ACACIA II: Blindsided
By L. Shannon
Erotic m/m Urban Fantasy
Released Septmber 12, 2008
Editor: Margaret Riley
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller
Formats Available: HTML, Adobe PDF,
MobiPocket, Microsoft Reader
Within the refuge of the moon Acacia, vampires have established peace, and built a thriving empire based on control and logic. But emotion rules their hearts and lust defies logic through the long cool nights. Against all odds, Medic Blake has fallen in love -- with his human slave, Dash.
Blake, a high ranking member of Acacia’s Medical Division, is shocked to find blood donations to the vampire moon colony have been contaminated with an antigen that could wipe out their entire race. Who would contaminate the blood, with what and why? The answer may cost him his life -- and his one chance at true happiness. Unless Dash can save him from himself.
Dash stood in the office tidying the files, but also watching Med Blake work with the ill vampire. He had turned on the sound to listen in. His master was always so skilled at dealing with the worst injuries and most traumatized patients.
None of that prepared him for Med Blake’s dangerous decision. He heard the words but almost discounted them as a simple ploy to get the vampire to feed. After all Med Blake never fed on the bagged blood, claiming his position with the clinic meant he should leave the bagged blood for those who needed it. He had servants to feed from and no need to deplete the imported blood supply.
He watched, expecting Blake to fake drinking the blood, but knew immediately that he was not faking. He also knew one other terrifying fact. The blood was poisoned.
Dash was to the door even before his master called for him. The fine lines of strain around the older vampire’s eyes were the only betrayal that there was a problem. “Dash, could you please see that two blood slaves are brought here. Oversee the withdrawing of blood yourself, while Doctor Kaven watches.”
His master stood slowly, and walked to the door with odd slow steps. “See to the doctor first, then come check on me.” He leaned in closer to whisper, “Don’t look so worried. I had no more than a sip.”
Sip? It had looked more like a full cup. “Master?” Dash wanted to go with him. There were others to see to the patient.
“Do as I say, Dash. I trust you.”
In other words, the blood might have been contaminated here on Acacia. “Yes, Master.” He bowed enough to show deference even while he hurried back to the hall to see to his master’s wishes. “Keri and Jess, please come quickly.”
The girls came to his call at once. They were all used to working under emergency situations and knew fast action could save lives. By the time the girls sat at the table, he had them both prepared to withdraw the blood. He asked all the proper questions to be sure they could donate, and to be sure Kaven could hear their answers.
The tick of an antique clock sounded off the seconds, each more slowly than the last. The moment the blood bags were filled and the girls’ arms were swabbed and taped, he passed the food over to Kaven. “This blood is pure, fresh and still warm. Drink or not. I must see to my master.”
Then he fled, shoving the girls out of the room before him. “Get ADM Med Sullivan and bring him to Med Blake’s quarters.”
He had compassion plenty for the tortured vampire, but in truth only one of the undead mattered to him. And it was to Blake that he rushed, praying he found his master well in his private quarters.
Med Blake had found him abandoned on the streets of Rahla’s Central City as a child, barely arrived planet-side. His family had died in transport and he’d been no more than a few turns old and alone in a strange new world. Without the vampire’s aid he would have died, or worse. Instead Blake had taken him in and given him a safe productive life. On Rahla he’d been paid a wage as a servant. Here on Acacia he was called a slave, but otherwise there was no difference in his role or in his affections.
He reached their private quarters in the dome closest to the import facility. His heart slammed painfully as he made his way inside the quiet area. The lights were dimmed. The rooms were shadowed. But it was his home, too, and he didn’t need to turn on lights to navigate the familiar rooms.
Then he tripped over a chair, not in its place. Flipping on the lights he found the room mostly as expected, but there was a clear path across the main living area of furniture and rugs knocked askew.
Fear lanced through him. His careful and self-contained master would never leave such a mess. He ran to the master’s bedroom, dreading what he might find, praying it was not as bad as he feared.
The door opened and he stared into the dark room. “Master?”
The weight that hit him had ripping claws and snapping fangs. All vampire. Fully into bloodlust.
Not his beloved master. This couldn’t be Med Blake. It couldn’t be.
But it was. Fangs sank into his throat.
He wanted to fight back, but fell into the terrifying euphoria of feeding. He’d give anything for his master, his heart, his soul… everything. The pleasure pain spiked, while his master tore at his clothes and fed from his life.
He brushed back tangled hair and stroked over the master’s head, cradling him close. The fury of the moment would pass. When his master was well again, he’d regret this savagery, but Dash would have no regrets. No, he’d offered up everything to his master once before and been refused. This time he would offer again without ever uttering a word.
“You belong to me.” The master’s words were little more than a beautiful snarl. His head came up slowly. His glowing silver gaze was filled with a wild need on the edge of madness.
“Yes,” Dash answered, although it had not been a question.
Clawed hands gentled. The brutality was gone, replaced by a dark possessiveness that was almost tamed. “Mine.”
“Always.” Dash might be willing to offer up his life, but there was more at stake than his mortal life. If a mere sip of the poison could turn his rational master to madness, what would it do to a whole colony of vampires?