Blood Bathory: Absence of the Sun is now available! 312 pages / 96500 words for $7.99 for the e-book version or you can purchase a print copy from Amazon! (It doesn’t look like the print version has populated on Amazon yet, but you can check our author page to see when it goes live.)
Gaia’s theriomorphs may have gravely injured Elizabeth Bathory, but they face new challenges now that her daughter Anna has instigated a coup against her mother. An appeal for help from Antonio, Marielle’s European deputy, results in new revelations for the younger theriomorphs about the origins and nature of the enemy they’ve been fighting for so long — revelations which also change how Evan St. John sees his role in the war.
Tyr Gustavson — a theriomorph who has been feral since 1945, grieving the death of his partner Aaron — and Adam Carson — a fighter pilot who was turned into a vampire against his will — enter the picture, both of them still fighting the specters of their experiences in WWII. As the theriomorphs attempt both to block Anna’s moves against them and to find and destroy Elizabeth once and for all, Tyr and Adam are drawn together, despite Tyr’s hatred of vampires. When Tyr pushes Adam away out of fear, Adam accepts a desperate, suicidal mission to find Thrace, the original nosferatu. If their desperate plan works, the theriomorphs would have the opportunity to destroy not only Elizabeth, but the sire of all vampires. But if it fails, they might have unleashed a force which could lead to the destruction of them all — and perhaps even of Gaia herself.
And here’s a sample!
Tyr watched their server, wondering what lay beneath the choker around her neck. Did it hide bite marks? He was so caught up in curiosity as she returned with their drinks that he didn’t notice the man approaching their table until Adam began to growl.
“Well, well, fresh faces. And rather lovely ones.” Tall, black haired and pale skinned, the newcomer was slender almost to the point of emaciation, and attired in an outfit that looked like something out of a Victorian melodrama. His black velvet frock coat was closely tailored, and the white ruffles at his throat somehow didn’t make his skin seem any more colorful in comparison. As if that didn’t make it obvious he was a vampire, the smile he offered showed a hint of fangs.
Adam immediately leaned closer to Tyr. “Thank you,” he replied, not bothering to hide his American accent, although his deep tone definitely held an note of warning. “I’m sure our mamas, if they were still alive, would be glad you approve of their handiwork.”
The vampire’s smile broadened. “Well, one of them was particularly skilled, it seems.” He looked at Tyr, his dark eyes taking on a hungry gleam. Drawing in a deliberate sniff, he licked his lips. “You, my pet, smell heavenly. I could just eat you up.”
Tyr withdrew as far as he could from the vampire and shook his head. Until recently, he’d only fought vampires, never been seduced by one, and he wasn’t interested in being seduced by this one. “I’m with him,” he said, making a show of resting his hand on Adam’s thigh.
Adam growled again. “That’s right, he’s with me.” Adam put an arm around Tyr’s shoulders, tilting his chin up and staring at the vampire piercingly. “Go poach elsewhere.”
“With you? Interesting… I don’t sense any marks.” Never losing his smile, the vampire stepped closer. “It doesn’t seem to me that you’ve claimed him. It would amuse me to lure him away from you.”
“He leaves his marks where only he can see them.” Tyr stared defiantly at the vampire, although he was careful to keep his gaze fixed on the vampire’s chin in case the vampire tried to mesmerize him. “I won’t leave him.”
“Hmmm.. you’re lying, pretty one.” The vampire’s voice became low and almost hypnotic. “You would be better off with me. I treat my dolls very well, if they please me.”
Adam’s hand suddenly covered the one of Tyr’s that rested on his leg, and he lifted it up, his thumb stroking the inside of Tyr’s wrist. “You’d better leave. Now.”
The brush of Adam’s thumb against his bare skin made Tyr’s body tighten in response. It had been so long since he’d been touched like that, and his skin woke up and cried up for more. Part of him was assailed by guilt at responding to someone who wasn’t Aaron, but there was a tiny voice in the back of his mind reminding him that he still had needs.
“I’m his,” he said huskily, and even though this was an act, something in him stirred and responded as soon as he said the words.
The vampire licked his lips, and Tyr felt Adam tense, like a spring coiling before snapping.
“Not really,” the vampire drawled, then raised an eyebrow at Adam. “You’ve been leading him on, you naughty boy. Mark him, or I’ll challenge you for him right now.”
For a moment, Adam was still, an unnatural stillness that no human could duplicate. His hand around Tyr’s wrist was like stone, and then Adam spoke, his voice soft. “Tyr… look at me.”
Tyr didn’t like taking his eyes off the other vampire for a second, but he had a role to play, and so he obeyed, turning his head to look at Adam. He met Adam’s gaze, surprised to see the conflicted, almost tortured look in Adam’s clear blue eyes, and then the full implications of the conversation sank in. Adam had to bite him, or the other vampire would try to take him away. There was no way Tyr could let things escalate to a challenge; Adam wasn’t an experienced enough fighter, and Tyr would likely end up the mesmerized thrall of the other vampire, the mere thought of which chilled him to the core.
The unspoken question hung between them, and Tyr knew he had to answer. Memories of Aaron being torn apart by fangs and claws rose up, but he pushed them aside. Their mission was in jeopardy, and Tyr wasn’t about to let it fail because of his own weaknesses.
Drawing in a deep breath, he lifted his chin and tilted his head slightly to offer his throat. Having a vampire bite into his wrist might be easier to accept, but it was also less intimate, and they were supposed to be lovers. With that role in mind, he mustered a smile.
“I’ve been waiting for this.”
Adam’s eyes held stunned surprise, then something far more complex. It seemed an eternity until at last, almost in resignation, he leaned closer. The hand still holding Tyr’s wrist trembled, as though Adam were fighting something within himself, then Adam’s lips were there, just above the collar, a hair’s breadth from Tyr’s skin. Another moment of hesitation, and Tyr wondered if Adam was going to go through with it… but then there was a soft caress of skin as Adam’s lips touched him and a sting as fangs pierced his skin.
Tyr’s breath caught in his throat, and he felt an instinctive urge to fight Adam off as old fears and memories rose up again, stronger this time, but he refused to give in. Instead, he slid his arms around Adam’s shoulders and drew him closer like an eager lover would.
There was a rumble, as though Adam had growled, then he began to suck. The mouth against Tyr’s neck grew warm, and Adam’s arms were around him in turn, as Adam pulled him off his stool and into his lap as though he weighed nothing. The sudden move startled Tyr; although Aaron had been taller, he’d never manhandled Tyr or indulged in such displays of strength. Tyr felt little flutters in his belly that had nothing to do with fear, and he ignored them too. This was a necessary part of the mission, not a seduction, but somehow, he still found it disconcertingly easy to press closer as if nestling into Adam’s embrace as he let his eyelids fall closed. There wasn’t as much pain as he expected, and deep down in his soul where his tiger-self lived, he felt an odd sense of satisfaction.
He wasn’t sure how long it was before Adam suddenly stiffened, pulling his mouth away from Tyr’s throat as he raised his head. “Go away and leave us alone,” he snarled to the other vampire. “He’s mine.”