Note: This was my second release for the Del Fantasma series for Aspen Mountain Press. The series is set in a bar run by a vampire, Cody Warren. Although each book is part of the series, each is a separate story so you can read one or dip in as you like, the only provision being that each is based on a drink. I came across ‘Virgin Special’ in a cocktail book I purchased in the Carribean many years ago. The moment I read the drink title this story popped into my head. This is therefore my first m/m/f book.
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When innocence is a complication what’s a vampire to do?
When the temptation to end his misery proves too much to deny, unbeknownst to James his very existence is about to change. He thinks he’s alone with his memories when he walks too close to the sea but someone’s watching him; someone who holds his fate in his hands, and in his matchmaking skills.
Seth doesn’t want to visit Del Fantasma. He certainly doesn’t want to see Cody Warren, but Hannah certainly does, and whatever Hannah wants, Hannah gets. Seth’s dedicated what remains of his existence to trying to make her happy, but they are now two and were once three, and there’s nothing Seth can do to ease her pain…or his.
Cody may have the answer to their grief, but while Hannah is optimistic, Seth’s moods are interfering with her plan. Then there’s the complication that the human who might well save them is a virgin, in every sense of the word.
When sorrow finally gives way to despair, Cody finds the right kind of innocence to ease Seth and Hannah’s grief, if only James will let himself believe he has the right to a new kind of love.
Read an Excerpt…
This page has two excerpts, rated 18.
When one human male gives into despair, Cody finds the right kind of innocence to ease Seth and Hannah’s grief.
James blinked. A moment ago, she’d done that cute little raised eyebrow gesture that he liked. That’s not why we’re keeping you here. Had he heard right? “Why am I here then?”
Roughly pushing her hair back over her ear with one hand, she managed to look almost shy. The hair
moved with weight and as though it didn’t dare disobey. She gazed at the floor. “I need you here.”
Now, that he couldn’t have heard right, but taking it on faith that he had, James asked, “Why?”
Her eyes moved towards his gaze. “It’s difficult to explain. I asked Cody to find you.”
“Asked?” James couldn’t keep the frown from his face.
“Someone like you. I mean, that is…”
Part of James wanted to laugh. He was in a room with a stuttering vampire.
“Cody has a gift. He’s a good matchmaker.”
James blinked again. Match…maker? “I thought you were with Seth.”
“I am. It’s…complicated.” Her soulful eyes gazed into his, and despite the idea that she could be mesmerizing him, he really didn’t care. He cared less that she was a vampire. That wasn’t the thing he feared. As one hour bled into another he had started to inquire, but initially he’d let fear rule out over his mind. His natural curiosity and desire to know the unexplained reemerged, and had him asking questions, forgetting the possible danger he was in until it was likely too late. He still wasn’t sure if he was glad that Cody had saved him the other day, so it wasn’t the thought of death that made him try to run from these vampires. He couldn’t tell her why he’d wanted to run, though; she wouldn’t understand. He also didn’t care what the legends said about a vampire having no soul. He looked into Hannah’s eyes and saw her spirit gazing back at him. He didn’t like his attraction to this woman. She was so different from Elaine his desire for her made no sense. Still, denying it all he wanted wouldn’t change a thing. He felt comfortable around her, at ease. He wanted her to hold him and to hold her in return.
“All I ask is that you stay for a few days and…nights.” She smiled at him. “I’d like a chance to try to explain.”
Apparently, she took his silence for consent. “One other thing,” Hannah added. “After five days with nothing but a wash in the sink, I think it’s time you took a shower.”
“Oh…” James felt the heat of a blush in his face. “Yes. Please.”
Hannah jumped up from the bed. She went into the bathroom and he heard her fiddling about, taking things out of drawers. When she returned he set down his half-finished drink and watched as she undid the manacle. “Into the shower with you,” she said.
In the bathroom, James discovered she had laid out fresh towels and soap. As he turned, he gave a start to see her standing there in the doorway.
“I…” He fumbled for what to say.
Hannah’s gaze flicked to the window through which a less than nimble man could escape.
“I trust you in some things, James. I just don’t trust you not to try to leave. Not yet.”
Clearly, she meant to stand there while he washed. James turned his back to her even as she turned her gaze to the side. Maybe she would act like a lady, maybe she wouldn’t, but he swore he could feel her gaze crawling over his skin. As he moved to step into the shower, he caught sight of her reflection in the mirror. Her eyes in that moment shifted. James felt the heat of her gaze brand his backside. He jumped.
Her gaze met his in the mirror.
“You have a reflection,” James said, for want of something to say.
“All vampires do.”
“Oh,” was all that emerged. He longed to be witty and charming, to laugh off this moment where he stood naked in front of a beautiful woman with luscious curves and ripe pouting lips…but he couldn’t. His sudden erection had stolen all the blood from his brain.
“Seth will bring you dinner,” Seth parroted in a sneering voice. “What else do you want Seth to do for him, I wonder.” They’d had a long talk at Hannah’s insistence, and he’d agreed to give her a few days where he would curb his hatred for the human and his incredulousness at Hannah’s stupidity. Now he knew the truth about why they’d gone to see Cody, and despite disagreeing with Hannah, he hadn’t the heart to walk out on her. Still, Seth hadn’t expected to have to wait on the human. Of all the idiotic ideas that Hannah had conceived, and to think that Cody would pamper to her whims, give her false hope…
Seth carried James’ dinner on a tray in one hand, his anger and despair wrapped into a fist in the other.
He kicked open the door to James’ room and then forgot all the seething rage at his command as James raised his head. He’d avoided looking closely at the man since the other night—even while playing chess he’d kept his gaze firmly glued to the board—but suddenly it struck him how handsome James was. Well, why wouldn’t he be handsome? He had a passing resemblance to Edward, and Edward had been a handsome man. Seth clamped his mouth shut on a threatening growl. James stared at him, his eyes almost as wide as Hannah’s often appeared to be. The moment expanded; the two men gazed at each other.
Dithering, Seth wanted to throw the tray down and walk back out, but he had promised Hannah he would talk to the man.
“Food,” Seth grunted. He barely remembered to place the tray carefully onto the bed rather than fling it.
James hesitated and then drew it closer. He picked up a bread roll and started to nibble. “I guess food isn’t something you have to think about,” he said a moment later. “That is…” His voice trailed away and it made Seth turn his head to look at him. The man could actually blush and the vision made Seth feel strange. Longing combined with a vague delight teased at his senses. He could vaguely remember feeling those things a long time ago, but not in this vague way. He’d felt such things in abundance.
“We can eat and drink a little. Normal food, I mean. It’s not necessary, and too much disagrees with us.”
James nodded and set to the rest of the food. Seth suspected the ravenous attack was a way for James to deal with the situation rather than his hunger.
Just when Seth thought he could stand the silence no longer—silence only permeated with the quiet sounds of James eating and breathing—the other man spoke.
Seth sat there quiet, waiting to hear an asinine comment. James didn’t disappoint.
“What’s it like to be dead?”
“I don’t know. You’d know more about that than I do. You’re the one who tried to drown himself.” When James blinked in puzzlement, Seth snapped. “We’re not dead! Do we look dead? Maybe we’re not alive in the strictest sense of the word but—”
“Okay, I’m sorry. That was stupid of me. Clearly you’re alive in some way.” James looked him up and down and Seth struggled not to squirm. “Aren’t you interested to find out more? Don’t you want to know how you exist?”
“No. Should I?”
“I’m sure. You sound just like…” Seth stopped speaking.
“Edward?” James asked. “Hannah said that you both lost someone. She said to talk to you…about Edward.”
Rising to his feet, Seth began to pace. His arms wrapped around his torso, Seth rolled his shoulders and then, realizing that the gestures probably made him appear very uncomfortable with the question, he sat down once again in the only available chair in the room. “I’m amazed she didn’t tell you the whole story.”
“She told me she loved Edward and that he was killed. She told me how people set fire to the house he was living in at the time.
“I’m sorry,” James added a moment later. Seth looked up. “I didn’t think. I mean, obviously Hannah and
Edward were an item but you cared for him as well. I just didn’t realize you were that close.”
“What makes you think we were close?”
“The look on your face.”
That drove all thought from Seth’s mind. Did he truly wear his emotions so close to the skin? Wanting to retaliate even if the notion was ludicrous and unreasonable, Seth said, “What do you think Edward meant to me?”
“I…don’t know. Friends? Brothers?”
Seth raised his gaze to look James in the eye. “How about lovers?”
© Sharon Maria Bidwell, all rights reserved.
I have idea what this tastes like but if it’s like anything else I tasted in the carribean it’s either deceptive fruity or watery…until it knocks your socks off!
Virgin Special Cocktail
Take a glassful of fresh raspberries, bruise them a little and pour upon them:
2 glasses of Old Brigand Rum
2 glasses of Brandy
1 glass Redcurrant juice and half glass sweetened lime juice.
Let steep for half an hour, then add 1 glass sherry and some ice.
Shake and serve in 6 cocktail glasses.
Decorate with a cherry.