Can a bratty young vampire behave himself for the ultimate reward?
Benjamin Wilde has been around for four hundred years. Clove Noble has only recently joined the clan of the undead. But Clove has also joined Professor Wilde’s Egyptology class, and now the other students have begun to disappear, one by one.
Professor Wilde knows he has to do something to curb Clove’s youthful recklessness. And when the young vampire expresses an interest in Benjamin’s attractive bloodslave Sage, he thinks he might have a way to control him.
Or is Clove smarter than he seems? Will bringing Clove home to Sage be a mistake—or the way to a better future for them all? Because Clove is vulnerable to the other vampires out there, Benjamin wants to protect him as much as he wants to keep him in line.
And what about Sage? Can a human handle being with two hungry vampires, or will Sage make an offer that has been years in the making?
General Release Date: 4th July 2023
I noticed him on the first day of summer session classes at the University of Toronto.
The season had arrived with its stifling, sticky heat, endless hours of sun beating down upon the pavement and high-rises that crowded this self-important city. There were still people who imagined this northern country covered in ice and slush all year round, but summers in Toronto were brutal. Due to the lack of significant green space, the concrete city reflected and amplified the intense heat so that if you didn’t have climate-control capabilities in your dwelling, you were doomed to days and nights of sweltering discomfort.
He wasn’t human. Sitting in the midst of those forty-eight souls brave enough to sign up for my Pyramids of Giza—Ancient Egyptian Art and Archeology class, he glowed like a radioactive leak…but only to others of his kind, like me.
Vampire. Undead. Eternal.
He must have seen me.
I could tell from the vibrancy of his electric ambience that he had only recently been made, perhaps a handful of years ago. He was young, both in human years at the time of his change and in vampire years. But for all the luminosity, he didn’t look out of place among the other twenty- and twenty-one-year-old students in my third-year course.
In comparison, my radiance would appear faded and composed of varying underlying colors, rather than the bright white aura of a brand-new supernatural being. But he would see me, that was certain.
He was blinding—and not simply due to his supernatural youth. Whoever he had been before he’d become one of us, his physical appeal could not be debated. I was mesmerized by the way he moved as he strode into the auditorium and took his seat, apart from the rest of the crowd. Trying to manage his blood lust, I supposed.
It must have been raging. I recalled the first few years of my vampiric initiation, and the burning hunger that had lit my veins and made me look for food everywhere I had gone. It had made me reckless and careless—and had caused me no end of trouble, because older vampires did not like the younger ones, who threatened our practiced existence by calling attention to themselves in dangerous ways. If a new vampire was out of control and behaving in ways that made all vampires a target of attention, they would be dealt with…and swiftly. It wasn’t the mortal policing institutions that would bring them down, but their blood-lustful brothers who were able to manage their needs and desires with finesse and discretion.
In my own case, I’d managed to draw the attention of an older supernatural who’d taken me under his wing, taught me the skills to live among humans and the ways to manage the hunger. He was long gone, now—a victim of the despondence and despair that many of our kind succumb to after untold centuries, when existence itself becomes a burden and they simply want out.
Immortality was a dubious gift.
Only after four hundred years spent in this non-life was I able to be in a room full of young, vibrant humans and not want to murder and drink from each and every one of them. The hunger was there. It simmered below the surface like a gas-fired furnace, keeping me warm and aware of everything, but it didn’t control me, and I no longer found it painful to resist those urges.
This was not completely a process of maturation and practice. It was, in large part, because of Sage.
I had kept a host of human acolytes—I hated the word ‘slave’, and it didn’t fit what they were to me or I to them over the years—and Sage was the latest. They had been pets more than anything, and Sage had begun as such. But in the mere decade that I’d known them, they’d managed to exert a hold over me that none of the others had managed. I didn’t know what I was going to do with Sage when they became too old to serve me and wanted the easy final exit that most of their precursor’s had asked for—namely, a swift, intimate, peaceful death at my hands, in my bed or wherever they chose.
It was undeniably difficult to watch a human age out of existence.
But it was fascinating. The mental transformation was as captivating as the physical.
In their ten years at my side and under my teeth, Sage had eclipsed all others.
They were light and beauty and devotion. If a vampire could love—well, I loved them already. Our time together was not even a blink of an eye in my long immortal life and yet Sage had made such a huge imprint on me in that brief time.
I had begun to contemplate turning them into someone like me, but I couldn’t quite give up what we had just yet. They’d not lost their youthful glow and were gaining that bit of an edge that came when humans were approaching thirty.
Sage worked as my Executive Assistant, which was only a cover for us to be consistently together. And they supposedly ‘rented’ a room in my home. I knew there were rumors about us…but only concerning our sexual relationship. Nobody would guess the truth.
I was lucky enough that Sage, knowing who and what I was, permitted me the honor of feeding from them so that I could satisfy my blood lust in a manner that was measured and controlled and gave both of us a feeling of euphoria and pleasure similar to how humans felt when they copulated. And also, Sage let me fuck them, which gave us two times the pleasure when it was accompanied by a quick snack.
Let you fuck them? Let you feed from them? How could they have had free choice when you are so much more powerful?
Perhaps this argument had merit, and Sage was more my slave than I ever realized or intended. But I had gone to the point of pushing them away to let them know I wouldn’t keep them under my thumb. They were free to leave me, and they were always free to deny me food or sex—or both. They could withdraw their consent at any time. I told them this almost every day. And yet, they never did.
If there was anything inside me that resembled the human capacity to love, I felt it for Sage. In only ten years, they had made me more of their prisoner than the other way around. I didn’t know how long they’d deign to put up with me. At some point in the future, the question of Sage’s chance at immortality would be a force to be reckoned with. But I wouldn’t do it until they asked for it explicitly—maybe not until they begged.
Because immortal life was not a gift if it was given by force and circumstance. I had learned that lesson well.
AE Lister (They/She/He) lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada with their wonderful partner, two amazing teenagers, one full-of-beans mini-schnauzer, and a healthy dose of sarcasm. They write explicit adult LGBTQ+ romance for Pride Publishing and kinky AF fetish books for NineStar Press as AE Lister. They also write Young Adult romance for Lorimer Kids Canada as Alison Lister. They identify as non-binary and pansexual.
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