I hit 90k words this morning. Yeah. It’s pretty unreal. Met up with my one irl writing buddy last night and she told me she hated me a little, and I agreed — this is not right! But at the same time, writing Aki is so much fun that I don’t want to stop.

As I get towards the end of the story, it’s even harder to find things I can share. Everything is a spoiler! Please keep that in mind if you decide to read on.


Aki discovers that being alone with a vampire is a bad idea on many levels.

It didn’t occur to me to check my pockets for my keys until I was already in the elevator going up. I had a momentary panic — I couldn’t even call a locksmith without my phone! — but my fingers found the key and I relaxed. At least one thing that entire stupid night had gone my way.

I was tired and alone in the lift, I didn’t bother to fight it, letting my head droop lower. Shower then bed? Or bed then shower? It was a difficult choice.

“I could always just save time and energy and sleep in the shower—”

A flash of colour called my attention to the bottom of the lift. There were a few red drops there. Small, but I didn’t remember seeing them before. “Blood?”

My heart began to beat. We’d never found Nate’s body. Had he somehow found his way back home? “Nate?” Our apartment was deserted. I stumbled up the stairs to Ben’s penthouse apartment, both eager and afraid of what I might find. “Please be okay!”

A few drops were scattered before the front door. I turned the handle, discovered the door was not locked. “Nate? It’s just me.” I hit the lights and stepped inside. “Where are you?”

Ben’s first-aid kit stood open on the table, bandages and ointments set out around it. I was halfway across the living room to look at it when the door swung closed behind me. I heard the bolts pulled. I turned to see a lean figure lean back against the door. “Hunter?”

He smiled faintly. “Sorry to disappoint.” His smile did not reach his eyes, which were dark pools despite the living room light. “It’s just you?”

I nodded. “Just me.” My voice was thick, initial disappointment giving way to the realisation that I was alone in an empty apartment with a vampire.

Hunter sauntered over to me. “Don’t be alarmed. I’m a friend, remember?”

I nodded, determined not to embarrass myself by stepping back. “Of course, I remember. I’m not likely to forget someone like you, am I?”

Hunter’s smile was perfunctory. “You flatter me.” There was nothing perfunctory about the way he circled me. I turned my head to watch him. He was worse for the wear from his ordeal, his scarf missing and his clothing in disarray. It suited him. The night seemed to have exaggerated his features, so that his skin was paler, his eyes darker, and the angles of his face sharper. Earlier he’d sauntered with urbane grace, now he prowled with predatory intent.

My heartbeat decided it was time to kick into overdrive. “How—“ I swallowed. I did not want to sound flustered in front of Ben’s vampire brother. “How did you escape? The man was using vampire power. I couldn’t get the rings off Charlotte or Vazul—” My gaze dropped to Hunter’s hand and I recoiled. “Oh my god. You—“

His left hand was swathed in bandages, but there was very obviously a finger missing.

Hunter halted. “I had to free myself before his rite was complete. There was only one option open to me. I took it.”

Had he gnawed his own finger off? The thought made me dizzy. “Holy crap. Hunter—”

His arm was solid, supporting me. I reached for him automatically, found myself pulled against a firm chest. Only when he inclined his face to press against my neck did I realise that maybe I should have thought that through more. “Akihiro, is that right?”

His breath lingered over my skin. He was close. I shivered, expecting to feel the warmth of lips, or the cold bite of fangs. “Right.”

“I lost a lot of blood tonight. I’m weak. That makes me dangerous.” Hunter licked his lips. “Very dangerous.”

I swallowed. The man was incredibly dangerous to my continued ability to stand. “You — want to feed from me?”

“If you’ll let me.” Hunter’s arm shifted lower, turning his supporting hold into a caress. “Will you let me?” He pressed his lips to my neck.

His mouth was cold, colder than I’d expected, but hungry. His lips worked over my skin, and in a few moments, I’d forgotten his chill in my own heat. “Hunter. You—” The arms I’d thrown around him to steady myself relaxed. I swayed and might have fallen, if it hadn’t been for his hold.

Hunter guided me back, until I felt the solid bulk of Ben’s dining room table behind me. He gripped me by the hips, lifting me onto it so that I sat. Leaving his hands where they were, he pressed against me, his mouth working over my neck once more. “Answer the question.”

What was the question? His mouth was now the same height as my neck and he worked the skin deliberately, sucking hard, making the skin tender, then soothing it was his cool tongue. I squirmed. My cock had plans for that mouth. “Y—yes. Yes.”

I felt a the lips pressed against my skin curve in a smile. Beneath them the thin edge of fang protruded and I realised what I’d just agreed to for the first time.

Before I could reconsider, Hunter drew me tightly against him with one arm around my shoulders. He dragged his tongue against my skin, just like he had earlier. My erection throbbed, where it was trapped between us. I gasped, arching into Hunter’s hard body. I couldn’t fight back a moan. Was it the night I’d had or my awareness of the man devoting himself to my neck that made this so unusually intense? This—

Sharp, intruding pain. I jerked up, kicking out at Hunter in reflex.

He was ready for me, seizing my hands, and stretching them out on the table, while using his greater weight to pin me against the table. I swung out with my legs, but I couldn’t dislodge him — and Hunter knew it.

He pulled his fangs out of my skin, equally as painful. My body jerked, entirely out of my control. Hunter tightened his grip on my arms, bodily pressing me into the table. His mouth dropped to the wet heat spreading down my neck and then the sting faded, replaced by warmth.

“Holy fuck.”

I shut my eyes. As Hunter sucked at the wound he’d just made, tiny pin pricks of pain shot through me, contrasting with the soothing heat of his mouth. I was keenly aware of the beating of the blood in my neck, and the answering pulse in my pants. My entire world had reduced to three things. Hunter’s lips, cold where they pressed against my skin. The weird pain but pleasure as the sensitive vessels in my neck were manipulated by his expert mouth. And finally, my cock, aching with an entirely different sort of pain.

“I — fuck.” Why wasn’t everyone in the world a vampire? It made no sense. Not when they could do this. I opened my eyes again, grunting as I tried to press up against Hunter, needing more of his body. “This—”

The light on the ceiling above me spun slowly, like special effects on a nineties music video. There were three of it, rotating in turn. I felt my grip on Hunter relax, a limpness stealing over my body. I wanted to laugh. Plenty of people described being in love as hearing music wherever they went, but I’d never heard of anyone seeing music videos complete with cheesy special effects before!

I tried to share this with Hunter, but my mouth was fuzzy. My lips opened, but the only sound I made was a sigh. Not that it mattered. I let my head loll back against the table. How had I imagined that Hunter felt cold? His mouth burned like fire.

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