Series: They Bite, Book Three
Author: Lee Colgin
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: September 7, 2020
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, vampires, shifters, were-coyotes, romance, paranormal, fantasy, mates, HEA, slow burn
As Rudy adapts to life in a new town, he lays eyes on a man whose very presence steals his heart. The man is bewitching. Bewitching…and grumpy.
Samuel has no interest in the coyote shifter who’s been following him around like a lovesick pup, even if he is adorable. Adorable…and persistent.
Born a vampire before the Great Wars, Samuel’s had plenty of time to make enemies. If he can’t discover and kill the one who’s been stalking him, it could be Rudy who pays the price. Samuel doesn’t do relationships, and he won’t bend the rules for Rudy, but that doesn’t mean he wants the coyote hurt. Stuck together as Samuel plots revenge, Rudy finally has his chance to win over his mate.
Can they harness the power of their fated bond, or will Samuel’s dark past overcome the future they’ve yet to claim?
Forbidden Need, Lee Colgin © 2020, All Rights Reserved
Admiring the quaint architecture along each side of the narrow street, Rudy strolled through the small town he would call home. He’d chosen Stonesburg to be near his friends from university, but he couldn’t fathom why they’d picked it. The old mill town rose and fell with the textile industry. When the mills closed, humans abandoned the place and supernaturals moved in. The rolling hills of a nearby mountain range held some appeal, but Rudy found the nightlife lacking.
He wandered downtown in search of the Eternal Knight Club, where he’d meet the other coyote shifters for drinks. Crisp night air chilled his nose and flushed his cheeks. Spying two ornately carved doors that stood out from the other entryways with their whimsy, Rudy found the place. He pulled open the massive mahogany door and stepped into a spacious, dimly lit interior hazy with cigar smoke. Spotting his rowdy group holding down a corner booth, he headed their way until a fleeting glance toward the bar revealed a sight that stopped Rudy in his tracks.
Who is that?
An exquisite being perched elegantly on a stool, smoking a pipe, his attention on the bartender. Rudy couldn’t help but gawk. Black shining hair, dark as charcoal, fell in waves past his shoulders. He leaned toward his companion with his spine straight, shoulders squared, and one leg crossed neatly over the other. As if he knew someone stared at him, his brown eyes flashed upward and homed in on Rudy. The stranger’s face went from neutral to annoyed in a flash. Rudy knew he should look away, but he couldn’t tear his eyes from the vision before him.
And the vision before him was clearly irritated.
Unable to resist, Rudy drew close.
The man’s glare darkened.
Rudy turned his hands out, palms up in an “I mean no harm” gesture. He glanced at the fellow in the next seat and to the bartender, who both watched his approach, then focused his gaze back to the pretty… Hmm, what was he? Vampire? He had that otherworldly stillness older vampires possessed.
Desperate to make a good impression, Rudy meant to say something clever, but words tumbled out before his brain caught up. “Who are you?”
The man glanced over his shoulder to the bartender. “Mabel, is he talking to me?”
“I’m afraid so,” she replied.
“Can’t you make him leave?”
Her eyes narrowed. “Be nice.”
With an exasperated sigh, the man turned back to Rudy, lips pressed in a hard line, one ebony eyebrow raised. “Well? Let’s have it. What do you want?”
Rudy found him more striking up close, his dark features a beautiful contrast against skin so pale he nearly glowed. “You’re the most handsome person I’ve ever seen.” That was true enough, but it wasn’t only his looks drawing Rudy in. There was something else tugging on his insides, fueling his need to be close to this stranger.
The man rolled his eyes. “You must get out more. Or on second thought, don’t.”
“Can I buy you a drink?” Rudy asked, hopeful.
The gorgeous creature opened his mouth and drew back his upper lip, revealing fangs. He all but hissed, threatening. The sight only enthralled Rudy further. Definitely a vampire.
“No drink, then. How about a smoke?” Rudy offered instead.
The man narrowed his gaze and lifted the cigar he already had. If you could say “duh” with a facial expression, he’d done it.
“Right. Dance with me?” Rudy extended a hand in one last bid to keep his attention.
“I think not.” The vampire turned back to the man sitting next to him, who radiated amusement with the whole situation.
Realization dawned, and an unwelcome tension invaded Rudy’s chest. Perhaps this vampire was here with the other man. “Oh, I’m sorry! You’re here together?” His hands fluttered between them. “I didn’t mean to… Well, I’m sorry.”
The other man grinned. “No, no, he’s all yours.” Laughter filled his voice. “Single and ready to mingle. Isn’t that how the saying goes?”
The raven-haired vampire stared daggers at his friend. “Benjamin, really?” he chided before shifting his attention back to Rudy. “Listen, pup, since you don’t seem to pick up on much, I’ll speak plainly. I’m not interested. Fuck off.”
Rudy’s face fell. “You don’t have to be mean.” He couldn’t hide his disappointment. The desire to be near this vampire didn’t diminish even after the rejection. “If you change your mind, I’ll be over there.” Rudy motioned to the table of coyote shifters in the corner. “I’d love to dance with you.”
The vampire’s exasperated expression burned into Rudy’s memory with an unpleasant flush of heat. Discouraged, he slunk to his friends, all of whom had watched the exchange and were in various states of laughter and confusion.
“Did you seriously hit on that vampire, Rudy?” asked Emerson. “What were you thinking? You’re lucky he didn’t squash you like a bug, because it looked like he wanted to.”
“Slide over, Em.” Rudy nudged his way into the booth. “He’s cute is all.” He shrugged, downplaying the inexplicable attraction, meanwhile glancing over his shoulder to make sure the vampire hadn’t left.
“You’re crazy,” said Morris from across the table. “That’s a good way to get yourself killed. You go pissing off vampires for fun nowadays?”
Carlotta elbowed her boyfriend and gave Rudy a sympathetic smile. “He seemed kind of rude.”
“Rude?” Morris scoffed. “Murderous would be more accurate.”
“Can we drop it?” Rudy squirmed in his seat. “It didn’t work anyway.”
“What didn’t work? What were you hoping to achieve?” Emerson asked.
Rudy’s shoulders lifted. “Wanted to dance is all. He said no. End of story.”
Mabel came to collect drink orders with humor twinkling in her eyes. “Sorry, champ. You picked an impossible target. What can I get for you folks?”
His friends requested refills, and Rudy asked for a beer and hoped the conversation would veer to something less embarrassing. It did, thanks to Carlotta, who mercifully changed the subject.
“How do you like Stonesburg?”
“It’s great!” he lied with enthusiasm. The town wasn’t all that impressive, but he’d needed a change, and Stonesburg was as good a place as any. “I mean, there’s you guys and the mountains, so I’m sure I’ll love it soon enough.”
“Wait until you get settled,” Morris encouraged. “We’ll shift and take you for a run in the forest.”
“Sounds great.” Rudy grinned. “It’s past time I stretch my legs.”
Mabel set an ice-cold beer in front of him and placed the other drinks around the table. They thanked her, and Rudy took a big gulp. Delicious. His eyes drifted back to the grumpy vampire at the bar.
Mabel noticed and laughed under her breath. “Wasting your time on that one, babyface. He doesn’t date, not in the time I’ve known him,” she said, not unkindly, but Rudy didn’t care for her message nonetheless.
She shrugged. “Don’t know. And I wouldn’t ask if I were you. You don’t want to get on his bad side. He’s dangerous.”
Rudy tucked into his beer as she left, letting the conversation happen around him. It was nice being with friends again. He’d been sad and lonely at home with his family.
Risking another glance to the bar, he caught the vampire staring back at him.
Meet the Author
Lee Colgin has loved vampires since she read Dracula on a hot sunny beach at 13 years old. She lives in North Carolina with lots of dogs and her husband. No, he’s not a vampire, but she loves him anyway. Lee likes to workout so she can eat the maximum amount of cookies with her pizza. Ask her how much she can bench press.
If you enjoyed this book, pick up Lee’s debut novel Slay My Love to find out what happens when you’re attracted to the very person who want to kill you an enemies to lovers 56,000k novel available now.