How It’s Always Been

Ant and I spent a great deal of my nights talking for the next week or so. But we didn’t just talk. Ant liked to sit down and play video games when none of the others were looking so that’s what he did part of the time too. He liked to play fighting games and shoot em up games. I joined him for a few rounds. But I sucked, even though I had played several of the games with Sage over the last few years. “I can do so much better than this in real life.” I sighed.

Ant cocked his head and laughed. “Oh yeah?”

Which lead to our nightly sparring matches – no holds barred but no killing allowed. I didn’t come back to life.

Two weeks I stayed in the Giovanni estate, I learned a lot about vampires. I learned even more about Ant and his mother. I learned how to fight against one of the best trained warriors in the world. Vampire speed aside, Ant had been fighting for 800 years or more. I was getting a lot of good tips and pointers.

Ant feed from me nearly every day. The lust and the desire never lessened, but I had learned to distinguish that from reality. Sadly my dream guy didn’t show at all he must be busy, or avoiding me. Though I couldn’t fathom why we were getting so close to my birthday.

But I was busy most nights learning about vampires. We just didn’t stay in though, Ant took me out patrolling the city with him. We walked though he said he walked through the shadows. We went to Frozen and stayed hidden. Ant said I had to control my power output and he taught me how to reign it in, hide how much power I had.

It was a little more difficult than my shields but it was easy enough to hide once I figured it out. I didn’t disrupt Frozen nearly as much. This was probably the first time in my life I went to a club without the express purpose of dancing and getting laid. It was teaming with vampire lore to learn. And I learned a lot.

When Cari returned Ryan joined Ant and I. It was like we’d been friends forever. They had a lot of inside jokes and they explained them the best they could, but you had to be there, and Ant and Ryan shared a sort of bond that was more than brother, more than best friends. I’d go out on a limb and say they were lovers, but I knew for a fact neither of them liked men to any degree. I mean I could probably persuade either of them, but it wasn’t really something I wanted to try. And they included me in their comradery like I belonged there. I was half tempted to stay longer, but my birthday drew near and I had an appointment to keep. One that made me both excited and nervous.

I didn’t see much of Jack, he didn’t like to be social. At least not in person, but he did pay me a visit the morning before I left. “Sorry to bother you in the dead of the morning.”

I smirked, “Because vampires are dead in the morning?”

He grinned. “Yeah. I mean the dead of night? really the dead walk the night, so yeah, dead of the morning. I was wondering if you could do me a solid.”

I cocked my head at him. “Chaperone us.”


Jack came in and whispered, “Cari’s starving, but everyone else is asleep. Anyone strong enough anyway. Ry, Ant, and Cari is hungry.”

“You want me to watch while she feeds on you?”

Jack smiled. “And maybe more…” He winked at me. “Please?” he begged.

“What do I have to do?”

“Just separate us if I’m about to die.”


“You’ll understand. Please, Sage said you liked to watch.”

“He likes to watch, I just go with it.” I said.


I nodded. “Fine.”

And I watched as Cari fed on Jack. I really didn’t want to think about it. It was borderline torture if you ask me, and I’m not one to shriek at pain, I like it myself too, but not to the degree Jack did. And Cari well she enjoys inflicting pain. Blood lust and all that. I had learned a lot before I left. And this only topped it all off.

I had waited until Ant woke up before I left. He heard through the grape vine what I’d done for Cari and Jack. He didn’t explain, the usual protocol they had, Jack had done that extensively afterwards.

I fed Ant one more time before I left. It left us feeling dazed and I actually enjoyed the cool night air against my skin. Cooler anyway, near July was not cool by my normal standards.

And the farther away I got from Dangdburg the better I felt. But there was a certain longing for friends left behind.

The Estate

I woke as usual with my back a bloody mess. It hurt to move. And yet there was a lingering disappointment I couldn’t understand that hung in the panic. Loss. Though from what I didn’t know.

I spent my day looking around Dangdburg. It was a quintessential small city and it seemed everybody knew everyone else. I asked around for the Giovanni’s and I was directed to their estate. It was one of the largest pieces of property I’d seen with an even larger house. Where I expected to see boarded up window I saw curtains fluttering in the wind.

There was a small woman outside tending to the guardian. She had the same blond hair as Ryan and when she glanced in my direction I saw the same green eyes. She got up from her planting and walked to the gate where I was just staring at the house. Her voice was quiet and she never looked up, “Can I help you?”

I shook my head. “No. I just was looking at the house.”

Her eyes came up and she smiled. “I can give you a tour. I’m sure she won’t mind.”

“She might.” I said.

There was a small laugh, “I have it on good authority to know you are welcome in my mistress’ house.”

“You’re Ryan’s sister aren’t you?”

Her smile grew and she gave me a little nod. “Jack says you won’t ever stop looking for her. Says it’s in your blood. But you don’t want to hurt her?”

“I’ve always been one to chase my fears.”

“She is kinda scarey. I’m Mia.” she said with a shy little giggle.

“Nox.” I said.

Mia showed me around told me that I was welcome to stay and she could send one of the others to get my things. Ant was the only one around Cari had taken the rest of them Ryan included to a job in California. She didn’t explain she probably didn’t know. And I really didn’t care.

Mia and I had a long chat about how she came to be with Cari and how the others with her did too. It was well before dawn when tall dark and handsome walked in and there was a stab of guilt running through my body and I wasn’t sure where it came from.

Ant just gave me a wry grin and sat down next to me. “You found the house.” He said.

“It’s not hard. I just asked where the Giovanni’s lived. And everyone seemed to know the name so it wasn’t difficult to get here.”

“Did Mia extend the invitation?” I nodded.

“She did. Sent Javier to get my things too and pay the bill.” I sighed. “I am capable of paying the bill.”

Ant laughed. “You are more than capable. My mother wanted to see what you’d do on your own. I had already told her I agreed to meet with you again, but she wanted to see.”

“Okay. I said. I didn’t stop looking.”

He grinned. “I see that. I am going to get some breakfast and then we can talk.”

“Breakfast?” I asked.

“Yeah real food. Eggs, bacon, whatever’s in the fridge to warm up.”

“Really? Let me cook for you.”

His eyes went wide and he shook his head. “I can cook for myself.”

“I like cooking, let me so that I can a least say I repaid your mother’s kindness with food.”

“Fine.” Ant growled, “Right this way.”

I followed him into a grand kitchen. It was extraordinary. Cast iron pots hung from the ceiling around a blue marble island with sink and stove it could probably fit 20 people around it not in the cooking area. The appliances were all stainless steel the cupboards matched the countertops only a little darker with frosted glass fronts. There was a large french door letting in the fading light with a spectacular view of the pool and trees behind the estate. I was awed.

The food in the fridge was a surprise. I don’t know why I expected there to be bags of blood but it was all human food. “Cari feeds on her herd, she doesn’t like cold blood, or blood from donors. It’s the only concession she won’t make to feed the blood lust. I learned to hunt from Aurora before we can to the States.”

“Your mother has to be a good hunter why didn’t she teach you.”

“She did just not the hunt for food. She never allows herself to hunt to feed. She’s afraid the blood lust will take over and then the world is in danger.”

I nodded as if I knew while I made breakfast for a vampire. I learned that Ant wasn’t like most born vampires. He couldn’t walk in the daylight and he wasn’t as good at all the vampiric magics that they excelled in. In that he was like an embraced vampire, like his mother. His mother had the blood of ten bloodlines – eleven if you counted primeval as a bloodline. I also learned that when they made the second enforcer they did not have primeval blood. It made me wonder how that affected things.

We talked for hours until Ant stood up while I was chopping vegetables for my dinner. “I’ll be back in about an hour or two if you want to talk more. I need to feed.”

There was no hesitation I offered him my wrist which seemed to surprise him. “You don’t have to go anywhere.”

“I can’t feed from the same person twice in a row.” Ant said, though he cocked his head to the side, “Though you don’t seem to be showing any of the symptoms of blood loss, you hadn’t last night either.”

I grinned at him. “Venatori remember. Fast healing.” As I went back to chopping.”

He frowned, “So why aren’t you dead?”

I blinked and frowned. But I couldn’t think of any reason. I hadn’t died from the one who had taken a chunk out of my arm. In the middle of my thought I felt a sharp pain and when I looked down I’d sliced my finger open. The reaction was quick as I wrapped it in elements to stop the bleeding. And I watched as the small slice healed faster than I’d seen. I felt the the skin actually knitting together. It was like something crawling over it.

I shuddered. Ant looked on in amazed hunger. “Well you didn’t have to bleed all over the vegetables.” He grabbed one of the bleed on peppers and laughed. “Not too bad. Though I don’t think you or Mia would like it.”

I grinned at him. “I think you are right.”

After I got the mess cleaned up and Ant ordered pizza, I offered him my wrist. “I don’t know why you aren’t killing me with your bite, but it’s the least I can do.”

The smirk was fleeting as he looked down at my wrist and the pulse that I knew was speeding up. “You sure.”

“Stay away from the neck, we don’t make it more than what it is, and I’ll be alright.”

Ant looked at me curiously then took my hand in his cold one and lifted it to his mouth. The bite was like he’d found an erogenous zone. My knees buckled and he caught me and held me against him. I wanted more. Needed more but I stayed myself as a pair of blue eyes floated in the darkness behind closed eyelids. I knew he wouldn’t be happy, he’d be jealous, so I stayed myself. I wanted more but I wanted more with him not Ant.


Ant grabbed my arm once we were outside and in the waning light he pulled me into the shadows, “Think of your room.” He said.

I blinked at him and he pressed me against the wall deep in the shadows, “Think of your room.” He demanded again. The demand. The room, a pair of blue eyes flashed in front of my vision. Fuck what was I doing, but I did as I was instructed and the grin that spread across his lips highlighted the fangs that had pierced my skin and I shuddered. Fuck what was happening to me.

And in a blink we were in my room, the room had shifted and I doubled over losing the two beers I’d drank. A mood killer for certain.

Ant grabbed me by the back of the neck and helped me stand back upright, there was a glass of water in his hand. “My apologies. I didn’t realize it would make you queasy.”

“Fuck what was that?” I asked.

“We call it Shadow walking. Any destination in shadow I can travel to from another shadow.” He grinned again, but this time the fangs were hidden.

“How do you do that?”

“What? the fangs?”

Ant shrugged. “They are always the same, just hidden in shadow. All embraced and primeval vampires can do it. The cursed have no such power.”

I nodded. “Are there are lot of cursed?”

Ant nodded. “Much more than embraced and far more greater numbers than the primeval – we are a dying race.”

I sighed. “I’m sorry.”

“Not your fault. While I adore your thirst for vampiric knowledge, I’m still hungry.”

I laughed, “What you didn’t get enough the first time?”

He smiled, a real smile that reached his eyes, “Of you, I don’t think I could ever.”

“Now that’s a pick up line if I ever heard one.”

“Do I need to pick you up?” Ant winked, “I’m already in your room.”

I sighed. “Losing my beers kinda killed the mood.”

“I can fix that.” Ant said, “Or rather you’ll change your mind once I feed again.”

I shook my head. “I may not be able to help my bodies reaction but I can’t go through with what I wanted so much before. There’s..”

Ant pressed a finger to my lips. “You don’t have to explain things to me. I can feed and go. Or I can stay. No obligations. And you don’t have to feed me at all.” He said.

“I want to, that’s part of the problem, but you can feed. It’s the least I can do.”

Ant nodded, “You don’t smell as good as before.” He said as he pressed his face to my neck.

I mumbled, “You siphoned off enough power.” Just as he bit my neck and the whole raw emotion, the lust and sex all came to the forefront. “Only to the edge.”

Ant chuckled against my skin sending more desire through my body. I went limp and Ant stopped. “Fuck. No.”

I laughed. “No I’m alright, just …” I didn’t finish my thought before Ant had me up and in the bed.

“It’s alright. Nox. I got it. I can’t control the bite like an incubus. It just happens. Even Johnny has more control than I do.”

I sighed and curled on the bed. “I need a nap, but I have a lot more questions.”

Ant laughed, “I’ll be back at sunrise and we can chat. I can’t stay still right now. All that power…”

I nodded as I drifted to sleep.

The Last Phoenix

Today AJ is starting to write the very first scene (from my point of view anyway) of the rewrite to the Last Phoenix. This is a noteable event I wanted to share with ya’ll… fuck AJ I don’t say ya’ll! See what she’s doing to me!

Anyway, If you are interested in getting all the extra bits plus early access to the Last Phoenix head on over to Patreon.

AJ’s posting a few extra bits today and tomorrow and hopefully come Monday morning my very first scene will appear on Patreon. You’ll get it here the middle to the end of May.

The Kiss of a Vampire

I drank two beers while talking. I think I did most of the talking. I rattled off rumors I’d heard in school and they told me whether or not they were true. I think they were amused by my enthusium much less the questions I was asking.

Ryan put his hand on my arm and I looked over at him. “I have a question.” He said then removed his hand. I looked down and felt the distinct lack of power emanating from him. But when I let my senses go I could see it radiating off of him. He was definitely not the source of his power. He was Chevalier – human servant bound to a vampire of immense power if I could see this kinda of power on a human. There really was no doubting he was bound by Il Cane. He looked at me as I nodded for him to continue, “Why is such a young Venatori asking so many questions? And to what end?”

I shrugged. “To no end. To understand you and your kind better. To straighten out what the Venatori think but never bothered to asked about the things we hunt and kill for no other reason than we can. I had to kill a vampire before I got here because he taught me wanting to talk to him about his little club meant I wanted to kill him.”

“Fernando was never to bright.” Ant said with a frown. “His second is the one who alerted us to your comings and going. We’ve been watching you.”

I laughed. “I’m sure that was entertaining watching me drive around the US.”

Ant shrugged. “Cari wanted to know if you were a threat.”

“Am I?”

Ryan laughed. “I don’t think so. And apparently neither does Cari. She’s paging me. I need to go.” Ryan looked at Ant, “I’m assuming you aren’t getting the call?”

“Need me to take you?” he asked.

Ryan shook his head. “No. She’s back at the estate I’ll walk. You entertain our friend.” Ryan left his seat and a tip on the bar. It was more than enough to cover every drink we’d had. But I didn’t say anything.

I turned towards tall dark and handsome with a grin that faded a little when I spoke, “You don’t have to entertain me. I’ll be leaving soon. And I’ll leave her be. But I might try to hunt her again.”

Ant laughed. “I’m sure she’ll be thrilled.”

A girl dressed like Scott had been stood next to Ant. She smiled and Ant returned it. “Not tonight honey.” He said, and she looked disappointed. She wore a collar on her neck and black cuffs on her wrist.

I asked after she sashayed away leaving Ant to watch her departure with hopeful disappointment. “The collar cuffs mean they are bittable? Garters too?” I asked.

Ant laughed. “Some girls will wear them, but if you that far down you aren’t in Frozen anymore.”

I grinned at him. “I might give it a go.” I meant so much by those words. “They do it for a purpose.”

“Most of them here, get off on it. And most of the vamps here are into pleasing instead of hurting so most vamps take them home. The guy you came in with, he’s on the fence. He wants you to share blood though, he’s a bit of a junkie. I don’t like junkies. They are hard to wean and they are even harder to make go away. He’s here every night. I’m not surprised he brought you. Probably thought you were one of us.”

“He mentioned something like that.” I said blandly.

Ant leaned closer and took a long deep breath so close to my skin I almost thought he was going to kiss it. His voice was a whisper, “You have so much power. I can smell it. It’s like a crackling fire beneath that thin skin. If I bit you I’m not sure I could make myself stop.”

“I bet you would. You don’t look like the blood sucking time.” I said as I tilted my head to the side. “Feel free to sample.” I said, voice low. My cock was pulsing at the thought of his lips on me. I knew vampires were a phermoitic creature but the only thing coursing through my mind right then was how much I wanted him to fuck me.

Ant groaned. “If I bite you I might not stop.”

“If you don’t I’ll stop you. I promise.” I whispered as I stood up forcing his mouth against my neck and it was only a moment before he had his fangs piercing my skin. There was a minor jolt of pain followed by the most intense rush I’d ever felt. I groaned and in seconds I was at the edge. I pushed against Ant’s shoulder, “If you don’t stop I’m going to come.”

Ant chuckled and pulled away from my neck licking the block from his lips. “That’s usually…” He stated to say but I had other plans and pressed my lips to his and the euphoria from before was intense as my blood and his kiss mingled. I don’t know what possessed me as I nipped at his lip drawing blood. There was a surge of lust and Ant’s lips were pressing harder against mine and my body was grinding against his. We needed some place a little more private.

Ant broke the kiss with a chuckle again and then growled. “Fuck. Okay, come on.” He headed for the door and I followed.


Scott directed me to the back of the line but I grabbed his hand. I wanted to try my luck with the bouncer. Scott sighed, “You aren’t going to get in.”

I grinned at the leather clad boy who wanted to be bitten. “You don’t know me.”

We went to the front of the line and I ran my fingers through my hair and made sure that the bouncer saw the tattoo on my temple. He straightened a little and I gave him a friendly smile. “I’m looking for someone. I promise I won’t make any trouble.”

The bouncer looked at me then at Scott. Scott shrugged. “I can make it worth your while.”

“We don’t take bribes.” The bouncer said.

“I just want to look around. I’ll buy a drink or two and if I don’t find who I’m looking for I’ll move on.”

The bouncer looked at me and frowned. “Who are you looking for?”

“Cari Giovanni.” I said without any humor in my voice.

“You won’t find The Hound here.” He said. “She won’t step foot in here without a reason.”

“So you know where I can find her?” I asked.

He sighed and whispered into his ear comm but I heard every word. “C’è un Feras qui in cerca di Il Cane.” Sadly I only understood Feras and Il Cane, but I suspected that he just told someone who I was looking for.

I didn’t make out what the response was on the other side of the line, but he lifted the velvet rope and escorted us in. “Don’t make any trouble.” He scolded as we walked into the door. “Don’t plan on it.”

I wrapped my arm around Scott and pressed a kiss to his cheek. “And that is your thank you for showing me the way. Good luck.” I said then headed into the club. I could feel the energy everywhere, it was all vampire. This was the worst place to be alone. But I had been to plenty of supernatural clubs before. This was nothing different. I pulled my shields up around me and headed for the bar.

But as soon as I waded about halfway through the crowd a cute blond and tall dark and handsome stepped into my path with smirks on their face. “We heard you were looking for Il Cane?” said the dark completion with the meditation accent to go with it.

I nodded and tall dark and handsome spoke again. “You aren’t getting any closer to her, she’s done nothing wrong that you should be hunting her.”

I grinned at him. “I’m not going to hurt her. I just want to say I found her.”

The blond chuckled. “Ballsy. You aren’t going to find her. She’s gone. And even we don’t know where she went.”

I sighed. “And you are?”

I heard a hushed whisper on the air and I laughed. “Del Figlio and her Chevalier. I am close.” I said proudly.

“You have good hearing for Feras.” The blond said.

“I’m not like other Venatori.”

“Obviously. No other Venatori is stupid enough to hunt my mother.” So tall dark and handsome was Del Figlio – the Son of the Hound. There were all sorts of rumors about him. And so many more about her Chevalier and here I was standing in front of them I felt almost like Sage at a comic book convention. The excitement that coursed through my body.

“I like him Ant.” The blonde said the other man. I was learning more and more. I had to hunt my history lessons. Anthony Giovanni was the given name of Del Figlio and her human servant was Ryan Elliot, or at least that’s what they said. Some people beleived Il Cane’s Chevalier changed. But I didn’t think Ryan was just a name for her most top male, no I was pretty sure he’d been with her from the beginning. He carried himself like he was much older than he looked. He’d seen a lot. I had so many questions.

“Maybe you can answer some questions for me since I won’t get close enough to her.”

“What do you want to know?” Del Figlio said with a curious tilt to his head.

“I don’t know. Everything. How often does one actually get to talk someone so close to Il Cane.” I said a little too fan boyish. I sighed. “Alright, I’m going to go sit down at the bar and have a few drinks. I am way to excited about meeting you.” I stepped through the pair of them and moved towards the bar. The crowd parted for me. I didn’t look back but I expected that the crowd parted for the gentlemen following me. I could hear the blonde’s breathe close by. Vampires don’t breathe. I had to take a note of that. When sneaking around vampires. I can’t hear them like I expect to.

I headed for a single barstool but they flanked me as I sat down. The men who had frequented those seats before had fled as the two more powerful men stood behind them. It was almost like the entire bar left as I sat down. But it was only the side I’d chosen. The rest was still hopping.

The bartender came over to me. He was a cute blonde too with blue green eyes that were hidden behind the long hair in front of his face. He looked at the two men surrounding me. “Whatever he wants Zach and a round for each of us too.”

I looked at the blonde – Ryan. I had to remember even though he hadn’t introduced himself. He grinned at me with a bright white smile and a nod towards the bartender. I looked back at Zach with a smile. “Sam Adam’s Irish Red, if you have it if not any Sam will do.”

He gave me a bright smile and nodded. “I got a Red.” He said as he slipped off towards the cooler.

Ryan was shaking his head. “You drink a beer when you could have had anything on the shelf?”

“I didn’t assume you were paying. And I will stick with beer thank you.” I looked around. “There is too much power here for me to let down my guard too much.”

Del Figlio laughed and it cut off as quickly. “You think too loud and if you call me Del Figlio again even if it’s in your head I’m going to throw you out on your head. Got it Feras. You can call me Ant – everyone does.”

I smiled at tall dark and handsome and gave him a wink since he was listening in. “Alright Ant, and you can call me Nox. I’d prefer that then to the slur you keep using.”

Ryan chuckled. “Ryan. Alright then.” Zach set the beers down in front of us and I took a good long swig of it. I was here with fucking Anthony Giovanni and Ryan Elliot. No one was going to fucking believe me. If they even knew who the fuck they were.