Hi guys! We have V.L. Locey stopping by today with her new release Nightside, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~
Being a new member of the undead sect has its ups and downs, something that newly embraced Akio Lee is finding out first hand. Being able to spend eternity with his beloved Vincente, the man who introduced him to life in the nightside, is a definite up. Having to sneak up and feed on strangers? That’s one of the downsides, and something that Akio is finding difficult to swallow. But what other option is there for a recently wed vampire couple who need blood to survive?
Finding a new donor perhaps? One who comes into the lifestyle willingly, as Akio had done, and is open to the unique and sensual relationship that develops when three men have a blood bond. A man who can exist in both the nightside and the dayside worlds. A man like Dalton Briggs, the tall, dark, and handsome caretaker of the manse Akio and Vincente now call home? Dalton seems to tick every box Akio and Vincente have: he’s comfortable around vampires, he’s obviously into men, he’s drop dead gorgeous, and he’s human. But will the outgoing handyman be willing to offer two vampires his vein, his body, his heart?
There are a slew of things about being newly embraced—a romantic term for being dead—that are weird. Well, undead I guess one would say. Mostly dead. Dead but walking. No, that’s more like zombies.
It’s confusing. The whole routine is confounding and some of it’s just downright unsettling
Sleeping on the soil where you were turned…embraced…whatever, that’s distressing. I missed sleeping in beds. Big beds with thick duvets and fluffy pillows. Rocks and soil tossed into a fancy casket lacked the comfort of a queen-sized foam mattress and satin sheets. The dirt packed down so someone had to fluff it daily, and there were bugs in it. Imagine having a centipede skitter over the nape of your neck after you’ve gone to bed but not being able to leap up to brush the bug off because the damn sun might touch you and turn you to dust. It was a nightmare come to life, even more so than moving to a new apartment or root canal or tax preparation. My husband got an earful when we crawled out of those damn coffins
Vincente, my new spouse, and the elder vampire who’d embraced me after a near death experience for me as his donor, took it all in stride. He was incredibly unflappable about most things.
“Dumpling, the next time you feel a creepy crawly simply grab it, crack the lid, and flick the little shit out,” he’d said, rising from his own coffin, gloriously naked, his skin pearly white in the moonlight. Long-legged, ebony-haired, eyes blue as sapphires, he was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. Of course, beauty is a hunting weapon for a vampire. It lures humans to them, stirring up lust and desire. Add in that vampires can delve into the minds of others and control them, and you can see why few can resist offering up their veins. I know I hadn’t. One look at him and I’d fallen under his spell, giving him what he’d wanted, my body and my blood, and eventually my heart.
“Ugh,” I snapped, grabbed a robe that had been laid out by the major domo, and stormed out of the wine cellar to shower, muttering about cooties and fleas, to which Vincente had sniggered as he followed me through Lupei Manor, telling me that human parasites didn’t find vampire blood appealing. Which, you know, was kind of an upside to being undead but still.
“Imagine no more pesky mosquito bites,” he’d tossed out blithely, only pausing in his litany of marvelous things being a vampire would bring about when the serving girl Eru, a thin Elven halfling, spied his cock dangling down his thigh and screamed as if the gaping bowels of the underworld had opened before her. “My bad, totally. Skitter off, child.” He waved a hand at the fey young woman, and she streaked off, bouncing into walls until she thought to uncover her wide black eyes. “Go shower. I’ll join you shortly.” He slid around me on the grand staircase, took my chin in his hand, and tipped my head up. “All will work out, darling. We’ll sift your home soil so that it’s bug free. Now kiss me. I’ve missed the taste of you on my tongue.”
I did, of course, because I adored him and wanted to make this work. I had to make it work. This was my life…or to be more precise, my afterlife, for eternity. We had to make a go of it. We were married forever. Were there vampire divorces? I knew so little about my new lifestyle. All I knew for sure was that this man was my husband, and I loved him more than anything.
“You know I must really love you if I’m sleeping with centipedes,” I sighed over his lips, suddenly eager to get him to our room for some enjoyable nighttime activities. He smiled at me, thin fangs sliding out. Just seeing his canines elongate made mine punch through my gums, the pain sharp for a moment, but oddly erotic at the same time.
“Ah, look at you growing all hard and toothy for me.” He lowered his head to nibble along my neck, and I clung to him as I had before, when I’d been human and he would feed from me. There we were, two newlyweds on the cusp of rutting on the grand staircase of our host’s home, when the pack returned from a run. All manner of nibbling and newlywed hijinks ceased the moment the foyer and stairs were filled with werewolves. “Did you all run through the damn lake?” Vincente huffed, shoving at the massive wolves that were bounding around us, tongues lolling and tails wagging.
They were being asses. Lycans and vampires disliked each other. The wildly wagging tails were due to the disgust they were stirring up in Vincente, not because they adored him so much.
“You do smell like wet dog,” I had to concede, reaching out to pet one of them on the head—a head the size of a small car engine. Mikel, the alpha, the largest of the pack, lapped at my hand then shoved his brindle head into my open palm.
“Don’t coddle them, Akio, they’ll never go away,” Vincente snapped, irked beyond comprehension by the Lycans. Wolves were one of the few things that pushed his buttons rather quickly. “Oh fuck this. Smelly, slobbering fools are speckling me with dog spit. I’m going to our room to wash off the spittle.”
And he transformed into an ebony cloud and swept up the stairs, wafting under the noses of the Lupei alphas of times past. Imagine what they would have thought seeing vampires in this old wreck of a stone keep? Add that most of the inhabitants were LGBTQ and proud of that fact and I’d bet the old males of the line were howling in their graves. Served them right, the sexist, homophobic mongrels.
“Okay, nice wolves. Good wolves,” I laughed, enjoying the frivolity of the pack greatly. Sure, I may have been a new vampire, but times were changing now that the uprising a few months ago had taken place. “I have to go wash the dirt out of my hair.”
They bounded off, claws scrabbling across the tile floor of the entryway as Rugby, the major domo, rushed around closing the doors and mopping up dirty paw prints. He paused to smile up at me. I waved at the elderly Elven halfling then jogged to our “bedroom” which was actually a huge room with wardrobes but no bed.
I shut the door on the barking madness and walked over thick Berber carpeting that swallowed my toes. The room was darkly decorated, masculine to the nth, as the whole craggy keep was—dictates of old days from the old lands, I was sure. Four huge dressers stood open, three were Vincente’s and one was mine. The man was a fashion maven. I preferred sweaters and jeans, maybe a nice tweed beret when I was writing.
“Are you going to stand out there sniffing the wind or are you going to join me?” my husband called from the bathroom. Smiling, I shucked off my robe and draped it over a velveteen loveseat from some bygone era. Lupei Manor was packed full of antiques, most of them spindly little things that could in no way hold the hulking men who lived here, in fur or out. “I have a spot right in the middle of my back that needs a scrub.”
A soft rap on the door pulled me from the needs of my spouse. “Someone’s at the door,” I yelled to Vincente. He cursed. “Patience, Mr. Elysian.”
“Send whoever it is off, Mr. Lee. My dirty spot is a dire need…”
“So melodramatic,” I chuckled, pulled my robe on, and hurried to the heavy door, pulling it open to see my friend, Templeton Reed, grinning at me. He was dressed formally for dinner, which was a normal happening here. Lunch had been downgraded to tasteful casual, but dinner was still suit and tie, the tuxedos thankfully being banished with the old laws that had called for gay men to be stoned and thrown into nearby Lake Erie.
“I told Rugby that I’d inform you that several realtors called while you and Vincente were…napping,” Templeton said as a black bear shuffled down the hall behind him. I waved at the bear, she lifted a paw and grunted then plodded down to the dining room. Seemed like our resident bear shifter had just awoken from her last long bout of hibernation. Templeton turned his head, groaned, and then looked back at me. “Oh dear, I don’t think Mrs. Dunrite is ready for a bear out of hibernation. She’s surely not got enough food. Running this house is a fulltime job that I’m still not grasping well.”
He pushed his glasses up. I leaned on the door, happy to chat with Templeton. I was going to miss him the most when we moved out, but it was time. Vampires and Lycans do not make good housemates. And there was no privacy here with five wolves, a bear, and the servants always popping up when least expected.
“If this old place had Internet you could do it all online. Get one of those managerial software programs, you know? And enter when Margaret goes down for a long sleep and when she’s due to wake up.”
“Internet? We’re lucky we have a phone line and electricity. I do love Mikel but he’s doggedly stubborn about some things.”
“‘Doggedly’. I see what you did there.”
Templeton giggled impishly, pushed his glasses up on his cute nose, and bowed. “I do try to keep the conversation fresh,” he replied with a wink.
A shout rang out from the lower levels of the mansion. The cook, Mrs. Dunrite by the sounds, and an unhappy bear. “Oh shit, the bear’s in the kitchen. If there’s anything left, dinner will be ready at seven sharp.”
Off he ran. I sniffed the air, amazed that I could now pick up the subtle scent of skunk my best friend had left behind. Before I’d been fully embraced, I’d only smelled that musk when Templeton was in fur and had doused someone. Now I smelled it whenever he was near, as well as the core animals of all the shifters I came into contact with. Bears, wolves, big cats, weasels, foxes, the list was endless. As a human I’d never known that a magical community really existed until that fateful night Vincente and I had met outside the pub in Boston.
“Well, I’ve managed to bathe by myself,” Vincente announced behind me. I closed the door and turned, giving him a little pout. “No, no, don’t bother trying to look sad about it. I suppose Templeton is more important than your own husband. Oh, the sheer heartbreak of it all!” He threw a hand over his pale forehead, all that soft black hair plastered to his skull.
“Such a drama queen,” I sniggered, walking to him to kiss his cool cheek then heading into the cavernous bathroom.
“Mm, yes, well, it’s a gift. So, tell me,” he said as he rummaged in the wardrobe for something suitable for dinner, “what did the darling little polecat want?”
I stepped into the clawfoot tub that Vincente had just left, the scalding hot water making me shudder in delight. I was always cold now, my body no longer keeping me warm as it had when I’d been alive. Another downside to the transformation, but one that I’d known about. Vincente had always been cool to the touch.
“You know what he wanted. Your hearing is as good as the wolves,” I sighed as I lowered myself into the sandalwood-scented water. Sleeping on soil was damp and dank, the moisture seeped into a person’s bones.
“Not quite but close. So, realtors. Shall we try to set up some property viewings at night, or shall we send the halfling to scope them out?” He appeared beside me in sleek gray trousers and a white shirt that was unbuttoned, his pale hairless chest still damp from his bath. “I personally have enough on my plate with restructuring the Nosferarti into an intelligence gathering operation that will serve the new president willingly.”
“I know, but I hate to hand off finding our new house to Rugby. He has enough to contend with here, and this whole servants thing still bothers me.” I slid down into the bath until the tiny bubbles brushed my chin. I could soak in baths for hours now. Before my change, I’d never taken a bath. I’d been a shower man. Now I could linger for days. Give me some wine, some candles, my laptop and I’d be a happy vamp. Until I got hungry.
“They’re not exactly slaves, Akio, they’re paid and paid well. Just as any servants we hire will be.” He dropped to one knee beside the tub. I glanced at him, getting lost in those hypnotic azure eyes. “So then are you willing to handle choosing our home? There are several mansions along the lake sitting empty now that many of the old families have returned to the motherlands.”
Old families. Such a nice way of saying bigoted old bastards and bitches who would’ve sooner moldered away over in Europe than face a new government here in America.
“You’re looking very much like John Paul Jones or Paul Revere, buttercup,” Vincente said, tapping my nose with a manicured finger.
“I’m rather sure Jones or Revere weren’t Japanese-American,” I countered then blew at a clump of bubbles by my chin. “I was feeling rather revolutionary warrish, to be honest. Your community has made such drastic changes
“Our community, Akio. You’re no longer an outsider, you’re part of this mystical world we inhabit.” He ran a finger along my lower lip then my upper, lifting my lip a bit to watch in expectation for a fang to appear. When it did, he held out his wrist and I lapped at it. I could suck from him, and I did when we were making love, and he me, simply for the erotic thrill it gave us, but there was no substance in his veins. His blood, like mine now, was devoid of nutritional value. It lacked vitamins and calcium, and was unpalatable due to that lack of vitamins, D in particular. I’d tried eating things rich in vitamin D since I’d been embraced, but solid food came right back up, aside from raw beef liver which tasted vile and had to be served warm so that it mimicked being fresh from the kill so…no. Just no. Which left getting blood from humans, an issue that gave me more trouble than warm cow liver.
“Right yes, our community.” I sighed, feeling sluggish. We’d need to feed tonight. It had been days. “Anyway, since I’m home working on my book, let me go meet with the realtors while you go to work. Do you trust me to find us a house fitting of the new head of the Nosferarti?”
He subconsciously reached up to touch his brow where a band of illumination had once sat. Now he and all the other vampires pressed into slavery by the old Elder Counsel were free of those magical bonds, thank God. They were ghastly things, silvery bands fastened to the head of a vampire accused of some trumped-up charge. The band held a magical gem that, if busted, would release the power of the sun. Any vampire wearing one would be instantly incinerated. It was a horrid form of slavery and terrorism rolled into one. I still didn’t know why Vincente had been banded, but he would tell me someday, when he was free of the dark memories of his enslavement. We had forever. I could wait.
“Yes, of course. I trust you with my heart, so why would I not trust you with buying a stuffy old house?”
He leaned in to steal a kiss. I slid a hand up out of the water, carding my fingers into his shoulder-length hair, licking at his mouth to entice him to delve deeper. A roaring explosion took place at that moment. The door to the bathroom was pushed open by a black bear with a whole ham in her mouth. We both blinked at the she-bear as she sat beside Vincente and began ripping off mouthfuls of sweet, smoked pork. I could hear Mrs. Dunrite and Templeton shouting as they raced up the stairs. It took forty minutes, several tins of cookies, and a long stick, to prod the hungry bear from our bathroom. When it was all said and done, I rose from the now cold tub and stepped into the thick robe Vincente held open for me. He wrapped me in terry cloth and then hugged me to him.
“I’ll call the realtor and leave a message,” I whispered against the divot in his neck.
Someone cleared their throat. Vincente and I groaned in unison.
“Hey sorry about Barbara, she’s going to be a little grumpy and hungry for a few days,” Havel said, peeking around the doorway with a sheepish smile. The beta of the pack was dating the she-bear Margaret. Havel was Mikel’s cousin who had come east from the Puget pack. He’d been driven out by an intolerant sire who had wanted his mind swiped by vampires for being a cross-dresser. Havel and Mikel were strikingly good-looking brutes, tall and wide-shouldered, with thick reddish-black hair and amber eyes. “But on the upside, Mrs. Dunrite has some steak as a backup for the missing ham. So, see you at dinner!”
“Is knocking an unknown talent for younger wolves?” Vincente asked wearily. “Yes please, call the realtor as soon as you can. Living among this circus of canines is making me seriously consider investing in a gross of shock collars.”
An Erie Collection (Lake Erie Shifters 01 – 04)
An Erie Halloween | An Erie Operetta | An Erie Garden Party | An Erie Uprising!
USA Today Bestselling Author V.L. Locey – Penning LGBT hockey romance that skates into sinful pleasures.
V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, Torchwood and Dr. Who, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a pair of geese, far too many chickens, and two steers.
When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in one hand and a steamy romance novel in the other.