Kansas City Vampires, Book 5
Alistair Simms crooked his head to the side—a habit he’d formed as a youth with a blind left eye. A ruggedly handsome man with a five o’clock shadow, full lips, chiseled bone structure, and a nose just shy of being overly large waited expectantly on his porch. As a rule, Alistair never had the same meal twice, but as dinner went, the man at the front door would do fine.
Alistair stepped aside to allow the donor entrance. “Come in.”
“Thomas,” the man said as he passed into the foyer. A strict diet high in protein and daily workouts had given Thomas a body most people would sell their souls to have. It matched the young man’s good looks perfectly. Alistair’s hunger flared as he listened to the excited rush of blood through Thomas’s veins—a quick steady thrum of anticipation.
Thomas was one of Winnie Langtry’s stable. She was the VIC (vampire in charge) for the Kansas side of Kansas City. She was a six hundred-year-old master, give or take a decade. She ran a business that arranged for a new human to meet Alistair’s need for fresh blood—a service she provided to vampires who could afford the luxury. Alistair had been a customer since he’d moved to Overland Park in 1964. The food delivery was a convenience, especially since he neither trusted humans nor vampires equally, including Winnie. The service allowed him to keep private and to himself, an aspect he valued when he was a mortal, and still valued as a member of the undead.
He watched with cool calculation when Thomas slipped his T-shirt over his head. A tattoo of a W with a dagger through the middle arch decorated the right side of his neck. Winnie’s way of branding her humans. His thickly muscled chest, peppered with fine dark hair, flexed and danced when he reached for the button on his jeans.
Alistair held up a hand. “Not necessary.”
Thomas smiled. His teeth were lovely, white with only the slightest bit of a crook. “Don’t you like to play with your food?”
Alistair smiled back. “Sometimes.” He knew the smile hadn’t reached his eyes, because that would have required a miniscule of happiness, something he hadn’t felt since he’d died. Unlike most vampires, Alistair hadn’t spent enough time with humans to perfect faking it.
Thomas slid his zipper down and shimmied from his pants. “You’re really good looking.” His voice trembled just the slightest, not so much that most people would notice, but just enough.
“Am I?” Alistair hadn’t looked in a mirror for years. Not that he couldn’t, he just didn’t. The last time he’d really studied his reflection was in 1992, and the guilt from his past stared back at him. It was easier to live with his sins if he didn’t have to face them on a daily basis. As a vampire, he didn’t require much in the grooming department, his hair hadn’t changed in length since he’d died, short and loosely curled, and he didn’t have to worry about shaving, because he’d shaved the morning before he’d been killed.
“You know you are,” Thomas said convincingly, even though, Alistair knew the man was more attracted to the fact he was vampire than his looks. The bite of a vampire wasn’t painless, but some humans found it a rush.
“Do you have a preference as to where?”
Thomas managed to blush as he pointed to his femoral artery drawing Alistair’s gaze to the young man’s rigid cock. “I like to be bitten in this area, if you’re cool with that.”
The artery, any artery for that matter, was a stupid place to offer. If a vampire was undisciplined the result was death. True death. Not that he was complaining, the arteries had the most oxygen rich blood. It was like drinking Dom Perignon versus Cold Duck. Alistair took Thomas’s hand and led the naked young man to his parlor.
“Not there,” he said to Thomas when the human tried to sit on the leather St. Williams style chaise.
Alistair had special ordered the chaise constructed from the maple tree that had grown in front of his boyhood home, and he’d had a handcrafted top-grain leather cushion to finish off the beautiful piece. Too precious for a stranger, the chaise was for Alistair’s use alone. Instead, he led the man to a leather lounger in the corner.
Spreading his knees, Thomas looked up at Alistair with hunger and lust in his eyes. “Are you going to take off your clothes?”
“Would you like me to?”
“Yes, very much.” Thomas licked his lips, as if he were the one getting ready to feed.
Allowing his fangs to extend, Alistair bit his lower lip as he slowly untied his robe. He slipped it off his shoulders, dropping the garment to the floor. A small noise came from Thomas as his breathing grew faster, and he rubbed his palm against his cock.
Alistair crooked his head again. “What do you see when you look at me?”
“A beautiful god.”
Closing his eyes, Alistair tried to see himself through the man’s eyes. He was tall, 6’3”, his arms were heavily muscled from growing up on a farm, more so than his chest and waist. His right eye was clear blue—like the rain, his mother used to say—but his left eye was clouded and milky. Not to mention the silvery scar that ran jaggedly down his forehead, through his eyebrow, and into his cheek.
When Alistair didn’t reply, Thomas leaned forward in the chair. “May I?”
He wanted permission to touch the vampire.
Alistair nodded, and the young man placed his large hands on the back of Alistair’s thighs. He pulled him forward taking Alistair’s flaccid cock into his mouth. It was unusually difficult for a vampire to get an erection without feeding, and even more so, when his lusts were unstirred.
The warmth of Thomas’s tongue and lips felt good, but no more than that to Alistair. “I need to feed.”
After a final lick and suck, Thomas withdrew. “Sorry. I just really like the way a soft cock feels in my mouth. Most guys get hard instantly, but not you all.”
“I understand,” Alistair said. But he didn’t, not really. The rush of blood entering his throat, filling the ache in his stomach often brought a rush to his groin, making him hard for sex. But sex was just another need to meet. A need he liked to take care of quickly and without fuss.
He knelt between Thomas’s legs—the young man’s thick erection jutting from his groin and the swollen tip glistening with pre-cum—and licked the pulse of his artery. It jumped under his tongue. “Are you ready?”
“Yes,” Thomas whispered, his voice hoarse and raw with desire.
In a swift motion, Alistair bit down, sinking his fangs into the sweet coursing blood. He drank deeply—the heat of the man’s life warming him from the inside out until his mental timer told him it was time to stop. Only one fang punctured the artery, and it was only the smallest of holes, easy for his vampire saliva to repair as he withdrew.
He wiped residual blood from the corner of his mouth and licked his finger clean. “You’re a very good year.” It had been a while since Winnie had sent him someone so enthusiastic.
“That was awesome,” Thomas panted as he slid to the floor. He turned in the chair, his chest to the leather, his buttocks facing Alistair. “I want you to fuck me. You can take more blood if you want. Just fuck me.”
The young man knew what he wanted and asked for it. Alistair envied him. Not the asking, but the knowing. He pulled the drawer open on the small desk by the lounger and pulled out a bottle of lubricant. Some vampires liked to dry fuck, Alistair wasn’t one of them, and unfortunately men couldn’t lubricate naturally.
Smearing his cock with the slick substance, he slipped his swollen tip between Thomas’s muscular cheeks. He used his fingers to add more lubricant around the constricted opening, stretching it, making it ready. Eagerly, Thomas pushed back against Alistair’s cock, forcing the engorged head past the first tight ring.
“Fast and hard,” Thomas moaned. “Don’t be gentle.”
Vampires had inhuman strength, and Alistair could only wonder how Thomas had managed to stay undamaged, but he obliged, pushing his cock all the way into the silky channel. The smooth muscle clamped around his length, sending a rush through Alistair. He felt his vision slip to inhuman, and saw with two perfect eyes, as he always did when he let himself turn. His forehead rippled with the change, thickening as he became more animalistic with his thrusts.
Thomas turned his head to Alistair. His eyelids widened with excitement, and his jaw went slack as he groaned and grunted his pleasure.
Alistair grabbed him by the hair and pushed Thomas’s face to the cushion. “Don’t look at me.” His voice was foreign, rough, and unreal.
“Yes,” Thomas grunted. “Yes. Harder. Take me harder.”
Keeping one hand on the back of the young man’s head, and the other in the curve of Thomas’s thigh, Alistair pumped his cock into the human. He moaned as he felt the strong pull of blood forcing its way to his groin, the first tingling sensation of orgasm building as the man met every thrust with vigor and zeal.
“Oh, fuck, fuck. I’m going to come. I’m going to… Ah!” Thomas cried out as his back arched before he shuddered his climax.
The undulating spasm of orgasm rocketed through Alistair, and he roared. He held the young man still beneath him until the last of his dead seed spilled and his cock began to soften. Slipping out, he stood and put his robe back on. “Thank you, Thomas. You’ll find an envelope with your payment on the hall table in the foyer.”
Thomas got up, looking a bit astonished. “Did I do something wrong?”
“No. You were perfect.”
Thomas rewarded Alistair with a smile. “So, then, I can come back sometime?”
“Well, can I ask you a question, then?”
“How’d you get the scar over your left eye?”
Alistair stilled to rigidity. “None of your business.”
“Fair enough.” Thomas kissed Alistair on the cheek. “Are you sure I can’t come back again?”
Usually the blood bags Winnie sent Alistair were less inquisitive. They enjoyed being snacked on, but knew enough not to mess with a reclusive vampire. The boy had more balls than good sense. Alistair fixed him with a penetrating gaze. “Yes, I’m sure.”
“Because, Thomas, more than once is a relationship. I don’t do relationships of any kind. Ever.” The perfect evening took a perfect nosedive.
“Are you really that afraid to care about someone?”
Alistair closed his eyes and clenched his fists, fighting the urge to do harm. “The last person I cared about I killed. So, Thomas, do you really want me to care about you?”
Thomas blanched. The phone rang. Alistair turned away from the young man. “You can see yourself out.”
Alistair checked the display on his cell phone before answering on the third ring. “Hello, Mr. Jackson.” It was Alistair’s lawyer. “Still no news on Morton?”
“I’m afraid the police have been unable to locate your nephew.” Alistair could hear the tightness in Jackson’s voice. A smart man knew how dangerous it was to disappoint a vampire, and Jackson was a smart man.
Morton Clark, industrial accountant, and Alistair’s great, great, great nephew, had been missing for one week. His wife had filed a missing person’s report, but she’d also hired a private detective. “I see.”
“I’m sorry that I don’t have better news,” Jackson said.
“Were you able to find out more about Samuel King?”
“Only what we already knew. Very high success rate at finding missing persons. Hates media attention. Keeps to himself.”
“Thank you, Mr. Jackson.”
“Would you like me to call him?”
“No,” Alistair said. He’d caught a short glimpse of King on the news as the detective had carried a missing child to a waiting ambulance. It had been playing on the news for the last two weeks since he’d returned the girl to her parents. King had one of those wholesome faces, boy next-door kind of appearance. But beyond his good looks, Samuel King intrigued Alistair with his sheer determination to evade interviews and avoid the spotlight after he’d solved the case. Most men would have begged for the attention that King so adamantly avoided. “Thank you again.”
“No problem, Mr. Simms. Let me know if you need anything else.”
“I’ll see you then.” The phone beeped with a new call before he hung up with the lawyer. Alistair clicked over to answer. “Hello.”
“Hello,” a stoic voice answered in an accent Alistair hadn’t heard for a very long time. “This is Samuel King. Am I speaking with Alistair Simms?”
Alistair paused, startled by King’s call. After a short moment of silence, he asked, “Can I help you?”
“I’d like to discuss Morton Clark. I believe you know him.”
“And what would give you that impression, Mr. King?”
Alistair could hear the rustle of paper through the phone. Then King answered, “One million five hundred thousand nine hundred and fifty.”
“I’m afraid I don’t understand.”
“That’s how much money you’ve deposited into his trust fund account over the last five years.”
Alistair was stunned. Apparently, while he’d been checking up on Samuel King, the detective had been doing the same on Alistair. He’d hidden his transactions to the trust fund under a backlog of dummy corporations. A lot of smoke and mirrors. It fascinated Alistair that the detective had managed to find him through the slush. Maybe King would prove useful. “I think we should meet, Mr. King.”
“Tomorrow morning at my office then, Mr. Simms.” Samuel King hung up.
The flat even tone of King’s voice betrayed no eagerness, only a frankness Alistair appreciated. He hit redial. When the detective picked up, Alistair said, “I’m afraid it will have to be tonight.”
Samuel King tucked a white T-shirt into his jeans. He slipped on his black tennis shoes and sat down to tie them. It had been an inconvenience to meet with Alistair Simms this evening, but he would hear the man out. Samuel specialized in missing persons, but he never took cases based in greed and ugliness like cheating spouses, medical malpractice, insurance fraud, or theft. The grief he’d heard in Morton’s wife’s voice—the look of desperation on her face—had prompted him to take the case.
Weary and tired, Samuel blew out a pensive breath. He’d left home at sixteen to make his way in the English world, and had been living in Independence ever since. Even so, he still kept in touch with his mother and father. He’d been raised Amish, and while he no longer lived amongst his people, in his heart he was still Amish. It was his sin of the mind—a sin he would never act on—that kept him from returning home after his rumspringa.
Resting his hand on the doorknob leading to his office, a small room in the front of his modest two-story house, Samuel dreamed of walking out to greetings from his people. Instead, he walked into the sparsely furnished office with a heavy sigh. He couldn’t go back. It had been hard making his own way in an independent world after growing up in a community ready to work at his side.
Samuel sat at his desk and waited. Simms had said it would take twenty minutes to arrive. It seemed unlikely, since the man was coming from Overland Park. It had been eight-thirty when they’d hung up. His pocket watch now read a quarter to.
He was glad to have Morton’s case. It had been two weeks since he’d wrapped up the Goldie Turner case. It had been a difficult locate, both logistically and emotionally. The young girl had been missing for three weeks when her parents had hired Samuel to find her. The case had been complicated, but if a person knew the right questions to ask the right people, complicated became much simpler.
When Samuel had first arrived in Kansas City for his rumspringa, the time when Amish youths can venture out into the English world, Samuel had lived on the streets for more than a year. In English, the word rumspringa meant “running around,” but Samuel hadn’t so much ran around as he had ran away. He’d slept in homeless shelters and, when the shelters were full, back alleys. Unlike some of the other street kids who sold drugs, or worse their bodies, Samuel made money by working for small business owners doing odd jobs around their shops for very little.
One business owner, Jack Freeman, a private investigator, befriended Samuel and kept his money safe for him. By the end of the year, he’d earned enough to rent an apartment. He’d just turned seventeen, and Jack helped him to get a social security card—which he needed to work—and a Missouri I.D. Samuel became a tax-paying citizen, taking his first real job as a cook for Pizza Zees. While he’d been on the streets, he’d practiced kindness, giving what he could to others and only keeping what he absolutely needed for himself.
When Samuel turned twenty, Jack forged GED documents for him and took him on as an apprentice. Four years later Samuel had purchased his home in Independence and set up his own private business. It wasn’t that he hadn’t enjoyed his work with Jack, but he couldn’t reconcile his own beliefs with some of the things Jack asked him to do in the course of business.
The ties he’d forged with the street community had helped him to find Goldie. And the contacts he’d made over the years within the police department and the courthouse had helped him track Alistair Simms.
He found it hard to keep the little girl Goldie out of his head. Truthfully, he knew he’d dream about her for a long time to come. Her neighbors had seen an almond-colored van in her subdivision in North KC in the days leading up to her abduction. The police had no concrete leads even with the Amber alert. Witnesses described the man as wearing a blue ball cap and sunglasses, no beard, maybe a mustache.
After the parents had contacted Samuel, he put out the word to the street people. They trusted him because he’d been one of them. Willy, an old man with a penchant for wine, had called Samuel with the first solid lead. And from there, Samuel located Goldie in an abandoned house on Paseo in Kansas City.
He’d wrapped her small body in a tattered blanket he’d found and whispered prayers of comfort until his friend Detective John Jordan arrived on the scene. The eight-year-old girl had been tortured and violated. The precious child had survived an evil so malevolent, most people pretended it didn’t exist. The haunted look in her eyes as he’d untied her and carried her out into the sunlight made Samuel understand the urge to violence. He’d been born to pacifism, but seeing Goldie, he would have gladly seen her kidnapper put to death.
This case weighed heavy on his soul. “Grant me peace,” he whispered.
“Grant you peace from what?”
Samuel looked up at the man standing inside the door. He hadn’t heard him come in, but recognized the voice as Alistair Simms. He sized him up immediately. Simms wore a black suit, nothing fancy, almost utilitarian. He kept his curly chestnut colored hair very short. His face was clean-shaven and an uneven puckered scar ran through his left brow down his lid to his cheek. It framed a cloudy iris in sharp contrast to the clear blue eye on the right. The scar was the only thing ugly about the man. Simms’ youth surprised Samuel the most. He’d expected him to be much older.
“Thank you for coming, Mr. Simms. Why have you been giving money to Morton Clark through the trust fund his father had arranged?” He grabbed a pencil and notepad from his drawer.
Alistair Simms arched his eyebrows. “Right to it then. Good.” He unbuttoned his jacket and loosened his tie as he sat in the chair opposite Samuel’s desk. “Have you learned anything about Morton’s disappearance?”
“What is your tie to Morton Clark?” Samuel asked, ignoring Simms’ question. Samuel knew from researching Morton that he was forty-five and had a wife and two young sons. Twins. The man had worked for Coaxial Industries, Inc. for the last twenty years and had never even had a speeding ticket. Beyond those “on the record” details, he hadn’t learned much more.
“Familial,” Alistair answered.
“Is he your uncle? A long-lost cousin?” None of the paper trails had led to any mention of extended family. Morton had been an only child, the same as his father.
“But you are related?”
“Yes, he’s related to me.”
“Are you close?”
“No. But I’m responsible for him.” Alistair didn’t seem worried, or scared, or concerned, just matter of fact.
“Why are you responsible?”
Morton was forty-five while Alistair Simms couldn’t have been more than twenty-five, so the “why” was important to Samuel, but he let it go for the moment. “Did you have something to do with Morton’s disappearance?”
The question seemed to surprise Alistair. The first sign of emotion Samuel had seen from the man. “Would you have really wanted to speak with me alone if you thought I was responsible?”
“Sure.” Samuel shrugged. He believed in the adage “what will be, will be.” If Alistair Simms wished to harm him there wouldn’t be much Samuel would or could do about it.
“The police are getting nowhere with their investigation.” Alistair moved closer to the desk. The quiet grace of his steps made it seem like he was gliding not walking. “I want Morton found as much as his wife and children. Believe me.”
The elegance in Alistair Simms’ movement astounded Samuel. He found the man unsettling. “If you’re so concerned, why haven’t you offered any information before now?”
“I can pay you a thousand dollars a day to find Morton, on top of whatever fees his wife is paying.” Simms’ gaze swept the room. “Plus I have access to any technology and resources you might require.”
Samuel stared at him for a moment then laughed. He knew what his office must look like to someone like Simms. No computer, not even a tablet. The only phone was an old push button model from 2001, his former mentor, Jack, insisted he had to have some way to contact Samuel. “I don’t think so, Mr. Simms.”
Alistair raised the eyebrow of his right eye. “You want more?”
The tall man’s brow furrowed with skepticism. “You don’t want more money?”
“No. I’ve already taken the case. Mrs. Clark is adequately paying me for my services.”
Something in Alistair’s expression startled Samuel. It reminded him of the way men looked when buying cattle at auction. Alistair stared at Samuel like a prized cow he intended to own.
A shiver tingled down Samuel’s spine and warmth pooled at his groin. He wanted and needed Simms to leave. “It’s late and I’m tired. Perhaps we can discuss this more in the morning?”
“I can’t.” A pained expression crossed Alistair Simms’ face. He adjusted his collar and fingered his tie.
“I really am tired.” Samuel carefully kept his gaze averted. He didn’t want to look at the young man who triggered his weakness—his reason for leaving his past behind. “If you have nothing further to add to the investigation, I think our time is done.”
Alistair sat in the chair across the desk from Samuel. Leaning forward, he pursed his lips then relaxed them. Samuel noticed they were bow-shaped and narrow. “I will be honest with you, Mr. King, because I think you appreciate that characteristic.”
Simms was close enough for Samuel to reach across and touch his jagged scar. He wanted to touch it, to feel the texture of the past injury. Would it feel hard and rigid under his fingertips? He found the thoughts disconcerting. They stirred emotions in him he hadn’t felt in a very long time. Emotions he’d worked hard to suppress. Grant me peace.
Clearing his throat, Samuel leaned back to create distance. “Go on.”
“I can’t tell you much about Morton Clark personally. Only that even with the little I know, he is important to me. With the exception of his sons, he is the last living relative I have. That in itself is enough of a reason for me to want to assist you in any way I can and to have him found. The other reason is a promise. One that I made a long time ago, to protect what family I had and keep them safe. I’ve been poor in my duties of late. Morton’s problems. Well, they were unknown to me until recently.”
Samuel nodded. “I believe you.”
Alistair’s expression softened. “Thank you.”
“You seem a man of wealth,” Samuel said. “There are fancier detectives with gadgets for doing things that I could never do to find a missing person. You could have hired any number of investigators if you were concerned about Morton’s well-being. Why haven’t you?”
“I don’t need fancy. I need good. And from what I hear, you’re one of the best. Plus, his wife had already hired you, so no need. I don’t want attention drawn to myself, Mr. King. I need results without the media fodder.”
“Are you wanted by the law?”
“No, I value my privacy. Is that a problem?”
Samuel completely understood the value of being left alone. He didn’t fit into the English world because his beliefs were too ingrained, but he wondered why Alistair, who had been raised in this society, acted as though it was separate from him. Although, looking at the man more closely, Samuel found him familiar.
It was the calluses. The same thickened areas on his hands that Samuel had inside his thumbs and forefingers, also his fingertips were rough, along with the joint creases. It wasn’t often someone surprised Samuel.
“Your people were farmers?”
Alistair’s brows rose causing his scar to redden. “Used to be. How did you know?”
Samuel raised his hands. “I wear the same rewards of manual labor that you do, Mr. Simms. Not hard to figure out.”
“You used to be a farmer?” Simms looked around the sparsely furnished office. “And you gave it up for all this?” He smiled and this time it lit his face. Genuine and rare, Samuel imagined. It took the hardness out of Alistair’s expression, making him appear the handsome twenty-something he was.
“Something like that.” Thinking aloud, he added, “You have a nice smile when it’s real.”
Alistair’s mouth tightened again.
“I’m sorry. My manners usually aren’t this poor. It’s late and I’m afraid I’m putting voice to things better left unsaid.”
Waving his hand in dismissal, Alistair leaned in closer. “I think you’re smile is nice as well…when it’s real.”
Samuel felt the stirrings of arousal. He’d fought so long to overcome his feelings for men, and Alistair hit every lonely button inside him. Self-consciously, Samuel tucked his hair behind his ears. He scooted his chair back, stood up, and held out his hand. “Thank you for coming in, Mr. Simms. I’ll start looking for your relative tomorrow.”
“I’d like to offer my help and resources. It’s the least I can do.” As much as Samuel King wanted Alistair to go, Alistair just as strongly wanted to stay.
Samuel’s gaze was piercing and intense. His blue eyes darker than Alistair’s cut through him, warming his cold flesh. “I’ll manage, Mr. Simms, but my thanks for the offer.”
“I don’t mind,” Alistair said, agitated. Something about King whispered to him. He found it disturbing. “Maybe I should go.”
“Probably for the best.” Samuel rose from his chair and crossed the room. He held out his hand. “I’ll call you tomorrow, Mr. Simms.”
Alistair sighed. “Probably.” He took the warm hand in a firm grasp. An unfamiliar flutter formed in his gut. The last time he’d felt like this had been with Dorothy. The painful memory of her death caused him to tighten his grip.
“Mr. Simms?” Samuel King stared up at him. The detective looked uncomfortable. If Alistair had to guess, King’s discomfort had something to do with the bulging erection in his jeans.
Impulsively, Alistair closed the space between them and pressed his mouth against the warmth of Samuel’s. The detective’s lips were wide, full, and soft. After a startled second, they parted as Alistair slipped his tongue inside. While he wasn’t opposed to fucking after taking blood, he’d carefully avoided the intimacy of kissing. It had been a hard and fast rule for Alistair, which was why he was even more surprised with himself when he let loose the man’s hand and slid his arms around Samuel and pulled him into a tight embrace.
Taller than Samuel by several inches, his own hard cock pressed against the shorter man’s stomach eliciting a groan from Alistair. The sound startled Samuel and he pushed backward, staggering away from Alistair. “Go. Please.” His face flushed with embarrassment, chagrin, and something else that Alistair couldn’t quite fathom. “Go.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…” Alistair reached out his hand. Samuel took another step back.
“Please don’t touch me.” The bulging cock still prominent in his jeans, Samuel trembled, refusing to look at Alistair.
“I crossed a line I shouldn’t have.” Yes, his mind roared. You should have crossed it harder. Forced him. Made him your own. “I thought…”
“Why are you doing this to me?” Samuel moved to the corner of the small office and slid down the wall. His words came in a storm of anger through gritted teeth. “You English. You think every impulse should be acted upon. Like rutting dogs living on pure instinct alone. There are some things better left alone. Thinking with your dick instead of your brains.” He shook his head, squeezing his eyes shut as he slammed a balled-up fist against the wall. “I can’t do this with you. Not with anyone.”
The unshed tears welling in the detective’s eyes frightened Alistair. A surge of foreign emotions clumped in his chest, so thick he’d thought he’d choke on them. “I’ll go.”
Outside, he listened at the front door as footsteps pounded up the stairs. The whir of a heat pump startled him from where he stood on the porch. The air conditioner of the house next door had kicked on. Everything felt intensely vivid. He put his fingers to his lips. He could still taste Samuel in his mouth. The heat of Samuel’s lips burned in Alistair’s memory. Knowing he should go home and going home were two different things. In the darkness of night, he chose to stay.
With inhuman quickness and capability, he scaled the house to the roof, hanging over the edge until he could see into Samuel’s bedroom. Sparse like his office, the bedroom contained a small three-drawer dresser, a chair, a night stand with a plain lamp, and a twin bed with a Bible centered on the dark green woolen blanket. He could hear water turning on then off beyond the room. The bedroom door opened and Samuel walked in. He’d already taken off his shoes and T-shirt. His pale skin and deep blue eyes pleasantly contrasted against his thick dark-brown hair. In the dim lighting, Samuel looked more vampire than Alistair.
Alistair let his eyes slip into full vamp mode to better take in the perfection of Samuel’s body. His chest was broad and thickly corded with muscle, his abdomen tightly grooved, and the shape narrowed at the hips with the beginnings of a tight V trailing under the waist of his jeans. Alistair nearly lost his grip on the roof’s edge and a clay tile slipped, crashing to the ground, when Samuel knelt and started praying.
The noise couldn’t have been that loud within the house, but Samuel’s head jerked up from its inclined position. His gaze met Alistair’s and he froze for a single heartbeat. “What are you?”
The question sent Alistair over the edge. Literally. He fell two stories to the yard below, landing hard on his back in the dew damp grass. Very clumsy, especially for a vampire. His brain told him to flee as he heard the front door open, but his body refused to move. Soon Samuel stood over him. Quick for a human.
“Are you a devil?” Samuel held his Bible tucked neatly under his armpit—a small wooden cross strung on a leather strip interlaced the fingers of his right hand. Beads of nervous sweat dripped down the detective’s nose. He stared wild-eyed at the fallen vampire.
Alistair rolled on to his side and began laughing. He couldn’t help it and he couldn’t stop. Nothing about the situation was funny. Within a short time span, the shortest of Alistair’s long life, he’d become obsessed. With a mortal, no less. A human who thought he was the devil. A man who willingly faced the devil armed with nothing but the Bible and a crucifix. Alistair changed his mind. Everything about the situation was funny.
The vampire reached out his hand. Samuel stepped back. Alistair smiled. “How can I prove I’m not Satan?” He held his palm out to Samuel.
Leaning forward, Samuel pressed the cross into Alistair’s hand. It lay there without any reaction. He wiped the perspiration from his forehead and shook his head. “I know what I saw. You’re not…”
“Human?” Alistair snorted, swallowing down years of pain. He caressed the smooth wooden crucifix between his fingers. “Believe me when I say that I was born with the same number of chromosomes in my DNA as you. I was born to a mother and a father. I once had a brother…” His voice trailed off as he bit back his full confession. What was it about Samuel King that made him want to reveal himself?
Unbuttoning his shirt, Alistair pressed the cross over his undead heart. “Am I a monster?” He closed his eyes against the penetrating stare from Samuel. “Maybe,” he whispered. “But I’m not…”
“Let me help you up.”
Alistair opened his eyes and stared at the offered hand. He didn’t need the assistance since physically he hadn’t been hurt, but he accepted. When he stood face to face with the detective, he fought every impulsive need within to keep himself from kissing the young man again. “I’ve been alone for a very long time. I’ve been okay with that, until tonight.”
Stepping forward, his Bible dropping to the ground, Samuel silenced Alistair with the soft press of his lips. He placed his palm against Alistair’s bare chest and moved away. Samuel turned his back to the vampire and plucked his Bible from the grass. Without turning around, he said, “Come in, Mr. Simms.”
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