Buzz & Blow:
Niko Torres watched Asher slip out of the door of the club. He was tired of watching him, night after night, from across the street. He wanted to hold him instead. Niko sensed that Asher wanted him too, and that was no vampire super power thing. It was an attraction thing, plain and simple. But why was Asher showing so much resistance to his charms? Was he in a bonded and committed relationship with another vampire, and wore no ring? Niko couldn’t draw any conclusion and was having a hard time reading the handsome vampire.
“Who are you looking at?” Eirek said over the thumping music, gazing in the same direction as Niko. “Whoever it is, forget about him. You should only be focused on me.”
Niko groaned inwardly. He hated high maintenance. He wasn’t good at stroking the egos of pretty boys made even prettier by the eternal glow of immortality. “Checking out the crowd,” Niko answered in a casual tone.
Eirek shimmied closer. “Let’s say we leave this place and go to yours? I want to reserve my energy for a more intimate dance.”
If he didn’t have thoughts of Asher spinning around in his brain, he would’ve taken the slutty vampire up on his offer. “I’m leaving, but alone.”
“One more drink then?” Eirek suggested. He ran his pointed tongue over his top lip. “They offer the best in synthetic blood here.”
“I’ll pass.” Looking over Eirek’s shoulder, he saw Jerrod approaching, a look of disgust etched across his haughty features. “But maybe he’ll be up for it.”
Jerrod’s explosive energy arrived before he did. He was a strong and ancient vampire, Niko noted, as he stumbled back ever so slightly.
“Some other time,” Jerrod answered Eirek before he could offer an invitation. The blond twink vamp made a quick retreat somewhere toward the bar.
Niko eyed Jerrod, waiting to hear what his particular beef was, because it was obvious he had one.
“Stay away from Asher.”
“Why would I do that?”
“Because I told you to.”
“I realize we don’t know each other very well but let me tell you a little something about myself. I don’t listen very well. I follow my gut, and my gut says to keep after Asher.”
Shave & Shimmer:
It had been over a century and a half since Ray had kissed a man, living or dead. He just couldn’t after James died. After his one and only attempt of kissing a man, Ray pulled away before coming anywhere close, because he felt as if he was about to cheat on the man who he had considered to be the love of his life.
How do I forget about a man I loved just because I can no longer hold him in my arms?
Ray asked himself this question too many times to count. Even after such a long time, Ray could feel James’s spirit surround him. He remembered the touch of his lips, the taste of his tongue. When Ray inhaled, he could still smell James’s spicy cologne, a unique blend of sandalwood and orange. Almost nightly, he had to fight back the tears that threatened to spill, but most of the time they came anyway.
Grieving for one hundred and fifty years really can get to a man.
But then he met Tory. Cute, compact, sweet and sassy, the man who resembled a boy who fell into the top drawer of his mother’s vanity chest was the complete opposite of James, the soldier and Statesmen. Granted the eternally youthful vampire was slender and sexy and easy on the eye, but it was his kind words and gentle spirit that settled in Ray’s soul, catching him off guard.
Fade & Fluff:
It was a mistake, Kairon thought. A stupid mistake. Why did he have to kiss him?
How long had it been since he’d tasted those lips? Smelled his unique scent up close and personal. He wanted Jerrod more than he had ever wanted him before. But why? His cheerful temperament? Kairon even had to laugh at that one. Truth be told, Jerrod had always been a prickly bastard and age had only enhanced his more abrasive character, instead of sedating it. But Kairon wasn’t fooled. He’d sensed Jerrod’s longing in that kiss. He’d also seen the bulge in his pants.
It had been twenty-four hours since he and Jerrod had paid a visit to Alderman and everything still remained calm; as of yet, no retaliation from the primeval vampire. There was also no word from Jerrod, two things that Kairon hadn’t expected.
Driving to work, the sun recently set, Kairon mused on how life could still throw him a surprise once in a while even after all this time. He was positive that tonight would bring changes, hopefully from Jerrod, and not from Alderman. As for Alderman, Kairon didn’t care if he ever heard from the corrupt councilman for the rest of eternity, the saying “no news is good news” never resonating more.
Checking his phone one more time for a text, something he had been doing a lot lately, Kairon veered the SUV in the parking lot behind Killer Kuts as carefully as he could while gazing at his cell’s screen. “Nothing,” he muttered under his breath as he brought the vehicle safely to a stop. Getting out and shoving his phone into his jeans back pocket, Kairon slammed the door and locked it by remote, two quick beeps interrupting the still night. Judging by the lack of cars in the lot, he was the first to arrive for work. Sniffing the air, Kairon smelled something burning. At first, he assumed that someone in a nearby house had started a fire, but the temperate night didn’t lend to that conclusion. Instinct told Kairon that his creeping sense of unease signaled danger. Tracking the smell by foot, he raced out of the parking lot and around the cinder block strip center that housed Killer Kuts and headed for the street. He looked at Everlasting, the salon dark minus a flicker he spotted through the window. Was it a security light? Kairon wondered as he started across the street to investigate, looking both ways for traffic beforehand. In an instant, the flicker grew into a massive glow, then exploded. Vibration rocked through Kairon’s body as slivers of glass pierced exposed flesh. He was aware of intense heat and weightlessness before becoming airborne and crashing hard onto the pavement.
Jerrod heard it before seeing it, that flash of orange and red coming from Everlasting. The sound thundered in his ears and rolled around in his brain. It took several seconds before he realized that the dark object hurling over the street was Kairon.