Thursday, March 31, 2016

Bear Tenacity (Pleasant Valley Shifters) by Marlie Monroe

Bear Tenacity

Never get between a bear and his honey.

A new beginning…

Zoe Redman has a bright future ahead of her as the new kindergarten teacher at Pleasant Valley Elementary school. After a rough start in life, things are finally looking up for her. They only get better when a sexy shifter takes an interest in her.

About Marlie Monroe

Marlie Monroe lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and two pampered pooches. When she's not writing, she can usually be found daydreaming about the characters in her next book.

If you want to be the first to know about Marlie's new releases, please sign up for her mailing list by clicking the link:

Curvy Seduction: Rebound (A Curvy Serial Part One) by Aidy Award

Curvy Seduction: Rebound

Curvy Girls rebound with style.

Angelina is tired of being the chubby doormat of a rich girl. She's thrown out her no-good, cheating bastard of a fiancé and now she's ready to rebound...with some revenge sex. What better way than to go out on the town with her friend and secret crush, aka her bodyguard. But, he's made it clear they are nothing more than friends.

Gray has been Angelina's bodyguard for years and in love with her for every second. When she finally kicks her stupid fiancé to the curb he's got a chance to help her be the beautiful, strong, passionate woman he always knew she was.

But, he won't be her rebound.

He will help her find that kinky desirable side of herself. Even if it's with two other men.

Curvy Seduction: Rebound is the first in a six-part serial telling the story of Angelina, also known as the present day owner of Angels and Devils, the BDSM club from the Curvy Love series.

Each part has a full story, but will leave you wanting oh, so much more from this tempting couple.

You'll have lots of fun getting more and more of Gray and Angel's story in each part of this curvy seduction.

Read an excerpt:

“Let’s get out of here and do something fun to celebrate your freedom.” 
“I am going to have fun. Sex is fun.” Or so I’d been told. Or so I had fantasized. 
“So this is about the sex.” 
I absolutely, positively, unequivocally refused to blush. I watched the bartender, mostly so I didn’t have to look Grayson in the eye while lying. “No.” 
He leaned in close and whispered so softly in my ear, his breath heating my skin. “You’re a horrible liar.” 
Liar, liar, pants seriously on fire. “I am not.” 
He didn’t back off an inch. “If this isn’t about sex, why did your chest and neck flush?”

I could feel the heat creep up my face like the warmth from a good glass of red wine. “It’s the alcohol. Plus, why are you looking at my chest anyway?” 
“There isn’t a man in here who isn’t.” His eyes rose back up to mine. “And you’ve only had about a half a sip of that whiskey and even less of the beer, so good try.” 
I grabbed the shot glass, downed the remainder, and slammed it on the table. “Fine. It’s about the sex.”

The tables around us went quiet. Oops. I said that a bit too loud.

I smiled and held my beer aloft, toasting the gawkers. 
If Gray didn’t like my plan, that was his problem. It had taken a lot of cajoling to get him to go along with my scheming, after several false attempts. I certainly didn’t have the cojones to do this on my own. I needed a friend…and a bodyguard to pull this off. 
I lowered my voice for this go around. “So what if it is? I’m entitled to spread my wings, or in this case my legs, if I want to. If I want a one-night stand and to have sheet-sweaty, shouting sex, I’m going to have it. I’m not engaged anymore. I can have dirty, dirty sexcapades with anyone I want.” 
Gray nodded and his eyes flicked down to my chest and back up. “Yes, you can. It’s about time, too.” 
Uh, not the reply I expected. “What’s that supposed to mean?” 
He chuckled. “Just that I doubt Sparky was very imaginative in the sack.” 
“I have no response to that.” Mostly because the only correct comeback would have been duh. 
Gray searched my eyes then smiled. “What turns you on, Angel?” 
You. This time it was no light flitter in my belly, this was a full on hurricane of butterflies attacking my internal organs with a barrage of trembling beats. Oh no. “I’m not talking about this with you.”

“If you really want to get your rocks off, this isn’t the place to do it.” 
“You’ve got someplace better?” I sipped my beer and looked around the dank bar. Okay, so anyplace was probably better than here. 
“Where?” Please say the carriage house, or the back of the limo, or my room, or on one of his motorcycles. Not that I had spent anytime fantasizing about how sex on Gray’s motorcycle would work.

Aidy Award Bio

Once upon a time, there was a girl who lived to write stories of happy ever after. During the day. But at night, oh at night, her world transforms into one of dark desires, deep passions and the forbidden.

She combines the two sides of her imagination by penning stories of erotic romance, true love, and dirty fun.

Read the delicious fantasies of hawt heroes and heroines you want to be or want to be with, come to life under the covers and between the pages of Aidy’s books.

Connect with Aidy on social media!

Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Goodreads / Instagram

And her website.

Join her Curvy Connection.newsletter and get a Curvy Love adult coloring book!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Moment by Michael A. Mays, Sr.

The Moment

In attendance is lovers content with desire. Emotional with sensuality and craving, lust and love poems are the most celebrated captivating readers with earthbound imageries and rejoicing in a fiery re-imagining of the biosphere Love Poems embraces the outlooks surrounding the poet, their breakers and shores saturated with an original, desire eroticism. The insanity of impulsive love to the ever-changing of a romance to deep relationship these poems cover all the magnificent regions of the heart.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Chosen (A Club Crimson Novel) by Dottie Wilson



I thought knew what guys like Gus were like: rich, arrogant womanisers. Not. My. Type. Then again, I also thought he was human. Even when I knew what he was, I still couldn't resist him, as hard as that was to admit. Little did I realise that the vampire billionaire could soothe my soul and liberate both my mind and my body... if he didn't break my heart first. Cora had her own plans for me too.

What would be worse: Gus breaking my already fragile heart or Cora fulfilling her promise to kill me?

Club Crimson: Chosen is a standalone novel with a Happy Ever After to melt your kindle and your heart. No cliff hangers and no cheating.

If you love your vampires hot, your shifters loyal, and enjoy covens and conspiracy... especially when it's all wrapped up in steamy paranormal romance, then you've got to read Chosen.

***This is a hot paranormal romance that contains mature themes and language.***

About Dottie Wilson

Dottie Wilson lives in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom with her husband and two dogs. She loves to go window shopping for impractical shoes she could never walk. When she gets home her perfect lazy evening is to curl up on the sofa with her dogs, drink hot chocolate and be captivated by a good romance novel.

Dottie loves to write and read crazy stories of paranormal love, lust and fantasy: romantic stories that will leave you breathless. Find out more about her at or @dottiewilsonUK on twitter. Also on Facebook at

A Convenient Engagement (The Countess Scandals Series) by Kimberly Bell

A Convenient Engagement

An independent young woman of means, Miss Hannah Howard is as stubborn as she is beautiful. After she moves to London for her first season among the ton, she immediately finds herself in a heated dispute with her neighbor, the ill-mannered Gavan Dalreoch, Earl of Rhone. Giving the Earl a black eye is a lapse in judgment—even though the Scottish scoundrel deserved it. Now with her reputation in jeopardy, her only hope for saving face is the man whose face she bruised.

Gavan is content to live up to his rakish reputation, but with family pressuring him to marry, he and Hannah agree to get engaged just long enough to appear respectable. Yet as the charade continues with stolen kisses and a trip to Gavan's Scottish castle, Gavan and Hannah discover that their false engagement may be more real than they imagined.

Read an excerpt:

Hannah was startled out of the adventures of Robinson Crusoe by her window slamming up in its casement. A pair of boots swung themselves over the ledge and into her bedroom. If her mind weren’t still trying to pull itself back from the high seas, she would certainly have screamed. Fortunately, the upper half of an extremely drenched Rhone appeared before her good sense, saving the household from disruption. He pushed dripping hair off his forehead and gave her a toothy grin.
Hannah rushed to the window. “Have you completely lost your mind?”

“It’s possible, but I don’t think so.” Gavan grabbed the lap blanket she had dropped in her hurry, and scrubbed some of the water from his hair.
“How did you even get up here?” She looked out to the ground below.

He sat down in the armchair she had vacated and pulled off a boot. “I crossed over from my window. There’s a ledge.”
Hannah stuck her head out the window, craning in the direction of his townhouse. “It’s not even a hand span wide! There’s nothing to hold onto!”
“I assure you, I have excellent balance.” His other boot thumped to the floor.

“It is pouring down rain out there. You could have fallen to your death.” Hannah turned, to see his coat landing on top of his boots. “What are you doing?”
“Getting dry. As you cleverly pointed out, it is raining quite vigorously.” Rhone’s waistcoat joined the pile.
Hannah gaped as he stripped off his soaked shirt. Gavan was standing in her bedroom, divesting himself of his clothes. Perhaps she had fallen asleep while reading. It would make much more sense if this was an extremely vivid dream.
He wrapped the blanket around his waist, and his breeches dropped to the carpet with a soggy squelch. Definitely a dream.
He tousled his still damp hair again, leaving it in disarray. “So. What were you doing?” “Reading before bed,” she answered, distracted.
“What book?”

The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.” Hannah closed her eyes to block out his naked torso so she could think straight. “Why are you here?”
“I was bored. Ewan went to bed already.”

She heard rustling and opened her eyes to find him under the covers in her bed. He was bored? Oh, bloody hell. “I’m not dreaming, am I?”
“Of course not.” He stopped in the middle of fluffing the pillows he had piled up. “Do you usually dream about me?”

“But if you did, I would be naked?” He raised his brow suggestively, before languidly stretching in her bed. His satisfied groan reverberated through the room. “Honestly, woman. Where do you buy your furniture?”
“My furniture? Switzerland.” Hannah’s entire thought process had fogged over when he put his arms behind his head. The corded muscles of his bicep and forearm had stolen what little reason she managed to gather since he came through her window.
She stood there staring at his arms, for God knows how long, before she realized he had stopped asking her questions. She shifted her gaze up to his face, and found him looking back at her with amusement.
“You’re naked. In my bed,” she said. “Yes, I am,” he said gently.
“It’s distracting.”

“Would you like to join me?”

Would she like to join him? Of course she would. She wanted to strip off her own… Oh god. “I can’t.”
“Why not?”

“My nightgown is,” Hannah considered how best to say it. “Indecent.” Amusement was replaced with overt interest. “You don’t say.”
Included in the delivery from Madame Baudette were nightgowns clearly intended for a marriage bed. They were beyond scandalous, but they were also gorgeous and Hannah had been unable to resist them.
“You’re going to think I’m silly.” “I sincerely doubt that.”
Hannah sighed. She supposed it could hardly be worse than baring her backside to him in the Conduitt’s parlour. She took off her wrapper and laid it at the foot of her bed.
Unlike the voluminous nightdresses she grew up with, Madame Baudette’s creation was fashioned in the slimmer silhouette of a shift. Crafted in a fine silk charmeuse, it was nearly sheer and ever so soft. Sections of the silk had been replaced with delicate lace, the overall effect of which was extremely revealing.
Gavan blinked at her.

Hannah twisted the mass of her hair nervously, trying to arrange it over her breasts for some semblance of modesty. “It didn’t seem right to let it go to waste just because we won’t actually be married. It’s very soft.”
“I can imagine.” He took a deep breath. “For the record, when I came through your window my intentions were purely conversational.”
“You came through my window and immediately started taking off your clothes.” She didn’t believe that for a second.
“I was wet. And cold.”

Hannah made a skeptical sound with her throat.

“I think you’d better get in bed now,” he said seriously. “Because you’re cold?”
He smiled. “Obviously.”

Available from these retailers:

About Kimberly Bell

2015 RWA Golden Heart Finalist and 2014 Maggie Award Winner Kimberly Bell writes misfit love stories from her home near the beach in San Luis Obispo, California. When she isn't wrangling characters or making a nuisance of herself on twitter, she is occupied trying to run the devil out of her shepherd-coyote mix rescue.

Connect with her online:

'Your Soul Was Made for Mine' by C.L. Hunter

Your Soul Was Made for Mine

Looking for a new shade of grey? In her romantic, erotic fantasy, "Your Soul Was Made for Mine," author C. L. Hunter magnificently weaves a tale of loss, pain, romance, and electrifying thrills that will keep you captivated until the very end. When their lives converge in Ireland, Nolan and Emmalyn will never be the same as dangers appear from Nolan's past and the lovers unravel astonishing secrets together. With their union guided by an angel, each new discovery takes them to places, events, and ecstasies they could have never imagined possible.

Available Everywhere

About C.L. Hunter

While On a trip to beautiful and mysterious Ireland, the characters from C. L. Hunter's romance novel appeared to her in dreams. They did not leave her even after she returned home from the enchanted island. Once she started writing their words, Hunter couldn't stop until the entwined relationships and mysteries of Nolan and Emmalyn were completely revealed. The author now shares their erotic tale with you. C. L. Hunter lives in Florida with her husband, autistic son, and their Irish water spaniel named Brody. She also has two grown daughters and two amazing granddaughters. She is currently working on her second novel, "My Soul Belongs to you."

Find her online:

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Warm Taste (A Vampire Coffee Shop Romance) by Julia Leijon

The Warm Taste

Can a dark creature find a home in the light?

Robin appears to be a quiet, attractive young man, but the exterior hides his true vampire nature: ageless, unchanging, and bloodthirsty. His current obsession is Martin, the personable and generous owner of a coffee shop, The Warm Taste.

All Robin’s careful plans to remain unnoticed are ruined, however, when Martin asks him out on a date. Can Robin really have something so good and sweet as an ordinary relationship, after such a long existence of cold loneliness?

And if things fall apart, and Robin goes back to his old ways, will Martin survive it?

Full of deliciously explicit sex scenes, this novel truly lives up to its name: dark, sweet, and just the thing to satisfy a craving.

Visit the website!

Sink your teeth into this excerpt:

It was well past evening. The windows of the coffee shop spilled warm golden light out onto the cold sidewalk. Robin’s breath didn’t steam on his exhales, and the temperature of the air didn’t bother him, but he wore a bulky coat and scarf for show.
He’d learned years ago that if he made sure that the people around him had no reason to notice him — if his dress was seasonal, his manner unremarkable — then he was forgotten almost before he was gone. It was possible to behave in a very inhuman fashion without drawing attention, provided he at least looked the part.
Most of the patrons inside the coffee shop at this hour were students from the local college studying late. The campus was nearby, and it was still early enough in the semester for all the young scholars to look fairly bright-eyed and confident, not panicked and exhausted like they would when more weeks had passed.
The light inside was bright enough that Robin couldn’t see even a faint reflection of his own face in the glass of the door. If it had been darker inside than out, there would have been a mirror image, despite what superstitions about vampires usually said. Robin knew well enough what he looked like.
His eyes were blue, with enough grey lurking in the color that they could pick up a tint of green if there was a particularly vivid shade nearby. His hair was blonde and he wasn’t tall, or broad-shouldered, which could have had the effect of making him look even younger than his unchanging eighteen years, if not for the confident grace he’d always had to his movements.
To those who only met him briefly, Robin probably appeared around the same age as those college students on the other side of the glass, just starting out towards the world of adult life, before the cynicism set in.
If anybody knew him for a longer length of time, they would have begun to see flashes of hardness and darkness in his sweet, fine-boned face, flashes that made him look much, much older. But Robin made sure that nobody ever knew him for long enough to notice things like that about him.
He pushed the door open, the wave of warmth and sound reaching out onto the cold street to envelope him, drawing him into the small enclave of life inside.
Martin was behind the counter, because Robin wouldn’t have bothered visiting the coffee shop in the first place if it had been the man’s single weekly night off. Robin had taken the time to learn Martin’s schedule, in order to avoid unnecessary ventures out into the living world. There was no point in spending time among the students and their books and coffees unless Martin was there.
Robin’s knowledge of Martin extended beyond knowing the man’s working days. Little facts and slivers of information had been collected by Robin, piece by piece, until he’d managed to build up a comprehensive picture of the coffee shop’s attractive, personable owner.
Martin was thirty-five years old. He didn’t have any brothers or sisters, and had lost his parents in his early twenties, coming into a considerable insurance payout when they died. That money remained largely untouched, however, with Martin only dipping into the funds once in all the time he’d had it. That had been when he’d bought the coffee shop. He’d named it ‘The Warm Taste’ and had worked there ever since.
He had brown eyes and brown hair with the first glints of silver shot through it. He was tall and lean, his body kept in shape through energetic games of frisbee and fetch with his dog on days off.
Robin liked Daniel’s dog. She was a black and white fox terrier cross with a truly obnoxious personality, barking viciously at innocent bystanders as if they were dire threats but instantly cowering from the slightest hint of real danger. She had Martin wrapped around her metaphorical little finger; he would have done anything for that rotten little brat. It made Robin smile to watch.
The dog’s name was Nora, and she liked Robin. Dogs always liked Robin. They noticed him much more often than people did.
Robin approached The Warm Taste’s counter, glancing up at the chalkboard hanging suspended from the ceiling and displaying the various beverage options Reading through the choices was just habit, because he always ordered a cappuccino with one sugar. Observation of the coffee shop’s patrons had taught him that this was the most commonly ordered drink, which therefore made it the least individual, the easiest to forget.
Robin didn’t want to be remembered. He made a point of having as little impact on human lives as possible. On the occasions when he’d been weak-willed, and given Martin reason to have strong recollection of him, Robin had later, with utmost care, mesmerized the man. Made him forget.
If anybody had known Robin’s habits well enough to comment on them, they would have called him fastidious. Nobody did, though. Robin was careful to make sure that was the case, as well. The more solitary he was, the less complicated his existence remained. So long as nobody knew him, nobody was affected by him.
Robin’s natural inclination to thrive on chaos was not a recipe for longevity, and so he’d forced himself to learn how to appreciate an existence that ran smoothly.
“Cap with one sugar, right?” Martin asked, interrupting Robin’s moment of introspection.
Robin blinked in surprise. Martin shouldn’t remember him at all, much less have his order memorized.
Martin was giving him an easy, friendly smile, waiting for confirmation of the order. “Y-yes,” Robin stammered, thrown by the situation. He handed over his money and moved away from the counter hurriedly, seating himself at a table in the corner.
He’d never had that happen before.
His hands, usually steady and still, were shaking. It had been a very long time since anything had managed to unnerve him. Robin found that he did not like the reminder of what that particular sensation felt like.
“Here’s your coffee,” the shop’s waitress said as she placed Robin’s order on the table in front of him. She gave him a friendly but impersonal smile, and left him alone again.
That was Sarah. Robin had never bothered to wipe clean any memories Sarah might have had of him. He’d been able to tell from the first time he’d visited the coffee shop that Sarah was someone who was very good at minding her own business, like he tried to be.
There was a cosy rhythm to The Warm Taste’s operation. The thunk-thunk-thunk of spent coffee being knocked free, the hiss of heating milk, the scent of each fresh order. Some of the tables, those with groups seated around them, were sites of conversation, and each opening of the door let in the soft sounds of the night street outside with its cars and trams and pedestrians.
Sarah’s young daughter arrived, looking over towards where Robin sat and then leveling a stormy glare directly at him. Before he had a chance to puzzle over the meaning of the thunderous expression, Sarah went over and gave her child a hug of greeting.
“Mom, there’s someone in my seat,” the girl complained, shooting another scowl at Robin. He shrank lower in his chair, wondering if he should move somewhere else.
“You don’t pay rent on it. It isn’t yours,” Sarah answered cheerfully, gesturing to one of the still-unoccupied tables. “Sit there instead.”
“But that one is my one. I always sit there.”
“Hey, Polly,” Martin called from behind the counter. “I’ve got cinnamon buns and donuts on offer today. Which do you want?”
While she was distracted by making her selection from the food on offer, Robin quickly disposed of his order and exited the coffee shop. He didn’t want to cause trouble. He didn’t want to cause anything.
It would only be a few hours until closing time. It would be just as easy to spend it out here, in the shadows of the surrounding nine-to-five stores with their lightless interiors, as it would have been to remain inside. Easier, in fact, because out here there was nobody to notice him, only fast-walking pedestrians who never looked his way at all.
Robin waited, unmoving, as the time ticked past.
Eventually, Martin emerged from the now-darkened coffee shop, swathed in his own scarf and coat, the last to go home as always.
Robin had tried, in the past, to have conversations with Martin at this juncture. Something always ruined it, sooner or later. Martin would notice that Robin’s breath didn’t steam as his own did, or Robin would find himself too caught up in Martin’s friendly conversation and forget to be sufficiently careful with his own words. It was easier to do things the way he did now.
Robin stepped forward, blocking Martin’s path. Before the man had the chance to do more than give a start of surprise, Robin had made eye contact with him, their gazes locked together with all the power of a meeting between predator and prey.
It was simple enough for Robin to bewitch humans in this fashion. There wasn’t any real magic behind it; it was merely the power of an extremely persuasive vocal cadence and unwavering eye contact combining to create a powerful hypnotic suggestion. It was an evolutionary advantage bestowed on those with the unfortunate luck to have been turned into vampires.
“Don’t notice me. I’m not here,” Robin instructed Martin in quiet, lilting tones. Martin gave a small nod, his posture the slightly slack carriage of someone not completely aware or awake. “Now go home.”
Martin shook himself, roused from the trance, and glanced around. He had a perplexed expression on his face. His eyes didn’t pause for even a moment as they looked past Robin and moved on. Robin was as good as invisible, completely unregistered by Martin now.
Martin lived in the same neighborhood as his coffee shop, only fifteen minutes away on foot. He owned a car, but Robin had never known him to drive it. It was clear he liked the quiet interlude of time spent walking to and from his business each day.
Despite Martin being right there next to Robin, albeit oblivious to his presence, Robin felt oddly lonely as they moved through the darkened, sparsely populated streets towards Martin’s home. It was idiotic to feel this way, of course. Robin had more sentimentality in him than was good for him. He really must make the effort to discard such absurd thoughts.
Loneliness, what an absurd notion for a vampire. Loneliness was for wolves or lions, denied a pack or pride. Vampires were solitary hunters. Their very nature was to be alone.
Nora the dog barked noisily as Martin unlocked his front door. Robin’s mouth curved up into a small, brief smile. He was irrationally fond of the irritating little animal, and enjoyed seeing how she and Martin doted on one another.
After greeting Nora, Martin took off his scarf and coat and hung them on a hatstand positioned near the front door. Robin left his own on. Temperature made no difference to him.
The sight of Martin’s now-exposed neck made Robin’s mouth water.
“Sit on the sofa,” he ordered the man, his voice a little ragged and raw to his own ears. Martin did so, walking through to the living room area and resting against the cushions with a tired sigh. Robin followed, kneeling on the sofa beside where Martin sat.
Nora trotted in after them, taking up her habitual position on an armchair in the corner of the room, and began methodically shredding a small plush toy in the shape of a mallard duck. Robin couldn’t help but laugh quietly at the sight. He wasn’t sure which interpretation was funnier: either Nora considered him unthreatening, despite his blatantly predatory intentions towards her human, or her natural instincts as a coward made her determined to ignore the proceedings completely.
Forgetting about Nora for the time being, Robin turned his attention back to Martin. He tilted the man’s head away from him, baring the smooth, warm skin of his throat.
Usually Robin hardly noticed his own fangs. They were barely longer than the teeth surrounding them, only an eighth of an inch or so of extra sharpness at their points. Now, however, they seemed to crowd his mouth, making it difficult for him to think of anything but biting down into that skin.
Instead of the deep bite that Robin’s baser nature urged him to inflict, the strike he made was little more than a small shallow nip, piercing the skin carefully and delicately. This way, he could drink for longer without bringing any kind of real harm to Martin.
Robin’s face was cold from the night air, his body having picked up the ambient temperature of his surroundings on the walk to Martin’s home. Robin hadn’t been a source of heat in decades, ever since his death. He absorbed, never generated.
The touch of his lips to Martin’s skin made a minute shiver run through the man, the skin of his arms pebbling into gooseflesh.
The reaction was an automatic response to the cold. If Robin was some other kind of predator, it might have been an instinctual reaction to a threat, but — in yet another case of fact running counter to superstition — vampires who intended to survive for any length of time hardly ever seriously harmed their quarries, let alone killed them.
They left no carnage, conjured no warmth. They were as invisible as thoughts.
Martin’s blood was honey-sweet over a whisper of iron, warm and slow and so good that Robin’s eyes rolled back at the first taste of it on his tongue.
It took a considerable amount of self control for him to resist the urge to suck at the little wound, but Robin was nothing if not well-versed in acts of considerable self-control. The cut itself, he’d be able to heal without trouble, but it would be unwise to leave any other kind of mark behind after he was finished.
Fuck, Martin tasted so good. Despite owning a coffee shop, he only drank a few cups of it each morning, typically switching to peppermint tea and water at midday. Robin, despite his extensive experience with people’s blood, had no idea if any of that played any role in the taste of him. Perhaps Martin’s chemistry was just perfectly, exactly aligned with Robin’s own.
It was that taste that kept him coming back. It was incredibly dangerous to return to the same source of blood over and over like this, but he couldn’t stop. He couldn’t imagine contenting himself with another source, not while he knew Martin existed. Not while there was his exquisite blood somewhere in the world, there for the taking.
Robin repositioned himself, straddling Martin’s lap in order to press himself closer. In his new posture he could inhale Martin’s scent more deeply, drag his tongue against the welling cut on Martin’s skin, lose himself in the experience.
He was so lost in it, in fact, that when Martin’s hands moved up to fumble with the scarf still wrapped around Robin’s own throat, it was a few moments before Robin realized what was happening.
Martin’s fingertips sought the skin of Robin’s own neck and shoulder, stroking at it, urging him closer. The touch was like electricity on Robin’s skin, thrilling and terrifying. Martin’s fingers were combing through his hair, resting against the back of his skull, as Martin sighed contentedly.
It good enough to drive Robin crazy. But, like any goodness that came into his life, it was a goodness he had stolen. Guilt and shame drained the pleasure from the moment, and Robin broke away from Martin’s throat and sat back, forcing himself to stand up.
He pressed the pad of his own thumb to the point of one of his fangs, breaking the skin and making a bead of his own dark blood well up. He pressed this against the little tear he’d made on Martin’s neck. The skin began to heal together almost immediately, without leaving any sign that there had been a cut at all.
“Stay there,” Robin ordered in a quiet voice, making his way into Martin’s kitchen. He was thrumming with energy, his mouth still full of the taste of Martin’s blood. This was always the worst moment; this was when the full weight of what a monster Robin was would weigh down on him.
The rest of the time, Robin had no strong feeling about his existence. He tried to avoid having strong feelings about anything, if he could at all help it, and this applied twofold to the sordid choices and actions he let himself make on a regular basis.
But in these moments, when the blood was warm and new inside him, and it was his responsibility to see to the wellbeing of someone at his mercy, it was difficult to remain remote. Reality crashed into him, and he felt as if he might suffocate under the weight of it — or would, if he had a genuine need to breathe.
From out of the refrigerator he retrieved a carton of orange juice, a packet of sliced ham, and a tub of easy-spread butter. There was a loaf of whole wheat bread on the countertop, which Robin inspected to make sure it was still suitable to use — Martin’s busy schedule meant that sometimes loaves didn’t get eaten in time to prevent penicillin colonies from attempting to spawn.
The bread was mold-free, though, so Robin made Martin two ham sandwiches and poured him a glass of orange juice. Provided he gave Martin a strong suggestion to have eggs and spinach for breakfast the following morning, the combined iron content of the two meals would help Martin’s body replace what Robin had taken.
He took the food to Martin and ordered him to eat, waiting as the command was carried out. Even that gave Robin new waves of guilt, because watching Martin chew and swallow each bite mechanically, not truly tasting what he ate, was like stealing from him a second time.
Martin had a grand, all-encompassing enthusiasm for life. To take even the small simple pleasures of a sandwich from him proved what an irredeemable creature Robin was.
When Martin had finished eating, Robin washed the plate and glass and left them in the kitchen, returning to his original spot on the sofa beside Martin.
“Look at me,” he said. His eyes seized Martin’s, transfixing Martin’s gaze within in power of his own. Then Robin began to speak, repeating himself over and over, varying the words but always with the same message: forget me. I was never here. You had a quiet evening, and now you’re tired. You have no memory of me. You do not know that I exist.
When Robin’s voice began to go hoarse from speaking, he went quiet. Martin’s eyes closed, and after a heartbeat’s length of time he gave a wide and weary yawn.
Blinking, he rubbed at his face with his palms and got to his feet, shuffling towards the hallway that contained the bedroom and bathroom.
Nora jumped gracelessly from her position on her chair, trotting after Martin, leaving Robin alone in the room to do the last small tasks of cleaning up.
He straightened the sofa cushions, turned out the lights, and made sure the door locked behind him as he left himself out. There was no trace left behind that he’d ever been there at all.
It was even colder now, the last warmth of the day long-faded. Robin paid no attention to the chill as he walked back to his own apartment, which was small and dark and empty.
The following night, Robin didn’t go to the coffee shop. He simply stayed in bed. He wasn’t hungry anymore, so there was no reason to go anywhere. The hours felt excruciatingly long and exhaustingly short all at once. Robin simply waited for them to end, and then slept again.
When the next evening began, Robin dragged himself from the bed, showered, and dressed. He had to make sure that Martin’s memories had been properly fixed this time. He couldn’t risk any future familiarity on visits to The Warm Taste.
If it hadn’t worked for a second time, he knew that the only safe course of action would be to break contact entirely. The thought alone was enough to make him pause and close his eyes, overwhelmed with sudden panic.
There was no reason for his worry, though. When he entered the coffee shop and walked to the counter, Martin smile at him with no hint of recognition in the expression.
“Welcome to The Warm Taste. What can I get for you?”
To his surprise, the question left Robin feeling strangely bereft.