Author Charlie Richards
Now Available at eXtasy Books!
Bobbing with a Giant Octopus
Beneath Aquatica's Waves: Book Ten
World of Aquatica: When a vampire needs a place to lie low, he discovers the most unmistakable gift imaginable.
Price Litner has been in and out of the military more times than he cares to remember. Every decade it becomes harder and harder to keep his vampire nature hidden. When too many unbelievable escapes drag his questionable nature into the light, Price knows he needs to find a safe place to lie low. He turns to the one man he can trust—ex-team member Graham Canton.
Even when Price learns Graham is living at a marine park with a bunch of shifters, he knows he has no choice. He has to put his life in the hands of other paranormals—something he hasn’t done in over one hundred fifty years. Still, Price trusts Graham, so he takes the chance.
One of the men who accompanies the shifter pod alpha when he comes to question Price—after all, he could be bringing trouble their way—is none other than his beloved—a giant octopus shifter named Dare Winterwall. Can Price help the shifters save not only him but their anonymity, too? Oh, and will he be able to work past his queasiness of all things…tentacled?
Excerpt - Bobbing with a Giant Octopus
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After getting a hotel room under a false identity, Price called Britt.
“I assume you got away,” Britt stated in lieu of a greeting.
“Yes. Thank you,” Price replied. Unable to contain his curiosity any longer, he asked, “How’d you know they were coming for me, and do you know why?”
As a vampire, Price could have used mental manipulation to send the humans on their way. If he hadn’t had a heads up, he would have, too. Except, with getting a heads up, he had a head start, since leaving with just his go-bag meant it looked like he would be home soon.
“You know I’ve never asked why it looks like you aren’t aging,” Britt began slowly.
Price grimaced. It seemed he’d forgotten just how long he’d been known as Price Litner. He should probably have used the last bad mission to fake his death. Except, if he’d done that, his entire team would have been lost instead of only two of them.
Three since the second human he’d saved, Mick, had lost his mind and attempted to murder their final team member, Graham, which ended up with Mick’s death.
That had happened almost six months before, and Price still missed his old team. They’d been aware of his nature, and they hadn’t cared. In fact, on a few occasions, a couple of them had allowed Price to feed from them when their mission hadn’t allowed him access to a donor.
“And according to the military database, your file has been flagged after your last drug screening.”
The sound of Britt’s voice through the line pulled Price out of his thoughts.
“Damn,” Price muttered. “Why?”
“An anomaly in your blood,” Britt told him. “Your last blood draw put you at O-negative, and for some reason, now it’s reading at O-positive.”
“Gods, I can’t believe I did that.” Price wanted to smack himself upside the head. “Such a rookie mistake.”
“Uhhhh, something you want to explain?” Britt asked. “Because I know it’s not possible to change that.” Scoffing, he quickly continued, “You faked your blood draw, didn’t you?”
“I always fake my blood draw,” Price admitted. With a deep sigh, he told Britt, “Otherwise, I wouldn’t be accepted into the military.”
“Because you’re not human, right?”
Price resisted the urge to roll his eyes even as he grunted agreement.
Britt scoffed softly. “That does explain a lot. Look, you don’t have to tell me what you are. I don’t care,” he claimed. “I judge by the behavior of a person. You know that. And you’re a good man.”
Smirking, Price murmured, “If we were having this conversation face to face, I would tell you.”
Britt’s chuckle came through the line as he stated, “Maybe someday then.”
“Fair enough.” Price doubted he would ever see Britt again, but he didn’t say that. “Thank you for the heads up. I owe you one.”
“Yeah, you do,” Britt quipped. “And don’t think I won’t collect one day.”
Okay. Maybe I’ll see him again after all.
“Anytime,” Price vowed.
“So, what are you going to do?”
Price opened his mouth, then closed it again.
What am I going to do?
“You know what, maybe you shouldn’t tell me,” Britt cut in. “Just in case they decide to ask all your friends where you might go. That way, I don’t have to lie to them.”
Grunting, Price nodded even though he knew Britt wouldn’t be able to see it. “Fair enough.” With a smile, he added, “Not like I don’t think you could find me when you need that favor returned.”
“Exactly,” Britt replied brightly. “All right, buddy. Drop a line every now and then. Talk to you later.”
With that, Britt hung up.
Blowing out a breath, Price flopped back on the bed. He stared at the ceiling, wondering just where the hell he was going to go. Without the support of a coven, he had no true place to hide and no one to shield him.
Price realized he had one chance, but it was a long shot.
After dialing a number he knew by heart, Price returned the phone to his ear.
The line rang twice before a deep voice stated, “Yes?”
Smiling a little upon hearing the brusque, wary tone, Price stated, “It’s good to hear your voice, Graham.”
Graham’s attitude immediately warmed. “Price! Hey, man. How’s military life treating you?”
“Not well,” Price admitted.
“They didn’t find out, did they?”
Price clicked his tongue once before admitting, “They definitely know something is up with me. I had a visit from the military police today.”
“Fuck,” Graham growled. “What do you need from me?”
Unable to help himself, Price felt the corners of his lips curve up. “I don’t know if you can help,” he told him. “But I’m hopeful.” After a heartbeat of hesitation, Price admitted, “You know I don’t have a coven to shield me. Is there somewhere near you that I can lie low?”
“Of course. Come here,” Graham immediately replied. “The pod will protect you.”
Scoffing softly, Price told him, “You can’t promise that, Graham. You’d need the alpha’s permission.”
As much as Price wished he could take Graham at his word, he knew better. The paranormal world worked a little differently than the human one. Graham had bonded with a shifter that shared his spirit with a great white shark named Eban. Shifters could turn into their animal at will and were completely cognizant while in that form.
For the first time ever, Price wished he had that ability rather than being a vampire. He could turn into his animal and hide somewhere for a few decades until he was no longer wanted by the military…or until he was presumed dead. Being wanted by the military, Price assumed they would be on the lookout for that sort of ploy.
Graham snorted derisively. “Man, Eban thinks he owes you a life-debt for saving me before we met,” he told him with a chuckle, referring to his shifter partner. “And I’d already extended an invitation for you to visit. Remember?”
“Visiting with the intent to hide and figure out a new identity is different than a visit to say hello,” Price told him. Still, he couldn’t help having a little hope. A life-debt to a shifter was damn important. “How about I come up and meet with your alpha first thing so I can explain the situation.”
“We’ll do it your way, Price, but Alpha Kaiser will agree with me,” Graham stated confidently. “When should we expect you?”
Price prayed to whatever gods cared to listen that it would play out as Graham predicted. “Thank you, Graham.” After a quick distance calculation, he told him, “It’ll take me about seven hours to jog that distance while avoiding detection.”
“Fuck that,” Graham grumbled. “Where are you? I’ll come get you.”
Price only hesitated a second before he told his ex-team member where he was holed up.