Jack and Quentin
This crazy fuck wasn’t getting the hint. Jack could barely see him since he’d leaped off the deck with that lighter-than-air shit that the vampires did. And now he was standing off in the shadows. And who was he trying to impress with that smooth jazz voice? Go join a damn poetry reading club and go away.
“If you even think of coming up here, I’ll punch you right in the jaw, and you’ll be drinking blood out of a sippy cup for the next month.” While speaking, Jack gently rapped his knuckle on the door, a sign to Teddy inside the trailer to get the gun and aim it squarely at the door. This wasn’t the first overeager dumb fuck vampire who had to be shot a few times with rock salt before they got the hint and left. Maddock had told him that as long as he didn’t kill anyone, they were welcome to do as they needed, including calling for the female vamp guards. But Jack hadn’t needed to do that yet and didn’t plan to.
Then, the guy was in front of him. Jack had blinked his eyes, and bam, there he was, standing less than a foot away and leering at Jack with those predatory blood-red eyes of a vampire. He hadn’t been able to get a good look at him before, but now he was in the porch light, and Jack’s stomach did a little fluttery kick.
Because this guy was actually hot.
His skin was buttery smooth like someone had spent hours sanding it to a perfect polish. And his black hair was in tiny little spikes, which made Jack wonder how much hair gel the guy had to use to get it to stay perfectly in place like it was. His pointy nose had a perfect edge, and Jack had to remind himself to breathe.
This was the kind of vampire that probably had humans throwing themselves at him and begging him to drink their blood. Jack had never seen one that looked as alluring as this one. Maddock was, of course, gross to anyone. Most men vampires were unappealing creatures who either did nothing to try to improve their looks or were just born ugly to the point of no hope of repair. It was like they’d crossbred with bats at some point in their lineage, and they were deformed fuckers thanks to their bestiality practicing grandpops. Now, the women vampires were a completely different matter. Most of those were turned vampires because the vampire men, being the assholes they were, only turned the hottest women they could find. But the women vampires weren’t interested in Jack. They were completely immune to his mojo. But the men, gah, he’d spent every night of his life beating the fuckers away since he’d hit puberty.
“Did you change your mind?” the vamp asked, his lip twisting in a slight smile. “I thought there was an impending danger if I came up here?”
He knew. He knew he was fucking hot, and that pissed Jack off.
“Right, yeah, I did. Sorry about that.” Jack took a step back, and the floorboard squeaked, giving
Teddy the sign that he was clear. The vampire turned his head to look at the door as if at the last second he’d heard something inside and knew he was fucked. The door exploded, and a mix of shrapnel from the door and rock salt from the 12 gauge shotgun slammed into the vampire’s chest. He was tossed off the deck and landed on the ground, on his back, right about where he had originally stood.
“Did I get ‘em?” Teddy asked. He pushed what remained of the door open. “Maddock’s gonna be pissed we need a new door.”
“What the hell?” Jeff shouted from inside. He shoved Teddy out of the way, wearing only his boxers. “What is going on?” He kicked some of the door bits aside and surveyed the situation.
“It’s another vampire,” Jack said. He ambled past them and grabbed a three-foot metal pipe from where it leaned against the steps as he descended. The pipe was coated in silver, a substance that burned vampire flesh.
He walked up to the vampire and stood over him, a leg on either side of the vampire’s hips. The bastard was dressed in black—a fitted shirt and slacks—and even had one of those capes on, not a long one, it was only halfway down his back. He saw a lot of vampires wear them, some stupid style thing. Even Maddock wore it.
“You should stay down,” Jack said. “Otherwise, I’ll use this pipe to knock some of those fangs out, and it will really be a shame if I have to mess up that pretty face.”
The vampire gave a few coughs and clutched at his shirt, which now had little holes in it. He didn’t see any blood, though, but the impact should have hurt and knocked the wind out of him, hopefully, the fight too.
“Jack, maybe you shouldn’t get so close,” Teddy warned. Teddy was three times Jack’s age and knew more about vampires than any other human Jack knew. The waver in his voice as he spoke the words made Jack wonder why he was suddenly being cautious.
“I’ll just give him one smack for good measure,” Jack said. He lifted the pipe over his shoulder, and his world was suddenly turned upside down as the vampire grabbed his calf and yanked him off his feet.
He heard Jeff shout his name right as his head impacted the ground with a smack. He landed on his back but managed to keep his grip on the pipe. He saw a flash of black cloth and felt two hot pricks on his neck.
The fucker was biting him!
Soddenfeld and Leoquin
“I believe I owe you an apology,” Lord Leoquin said. His finger trailed across Soddenfeld’s forehead. He jerked awake, realizing he was lying on one of the cots inside the medical tent. An IV ran in his arm, likely giving him nothing more than fluids. He knew their supplies of nearly everything medicine-wise was low.
“Ah, it’s fine. It was my mistake.” He tried to sit up, but his head throbbed a bit.
“You’ve been asleep for two nights,” the vampire corrected. “I believe that is my fault.”
“I was the one who tried to treat you when I knew the rules said not to, and then we missed the call to retreat and—” The vampire put his fingers across Soddenfeld’s lips to silence him.
“I drank from you without consent. For that, I apologize and wish to compensate you. Name your price.” He removed his finger, but Soddenfeld wished he hadn’t.
“It’s war. Things happen. It’s fine. Really.”
“A debt must be repaid, Dr. Soddenfeld. If you refuse to tell me what you desire, then I shall deposit funds into your—”
“No, I don’t want your money.” He did manage to sit up this time and almost regretted it as he saw a glimmer of angst on the vampire’s face. This vampire was in a class above him, and he’d just interrupted him, and he was refusing his payment. Rude on top of rude, good job, Soddenfeld.
“I nearly killed you.” The vampire leered closer, putting his face dangerously close to his. “The other facts involved are trivial.”
“Sex.” He spoke the word and couldn’t believe he had. The vampire’s silence indicated he was as surprised by the confession as he was. “I’m sorry, that was inappropriate. I’ve been told by nearly every person I’ve tried to date that I’m a sex addict masquerading as…I don’t know. I have excuses, but I shouldn’t have said that. I—”
The vampire put his fingers to his lips again. “Never be ashamed of what you are. Come to my tent when you are feeling better, and I shall endeavor to repay you to your satisfaction.”
The man pulled his hand back and stepped away from Soddenfeld’s cot. “You’re serious? You’ll have sex with me?”
“Am I the first vampire to accept your proposal?” He continued to back away as Soddenfeld nodded. “Intriguing.”
He left the tent, and Soddenfeld still couldn’t believe what he’d asked, nor the response he’d gotten.
Tessa and D’eclat
Tessa walked up the staircase, grateful that today was Klara’s turn to be with Azul. Someone brushed her shoulder as they passed, and she stumbled. The same person who had bumped her grabbed her shoulder to steady her.
“We seem to have this problem,” D’eclat said. “At least you were not carrying anything this time.”
“My apologizes.” She took a step away from the vampire as he dropped his hand. “I shall try to be more aware of my surroundings.”
“No need. We are leaving today. We’ll not cross paths again until Lady Azul comes to the castle for the wedding.” His tone didn’t sound thrilled by any of the news he announced.
“I thought you were staying for a week.”
“I found there to be no point.”
“What of Yuentin? He was looking forward to your mentoring.”
“I cannot stay.”
“Why?” It wasn’t until he gave her a stern look that she realized she’d pried more than her status allowed.
“I am a king. I am accustomed to taking what I want. However, there are things within these walls that do not belong to me. I fear if I stay here for any significant amount of time, my ability to restrain myself will falter, and I will take that which is not mine. I do not wish to be the kind of king who steals from other lords.”
“I am certain that whatever resides here, that you want, Lord Jaspar would give you. He wants nothing more than to please you.”
“It is not Lord Jaspar that I want to please.”
“Then Lady Azul—”
He turned from her, uttering an animalistic grunt of disgust. “Goodbye, Miss Tessa.”
She watched his folded wings twitch in agitation as he went, and she knew Jaspar would have all their heads if he saw the Vampire Potentate leave like this.
“Wait, please, if someone has offended you.” She rushed to catch up with him, not expecting him to stop. She collided with his wings, which were warmer than she expected. He grabbed her wrist to stop her fall.
“I am beginning to believe this is intentional,” he said, pushing her to the wall so if she fell, she would have it to grab. “I must leave.” His voice wavered as he said it, and his red eyes looked at her with something akin to hunger. He turned, and she did not follow this time. She remained on the steps until she heard the slam of the house’s main door and Jaspar’s angry shout. She walked into the foyer mid-rant.
“—didn’t even get her to see him. What do I say? Who insulted him? Why?” Jaspar slammed his foot to the ground, his chest heaving. He looked around at those who were gathered. “He said something happened in the kingdom that required his attention, but I don’t believe it. If I find out which of you spurred him to leave.” His eyes fell upon Azul. “I know I promised to take care of you like you’re my sister because we share the same mother.” He shook his head. “Seriously, you couldn’t do this one thing?”
‘And here I thought you’d arranged all this for me,’ she said, pouting gently.
‘Shame on you, Baba, using this as an opportunity for political manoeuvring.’
The sultan laughed heartily. ‘Do you see how clever she is, Jafar? I dare say she would make any man a formidable wife.’
‘Indeed, your majesty,’ Jafar said. She suspected that was his usual response when he wished not to comment on a subject.
‘This is a party, and you are young. You should be dancing!’ the sultan exclaimed.
As if they’d been waiting for the sultan to make such an announcement, she saw men fidgeting in their seats, eagerly watching, waiting to pounce on her, to claim her first dance and perhaps her heart, though she knew they cared not for love, merely the throne and the power of the sultan. She was a bonus, like a brilliant golden bracelet to hang on their arm, ornamental and only for their own personal enjoyment.
‘If you wish to see me dance, Baba, then I shall,’ Jasmine announced, smiling warmly at her father even as she was cringing inside. But she need not play their little game, she would much rather play her own.
She rose from her seat and walked around her father’s chair, stopping in front of Jafar. He looked up at her with suspicion, not exactly the reaction she’d expected but it would suffice. ‘Will you not dance with me, Jafar?’
Jafar seemed lost, it was the first time she’d even seen him unsure of himself and she found it amusing, though she kept her amusement to herself as best she could. Jafar looked over at the sultan who waved him away happily, already starting on his next piece of lamb. She knew he wouldn’t dare refuse her, as it would be a great insult to the sultan if he did.
With barely concealed irritation, Jafar stood and took Jasmine’s hand, leading her to the dance floor as the whispers of those attending swirled around them. ‘Are you looking to start a scandal, Princess?’ he asked when they were out of earshot.
‘A scandal? Why, I’m merely dancing with an old friend,’ she said innocently.
He raised his eyebrow at her. ‘You didn’t take to the matrons’ teachings, then,’ he said, a statement, rather than a question as they traded positions on the floor, turning around each other but always remaining at a distance. This was Jasmine’s favourite dance, though she’d never told anyone.
‘How do you know what they taught me?’ she asked challenging him. The music moved her body, and her hips rolled tantalisingly as she slowly closed the distance between them.
‘You know your father did not intend for you to dance with me. There are many men here tonight he wants you to acquaint yourself with,’ Jafar said, changing the subject.
‘You haven’t changed at all, still as stiff as ever,’ she said, turning her back to him, rocking her hips as his hand slid around her waist, the heat of his touch slipping through the sheer fabric there, sending a thrill through her body.
‘And you as untameable as ever,’ he answered, his voice neutral. Nothing seemed to faze him. She found herself wanting to ruffle that perfectly still surface of his, elicit some reaction from him, some genuine emotion. ‘Why did you choose to dance with me?’
She spun around in his arms and he dipped her before spinning her and pulling her close again. He was merely following the steps of the dance, playing the role required of him. Something about that left a bitter taste in her mouth. ‘Because you’re the only man here who doesn’t want anything from me,’ she answered honestly.
‘Ah, so you wish to correct that, do you? You want all the men in the room to be in love with you?’ he asked darkly.
She glared up at him, then spun away. Rolling her hips sensually to the music, she held one arm out, curling her finger at him, a look of sheer confidence on her face. When he was once again close enough to speak to, she said, ‘You’re still an arse, I see.’
His eyes widened in surprise, not enough to notice unless you were looking for it.
‘I’m surprised that a princess would use such language,’ he said, tsking at her behaviour.
‘Are you? I thought you said I was untameable,’ she countered. He spun her a final time, pulling her against him as the music came to an end.
Johnson is an Australian romance author, primarily writing Paranormal Romance
and Fantasy Romance. She graduated from Flinders University, where she studied
English Literature and Creative Writing before she discovered her degree was
useless and she hated studying in an institution. She went into administrative
work where she learnt just enough business sense to start publishing her own
Lorelei is fuelled by caffeine and sarcasm, priding herself as a true 90’s kid. She labels her self-publishing as an antiestablishment, but really she’s just a chicken who decided to avoid the gatekeepers altogether and enjoy the freedom to write whatever the heck she likes. Through her writing, she likes to explore the many facets of love and revel in a little magic and a little smut, of course.