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OUT NOW: Tomorrow’s Hero by Thom Collins  #mmromance #gayromance #sportsromance @thomwolf

Success series Book 2

Blurb: A professional footballer with a secret. Can love conquer a lifetime of fear?

On the surface, international football star Fernando Inglesias has the perfect life—his dream career, fame, wealth and a beautiful girlfriend on his arm. At twenty-nine, Fernando has it all, but success is fragile, and one mistake could destroy everything. Fernando has a secret he will never share, something that could destroy everything he’s worked hard to achieve. There are no openly gay male footballers in the professional league, and he has no intention of becoming the first.

Ibiza…the party playground of Europe—a hedonistic island where anything is possible. On a weekend trip with the boys, love is the last thing Fernando expects to find. A chance meeting with Joshua, a handsome English visitor, changes it all. For the first time, he finds himself interested in more than sex from another guy. As Fernando and Joshua grow closer, the stakes are high on both sides as they struggle to overcome their personal differences.

Can Fernando risk his career for the sake of loving another man?

Books Details:

Tomorrow’s Hero by Thom Collins

Success Series Book 2

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Date: 31st August 2021

Word count: 32, 214

 

Excerpt

The man appeared to be a little younger than Fernando, perhaps mid-twenties. Though it was difficult to be sure in the blue-hued light of the bar, his skin looked pale. Fernando guessed he was English. He had thick, wavy hair, brushed back from a square-jawed, handsome face. His mouth was wide and his eyes were large and even. He was the most attractive man Fernando had seen since arriving on the island.

The young man appeared perfectly at ease walking around without his shirt. He had the slim, athletic build of a runner—the kind of man who exercised for enjoyment and health, not the pursuit of unattainable perfection. Though, to Fernando, he did indeed look perfect. There was a nice spread of hair across his taut chest and a tantalising trail down the centre of his belly disappearing into his waistband, hinting at the treasures below. He approached the bar and put both elbows on the counter.

Fernando watched, fascinated, as he ordered a beer, taking in the length of his fingers and the dark hair that coated his forearms, and was pleased to notice he had no tattoos or piercings. His stomach was tight and undefined, his hips slender, and Fernando couldn’t miss the outward jut of his solid runner’s arse.

The man, obviously sensing the attention, turned to look at him. Startled, Fernando dropped his gaze, and when he looked again, the man was staring straight at him, his wide mouth raised in a smile.

“Hi,” the man said.

Links: Pride Publishing

Amazon USA

Amazon UK

Kobo

Barnes and Noble

 

Thom Collins Bio

Thom Collins is the author of Closer by Morning, Gods of Vengeance, Silent Voices and the Anthem Trilogy. His love of page turning thrillers began at an early age when his mother caught him reading the latest Jackie Collins book and promptly confiscated it, sparking a life-long love of raunchy novels.

He is currently working on a new novel.

Thom has lived in the North East of England his whole life. He grew up in Northumberland and now lives in County Durham with his husband and two cats. He loves all kinds of genre fiction, especially bonk-busters, thrillers, romance and horror. He is also a cookery book addict with far too many titles cluttering his shelves. When not writing he can be found in the kitchen trying out new recipes.

Join his mailing list for a free short story: THOM COLLINS: FREE EBOOK

Links:

Blog: www.thomcollins.co.uk

Twitter:   @thomwolf

Instagram: ThomCollinsAuthor

Email: thomcollinsauthor@aol.com

Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.

 

Spotlight on Alonso Darlington

 

Alonso will be very cross with me for spotlighting him at this time of year. He would growl something about not being a damned mascot for a holiday corrupted by commercialism. Come to think of it, Alonso will be cross with me for spotlighting him anyway. He likes to keep a low profile, and I’ve already blown that for him, so I am not on his favourite persons list. Nevertheless, when someone asks me who my favourite male character is in my fiction, his name is in the top five.

 

Strangely enough, Alonso’s story revealed itself to me almost by accident. He was my first vampire. I was very intimidated by the thought of writing vampires at the time. I’m still not sure if he whispered in my ear or grabbed me by the throat and bared his fangs. Whatever he did got my full attention. Alonso Darlington is most definitely a vampire, and a pretty damn scary one too. His story was the first proper M/M romance I ever wrote. Calling it proper, however, might not be the best choice of words. Some M/M fans were a little put off by his early vicarious use of his succubus familiar to help him find out details about Reese Chambers and satiate his lust for the man while at the same time keeping him safe. Alonso doesn’t normally play well with humans.

 

I never imagined when Alonso Darlington shoved his way into my head that he would become one of the main characters in my Medusa Consortium novels, and that he would also become one of the characters my readers most lust after. Since his revelation to me, there have been multiple sexy vampires who have stepped out of the dark to seduce me with their stories, and his role as one of Magda Gardener’s most valued allies has made him an endless source of writing pleasure for me. Below is an excerpt of Alonso’s first encounter with Reese Chambers from my novella, Landscapes.Enjoy!

 

 

Landscapes Blurb:

 

Vampire, Alonso Darlington has a disturbing method of keeping landscaper, Reese Chambers, both safe from and oblivious to his dangerous lust for the man. But Reese isn’t easy to keep secrets from, and Alonso wants way more than to admire the man from afar. Can he risk a real relationship without risking Reese’s life? And if Reese finds out the truth, will there be any relationship left to risk?

 

 

Find Out Who He Is – Landscapes Excerpt:

 

It wasn’t that Reese Chambers made my cock hard – though he did. It wasn’t that he was beautiful in a rugged, leather and stone sort of way – though he was. It was that Reese Chambers moved me in ways I had not been moved in a very long time, in ways that I, who never lacked just the right words to express myself, found my vocabulary inadequate to the task. Talia would call it an obsession, and maybe it was; from my first sight of him mantling his sketchpad like a bird of prey over a fresh kill, alone in the midst of the crowded pub, I could think of nothing else. It was my first night back on British soil. It is said that you can never go back home, and it had been a very long time for me. But the need to come home was in my blood like fever these past years, as were so many needs that never left me, but only sharpened with the passing of time.

 

Next to me, Talia droned on about suitable residences in Cumbria, about the leasing of a car and the making of necessary renovations. The Twa Dogs was busy for a Monday night with tourist season past, but being invisible was always easier in a crowd.

 

*****

 

‘Find out who he is.’ I nodded in Reese’s direction. Before Talia could protest, I continued. ‘I have a roof over my head, and I’ve fed. There’s nothing that can’t wait until tomorrow.’

 

Talia’s cheekbones flushed with the rush of blood, and heaven knew how beautiful she was in such a state, porcelain pale skin, midnight blue eyes and hair, which was so close to black that no one but I would have noticed all of the other colours in her silken tresses. She knew what it was I asked of her, and she knew the delicate line she tread on the rare occasion when I did ask. A tremor passed up her long, straight spine, and a bloom of tiny goose bumps textured her bare arms. It would not be painless, what I asked, and I knew she feared it as much as she longed for it. I could hear the thud thud of her pulse in the thin, silken skin of her throat as she swallowed the sudden dryness of fear. ‘What do you want to know?’

 

I leaned forward to rake the tip of my thumb against the pulse point in her temple. ‘Everything, Talia. I want to know all of it. And when you know, come directly to me. I don’t care what time it is when you return.

 

 

It was nearing dawn when Talia returned to our accommodations smelling of sex, as I knew she would if she were to obtain for me what I wanted. By then my blood burned in my veins, and my body felt too close to me, as though the flesh that I dwelt in suddenly conspired to crush me with its demands. And though I knew that Reese Chambers could not have refused her even if she had come to him as a toothless, foul-smelling hag, I hated her that he had poured himself into her body while I had been left with only my fantasies kindling my lust to an inferno.

 

Though my need was such that my flesh was fevered and my cock an insistent throb, until she returned, I held myself contained within skin that felt too thin. When she saw the state that I was in, she pulled the heavy drapes with an efficient tug, then with a nod of her head, motioned me to follow her down into the basement room that had been prepared for me. When she turned to me at the foot of the bed, before she could opened her kiss-bruised lips to speak, I took her mouth, starving for the first taste of him, the taste of his saliva, the taste of his blood, mixed with hers. She’d bitten him; he’d bitten her back. He was rough, and he liked to be treated rough, but he kept that to himself. He was embarrassed by it. His lips were slightly chapped from so much time in the sun and wind, and they’d slid against hers, suckling and stroking and pressing until her mouth opened to his. With ravenous laps of my tongue, I tasted him in her mouth, and she held back the moan of response, so I could hear the echoes of his groans, heavy with need he’d not satisfied in awhile, and I felt kinship in my own unsatisfied needs. Images of him flashed through my head. Christ, his eyes were green, dark green like the evergreen forests of the north, and he kept them open when he kissed her, taking her in with his gaze.

 

I shoved aside the silk of her low bodice exposing her breasts, breasts that his hands had cupped. My nipples peeked to sharp aching points at the feel of his calloused thumbs raking, pressing and releasing. I breathed in his scent on her breasts, burying my face in her cleavage, licking the taste of salty, slightly picante maleness, sniffing and tasting until I could stand it no more. In one violent jerk, I tore the dress all the way down and shoved it off her shoulders, away from the flesh he had licked and kissed and mounted. I cried out at the feel of him, weight on one elbow, knee spreading her thighs, fingers opening her heaviness, anxious to penetrate, anxious to relieve his need. And then, with Talia free of clothing, Reese Chambers’ essence filled the room. Talia’s panties were still wet with his semen mixed with her humid desire, and I tore them from her and forced her onto her stomach, onto her hands and knees, so that it was not her face I saw, but his that I imagined. With hands on her hips, I raised her bottom in the air and spread her still swollen, still slippery folds with fingers made awkward by my arousal, letting the scent of his hot bread and honey release intoxicate me. Then I buried my face in her snatch and, as I ate his lust from her, I knew him.

 

He was Cumbrian born and bred, and his accent was the soft lilting sound of the fells. He was a landscaper and a gardener by trade. His hands held the magic of the earth and his mind conceived ideas for beautiful outdoor spaces; those he liked best were patterned after Renaissance and medieval gardens. He was homesick and heartsick. He’d gone to Surrey to work with his father because the money was good. But his father had died recently and he had returned home to Cumbria. He didn’t care if he had to work in a pub or muck stables. He wanted to be home. He missed the people and he missed the fells. He missed the simpler, more honest rhythms of life. He was shy, even a bit reclusive. He read voraciously and widely, he liked astronomy and he was afraid of snakes, though it embarrassed him to admit it. He hadn’t had sex in a long time, and found it better to have a wank than a meaningless encounter. The facts of him, the details of his life raced at me in a flood I consumed ravenously with each lap of my tongue.

 

As I ate Talia I felt the shape of his face, the curve of his chin, the rise and fall of his chest as he had done the same. I felt the soft tuft of bronze curls nestled between the hard rise of his pecs and the courser, deeper curls that caressed his testicles and his cock when it was at rest, but it hadn’t been at rest. How many times had he taken her? He was thick enough to fill her and the friction of him inside was delicious and maddening. The shape of him – I wanted to caress the shape of him, with my hands, with my mouth, and the taking of his essence from Talia was an act of ripping away something that should have been mine. As I bruised her arse with kneading fingers and, as I licked the last of his release from her, she managed a breathless moan. ‘Take the rest. God, Alonso, take the rest, and release me.’

 

 

A Shameless Excerpt from Toys for Boys

Just a little Sunday quickie shameless excerpt for you from my unusual M/M novella,
Toys for Boys. I had the pleasure of reliving my own walk across England on the Wainwright Coast to Coast walk while writing this totally fun and playful story. It felt especially appropriate now that the weather is leaning more heavily toward Spring.

 

Toys for Boys Blurb:

Alpha nerd Will Charles teams up with Caridoc ‘Doc’ Jones in a coast to coast walk across England reviewing outdoor gift suggestions for the Christmas edition of Toys for Boys—an online magazine dedicated to the latest gadgets to tickle a man’s fancy. Will is recording their adventures with the latest smart phone technology. Doc is reviewing the latest outdoor gear. The two quickly discover the great outdoors provides even better toys for boys, toys best shared al fresco, toys that, in spite of Will’s great camera work, will never be reviewed in Toys for Boys.

 

You’re Late: Toys for Boys Excerpt 

“You’re late,” Doc said to Will fucking Charles, who was supposed to meet him at St. Bee’s Head an hour ago.

AtToys for Boys, Will Charles’ moniker was ‘the Alpha Nerd.’ Doc had read some of his reviews and articles but never met him. Since T4B, as they all called it, was an online magazine, he’d never met any of the people who worked there, and he liked that just fine. The best part of free-lancing was no neurotic colleagues and no idiot supervisor looking over his shoulder. Will Charles reviewed computers, smart phones, and games—rubbish like that, while Doc reviewed all the stuff that gave the outdoorsy blokes a hard-on. It was late in the season to be walking the Coast to Coast, but T4B wanted the walk and the boys toys that would accompany Will and Doc on said walk to be a part of their big Christmas issue, which was always driven by shameless consumerism and chock full of the expensive shit to buy for the man who has everything. The article would be atmospheric, they said. It would be fun, they said.

Alpha Nerd, his left nut, Doc thought. The skinny geek with the expensive looking iPhone could have passed for a twelve-years-old—spotty face, heavy-rimmed glasses and all. Looked like Doc’s dream walk was about to become a babysitting job for some whimpy-arsed kid who would whine every time he didn’t have a Wifi connection for his little games on his little phone. Doc wondered how the hell the bloke could even heft the backpack sitting on the floor beside him, and those brand new, straight-out-of-the-box walking boots guaranteed major blisters. This was supposed to be twelve glorious days alone on the Wainwright Coast to Coast path across England. This was supposed to be total outdoor bliss. He had been looking forward to it for months and then, at the last minute, T4B ruined it all by insisting Will fucking Charles tag along with his expensive little camera phone to record the event. Bromance, they said. Adventure and companionship, they said. Merry fucking Christmas! T4B didn’t pay him nearly enough for this shit.

“We’ve got fourteen and a half miles to walk today, and the rain isn’t going to make it any easier.” He nodded to where his own pack sat by the table in the corner of the Seacote Hotel where he’d slugged back enough coffee to guarantee he’d be caffeine-fueled for at least part of that distance; the rest he’d be off in the bushes pissing.

As he turned to go, the lad just looked at him like he’d spoke Chinese. “Is that the Smart phone you’re supposed to be reviewing?” Doc snapped. “Do you need it to translate for you maybe? Hope it’s smart enough to figure out how we can make up for the lost time you cost us.”

“That’s just an iPhone,” came a voice from behind. “This is the device I’ll be reviewing.” To Doc’s horror, he turned to find himself being videoed by a man who definitely passed as an alpha—an alpha bastard at the moment. The sleek black device he pointed at Doc was labelledurBrainin gold letters. Seriously? Were T4B having a laugh?

Doc gritted his teeth and tried to count to ten, but only made it to three. “Perhaps you’d like to turn off urBrainbefore I cram it up urArse?”

Undaunted by Doc’s threat, the bloke continued to video as he added, “as for young Nigel here, well I rather think his boss at the Seacote might have something to say about him following us on the Coast to Coast. Nice boots,” he said to the kid.

Just then an American tourist the size of a bus blew in through the door, tipped Nigel and thanked him in a very southern accent. He hefted the backpack with a grunt, and headed out into the rain. “As for this little jewel,” Doc turned his attention back to the real Will fucking Charles, “well if I hadn’t had this lovely piece of kit to guide me on an alternative route, I’d still be sitting in traffic behind the overturned tractor with everyone else heading for St. Bee’s Head this lovely morning. So there, you see. It’s already saved us time. Oh, sorry,” he said, offering his hand. I’m Will.” Before Doc could do more than gop, the man slid an arm around him and guided him seamlessly into a selfie.

“Day one of the Wainwright Coast to Coast, and after a near disaster,” he spoke for the camera, “I’m here with Caradoc Doc Jones, the Welsh Woodsman and outdoorsman extraordinaire, about to head into the rain towards our first stop at Ennerdale Bridge. Say hi, Doc.”

Doc managed a wave and a grimace of a smile at urBrain, and Will continued. “We have 192 miles and twelve days to get from St. Bee’s Head on the Irish Sea all the way across England to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea, with fourteen and a half miles to make today, so best get on with it.”

 

 

Vows: Asian Adventures III Now Out from Lisabet Sarai

 

 

 

 

The more you try to release desire, the more attached you become.

 

 

Vows Blurb

 

Travel brings out a strange recklessness in my wife, a hunger for extremes that I don’t see when we’re in New York. I would never have acted on my desire for male flesh if she hadn’t bullied me into my first homosexual encounter. Not that I regret it. I’ll never forget that incandescent night with the audacious young punk she bought for me in Amsterdam.

 

Now, she wants us to seduce the achingly beautiful Buddhist monk we’ve met in Luang Prabang. I try to reject her suggestions, to resist temptation. But I can’t banish the images of Souvannaphone— ripe lips curved in a half-smile, brown eyes sparkling with gentle challenge, smooth curves of golden flesh that cry out to be kissed. I yearn for his body—and his serenity.

 

Contemporary multicultural bisexual erotic romance (X rated)

7,400 words

 

HFN ending

 

 

Vows Excerpt 

We strolled northeast toward the far end of the peninsula, where Wat Xieng Thong was situated. The jewel of Luang Prabang, according to our guidebook. We had visited several of the other famous temples in the city. I had been saving this one for last.

 

Dani took my hand as we made our way through the quiet streets, in the lengthening shadow of Phu Si hill. “Relax,” she said. “Don’t worry. I’ll handle things. Just leave everything to me.”

That was exactly what I was worried about.

 

The vegetation thickened around us as we left the city center behind. We passed rough wooden houses on stilts, chickens scrabbling in the shade underneath, laundry swaying in the gentle breeze. Occasionally, we heard the muted babble of a television or radio, but we saw no one. It felt as though the whole of the city-village was dozing in the afternoon. I took a deep breath, and then another, trying to release the awful tension that gripped me, but it was no use. I was consumed by desire and dread.

 

Finally we reached the arched gateway to Wat Xieng Thong. Souvannaphone’s home. Gilded nagas, the serpent-dragons that sheltered the Buddha while he meditated, guarded the entry, their scales a riot of multi-colored mirrors. As we stepped over the sill and into the sacred compound, I felt something shift inside me. The choice was made, the effects would follow. Let karma do its worst.

 

At first, the place seemed deserted. Directly in front of us was the magnificent sim, or ordination chapel, with its five-layered, flame-tipped roof swept into dramatic earthward curves. Smaller but equally ornate buildings were scattered around it. Blue tile and gold leaf were everywhere.

 

An enormous, fantastically-twisted tree shaded the entire courtyard. At the same moment —I could tell from the way her hand tightened in mine—Dani and I noticed the figure seated, full lotus, on the turf at the foot of its main trunk.

 

It was, of course, Souvannaphone. His eyes were closed; his chest was bare. The golden, hairless flesh fascinated me. His nipples, more bronze than gold, drew my eyes and made my balls contract and ache.

 

It was his expression, though, that once again brought up my tears. It gave me a glimpse of total peace. Bliss. Perfect stillness and unearthly beauty. My craving to know his exquisite body faded and transformed into exquisite longing to know what he knew, to experience this state of completion.

 

Buy Links

 

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078LKFC9R/

 

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B078LKFC9R/

 

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/771439

 

Barnes and Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/vows-lisabet-sarai/1127731965?ean=2940155064060

 

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/th/en/ebook/vows-asian-adventures-book-3

 

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37751373-vows

 

 

About Lisabet

 

Lisabet Sarai has been addicted to words all her life. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – nearly one hundred titles, and counting, in nearly every sub-genre—paranormal, scifi, ménage, BDSM, GLBT, and more. Regardless of the genre, every one of her stories illustrates her motto: Imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

 

You’ll find information and excerpts from all Lisabet’s books on her website (http://www.lisabetsarai.com/books.html), along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com), she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. She’s also on Goodreads and finally, on Twitter. Sign up for her VIP email list here: https://btn.ymlp.com/xgjjhmhugmgh

 

 

A Free Snog in the Snow

 

 

 

It’s a double whammy today here on a Hopeless Romantic. It’s not only the last day of Blissemas and another chance to win the fab Blisemas grand prize with a Snog in the Snow, but this sizzling, snowy snog is from my MM paranormal, novella, Landscapes, which is free at the moment along with a lot of other fab MM reads for the Love Under the Mistletoe MM Christmas Frolic. Follow either of the above links for your copy.

 

Comment on any of the Snog in the Snow blog posts offered up today for another chance to win a fully-loaded Kindle Fire 7! 

Landscapes Blurb:

Alonso Darlington has a disturbing method of keeping landscaper, Reese Chambers, both safe from and oblivious to his dangerous lust for the man. But Reese isn’t easy to keep secrets from, and Alonso wants way more than to admire the man from afar. Can he risk a real relationship without risking Reese’s life?

Note: Landscapes has been previously released as part of the Brit Boys: On Boys boxed set.

 

Landscapes Snog in the Snow Excerpt — Heart’s Blood:

‘You could have told me.’ The sound of his voice clenched my heart. For a moment I was certain I was dreaming. Reese constantly tortured me from the dream world. But I was awake, wide awake, and as the breeze shifted I could smell his sweet blood. ‘You could have come to me in the beginning. I’m not that unapproachable.’

With difficulty I found my voice, as though it were something long lost from me. ‘Perhaps you were too approachable.’ I gathered my wits, what little were left to me, and turned to face him. His hair was a bit longer, blown by the wind, and the stubble of a long day caressed his cheeks, and God, he was as beautiful as I remembered. Then I smelled Talia on him, felt her magic tingling over his skin. ‘She shouldn’t have come to you. If you’re back here because you feel sorry for the poor vampire, then maybe I’ll rip your throat out and drain you and you can see where your sympathy gets you.’

He moved to stand next to me, knee-deep in the snow that buried the half-finished garden. ‘You won’t get any sympathy from me. You were a complete twat. You should be damn glad I’m not wearing garlic and sporting a stake. You didn’t ask for what happened to you, Alonso. I get that. And even if you did, we play with the hand we’re dealt. All of us.’

There was a hitch in his breath and I could almost taste the heat of his blood in the soft spot at his throat. In a wave of dizziness I stepped away. ‘Afraid I’m not very good at cards. What did you come for Reese?’

‘I came to say I’m sorry, to say that I forgive you and to ask your forgivness.’

I dropped onto the bench as though I were suddenly boneless. To my distress, he sat down next to me and pulled the wool scarf away from his exquisitely tender throat. His pulse was rapid with excitement. With fear. ‘You need to feed, Alonso, you look like hell.’ He pulled open the collar of his shirt. ‘Take from me.’

‘Christ, Reese,’ I shoved off the bench, back-pedaling until I nearly tripped over a pile of stones buried under the snow. ‘You can’t make that offer, not now.’

‘I … I don’t understand. You still want me. I saw that. Talia showed me, and God knows I want you.’

‘Of course I want you. Like I’ve never wanted anything in my life, but I’m not safe Reese. I haven’t fed in … too long. The very scent of you is driving me mad. If I take from you, I won’t be able to stop.’

‘I don’t believe that,’ he said. ‘I’m willing to risk it.’

‘Well I’m not. Your death may mean nothing to you, but it’s not a risk I’m willing to take, and believe me the risk is very real.’

I smelled the sharpening of fear, as he scrambled off the bench. The night was icy cold and heavy with the threat of snow. I could sense him shivering even through his coat. He squared his shoulders and spoke between chattering teeth. ‘What do you want me to do, Alonso. Tell me, and I’ll do it.’

I took a deep breath, struggling to clear my head. ‘Go to the house – to the kitchen. Cook is asleep but there’ll be food. Eat.’

‘I already ate, Talia insisted.’

‘Eat again,’ I commanded, turning to face him just to make sure he was really there and not something my desperate imagination had conjured. ‘Because when I return,’ I held his gaze ‘you’ll need all of your strength. We both will. Go! Now!’

 

Reese paced Alonso’s study while Talia sat on the Cordovan leather sofa pretending to read a novel. ‘It’s almost dawn,’ he said, for the third time in ten minutes. ‘Where the hell is he?’ The snow had set in soon after Alonso had left. How well a vampire could cope with a blizzard, Reece didn’t know.

‘It’s not like going down to the pub.’ Talia sat the book down and gazed up at the monitor above his desk, the one that showed what Alonso would see if there had been a window there. ‘He’s careful when he feeds, never leaving any trace. Besides, he knows the Lakes like the back of his hand. He won’t get caught out. High View is honeycombed with caves. There are also a few old slate quarries, as you know.’ She motioned him into the rough stone corridor and led him down to the Day Room. There, the only space that wasn’t filled with monitors and controls was a worktable to one side spread with a large, laminated map of the area. She ran her finger along a bright red line leading from the house out to the backside of the fell. ‘There.’ She circled a spot on the map with a grease marker. ‘Pull up camera eight.’

At first the display on the big monitor looked blank, then the night cameras kicked in and they could see the rocky walls in monotone shades of green and gray. Reese recognized the cave he’d discovered Alonso in with the walker. At first they could see nothing, but suddenly there was a flash of movement across the screen, and then it was gone.

‘There,’ they both said at the same time.

‘Is there any way of adjusting that camera?’ Reese asked.

‘Not from here, but that cave opens into a tunnel that leads to the wine cellar. It’s wired to send a signal if anyone but Alonso or a designated person is there.’

‘Show me where it’s at. It could be that he’s in there and he’s hurt. Look,’ he said when she raised a skeptical eyebrow, ‘I can’t lose him before I get the chance to properly make things right between us, so where’s the damned wine cellar?’

She gave him directions, then stayed near the monitors to watch. The fell tops were already tinged with gray from the coming sunrise, and Reese could barely keep back his rising panic.

He was down the steps and halfway across the cavernous wine cellar, when a door at the back burst open, and Alonso pushed his way in, dark hair glistening beneath the bare light bulb with a generous dusting of snow. For a moment neither man spoke, but only stood gazing at the other. And then Reese found his voice. ‘I was worried. The sun’s coming up.’

‘It was the sheep,’ Alonso said. ‘They slowed me down a bit.’

‘Sheep?’

He brushed snow from the shoulders of his black wool coat, then offered Reese an embarrassed grin. ‘If I’d gone straight for the shepherd without an appetizer, I’m afraid he wouldn’t be home shagging his wife senseless right now.’

‘You had … sheep … for an appetizer?’

‘Well their blood at least. It’s a poor substitute, but it was necessary this time.’ The shepherd had managed to get all but three into the barn against the weather, which was bad enough that he had to hole up there until it passed. Good thing for me.’ He’ll think the sheep were lost in the storm, and when the weather clears enough that I can arrange it, he’ll find a nice fat wad of £20 notes stuffed in the seat of his Land Rover.’

‘You’re OK, then?’ Reese stepped closer, relief flooding his senses and making him weak.

Alonso held his ground. ‘That depends on you.’

The next step forward was uncertain. The one after that wasn’t, as Reese moved into Alonso’s arms, feeling the chill of the wet snow, smelling the scent of Cumbrian winter and beneath that the spicy, earthy scent of the man. For a long time they stood in each other’s arms, until Reese began to shiver, and Alonso opened his coat and pulled him in to his body, warm from feeding.

‘You’re well fed then?

He lowered his mouth to Reese’s throat and kissed the shudder of his pulse. ‘I am. Now all I’m hungry for is you.’ The rocking of his hips alerted Reese to the erection nestled in his trousers. That and the careful rake of his canines against Reese’ throat made his own cock rise to attention.

Much later, Alonso lay with Reese pulled into a spoon position in his big four-poster bed, his hand absently cupping first Reese’s cock, then his sac until, in spite of the whirlwind of sex they’d already had, Reese rocked his hips slowly back and forth into his grip. ‘I know you have questions,’ Alonso said. He rose up on one elbow and kissed Reese’ ear. ‘Don’t be afraid to ask. I’ll try very hard to give you answers. But there may be times when I won’t be able to. There may be times when I’ll have to work on it. But know this,’ he said,’ moving his hand over Reese’s hips to cup his arse and stroke the cleft in between. ‘I won’t lie to you, even though there’ll be answers you won’t like, answers that may shock you.’

‘I was with the succubus, remember? You’ll find I’m not so easy to shock anymore.’ With a contortionist twist of his upper body, he curled his fingers in Alonso’s mussed hair and guided his mouth down to meet his, kissing him hard leaving them both breathless as he pulled away. ‘I know your heart, Alonso. That’s why I came back. That’s what will hold me here.’

 

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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