Rejected (and a Story)

My writing year began with a rejection email from an editor.

The story I'd submitted approached erotica from a different angle, one that looked at the people behind the pussies and cocks and orgasms. It dealt with dominance and submission and explored how scary the roles are for newbies. How foreign, yet yearned for. How surprising and serious. How life-changing. It also contained revenge and hope. Suspense and mystery. Women taking their power back. What it didn't have was a ton of sex.

Unlike this one, that's almost all sex, but still explores the dynamics behind good sex (and bad).

I haven't shared a story in a while and hope you enjoy this one.


Book Review - "Evil Never Sleeps" by Robert Fleming

Evil Never Sleeps
Reading a collection of short stories by a master of the form is one of the great literary pleasures, especially when the writer treats his work as a set of variations on a powerful theme yet manages to make each story as unique as a snowflake.

A good writer is like a musician, a pied piper of words who leads you, heart and mind, into places you might not have gone otherwise.

A steady bass beat pulses through Robert Fleming’s narratives as he deftly examines the point of our lives and the sometimes sad and uncanny ways our fragile hearts, societal norms, and changeable beliefs determine our destinies. His writing demands readers to think about these things, even as they are lulled with stories ranging from funny to horrifying.

Fleming understands groundbreaking writing might be upsetting. He knows great literature is not polite, doesn’t shove uncomfortable things in closets, and doesn’t care about your feelings. It only asks that you feel.

Evil Never Sleeps is a daring, sometimes unsettling portrait of the Black experience throughout history that hits on fundamental truths. Linked by strong themes, this is a story collection done right. Some of the stories might make you flinch, but it is hard to look away. The writing burns with raw, elemental power. The characters are complex and compelling, and the writing is sharp and brave. Fleming’s dark, captivating imagination shines in this wildly diverse collection that is both gripping and timely.

This collection gives readers compact treasures of emotion and realism often wrapped in a deceptive cloak of normalcy. Though Fleming’s stories are worlds unto themselves, each is a grand carnival of the troubling and absurd; the beautiful and the profane blend to form a whole that speaks to the discord and disillusion, hope and triumphs of the Black experience.

Rich with novelistic density, Fleming’s stories make Evil Never Sleeps a full-fledged feast. Observational and piercing, some of Fleming’s stories expose how fraught, and emotionally explosive, our search for connection with other human beings can be. The range of settings, characters, and styles makes for a recurring sense of surprise for the reader.

Evil Never Speaks is a wry, intelligent collection that skillfully navigates the boundary between the demands of faith and the persistence of doubt. In seizing upon the oddities of our shared histories and our enduring, individual searches for meaning, Fleming finds worthy subjects to illuminate at every turn. Soldiers, musicians, traveling preachers, politicians, religious zealots, the famous, and the ordinary all rub shoulders here, each asking you to sit awhile and listen or to walk in their shoes until you understand them.

Plenty of writers have explored racism and the failings of man. However, Fleming, a writer who feels like the novelist equivalent of filmmakers Spike Lee and Robert Altman, has managed to write stories on the subject that feel fresh. His characters often mess up, in both small and spectacular fashion, but their transgressions often prompt our sympathy, thanks to Fleming’s insightful narration. These are tales that make you think, squirm, and sigh with understanding. What more could any reader ask for when immersing themselves in the world of a writer’s mind?

Robert Altman said to play it safe is not to play. Somehow, I am quite sure Robert Fleming would agree.

Read it today

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Get lost in these sensual tales that combine gritty fantasy with lustful seduction. A must-read erotica collection that will take you to dark, disturbing, and sexy places.
Featuring my edgiest story (and personal favorite), Red House, about a priest and a vampire with a shared past.
Limited time. Grab your copy today.
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"Because Beards" Anthology Donates Proceeds to Prostate Cancer Research

November 1st e-book Launch

The Because Beards anthology will raise money for the Movember Foundation. Each story features a beautifully bearded man.

We want to keep our men healthy, and the Movember Foundation can help achieve that with our support. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this anthology go toward supporting prostate cancer research and treatment, and other critical men’s health initiatives.

Twenty-one authors donated stories for this sizzling collection (priced at just 99p/99c).

You can feel good about donating to this great cause and also receive a 500+ page e-book in the bargain.

One of the authors donating a story to this fantastic project is Emmanuelle de Maupassant (whose excellent work I've applauded in the past).

Emmanuelle’s short story Highland Pursuits is set in the 1920s and follows the defiant debutante, Ophelia, as she navigates life, love, and lust in the wild highlands of Scotland.

Everyone involved in Because Beards donated their time, resources, and talent free of charge. The team behind this anthology includes twenty-one authors, cover designer Jessica Hildreth, photographer Wander Aguiar, model Jacob Rodney, book bloggers spreading the word about this anthology, and PR experts Heather Roberts and Jenny Flores.

Goodreads fans, please add the anthology to your "To Be Read List" here. Your support (and reviews wherever you purchase the book) will help make this project a success and keep our guys healthy. 

PRE-ORDER NOW (and donate to this worthy cause) via these links:
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Please support the cause by sharing this post wherever you can.

Book Review - "Blue" by LN Bey

Book Review - Blue (an erotic novel) by LN Bey - 4 stars

First, you should know I hated “FSOG”. I tell you this early, so if “FSOG” is your idea of BDSM erotica, Blue might not ring your bell. Why? Because Blue is realistic, offering more than someone’s ideal fantasy of an abusive relationship. It shows BDSM’s good, bad, ugly, and everything in between. Most of the people in the book are normal(ish), almost intentionally so. This serves for a slightly disarming experience (Wait...what? My dentist is into whips?), but it works to ground the story in reality.

Few writers concentrating on BDSM do the lifestyle justice or have experience living it. To these writers, it’s a fantasy. And that’s fine if you, the reader, are looking for fluffy sexual exploits. But anyone who has been involved in any type of BDSM relationship, or wants a glimpse into what really goes on, usually wants—demands—more. Because there is so much more to explore than the shallow fantasyland most authors give us.

In Blue, the author does a fine job introducing us to Janet, a recently divorced suburban woman who enjoys the types of BDSM fantasy novels I just described. When she learns a friend belongs to an exclusive club of kinksters (surprisingly, right in the neighborhood), she jumps at the chance to try what she’s only read about before.

At her kinky and demeaning “initiation” into the club, Janet learns reality isn’t fantasy and fluctuates between enjoyment, fear, worry, arousal, and disappointment. Yet, she sees glimpses of what might be, if only she can learn and give herself over in ways she’s never done before but longs to do. She struggles with the unsettling realization that she was turned on despite the humiliation she did not expect and did not enjoy, contrasted with delight as she feels—for the first time in her life—that she belongs. That she may find her place in this strange, new world she’s only dreamed of before.

In some ways, Blue reminded me of The Story of O (if reset in American suburbia), yet the players seem less experienced and not as concerned with Janet’s “shaping” or wellbeing. They are far more focused on their own pleasures. And Janet is much less sure of herself than O as she hops from scene to scene, experience to experience, never quite knowing what to expect. Sometimes enjoying it, sometimes not so much.

Soon, she’s in the thick of things, sometimes in ways that are difficult to read (like the time she’s beaten so badly, she cannot go to work for days) or is treated poorly by a sadistic woman whose only goal seems to be to hurt Janet as much as she can. While these interactions were not pleasant to read, they did show a side to the lifestyle that does exist and serves as a caution for anyone picking play partners.

When Janet meets the mysterious Dimitri, a filmmaker noted for avant-garde BDSM movies, she is intrigued after months of playing with average Joes (at one point staying in a cheap motel with another submissive, awaiting the pleasure of a man who, for the most part, ignores her...far from the romantic portrayals she’s read about and longed for). I admired the author for including many elements like this one—the not-so arousing and glamorous side and people who use the lifestyle and title of Dom/Domme as a lure to get people to have sex with them or for purely psychotic reasons. In Dimitri, Janet sees something more and agrees to star in one of his films. Like most of the book, she isn’t told what will happen, so the reader gets to experience it right along with Janet. A very effective way to keep one reading.

Janet’s interactions with Dimitri were the most satisfying for me. The writer seemed to lose herself in this world of a man I imaged as a David Lynch type of visionary. The descriptions were lush and mind-bending. I longed for more as it was a welcome respite from the sometimes predictable patterns of power exchanges, sex play, and repetitious inner dialog as Janet continues to question and rehash her self-doubt and feelings of non-worth.

There are parallel stories I could have done without, though they do add different viewpoints and enable the book to wrap in a satisfying way. Though there could be a sequel, none is needed. The story stands alone.

Readers should know Blue contains explicit material and very adult situations throughout.


Book Review - "Havoc After Dark" by Robert Fleming

Book Review - Robert Fleming's Havoc After Dark

Dark and Excellent Short Horror Story Collection

To say Havoc After Dark is a collection of fourteen short stories makes it sound so...normal. Just a few stories in a book, like any other book. But this isn’t any ordinary collection, and these stories are like nothing you’ve ever read. 

Though billed as a collection of stories in the horror genre, the horror comes at you from so many directions that people looking for typical monsters and mayhem might not get it.

Individually, these stories shine as startling gems of originality. Together? They are a masterpiece. A perfect illustration in words of why the short-story format can do so much more than longer fiction. It has to. In the hands of a master writer like Robert Fleming (whose work has appeared in literary magazines, newspapers, and collections), words have the power to move. To change minds. To chill and to haunt. And to spark intense feelings (as illustrated by reader reviews, both good and bad, appreciative and hateful).

I loved this book for the following reasons:

Usually, writers work from the outside in—they observe the world and find ways to describe people, situations, and settings so readers relate, recognizing the world they know or seeing it in a different way. Writers often write to express ideas or feelings, to elicit emotion. Mr. Fleming does this exceptionally well. But what sets him apart, is the way he also writes from the inside...out. He seems to channel voices as disparate as a woman come back from the dead, a paid killer, racists, troubled children in impossible circumstances, a dying man, Edgar Allen Poe, Nazis, a haunted blues musician, lawyers, priests, and voodoo queens.

He writes as if he’s lived a thousand lives and walked every city on earth. Witnessed history from all sides. Has been the oppressor and the oppressed. Been whispered to by ghosts, vampires, murderers, and the devil himself.

Each story is unique. Some are hard to read. The horror so real it punches you in the gut. Each piece is written in a voice so different from the last it’s mind boggling that one person could create such unique tales. Yet, they all contain lush descriptions, making their settings as rich and real as the characters, and this too is a hallmark of Mr. Fleming's work.

From the shortest to the longest, these stories grab you by the throat, drag you into strange worlds, and into the minds of those living the tale, for that’s the way it feels reading this book—as if you step into the story and live it right along with Mr. Fleming’s characters. 

The thread tying them together is the “horror”. The hatred. The loss of hope. The fighting against a world gone mad. And yes...against monsters, both human and otherworldly.

It's difficult to pick favorites, but I particularly enjoyed Life After Bas, The Inhuman Condition, Punish the Young Seed of Satan, and The Wisdom of the Serpents. I won’t tell you what they are about, but instead, encourage you to treat yourself to this collection.

This book is special. This writer is awe-inspiring. These stories will stick with you, and if you are a writer, they will inspire you to reach deeper the next time you set out to write a story.

My rating - 5-stars

Preview "Tales of a Vampire Hunter"

Click to buy, share, or preview the first few chapters of Tales of a Vampire Hunter - Omnibus Edition (the Collected Works of the Tales of a Vampire Series, Books 1 - 3).

For a full-length preview, download IMMORAL: Tales of a Vampire Hunter Book One FREE from these booksellers:

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Emmanuelle de Maupassant and "Cautionary Tales: Voices from the Edges"

Book Review - Cautionary Tales: Voices from the Edges by Emmanuelle de Maupassant

Every once in awhile, I stumble across a writer who seems to come from another time, a time before Fifty Shades of Grey and the endless stream of imitators that followed. Back to the days when strong, intelligent women with darkly-woven souls wrote thought-provoking, deep, and literary works of fiction. 

Women like Sylvia Plath, Anais Nin, and Mary Shelley. The kind of women men feared and desired, repelled and attracted. Women who often wrote in secrecy, many of whom are still put down today by those who fear the power of their original voices screaming out into what remains largely a man's literary world. The kind of voice you cannot help but notice, penning prose that makes you shiver, think about your inner landscape and demons, and inspires writers to be better themselves.

Most of you know I have been fighting a medical condition for the past several years, one that has prevented me from writing as I once did. I've filled the gap, and my craving for words, by reading and listening to audiobooks when my vision will not allow written words to be seen.

So, though I may be late to the party, I want to introduce you to Emmanuelle de Maupassant, author of Cautionary Tales.

“We are the voices in the shadows …”

Inspired by Eastern European and Russian superstitions and folklore, here are twelve tales. Darkly delicious imaginings for the adult connoisseur of bedtime stories.

Listen with your eyes,
and your lips.

Be drawn into a world where the boundaries between the everyday and the unearthly are snakeskin-thin, where the trees have eyes and the night has talons, where demons, drawn by the perfume of human vice and wickedness, lurk with intents malicious and capricious.

Listen with your skin
and your blood.

Here, the touching of your coat button as you pass through a graveyard can mean the difference between great fortune or eternal misfortune.

We’re here,
at the edges.

Tread carefully, for here the dark things best left behind in the forest may seep under your door and sup with you; the lover at your window or in your bed may have the scent of your death already on their breath.

We are the shiver on your uneasy flesh,
The creep of the unknown on your skin.

Whispered to you from the edges, from the haunted mouths of those who see more than you or I, here are twelve tales of lust and rivalry, of envy and deceit, and of secrets gouged from of the darkest depths of the human heart.

Is your shadow on the wall,
really yours, after all?

Emmanuelle de Maupassant strikes the pitch-perfect balance between rapacious sexuality and moral justice by using one to feed the other. She has done something unique with Cautionary Tales. She’s taken a literary tradition and transcribed it for the sexual landscape of the present day. – Malin James

Read more on  Emmanuelle de Maupassant's website, or purchase Cautionary Tales now.

The stories in this collection could have been written long ago by the Grimm brother's darker sister. The one they locked in a shed with a box full of dusty nursery books and only let out when the moon was full.

They are loosely connected in tone and their morality based sentiments. Despite that (which, I admit, initially turned me off), they are sexy little tales one can imagine pouring from a feverish mind, filled with demons and sex, fantasy and horror of the best kind.

*Disclaimer. My opinions are my own. I never accept monetary compensation for book reviews, nor am I in any way affiliated with AMAZON. I receive nothing from them, or anyone else when I recommend a book or writer, other than the pleasure of sharing good books with other readers.

Excerpt from "Tales of a Vampire Hunter" - Omnibus Edition: The Collected Works of the Tales of a Vampire Hunter Books 1 - 3

Author's Favorite Excerpt from Tales of a Vampire Hunter - Omnibus Edition: The Collected Works of Tales of a Vampire Hunter 1 - 3 

From Book 3 (Bespelled)

Bangkok, Thailand

Oliver Ripley exited the limo and stepped into another world, a place peaceful and serene. A winding brook babbled over rocks, and fragrant white flowers bloomed along a stone pathway. Sculptured faces of ancient Asian Gods gazed at him from jungle-lush foliage. Silver chimes tinkled, and exotic birds chirped. Oliver did not let the Zen-like calm shake his resolve to do the violence he’d come to do.

“They are ready for you.” A delicate Thai woman met him where the stone walkway widened and became a patio. Tonight, she wore a ruby-red silk, traditional Chakkri dress shot through with gold thread. Her black hair glistened, coiled low on her neck.

She walked briskly down a wood-planked dock, over the gently rippling turquoise-blue sea to a large pavilion flanked by two more just like it, filled with people. His audience. The ones who paid his rent with their twisted desires. He wondered what it cost them to indulge their morbid cravings. Judging from his cut, it had to be a pretty penny. And what of their souls? Did they carry what they witnessed with them, like a dark secret, or did they manage to leave it behind in a way Oliver never could?

The nameless Thai woman left Oliver in the empty center pavilion and backed away from him, bowing low out of respect and maybe a touch of fear.

The party had been going on for a while. Some people were already naked. Others lounged fully clothed and intent on Oliver’s every move.

Oliver waited until the sun had gone down, and that twilight time had come when the clouds were dark purple, black and blue. Under a bruised sky, he would do what he’d come to do. He hoped, as he did every time, this would be the last.

He lifted his hand, calling for silence, which came swiftly. The crowd was eager for the show to begin.

“Bring me the girl,” he said.

A woman in the audience yelped, setting off the nervous laughter of others in the audience. All eyes were on him and the girl who walked slowly toward him, like a bride, down the narrow dock and over the water that sparkled now in the moonlight.

She was young and very lovely. Shades of brown. Autumn. Shaggy, red-brown hair, cocoa skin, doe eyes. Naked, and unbound, she walked to him, stopping a respectful distance away, meeting his eyes. On her finger, she wore a large ruby ring marking her a Vladula clan vampire. Her breasts were tiny and her legs long. Hair formed a triangular thicket between her thighs. In the black coils, bits of red caught the light of the oil lamps lining the edge of the pavilion.

“Why are you here?” he asked, not speaking the words aloud, but pushing the question into her head as they gazed at one another for the first time—vampire and vampire slayer, hunted and hunter, instantly connected.

The audience need not hear this part, the truth they had not paid to witness. But Oliver had to. “Are you prepared to die?” he asked, when she did not answer, speaking aloud this time.

A woman in the audience shrieked. This was part of what they paid for—the sense of danger, being so close to a real, live, honest-to-goodness vampire and vampire slayer, facing death made palpable and entertaining because it wasn’t their own. Aware they were in the presence of creatures capable of taking their lives, quickly and efficiently, had they the desire. Sex and death and danger formed a wicked cocktail, an addictive drug. Most, of course, thought it was an act. A snuff film performed live for their twisted enjoyment. Made more interesting by the roles played—creature-feature monsters come to real, sexual, and deadly life.

“I want to die.” The girl’s voice rang out in his head and then repeated out loud, soft and sure.

The crowd cheered.

Oliver looked away from the sadness in the girl’s eyes and watched as a middle-aged white man with a huge cock shoved a small blonde woman to her knees and pushed himself into her mouth, gripping her long hair, his shifty eyes glued to Oliver.

“Why?” Oliver looked once more at the girl, pushing his voice into her mind where no one else could hear.

“I didn’t ask for this. I’m scared.” Tears spilled from her eyes as she spoke the words aloud.

In the audience, clothes were shed, tops lifted, nipples sucked, cocks stroked. This was what they’d come to see. This was what they’d paid for. This was what they wanted. Sex and danger and death.

“Fuck her,” someone said, their tone that of one already in the throes of pleasure, impatient for their climax.

“Kill her,” another shouted, their voice gruff with a darker excitement.

Oliver spoke aloud as the vampire girl had. “You desire it fast and hard. Quick.” He leaned closer to the girl, his lips almost brushing hers.

The audience’s collective excitement hung heavy and alive in the air, like an electrical storm. Flesh slapping on flesh sounded a drum-like beat that seemed to echo the pounding in Oliver’s heart.

The girl trembled. Her eyelashes swept down as she looked away, but she stayed in place, standing before him begging him to kill her, save her. Pushing the words into his head.

Oliver sighed. She was another too weak to free him from his curse. Another who only begged him to put her out of her misery, with no idea of his. Weak she was, afraid and suicidal. A victim of the vampires, a fledgling with no Master. A Vladula.

He slipped his hand under her hair, his thumb resting on the frantic pulse fluttering in her neck. The hairs on his arms rose.

“Please. End it.” She opened her eyes. They were dry now, determined.

“Would that I could end it for us both,” Oliver said softly, too softly for anyone else to hear.

His hands on her shoulders told her what to do. She sank to her knees, mouth open before him, those huge eyes still begging him. Her voice was silent, but in his head, her thoughts flowed as his slayer soul reached out and easily snared her newly-made vampire essence and the small nugget that remained of the girl she once had been.

He saw into her mind as if watching a movie. She showed him how they’d come for her in a dark, underground parking garage. Arms loaded with books, fumbling for her keys, she had been an easy victim, lost before she hit the ground. And then, the man with a black Mohawk, who wore a leather collar studded with silver spikes. Spike Vladula. Blood. Voices as she lay dying. “The key. The doorway…” as the vampire took her over, brought her to the brink of death and then eased her back. In the end, dying, afraid, she’d drank the blood, heard the strange, senseless words. I don’t want to die, she’d thought then as she did now. But I can’t live like this.

“Why?” Anger and sadness flooded him. He yanked her head back with a fistful of her hair.

“If I have to live like this, I’m already dead.” Her voice was a scream in his head.

She answered the wrong question, telling him why she wanted to die as if he didn’t know the gut-wrenching torment one such as she felt trapped by abilities she never asked for and didn’t want. She did not know why Vladula had picked her, why she was here, or why she was about to die.

Guiding her hands to his cock, he held her fingers in his, showing her how to do it. His anger, her fear, their shock and confusion, on stage before people who now fucked all around them, eyes glassy, drunk on forbidden pleasures, had quickened his breath and hers. His flesh surged upward, driving into her seeking fingers. His fury adding to the tension.

Her lips appeared bruised, swollen like her nipples, sweet buds tight and high despite the balmy ocean breeze. Her thighs parted. She looked up at him as if no one watched them. Her eyes locked to his fingers as he slipped buttons free of leather and wrapped his fingers around his cock.

The memories running through her mind as his soul enveloped hers like a cocoon could be nothing but truth. She could not hide anything from him in the throes of death as he took her life. But what did it mean? Why would Vladula send a messenger with no message? Or a message that made no sense? If she had been able to lead him to Spike, Oliver wouldn’t have been so irritated. He’d simply kill Spike and anyone stupid enough to be with him. As it was, being tipped off about his cover being blown just meant he’d have to leave Bangkok so he’d be free to hunt without the distraction of dealing with Vladulas. Though killing them was enjoyable, he preferred to do it on his terms and on his schedule.

Distracted, Oliver watched a man shoot a thick stream of white over a curvaceous woman’s breasts as the dying vampire girl worked Oliver’s own hard flesh as if the thick appendage she sucked was her lifeline. Her moans vibrated along his shaft.

Pleasure peaked, and around them, the air began to glow and spin. Energy whipped the colors into a rainbow swirling around them. A cloud of pure life-force shimmered around vampire and vampire hunter.

A collective gasp swelled from those who watched. Could they see it? Feel it? Oliver thought they must, on some level, though most convinced themselves it was an elaborate, very expensive show.

“Beautiful,” someone said, wonder in their voice.

Inside, where none could see, and only Oliver and the girl could feel, their souls spun together. Oliver’s dipped inside, finding her essence fresh and young, innocent and blameless. A life too soon taken away, condemned. His heart contracted. Pity flooded him. As tears flowed from her eyes, and his seed filled her mouth, he felt her at her core. He knew her as if he’d been with her always. From her first steps to the ones that had led her here. And he cared. He cared enough to free her.

Gratitude shone in her eyes as she realized what was happening to her, even as the light within them dimmed, and his slayer soul began to extinguish the faint light still clinging to life within her.

The crowd roared its satisfaction when the girl slumped to the stage.

As the last spark of her life began to fade, and Oliver waited for the cold, dead stare he knew well, a frisson split off from the cyclone of their combined energy, as if seeking to escape death, untethering itself and fleeing the girl, spitting and stinging as it slammed into Oliver like a fist punch to the chest. Hunters absorbed energy from the vamps they killed, but Oliver had never felt anything like this before.

At his feet, the girl jerked as if shocked by jolts of electricity. Her chest lifted, back arching, breath gasping. Her eyes flew open, and her scream seemed to shove the foreign, contaminated thing deeper into Oliver.

His slayer energy swelled, a hurricane circling the vampire curse—for surely, that’s what the crackling thing was—smoothing it, containing it, and absorbing it until it winked out, not even a smolder remaining.

The girl stirred and opened her eyes. She blinked. Confusion furrowed her brow, her thoughts as jumbled as his, and still

Despite his confused astonishment, Oliver scooped the girl up, tossed her over his shoulder and left the stage. His long legs made quick time up the dock.
The tiny Asian woman met him, passing him the usual small pouch containing his pay. She bowed low, not meeting his eyes, not remarking on the limp girl he carried.

In the driveway, the limo waited as it always did. The breeze fluttered perfumed flowers, and night sounds whirred. The noise of the crowd, dressing, whispering in low voices, seemed far away, soon locked beyond the insulating world of the limo. Driving down streets clogged with cars, red and white lights streaking by, it was silent. Oliver was left alone with his jumbled and raw emotions, the strange girl sleeping on his lap, nestled under his jacket, her face peaceful. She’d passed out.

For Oliver, the torment over the night’s unprecedented events was quieted by the shrieking of awakened inner demons. Closing his eyes, he let the memories consume him.

READ MORE . . . BUY Tales of a Vampire Hunter now ($2.99 for a limited time)