Never interfere. Those were his orders, and for centuries he stood by them, faithfully serving those that had given him his charge. Until one fateful night, while hunting, the young vampire stumbles upon a handsome, young stranger. Within minutes, Holden finds his peaceful existence thrown into a tailspin. Soon, it’s a race against time to save the human that he just can’t seem to get out of his head.
When Holden opened his eyes, the only light in the room was the orange glow of the sodium street lamps sifting between the wooden blinds from the grid of city streets, forty-four stories below, and the pale blue light of his alarm clock. The colors combined to give his stark white walls a purplish tint. The clock read 10:32.
Shit. He had overslept.
The sun had set hours before, which meant he’d wasted good, prime hunting time. If he didn’t hurry, all he’d be left with would be drunks, junkies or the homeless. None of which appealed to him. Most of them would probably taste sour and would offer very little in terms of nutritional value, their blood tainted with so many chemicals.
Before he slid out from beneath his satin sheets, he quickly scanned his local armada of Ismeros for any sign of trouble throughout the city. He had about fifty or so Ismeros of his own posted around Chicago. Various members of the High Council probably had another sixty or seventy. They lived their normal, day-to-day lives, yet kept a close watch for him during the day while he slept. He offered them protection from the terrors that the world provided, while they provided him with information and food.
Truth be told, had anything serious happened that day, the psychic connection he held with his Ismeros would have woken him from even the deepest sleep. It was part of a vampire’s long-evolved self-preservation mechanism, an army to protect him while he was most vulnerable, while he slept. While the need for an army of Ismeros had long since faded, the tradition of keeping them had not. The simple fact that he’d overslept was a sign that all was peaceful in the city. At any rate, it was still something he did every evening when he awoke, just to be sure.
It had been decades since anything tempestuous had happened in his domain. The last Strigoi to invade Chicago had been John Wayne Gacy. His reign of terror had lasted far too long. It had taken the Council years to catch up with and dispose of the rogue vampire. They would have caught up with him much sooner had human law enforcement not gotten in their way. The thought of the long-executed Strigoi still made Holden rage inside.
That bastard had killed one of Holden’s favorite Ismeros, Lukas, back in the 1970s. That boy had fucked like a champ and tasted like heaven, dipped in amazing and served with a side of remarkable. It still made Holden sad to think about. After all, it was because of Holden that boy had learned to trust vampires, which ultimately lead him to his untimely death. Holden still felt partially to blame and like a failure for not being able to save him.
“Should I just order takeout? Or should I go pick something up?” Holden said out loud to his empty room as he climbed from the warmth of his bed, scanning a mental list of Ismeros again, this time searching for any willing blood donors, who lived happened to live nearby, that might pique his interest. It was Monday. Which meant the bars and clubs would be relatively quiet in the area, yet none of his Ismeros were catching his attention.
He always did what he could to avoid the any of the Council’s Ismeros, never fully trusting them. Their loyalty lay with the Council, not with him. So, he always thought of them as spies despite working for the same team. “I’ll pick something up,” he decided out loud to an empty room.
He moved to the window, pulling up the generic blinds, which released a cloud of dust and looked out the city grid below. The orange shimmer flooded the room, illuminating his naked body in the window. He really loved this new apartment; it was too bad he wouldn’t be able to stay long. The Council forced him to move frequently, more so because they thought it was best, not because he wanted to. It was an attempt to not to draw any unwanted attention from a nosey human. Human neighbors tended to notice when the twenty-something next door always remained a twenty-something.
Holden had learned that lesson quickly in the years following the Great Chicago Fire. A neighbor had accused him of being a witch, which made for an exciting few weeks. In a stroke of luck, she’d ended up dying of cholera a short while later, and the attention quickly dwindled.
That age had been a bit more superstitious than today’s society, but the Council insisted he not take any chances, so every few years he moved to a different part of the city. He had found this apartment a few months prior. Its location on a penthouse floor of a high rise on Lake Shore Drive had definite perks. Lincoln Park, the lakefront playground that stretched from downtown to the far north side, was directly across the boulevard-turned-freeway, and it offered plenty of dark areas for hunting, chock full of potential meals. Joggers, bikers, various riff-raff, late-night walkers… to a Vampire, it was like an international buffet. Each and every one of them ripe for the picking, with the park affording all the necessary discretion to do so. It was quite dark; all the trees muted the copper glow from the city streets on one side and on the other, a hundred mile stretch of the black, open waters of Lake Michigan. He almost always hunted his breakfast here, granted, it was usually a few hours earlier.
Another option was to try his luck in the local bars and nightclubs that the neighboring Boystown and Wrigleyville had to offer. Being a Monday the only people at the bars and clubs around 4 am, his dinner hour, would be the hardcore drunks. And that much alcohol neither helped with how they tasted nor with how well they’d perform in the bedroom, both of which were equally important to a vampire. Tonight, he decided, he would exercise his third option, he would find an Ismeros to bring over for dinner, but breakfast he was going to be an excellent old-fashioned hunt.
His naked form crossed the room into the ensuite bathroom, and he turned on the shower. Steam quickly fogged up the enclosure, which was entirely made out of frameless-glass. He climbed into the black marble interior and let the hot water spray over his skin and muscles washing away any trace of his early morning romp with last night’s dinner.
The hot water soothed as it poured over his body. He massaged both of his shoulders with his hands. All of his muscles ached and burned. They cried out to be fed, burning for fuel. Every muscle fiber in his body was silently screaming out for food, having long burned off the meal from his tryst the night prior. Reminding him that it had been almost eighteen hours since he’d eaten. Jacob? Jake? John? Joe? He couldn’t remember. Johann? He had tasted Swedish, or maybe Finnish; it was hard to tell here in the New World. Everyone was a little bit of everything these days. Whatever he was, it was nothing spectacular, neither in taste nor his ability to perform in the bedroom. The boy had wound up being rather prudish and shy in bed, which was what Holden had expected from a boy who agreed to come home with him less than thirty minutes after they’d met.
Sundays had historically been very easy. The boys of East Lakeview were always eager for one last weekend rendezvous before they had to go back to the monotony of the workweek. Most them begging for his phone number before he sent them on their way, always remembering the incredible fuck, never remembering him feeding on them. He was still happy to oblige. A vampire was always on the lookout for new Ismeros, sex, and food available at his every beck and call, but it was rare that they ever actually called. Sure, he’d sometimes get a text message, but in truth, the sleek iPhone that he’d bought at the insistence of his live-in Ismeros, Marie, rarely left where it was neatly docked on his desk in the living room. He had no real use for the thing, anyone he truly cared for, he was directly linked to, with a natural, psychic link. By the time he would see the text message, the boys usually had moved on to the next best thing, and that suited this vampire just fine.
He emerged from the shower, wrapping his toned vampire body in only a plain white towel. The terrycloth fabric hung low from his waist, showing off his well-defined abdominal muscles and giving off just the slightest hint of well-groomed hair that it hid beneath its rough surface, as he walked into the living room. Marie was there, folding the solid black, Egyptian cotton sheets from his feeding room. He kept a second room strictly for feeding and fucking, having long ago been taught that you don’t bring your food into the bed that you sleep in. Things, of course, could always end up getting a little bit messy, with the inevitable exchange of body fluids.
“You slept late tonight,” she said, giving him a sharp look of concern, “Are you feeling okay?”
“I wish you’d woken me,’ he smiled. “But, yeah, I feel fine,” he said with a shrug of confidence. He was a vampire, and vampires never got sick. “Have you ever known me, or any vampire for that matter, to feel sick? I’m not sure, maybe my dinner date wore me out last night,” He smiled, remembering how attractive the boy had been. His name had definitely been Johann. “Speaking of, did you see him out?” Holden’s voice had long ago become very Americanized, losing almost all traces of its European roots.
“He left shortly after he awoke this morning,” she said, “looking just as confused as the rest of them. I’m not sure how you do it…” She chuckled.
“Talent,” he said coyly, a smirk spreading across his porcelain skin. “I learned from the best.” He, of course, was referring to his Sire, Damek. The elder vampire was nearly a thousand years old and had personally groomed Holden to be in the position that he was, Watcher for the High Council of Vampires.
“I find it hard to believe that you aren’t the best,” she flirted, “I seem to remember you being the best.” Her New Orleans accent was still discernable after all these years and always served her well in the art of flattery.
They, of course, had a very long history, at least in human terms, dating back to the late 1960s. He’d found her, homeless on the streets, ravaged by a rogue vampire, who had briefly passed through town. Having run away from an abusive home in Louisiana, she had nowhere to go, so he’d taken her in, raised her first as a foster child, then as a lover, but now she’d out-aged him, and things had come full circle. She loved him, Holden could tell, but not as a lover as she had in her youth, but more maternally. He felt a pang of remorse deep inside his heart. Holden had stolen her youth, taken her life and any hope she had ever had for a family. Next, he would steal her golden years. He shook his head to clear the thought away.
“I think I’m going to the get dressed and head to the park for some breakfast,” he said. “No strange late-night visitors tonight, I promise.”
“Good, then maybe tomorrow I will be able to sleep in,” she said with a nod and a joking smile, returning to the pile of linens at her feet. “Take your phone, please.”
He, of course, heard her request, it was the same request she gave him every night but like most things’ humans said to him, he didn’t give it a whole lot of thought. He dropped his towel into the empty laundry basket next to her feet, turned and his naked form walked back towards his room to get dressed.
Jay Barrett lives in Chicago with his husband. A writer in the evening, he’s a flight attendant by day and an avid runner. Marked is his first novel.
SERIES REVIEW TOUR
This series is about dragons who want nothing more than to live in peace, but refuse to be subjugated. In war there’s also love, and love is blind. Love doesn’t care about gender, race, species (in this case), or sexuality.
BOOK 1 of 3
Book Title: SYN Consulting: Dragon War Chronicles Book One
Author: A.G. Carothers
Publisher: A.G. Carothers
Cover Artist: Angsty G
Genre/s: LGBT Urban Fantasy
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 69 000 words/ 263 pages
Release Date: August 17, 2018
Continue to hide or help save the very kin she’s hidden from?
Welcome to SYN Consulting, the top business strategy consulting firm in Europe, home to a motley crew whose leader has a life changing secret. CEO, Danica Lestrange, is the first female dragon born in the last 800 years. Hidden from the rest of her kin and raised in the human world, she built a life that she would defend until her death.
A devious plan is unearthed while working on a new business deal that could plunge the dragons into another war with the humans. The humans may have forgotten the last dragon-human war, but the dragons have not. Will the war reveal this hidden world to the humans, or will the clans come together to defeat their enemies and maintain their anonymity?
Danica must gather her allies and help the very dragons she’s hidden from her whole life. She can only hope that she’ll be strong enough to protect her chosen family.
This is the first book in a new series about dragons who want nothing more than to live in peace, but refuse to be subjugated. In war there’s also love, and love is blind. Love doesn’t care about gender, race, species (in this case), or sexuality.
Warning: This book contains explicit sexual content between consenting adults. The sexual scenes are MM, MF, and MMF. There are romantic relationships depicted that are MM. There is also a high level of explicit language, snark, kink, and possibly bad puns and fart jokes.
This book does end in a cliffhanger. Secrets Revealed: Dragon War Chronicles Book Two is Available Now!
Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited
Matthew finished the last bit of his sandwich as he stood up going over to a wall of glass that overlaid the actual wall. The glass was one large computer interface, much like most of the glass in the building from the table they were eating on to elevator walls, to all the glass panel monitors of various sizes. Matt tapped on the panel bringing up several windows and enlarging them so that everyone could see. He pulled a photo of Kollin Olsen and moved it to the center.
He reached back, grabbing his bottle of water. Swallowing a mouthful, he cleared his throat and started his report. “I finished my preliminary research into KleanTech and Global Gas. You’ll never believe who Kollin Olsen is.” Danica was completely occupied with a large mouthful of her sandwich and gestured for him to continue. “He’s the next alpha to the Norwegian Dragon Clan, son of none other than Hafthór Ormsson, making him Jǫkull Ormsson, The Glacier himself.”
“Fuck!” Danica thought, looking over at Xander, who could hear her thought clearly.
“Fuck is right,” he answered out loud.
Danica took another bite of her sandwich and looked around the table at the family she had created, mulling over that bombshell. Matt, thankfully, let her take her time and waited silently while she came to terms with that disturbing news.
These SLIPs who stood by her, supported her, and loved her were, for the lack of a better word, her pack as motley as they were. They were hers to protect as much as they protected her. She thought about that as she continued to eat. Xander placed a hand on her thigh and squeezed it reassuringly. If she took this job, she risked exposure of what she was. With that, she risked not just her life, but all of their lives.
BOOK 2 of 3
Book Title: Secrets Revealed: Dragon War Chronicles Book Two
Author: A.G. Carothers
Publisher: A.G. Carothers
Cover Artist: Angsty G
Genre/s: LGBT Fantasy
Length: 53 000 words/194 pages
Release Date: November 2, 2018
Last time on Dragon War Chronicles, we left our heroes fighting for their lives in the midst of battle…
Kollin races against time to get samples of the weapon used in Canada to their lab in Oslo. Kenshin races to get Danica back home in time to save her, Aiden and Xander. Danica’s allies start to converge in Toulouse in aide and help to prepare for what may come.
Will Kollin be able to help save Danica, Aiden, and Xander before all is lost? Will Matt be able to track down who’s responsible for a new weapon that threatens them all? What will happen when Danica’s biggest secret is revealed?
Secrets are revealed that will change the future for all dragon and SLIP kind alike.
Warning: This book contains explicit sexual situations that are MM, MF, and MMMF. There are romantic relationships displayed that are MM and some depictions of loving and consensual BDSM relationships. There are also bad puns, a game of tag with an invisible dragon, and lions, jaguars, and bears. Oh my!
Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited
Kenshin relaxed back against the hull of the plane again after ending the call with Kollin.This time yesterday everything was fine. How did things get this fucked up, this quickly? Kenshin closed his eyes, and exhaustion started to seep in. The noise of the cargo plane dimmed inhis mind with each breath he took.
“I remember when I first met her.” JP’s voice cut through his attempt at meditation and Kenshin’s eyes flew open. JP continued, “She looked no older than fifteen. I thought for sure she was using a fake passport to get into La Trésor. She wouldn’t stand down though. She looked up at me, and even though she had an American passport, she spoke in fluent French, which I didn’t expect. But I also didn’t expect her to stand her ground when I tried to get her to move and go home.”
Kenshin was tempted to stop him from telling his story, to shout out that he’s being stupid for talking like that. Telling stories like that is something you do when you’re talking of the dead and DAMN IT! She wasn’t dead yet.
“Cool as a cucumber she looked me in the eye and demanded to speak to the owner. Even the threat of the Gendarmerie didn’t sway her, and she didn’t try to bribe her way in like most would have. That right there was why I finally made the call up to Olivier. And you know what she did when she finally came face to face with him?”
Kenshin turned his head towards JP. The packmates closest to them were all looking at JP completely enraptured by his tale. Kenshin didn’t know what happened, so he was curious.
JP smiled and gave a little laugh at the memory. “She didn’t do what you’d expect someone to do. She didn’t yell or demand he fire me. No, not Dani. She said, and I’ll never forget this. She said, Whatever you’re paying him, double it and put him in charge. She went on to tell him how the other bouncers didn’t look twice at her because they were too busy looking at her tits. She said it just like that too. She didn’t back down then to get what she wanted, and she’s not going to do that now. She’s strong, our Dani. She’s never backed down from a challenge, and she won’t back down from this. We have to have faith because we all know she’d have it in us.”
Claps and cheers went up around Kenshin, and he smiled probably for the first time that morning. JP was right, and Kenshin needed to keep in mind how strong she really was. Listening to him made Kenshin think about his own first time with her. He knew when he saw this arrogant kid stride into his father’s office in Kyoto, dressed the way she normally does that he just might have a way out from under his father. That he could finally be free for the first time in over two-hundred years. And make no mistake at a fraction of his age, she was a kid, and he had just spent the last sixty years helping his father build Nakamura Industries. But there was something about her, and her business proposal to his father was solid, a little crazy, but solid.
The plane quieted down as everyone settled in for the long flight home. Faith. He had faith in her all those years ago and he’d not waiver now. JP was right. Strength, determination, stubbornness. These were the things that made up their dragon. They were the things that would see her to the other side of this in one piece. Kenshin closed his eyes again and sleep finally took him now that his mind was settled.
BOOK 3 of 3 – NEW RELEASE
Book Title: First Strike: Dragon War Chronicles Book 3
Author: A.G. Carothers
Publisher: A.G. Carothers
Cover Artist: Angsty G
Genre/s: LGBT Fantasy
Length: approx. 58 000 words/230 pages
Release Date: March 8, 2019
Previously on Dragon War Chronicles, our heroes recovered and were preparing to take the fight to a still unknown enemy. Meanwhile, startling breeding experiments were revealed.
Three sites are discovered in Russia that could hold all the answers they’ve been looking for. Three strike teams are assembled led by Xander, Kollin, and Tyler. Three simultaneous attacks are combined to make one devastating first strike against their hidden enemies.
What horrors will they discover? What plans will be revealed? Why is a member of the Dragon Council showing up on Danica’s doorstep with ultimatums?
Find out in the next exciting installment of Dragon War Chronicles.
Warning: This book contains explicit sexual contact between consenting adults. There are romantic, BDSM, and purely sexual relations shown that are MM and MF. There is also high sexual tension and alpha male posturing that will make you laugh and roll your eyes along with plenty of snark and definite teasing of dwarf-like dragons.
Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited
Aiden and Lukas were able to leave Danica’s flat right after dinner. She told everyone to go and have fun before she curled up on her couch with Bastien to watch movies. Aiden led Lukas out the office door and down to the river. He’d never been out with his Master like this, and all he wanted was to take a walk holding hands. So, they did.
As they came closer to the bridge, Aiden stopped. He pointed to some bushes that were growing against the wall. “This is where I found Bastien. He was such a small pup. His fur was matted, and he was so skinny. I knew right away he was one of us.” Lukas squeezed his hand gently. “It took me forever to coax him out and let me touch him. He was so scared. You know we still don’t know what happened to his pack or where he came from? He says he doesn’t remember, but we think he just really doesn’t want to talk about it.”
Lukas listened to Aiden ramble patiently as always. “You’ve raised him well, Aiden. He’s a fine young praeses. He’s smart and has learned a lot from everyone around him.” Lukas pulled him close and wrapped an arm around his waist.
Aiden wrapped his arms around Lukas’ neck. He was only slightly taller than Aiden, and he was slimmer, but they fit together perfectly. “That first year with Bastien was the hardest. He had nightmares almost every night. Danica would sit with him and read him stories until he fell back asleep. He’d curl up on her lap refusing to shift out of his wolf form.”
“I remember when you brought him for the first time to the pack lands for a run. That was the first time I really saw you. You were so patient with him. We only had a few pups around his age at the time, and he didn’t want to go near them, but you finally got him to play with them. That was the first time I saw you as a wolf too, and you stole my breath away.” Aiden blushed at Lukas’ praise. Lukas leaned down and nipped at Aiden’s ear. “I wanted you so much starting that day. You know you’ve been my pup for almost ten years now?”
Lukas’ deep, low voice sent shivers down Aiden’s spine as he nodded. “Yes, Master.”
“I have many plans for us, now that we don’t have to hide anymore.” One of Lukas’ hands traveled lower and cupped Aiden’s ass. Aiden whimpered softly.
About the Author
A.G. Carothers is actually a dragon very cleverly disguised as a human. They are a non-binary author of LGBTQIA Romance and Urban Fantasy, who enjoys writing original and entertaining stories. They are very excited to share the worlds they’ve created with you.
A.G. currently lives in Tennessee with their platonic life partner, who is not a dragon. They yearn to live back in Europe and will some day. In their spare time they are addicted to losing themselves in the lovely worlds created by other authors
A.G. is committed to writing the stories they see in their head without restrictions. Love is blind and doesn’t see gender, race, or sexuality.
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