Author Charlie Richards
Now Available at eXtasy Books!
Navigating the Vampire Maze
A Loving Nip: Book Twenty
Just a little Love Bite: A snooty vampire must learn about himself in order to woo his rough and tumble human beloved.
Stanton Thundler has been looking forward to the haunted hay maze ever since his co-worker's boyfriend promised everyone tickets. When he gets there, the place doesn't disappoint. He laughs, screams, and hollers with the rest of his buddies...until he lingers over a display too long, takes a wrong turn, and ends up separated from his friends. Stanton doesn't mean to bump into the slender hottie and knock him into a puddle of mud.
Francois Toulouse is irritated when he's ordered to go a coven near Amarillo and inspect their beef. The only thing he knows about cows is how to cook them so they taste amazing. Then he learns a seer has foreseen that he'll meet his beloved there. The human Fate chooses for him is not what he expects. Stanton is big, brawny, dirty, and a polar opposite to Francois's fastidious tidiness and sophistication. Still, Stanton is his beloved...
To Stanton's surprise, Francois asks him out. While he's flattered, he declines. Would would be the point when even Stanton can see they have nothing in common?
Excerpt - Navigating the Vampire Maze
The excerpt below contain explicit adult language and sexual content.
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Francois worked as the chef for a vampire coven in the mountains of Montana. He enjoyed creating new dishes, experimenting with spices, and he ran a tight ship. Everyone, from Master Dante—their coven’s leader—to the youngest of children, knew to stay out of his kitchen if he wasn’t there to supervise.
The massive kitchen on the ranch was Francois’s domain.
“Hey, Francois,” Kellan greeted, leaning against the door frame. The vampire second grinned at him. The friendly male’s brown eyes twinkled. “Master Dante needs to see you in his office.”
Without ceasing in kneading the dough he worked—he planned to make baguettes for tomorrow’s breakfast—Francois stared at Kellan with lifted brows. “Zis minute?”
Kellan lifted one shoulder in a half-shrug. “It’s important.” He waggled his eyebrows. “Trust me.”
Francois did trust his vampire second. If Kellan said it was important, then it was. “I must knead zis for anozer minute. I will be zere as quickly as I can.”
“I’ll let him know.” Kellan pushed away from the door frame and turned to leave. “Oh, bring a couple bottles of champagne and half a dozen flutes.”
“We are celebrating?”
Kellan grinned broadly. “Oh, yeah.”
True to his word, as soon as Francois finished kneading his dough, he prepared to head up to his master’s office. As he placed a dish towel over the bowl, then washed his hands, he wondered what they could need him for. The last time Francois had been asked to Master Dante’s office, it had been so they could ask him to secretly prepare a cake to celebrate Dante’s one hundredth anniversary with his beloved, Ruth.
Francois grabbed a tray, then placed two bottles of champagne and six flutes on it. With the ease of centuries of practice, he easily balanced it on his palm as he exited the kitchen. He made his way up the stairs and stopped at Dante’s office.
Before Francois had even knocked, Kellan was opening it. “Nice. Come on in,” he said, taking the platter and heading toward the sideboard. “Shut the door.”
Obeying, Francois entered and closed the door behind him. As he expected, Dante sat behind his desk, a pleased smile on his lightly tanned features. Francois spotted Karina, too—a female vampire who stood in as the head enforcer when Monte wasn’t on this plane of existence. The redheaded vampire was bonded with not only a prairie dog shifter, but also the Horseman of War, so some of the time he resided in the demon realm.
As Francois settled in a chair, he took in the other pair seated in the room. A large male of obvious Native American descent sat on a small sofa with his arm around a lean, toned man. From their scents, the first was a wolf shifter and the second a human…and they were a bonded couple.
“Thank you for coming, Francois,” Master Dante greeted.
“Of course, Master Dante,” Francois replied.
Master Dante used a hand to indicate his guests, saying, “This is Enforcer Carson, from a wolf shifter pack in Colorado, and his mate, Jared.” His smile turned amused. “They have come with a message from Seer Laurent.”
Who zee hell is zat?
Evidently, Dante recognized his confusion, for he continued, “Seer Tim Laurent is mated with a bear shifter, and he saw you.” His smile turned understanding. “I had him checked into when Carson and Jared arrived this morning.”
The pop of the cork leaving the champagne bottle caused Francois to whip his attention back to Kellan. The second began filling the flutes. No one said anything until he’d handed one to everyone.
Francois had just taken a sip of the bubbly liquid when Master Dante stated, “I’m sending you to a ranch owned by a coven north of Amarillo. You will use the cover of being there to inspect a bull we’re interested in purchasing.”
The carbonated liquid went down the wrong way, and Francois coughed. His eyes watered as he struggled to catch his breath. Feeling Kellan tap his back lightly, he offered the second a grateful smile.
When Francois finally caught his breath, he rasped, “What do I know about bulls, except how to make zem taste delicious?”
And why would zat call for champagne?
“I said cover, didn’t I?” Master Dante smirked.
“Cover for what?” Francois took a sip of his drink just to get some moisture for his throat. Unease filled him, and he shifted in his seat. “What could possibly be so important zat I have to go to some strange coven?”
“How about meeting your mate?” Jared asked, smug amusement in his tone. “Would you go to a strange coven to meet him?”
“These are vampires, handsome.” Carson squeezed Jared’s shoulder before correcting, “They call their other half a beloved.”
“Ah, yes. My mistake.” Jared slid his hand up Carson’s thigh as he rumbled huskily, “You gonna give me a refresher on paranormal terms when we get to our hotel room later, Injun?”
Carson growled softly, his dark eyes narrowing. “I think I should.”
Francois watched in shock as Carson sealed his mouth over Jared’s. The human openly groped the wolf shifter’s dick through his jeans. Carson responded by deepening the kiss and feeding the man a growl.
Feeling arousal sizzle through him at the display, Francois rubbed the back of his neck. His throat felt dry, so he took a deep drink of his champagne. Francois met Dante’s smirking visage over the rim of his glass.
“I’ve already put in a call to Master Jaymes Martinez,” Dante stated, lifting his own glass to his lips. “Congratulations, Francois.”
My beloved? I’ll meet my beloved in Texas?