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by J. Hali Steele

Subside - J. Hali Steele
Editions:Kindle - First Edition: $ 2.99
Pages: 124

A soul hangs in the balance!

The only one of his kind, Deacon recalls thousands of years existing yet he has no memory of why. He can’t profess to living in seclusion because he greedily pursues pleasure in arms of so many men, he never lacks companionship. None feed his true desire. Deacon yearns for someone to make in his own image by introducing them to a hunger so vile, they will detest him forever.

Father Merck Hallowell stands at a crossroad of conscience and faith. His convictions, no longer satisfying, leave him searching for reasons to persevere. Befriending a handsome but strange parishioner opens a doorway Merck longs to enter and explore. Discovering Deacon’s secret, he realizes not only his life hangs in balance—so does his soul!


This book is on:
  • 1 To Be Read list
Publisher: Independently Published
Pairings: M-M
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: Ageless/Immortal
Protagonist 2 Age: 36-45
Tropes: Alpha Character, Forbidden Love, Slow Burning Love, Tease and Denial, Villain to Hero
Word Count: 32000
Setting: USA, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Languages Available: English

Imagine how bizarre their next meeting would be.

Deacon set the bridge on fire two days ago by purchasing the property Merck proposed the archdiocese buy. Last night he swung the wrecking ball when he bit into Merck’s flesh leaving him with a thirst quenchable only by Deacon.

Before all the mess earlier tonight, he signed final papers turning the old hotel over to Merck Hallowell. No plans on telling him as it would only be the proverbial final straw. “Who the fuck am I kidding?” Any of the things he did was explainable, even fixable.

Not the bite.

Not keeping Merck at his mercy until he either let the priest go through withdrawal until every ounce of Deacon’s blood was leached from his veins.

Or he finished the job and made him totally undead.

That would be Deacon’s choice.

Either case—Merck needed him.

Before shutting Merck out, his words blasted Deacon’s mind—I will not become what you are.


Deacon sat at his dining table, the favorite place in his home to think and keep abreast of everyone under his surveillance. He glanced at each of the five new chairs he’d fabricated to match the one he regularly used—the only original as he had never tossed it into the fire. Feet on the table, he closed his eyes and watched Merck sleep fitfully. Unable to bear it, he wiped his mind of everything giving respite required for Merck to fall into a sound sleep. Deacon had taken enough of his blood to feel as if he were right beside Merck and he planned to ghost the room until it was time for him to awaken.

He’d like to leave Father Sharpe’s call from ever being discovered in his memory as Deacon was more than aware the call was to inform Merck the building had been sold. It would mean throwing the note away but he’d only call again and, hell, in a week, he’d be back for his bi-weekly visit. Plus, that would definitely add thief to a list that already included malicious, demon, motherfucker, and worse than the devil.

“Jealous and possessive. Yes, I despise every son of a bitch in the world who has a piece of you.” Deacon couldn’t be responsible for what he might do if he stayed here. He whispered in the dark. “Doesn’t matter, you’re mine.” Assured Merck would rest peacefully, someone Deacon wanted to meet.

He dematerialized to the rooftop of the hotel he’d given away today. Ten floors and over two hundred rooms that, given different circumstances, should still be flourishing.

The area had become a rather dangerous haven thanks to a couple of gangs who, with motivation, could be contained. The hotel slipped into disrepair because the owner passed away leaving it to a greedy son who mismanaged people and every single dime leaving the property to suffer. No one else showed interest which gave Deacon the upper hand in negotiations allowing him to practically steal the corner which had languished on the market over two years.

For him, twenty-eight billion was a drop in the bucket.

For Merck it meant everything.

“Beautiful isn’t it?” He stared at stars lighting the sky. “It’s as if the night has a thousand eyes.”

“Yet the world never looks as dirty at nighttime as it does in daylight.” Rake leaned from the wall and strode to stand beside Deacon. “Thought I hid pretty well.”

“From humans, yes.” Deacon had thought many times about erasing the young man’s memory but keeping tabs on him, he came to like Rake’s fondness for Merck. But why Rake for this conversation? He already had his answer. “You don’t fear me or what I am?”

“Seen some bad shit on the streets and in prison. You might not be the worse. Jury still out on that one. Anyway, would it do any good?”

“No.” Brutal, honest, attributes that toppled Rake from his position on Deacon’s list of candidates eliciting jealousy.

God reigned in the number one spot.

“Smart what you did with Cut. Maybe a few months treatment will help.”

“If he comes for Father Hallowell again, I will kill him.”

“Something we agree on.”

“Why do you like him?”

“He cares about this area and the people. Too fucking bad he’s a priest. They have disgustingly bad reputations nowadays. Deserved if for no other reason than many knew and did nothing.” He kicked at a stone sending it over the edge and when he heard it ping off a car ten stories below, Rake mumbled, “He won’t park there again.”

Deacon spoke more to himself than Rake. “Merck is different.”

“Looking like you lost your best friend means you’ve done something you maybe shouldn’t have. Are you a deacon?”

“It’s a name.” He jerked around and studied Rake. “You’re very discerning for one so young.”

“Pays to read people when you survive on the streets and I’m not that young anymore.”

“I also think it’s too bad he’s a priest.”

“Yet being one may be the only reason he’ll forgive what you are.”

“You speak out of turn.”

“My bad.”

“If this place were to become what Merck intends, could you protect it?”

“Hell no, Father Hallowell and I talked about me keeping books.” Rake laughed. “Don’t worry; this is my corner of town and it will be controlled.”

“Glad he stopped me from killing you.”

“Me too but considering your…hunger, I’m not sure I like you picking me to confess to.”

“I’ve told you nothing.”

“You told me everything.” The young man’s eyes narrowed. “What I wouldn’t give to have what you offer him.”

“Endless lifetimes of sin.”

“Shit, the one I have is riddled with it.”

“You’ve changed. I never will.”

“For him, would you?”

“No. My path is set and I don’t seek to join him.” Red in his eyes reflected from metal trim on the rooftop. “I desire having him join me.” Uncharacteristically, Deacon had said far too much. Loneliness was becoming a greedy bitch who sent him into the night seeking companionship from any quarter. “Have a good evening.” Deacon stepped off the building and floated to the ground.

Supplying Merck when he gave in to the blood lust would require Deacon overflow with life other than his own.

Hunt and feed.


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)