Amber Kell’s Birthday Bash November 2016
Thanks, Amber, for the opportunity to be a part of your birthday celebrations this year. Happy birthday! I’d like to offer readers the chance to win an ebook copy of a book from my backlist. Comment on the post to be in the draw.
The brief for these celebrations was to pick a character and throw a birthday surprise for them. I figured I’d let the characters do ‘the talking’ and write a very short story.
Simon and Ben are characters from The Sleepless City series, which was a joint project with Elizabeth Noble. Their story—Shades of Sepia—kicked off the series.
Dancing in the Moonlight
“You can open your eyes now.” Ben took a step to the side so he could see Simon’s reaction. He wished he could photograph Simon, but vampires couldn’t be caught on film so he’d have to capture the moment with his memory.
Simon’s breath hitched, and he stood perfectly still while drinking in the scene in front of him.
The living area of their apartment was lit by dozens of small candles, giving the illusion of dusk, although it was dark outside. The windows were partially open; a slight breeze bellowed the fine fabric Ben had hung in front of them. The almost full moon dominated the sky, bathing the room in its light although not detracting from the candles.
Emotion buffeted Ben through his and Simon’s soul mate bond. Surprise, and something else Ben couldn’t quite identify. He swayed for a moment from the intensity of it, suddenly unsure whether he’d made a mistake. Simon had insisted Ben not go to any trouble for his birthday, so they’d settled for dinner at their favourite restaurant. During the meal Ben hoped like hell he’d managed to keep his own emotions in check so Simon wouldn’t suspect. Being with someone who knew what he was feeling occasionally had its downside.
Then Simon smiled, and his eyes turned completely brown, as he pulled Ben into his arms and kissed him.
Ben felt his heart speed up at the glimpse of Simon’s vampire. “Hot as,” he murmured.
“This is wonderful, thank you.” Simon caressed Ben’s check with his thumb. “I suspected you were planning something when you were so nervous over dinner, but I didn’t guess it was this. The book you gave me was perfect.”
Ben had managed to find a book about the Gloucestershire area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a photographic record of the area where Simon had grown up.
“It’s not easy finding the perfect gift for someone your age who has everything.” Ben grinned when Simon rolled his eyes. His partner might look like he was in his early twenties, but in reality he was nearly one hundred years older than that.
“I never thought I would,” Simon whispered. “I’m so glad I was wrong.”
Ben blushed. He fished the stereo remote out of his pocket—he’d queued the music he’d chosen earlier. The gentle strains of a modern arrangement of an old fashioned waltz began to play. Ben gave Simon a mock bow, and held out his hand.
“Dance with me,” he said. “Just the two of us, here in the moonlight.”
Simon took his hand, and pulled him close, his arms around Ben’s waist. “I’d love to.”
“Happy birthday, Simon,” Ben whispered, his head on Simon’s shoulder as they moved together to the music. “I love you.”
“I love you too.” Simon brushed the tip of his fangs across Ben’s neck, before leading them both across their own private dance floor.
Blurb: A serial killer stalks the streets of Flint, Ohio. The victims are always found in pairs, one human and one vampire.
Simon Hawthorne has been a vampire for nearly a hundred years, and he has never seen anything like it. Neither have the other supernaturals he works with to keep the streets safe for both their kind and the humans.
One meeting with Simon finds Ben Leyton falling for a man he knows is keeping secrets, but he can’t ignore the growing attraction between them. A recent arrival in Flint, Ben finds it very different from his native New Zealand, but something about Simon makes Ben feel as though he’s found a new home.
After a close friend falls victim to the killer, Simon is torn between revealing his true nature to Ben, and walking away to avoid the reaction he fears. But with the body count rising and the murders becoming more frequent, either, or both of them, could be the killer’s next target.
Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.
In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.
She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.
Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.
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