Author Charlie Richards
Now Available at eXtasy Books!
An Altered State of Mind
Love at Stake Anthology: A Loving Nip Short Story
Just a little Love Bite: When a vampire's beloved attempts to kill another's soul mate, his loyalty is tested.
Darian Striplan accompanies others in his vampire coven to a secret lab in New York with the intention of shutting it down. They planned to capture the scientists, discover the backers, and free the paranormals trapped there. While inside the facility, Darian scents his beloved--his soul mate--in a human dressed as a guard. Oddly enough, the man also appears to be trying to free the paranormals. Talking to the man, learning his name is Claude Missandel, Darian quickly realizes that there's something wrong. Claude is confused, believing he is rescuing prisoners-of-war. Darian uses his vampiric mental manipulation abilities to search his human's mind and recognizes the touch of magick. After the rescue is complete, Darian takes Claude home with him, hoping their coven's resident demon, Balthazar, can assist Claude. When the attempt goes horribly awry, and Claude nearly kills his coven master's beloved, Master Adalric banishes Claude. Darian has a hard choice to make--his coven or his beloved?
Excerpt - An Altered State of Mind
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Darian refocused on what lay ahead of him, taking in the situation at a glance. A black-haired guard lay on the ground, and a blond man dressed similarly in camo pants and a black t-shirt crouched next to him. The conscious man appeared to be rummaging through the other man’s pockets.
The blond’s head snapped up, and his green eyes widened upon spotting them. He shifted to one knee and began to draw the pistol strapped to his right thigh. His intention was clear—shoot them.
Putting on a burst of speed, Darian surged past his brother. While he could probably dodge a bullet—and even though only one right through his heart or his head would take him down—he didn’t want to chance it. Growing his claws, Darian allowed his eyes to haze in preparation for a lethal strike. His vampiric ability to see a body in what was similar to infrared so that he could track the flow of blood in a person would make it easy.
Darian was within six feet of the stranger when an intoxicating scent flooded his nostrils. His blood instantly heated in his veins, and his mouth watered. Even his gut clenched, and his groin warmed.
Holy fucking shit! One of these guys could possibly be my beloved!
With that knowledge rocking his system, Darian hesitated. Daystrum caught up with him, lifting his claws. “Wait!” The shouted word was out of Darian’s mouth before he could think better of his actions.
Daystrum didn’t pause, but at least he didn’t go for a killing blow either. His brother retracted his claws and grabbed the human’s wrist. Using his momentum, he rounded the man, forcing him to drop the weapon—probably by squeezing a pressure point. Daystrum pushed the blond’s arm up behind his back—pinning it between their bodies—while wrapping the guy in a headlock.
Peering over the human’s shoulder, Daystrum scowled at Darian. “Explain yourself fast,” he hissed.
“I-I—” Darian began.
At the same time, the blond muttered, “Oh, thank fuck! I didn’t know base was sending reinforcements.” His voice sounded a little raspy, probably from the pressure Daystrum had on his throat, but his words were clear—even if they were confusing. “I haven’t been able to reach them for two days.”
What the hell is the human talking about?
“Base?” Darian questioned, revealing his confusion.
Darian met his brother’s gaze, whose lifted brows revealed that he was equally perplexed. Even Gerald, who was rising from where he had been checking the downed human’s pulse and was shaking his head, had one brow ratcheted higher than the other quizzically. Swallowing hard, Darian prayed to the fates that the intriguing scent came from the blond.
“Yeah.” The human tried to peer over his shoulder, but the prick of Daystrum’s claws on his throat must have stayed the action. “I saw your knives, so I know you’re not with these guys. You’re here to rescue the POWs, too, right?” He grimaced. “Sorry for tryin’ to shoot ya, but I didn’t know.”
“You, shut up,” Daystrum ordered, giving the human a narrow-eyed look even as he eased the claws of his left hand away from the man’s neck. Next, he met Darian’s gaze. “You, tell me why.”
“I smelled something…ball-tingling,” Darian replied before clearing his throat and glancing at the downed human. To his relief, now that he was standing next to them both, he could easily parse their different scents. Darian held his brother’s gaze. “I-I need to taste him.”
Daystrum groaned even as Gerald snorted. “Make it quick, bro.” His brother released the human, pushing him toward Darian in the process.
Darian grabbed the human’s upper arm with his left hand as he cradled his neck with his right. He liked the feel of the muscles under his palm as well as the way the human’s nostrils flared. Dipping his head, Darian ignored the shocked gasp that escaped the man when his human finally realized what Darian intended to do.
Sealing his mouth over the human’s, Darian slipped his tongue between the surprised man’s slightly parted lips. He ignored the stranger’s surprised grunt as he explored his mouth. The man’s masculine flavor burst across his tongue, flaring his taste buds to life.
To Darian’s pleasure, the human got over his shock swiftly and began kissing him back. He eased his body closer as fire coursed through his veins. His blood flowed south, and his dick thickened.
Unable to help himself, Darian used their tongue-play to slide the blond’s slick appendage along his fang. He felt the human start in his arms just as a heady, iron-rich flavor tantalized his taste buds, and even his cock twitched. Groaning with pleasure at the exquisite taste, Darian tightened his hold as he pressed closer to the man. At the same time, he lowered his left hand and wound it around his beloved’s waist, urging him flush against him.
Just as Darian felt the exquisite sensation of his human’s erection pressing against his upper thigh, he felt a hand land on his shoulder. He broke the kiss, a growl escaping him as he turned to peer at whoever interrupted him. Meeting Daystrum’s gaze, seeing his brother’s smirk and shake of the head, Darian remembered where they were and more importantly, their mission.
Right. So not the time.
Clearing his throat, Darian eased his grip on his strong human even as he grinned unabashedly at him. He admired his broad, fit form, square jaw, and buzzed hair, even going so far as to slide his right hand up to pet the back of it. The soft strands teased his fingertips invitingly. His beloved’s green eyes were widely dilated, and his lips were a bit puffy from the kiss.
“Got a little carried away, didn’t I?” Darian mused, his voice husky with arousal. “Can’t say as I mind, though.”
The human blinked several times, obviously attempting to gather some composure. His cheeks darkened as he glanced to Darian’s left and right. He cleared his throat while pressing against Darian’s chest.
Darian eased his hold, releasing the man, even though it was the last thing he actually wanted to do.
“Wh—” He paused and cleared his throat again. “Who are you guys? You are here to rescue the prisoners-of-war, right?”