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NEW RELEASE: The Vampire Stayed for Breakfast – Juna Ratnam

The Vampire Stayed for Breakfast - Juna Ratnam

QSFer Juna Ratnam has a new MM urban fantasy romance out: The Vampire Stayed for Breakfast.

What do you do when you’re locked out of your ex’s basement apartment twenty minutes before sunrise?

Seduce the neighbour, of course.

Stranded for the day in a shabby apartment corridor, the vampire Aserad turns his charm (read: unbridled curiosity) on Selan, the unsuspecting human next door. Then he discovers he actually likes this strange spreadsheet nerd—and Selan might have secrets of his own.

The Vampire Stayed for Breakfast is part of a new urban fantasy series set in Parunthupuram, a queernorm city with desi vibes.

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It quickly became apparent that preternatural strength did not extend to ripping grill doors out of their hinges. Aserad kept up a litany of “fuck, fuck, fuck” as he tried the key again. It did not behave any differently this time.

He unlocked his phone with shaking hands—it was 5:12 am, fuck—and called Daniyal.

“You absolute fucker,” he said. “Why did you change the locks?”

“We broke up, didn’t we?” He didn’t sound entirely certain. A high-energy dance beat thumped in the background. “Yesterday,” he added.

“Dan, you know—” Aserad lowered his voice. “You know my thing.”

“I bet you were out tonight,” Daniyal slurred. “Did you find a pretty ass to bite?”

“I don’t do—listen, I need—”

“Move on, Rad,” he said. “Stars know I’m trying.” He hung up.

Aserad stared at the home screen in disbelief—he’d been working up to a real ‘please’ there—and resisted the urge to bowl his phone down the hallway like a cricket ball.

He tugged at the high collar of his silky black shirt. Homeless vampires did not exist for a reason, and that reason was going to rise in the East in approximately twenty minutes.

This was all his bloody fault, of course. His feet had led him back to Daniyal’s apartment, and he’d been brooding too much to notice until it was too late to make it to Lanem Café.

He scrubbed his face. He should go to Neemapuri Extension Station. It wasn’t a vampire hub like Lanem Café, and the Metro guards were prickly about loitering, but it was underground and only a ten-minute ride from here.

Real smart, Aserad. Just where would he find an auto rickshaw at this time in the morning?

He kicked the door hard enough to dent the black grill.

“Can I lend you a battering ram?”

A dark-skinned man clattered down the last of the basement stairs, grinning and swinging a water bottle. His neon pink running shoes glowed in the badly-lit corridor.

“I’m not particular,” said Aserad sourly. “Dynamite will also do.”

Selan—that was his name—smelled of sweat and burning metal and something Aserad couldn’t quite put his finger on. He stopped at the opposite door, his grin fading somewhat as he took in Aserad’s face. “Bad breakup, huh?”

“Something like that.”

“I thought I heard shouting yesterday.”

He winced. Did they have to discuss this? Night-time was a-wasting. Aserad was tempted to just walk off, but it wasn’t like he could go anywhere, now could he?

At least the human was easy on the eyes. Square jaw, crew cut hair, always beaming like the world was a pineapple upside-down cake he was about to bite into.

Aserad had once seen him in the neighbourhood market, explaining something earnestly to the bewildered night-shift cashier, rubbing unconsciously at the dark circles under his eyes. And then he stopped mid-sentence, babbled something about his database, and ran out at a dead sprint, abandoning his whole-wheat flour and raw bananas and debit card.

Later he hadn’t answered the door bell, so Aserad had hung the grocery bag on the bolt and called it a day.

Aserad looked him up and down, appreciating how he filled out his running shorts. He couldn’t resist winking. “Running looks good on you.”

“Really?” Selan looked down at his grey tank. “This one doesn’t even have a cool quote on it or anything.”

Aserad’s jaw ticced. Did he not get it? Was he letting him down gently?

Selan opened his mouth and shut it. His heart rate picked up. “I’d been hoping to see you again.”

“Were you?” Aserad hummed. “All of me?”

“I never said thank you,” Selan blurted out.

Aserad was quickly losing control of the situation. “What?”

“My card. And the other stuff. I know it was you, I went back to ask the cashier.”

Oh. Honest pleasure fluttered in his chest. “You’re welcome, cupcake.”

Author Bio

Juna Ratnam is a bisexual feminist and an incorrigible procrastinator. She has been known to subsist entirely on a diet of queer SFF and puffed rice. She writes the stories she wants to read, which means her characters navigate power imbalances and sprawling cities, and they always find their happily ever afters—even (or especially) if it takes murder, magic and/or mayhem to get there. On any given day, she can be found sneaking chocolate pieces, talking tropes with her sister, and chasing plot bunnies into the wee hours of the morning.

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