Thank you Holly and Full Moon Bites for being the first stop on my tour celebrating the release of Beyond The Edge! This book was double the fun to write, because it merges two of my series, On The Edge and Out of the Box. Five main characters can be a little hard to manage at times, but they’re all so interesting (… at least to me, and hopefully for readers, too!) that it was a pleasure to play with them all.
And actually, I’m playing with all of them today again… Holly gave me a prompt and I wrote a short flashfiction piece on that theme for each of the main characters. While these scenes are set during Beyond The Edge, they don’t ‘spoil’ the story for important events or plot points. I hope you’ll enjoy and would love to hear what you think!
I’d also like to invite you to follow me on my tour to learn more about the characters and their stories, as well as participate in giveaways for signed swag and a $25 Gift Certificate!
Leaning against the railing on one of the catwalks above the dance floor, Brett looked down at the dancing crowd. He joined in often enough with Lisa, Leo or both of them, but at times, in the privacy of his own mind, he could admit that he was starting to feel a little too old to bounce along with the music the way his customers now did. Could it even be called dancing? From his vantage point, it looked like an accident waiting to happen, twisted ankle or elbow in the face.
He wondered if he’d feel differently once he was a vampire like his lovers. The date they’d set was only a few months away, and while both Leo and Lisa had hinted, separately, that they’d understand if he changed his mind, he hadn’t. The baby’s arrival would change many things, but not that.
As his thoughts turned to the baby - a girl, Virginia and Anando had told them that very afternoon - Brett found himself imagining her as a toddler, a teen… a young woman, much like those now dancing below him. His smile faded little by little.
“That’s not a happy face,” Leo said, coming up to him and leaning against the railing next to him, their shoulders pressed together.
“I just had a thought,” Brett said. “Look at those girls. One day our little girl will be their age and she might want to dance.”
He gestured at a couple of young men near the bar who were eyeing the group of girls. He didn’t even add a word; he didn’t know if those two guys were vampires, and it didn’t really matter. They were on the prowl, that much was evident, and they were checking out their prey.
When Leo laughed quietly, Brett shot him a mock-glare.
“Hey. Not funny. It’s our baby girl I’m talking about.”
“It is. Which is why she’ll never set foot on that dance floor without at least one bodyguard within arm’s reach. She’ll be lucky if she can even find someone to dance with.”
Leo made an excellent point there. A grin coming back to his lips, Brett kissed him.
* * *
The tissue box rocked on top of
belly when she pulled another one out. She dabbed at her cheeks before blowing
her nose. Virginia
Seconds later, the front door opened and Anando walked in.
took her eyes off the television just long enough to throw him a smile before
turning back to the movie. She heard him set the shopping bags on the floor
before he hurried to her, his expression one of alarm. Virginia
What’s wrong? Why are you crying?” Virginia
He sat on the sofa next to her and wrapped his arms around her.
“I’m not crying,” she protested, her voice breaking on a small sob.
He pressed a kiss to her cheek, right on the path of a falling tear.
“Funny,” he said in a croaky voice, “because these taste like tears. Come on, tell me what’s going on. Did something happen? Did someone call?
She gestured to the screen with her tissue-holding hand. “That movie. It’s just… Every time Kevin Costner…”
She broke into tears just as, on the television, a plane came to a standstill while the music soared.
Against her, Anando turned completely still, then started to shake. She looked up at him and, through a blurry curtain of tears, realized he was chuckling soundlessly.
“You’re crying because of a cheesy movie you’ve seen before?” he asked with a too wide grin.
She jostled his shoulder. “It’s hormones!” she protested, crying harder yet. “I can’t… I can’t help it.”
Still chuckling lightly, Anando drew her closer again and pressed a kiss to her temple.
“Then maybe you shouldn’t watch movies that make you cry?”
She huffed and tried to pull away, but he wouldn’t let her go and after a moment she settled more comfortably against him.
Men, she thought to herself. They understood nothing.
But they did make for nice pillows.
* * *
Sometimes, Lisa had the strangest ideas.
Leo had no doubt that she was great at what she did for the club. She didn’t have an actual title, but dealing with public relations was a gift for her. Whenever things slowed down a little, she came up with another event, another party theme that packed the club with regular and new customers alike. She’d done it again tonight, but Leo was still unsure whether her idea had been genius or a catastrophe in disguise.
He’d know soon enough; his turn was coming.
On the stage, the emcee was reminding the audience that the money raised in the auction along with a percentage of the bar profits would benefit a local charity for runaway teens. Leo gulped.
“If I didn’t know any better,” Lisa whispered next to his ear, “I’d think you’re scared.”
“I’m not scared,” he protested at once. “Just wondering how I got volunteered for this.”
She chuckled and patted his arm. “That’d be because you flirt with everything that moves. And I bet everything that moves will bid on you tonight.”
That wasn’t a particularly reassuring thought. Leo flirted with a lot of people, that much was true, but it was very different from being put on offer like this. Besides, it’d been a while since he’d taken it beyond a few words, smiles and winks. What would happen if his ‘owner’ for a night was a little too ‘hands-on’ or demanding? Some of the ladies assembled in front of the stage had hungry gleams in their eyes…
Lisa seemed to read his mind. She laughed quietly then said, “Don’t worry. I’ll stay close and make sure whoever wins you doesn’t molest you before the end of the night.”
And with that, she pressed a hand to the middle of his back and pushed him forward to the middle of the stage. The emcee wrapped an arm around Leo’s shoulders as though to stop him from fleeing and started the bidding at five dollars. Leo only had time to feel mildly insulted by the low number: already a bidding war was raging, and the price offered quickly climbed to three digits. He glanced back at Lisa. He was definitely going to need a bodyguard.
* * *
Seconds ago, Lisa had been teasing Leo about the look of dread on his features and said she’d keep a close eye on him. As she listened to the women voices call always higher bids, she started to grow mildly concerned. Leo was the fifth ‘eligible bachelor’ they had auctioned so far, but while everyone had garnered a few bids, none had drawn quite as much interest as he did. Would she really have to play bodyguard to him? That’d be too bad, because she’d had plans for the night.
As the bidding climbed past two hundred dollars, excitement buzzed through the crowd. One after the other, the bidders yielded until two women remained, both of them standing right in front of the stage. Lisa recognized them as regular customers and wondered if either or even both had had the chance to spend a few hours with Leo before. It wasn’t what was on offer tonight; did they realize that?
At two hundred and fifty-five, one of the women bowed out, retreating through the crowd and climbing a staircase to leave, clearly disappointed. The emcee started calling out the number. At his loud “Going twice” a new voice rose from one of the catwalks; a man’s voice. Gasp resonated through the room when he called out, “Five hundred.”
Lisa smiled when she recognized the voice; judging by the way Leo’s shoulders relaxed, he had recognized it, too. It looked like she wouldn’t need to protect Leo from unwanted attentions, after all.
No one challenged the five hundred bid, and the emcee called an end to the auction. It was only seconds later that Anando sauntered to the lower level to pay his price and claim his prize; no doubt he’d left
“Do I really have to?” Brett murmured into Lisa’s ear, sounding just as nervous as Leo had.
Laughing, she pushed him to the front of the scene. Rather than remaining to the side as she had so far, however, she climbed down to stand with the bidders. She supposed she could have played Anando’s game, let the bids climb and then jump in when it looked like it was over. She’d never been all that patient, though. As soon as the emcee finished introducing Brett to the crowd, Lisa called out her bid in a loud, clear voice that rang through the entire dance floor.
It was the shortest auction of all.
People around her clapped, there were even a few wolf-whistles and questions about what she expected to get for that price, followed by laughs. She smiled as she handed out the cash. She already had what she wanted: Brett was smiling when he took her hand.
* * *
Over the past year and half, Anando had grown used to the rhythm of
heartbeat. At night, it was a lullaby, keeping him asleep until it accelerated
and warned him that she was about to awaken, so he could wake with her. Virginia
Lately, another heartbeat had joined hers, tiny and fast. Most nights, he found himself listening to it for hours. He wove his arms around
held her close and safe, and marveled at what was happening to them. Soon,
they’d get to meet their daughter. Soon, her heartbeat and Virginia’s would not
sing together anymore, but Anando would continue guarding both of them. Virginia
He didn’t delude himself he’d ever be able to protect them against everything; even the best of bodyguards could do nothing against heartaches and painful words. But he’d do his best, so that if he had any say in it they would both live long, happy lives. And he’d be next to them every step of the way.
Buy links at http://original.kallysten.net/2013/beyond-the-edge/
As Brett Andrews, owner of the famous club On The Edge, reaches the big ‘four-O,’ he has one request and one question for his two vampire lovers, Leo and Lisa: he doesn’t want them to organize any sort of celebration for him – but he does want to know why neither of them has ever mentioned the possibility of turning him into a vampire.
The question finds an answer, and the three of them share a promise for the year to come. His request, on the other hand, is doomed from the start as they already have plans for the big day: they have a gift for him to match presents he offered each of them, and the party they planned with help from a couple of friends promises to be something special.
Vampire Anando and his human lover Virginia met at On The Edge. They are friends and occasional lovers of Leo, Brett and Lisa. When asked, they gladly accept to host the big-bash birthday party – and the private after-party, too. A good time is had by all, but the last gift is only revealed a few weeks later, to be delivered after nine months.
With both humans in love with vampires, neither expected a child in their future. As for the vampires, they knew for a fact that they’d never become parents. For all five, once the first shock has passed, decisions have to be made. Will this new adventure strengthen bonds of love and friendship, or will it tear lives apart?