Life for Tristan is getting stranger and stranger – quite a feat for a vampire who is centuries old. There is a coven of witches stalking him for some crime his family committed generations ago. Meanwhile, Klaus becomes convinced that Tristan is the heir to a vast fortune and holding out on him. And then, there is the trio of pale, black leather clad beings floating off the floor with hooks and pins shoved painfully in their flesh. They seem convinced that they can show Tristan wonders he has never seen. Since they don't look like they are having any kind of fun, Tristan avoids them. But that's all at work. Life at home is better than it's ever been. Adam returns from his business trip, and they finally share a night together in bed. The sex is hotter than he could have imagined. Everything seems perfect. The only danger is that coven. Will their curse succeed in destroying Tristan before he can find true love?
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“Can your pimp really Photoshop me screwing a goat?” Sebastian Gris demanded, a deep scowl marring his classically handsome looks.
Tristan mumbled in response. He really didn't understand how he was ever expected to answer a question around a dildo gag. The questions happened often enough that he assumed he was understood the way a dentist could understand patients, so he always replied.
“I can't understand what you're saying,” Mr. Gris exclaimed in frustration.
Tristan shrugged as best he could trussed up as he was. Mr. Gris finally figured out the problem. He impatiently pulled away the gag.
“If you don't mind,” Tristan said through cotton mouth. “Klaus is my manager and not a pimp. And yes, he can make anyone do anything in Photoshop. He can even animate now. Still a little uncanny valley to me, but they are really convincing. “
“I thought you couldn't string together three sentences that made sense,” Mr. Gris said suspiciously.
“That's what Klaus said about his work,” Tristan said. “I remembered, because it sounds like a nice place to visit.”
“The uncanny valley,” Tristan replied.
“That's more like it, you addle-headed hottie,” Mr. Gris said with a smile. “Why is Klaus so upset over a short plane ride?”
“The sun is a problem up here long before dawn,” Tristan replied. “The sun hurts. A Lot. Klaus would have a hard time replacing me if I got burned. He can get really vengeful where money is concerned.”
“Apparently,” Mr. Gris said tersely. He bashed a button on the wall. “Take us back to the airport ASAP, and have a car waiting for my guest.”
“Certainly, Mr. Gris.”
Tristan was slowly freed from all off the straps.
“I'll have to re-think my plans,” Mr. Gris muttered. “I didn't have a plan B. I never thought you were so delicate.”
Tristan held his tongue. Mr. Gris didn't like being contradicted. The Vampire hardly felt that having one hard no-no was being delicate. He wondered if the man actually paid attention to safe words. That was something he'd have to consider if they had another appointment. There was no telling if Klaus would allow that. He tended to triple rates on clients he felt put his livelihood at risk. Mr. Gris talked like he had very deep pockets, but he'd seen such boasts turn to dust too often to count on anything. Still, Tristan nodded politely when the supposed billionaire promised to set up another appointment as soon as his schedule cleared.
Tristan barely made it home before daybreak. He had just found that perfect position to drop off to sleep when the knocking started. Usually, Tristan could ignore the knocking. The bedroom was soundproofed, so the TV couldn't be heard on the street. To anyone outside his front door, it looked like no one was home. Even the most persistent of salesman usually got the hint after a little while and moved on.
But then there was the bright light that seemed to be seeping through the seams of the walls and between the floor boards. At first, Tristan panicked, but then realized it wasn't sunlight. It didn't burn. Besides, the floors were an expensive interlocking wood. The installation was by experts. His benefactor paid quite a bit over the basics for that. Tristan dragged himself out of bed when the unearthly howling began. He worried that the noise would disturb his neighbors. And he worried about damage to his unit impacting the adjoining ones.
“Can I help you?” Tristan asked fuzzily.
The first thing that struck him as odd was the pitch black that the visitors were standing in. He knew that it was a bright, sunny morning. Yet it appeared to be midnight where they stood. The ghostly pale trio with red eyes had the most painful looking piercings on various parts of their bodies. One seemed to have pins demarking squares cut all over the top of his head. They all wore heavy leather dresses that seemed to be tailored to fit. A little tacky, but Tristan didn’t like to judge.
“We have come to answer your prayers,” the one with the pins hissed. “We've come to show you the way of Leviathan and pleasures that you could never dream of.”
He had heard that many times before. In fact, Mr. Gris promised the same thing before their date went sideways. After several life times of sexual escapades, Tristan tended to doubt that anyone could invent anything that was really new. Also, such offers usually only meant one thing to someone in his business.
“Look, I appreciate you all coming way out here, but I don't do walk ins,” Tristan said patiently. “You'll have to go through my manager, Klaus. You can find him downtown at Muttley's. I should tell you, he doesn't give discounts to groups. Okay? Bye bye.”
When the howling and the light seepage didn't stop, Tristan swung open the door again.
“I don't like to be difficult, but this is a very quiet building,” he said more sternly. “Now, run along, or I'll have to call the police.”
Typically, this was not a threat Tristan would make, but he felt that Detective McNulty would come out since he was worried about that very thing. It may have been his expression or tone, but the noise went away, and the sky turned back to normal when he closed the door a second time. Tristan locked and bolted the door with a heavy sigh. He bounded upstairs to bed.
The knocking began again a half an hour later. These visitors had mortal knuckles and a more timid use of the door bell. They quit after ten minutes leaving Tristan to drift off to sleep. He had a pleasant dream about dancing with the tall, handsome, and mysterious Adam in a moonlit garden long ago – possibly long enough ago that he was still human. It was a magical moment that left him very happy. So did the thought that Adam would be back for him soon.
Tristan was out of the house exactly at dusk. He'd been making sure to check in at Muttley's before taking any clients. Keiko and Kevin were still a little off from his absence the week before. The only fortunate thing about Adam's delay in getting back was Tristan had more time to hang out with his friends and soothe them back toward normal. He had never had so many souls this close to him who knew him for what he was. He really didn't want to neglect them if he could help it.
The strange thing was that he hadn't heard from Kevin or Keiko all day. When Keiko finally replied to his texts, all she said was that things were complicated. Tristan was in a worried hurry by the time he reached downtown. His text alarm chirped a half a block from Muttley's. That time, it was Frank.
“Hey, doll. Are you free? And will you be at Muttley's anytime soon?”
“Free for now. I'm about to step into the door,” Tristan replied.
“Perfect,” Frank texted.
Tristan stepped into the back entrance of the bar as Klaus demanded. Before they were allowed to ‘put their asses on vinyl in those booths,’ they were to check in to see if you have a date. He'd gone three steps toward the office when he was snatched bodily into the darkened break room.
“That is the cutest thing I've ever heard. You actually said eek,” a gruff voice said against his ear as his back was pressed against the wall.
“Frank?” Tristan asked timidly.
The lights snapped on.
“Who else would it be? Never mind, I don't want to know.”
“What are you doing here? I thought you were on a stakeout.”
“We were in the area,” he shrugged. “I had a choice of getting some crappy chili or have a little time with you. It was a no brainer.”
“Won't you be hungry later?” Tristan asked though he was smiling.
“I've missed you,” Frank chuckled. “Life is so simple between those cute little ears. Come here.”
Frank kissed him while managing to lock the door. That cop could sure kiss. Tristan was so swept away that he didn't remember how he got half out of his pants. One moment his back was against the wall. The next he was bent over that wobbly table.
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