QSFer L.A. Ashton has a new MM paranormal book out: Echoes.
After one thousand years of listless eternity, Oskar is used to his particular brand of loneliness. But a long walk through Middle America and a few chance encounters will lead him straight to a man he’d known to be long since dead―his childhood best friend, Aranck.
Being undead hasn’t stopped Aran from living life to the fullest. He has all the money and power his charm and business savvy could earn him, and plenty of friends. Lately, though, something seems to be missing. After a millennium, perhaps the world’s shine has worn off—and that’s when Oskar stumbles back into his life, reminding him of who he used to be.Together the two vampires remember what it felt like to live, all the while navigating a conflict with the local pack of werewolves. A lot has changed in a thousand years, and only time will tell if those changes will bring Oskar and Aranck closer together, or ensure they remain apart.
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Ana’s eyes opened, unseeing. Her limbs were heavy, anchored to the floor by her own weakness and fatigue. And yet, she was alive.
That confused her.
The rough punctures of a bite burned at her neck. Blood dripped slowly from the wound, traveling the few short inches from her throat to the hardwood. Everything else felt fine; no broken limbs, no gashes or extraneous injuries. Her head rang, a high trill in the dark―perhaps a minor concussion sustained while collapsing.
The room smelled like blood, wolves, and a bit of spilled beer. But shapes were still hazy black masses in dim red lighting, and even with her superior sight, she couldn’t discern foreground and background, solid artifacts and darkness.
She closed her eyes. What would be more useful to grasp first, memory or sight? She could recall vague things: the laughter of her brother beside her as he beat them at another hand of poker, the limited light of the room, and the shuffle of cards against skin. Then there was…
She tipped her head, pressing her cheek against the coolness of the floor.
A vampire. A vampire had charged into the bar―their bar―and attacked.
After all the work she and Jackson had done, after all the effort they’d put into pack and vampire relations…
She opened her eyes again. There was movement, slow and deliberate as if the person wasn’t entirely coherent. She could barely see her packmates around her. Four of them were strewn about the floor, unmoving. They were alive, though, and that confused her as well. Their heartbeats and breaths filtered into her range of hearing as her mind cleared, and she could see the steady rise and fall of her brother’s chest.
Why would a vampire attack them? No―why would a vampire attack them and leave them alive?
She attempted to track the motion. There was a figure moving above them, heavy boots clomping against the floor. She looked toward their face and they paused, gazing down at her with a face swathed in shadow.
Her focus was bleary. She wouldn’t have been able to make out their features even if they’d looked at her full-on, dead in the eyes. They were all outlines… short or close-cropped hair… average height…
They had no heartbeat.
Her lips parted. She wanted to ask them why. Here lay five of her pack, drained to the point of immobility but not death. They would heal fast, as werewolves do, and they would track this assailant, as werewolves do. And then, without trial, they would kill them.
What kind of fool are you?
But she didn’t ask; her mouth was too dry and her body too slow, and by the time her mind had formed a proper question, the vampire was walking toward the entrance. The door opened up―a single rectangle of blue-black cut into the red-black of the bar―and bright stars shone quietly, like everything in the world was at peace.
The vampire sent one last look at her pack. Then they closed the door―softly, as if to not disturb. Ana stared at the doorway in sedated wonder.Eventually she closed her eyes. The rest of their pack would find them, or their hearts would slowly beat them back to health, and the hunt for a vampire would begin.
L.A. Ashton is an LGBT+ author writing LGBT+ fiction. They enjoy rock music, traveling, and anything else that adds color to their daydreams. They believe in the healing properties of art and of having a cat firmly stationed on one’s lap. Their official site can be found at www.LAAshton.com.