Spirits of Abaddon (Box Set)
Ebook ISBN: 07428-02396
[ Vampire Romance, MMM ]
There’s no denying the attraction between Jesse and Gabriel, but Jesse doesn’t like vampires, and he purposely avoids Gabriel whenever he can. When Jesse witnesses a murder, he finds himself on the run, and his only choice is to turn to the one man he’s been trying to ignore.
Publisher’s Note: Spirits of Abaddon (Box Set) contains the previously published novellas Bad Blood, Sanctified, Darkness in Paradise, Twilight of the Gods.
Note: Prologue omitted.
Bad Blood [Book 1]
Thunderous beats vibrated through Jesse’s body, igniting every nerve. He loved the opening for “Martyr,” loved the power he wielded behind his set. Marcus’ bass joined, accenting the drums. Then the guitars kicked in, and the crowd went wild. Screams and shouts almost drowned out the music, and they only grew in intensity when Jason’s voice cut into the mix. The lights dimmed, dropping them all into darkness. A single spotlight, hazy with smoke, shone down onto the stage. All music stopped, leaving only the lyrics for a moment as Jason growled them into the microphone.
“Destined to hate, life drowns in darkness…”
Jesse began the beat again, just the kick drum, setting the pulse of the song. A single strobe light flickered in time.
“Kingdoms crushed beneath the apathy…”
Slow, melodic chords filled the space between lyrics and drums. The crowd tensed, knowing the song well.
“Of a thousand martyrs!”
* * *
Energy hummed through Jesse, and he left the techs to break down his kit. The crowd normally gathered in front of the stage had dispersed, some to the bar, others scattered around the small but popular club. He grinned and caught a bottle of water when the bartender tossed it to him.
Jesse closed his eyes and barely suppressed a shiver. He clutched the cold bottle, hoping it would put out the heat surging through his body. He knew that voice. He heard it every night in his head, every time he wrapped his fingers around his own cock.
“Thanks.” He forced himself to turn around and meet an enigmatic grey gaze.
Gabriel Walsh embodied everything Jesse had ever wanted: gorgeous looks, expressive eyes, a body built for sin, and all in all, a decent personality. Only one problem… Gabriel also had fangs. And drank blood. Human blood.
That fact alone scared the hell out of Jesse more than he cared to admit.
Yet he couldn’t resist panting Gabriel’s name every night, even if no one else heard it.
Jesse struggled for something to say, but his voice refused to work beyond one-syllable words. Gabriel smiled, the effect disarming until his fangs came into view. Unlike Julian, Gabriel didn’t hide them. Jesse wondered if there were more differences between them — namely feeding. Julian didn’t kill, but Jesse had a gut feeling Gabriel did, and would gladly do so again.
Grateful for something to break the tension, Jesse turned away from Gabriel and waved at Jason. “I’ll catch you guys later!” Then he returned his attention to Gabriel. “Um, I need to go.”
Gabriel nodded and motioned toward the door. “I’m sure we’ll meet again.”
Jesse hurried out of the bar and only stopped walking fast when he neared his car. He got in and shut the door, but instead of turning the key, he rested his forehead to the steering wheel, eyes closed, and concentrated on breathing. Why, out of all the guys in Atlanta, did he have to fall for the one who scared the ever-loving shit out of him?
A knock on the driver’s side window startled him, and he jerked his head up to see Gabriel crouching beside the car. Jesse rolled down the window, hoping the door itself would be enough of a barrier between them.
“Are you all right?”
“Yeah, yeah. Just… tired, I guess. Long show.”
“Why do you fear us?”
“I don’t.” Jesse shrugged. “I don’t like vampires; that’s all. At least Julian doesn’t freak me out anymore.”
Jesse refused to meet Gabriel’s gaze. “You aren’t like him.”
A single touch, a finger beneath his chin, drew Jesse’s face back around. This man embodied sex appeal so strong it chipped away at Jesse’s defenses little by little. Gabriel Walsh also was, without a doubt, dangerous.
“I would never hurt you.”
Jesse wanted to believe it. He wanted it almost as much as Gabriel himself. Gabriel traced Jesse’s jaw with his fingertip and it took every ounce of willpower on Jesse’s part to not chase that finger with his mouth. He stared at lips he’d fantasized about, only to realize he hadn’t heard a word Gabriel said.
He blinked and looked up. “Um, sorry. I wasn’t…” Gabriel smiled slowly. “I didn’t…” He watched, entranced by the lips nearing his own. “I…”
Stop. Stop, stop, stop…
The first touch stole his breath and the protests died on his tongue. In a momentary lapse of reason, Jesse gave in. Gabriel took control, tongue sweeping through Jesse’s mouth, hands on either side of his head. Before Jesse could even think about how far he really wanted this to go, however, Gabriel drew back.
“I know you don’t trust me, but I’m here should you ever need me.”
Jesse watched Gabriel walk away and a part of him screamed for more than a kiss. Much more.
* * *
Sitting in his car and staring out the windshield, Jesse figured it probably wasn’t a good thing that he actually didn’t remember the drive home. He wanted to chalk it up to lack of sleep or even the remnants of a post-gig energy buzz, but the truth unsettled him far more.
Since the first time Gabriel showed up at one of the band’s rehearsals, he hadn’t left Jesse’s thoughts. Jesse tried to ignore the man, but he found it almost impossible. Gabriel invaded his dreams and his fantasies to the point where jerking off had become more an act of desperation than simple release.
With a sigh, Jesse got out and locked the car. No sense in dwelling on things — or people — he couldn’t change. He started toward his apartment building, twirling his keys around his finger, when he caught sight of movement on the far side of the parking lot. He stopped and squinted. A moment later, his heart nearly stopped.
A hulking figure rose from the shadows and towered over the top of a hedge. Massive, bat-like wings spread out, and a scream shattered the unearthly silence. Frozen in terror, Jesse could only watch as the creature threw back its head and roared. Then it found him. Red eyes narrowed to slits, and Jesse felt the gaze penetrate into the depths of his soul.
The beast snapped its head back around. A woman clawed her way out of the hedge, her skin bloody and scratched. The thing disappeared a split second later, and the woman screamed, her eyes wide. Blood poured from her mouth. Jesse finally managed to move. Cursing himself for a coward, he ran up the steps to his apartment and fumbled with the keys, hands shaking. He got the door open and leapt inside, slamming and locking the door behind him.
He had to call the cops, but what the fuck would he tell them? That he witnessed a woman get torn apart by something not animal but not human?
His heart thundered in his chest as he struggled to catch his breath. No fucking way had that thing been real. He’d never seen anything like it and had no idea what it was. The cops sure as hell wouldn’t believe him. Hell, if anything, they’d lock him in the psycho ward. Every time he closed his eyes, he saw blood spewing from the woman’s mouth, and sinister red eyes staring at him from over the top of the hedge. Sleep was definitely out of the question.
When the phone rang, Jesse’s heart shot up into his throat. He couldn’t bring himself to move, though, and the answering machine picked up.
“Dude, it’s Jason. Julian and I are heading out for Greece. If you need anything, Gabriel is watching our place. Jess, he’s okay. He won’t hurt you. I promise. See you in a month.”
The machine beeped when Jason hung up. Jesse let out a shaky breath before sliding down to the floor. He didn’t know what to do. He couldn’t tell anyone and expect them to believe him — no one except Gabriel Walsh, anyway. With a background in demonology, according to Julian and Jason, Gabriel seemed to be the most logical person to go to, but Jesse knew damn well he couldn’t do it.