Sometimes the thing you most desire is the thing you can’t have, even if you are the most powerful vampire around.
Slate McCormic hasn’t survived a hundred years as a vampire without having some regrets. In an effort to atone for his blighted past, he’s made it his life’s vocation to take in stray vampires and help them turn their lives around. But the very nature of his work has kept him distant. That was until Konner came into his life, and threw Slate’s resolutions out the window. Too bad Konner’s long gone.
Konner Connelly has a penchant for getting into trouble. And tonight’s no exception. With a gang of vampires on his trail, he needs a safe place to stay, and there’s no place safer than his previous home. There’s just one problem—Slate. With unresolved attraction, there’s bound to be more to their reunion than simple sanctuary. But how far will Slate take it and will Konner’s actions put both their lives in jeopardy?
Konner Connelly ran down the back streets of Flint as fast as he could. Darkness shadowed the deserted road, his footsteps and those of his companion the only sound echoing through the night. Konner knew that didn’t mean they were safe, though, not by a long shot. The pursuers were out there, and the men were hot on their trail. They could show up at any moment. So Konner had to keep moving as fast as he could. His companion tripped over his feet and fell to the ground. Konner let out a soft curse and ran back. He wanted to yell at the guy, but since he was nothing more than an eighteen-year-old kid and already scared as hell, Konner knew he had to handle the situation delicately. “We need to hurry, unless we want your master to catch us and make you a blood slave again.” The kid’s blue eyes went wide with terror. “No, I don’t want that to happen again.” “Then we need to get moving fast, or he will catch us.” “It would be much easier if we had a car.” Konner let out a sigh. “I don’t have one.” “Why not?” the kid asked with a slight tilt of his head. Now that was a long story that would have to wait until later. Konner still swore it wasn’t his fault. That police car had come out of nowhere when he’d hit it. But any-hoo, there wasn’t time to talk about that. They had to get to Slate’s before the kid’s master found both of them and ripped them to pieces. Konner might be great at picking locks and sneaking away, but he sucked at fighting. As such, he would be hopeless in a battle if the kid’s owner showed up to get his merchandise back. “Just a few more blocks and we’ll be there,” Konner assured the kid. “My feet hurt,” the kid said. Konner didn’t blame him for that one. Since the slave didn’t have any shoes, he’d had to run the past mile barefoot. His feet were a mass of cuts and bleeding. Konner took off his own shoes and handed them over to the kid. “Here, these should fit you. I can go in my socks for the last bit,” he offered. The kid took the shoes and held them close to his chest as if they were some kind of treasure. Konner had no doubt that to him they were. The poor slave only wore a pair of skimpy leather shorts and nothing else. Knowing what little he did about the slave trade, Konner was willing to bet that’s all they had kept the kid in the entire time of his captivity. “What’s your name?” Konner asked. If he was going to get killed for this slave, Konner at least wanted to know who he’d died for. After all, it just seemed fair. “Donavan,” the kid said as he sat down and gingerly put on the shoes. “How long did they keep you as a slave?” “Two years, right after they changed me into a vampire. Which is weird. Usually, they only keep humans as blood slaves, but my master, Thomas, really has a big time hard-on for me. He’s going to flip when he finds out that I’m gone,” Donavan said. “Don’t worry. Where I’m taking you, you’ll be more than safe. The vampire there is really old, and he can kick anybody’s ass that comes his way,” Konner assured him. Donavan got his shoes on, and they began running again. It didn’t take long for Konner’s socks to get wet, and his feet began to hurt from stepping on rocks and God knows what else. He just kept on going. He had a feeling that Thomas was hot on their heels, and Konner knew there was no way in hell he could take him on. If Thomas got them, then both he and Donavan would be in deep shit. No doubt Donavan would be punished. They would probably take Konner as a slave, too, or worse, kill him on the spot. Vampires might be immortal, but that didn’t mean somebody couldn’t kill them. When Slate’s large townhouse came into view, Konner let out a sigh of relief. Even if Thomas did show his ugly mug, at least Slate was within screaming distance. Just seeing his former sire’s home gave Konner the last bit of adrenaline he needed. He sprinted forward and was soon running up the steps to the front door. Beating on the door frantically, Konner began to yell, “Slate! Open up! I need your help!” At first, there was no answer, and Konner began to panic. Shit! What if Slate wasn’t home? If that was the case, then Donavan and Konner were in trouble. Just as Konner was about to give up, the door opened, and Slate was looking down at him. For a second, Konner couldn’t speak. In the past five years, he’d almost forgotten how handsome his surrogate sire was. Despite the late hour, Slate was wearing a custom-made gray suit that molded perfectly to his muscular body. Slate’s short blond hair was impeccably styled without one hair out of place. It made Konner want to reach out and mess it up just a bit. Just to see how it would look after a round of hot sex. Slate’s blue eyes, usually full of caring, displayed confusion as he gazed at Konner and Donavan. Probably because he hadn’t seen Konner in five years, and he was wondering what in the hell he was doing there. “Slate, thank God you’re here. I need your help,” Konner repeated. “Yes, so I heard you yelling when you were trying to beat a hole in my door,” Slate said, his face neutral. Damn it, how Konner hated it when Slate did that. It made it impossible to decipher where he stood. He didn’t know if his sire was pissed at him or if he was happy to see him. Either way, Konner had to get Slate to help him, and he had to convince Slate to do it fast. “Can we talk about this inside, please? It’s not safe for us to be outside at the moment,” Konner said even as he glanced over his shoulder in fear. To his great relief, Slate stepped to the side and let them in. As soon as Konner crossed the threshold and was in the familiar confines of his old home, he felt relief. He was safe now; he could relax. He put an arm around Donavan and led him to the living room. There were a few of Slate’s men in there, but Slate dismissed them with a slight jerk of his head. Soon the only ones still present were Konner, Donavan and Slate. Donavan started to kneel on the floor, but Konner stopped him. “You’re free now. Sit on the couch.” Donavan shot Slate a look of fear but did as he was told. He sat on the edge of the couch, his back ramrod straight, his hands in his lap. He looked ready to flinch at the slightest movement. Konner glanced at Slate and could see that his sire was already getting angry for Donavan’s sake. Konner let out a sigh of relief. Slate took in strays, those who had been turned and left by the vampire who’d transformed them. Left on their own, many of the vampires died or turned feral because they had nobody to show them how to survive in their new life. Slate had made it his life’s work to find as many strays as possible and help them navigate their way through the beginning of life as a vampire. Konner had been one of Slate’s strays. Konner had been a regular college kid when that fateful night on campus, he’d been attacked by a feral vampire and turned. Konner had been alone and scared for a whole week before Slate had found him and taken him in. Without Slate, Konner knew he would have died. “Who’s going to tell me what’s going on?” Slate asked as he sat down in a chair. Konner recalled the chair well. It had always been Slate’s favorite. All of Slate’s vampires had known better than ever to sit in it. As far as they were concerned, it had been forbidden territory. For while their sire had never been a cruel man, they had all respected him too much to encroach on his most treasured seat. “I’ll explain everything,” Konner volunteered. “How did I know that you would be the one who did all the talking?” Heat burned Konner’s cheeks, but he didn’t bother to deny it. He always had been a chatterbox. He even talked in his sleep. Or so he’d been told. “I went to a vampire bar tonight,” Konner started. “Haven’t I told you how dangerous those places are?” Slate asked. Even though it’d been five years since Konner had been under Slate’s care, Konner still felt himself squirming under the question. “I was curious. I’d never been to one before, and I wanted to see what all the hype was about.” Slate pinched the bridge of his nose. “You and your curiosity are going to be the end of you one of these days.” Oh, Slate didn’t know how right he was. Konner continued. “Anyway, I was there for a while, when I noticed Donavan. They had him chained up and on the floor and were just letting anyone who wanted to feed off of him. It was like he was some kind of live buffet or something. Every time he protested or tried to fight it, his master would whip him. It was awful, Slate.” “So you had to intervene, didn’t you?” Slate asked, his voice neutral. “Of course I did. I couldn’t leave him there. So I went into the men’s room and hid out there until the place closed down. When it did, I went out and found Donavan still chained to the wall. Well, you know how good I am at picking locks.” “God, yes I do. It was a trait I could never knock out of you. No matter how hard I tried.” Slate let out a sigh. “That’s what happens when you grow up in a family of thieves. It’s a miracle that I even went to college in the first place,” Konner said. “You know they probably still haven’t noticed that I’m missing, and it’s been what? Nine years now?” Slate gave him a tender smile. “Well, this family would have noticed.” A warm feeling went through Konner at the sight of that smile. If Slate knew how many nights Konner had dreamed of it. Hell, if he only knew of how many times Konner had jacked off just thinking of it, Slate would probably flip out. Konner had been attracted to Slate for years, but he had been afraid to act on his feelings for fear that Slate would turn him away. After all, he used to be his sire, and that might mean Slate would feel it improper to get involved with Konner. That had been the reason why Konner had eventually left the house. He knew that he could never have Slate as his own. So instead of sitting around and nursing a broken heart over something he couldn’t change, Konner had gone and made his own way in the world. That didn’t mean that his feeling for Slate had lessened, though. If anything, they had only grown stronger. “Who was your master?” Slate asked Donavan. Donavan twisted his hands together. “Thomas.” Slate muttered a curse before turning to Konner. “You couldn’t have picked an easier target, could you?” Konner shrugged. “How was I supposed to know he was some big, bad vampire? All I saw was some poor kid in trouble and that I had to rescue him. You would have done the same thing.” Slate stared at Konner for several moments before he said, “Damn you, you know I would have. Fine, take Donavan upstairs to one of the rooms. We still keep the spare clothes in the same place. Give him a shower and get him set up for the night.”