The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Friday, 19 December 2014

At Midnight



It's almost Christmas! You can sense the panic coming from me can't you? Since I haven't had the opportunity to do a new story, I thought I'd make an old one free for you here:


At Midnight by Billy London©


Before Christmas was hijacked by the Romans in the name of Christianity, vampires had already claimed the twenty-fifth day of December as their own, as a vital, sacrificial ceremony for all vampires who came of age. The irony of the day becoming known by humans as an occasion to exchange gifts was not lost on vampires. Oliver really wished he’d been told that a lot goddamn earlier.
“You’ve got till midnight,” his father warned him. “No feeding the week leading up to the twenty-fifth.”
On the stroke of midnight, just as Eve became Day, Oliver would need the blood of a mate on his tongue or risk sacrificing his immortality. It sucked. Literally sucked. He was a solitary person. Mateless. Utterly inconvenienced in finding someone willing to become like him, when up until recently, he really preferred his own company. His condition didn’t particularly lend itself to social situations. There was no chance he was off to the nearest chain coffee shop to pick up a woman. But here he was, at a ridiculous costume party trying to find someone who would do for now, because he had run out of options and his father had run out of patience. The theme for the party was Christmas movies, and so many lazy asses had turned up as Jimmy Stewart’s character from It’s A Wonderful Life in a suit and tie. His intended mate-for-now was dressed as Tinker Bell. Very apt. Shallow but easy.
A small thing dressed as a pig nudged his side. “Easy there!”
It was Tamsin. She was insanely sweet. How could she not be—she had freckles on her nose! They were dark spots amidst smooth chocolate skin. She’d organised this party and let him know he was more than welcome to come along. He’d met her three months ago at an underground gig for Massive Attack and hadn’t wanted to let her out of his sight since that moment. If only, he’d thought, repeatedly. But he wouldn’t dare take such a girl from her family. Never at this time of year. They’d be devastated, and the little humanity Oliver had left would be extinguished. Tinker Bell had no ties, no family, and would be the type of vampire who would easily find distractions for the rest of her existence, or until she got herself staked.
He felt the pull at his heart, the aorta squeezing whenever he saw Tamsin. But she was human. There was such life in her. Finding a true mate was the same sensation as a heart attack. It was terrifying, but the organ needed to adjust to being controlled by another. Tamsin had no idea of the power she had over him.
“You know Phantom of the Opera isn’t a Christmas movie,” Tamsin scolded, lifting the pig snout from her face to the top of her head.
“Neither’s Babe.”
“Hey, it’s all good family fun, and that is the sum of Christmas. Well, that and eggnog. I wish I could get more of that over here—I’m obsessed!”
He breathed out slowly, thinking that he didn’t necessarily want to live forever with someone vapid and pointless for the sake of honouring tradition. It wouldn’t be that bad to get to know Tamsin and age disgracefully with her instead. Sometimes he caught a glint in her eye that belied the good girl image everyone believed her to be. There was danger in her. In another life, he’d have dedicated everything to bringing that to the surface.
“Are you okay, Ollie?” Her eyebrows snapped together, concern in the very depths of her liquid brown eyes. At that very moment, he changed his mind. He wasn’t going to commit himself to someone, only to live forever in misery. Whatever life he had left, he’d spend it convincing Tamsin that he was right for her.
“Not really,” he admitted. “But you’re smiling, so it can’t be that bad.”
She blushed. “What are you talking about?”
He caught her cheek with his palm, stroking a thumb over velvet-soft skin. “I want you to be with me.”
She took an awkward stumble backwards, eyes round with shock. A Jimmy Stewart fell over, glass breaking in his hand. The sight and smell of rich if not alcohol-laced blood tore his fangs from his gums, hunger making him lose control, and he clapped a hand over his mouth. His eyes went to Tamsin, who would be the type of person to help, but she had the same expression of shock and hunger on her face, a hand over her lips. Realisation froze him to the marrow. Vampire. She’s like me!
“Sorry,” she mumbled, stumbling away from him as others bent down to help the Jimmy Stewart. Oliver followed her little pigtail to the balcony of the ballroom.
Vampire-human hybrids were rare, but like any creature, they had evolved to protect themselves. Unless the hybrid showed itself, another vampire would never be able to scent it as one would a full vampire.
“Tam,” he said softly. She had her back to him.
“No, don’t look at me, or I’ll do something I’ll regret.”
His surprise made him laugh, fangs and all. “Tam, turn around.”
She did as he asked, her eyes a burning orange colour as she tried to glamour him into believing he’d imagined her fangs.
“Tam, that’s not going to work on me.” He bared his teeth and she gave a little jump.
“Oh,” she breathed in understanding. “You’re half, like me, so I couldn’t scent you. But that’s amazing!”
The very thought of having her forever started to cloud his mind. “Hold on a minute—you love Christmas. How can you love Christmas with those little fangs?”
“Because it’s the only time my family is all in one place at the same time. Pretending to be normal and human and such.” She gazed up at him, taking the mask from his face. Even in a pig costume, she had the most beautiful skin, luminous against the pearl white of her fangs. “What do you need, Ollie?”
“Just you,” he breathed, curling his arms around her and lifting her to his height. Burying his face in her neck, he could now scent her. Like warm rain on roses, she smelled absolutely delicious. His fangs almost hurt, they ached so badly with the need to taste her. “Always.”
“Do you really want to stay this way with me?”
Oliver heard the doubt in her voice and thought about the elders who controlled time. Maybe he could go back and rip apart everyone who had ever made her doubt herself.
“Yes,” he said firmly, catching the shoulder of the costume and ripping it free. His body throbbed in anticipation of marking her as his own.
“Just making sure,” she said quietly. “You can’t change me, but this is still forever.”
“It’s just you.”
“Ollie,” she sighed, and something at the back of his head warned him she was hesitant about this. No. He wouldn’t let her keep herself from him out of whatever misguided belief she had. She belonged with him.
“Later.” He watched the pulse of her neck for a still moment before sinking his teeth into his future.


***

Tamsin gasped at the pinch of Oliver’s teeth in her neck, crying out when he went deep. The costume had been a double-edged sword. While most people couldn’t help stroking the velour, being dressed as a pig was hardly equivalent to the sexual creature she wanted to be in front of Oliver, who was simply Brad Pitt circa Meet Joe Black.
 She knew she was playing with fire around him and making it impossible for her to find a true mate, but she’d ignored her rationalisations, all of them. And now, she couldn’t help but feel she was being rewarded with him. The pull of his lips on her neck was just like a caress across the entirety of her body, and she gave a low moan that sounded like a prelude to an orgasm. She was the perennial good girl to everyone who met her, and she was relieved to find that, rather than being shocked by her reaction to him, Oliver wanted more. A pulse beat in her body. To the same rhythm, she wrapped her legs around Oliver’s waist and rubbed herself against him. His erection pressed between her legs, and she pressed back harder.
He lifted his head, eyes burnished orange, her blood staining his lips. “Do you always do that?”
“What?” she moaned, mesmerised by the colour on his mouth. How would her blood taste on him?
“Do this.” He echoed her movements, catching both her buttocks in his hand and stroking her over the length of his covered dick. Tamsin couldn’t breathe for a minute, let alone answer him. “If someone feeds on you?”
“No.”
He traced his tongue over her bites. She shuddered from the alternating heat and cold of him. “If you’re sure? Because it sounds like you want to be fucked.”
“We’re on your timetable, Ollie,” she murmured, tilting her head back as he grazed his fangs over delicate skin. “What do you want?”
“You,” he breathed, ripping the costume with one hand.
“Stop that!” she protested, “I need to give this back.”
“I’ll pay for it,” he promised, tilting his head to catch her in a kiss. One bite and a kiss and she was shaking like she was about to come. Thank you Massive Attack, she thought with glee. Her tongue caught the edge of one of his canines, a moan vibrating to his mouth. Though she was always wary of the damage that could be caused by her teeth, her head, her body, even her pussy throbbed with ideas of him putting his teeth anywhere and everywhere.
Gently, he allowed her feet to touch the ground and he untied his cape. He paused for a moment to cup her cheek. “You know you and that little snout stopped me from making a huge mistake?”
“That’s nice. Get undressed now.”
He gave a chuckle, shucking off the rest of his clothes. Not wanting to delay anything else, Tamsin removed her bra and carefully stepped out of her panties. Kicking them to the side, she let her arms drop. Something cool trickled over her collarbone. Dark red liquid trailed from her bite to pearl at her nipple.  
Just as she went to swipe at it with a finger, Oliver’s head was there, taking the blood and her breast into his mouth. The graze of sharp teeth forced her back into an arch, thrusting her hips against his fully nude ones.
With two fists in his hair, she pulled him away. “I want to touch you. But…” She tapped her tongue against her fangs. “They won’t go away.”
He went on his knees before her and blew gently on her damp pussy, leaning forward to press a kiss to her stomach even as his fingers slid along the lips of her sex. “I’ll let you try that another time. It doesn’t matter right now. You’ve given me so much tonight.”
Nothing could have prevented the sheer scream of delight she gave when his teeth grazed on either side of her pussy lips, his tongue delving in between. I’m branded, she thought, no man will ever be able to touch me again. Well, that would sort of make things easier.
Slowly stretching to his full height, Oliver turned her around and pulled her back against his naked front. “Let me take you this way,” he whispered, pressing himself hard to her bottom. It was definitely a command, despite being framed as a persuasive suggestion. She obeyed, bracing her hands on the railing, not at all phased by the idea that anyone could look up and see her completely naked, spread and ready to take Oliver inside her. His cock nestled between her lips, nudging gently at her opening. He carefully turned her head to look at him, the irises still that violent shade of orange. “There can’t be any barriers between us.”
“I know,” she whispered, pulling his arms around her before she gripped the railing. “I just didn’t think you’d want me this way.”
“Oh, Tamsin.” He gave a laugh that sounded pained even to her ears. “My sweet, deluded Tamsin. Watch.” As they looked over the crowd of people below, his dick pushed deep into her. A beastly growl emerged from his throat, a sound that recalled their ancestors before they evolved. The same sound came from Tamsin as he pushed further than any man had before. She felt a trail of cream snake along her thigh, teased from her depths. Oliver smoothed his palms along her back up into her hair.
“No one else will ever know you this way,” he whispered into her ear, nipping the flesh. “Just me. You think if any of them looked up and saw you right now they wouldn’t be touching themselves? Wanting to feel you, taste you, fuck you like I am?”
Every stroke of his dick back and forth was driving her crazy, and with his words, he was weaving a spell she couldn’t break away from. Coming right to the edge of that precipice, she cried out and gripped the railing so tight, the metal gave way. A squeal escaped her throat, nearly toppling her onto the floor of the balcony, but Oliver’s strength caught them both. He pulled back with an arm about her waist and she landed on top of him with a giggle.
“That would have been slightly embarrassing.”
“Why? Everyone should know what you look like when you need my dick inside you.”
She gave a violent shudder, turning onto her front, straddling his waist. She should have guessed he’d have the touch of a dom about him. “I’ll be wearing that expression permanently if you don’t hurry up and make me come.”
“Patience.”
Gripping both thighs in his hands, he rolled her onto her back and slipped back inside her. He curled one leg onto his shoulder, opening her completely to him. His dick felt relentless inside her, so demanding. She reached out for him, gripping his arms, to pull him closer.
“Take me,” he growled, “all of me.”
She’d never felt more like a complete woman than at that moment, her body accepting him entirely, obeying him completely. The build-up of her orgasm started in her chest, while the white heat at her pussy came later. Shaking with the onslaught, she slipped her leg from Oliver’s shoulder and wrapped it around his waist instead. Her eyes focused on the sweat beading at his neck; her mouth dried at the sight of the veins straining against his skin. Her sight magnified in her desire, she watched the blood cells dancing close to the surface, taunting her to taste.
“Go on,” he challenged, as if sensing her gaze. She was so hungry, his dick doing nothing but stoking the need to taste him. When she struck before he could take the challenge back, blood as rich as the oldest and most expensive of wines flowed onto her tongue, bubbling through her own veins as she drank. She groaned, her hunger sated as her orgasm started to tear through her. He curved his hand around the back of her head, forcing her to release him. Then he brought her into a kiss so deep, she felt the echoes of his convulsions when he came too. They were in the taste of his tongue, the groan on his lips, the tremble in his body and in his very essence, pouring into her.
He held her tightly for a long time, just sighing her name over and over again. As no sensible thought was forthcoming, Tamsin said the first thing that popped into her head. “I’m not an exhibitionist. I swear.”
He gave her another kiss instead of replying, reaching for his cloak and tucking it underneath her head. She settled herself against him, waiting for her breathing to turn normal. But then she’d been waiting for that around Oliver since she’d met him. Now that the ability to think had been restored, certain important details started falling into place. Vampires matured in threes. Three years after a vampire was first changed or the first three decades of a born vampire’s existence. They became stronger, faster, they could manipulate their appearance. However, immortality was granted to pairs, regardless of their sexuality, a relic of their creator, the original vampire wandering the earth alone. Oliver had turned thirty two months ago. He was a single male of age on the twenty-fifth. Given the way he’d completely fucked anyone else out of her mind, she doubted he had the same contingency plan as she did. He hadn’t even known what she was and he had been willing to give up his immortality. For her. So he really needed to know.
“Ollie,” she said into the sated silence.
“Yes, Tam?”
“I have to tell you something.”
He lifted his head. “What is it?”
“Don’t hate me.”
Oliver pressed kisses all over her face. “Why would I hate you?”
“Because my parents have sort of arranged for my maturity next year.” She said it all in a rush and winced, bracing herself for his fury.
He blinked very slowly. “You have a mate?”
“Sort of like a standby,” she explained.
“Yeah. I don’t care,” he replied shortly.
“But…”
They heard the screech of a microphone clashing with the stereo system and the voice of the other organiser boomed across the space. “Sixty seconds to Christmas Day, folks! I don’t know where Tam has got to, but on behalf of all of us, I hope you have a fantastic Christmas!”
Everyone below cheered. Tamsin looked back to Oliver. “About this standby...”
He exhaled deeply. “All right. Where does he live?”
Tamsin started. “What? Why do you want to know?”
“Because if you carry on the way you are, I’m going to assume there’s only enough room for one of us in this life. As I don’t plan on handing you over to anyone, he’s got to go.” He manoeuvred her beneath him once more so smoothly, settling between her thighs. “You belong to me now. You chose me as much as I chose you.” He was hard against her, the tip of his dick pressing her open. “No more buts. We can explain the whole thing to your family. Now give yourself to me.”
Oliver bit into her shoulder, bursting her veins open. With a gasp she arched into him and he surged back inside her. Too lightheaded to take much note of the bells chiming for the arrival of Christmas Day, any thoughts of just how she’d explain herself to her parents or to poor Max went completely out of her head. Right now, the whole world was simply Oliver.


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

I Fought The Law



And we're off again! Christmas is taking up a lot of time (everyone wants everything done now, me to put on a nice dress, socialise and smile. I'm still exhausted from that marathon month writing, have no patience to do it to order) But more importantly is to get this book back out again. Maybe because it's a little too close to home, or maybe it's because of Nonna Mamione, or Rocco's smoothness, or I see family and friend's in Anna's fuck you and your ilk attitude, or even that I wrote it so damn fast, that this is genuinely one of my favourites. And there's nothing more satisfying in this world than helping a nutty, unbalanced, hilarious old bird. Once again, a Knight for your pleasure.

The Claim on Amazon
The Claim on ARe

R v Blurb [2014]

Rocco Mamione has possibly the best wingman in the world. His grandmother. He had no idea that when his nonna was fired from the job she had for thirty years, she’d demand the best employment lawyer in London. A lawyer who just happens to be his ex-girlfriend. His nonna has been giving him the “where are my great-grandbabies?” goo-goo eyes for some time and is convinced that Anna is the perfect woman to multiply those slightly unbalanced Mamione genes. Truthfully, he only ever imagined having babies with Anna. To get her back will be the ultimate challenge, but Rocco is nothing if not Sicilian-resilient.

Anna Taylor is not an Ice Princess. Rocco Mamione just burned her heart to a crisp six years ago. Anyone can talk about it, if they want a biro in their eye and an invoice for the advice to shut up. Smart enough to want to avoid further heartbreak and a potential conviction for murder, Anna does her best to not be led down the Mamione path again. Definitely not by his crazy grandmother or her crack-addictive cakes. Not by Rocco’s slick lines and hard body underneath those tailor-made suits. And absolutely not by the fact that she loves him. Still. After all this time. The truth about their break up may just do it.

The third book in the Italian Knights series is one cup good sponge, two cups of endurance, redemption, and a lot of letting go. If only to get a bit of Sicilian... 

 R v Excerpt [2014]


“But I—” Imogen’s eyes widened and her mouth fell open. What was she looking at? Anna turned around and saw Rocco heading for the lifts. “What the hell?”
“Yeah,” Anna said shortly. “Look, I’ve got to go. I’m late.”
“Are you mad? Have you lost your mind? Did you forget what he did?”
“What the two of you did?” Anna corrected. “No. I haven’t. But I have a job and it needs doing.”
Imogen stared at her in disbelief. “I never thought you were that stupid, but it’s obvious you want to get under him again.”
“I’m going now because I’m not going to dignify that with an answer.” She headed in the same direction as Rocco, in fact, feeding into a perverse need to see how the two of them would behave toward each other.
“Hold the lift,” she called, just as Rocco took a step inside. He held the door with one large hand, and his eyes lightened deviously on Imogen, with baby in tow.
“Imogen Barnes,” he said. “Look at you, rearing the innocent.”
Anna was shocked. Whatever she had expected, it wasn’t that.
“I’ll wait for the next one. Anna, I’ll talk to you when you get your senses back.” The lift doors closed just as the baby started to wail again. Rocco leaned against the closed elevator doors.
“So you’re still friends. Really?”
Anna glanced at him edgily. “Sometimes, yes.”
“Forgive me if I find that absurd.”
“She’s made up for it. It was a mistake.”
He snorted a laugh. “It was a fabrication.”
“Excuse me?”
“I said, it was a fabrication. You tell me what on this planet would induce me to fuck that?”
“I don’t know, maybe simple availability!” Anna raged. “Oh, look, there’s a pussy, why don’t I stick my dick into it?”
Rocco suddenly crowded her space, and she found herself pressed to the wall of the lift, clutching the support bars. “You knew every single inch of my body. Ask her. Compare notes.”
“Why would she lie about that? Why would she completely ruin our friendship over a lie?”
He shrugged. “Why does anyone do something that makes them infamous in a person’s life? What else does she have going for her? Ask her where my tattoos are. If she slept with me like she said she did, she’ll know.”
“That’s crap, what if I’d told her?”
“Did you?”
Course not, the wonders of his body were all for her and for everyone else’s imagination. “It won’t prove anything.”
He smiled sadly. “My learned friend, I beg to differ. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Battlefield



I don't know if you know, but I wrote this story in 36 days. I have no idea what Hank was on but he had other things to do that month and wanted to get on with them, rather than deal with Rocco pining for his tempesta. Without further ado, here is the soundtrack for Rocco and Anna's battlefield love story:

I've mixed it up from the original soundtrack, only because I don't want repeats of the same tracks. It tickles the OCD patient hiding within me...

  1. Florence and the Machine Shake It Out 
  2. TI ft. John Legend Slide Show
  3. Maxwell Pretty Wings
  4. Madonna She's Not Me
  5. Justin Timberlake What Comes Around
  6. Birdy Shelter
  7. One Republic Apologize
  8. Mumford & Sons I Gave You All
  9. Gnarls Barkley Crazy
  10. Gnarls Barkley Run
  11. Faithless Don't Leave
  12. Massive Attack Paradise Circus
  13. Arcade Fire Ocean Of Noise
  14. Rihanna ft Drake What's My Name
  15. Interpol The Lighthouse
  16. Zero Seven Ghost Soul
  17. The Rapture How Deep Is Your Love
  18. Kanye West ft Bon Iver Lost In The Woods
  19. Tom Rosenthal Take Care
  20. Chaka Khan Love Has Fallen On Me 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Fairytales of Christmas




I am trying to keep all my literary balls in the air, at the moment. I sent out a little reminder that I am actually alive (sort of) and this time last year, I completed a little collection of stories all around the Christmas holidays. Each story connects with the one before - two by two, like the Ark. Gosh, I love this time of year. Yes it's cold. No, there is no snow (can't remember the last time it actually snowed at Christmas in London). Yes, I will eat my body weight in mince pies and brandy cream. And still be hungry. With all of that, I get to see my friends, my family all happy, and joking, and laughing and most likely having a snooze in the corner. But as NaNoWriMo has taken over my life, I may need to wait a little bit longer until I can get into the party-writing spirit.

The Fairytales of Christmas on Weyward

So for you, I've re-compiled the playlist for The Fairytales of Christmas. You know Spotify doesn't give me everything I want. Sad face. On the other hand, some cracking Christmas tunes right here. I know one isn't Christmassy at all, but on three repeats, I wrote that story. Can't be unhappy when this music exists. Enjoy!

The Fairytales of Christmas on Spotify

Past & Present Pleasures
  • The Fairytale of New York - The Pogues
Fate & The Future
  • The Christmas Song - Ella Fitzgerald 
The Gift Of Donna
  • Jingle Bells - Michael Buble 
India's Christmas
  • All I Want For Christmas - Mariah Carey
A New Noel
  • Mirrors - Justin Timberlake
Changing Lights
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Christina Aguilera
Shopping For Two
  • White Christmas - Otis Redding
Season of Diamonds
  • Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Frank Sinatra
Miller's Girl
  • Put A Little Love In Your Heart - Al Green 
Jingle In The Night
  • Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt
Castle Family Christmas
  • I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day - Wizzard
Brooke & A Hard Place
  • Merry Christmas Everyone - Shakin' Stevens

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Violet Hill...

I'm still wrestling with the uncontrollable beast that is NaNoWriMo. And I've done something I really wish I hadn't.

I have a plot device. It unveils the villain. It brings the hero and the heroine together - because nothing defines love like a goddamn crisis. And it teaches my beta to be a better man. A more deserving man. His eyes are opened to all that he is and all that he can be. There's logic to the madness. And yet, I don't want to do it. I don't want to kill off this character. I need to. The story doesn't work if I shirk it.

I've killed off people before. It's not an IK story if there aren't a few bodies littered around. (Oh god, there are two massacres each in the next two) . That's not what's making me hesitate. I've killed off people I didn't care about. I didn't blink when I had them shot. Or their neck snapped in two. Or their ribs kicked through their lungs...  Of course it's simple to slit a literary throat when you can't see their smile, or hear their voice, or ignore special they are. I shouldn't do it, but I must. Hank tells me I must. He's also told me he'll make it all right. I call him an out and out liar. So while I've been a quaking mess sobbing over something I'm yet to do, Janet Eckford reminded me that she's done this. *side eye for the pain she caused me* It hurt at the time; tears were shed; but it made sense in the end.

That's all I can hope for.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Move!


For some reason I've signed myself up to the undeniable pressure that is NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words in 30 days. I don't know why?! One is not a flower that blooms in the dark. Or some such rubbish. We're on day 4, and.... Well I'm ahead. Just. And it's a story that I've started and abandoned a thousand times. I knew there was something wrong with it. Something missing. I couldn't quite grasp what it was. Until a day before NaNo was to begin, I had a light bulb moment. The heroine always had this rather mystical way with words and an even more alluring way with men. So Hank nudged me and said bluntly, "Bitch is a witch."
"No, she's just... Just... Bitch IS a witch. Who knew?"
"Me. You weren't listening."
I've got a lot to do. 36,000 things to do... But with a strong start these last few days, I've got room to do it. I will do it! Plus it's only pushing my competitive side. I want to win something this year. I mean a drink or a free meal is all very well and good but I want a badge! Badges plural! I love a badge. And a tiara. Might get one of those too for the 30 November. Now, to plotting!

Friday, 31 October 2014

The Dead, The Damned and the Darkness



Happy Halloween! Holidays equals presents and presents equal... Well a re-release but I'm glad it's back out in the world. On the most spooky day of the year, let the dead rise again!

Shibah's Monster on Amazon

Dr. Blurb

Dr. Shibah Kusi is a woman who lives by the rules of science. There isn’t anything that can't be explained or rationalised by what she’s learned in her work as a pathologist. It’s kept her grounded and it has kept her sane. Until one night, in the depths of the mortuary, she comes face to face with the dead body of her childhood crush, Marek Kaszynski. All she wants at that moment, seeing the man she’d always been in love with dead, is to bring him back to life. Change their future to reflect the promise of their history. 

At just past midnight, everything she wants will rise from the jaws of death. And in spite of everything she’s learned and everything she knows, Shibah will do anything to protect Marek. Whatever the cost...


Dr. Excerpt

Shibah was past wide awake. This was a state of complete chemical alteration, with Marek’s unrelenting erection pressing between her thighs. She wanted to blame her wet underwear on the shower, but this was a metronome of sexual need counting down to how long it would take for her to succumb. Get up, get up, get up five minutes ago, get up!

This couldn’t be good for his circulation. It took a good fifteen minutes of struggling but she eventually broke Marek’s hold and slipped from his body. With a foot braced against her old mattress, she heaved him onto his side and into a foetal position. The man slept like the dead.

Was he dead? She stared at him until she could see the rise and fall of his body. Closing the door behind her, she made her way to her parents’ room and sat on the bed in her damp towel.

What else could she do for now? No way could she sleep knowing her reincarnated childhood sweetheart was in the next room regenerating or something.

Oh God, he’d beaten that security guard to death. Well, it was either that or genital worms would have got Aaron. The sexual hazard of sticking one’s genitals into corpses. A snort of laughter escaped her before they quickly became sobs. Now what? Now fucking what? Her bag vibrated and she jumped a foot into the air. Kevin.

“Hi.”

“Where are you?”

“At my parents. Just easier to get here. I didn’t want to drive for ages after such a long shift.” How easy it was to lie.

“I wish you’d called. I’ve been worried here.”

“I’m fine. Honestly,” she forced lightness into her tone. Why was he doing this? He should have made this sort of effort months ago.

“Well, call me in the morning”

“If I can. Goodnight.”

“Night. Love you.”

She ended the call before he asked why she didn’t say it back. I love a monster and that means I couldn’t have ever really loved Kevin, she whispered. Maybe if she got a little sleep she could start to process what her next steps were. And they had to be smarter than covering up a murder. Arranging herself on top of the duvet and beneath an electric blanket, Shibah forced her eyes closed and practised some deep breathing. Space. Calm. Breathe. Marek. Hearts. Marek drawing hearts on me. My wrist. My tummy. Between my legs with his tongue. No, no. He never touched me, he only kissed me once. And that kiss had been erotic perfection. He crossed her mind every time anyone looked at her in an even vaguely sexual way. Space. Calm. Breathe. Repeating the phrase over and over seemed to help, the warmth of the blanket lulling her into sleep.

She was back inside the lab. Marek was prostrate on the mortuary table in front of her. As she’d done before, she lifted his hand to her lips, tracing her thumb over the heart tattoo. His pulse jumped under her lips and her gaze fell on his face, still grey and waxy. Her hand traced over his forehead and she watched as sparks flew between their skins. White orbs fixed on her, his hand large and strong caught the edge of her lab coat, pushing it away. Obeying the silent command, Shibah allowed the lab coat to fall to the floor, leaving her in a simple pencil skirt and white blouse.

“Lift it up,” he commanded, his voice still sounding as if his voice box had been grated. She caught the hem of her skirt and pulled it above her waist. His fingers felt rough against her bare thighs. She couldn’t help her own shock at how dark she looked against his hand, even as it rose higher, scraping over her panties. Her breath locked in her throat as soon as he touched her beneath the lace. A gasp—desire and surprise—sounded loudly in the lab. Skin slipped against skin, Marek’s hand moving higher along her thighs, until he parted her sex and sank his fingers deep inside her. She rocked against his hand and almost lost her voice when he caught her just where she needed him. The response of her body skated down her legs and coated Marek’s fingers. Her eyes flew open at the sound of his grunt of pain. She glanced down and saw stark red half-moon circles where her nails had dug into the flesh of his torso. “Sorry,” she heaved.

“Come here,” he said in quiet invitation. She stripped off her skirt and panties before straddling him on the table with ease. He burned her with the heat of his cock, the tip brushing over her clit. Oh, God, how she remembered this fire! Sweat beaded between her breasts and at the small of her back. Marek caught her hips with hands that bit into her flesh, forcing her to look at him. The whiteness in his eyes had given way to that startling silver of her sweetheart.

“Take it,” he urged. Slowly she sank down onto him, the thickness of his cock pushing into her, spreading her little by little. She leaned down onto his chest and touched his cheek bones with the tips of her fingers.

“Every time,” she whispered, “every time I did this, I wished it was you.”

He kissed her, brushing his lips over hers. “It is me.”

Shibah woke, drenched in sweat and her hand locked between her thighs. The dream had been so vivid, she could feel the hardness of Marek within her. Ever since she’d touched him, the strangest sensations had assailed her. Stop it, she told herself. Just stop. She threw the blanket aside and showered properly, this time taking the care to put a cap over her hair. Changing into comfortable clothing that her mother kept aside for her, despite her stepfather’s need to have Shibah out of the house, she made her way down the stairs and sat at the kitchen table. It was barely two in the morning and she was afraid of what she’d dream about if she went back to sleep.

Folding her arms on the table, she watched water drip from the tap in the sink. Her mum should get that fixed. Levi was useless at DIY. He was good at manipulation but nothing that was inanimate. Horrible man. It took three inhalations to calm down. She’d worked so hard to put her feelings for Marek into perspective. Teenage infatuation with someone untenable. A crush on a boy who was angry and hurt and damaged. She’d told herself many times that it wasn’t fair for her to feel like that about him. Not when it couldn’t and wouldn’t last. Eventually it worked. The self-coaching did what it was supposed to, just so she could get on with her life. Meet someone else. Not expect the world from them. “Now he’s here,” she said. It changed everything. She buried her face in the crook of her arm and willed herself to stop thinking. To just stop.