Selah March

To Have and Have Not

Erotic vampire romance (M/F); short novella

Available in electronic format only

Phaze Publishing

ISBN 1-59426-608-5

Purchase link

~~~

Fifty years in the future, the collision between unchecked Global Warming and unforeseen metaphysical conditions has created a tear in the fabric of reality known as the Breach. Now, the inhabitants of the city of Baltimore must live side-by-side with creatures they’ve never before encountered, except in their nightmares.

Jack Murphy: Sub-human, blood-sucking freak? Or just a guy who’s had the bad luck to be transformed into a creature of the night by forces no one understands? Either way, he’s not taking the easy way out — no leisurely strolls beneath the noonday sun for him. If he’s going down, it will be fighting the brutal regime that’s taken over his city, and if he has to go undercover as a “male escort” to do it, then so be it.

Except his lover, Laura, doesn’t care for Jack’s new career choice. Their bond is strong, and when they hit the sheets, they spark a heat-wave to match the one that holds the city in its scorching grip. But the gigolo thing? And the mean streak Jack’s developed lately? The combination is enough to shake anyone’s trust. Telling Laura the truth about his job would put her life at risk. Telling her why his job makes him so crazy…that would put Jack’s pride at risk. And blood-sucking freak or not, he’s still a man, after all.

~~~

Excerpt:

It had been three days.

Three days of listening to the steady drip, drip, drip of the dying air conditioner. Three days of the weatherman reminding everyone to “stay calm, stay cool, and stay hydrated, folks.”

Three day — and two nights — of sulking that got her nothing but bored and lonely and toxically horny. But she wouldn’t be the one to surrender. She would die — alone, unfucked, in a puddle of her own sweat — before admitting defeat.

He was wrong. A jackass. A prime, first-in-his-class bastard. She was the injured party, and wouldn’t go crawling back for all the orgasms in the greater Baltimore metropolitan area. End of story.

Except…

By sunset of the third day, she found she no longer gave a shit.

She didn’t bother with makeup. It would only melt by the time she walked the five blocks to his place. She pulled on an old button-down shirt and cut-offs — nothing glamorous. If he didn’t want her now, just as she was…if she couldn’t compete with the clientele he met on the job…

And that was the problem, wasn’t it? The job? How many gigolos kept steady girlfriends, after all?

“Oh, pardon me…make that paid escort.” Her sarcasm left a sour bite on her tongue. She turned the key in the lock, pushed open the door, and flicked on the overhead light. His one-room basement apartment was empty. The sun was barely down, its glow not yet banked by the settling dusk, which meant she’d just missed him…unless he’d spent the day elsewhere? Or maybe he’d entertained a guest right here at home?

The futon in the corner was unmade, rumpled. She wandered over to check out the sheets. Any unidentifiable stains? The scent of someone else’s perfume, maybe?

Nothing. Which should have been reassuring.

“So why don’t I feel reassured?” The room was too small and the ceiling too low to make her voice echo, and yet…

She kicked off her sandals, raised the Venetian blinds on the single, narrow window in the far corner, and took a seat on the threadbare loveseat beneath it. At least it was cooler here, beneath the bulk of the red-brick rowhouse, though the stink of the nearby Patapsco River saturated everything it touched. She stared through the smudged pane at the twilit sky.

“He should be able to afford something in a nicer neighborhood by now,” she said, addressing herself to the crow that had landed in the window-well and was looking at her with a quizzical head-tilt through the wavy, shatter-proof glass. “And yeah, maybe it would always have to be a basement apartment, but he could do better than this dump. Wasn’t that the whole point of the ‘man-whore’ gig?”

The crow tilted his head in the other direction, as if he could hear her and was considering her question. Were crows nocturnal? Weird.

She watched the bird through the glass and thought about how things used to be, before Jack decided it was time to move up in the world. Before he stopped calling himself “Jack Murphy” (the name he’d been born with) and started calling himself “Jon Morgan” (a handle that went better with the designer suits he insisted were an investment). Before he’d chosen to take full advantage of what the Breach had done to their world, and what the Change had done to his face and body.

“But it’s not just his looks,” she told the crow, who’d been joined by what appeared to be a clone of himself. The two birds seemed to stare at her through the pane and listen as she spoke. “If it was just about his looks, I might be able to walk away.”

She’d be a liar if she said Jack’s effortless beauty didn’t move her. And the edge beneath his black curls, blue eyes, and perfectly-formed body — the power coiled inside those sculpted muscles, the intellect hiding under the broody, Heathcliff-on-the-moors features, the real reason he commanded half a grand per night to escort Hunt Valley matrons and divorcées on their excursions into the deadlier side of Baltimore’s nightlife — well, none of that hurt, either.

Three more crows joined the first pair, lined up like soldiers on the cement edge of the window well. She lifted her hand and pressed the palm to the glass. “But in the end, I’d be better off with Bob Bluecollar from down the block, with the beer gut and the union bennies from Curtis Bay Chemical. Maybe he’d smack me around once in a while, like my dad. But I’ll take a cracked rib over a smashed heart any day of the week.”

What kept her coming around, when lately nothing beyond screwing each other into the futon was any good between them? She’d like to think it wasn’t just the Change. She’d like to think she wasn’t that shallow. But maybe she was.

It was damned addictive, the way his eyes went hot and fierce when he knew she was about to bleed for him. The way that tiny muscle in his jaw jumped. The way he growled so low she couldn’t hear it, but could feel it in the soles of her feet and the pit of her stomach.

It made the inevitable fuck that came after, or before, or in between that much better. Hotter than a wasabi garnish, sweeter than a Godiva chaser — his teeth in her neck or wrist or thigh gave her a high Jose Cuervo couldn’t rival on his best night. Screw the salt and lime, and that went double for the worm.

And though it had only been three days since last he’d fed from her, it seemed much, much longer now, with the last of the light finally gone from the sky. She shivered, and the bead of sweat that had been collecting in the notch at the base of her throat rolled down her chest and between her breasts.

Ten crows now, lined up double. Watching her watch them through the window. Very weird.

Soon he would come. She needed to be sure of something, and she chose that thought to cling to. He would come, and she would be waiting.

“And if he wants to play games? All that cat-and-mouse crap he’s been into lately? That’s okay, too. I won’t fight about it anymore. Whatever he wants. Unconditional surrender.”

Even as she said it, her throat tightened. Because her self-respect was all she had, and every time Jack launched another nasty mind-game, or looked through her like she wasn’t even in the room…it dissolved just a little more. But without Jack? She might as well take a dip in the Patapsco and let the acid eat her flesh right off her bones. Because when he was good to her, Jack was the one thing that made breathing bearable — the only thing she had to look forward to from one moment to the next. So screw self-respect and the horse it rode in on.

“Which makes me pretty fucking pathetic, doesn’t it?”

The crows had no reply.

She undid the first four buttons of her shirt and slid it off one shoulder. Then she leaned against the armrest of the loveseat, let her head fall back, and pretended to sleep.

~~~

  • FALLEN ANGEL REVIEWS: “This short story by Ms. March grips the reader from the first sentence. The heat that’s generated between these two characters scorches the pages. I love the uncertainty that Jack shows, even though he’s an alpha male, not only about his relationship with Laura but about himself and what’s he’s become since the Breach. Ms. March packs a lot feelings and insight into this 27 page story that readers will not only enjoy but will be telling their friends about.” (Donna)
  • 5 HEARTS from THE ROMANCE STUDIO:This story is very hot, very sexy and extremely well-written. It keeps the reader panting for more even as the couple faces danger in a ravaged city. My only regret in To Have And To Have Not is that it was not longer, so I could enjoy Jack much much more.” (A.J. Cove)

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: