sherman, the bastard, ordered the cannonading of the Confederate lines, and of the city itself. There were only a few civilians left there and Mark was one of them. It was my fault. He was torn between leaving the place he’d grown up in and loved, or staying, hoping the enemy would move on eventually. I supported his staying because I was so certain I could protect him from the marauding soldiers, if it came down to that.” He sighed deeply. “The soldiers I could have dealt with, but not the artillery barrage. We were cautious, we hid in the basement, but that didn’t save us in the end. Didn’t save him.”

“Did you try to? Did you tell him that you could turn him to save his life?”

Seth nodded, his face filled with pain. “He was horrified, terror stricken. If he could have run from me he would have. Instead he died denying our love.”

“I’m sorry,” Rikard said softly.

“As am I. If I’d been truthful with him from the beginning he might still be alive today, or at least he wouldn’t have died hating me for what I am.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

19 - The darkest night will pass…

“So, my young friend,” Rikard said early the next evening, “I presume you’re hungry. Shall we go hunting?”

Seth looked at him in surprise. “You’ll go with me? Oh wait, I get it, you want to make certain I don’t kill my ‘victim’.”

“Not at all,” Rikard responded seriously. “I don’t think you have it in you to do that. I would just like to get to know you better.” He smiled then. “I miss having a young one around to tell the truth.”

Seth was surprised again by his words. “Then you were serious about letting me stay here for a while?”

“If you’re willing, yes. I won’t try to limit you in any way. I learned my lesson about that with Owen. Too late, I’m afraid.”

As Seth put on his jacket he asked, “If he’d become involved with anyone other than a dhampir, would you have cracked down so hard on him?”

“A very good question and one I really can’t answer. Kemp was the first one he ever fell in love with, so I had nothing to compare with. I’ll admit that the fact that Kemp was a dhampir colored my emotions.”

“He seems to be a good kid,” Seth commented as they left the house.

Rikard shot him an amused look. “You’re barely older than him you know.”

“I’d hardly say two hundred years constitutes ‘barely’,” Seth shot back.

“Technically you’re correct of course. However in some aspects, Kemp is wise well beyond his years. He’s matured greatly since I first met him. You on the other hand, well I’ll have to wait until I know you better before I decide if you’re mature, or just wise to the ways of the world because you’ve been in it for a while.” He paused to make a decision about where they should go, and then strode forward towards a small shopping area a few blocks from his house.

Seth kept pace, telling Rikard that he’d never been in this area of the city before.

“You’ll like it I think, and it’s not too far from the Quarter, which is where Kemp works.”

“And I should care about that why?”

“Because, young man, I think you find him at least interesting, if not more. Otherwise, why would you be so concerned about his welfare,” Rikard added before Seth could protest.

Monday, March 9, 2015

18 - The darkest night will pass…

“Remind me the next time I offer advice,” Seth said as he joined his elders, “that there is no one as blind, foolish and dense as a person living on past dreams.”

“Says the wise young man of twenty-something going on two-hundred,” Leif replied with a chuckle.

“Two-hundred and one, thank you,” Seth retorted.

Leif glanced at his brother then back at Seth again. “Should I suspect that tact is not one of your strong points?”

“Well, yeah. I tend to call them as I see them and your brother’s being an idiot.”

Trevor cocked an eyebrow in amusement. “So says the boy that fell into Khalid’s grasp and became a vampyre because he found him ‘alluring’. Yes, I overheard what you were telling Kemp. I can multi-task when necessary.”

“Yeah, I fucked up, I’ll admit it. But at least I am admitting it.”

“Kemp didn’t ‘fuck up’ as you put it,” Rikard said softly. “He fell in love with my Child and that love was returned. We should all be so lucky as to have that happen at least once in our lifetime.”

“Some of us have, and then blown it off,” Trevor remarked pensively.

“That’s not what I’m saying,” Seth retorted. “Kemp has got to open himself up to the idea that it’s possible to love again. He cannot lock his heart away out of fear of the consequences.”

“If you lost someone you loved, would you move on and try again?” Kemp asked quietly.

“Yes,” Seth replied just as quietly. “I did, and I have. I haven’t found the right one—yet—but I’m not going to give up hope. Maybe you can survive on past memories, I can’t.” Seth paused for a moment. “Tell me Kemp, if you had died instead of him, would you want him to spend the rest of his life alone and lonely, living on dreams of what might have been?”

Kemp frowned deeply and then slowly shook his head. “I’d want him to be happy, and if someone else came into his life that could do that for him then yes, that would be good.”

“Exactly; so give yourself what you would have given Owen if the situation were reversed. The chance to find that someone you can give your heart to, freely and totally just as you gave it to him.”

“You’re a romantic, Seth,” Leif said with a smile.

“I am,” Seth admitted. “A hopeless one despite everything I’ve seen in my life. I suppose I got that from my real father, even though I didn’t see much of him.”


“I’m the bastard son of Philip Freneau,” Seth replied almost defiantly. “He married before I was old enough to understand that I wasn’t going to be a part of his life—me or my mother. But I devoured everything he wrote, especially his poetry.”

Rikard nodded. “A neoclassical, romantic poet. I can see why you have that streak in you.”

Leif interrupted to point out that the sun was rising soon, which meant either he and Seth left now for their sleeping places or took advantage of Rikard’s offered hospitality.

“I actually don’t have anywhere to go,” Seth told them. “I doubt I’d be welcome back at Hakim’s residence under the circumstances, even if I wanted to go there.”

“That hadn’t occurred to me, young man. You’re more than welcome to stay here until you find a safe place of your own.” When Seth accepted his invitation, Rikard stood, indicating that it was time for everyone to go their separate ways. Leif opted to let Trevor drive him back to his hotel rather than impose on the older vampyre.

As they headed to the door Kemp stopped by Seth’s side for a moment. “I’ll think about what you said,” he told him.

Seth smiled. “I know it’s hard, believe me I do. But don’t give up on love. We all need it in our lives—even you.”

Kemp had no reply for that so he just nodded as he went to join Trevor and his brother.