The Triumvirate, Book 1
Ebook ISBN: B01H6C8JEI
[ Vampire Romance, MM ]
In a society full of deadly vampires, discrimination of any sort should have no place. Yet intolerance continues to haunt Cayson Covett who returns to his hometown a changed man. He is a powerful creature who yearns to rekindle his romance with the black man he can’t forget.
A slow, southern drawl rich with menace reached him from a booth located in the darkest corner of the club striking a familiar chord deep inside Cayson Covett.
“What’s a white boy looking for in this part of town?”
He had come for the owner of that voice and he would have little trouble keeping his supernatural identity from two men who had escorted him in and now stood on either side of him. A new vampire, saved by one of the oldest creatures alive, Cayson learned quickly how to navigate his way through a world riddled with strife and discrimination. Vampires now populated every country and many accepted and worked alongside them, but small groups of humans continued to fear and secretly hunt what they considered monsters.
Cayson stood in a nest of hunters.
Noting specially made weapons at their waists and seeing in their minds that they had killed innocents, Cayson’s instinct for preservation required he tear their hearts out and drain them of every drop of blood. Craving Jackson Reynolds, the group’s leader, kept him from acting. Cayson was here at The Triumvirate’s decree to assist with a different situation.
Vampires with a thirst for humans.
The council suspected a small hunter cell and Cayson had their blessing to disband or eradicate the group. Damn it to hell. His master would know of his hesitation.
The man standing closest remarked, “In that fancy get up, this couldn’t have been your destination.”
Cayson had worn his tuxedo complete with bow tie to an event sponsored by the city of Charleston to welcome Covett Petroleum’s newest venture off their coast. His father’s project provided necessary cover. Unsure of how much both men knew about his and Jack’s past, Cayson lied. “My car ran out of gas.”
Chair legs scraped loudly against polished wood floor as Jack stood and strode in his direction. “You are in the wrong part of town.”
One of the men asked, “You know this white boy, Jack?”
Jack angrily whirled on the man. “Get out. Both of you.” He walked to the front entrance, flung the door open, and growled, “Now.”
He calmly watched as Jackson returned. “Good to see you, Jack.”
Almost as tall as Cayson’s six foot one, Jack evidenced more muscle than before. Thick, neatly barbered black hair covered his head and gray gracing his temples only served to make Jackson look hotter than he did as a younger man. The remembered cleft, high cheekbones, and skin the color of dark chocolate—Christ, he was beautiful. Jack’s russet eyes perused Cayson from head-to-toe causing his knees to weaken as he recalled how those same eyes glanced at every inch of his naked body the last time they saw each other.
Stepping close, Cayson felt heated breath on skin that always remained cold now. “I missed you.”
“You’re full of shit.” Jack leaned enough for their lips to damn near touch. “Why are you back here, Cay?”
“It was never my choice to leave.”
“Does daddy know you’re on the wrong side of Curtain’s tracks?”
“I’m not a boy anymore, Jackson.” His acquired abilities helped him immensely, kept him from reaching out, touching the man who reigned in his dreams.
“The way I remember it, you weren’t a boy when you left.” Even white teeth flashed at Cayson. “You filled out a little.” Broad, solid shoulders shrugged as he turned and walked toward the bar. “Been a few years.” He went behind the counter, retrieved a bottle of bourbon, and poured a shot. “Fifteen years, Cayson.” He downed the drink in one gulp. “Last time a white boy’s car did run out of gas on the black side of town I saved him from one bad ass kicking.”
Ignoring Jack’s reference to an incident from their past, Cayson moved to the bar taking in the well-appointed club. “You’ve done okay for yourself.” Didn’t need Jackson to say the place was his. Cayson clearly discerned jumbled thoughts. “I like the name.” Running his hand along the beautiful oak bar top, he added, “Nicer than the one in Charleston.”
“You checked me out?”
“Spent the last week there and put two and two together. Both clubs named Shadows. Did I miss last call?”
You didn’t come here for cocktails.” He pulled another glass from the shelf and filled it. “What is it you’re looking for?”
Cayson took the proffered drink allowing his fingers to feel Jack’s warmth a moment too long. “I wanted to see an old friend.” Jack’s mostly unbuttoned shirt showed skin that glistened with a sheen of sweat under a bright light illuminating various brands of liquor residing on glass shelves. Cayson’s fingers tingled with need.
“Two thirty in the morning is an odd hour to drop by for a visit.” Jack’s eyes pierced him as shaky hands refreshed his own drink. “Curtain’s climate this time of night is not as friendly as it used to be.”
“Don’t remember it ever being real friendly.”
“Black folks moved here from Charleston to have something, Cay, and we protected our own. It’s more important now than ever.” He stared at liquid in his glass. “Anyway your daddy owned the other side of the tracks and as I recall he wasn’t too friendly toward me.”
Cayson thought back to days both were football players in high school. After one game they were last to shower and it didn’t take more than a few looks to understand their mutual attraction. Cayson began to hang back waiting for Jackson. One night he came to stand beside him under the water. When Jack touched Cayson’s cock, it jumped to life and his heart beat so hard he believed Jack heard it as he jerked him off and then proceeded to come himself all over Cayson’s stomach.
Apprehension over being found out didn’t keep him from sneaking away late at night as often as possible during summer vacation to be with Jackson. One night his car ran out of gas a block before their special place and a gang of boys jumped him as he reached the abandoned storefront. Jackson who waited just inside the door to let him in heard the commotion. Bigger and stronger than Cayson in those days, he made short shrift of kicking asses and sending them on their way.
Another catastrophe happened that night.
Feelings new to both involved lots of touching and pumping dicks bringing each other to ejaculation and it was the first time Cayson sucked Jack’s cock. Heated promises whispered about the next time and how Jack wanted to penetrate him with more than a finger caused them to miss someone entering the building.
The white sheriff who discovered them naked took them to the police station and immediately called Cayson’s father. He brutally slammed Jackson into a cell and left him there. All hell broke loose when Cayson refused to leave the station until he coerced his father to call Curtain’s chief and force the cop to release Jackson also. Once outside, his father knocked Jackson down threatening to kill him if he ever came near Cayson again.
Ugly words his father shouted that night still lived in Cay’s mind.
Sent the next day to live with relatives far from home as Barton Covett could get him, he never saw Jackson again.
“What my father wants doesn’t matter anymore.” Cayson watched Jack come around the bar. “I thought about you every damn day.”
“I read somewhere daddy is doing business with vampires.”
“I don’t want to talk about my father.”
Lips curved derisively. “Didn’t want me to touch you.” A hand shot out and gripped Cayson behind his neck. “You look good.” He pretended to straighten Cayson’s bow tie. “I missed you more.”
“I wanted this to be different.”
“So did I.” His head tilted. “You still have electric blue eyes, White Blood.”
Jack’s use of his pet name caused Cayson’s heart rate to ratchet up a few beats. “What did you expect?”
Jack slouched against the bar. “How many vampires have banged your ass?”
* * *
How could a human who seemed so forward moving be so goddamn backward? Getting Barton Covett to let go of old fashioned southern plantation values was like pulling teeth. Julius had grown tired of his shit. “If you continue questioning my ability to handle things in Curtain, I’ll walk away from this project.”
“You can’t. Oil is needed badly and I want to see my state thrive again.”
“Then stop your incessant whining.”
Barton stood and paced the boardroom. “You promised my son would not be placed in danger.”
Julius laughed loudly. “By now you should understand the connections we make with humans.” Walking behind his large oak desk, he sat down heavily. “I’m only going to tell you this once more.” Forming a steeple with fingers beneath his chin, he said, “My blood courses through Cay’s veins at your request. Not a vampire alive who knows I made him will harm a hair on his pretty head.”
“I have a right to be worried. I’ve heard you speak of hunters with their holy wooden bullets.”
His glib lie angered Julius who sat back in his chair. “Really?”
Barton stopped to look out of the large window thirty stories above New York’s famous Central Park. Spinning to face Julius, he gritted his teeth. “You know what I mean, damn you. It’s that…that…”
His oldest friend, Layne Indigo, watched Barton from where he stood. Aware what brewed inside the human’s mind, Julius cautioned, “I wouldn’t say it if I were you.” He groaned when foul words burst from Covett’s mouth.
Layne, an ancient and beautiful black vampire, flashed across the room. “Racist prick.” He lifted and slammed Barton through triple thick windowpane. Pivoting, he told Julius. “I’m not catching his ass.”
Julius rose and strode to where Layne stood. “Well, I don’t think he’ll use that word in front of you again.” Dropping out, he reached Barton just before he hit pavement. Snapping his fingers, Julius glanced around making sure everyone returned to their pursuits. Flying up and into his office, he unceremoniously deposited Covett in a chair before returning glass to its rightful place. “I warned you.”
Shaking like a leaf, Barton yelled, “That fiend is crazy, Julius.”
“Racial affronts tend to send some into a fury. I’d suggest you learn every being has rights to freedom and they can love whom they choose.”
“Not. My. Son.”
Resting his hip against the desk, Julius said, “Surprised you don’t call your own son anything out of his name.” The look on Barton’s face revealed something Julius had missed. “Thank God you managed to bury that so deep not even I found it.”
“I know for a fact your kind screws anything that moves.”
“You’re lucky I prefer pussy.” Layne stepped closer. “Otherwise I’d rip you a new asshole.”
“For God’s sake, Layne, stop!”
Barton snarled, “Why would such a superior being turn someone like him?”
Julius’ lips curled. “Layne is multicultural and he is my master.” That set the jackass back in his chair. “He’s far older and stronger than me and I consider myself lucky to call him friend.”
“You mean to tell me…he looks like a nig… There are other black vampires?”
“Bart, you’re a Neanderthal.”
“Good thing whatever put us here wasn’t a racist piece of shit like you.” Layne jerked around to face Julius. “If I had to deal with his ass every day, I’d drain him dry in seconds.”
“Perhaps I made a mistake aligning myself with vampires. You’re all killers.”
Julius regretted divulging who made him. No other vamps discerned his ancestry thanks to the power of Layne’s life force. He wiped all traces of it from Barton’s mind. “And you’re not? Your kind keep hundreds on death row waiting for death. Why not kill them and have it done with instead of letting them think about it for days on end? That is cruelty beyond belief.” Julius moved back to his seat. “We were put on earth too, Barton, we are not aliens from some distant planet. Cay’s alive and he’s mine. Understand?” Julius couldn’t contain the heavy breath that whistled past his lips. “Cayson is in South Carolina under the guise of seeing to Covett Petroleum’s newest development. Should he mistakenly realign himself with one known as a hunter, Layne will complete his assignment.”
Layne reached out and grasped the collar of Barton’s shirt. Leaning closer, he growled, “Cay’s sleeping with a black man is the least of your worries.”
* * *
Jackson Reynolds had dreamed of Cayson’s return. Not like this.
He kept abreast of local news and hoped it would be the younger Covett who came to oversee Covett Petroleum’s newest offshore drilling rig. He’d read Cayson received his engineering degree from Cal Tech and that he was one of the best in his field. The same story pictured Cay standing with his father and Julius Talmane, the famous vamp leader behind their project. Jackson had kept the magazine and he touched Cayson’s picture so much, color faded.
Vacant eyes devoid of feeling stared from the page.
“You know what I am.”
Jackson thought back to a time those vibrant blue eyes were bright and full of life. Almost black curls reaching his nape would be soft, smell so sweet. Jackson yearned to brush fingers across a chest much fuller now, and he remembered a line of downy hair streaming down…down… He tried for years but could never erase Cay from his mind. When he first opened the business section and saw the picture, he almost missed it. Standing in front of him, Cay couldn’t hide what he’d become. “I won’t tolerate them overrunning my part of the world.”
“There are hardly enough of them…”
“Enough of you. You’re one now.”
“Damn it, Jack, they…we are not monsters.”
“What would you call something looking like a man roaming the countryside at night draining blood from real living beings?” Taking a step back, Jackson added, “I understand those more ancient tolerate daylight.”
“We own pharmaceutical companies dedicated to producing synthetic mixtures made from blood donated by vampires. If we take a single drop from humans it is consensual and rarely enough to see to their demise.”
“So, rarely it’s okay to kill a man?”
Cay’s hand moved so fast, Jackson didn’t have time to react. When it cupped his cheek, when his cool thumb brushed his lips, God, Jackson craved nothing more than falling into his arms.
“Jack, you must learn to live with us. In case you didn’t know, our laws forbid harming humans. We have those who stalk and put down vamps that do.” Sighing he added, “They’ve walked the earth longer than humans have.”