My teaser this week is from Electric Candle, book 2 of The Sleepless City (series cowritten with Anne Barwell).
They sipped their drinks and took turns reading in detail and discussing what a cambion might do. Blair answered questions when asked but was otherwise disturbingly quiet.
“Does the jukebox work?” Blair asked abruptly and stood up, walking toward one of the two machines. The group of men who were rowdy and drunk were right next to the jukebox Blair was heading for.
“God, he’s clueless.” Forge shook his head and followed Blair. He stopped at the bar between Blair and the men and ordered another beer. He turned his back on the group, leaned against polished wood, and watched Blair. Cold, smooth glass touched his arm, and he looked down. Sally had his beer.
She leaned closer and whispered, “They’ve been in here every night this week, loud and annoying.”
Forge nodded, took his beer, and walked over to Blair. He looked over the song choices, every few seconds casting a glimpse at the group at the bar. Moving so he blocked his actions, he slid one arm around Blair’s waist and rested his open palm on Blair’s belly. He knew he shouldn’t be this open but being so close to Blair the last few hours was clouding his thought processes.
“You okay?” Forge spoke against Blair’s ear.
“Find anything you like?” Forge asked. A shiver rippled through Blair, his abdominal muscles tensed, and he leaned nearer to Forge. “To listen to, I mean.”
Words from the bar floated to Forge’s ears: get a room, drunk enough to tap that, fag. When he glanced their way, they dissolved into fits of laughter. One stumbled into another, and they knocked glasses and bottles on the bar over, spilling them onto people sitting nearby.
Blair glanced their way, then back at the jukebox. “Would it be all right…? I mean, do you mind if…um…maybe I could stay with you tonight?”
“I’d like that,” Forge said, shifting his weight so he pressed more firmly against Blair’s side.
“I can sleep on the couch.”
Forge snickered. “I don’t think that’ll be necessary.”
Their moment was interrupted by one of the men falling off his stool, crashing to the floor and taking a tray of dirty glasses with him. Forge groaned.
Blair looked at the group of men once again. “I guess you need to go be a cop now?”
“Yeah. Sorry.” Forge held out his beer bottle. “Mind holding that for me?”
“Not at all.” Blair grinned, took Forge’s beer, and drank from it while he leaned on the jukebox and watched.
“Okay, guys, it’s been fun and all, but maybe it’s time to call it a night,” Forge said. He walked to the closest of the drunken group and took his arm, helping him off the floor. In his periphery, he saw Lucas hooking a finger in the air, signaling Blair to move.
“H-heeey,” the guy slurred, staggered to his feet, and took a swing at Forge.
As Forge twisted and leaned away from the sluggish punch, he saw Blair dodge away from the jukebox, shake his head, and amble back to their table. Forge pulled his leather jacket open far enough so the badge clipped to his belt was easily seen.
“Ohh….” The sound came out a hiccup. The guy stumbled back and collided with one of his friends, and they both laughed. “He’s a cop.” Apparently, that was even more hilarious, since the group laughed even more.
Forge yanked another guy to his feet. “Yeah, we’re done here.”
“Wassa matter, purty blondie boy not enough?” The guy tried pulling out of Forge’s grip.
Forge heard Simon say, “Sit down, Ben.” Then add, “Get back, Blair.”
Ben said something, but Forge stopped paying attention when one of the drunks slapped a beer bottle against the bar and broke it, holding it out.
“Oh, for the love of….” Forge darted forward and grabbed the man’s wrist with enough force his hand opened and the shattered bottle slipped from his grip. He dragged the guy to the door and booted him outside.
The other three began shouting. People sitting nearby moved out of the way. Lucas slid between Forge and the door and snarled when the guy tried to get back inside.
Forge heard the guy scramble backward and garble a surprised, “What the fuck are you?”
One of the men picked up a chair, swinging it in a circle. Simon and Blair moved fast, scooping their drinks off the table while Ben rescued Forge’s tablet and the papers just seconds before the chair crashed into the center of the table. Holding everything over his head, Ben would have been plowed over if Simon hadn’t grabbed him and pulled him away. He reached out with the other hand and did the same to Blair.
Forge heard Simon grumble, “The next time I say, ‘stay back,’ maybe you will.”
Lucas darted around and caught the guy from the back, hustling him out the door. Forge faced the other two, did his best to appear to bulk up, let his eyes turn to solid blue and showed his fangs.
The two remaining men grabbed each other’s arms, trying to back away, but there was nowhere to go when Forge sprinted and blocked their retreat to the back.
“What the hell!” One guy stumbled and would have fallen had Blair not flashed in and snatched him up by the shirt collar.
Forge swallowed a laugh. From Blair’s expression, he was definitely surprised he’d caught the guy. Lucas was guarding the door again, so Forge relieved Blair of his burden and shoved the guy hard enough he crashed into Lucas.
Without missing a beat, Lucas’s eyes glowed gold and he growled. The guy gulped, pulling out of his grip. Lucas pushed the door open and gave the guy a hearty shove out into the parking lot.
“Duck,” Simon yelled and grabbed the last of the men. Lucas dropped to his knees and the last guy skimmed over his back and sailed outside.
A few minutes later, everything had calmed down, chairs had been righted, and Sally was back to getting food out to the customers.
“Thank you,” she said when she made her way to their table.
“I doubt they’ll be back,” Simon told her.
“Have you seen this?” Sally asked Blair, gesturing with another beer, the cap still in place. “It’s the sexiest thing.” She patted Blair’s shoulder. “Don’t worry, I’m not interested in your boyfriend, you’re safe.”
Blair cocked an eyebrow at Forge. “Seen what?” he asked.
Forge took the bottle Sally offered. “Sometimes, she’ll get me to do this all night.” His fangs slipped down, and he hooked one under the bottle cap then pushed it out with his tongue. He caught the cap and tossed it on the table, grinning broadly as the rest of the men laughed.
Later, as they were getting ready to leave, Ben asked, “Why would this cambion want to collect sperm or eggs?”
Electric Candle is available in eBook, paperback
and through Kindle Unlimited.
Welcome to My World