I enjoy writing series because it allows me to dig deeper into the characters and the world in which they live in. In Fighting Chance, I explored the Kresnik world and a little bit of the vampire world. I hope to explore Johan's world further in book three.
Fighting Chance, copyright Viki Lyn 2011, excerpt:
"It's fucking freezing in here."
The wraparound windows of his living area brought in the view of San Francisco Bay enshrouded in damp gray fog. While he loved his top-floor apartment and the leather and chrome furniture with its clean, modern lines, right now it added to the gloomy atmosphere created by the mist.
Keeping on his wool coat, he raised the temperature on the thermostat. He turned and glared at Johan, daring him to… Oh hell, he didn't know what. Babysitting a vampire wasn't Corbin's idea of a good time; he'd rather kill them. A Kresnik's duty was to eradicate the bloodsuckers, not preserve their pathetic lives.
Johan lifted his head from the pillow, his chestnut curls flattened on one side. As he sat up, he swept the loose strands off his shoulders, showing off flat, smooth abs.
Picking up the vampire's shirt, which was carelessly tossed over the back of a chair, Corbin scowled. "Put your shirt on. I have a visitor."
A spiky-haired redhead peeked his way around the doorjamb of the front door. "Is it safe?"
Corbin rolled his eyes and motioned for him to come in. "Shit, Simon, get in here."
"Oh my…" Johan's amber eyes hungrily focused on the redhead. "Such a pretty lad. Come in, come in. I am quite harmless." With his long, slender finger, he beckoned the young man inside. "Corbin, you are forgetting your manners. Are you going to introduce us?"
Johan, still shirtless, rubbed his stomach, letting his fingers splay across his belly. The vampire's hypnotic gaze focused on Simon's neck as he licked his upper lip. Simon gasped and stepped back as Corbin steadied him by the elbow.
An inner light shone in Johan's eyes. "So the young lad knows what I am?"
Simon cleared his throat. "Yeah, you're a vampire."
"Well, well, you certainly do not mince words."
A blush turned Simon's face bright red. Corbin pressed his hand on one bony shoulder blade and pushed the messenger toward his office. Once at the door, he shoved the teen inside.
"Give me a minute. And close the fucking door."
Corbin strode over to the chair and thrust the white shirt into Johan's solid chest. "Put this on."
"Does my nudity bother you?" Johan traced a circle around his belly button.
Corbin leaned in close, letting Johan get a whiff of his scent, and wryly smiled. "Get over yourself. You're not my type."
"Of course, my Ice Prince. You prefer your lads young and vacuous." He sat up and brushed his curls back, his fangs protruding, shiny, white. "Heaven forbid they might actually challenge your intelligence."
Was that a hint of jealousy in Johan's voice, or something else? Anyway, what did Corbin care? He flicked his finger on Johan's chest and ignored the low-timbre accent, honeyed and thick with possibilities. "Your fangs are showing."
"And they fascinate you. You imagine what it feels like to have them buried into your soft neck."
Nerves fluttered in Corbin's stomach. "You're delusional." But Johan words were too close to the truth. On some level, he couldn't deny the sexual attraction he felt for the strix. He had a curious desire to know how the vampire's heat would feel coursing through his veins.
"Am I?" Johan stood and moved into Corbin's space.
Tension ignited a live wire within Corbin as Johan's gaze burned into his crotch. He stepped back from the infuriating creature. Johan had to see the painful bulge in his jeans. It was too obvious for either one to deny it. This unwanted desire caused him nothing but confusion. How could he feel anything but hate for Johan?
Because he did hate him. Shit, Corbin had wanted to kill him, not rehabilitate him.
He quickly raised the barriers around his stormy feelings. "I have a stake with your name on it. Don't think I won't use it."
The vampire's mouth puckered. "I'm hungry."
Yeah, hungry for more than blood.
Turning away, Corbin waved toward the kitchen. "It's in the fridge. Feed yourself. You're not helpless."
"It's terribly vile tasting when cold."
Grudgingly caving in to Johan's complaint, Corbin headed for the kitchen. He removed his coat and flung it over a chair. Then he yanked open the fridge door and took out the bottle of blood. After placing a pan on the stove, he poured in the liquid and heated it to room temperature.
His task finished, he set the full glass of tepid blood on the counter and strode back into the living room.
"Go on. I heated up the damn stuff. I'm not going to serve you too."
Johan tilted his head. A slow smile spread across his face. He glided past Corbin, touching his arm before disappearing into the kitchen.
Once in the office, Corbin snapped the lock in place behind him. He faced the door and took a minute to compose himself, then turned around. Simon looked up from a magazine, holding an iPod in one hand, earphones stuffed in his ears. He popped them out and closed the magazine, then tossed it to the floor.
"It's about time. I don't have all night."
Corbin sat on the edge of the desk and crossed his arms. "Don't start with me. I'm in a shitty mood. So who sent you?"
The mention of the head of the Kresnik Council sent a wave of uneasiness through Corbin.
Simon reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a crumpled envelope gilded around the edges. "Why couldn't she put a fucking stamp on it and mail it? Or better yet, it's the twenty-first century; just e-mail the damn thing."
Corbin took the envelope with trepidation. To be summoned by the Vaidi usually meant he had fucked up. Lately he'd been so preoccupied with keeping an eye on Johan, he'd had no time for vampire hunting.
Imprinted on the center of the flap was the crest of the House of Hawthorn—a blossoming sprig embossed in gold. He picked up the silver letter opener and slit open the envelope. The notepaper weighed heavily in his hand.
As he read the message, his hands trembled.
No, not a fuckup. Far from it.
After years of hard training and duty, he'd finally reached the pinnacle of his rank. The honor of being chosen for the Siela from the list of qualified slayers filled him with pride. If he passed the trials, he would ascend to the highest rank of a Kresnik warrior, just like his father had. He'd have the special powers needed to go after Hor and seek out his revenge for his father's death.
He steadied his hands before speaking and hid his excitement behind a brash smile. "Thanks for the delivery."
Simon's eyes gleamed. "Are you bringing your pet with you?"
Corbin's smile faded. "You read it?"
"Steam works wonders, you know." The teen laughed. "I don't think it'll go over so big if he tags along."
"I should report your ass."
A chill dampened Corbin's enthusiasm. He couldn't leave Johan alone in his apartment, no matter how much the serum might have changed the vampire. And he wasn't so sure all the changes were good ones. Johan still had to be watched carefully.
He scratched his chin. "It's not your problem."
"There're rumors going around about you and your bloodsucker. He's not bad-looking, if you like that sort of thing."
"What the fuck is it to you?"
"Heard he's an experiment. You're injecting him with some kind of crap. Do you really think you can cure a vamp? I mean, man, we're supposed to kill the damn things."
Corbin couldn't argue with Simon's reasoning, because he felt the same. "It's too complicated for your puny brain."
Simon twisted his mouth into a doubtful scowl. He jammed his thumbs into his jean pockets and slumped farther in his seat. "Why would the Vaidi okay something like this?"
Corbin had his suspicions, but he wasn't about to discuss Kresnik politics with a trainee. And he didn't like the way Simon looked at him with that distrustful twist of his mouth.
"What's really eating you?" he asked.
"Ah, well, it's just… They say you must be getting soft, letting a vampire live with you."
Corbin stalked over to the chair and pulled up Simon by his shirt. "You tell them if they're so concerned about my ability to kill, to come and talk to me personally." He tossed Simon back down into the chair. "Now get out of my sight."
Simon bit his lower lip. "Uh, where's the bloodsucker now?"
Corbin waved away his concern. "Drinking a tall glass of blood by now." He peered at the freckle-faced teen and mocked, "Are you scared? Want me to walk you to the door?"
Simon straightened his scrawny shoulders. "You're an ass, you know that? I'll let myself out."
The messenger fumbled with the lock but got the door open and flew out of the room. Corbin sank into the chair once occupied by Simon. Why wouldn't his peers wonder about him, housing a vampire, for Christ's sake? He wasn't sure who knew about the serum besides the Vaidi.
Corbin picked up the magazine off the floor and rolled it tight.
When his brother, Stu, had met Aric, Corbin had no idea how it would affect his own life. Aric had been infected by Johan and was slowly turning into a strix. Being a biologist, he'd scrambled to find a cure. Miraculously, he had. The serum had stopped the process of transforming Aric into a full-fledged vampire and also reversed most of the side effects. Convinced the serum could save the damn bloodsuckers, Aric convinced Stu not to kill Johan, but to rehabilitate him.
Somehow Corbin got stuck with guard duty. Standing, he tossed the magazine into the wastebasket. Bad luck for him.
Yet if the serum worked, eradicating vampires by turning them into humans would be a powerful weapon in the Kresniks' arsenal. The Vaidi had to understand the serious implications of having such a weapon in their possession. He wasn't ready to face the moral dilemma of turning vampires. Wouldn't that make them just like their enemy?
Excerpt and buy link: http://www.loose-id.com/Fighting-Chance.aspx
Excerpt and buy link: http://www.loose-id.com/Last-Chance.aspx (Rainbow award winner!)
Kresnik vampire slayer, Corbin Hamilton, has vowed to avenge his father's death and kill the prince of the Red Serpent clan. Instead, he's stuck with guard duty for vampire Johan Maier who is becoming human, thanks to a new serum. What's worse, the sexual attraction between him and his prisoner is getting harder to ignore.
Johan Maier's chance to regain his humanity is a dream come true. If he only he could get Corbin to trust him, they would have a chance at love. Yet, his vampire powers are getting stronger instead of weaker, his blood markers morphing into something that isn't quite human.
As Corbin hunts the prince, Johan insists on aiding him. He secretly vows to protect Corbin even if it means his death.