I'm on vacation so I'm going to make this short and sweet. The very first gay erotic romance I've written all by myself came out this weekend at Amber Allure. It's called Bridge Over Troubled Water, and I went for what I've written most - vampires. I'm really happy with how it turned out, though, and it's most definitely not my last one...
Detective Brady Lindstrom deals in death, and not just because he’s a homicide cop with the slaughter of a century to solve. Ten years ago, vampires murdered his lover. Ever since, he’s looked over his shoulder, ready for vampires to strike again. Or maybe just the one he loved.
Exhausted and angry about the needless deaths he has to investigate, Brady worries that the killers he’s looking for aren’t even human. Those fears are compounded by an unexpected visitor, the battered and nearly broken Cole Singer, the lover he’d long ago given up for dead. When Cole offers to trade information on the killers in exchange for sanctuary, Brady realizes he doesn’t have a choice. He just can’t turn his back on the face of the only man he’s ever loved. Even if he’s a vampire...
And now for an excerpt not seen anywhere else...
They remained quiet as Brady shot down the road. He kept alert, checking all his mirrors repeatedly, watching for any sign that they were being followed. Only when he was completely sure they weren't did he angle toward the highway.
He glanced across to the other seat. Cole was out cold. No wonder it had been so quiet.
Brady had a whole shopping list of questions he wanted to ask, questions about who the vampires were, how Cole knew them. They would have to wait. Rather than torture himself with the unknown, he focused on the road and getting home as quickly and safely as possible. None of it would make a difference if they didn't make it.
He parked illegally in the handicapped spot nearest his house. Cole hadn't moved or made a sound for the entire journey, and blood had soaked through into Brady's car seat. Brady took his coat off and threw it over Cole's shoulders, hefting him out with an arm around his waist. He kicked the door shut and took the shortest path possible to his front door.
Inside, he was at a momentary loss as to what to do with him. Cole was a mess; he needed to be cleaned up. Bathroom then, he decided grimly. Blood trailed slightly over the carpet, but that was something else Brady ignored. He couldn't do anything about it anyway.
Leaving Cole slumped in the tub, he hurried back and moved his car, his gaze jumping from shadow to shadow the entire time. His exhalation when he finally locked his apartment door behind him was as much relief as it was weariness. Nobody had followed him. They would be safe. He'd get Cole taken care of, then call in to Webster and see what steps were being taken, what Brady could do next.
He came to a dead halt in the bathroom doorway. An unconscious Cole couldn't bathe himself. He couldn't even undress himself. But Brady couldn't do anything about bandaging him up while he was such a mess.
Swallowing the sudden lump in his throat, he stripped out of his shoes and shirt before kneeling at the side of the tub. The bloodstained gauze he'd taped over the injuries was a wreck, unusable. So was the shirt he'd given to Cole. Keeping his gaze from the worst of the injuries, he scooped an arm behind Cole's back in order to pull the shirt over his head.
He froze. Scars mottled Cole's shoulder blades. Skinny, thick, long, short. Most were white with age, but there were a couple still pink from newness. There were even a few puncture marks. Fangs. Unmistakably.
He wished Cole was awake. He wanted to know what the hell had happened to him. If this had something to do with the pair at the frat house.
Somehow, he got the rest of Cole's clothes off, and still, Cole wasn't moving. Brady sat back on his heels and debated his options. A bath was out of the question. Cole might not drown, but...he couldn't do it. A shower? There was still the question of how he'd get clean. Brady could do it, but he'd get wet.
For the first time since putting him in the tub, he looked at Cole's face.
The smooth skin. Bruises blued one side of his jaw.
The dark lashes. Cole could have been sleeping.
That mouth. Blood had dried at the corner where his lower lip split. Brady reached forward and rubbed it gently away.
He's a vampire.
He deserved it.
He saved my life.
Brady scrubbed at his face, wishing at least one of the little voices in his head would shut the other one up. The scent of Cole's blood clinging to his fingers settled his decision.
He undressed in record time. Angling the showerhead so that it hit farther down Cole's body, he started the water, deliberately opting for as hot a temperature as he could stand. It was harder to slide into the tub with Cole already in it; it wasn't exactly built for two. But Cole had always been narrower than him, and by spreading his legs farther apart, Brady slipped Cole carefully in between them, leaning him back against his chest.
He immediately closed his eyes and shuddered. Memories like sharp glass rained down on him, too many to avoid getting cut. Falling asleep on the couch with Cole stretched out on top of him, watching TV. Clinging to Cole after his father's funeral, when everyone had already left, when the only thing that made sense was having Cole in his embrace.
His arms stole around Cole's body, holding him even closer. Resting his head against Cole's, Brady ran his hands up and down over the lean body he'd once known so well, tenderly, gently, washing away the blood that marred its pale perfection. His fingertips barely touched the rough edges of the cuts; he didn't want the moment ruined by more of the reality he loathed so much.
It wouldn't hurt to pretend. Not for a few minutes. Pretend Cole had never died. Pretend that they were together, that everything was fine, that there was nothing to mourn except the loss of their youth.
The water stung where it pelted against his skin, but Brady welcomed it. It made him feel alive. The heat soaked into Cole's flesh, too, which just made it easier to pretend. Except then he remembered that he was pretending, that none of this was real, that Cole rested ravaged in his arms and would never be that innocent, carefree young man no matter how much Brady wanted him back, and the loss hit him all over again.
The sob caught in his throat. He felt like he was choking.
Maybe if he just held him a little bit tighter...