Merciful Bleed

Serpentine Vampires 1

by J. Hali Steele

Merciful Bleed - J. Hali Steele
Part of the Serpentine Vampires series:
Editions:Kindle - First Edition: $ 0.99
ISBN: B07NVZXX1D
Pages: 32

Blood and venom—one sustains life, one kills!

Paladin Bodine, called a Bleeder, is serpentine. He’s paid to extinguish unmanageable vampires and even end the lifecycle of those old and tired of existing. He cheats, lies and skulks, whatever it takes for his serpents to deliver. Paladin is damn good at what he does until he meets a vampire who turns his slithering world upside down.

Braid Calderon means to stop the individual hired to end his sire’s life at any cost. He follows the murderous man whose strangeness entices and delights Braid from a distance and he fails to consider his body’s reaction when he meets the killer face to face.

Both cold and distant, one hot coming together changes their lives forever!

A short paranormal MM romance with coarse language, explicit sex, and an HEA. Another character gets to tell his short, hot story soon and both can be read as standalones.

Published:
Publisher: Independently Published
Genres:
Tags:
Pairings: MM
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: Ageless/Immortal
Protagonist 2 Age: Ageless/Immortal
Protagonist 3 Age: Ageless/Immortal
Tropes: Antihero, Arranged Pairing, Biological Urge to Mate, Everyone is Queer, Fated Mates / Soul Mates
Word Count: 7000
Setting: USA, California, Mojave Desert
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
Excerpt:

Paladin couldn’t figure why Braid cared. Why do I? He hated this shit. He’d long suspected Hail fostered younger vamp’s inability to remember meeting a serpentine. Sitting before him was proof. Paladin wanted Braid to remember, to recognize him every fucking time yet, he hesitated imparting information that might help.

Hail hadn’t missed Braid. Paladin speculated this one was special or he wouldn’t be here. How did you find me today? Accosting the being was possible a dozen times when he shadowed Paladin but, like ordinary snakes, he shunned conflict unless paid.

Then it became a job.

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Eons ago, Paladin’s kin became…manlike. They evolved into wearing skin instead of scales. They ate, slept, and fucked like humans. The scent across from him, the fresh wintry taste of this particular vampire continued to wreak havoc with his normally shrewd consciousness. Serpentines lacked real emotion. They smiled or looked attentive when necessary and became adept at pretending. Paladin’s true feelings could be put on a pinhead and there’d be space left.

One remainder along with venom, fangs, and extremely heightened senses—spring and fall mating season. In between equinoxes, intercourse carried little importance. Paladin preferred men when he gave in to animalistic urges but it was difficult as sex included tremendous grappling with inner monsters who disdained physical contact. Damn if he didn’t desire giving in right now. The pretty immortal would be worth the subsequent battle. Why did Braid get to him? It’s springtime. Or curiosity. He hunted and slayed them but Paladin never screwed a vampire.

Over two centuries old, he discovered no pheromone secreted which lingered in his nostrils as Braid’s scent did.

“Hail’s important to you.” Paladin’s father was a sperm donor to keep their lineage alive. Serpentine parents each played one part—sire and brood. Then they were gone. At least Paladin inherited a company. He sought understanding the man across from him. “Is he your lover?”

“It isn’t like that between us.” Pale blue eyes shone brightly beneath jet-black curls reaching his collar. High cheek bones, porcelain skin that would be cool and, Christ, he had perpetually red stained lips that were lusciously full. An inch or two shorter than Paladin’s six-foot three frame, Braid didn’t pack muscle. He tugged incessantly at a royal purple paisley print silk tie. “He made and cares for me.”

“You still feed from him?” Older vampires continued imbibing from protégés, made sure they received sustenance by supplying humans when necessary. Suspending delivery of personal nourishment was the norm as a young vamp could prove extremely problematic if they grew too powerful ingesting ancient blood. Odd.

“Yes.”

Explained remnants of Hail’s distinct fragrance. Paladin scrutinized Braid. “You must be exceptional.”

He sighed. “I can’t fathom why he wants to die.”

“We don’t get to decide when people we attach ourselves to choose to leave this world.” Damn if he wasn’t attempting to sooth a vampire.

“Impossible for you to understand.”

“Not really. Undead are solitary creatures also.

Eyes narrowed. “Snakes don’t have feelings.”

“True.” His comment raised no ire in Paladin. “We do crave warmth.” I want this one. “There’s enough humanness in me to ask for your company.” What am I doing? “To talk more.” Liar. Get Braid in his bed, wrestle snakes until both men achieve sexual satisfaction, and then move on. Provide a reason he can’t refuse. “We’ll talk about Hail.”

“I won’t let you…”

“I can hardly carry out his request if you’re with me.” He pulled the vampire’s hand across the table confused as hell why he desired Braid. His reptiles never budged. “Feeding from the strongest vampire alive, you can dematerialize. Should you wish to leave, I won’t stop you.” Paladin rubbed his thumb in circles on the back of Braid’s hand. He murmured, “Your aroma is intoxicating.” Yeah, I’ve lost my mind. Braid’s eyes darkened with something Paladin knew nothing about. Passion. “We can be there in an hour.”

“Where?”

“My place. Mojave Desert.”

“I can’t.” He jerked his hand away. “The heat.”

“Mid-April, it won’t be hot.” Paladin watched him nibble a nail. “Well? Do I delay your master?”

“You can’t be old enough… You don’t have power to change Hail’s plans.”

“Fine.” Paladin stood. “I’ll keep our appointment.”

“No.” Braid jumped up. “I can take us there.”

“I got it covered.” Ahh, yes, it’s springtime. “And I’m guessing I’m older than you.”

COLLAPSE

About the Author

J. Hali Steele wishes she could grow fur, wings, or fangs, so she can stay warm, fly, or just plain bite the crap out of... Well, she can't do those things but she wishes she could! Multi-published author of Romance including Contemporary, LGBTQ, Paranormal, and ReligErotica stories where humans, vampyres, shapeshifters and angels often collide—they collide a lot! When J. Hali's not writing or reading, she can be found snuggled in front of the TV with a cat in her lap, and a cup of coffee.

My Quotes:

Growl and roar—it's okay to let the beast out. – J. Hali Steele

Death is overrated as punishment. – J. Hali Steele (from The Descendants)

Life is complicated, it’s loud, death arrives silently. – J. Hali Steele (from Twice the Burn)


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