Catnapped – 7

Oops I forgot! I need to preschedule these next week. *nods*

* * * *

The rest of the week was quiet. Jacques kept waiting for some word from Nevio. He refused to admit he might be interested in what the vampire offered. Resolve hardened his momentary weakness. If he gave in now he would always be giving in to the vampire.

“You’ve got some mail.”

“Hmm?”

“Mail.”

Jacques snapped out of his daydreaming to find Sarah, the pack secretary, waving an envelope at him.

“Oh, thanks.”

“Mmhmm, want to share what’s bothering you? You’ve been walking around the pack house with your head in the clouds the past few days. People are starting to take bets whether you’ll walk into a wall soon.” She lifted one highly waxed eyebrow. If there was one thing the pack females took seriously it was body hair.

Jacques forcefully shoved any ideas about where else she might wax from his mind with a shudder and stared at his envelope. “Wolves will be on anything.”

A husky chuckle left her lips. “True.”

Before he could say anything else she spun on her three inch heels and strutted off. She might be called the pack secretary but Sarah was more like the administrative backbone of the pack who could rip out your spine if you tried to cheat on your business report. Some of the pack found her almost as scary as the alpha.

Jacques opened his mail and found his acceptance letter to the Master’s program in Museum Studies. He let out a breath. He had been accepted. A wide grin spread across his mouth. He ignored the small pang that reflected wistfully on the vampire. He wasn’t mean to be a vampire companions.

“I was surprised to hear you turned the vampire down.”

Jacques jumped, dropping his letter with a squeal. Once he could gather his breath he spun around and glared at his adoptive father. “Don’t do that!”

Alpha Caldera laughed. “You were to engrossed in your letter. You shouldn’t block out the rest of the world. You never know when you might be attacked.”

“In the middle of the pack house?” Jacques lifted his right eyebrow as he filled his voice with doubt.

His father nodded. “Yep, you know how the wolves like to pounce on their favorite lion.”

Jacques wished he could deny his father’s words but he couldn’t. The wolves did like to play pounce on the tiger. His father always claimed it was a learning exercise and ignored Jacques claims it was a way for the wolves to attack him with consequences. More than once he had ended up in the pack healer’s office.

Although he got along with most of the pack there were the occasional wolf newcomers who didn’t appreciate a lion among them and they often looked the other way while their children ganged up on Jacques. Through the years he had learned how to handle multiple opponents in a fight so he figured it wasn’t all bad.

“I got my acceptance letter.” He snatched it up off the floor and handed it over to his father.

His father scanned the pages before returning them with a wide smile. “Congratulations. I think you will do very well with this. When do you leave?”

Jacques examined the deadlines on the sheet. “After a bit of shopping I think I’ll leave next week. I’m going to drive.”

“Why? It’s a long way for you to go alone.”

“I’ll be fine.” Jacques waved his father’s concerns away. “I want to have my car at school and this is the easiest way.”

“I could have one of the pack take it over for you.”

“Father. I can do it. You don’t have to coddle me any more. I’m all grown up now.” He patted his father’s shoulder.

“I know.” Caldera let out a long breath. “I just keep thinking of you as the sad, shaggy lion cub I found years ago who needed me for his survival. I forget that you’ve left those years long ago.”

Jacques impulsively hugged his father. “I’ll always need you, father, just maybe not as much.”

Catnapped – 6

“You heard me. Now I have to get going.” Jacques didn’t even bother to come up with a reason behind his need to exit. Why make one up if he didn’t need to. Unfortunately Nevio bounced back quicker than he expected.

“Oh no you don’t.” Nevio snagged Jacques collar and scruffed him like a maladjusted puppy.

“Ack, let go!” he gasped.

“I will when you give me a real reason.” Nevio pushed Jacques gently onto the closest chair where he bounced a bit.

“I don’t think I need to.” He gave his best superior look. The one he’d copied from the beta. That guy had a huge stick up his ass and always acted superior.

“I think you do. For example what excuse will you give your father?”

“I don’t have to give my father an excuse he will go along with my choice because he wants me to be happy and he told me I could make the decision on my own.”

“Well he obviously doesn’t understand that you need a firmer hand.”

“One more reason not to become contracted with you,” Jacques finished triumphantly.

Nevio pinched the bridge of his nose. “Are you always like this?”

“Yep,” Jacques replied in a cheery voice.

“And do you think it will prevent me from wanting your blood. All you’ll be doing while I drink is moaning.” Nevio’s wicked smile gave Jacques all ideas about why he would be making obscene noises.

“I’m sure you make it very enjoyable, but I still have to decline. I don’t know if I want to limit my future to just being a blood puppet for a thirsty vampire.” Best get all his concerns out there. Maybe if Nevio heard his explanation he would leave. Jacques ignored the twinge in his heart. He didn’t want to be some blood suckers morning, evening and afternoon meal. He didn’t. Despite Nevio’s sexy manner and handsome features.

“Why do you think you are either my food or have a career? What do ou want to do anyway?”

Jacques rubbed his chin. That was the question, wasn’t it? “I don’t know.”

“Did you go to college or receive any extra schooling?”

The only reason he didn’t snap at Nevio’s intrusive question was the curiosity in the vampire’s eyes.

“Yes, I’ve gone to college. I have a degree in Archeology.”

“Really? What did you plan to do with that degree?”

“I’d like to work for a museum but I need to get a Master’s degree to be competitive in the job market better to have a couple of degrees to be honest.” He rubbed the back of his neck. Usually about this point the guys he dated began to give him a patronizing look over his job possibilities.

“If you sign the contract I will pay for your Master’s degree no matter how many you’d like,” Nevio said persuasively.

“Really?”

“Yes. Of course I would have to extend the contract by a couple of years.”

“Ah.” There was the catch. “I appreciate the offer but I must decline.”

Nevio narrowed his gaze as if trying to peer into Jacques soul to determine the perfect combination of answers to get his way. “It is a good offer.”

“Yes, but it’s like taking out a student loan. As much as I want the degree I don’t think I want to pay the interest acquired.”

“Hmm, you are a difficult child.”

“I’m not a child!” Jacques replied, indignant.

“Well, definitely no tin body,” Nevio purred. “But in mind. It will take you many years to grow into a proper companion. Which is why a multiple year contract is necessary.”

“You are under the impression that I want to spend years preparing myself to be your companion? A bit full of yourself aren’t you?” Jacques grinned. He stood up and headed for the door. “Thank you for your fabulous offer but once again I must decline. I think our life goals are too different.”

He kept down his giggles until he made it out of the room and down the hall. Nevio’s bewildered expression stayed in his mind for the rest of the day causing him to burst out into laughter at random times. Used to his odd ways the other pack members just shook their heads and didn’t even bother to ask him why.

Catnapped – 5

Sorry for the delay! Here you go!

* * * *

Jacques didn’t know what to do about the contract. On one hand he kept remembering Nevio’s handsome face and piercing eyes, on the other he didn’t want to be a blood donor.

He didn’t mind giving blood to the vampires as part of a group but being the only one to feed one had an intimacy attached Jacques didn’t know if he was ready for. He flipped through the contract for what felt like the hundredth time trying to make the right decision. Even though his father had given him the contract, disapproval still hung like a dark mist around him.

Examining the situation from all angles didn’t give Jacques any insight. He groaned, tossed the contract on his desk then flopped onto his bed. He didn’t know what to do and most of the people who would give him advice had decided to be neutral like they were fucking Switzerland.

A knock on his bedroom door pulled him out of his indecision.

“Come in.”

The door swung open and one of the lower ranking wolves peeked his head in. “Your father asked to see you in his office.”

“Thank you. I’ll be right there.”

The wolf shifter nodded and closed the door behind him. Since the messenger referred to the Alpha as his father instead of the Alpha he expected a more informal meeting. Just in case he wore his nicest pair of pants that didn’t have holes and a Tshirt lacking any of their usual sarcastic sayings.

He rushed down the hall once when he caught sight of the time on the grandfather clock. “Damn, I didn’t think I took that long,” he whispered as he broke into a light jog. He knocked the den door a slight sense of déjà vu sliding through him.

“Enter.” It wasn’t his father’s voice that called out. Jacques hesitated, his hand on the doorknob. Before the could make a final decision the person on the other side took it out of his hands and yanked it open.

A pair of brilliant glowing eyes met his own. “Oh.”

“Good afternoon Jacques, imagine meeting again.” The vampire’s smooth voice took away the edges of annoyance that no one had thought to warn him they were having company of the fangy kind.

“Imagine. It’s so rare to find me in my own house.” Jacques folded his arms and leaned against doorjamb not quite ready to enter a room with an unknown entity. As much as he enjoyed flirting with the vampire he still hadn’t decided whether to sign the contract or not.

Nevio grinned. “I’ve come to see if I can tip the scales in my favor. Your alpha seems to think additional discussion is necessary.”

Jacques played with the hem of his shirt and kept his eyes cast down. Some vampires could hypnotize with their eyes and he didn’t know Nevio’s powers yet. A vampire leader would probably have skills regular vampires didn’t.

“I do have some questions,” he said at last.

“Please come inside. I’ll be happy to clarify any questions you have. I brought a copy of the contract for us to go over,” he finished with a dimpled smile.

Nevio oozed an old-fashioned charm Jacques didn’t trust. Vampires had a reputation for persuasion and Jacques refused to be a victim. He entered the room glancing over his shoulder to keep track of Nevio behind him.

“Don’t worry little lion. I never attack my prey.” Nevio’s amusement didn’t reassure him, at all.

“I’ll keep that in mind.” He strove for a neutral tone but his shaky voice didn’t help.

A quick glance around the room proved his father wasn’t there. “I was told the Alpha needed to talk to me. Is he coming or was it just to get me here?”

“No need to worry, I’m just here to talk. Alpha Caldera didn’t think you’d come if you knew I was here so he arranged this meeting. I did have to swear to not lay a fang on you during our encounter.”

Nevio’s petulant expression belonged more on a preschooler than a suave vampire and Jacques had to press his lips together to hold in his laughter. “I’ll have to thank him for that later.”

“Hmm, you do that. Now what questions do you have about the contract?” He asked in a pleasant tone. Perched on the corner of the Alpha’s desk, Nevio’s body language remained relaxed and inviting.

Jacques took a deep breath and tried to remain calm. If his heart rate sped up Nevio would know of his nervousness and he had a ridiculous urge to impress the man. “I don’t have any questions of the contract per se. I just don’t think I want to sign it.”

“What!” The temperature in the room plummeted and Jacques was forcefully reminded that he sat in the room with an apex predator.

 

Throwback Thursday!

owning-oliver-400

Amber Kell Books | Amazon | Smashwords

BLURB:

Tim has been left for dead, but fate sent him back. While searching for his brother he stumbles across his soul mates and discovers both love and a new place to call home. He might not choose to be a fighter but he’ll do anything to keep his mates safe.

Aslic is a daywalker. Too independent to work under Alesandro, he accepts a contract with the vampire leader to oversee vampire properties and negotiate contracts. After spotting Oliver in Anthony’s company he decides to focus on the gorgeous wizard. However, when Tim claims Oliver as his own, Aslic decides to keep them both.

Oliver is an assassin brought in to kill Anthony but refuses to when he determines Anthony isn’t a threat to wizard kind. Unfortunately his boss has a different idea and when Oliver refuses to play their games he finds himself on the wrong side of a contract.

QSF stops by with a new book!


QSF has a new book out, the latest in our series of flash fiction anthologies:

Re.new.al (noun)

1) Resuming an activity after an interruption, or
2) Extending a contract, subscription or license, or
3) Replacing or repairing something that is worn out, run-down, or broken, or
4) Rebirth after death.

Four definitions to spark inspiration, a limitless number of stories to be conceived. Only 110 made the cut.

Thrilling to hopeful, Renewal features 300-word speculative fiction ficlets about sexual and gender minorities to entice readers.

Welcome to Renewal.

 

Mischief Corner Books | Amazon | Kobo | Goodreads

 

 

Excerpt

Because these stories are only 300 words each, we’re not supplying long excerpts, but here are the first lines of several of the stories. Enjoy!

“Griselda pulled the weeds from between the rows of Valerianella locusta plants in the garden, careful not to disturb the buds that would grow into the babies that were her only real income-producing crop.” —The Witches’ Garden, by Rie Sheridan Rose

“I didn’t know how truly the world was in trouble until I went journeying to look for Anisette’s bluebonnets.” —Bluebonnets, by Emily Horner

“The ship’s drive malfunctioned at the worst possible time.” —The Return, by Andrea Speed

“Before we continue, there’s a rather macabre fact about me I should share.” —Rejuvenation, by Christine Wright

“When I died they buried me at the bottom of the garden and returned to the fields.” —Below the Hill, by Matthew Bright

“The world is ending and I can’t look away from your eyes.” —Sunrise, by Brigitte Winter

““Losing one’s superpowers to your arch nemesis sucks donkey nuts, I tell ya. And trust me when I say I suck a lot of them.” —Rainbow Powers, by Dustin Karpovich

“The day I was born again was damp, rainy—a good day for rebirth, all things considered.” —The Birthing Pod, by Michelle Browne

“Intwir’s twelve eyes roved over the container, taking in the cracked outer lock and the elasticated fabric stretched tightly over its exterior.” —In a Bind, by S R Jones

“‘You’ve reached Androgyne HelpLine. Press one to start service. Press two to interrupt or cancel service. Press three—’” —Auto-Renew, by Ginger Streusel

“The doctor tells me that my wife is dying, but I already know.” —I Will Be Your Shelter, by Carey Ford Compton

“‘San Francisco was the first to go dark, followed by Los Angeles.’” —When Light Left, by Lex Chase

“My fingers lingered on the synthetic skin, trailing soft patterns across my work.” —Miss You, by Stephanie Shaffer

 

Included Authors

‘Nathan Burgoine
A.M. Leibowitz
A.M. Soto
Abby Bartle
Aidee Ladnier
Alexis Woods
Andi Deacon
Andrea Felber Seligman
Andrea Speed
Andrea Stanet
Anne McPherson
Bey Deckard
Brigitte Winter
Carey Ford Compton
Carol Holland March
Carrie Pack
Catherine Lundoff
CB Lee
Christine Wright
Colton Aalto
Daniel Mitton
Dustin Blottenberger
Dustin Karpovich
E R Zhang
E.J. Russell
E.W. Murks
Ell Schulman
Ellery Jude
Eloreen Moon
Elsa M León
Emily Horner
Eric Alan Westfall
F.T. Lukens
Fenrir Cerebellion
Foster Bridget Cassidy
Ginger Streusel
Hannah Henry
Irene Preston
J. Alan Veerkamp
J. P. Egry
J. Summerset
J.S. Fields
Jaap Boekestein
Jackie Keswick
Jana Denardo
Jeff Baker
Jenn Burke
Joe Baumann
John Moralee
Jon Keys
Jude Dunn
K.C. Faelan
Kelly Haworth
Kiterie Aine
Kristen Lee
L M Somerton
L. Brian Carroll
L.M. Brown
L.V. Lloyd
Laurie Treacy
Leigh M. Lorien
Lex Chase
Lia Harding
Lin Kelly
Lloyd A. Meeker
Lyda Morehouse
M.D. Grimm
Martha J. Allard
Mary E. Lowd
Matt Doyle
Matthew Bright
Mia Koutras
Michelle Browne
Milo Owen
Mindy Leana Shuman
Naomi Tajedler
Natsuya Uesugi
Nephy Hart
Nicole Dennis
Ofelia Gränd
Patricia Scott
Paul Stevens
PW Covington
R R Angell
R.L. Merrill
Rebecca Cohen
Redfern Jon Barrett
Reni Kieffer
Richard Amos
RL Mosswood
Robyn Walker
Rory Ni Coileain
Rose Blackthorn
Ross Common
S R Jones
Sacchi Green
Sarah Einstein
Shilo Quetchenbach
Siri Paulson
Soren Summers
Stephanie Shaffer
Steve Fuson
Tam Ames
Terry Poole
Tray Ellis
Vivien Dean
Wendy Rathbone
Xenia Melzer
Zen DiPietro
Zev de Valera