Excerpt for How To Date A Monster by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

This page may contain adult content. If you are under age 18, or you arrived by accident, please do not read further.

How To Date A Monster

Abigail Sinclair

How To Date A Monster

Copyright © 2017, Abigail Sinclair

Published by Painted Hearts Publishing

Smashwords Edition

About the Book You Have Purchased

All rights reserved. Without reserving the rights under copyright, reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or any other means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book. Such action is in violation of the U.S. Copyright Law.

Unauthorized reproduction of distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

How To Date A Monster

Copyright © 2017 Abigail Sinclair

ISBN 10: 1-946379-17-4

ISBN 13: 978-1-946379-17-7

Authors: Abigail Sinclair

Editor: Larriane Barnard

Publication Date: May 2017

All cover art and logo copyright © 2017 by Painted Hearts Publishing

Cover design by E Keith

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission.

All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.

Chapter One

When I first downloaded the Cinder app, I was drunk. While out with friends, I downloaded the app for a laugh. We swiped through the pictures, ogled the sexy elves, and speculated over who would hook up with a bridge troll. So when days later I got an alert, it took me a moment to even remember what it was. Then I almost erased the app.

I probably should have erased it, but it was a stunningly lousy day. On the way out the door in the morning I spilled coffee on myself. I had to go back and change, making me late to work. From there the day went downhill, and I never managed to claw my way back to the top. Somewhere around lunch time, my friend texted me to say my ex-boyfriend of six years had posted engagement photos online. I’d never even been able to get the bastard to meet my mother, and here he was posing barefoot on the beach with some chick he had known for six months while she flashed a rock. At that point I unofficially gave myself the afternoon off, kicking off the countdown until I could get a drink.

I was not okay about him getting married. It would be nice to say I didn’t care and was totally over him. I wasn’t. Up until the engagement photos got posted, we had still been talking, and I had sort of thought maybe we would get back together, which just showed what a fool I was. Hell, I was pretty sure he’d slept with me since he’d been with his soon-to-be wife, which just went to show what a dirt bag he was.

Better to be a fool than a dirt bag…the short, sad story of how I got to my current problem. Not that getting an alert was a problem per se, but it did present a quandary. I’m a human. Usually, our interactions with the magical world are limited, and I wasn’t sure I wanted my first foray there to be via a hookup app.

My finger hovered over the screen of my phone. Fuck it, I thought, and laughed at my own pun before opening the app to see the notification.

Jabberwocky has sent you a Cin.

The thought “Beware the Jabberwocky” ran through my head, but then I remembered the Jabberwocky didn’t survive the poem. Perhaps, like most user names, all the clever ones were already taken, and it probably meant less than I thought. There was a picture of the Jabberwocky. He was cute, but not in a way that would make you look over your shoulder at him. In fact, he looked almost disappointingly normal compared to some of the orc profiles I had swiped past. I scrolled down further until I found what I was looking for. He’d left the species section blank but, buried in the list of questions he’d responded to, I found the answer. Or more precisely I learned he ‘didn’t want to let his vampirism define him’.

I scrolled back up to look at the picture again. Jabberwocky looked nothing like the mysterious and deadly handsome vampires I’d seen in movies and on magazine covers. He was a faded bronze, with dark hair and brown eyes. His skin was just starting to crinkle around his eyes, as if he smiled a lot. His crooked grin showed just a hint of teeth. I zoomed in but couldn’t make out even a hint of fang. The alert icon flashed again.

I pushed it and a message from Jabberwocky popped up.

Hi. I noticed we are in the same area, and we have some of the same interests. Maybe I can buy you a cup of coffee one night? :[

It took a moment for me to realize the :[ was a vampire face and not some sort of frowning robot.

I panicked that he knew my interests. I started flipping through the app and realized I must have drunkenly logged in from my social networking site. I hadn’t fully exposed myself, but there I was in my profile picture in a wedding photo booth. I wasn’t sure what it meant that a vampire had messaged a woman whose picture was of her in a boa holding a mustache on a stick over her mouth as she made duck lips at the camera. It was also sort of weird to think of the orcs, trolls, and satyrs who must have all swiped past my picture without stopping, which was almost insulting. Not that I wanted to be hit on by an orc, but I didn’t want to be rejected by one either.

Before I could change my mind I sent off a quick reply, or “Cin” as the app titled them.

I’d love to meet but how about a drink instead of coffee. Does tonight work?

At least this way I wouldn’t have to drink alone. I had a few friends who would be happy to hold down my sorrows while I drowned them in cheap booze, but I didn’t feel like talking about the engagement photos. Everyone would want to talk about my feelings. I didn't want to talk about them. I wanted to pretend I didn't have any. It hadn’t been a particularly ugly breakup, so I assume they were all still friends with him online and saw the pictures. I tried not to look at my phone for as long as I possibly could, which was all of about twenty minutes. The little notification light was blinking, so I tapped on it.

Sure. Meet me at Amuse.

Amuse was a popular local wine bar with a good reputation. It wasn't my kind of scene, but since I was looking to shake things up, it was the perfect place to meet. I could go there with a vampire and pretend to be better than I was. A new, more sophisticated version of myself who went to chic wine bars with handsome vampires and didn't embarrass herself.

How about 9?

Which would give me enough time to get ready but not enough to lose my nerve. As soon as he sent back a reply saying he was looking forward to it, I already found myself regretting it. What had I gotten myself into?

It took me a while to decide on an outfit. In the end, I went with jeans and an embroidered blouse with canvas slip-ons. It looked dressy but not like I was trying too hard. When I arrived at Amuse, I immediately felt underdressed. It seemed all the other women in there had gotten a memo I had missed that the dress code was short dress with sky high heels. When I saw Jabberwocky, he looked out of place too, but his presence helped him carry it off. He was lounging on a low velvet couch looking at the crowd with a detached amusement, as if he knew something they did not.

“Hi, I’m starchixs,” I said, telling him my username and immediately feeling stupid.

“Hey. I am the jabberwocky.”

When he smiled his crooked grin, his face was transformed from good-looking to handsome. When he smiled like that, it just made you want to get to know him. He stood up, gesturing to the couch beside him for me to sit down. It seemed almost overly polite, but his smile and easy manner kept it friendly. I perched on the edge of the couch feeling like I was underdressed and in over my head.

“Can I get you a drink? I have the wine list here.” He passed me the heavy leatherbound menu sitting in front of him on the low table. Since almost all of the wine I drank came from a box and what didn’t came from tiny bottles with screw tops, I had no idea what to order. My panic must have shown on my face because he took the menu from me asking, “Not much of a wine drinker?”

I smiled and said, “Not much of a wine connoisseur. I drink it just fine,” and hoped I didn’t sound like a drunk. Although, if I'm honest with myself, I do hit the bottle a bit more than I should.

“I can order for you if you like, or we can go somewhere else,” Jabberwocky offered. He looked a bit unsure, which made me feel bad.

“No, no this is fine. I’ve just never been here before. Can you order me a red wine? I like a Zinfandel or a Syrah, I think?” My statement morphed into a question.

He looked at me before waving over a server.

Dressed all in black with a high, tight man-bun, the server took Jabberwocky's order without writing anything down. I wasn't sure I understood anything the two of them said.

He settled back into his side of the couch, casually slung his arm over the back and looked at me. “So, come here often?” he said in a wry voice.

“This isn’t really my kind of place. I’m more of a dive bar girl,” I said, settling a bit further into the couch. It was large enough that we could sit without touching, even though he had his arm over the back.

“Really? I am too…not the girl part, the dive bar part. How do you like the Cinder app?”

He took a sip of a dark fluid I assumed was wine. In the dark bar even blood would have looked black. I wondered if it was blood and that's why he ordered before I arrived.

“Honestly? I haven’t used it before. I downloaded it about a week ago as a lark, had a shit day today, and when you hit me up, I figured what did I have to lose?” I shrugged.

“Really?” he mused. “This is your first date with a monster? I’m honored. I’ll try to go easy on you.” My panic must have shown on my face, because he quickly added, “Oh, no, I’m just kidding. Sorry. Really. It can just be a normal date.” I flinched a little when he said the d-word. Changing tactics, he continued, “Or a normal drink with friends. I don’t want to be a creep.”

“It’s okay,” I said. He was getting slightly frantic, and it made me feel guilty. “I just didn’t even think of it as a monster date. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever even met a vampire before.”

Jabberwocky laughed. “You have. We just don’t go around in black capes, baring our teeth at everyone.”

I laughed and relaxed a bit. I had replied to his Cin on impulse without ever considering what it would mean. In my loneliness, it had seemed like a good idea. However, now that I was sitting there with a real person, real vampire, I found myself worrying about his feelings and his expectations. I didn't want to hurt him, but I also wasn't committed to getting bit.

On TV and in movies, vampires were always portrayed as dazzlingly sexy and confident, but Jabberwocky seemed to be…well, just a nice guy. I’d heard that the bite of a vampire was supposed to be narcotic, causing a sense of euphoria. It was such a powerful feeling people got addicted to it. I didn't want to risk addiction. At the same time, I also wasn't sure I wanted to miss out on such a mind-blowing high.

I was saved from my nerves by the arrival of my glass of wine. I gulped down half of it without actually tasting it before looking up to see Jabberwocky watching me, looking slightly concerned. I set my almost empty wine glass down on the table and looked at him apologetically. “Sorry. It was a long day.”

He smiled. “No worries. Shall I order you another one?” He was already looking around for the waiter.

“No, no, thank you. Do they have a food menu?” I picked up the leatherbound wine list and started paging through it. I hadn’t eaten all day, and I could already feel the wine starting to fuzz my head.

“This really is your first time, isn’t it?” he asked, sounding bit awed.

“Yes, how did you know?” I asked, looking up from the menu. “I mean I told you, but other than that what gave it away?”

“You want to eat in front of me.”

“Oh, no, is it taboo? Can you not, you know, eat human food?”

“No, I can’t, and most people don’t eat in front of me. I don’t really care, though. I picked a place that didn't serve food because I never expected you would want some.” The awe cleared from his face, replaced by the crooked smile which made me like him. “This is stupid. Let’s get out of here and go to a real bar with food. You’ll feel more comfortable.”

“Are you sure? I don’t want to eat in front of you if I’m not supposed to. It does seem rude now that I know you can’t. If I had known, I wouldn’t have said anything.” Since I was already embarrassed, I went ahead and finished my drink. The wine went straight to my head, causing a pleasurable heat to spread through me. Even if this date went belly up over me not knowing the protocol, at least I would have gotten a free drink and a chance to smile at a good-looking man.

“It’s fine, really. There’s something appealing about you not knowing the rules. It makes this more like a date and less like a business proposition. There are a crazy number of blood junkies on Cinder. I’ve stopped going out with women who contact me, and I’ve tried to remove the mention of the word vampire from my profile. It’s still in there, of course. I don’t want to mislead anyone, but I also don’t want my being a vampire to be the only reason women contact me.”

He sounded unsure of himself as he spoke. I wondered if he wasn’t sure how I would react. While I was wondering what a blood junkie was, he waved over the waiter, got our bill, and paid it. I made no offer to give him money. Usually, I would try to pay my own way, but somehow I found I just didn’t care. With the bill paid, we made our way out of the wine bar across the street to another, more low key bar. Giant glass windows opened into the new bar, and they were edged in green stained glass. Inside the walls were covered in wood paneling. There were a few booths with red seats and the bar stools were covered in red faux leather as well. A few men were drinking at the bar, while an older white woman off to the side was reading a book and drinking a glass of red wine.

The bartender was a woman with short blonde hair who clearly knew Jabberwocky. She eyed me suspiciously and started to pour him a Guinness before even asking for my order. I asked for one as well. She seemed to approve of my order. I wondered what kind of women he usually brought in. She gave us our beers, and he ordered me a hot dog. When she turned her back, he looked around carefully and poured something red into his beer from a tiny vial.

“What was that?” I asked, but I already had a pretty good idea. It made me feel a bit sick

“It’s well...” He paused. “It’s…you know.” He raised his hand in a helpless gesture while looking around to see if anyone was listening. “I can’t eat, but there’s some stuff I can drink if I add it. Wine works well. So does Guinness, because of the protein I guess? Goat’s milk also works great, but it’s goat’s milk, and who really wants to drink goat’s milk?”

“Goat’s milk?” I asked, taking a sip of my beer. So much better than the wine, at least in my opinion. Better than goat’s milk, too.

“Yup, but just the milk. The cheese is too close to solid food for our systems,” he said with a shrug and drank some of his beer. He looked much more at home here under the lights of the bar than he had in the dark on the velvet couch of the wine bar.

“Do you miss it? Eating, I mean,” I asked and promptly decided it was probably a rude question.

“Yes, I do. Not as much as I did at first, but what are you going to do?” He was interrupted from further comment by the arrival of my hot dog. The bartender had microwaved it. I wanted to ask him a million more things like how he had become a vampire and how old he was, but I figured I had probably pushed my luck enough. I focused instead on eating my hot dog.

He watched me eat it. It wasn’t sexual, but the intensity of his gaze was so powerful it almost had a physical weight to it. Instead of feeling self-conscious and rushing, I found myself slowing down and trying to enjoy the stupid over-processed, over-salted, unevenly heated hot dog for him. Each bite became an exercise in wonder. What would it be like to never eat again? To live in a world, where so much of life revolved around food and not be able to eat any of it? The salt of the meat and the sweet ketchup were delicious when I thought about never being able to have them again.

When I finished the last bite, he was still looking at me and on impulse I leaned over and kissed him, my mouth open and inviting. His cold tongue was strange in my mouth. He licked my lips. His tongue was tasting me everywhere. I reached out my tongue to brush it over his teeth. There they were, his fangs and for the first time, I felt afraid.

I broke off the kiss. He was licking his lips in wonder. “Fifty years without a bite to eat and the first thing I get to taste is a hot dog. Thank you. I didn’t even know we could do that, taste food on someone’s lips. No one’s ever offered before.”

The idea he had gone fifty years without eating freaked me out. Coming on top of feeling his fangs, I was starting to wonder what I had been thinking. There’s a reason normal people like me stay far away from magical creatures. They live lives that aren’t compatible with ours. There was no way to surmount the difference between. Not only was he fifty years older, but he didn’t eat. It wasn’t like he was a Yankees’ fan or even from another culture. Once he had been like me, and now he wasn’t. And he would never be again.

As he sat there licking his lips, I felt sorry for him, which probably wasn’t real smart of me. There was something attractive about pity, not pity of the weak, but the pity of true tragedy. Just something about a man who is irrevocably damaged and dangerous drives me wild. If he had been just dangerous, I would have had the sense to stay away. He seemed completely broken, too. I couldn’t help myself.

I covered his hands with mine. He turned his hand over, cupping mine in his. His fingers around mine were cold, and I tried to rub them warm. My hand looked tiny and pale compared to his much larger, darker one with its thick fingers, not fat but strong. He rubbed his thumb over my knuckles, and the soft, cold touch sent a thrill up my spine. I moved my hand against his in response, enjoying the over-stimulated feeling of the millions of nerve endings in my hand being excited. It was sensual and just bordering on erotic.

We held hands through our second beer intertwined under the bar, like high school kids on a date. It was such an innocent pleasure and such a rare one. It was the thrill, the idea of a first date and the promise of more. When he asked me if I wanted to get out of there, I didn’t even have to think about it. I said yes, and he paid the bill. We walked for a block in the cool night air, and I snuggled into his arms.

When we got into the cab, his hands were freezing. I slid one between my thighs, closer to my knees than anywhere else, waiting to see what he would do. He held his hand perfectly still. Even when I moved against it, sliding it a little higher he didn’t move it. I kept waiting for it to move. I wanted it to move.

I sat there in a cab driving through the dark streets snuggled against a strange vampire. There was nothing terribly sane or sensible about what I was doing. For a moment I felt so afraid I wanted to jump from a cab. I’d never even gone home on a one night stand with a man before, let alone a monster, but I was thrilled, too. This was something new, something I had never done before, and I found I wanted it very badly. I wanted to know what this man had to offer and what it would be like to be wild, take a risk, and live dangerously. To do all the things I had wanted to do but never had the nerve to. Being sensible had only gotten me a lousy ex-boyfriend, a shitty apartment, and a dead-end job. It was time to try to do things differently.

We stopped outside of stone apartment building in an older part of the city. He paid the cab driver. We walked up the wide stone steps and stepped into the light of the vestibule of his building. It was elegant with marble and subway tile. This was my last chance to turn and run. I didn’t think he would follow me or hunt me. I didn’t run. Instead, I stood next to him as he unlocked the door and followed him up the stairs.

His apartment was warm, filled with a golden lamp light and light brown wood. It was also slightly messy with books stacked on the table. He had a large TV in one corner, but what surprised me the most was two large framed paintings of R2D2 and C3PO.

I plopped down on his couch, slipped off my shoes, curled my feet under me, and tried to look sexy, like I knew what I was doing. It seemed like all I managed was to look a bit unwell because he asked me if I felt okay and if I wanted some water.

“No, I’m okay. Do you have anything else to drink? Like beer or wine?” I asked hopefully. From where I sat on the living room couch I could see into his large kitchen. The cabinets matched the wood in the rest of the house.

“Yeah, I have some wine, but...” He looked slightly embarrassed.

I blurted out, “Oh, God, it’s not already dosed with blood is it?”

“Oh, no,” he said in horror, holding hands up and shaking his head in denial. “It’s just…it’s box wine.”

From the distaste in his voice, you would have thought he was offering blood wine. Of course, he would have probably been happy with blood wine.

“If you don’t like it, why do you keep it around?”

He opened the refrigerator and filled up two wine glasses. I didn’t see him put anything like blood into his drink, but he could have done so subtly. I assumed he didn’t dose mine since there wouldn’t be any point.

“Because it keeps forever and it’s cheap. I have to admit I don’t usually have people over. Not women people. I had my fantasy league here last week, but it’s not the same, not really.” he said casually.

“Forgetting if I believe you or not about the never having dates over thing, you play fantasy football? For real? Isn’t it a little too mainstream or something?”

He smiled, brought me over a glass of wine, and sat next to me on the couch. I didn’t feel afraid of him anymore. I wasn’t sure if it was a good thing or not, but here in his house, with its warm wooden floor and nerdy artwork, it was hard to think of him as a monster. He just seemed like a normal, good looking guy. He started to tell me about his fantasy team and his past championships as if I cared at all.

I leaned forward to kiss him to shut him up. It worked too, but his lips and tongue were cold again. The cold was more pronounced here in the warm apartment. It wasn’t like he was freezing cold, but he was cool to the touch in a very unpleasant way, and I drew back.

“What’s wrong?” he asked in a way which made me think he was more nervous than I was.

I replied, “Your mouth is cold. Do you have like low blood pressure or something?”

“Um, yes, not the way you mean, but I am a vampire. This is weird. I never thought I would say this, but I almost wish you were a blood junkie. This is like being on some super awkward first date.”

He sounded at a loss for what to do or how to explain things. Feeling guilty, I said, “Aren’t all dates super awkward?”

“Not mine. Well, not in a long time anyway. I don’t even know if most of the meetings I have with women these days are dates. They’re not there to get to know me. They’re there to be with a vampire, and that’s not nearly as flattering as they seem to think it is.”

“Then why do you do it? If you’re meeting women on Cinder, you have to know they’re human women looking to hook up with, you know.” I didn’t want to call him a monster to his face, since he didn’t seem like one, and I didn’t want to hurt his feeling further.

He laughed. “It’s not all that easy to get a date in real life, either.”

A change of topic was in order, so I asked, “Are you always cold? Do you feel cold?”

“I don’t feel cold. I don’t really feel hot, either. It’s just another one of those sensations that are cut off to me,” he said and took a drink.

I couldn't leave it alone. “Do you always feel cold to the touch?” I wondered if he was cold everywhere and what it would be like to snuggle with someone so cold or have them inside of me.

“I don’t have much blood in my body. If you cut me, I don’t bleed. Mostly it’s magic which animates my body, but sometimes yes, I've been told my skin feels much warmer.”

I stared at him waiting for him to explain when his skin became warmer. When he didn’t volunteer the information, I prompted him. “When do you feel warm?”

“Right after I drink blood.”

“Aren't you drinking blood right now?” I pointed to his almost empty glass. “Isn’t it how you’re able to drink wine?”

“Yes, but this is a very tiny amount of blood, and it’s not fresh. I could live forever on stored, processed blood, but it would be a bit like surviving forever on protein shakes. You could, but you wouldn’t feel very good. Fresh blood from a human being has way more to offer.”

I was pretty sure he was looking at my neck.

“I’ve heard a vampire's bite can be...” I paused, searching for the right word. “...euphoric.” I drew the word out and felt a flash of wine drunk coyness.

He looked away from me as he spoke. “It is. That’s what the blood junkies are in it for. They say the bite makes you high and gives you the best feeling, better than drugs, better than sex. I can’t say myself.”

“Weren’t you bitten to become a vampire? Don’t most vampires start out as…” I used his term and hoped I was using it correctly, “…blood junkies?”

“They do now, almost always. They used to be people with ties to the community usually, but things were a lot wilder when I was turned. As we’ve been more integrated, we’ve started having to live by humanity's rules. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a good thing, at least in my opinion.”

“If you drank my blood, you could kiss me, and your lips would be hot?”

“Yes, but the more I talk to you, the less I want to taste your blood and the more I want to taste the rest of you.”

I had felt nervous before, but now the floor dropped out from under me and fear wormed through my belly.

“You don’t want to kiss me?” I asked and took another sip of my wine to calm my nerves.

“I do, and that’s the problem. The more I want to kiss you, the less I want to bite you. I don’t want to risk addicting you.”

He looked at me with his warm brown eyes. He seemed kind and open, not at all what I would have expected of a vampire. Him wanting to protect me from himself was sexy. I liked the idea that he was both dangerous and kind.

I licked my lips self-consciously while I was thinking about kissing him and asked, “What if I want you to bite me? And kiss me?” I put down my wine glass and with all the boldness of a good buzz, slide onto his lap, straddling him. I couldn’t feel his coldness through his pants, but as I moved on his lap, I could feel his hardness.

He put down his glass, too, slid his hands around my waist, holding on tight. I leaned against him, brushing my lips against his ear and whispered, “Do you want to kiss me?”

His lips were against my neck, and he whispered back, his breath feathery and soft against my neck. “Yes.”

I stuck out my tongue and licked his earlobe. It was cold and strange against my tongue. I bit it every so softly. He sucked in his breath against my neck. “Do you want to bite me?”

His words came out in a ragged gust of air. “Yes, I do. I want to bite you so bad.”

I moved my mouth lower, touching his neck to kiss it and sucked on it the way you do when you want to give someone a hickey. I could smell his cologne. His cold skin tasted faintly of salt and winter wind. His hands tightened on my waist, as he lifted me up off of his lap and dropped me, although not very hard, on the other side of the couch.

“I’m not doing this. I’m not doing this to you. If you want someone to turn you into a junkie, you’re going to have to find another vamp, because I am not your man.” His face looked conflicted as if he was struggling to turn me down.

“How do you know I’ll become addicted? Does everyone?”

“No, not everyone, but the risk is still high. Look, you’re sexy, and you’re unbitten which makes you like a million times more attractive than you could understand, but I am not doing this to you. Let’s fool around. You can sleep over if you want, or you can go home. Hell, you can go home right now if you like, or we can just hang out and watch a movie, but I don’t want to start you down on the road of becoming a blood junkie.”

He held me down still. It didn’t feel threatening, more like he was holding me away from him.

“I want you to bite me. I’ve heard it’s amazing, and I’ve never done anything like that. I’ve never even wanted to, but with you? It seems like it could be fun. Let’s just fool around and see where it goes, okay?”

“Okay.” He pulled himself over on top of me. I wrapped my legs around him, the weight of his body pressing between my legs, and rubbed myself up against him. “Where were we?” he whispered into my ear.

I went back to kissing on his ear. “Right about here,” I whispered.

He ground his hips against me again. I arched into him. He wove his fingers into my hair and gently, oh, so gently pulled my hair back, trapping me beneath him. He kissed my face like I was something beautiful and precious. His lips were cool against my eyelids and cheeks. He covered me with kisses, but he didn’t try for my mouth again. It was tantalizing to have this sexy man above me kissing me like he was trying to memorize my face and never going any further, all while I was grinding against him, getting wetter and wetter.

He slid the neck of my blouse aside, loosened his grip on my hair, and kissed along my collarbone and shoulder, which left his neck exposed to me. Without thinking, I leaned forward and bit it.

He froze and then groaned. He moved away to rest his head on my breast. His words came out softly. “I can’t do this. You can’t tempt me like that. I can probably get through all of this without biting you, but you really can’t tease me.”

Feeling like he was daring me, I did it again. As soon as he raised his head and looked at me, I stretched up to run my tongue across his exposed neck. He groaned again and shifted his weight. I could feel him, hard against me.

“Bite me, please, just a little bit. Here I’ll show you how.” I bit his neck again.

He groaned and lost his last bit of control. He pressed his lips against my neck, his sharp teeth punctured my skin with a rush of slight pain and fear. The fear was swept away by bliss. I was full of him. His teeth were the only thing inside of me, yet it was as if he was everywhere inside of me, filling me with joy. I laughed, writhing against the weight of his body pressing down on me. I couldn't stop touching him. I rubbed my hands all over him. Every thread of his shirt was articulated under my fingers. I could read his body like brail, each bump, whorl and smooth spot a secret message of lust. It was an easy bliss, unlike any drug I'd ever tried. Then it was over, and he wasn’t biting me. I was alone in his arms. He was hot now, not just warm like a regular person. His skin was burning, but I felt cold without his bite. It wasn't just that my skin was cold. My very soul was frozen. He went to kiss me, this time, full on the lips, with tongue and everything. I no longer wanted his kisses. All I wanted was his bite.

He slid his hands under my shirt. His fingers were warm. His touch wasn’t unpleasant. It just wasn’t enough. I didn’t want to beg for his bite, at least not yet.

He must have sensed the hesitancy in my kiss, or maybe he was just paranoid. Flatly, he said, “You don’t want me to kiss you.” He pulled off me and almost shoved me off the couch in his haste to get away from me.

I sat up and adjusted my shirt. “No, I do want you to kiss me.”

“Really? Would you want me to keep kissing you even if I was never going to bite you again?” he asked, and his voice sounded sad.

“Sure...Um….maybe? Look, you seem like a nice a guy, and you’re really cute.” I told him and looked around for my wine glass. It was depressingly empty.

“Even if I never bite you again? You wouldn’t be thinking about it? Preferring it to my kisses?”

“Why wouldn’t you bite me again? I like it. You like it. We can do both. Kiss and bite and maybe watch Star Wars,” I suggested.

“What if you had to pick? What if I could only bite you or kiss you. Which one would you pick? And don’t lie to me. I’ll know.”

I thought about lying to him. I even justified it myself by saying it would be kinder, but in the end, I didn’t. “I would pick the bite over the kiss. They’re better together anyway. Then your mouth is warm,” I added the last on lamely.

“Then this won't work. You’re picking the vampire instead of me. I’m a vampire. Sure, that’s why my mouth is cold. When you pick the bite instead of the kiss, you’re saying I’m not enough. You’re saying you don’t want to be with me because of who I am. You want to get with me because of what I am.”

“No, no. I don’t want anyone else to bite me, just you.” I said holding my now empty wine glass.

“Maybe not yet, but in the end, you will. In the end, they all do. I’m sorry this isn’t going to work. You’re not who I thought you were. I’d like you to leave now,” he said and stood up.

“You want me to leave? Are you for real? It’s the middle of the night, and we are halfway across the city from my place.” I stared at him in shock.

“I’ll call you a cab. You can wait downstairs until they come to get you. Come on, you’re leaving now.”

He hoisted me up and firmly led me to the door. He put me in the hallway before I had time to object and a few seconds later wordlessly handed out my coat. I wanted to scream and rail at him, but I wasn’t that drunk, and it didn’t seem like the kind of building where drunken screaming would go ever real well. I stomped down the stairs and waited for a cab.

What kind of loser was I? My ex was getting married, and a vampire had rejected me. I stewed the entire way home. I was going to make sure the next time I tried Cinder I was going to get lucky.

Chapter Two

It took me a few weeks of licking my wounds to feeling sorry for myself to get over the vampire’s rejection. For the first week, all I could think about was the vampire bite. He had been completely correct, and he shouldn’t have bitten me. It was addicting, but if he hadn’t bitten me, I don’t think I could have spent the whole night kissing those cold lips. It was just too creepy.

My ex texted me a few times like he hadn’t just gotten engaged. I couldn’t tell if he thought I was too dumb to find out he had put a ring on someone else or if he just thought I wouldn’t care. I did care. I cared rather a lot. Not only was I hurt he hadn’t ever asked me to marry him, I was also not in the mood to get with someone else's man.

This time, I went looking for some fun on Cinder. I didn’t bother to change my profile pic. It seemed like a good sign that I only got one unsolicited dick pic. It was of an orc penis, and I wasn’t even sure what part of the anatomy I was looking at until it dawned on me that the only part of the male anatomy men ever sent women unsolicited was pictures of their dicks. Being a good friend, I promptly forwarded it to my friend Laila. She and I spent the entire next shift at the front desk messaging it to each other. She would be waiting on a customer and in the middle of asking them how long they were staying, I would send her the picture so a giant green barbed orc penis would pop up unexpectedly in the corner of her screen. She would send it back to me when I was in the middle of explaining our breakfast options.

When I wasn’t at work or out with my friends, I found myself on Cinder, swiping through men in the area. It was late one night when I first found the picture of a good looking wolf with the username of Dinosaursandnachos. The name alone was enough for me to give him a second glance.

He was cute. Small with blue eyes and handlebar mustache waxed in a perfect curl. He gelled his hair into a pompadour, with sides shaved into a neat fade. He looked retro, and the style suited him. He didn’t look like he was wearing a costume. Rather it made him look like he was from another era. I didn’t know much about wolves. Even after I googled them, I still felt like I didn’t know very much. The internet said they were pack oriented and extremely strong. There didn’t seem to be any danger in hanging out with them. They were supposed to have good control and rarely hurt humans.

Not knowing what else to say I sent him off a simple message after fortifying myself with a glass of wine

Hi! I love your look. Would you like to get a drink?

He didn’t reply right away, and I started to go mad waiting. Just when I had finally given up on hearing back from him, he messaged me to say he would love to meet that weekend and his name was Peter. Peter, the wolf, which made me laugh. I wondered if he saw the humor in it. He asked me to meet him at a downtown bar called the Pig Lady.

It was a hipster bar, so I wore a vaguely retro looking polka dot dress with a full skirt and red shoes. I attempted to tease my hair. It was not a success. In the end, I must have managed to look okay because I got a few appreciative looks when I walked into the bar and took my coat off. When Peter showed up, I was glad I had dressed up as he looked quite dapper.

His pants were fitted, but not tight. He wore them rolled up at the cuff, so just the toe of scuffed leather boots were sticking out. He was wearing a red plaid cloth jacket, and his hands were in his pockets.

I turned to look at him, and he said with a smile, “Hey, I’m Peter, the wolf.”

I grinned back. “Hi! I’m Cora. Puny Human. Can I buy you a drink?”

“Ma’am, are you trying to get me drunk?” he asked, and his voice was deep with a hint of laughter.

“Oh, no! You’ve discovered my dastardly plan. I am undone,” I said, feigning despair.

“I don’t want to be the one to show up a lady, so I guess I better start drinking.” He sat down next to me and ordered some type of whiskey drink in a small stubby glass.

“Do you like those?” I asked, peering at the brown liquid.

“Puts hair on your chest,” he said with a shrug.

“I wouldn’t think chest hair would be a problem for you.”

He smiled and winked. On someone else, the whole look would have seemed like they were trying too hard, but on him, it looked natural. Of course, given that werewolves were incredibly long-lived, it was entirely possible this wasn’t his first time with a handlebar mustache, and perhaps it was more natural to him than other looks would have been.

I stirred my drink, something with ginger and rum, and looked at him.

Peter laughed and said, “Hey now, you don’t need to watch me. I don’t bite. Much.”

He was joking, but my brain instantly started thinking about the vampire bite and feeling nervous. I wanted to be cool and clever. Instead, I felt out of place, like an imposter pretending to be a grownup by wearing my mother's clothes. I did what I always do whenever I get nervous. I chugged down my drink and ordered us a round of shots.

Peter didn’t seem to mind, and we got roaring drunk in short order. At least I did. Peter appeared to be keeping it together just fine, although his hair was a little flatter, and he had his hand on my thigh. I was listing hard to the side, leaning up against Peter. His arm was rock solid against my body. He was warm, oh, so warm. I wanted to bask in his heat like a cat. I was feeling fabulously sexy. In reality, I was probably just drunk, but the effect was the same. I can only assume that was the reason I leaned over and whispered, “Wanna get out of here?”

“I thought you’d never ask,” he said and slid his arm around me.

After some debate, he paid the whole tab, and I left the tip. We headed out to the street. The cold air blasted my face and for a moment I sobered up. Was this safe? He seemed like a nice guy, but I was a little scared at the idea of going back to the apartment of a man I had just met. I also wasn’t sure I wanted him to know where I lived.

He hailed a cab and gave the driver his address. The address was for an older, well off neighborhood in the south of the city. Not a place I knew well, but not a dangerous area. If anything, it was out of my budget and probably safer than where I lived.

I waited while he paid the cab driver, and we walked to the door at the side of a building. From there we walked down into a little side yard. The brick building looked black in the moonlight. As soon as he opened the door, there was a sound of riotous barking.

A small, bullet shaped dog with a snubbed nose and giant ears came rushing out of the house to jump all over Peter who was trying to hush him. When the dog noticed me, he came over to check me out. I squatted down holding out my hand so the dog could sniff it before I scratched him. His fur was short and soft. He was mostly white with some gray patches around his eyes. He had the air of an older dog.

“Cora, please meet Fang,” Peter said, and I scratched the little dog's side as he melted against me.

“What? After White Fang?” I asked.

“White Fang? Who’s that?” He held open the door and led me down a short, steep flight of stairs. The apartment was very white. Since it was a basement apartment, there were almost no windows, just a few small openings at the top. The white paint made it seem very open despite being mostly underground. A few art deco absinthe advertisement posters hung on the walls, and large overstuffed plaid couch, straight out of the 70s, made the room feel lived in.

“White Fang? The wolf dog in the Jack London book?” I asked, sitting on the sofa. Fang scrambled up beside me, and I petted him while Pete turned on some lights.

“Oh. I don’t know if I’ve read that one. I named him after Hagrid’s dog, Fang,” he said taking his coat off and throwing it on a hook by the door.

“Hagrid?” I asked.

“You know, from the Harry Potter books?” He sounded confused that I wouldn’t get the reference.

I shrugged off my coats and said, “I know. I’m just shocked you read them”

He replied, “Of course I did. Everybody reads Harry Potter.”

“I thought you guys found them insulting?”

“It’s just fiction. What do I care that a made up little boy lives in a world of technology and uses it to defeat a dark hacker? Besides they’re a fun read. I loved them. Did you read them?”

He went into the little kitchen area of the tiny basement studio and got our beers. It was some brand I had never heard of with a cute label. I drank some and petted the dog, looking around at the comfortable small apartment of the good looking man asking me about children's books.

“I did read them. They weren’t my favorite tech book, but you’re right. They were fun.” He smiled at me, lifted Fang off the couch, and set him on the floor. Fang barked at him, and Peter showed him his teeth. Fang very pointedly sat on my foot with his back to Peter, and I tried not to laugh at the whole exchange since they both so obviously took it seriously.

“May I kiss you now?” His voice was soft as he slid across the couch until he was next to me.

I took a long sip of my beer and pretended to contemplate the offer. “I don’t know. Fang doesn’t seem to think it’s a good idea.”

“Fang will drink out of the bowl if I leave the toilet seat up, so I wouldn’t trust his judgment too much.”

I laughed, and as I was laughing, Peter kissed me, his mustache rough against my lips. He slid his hand over mine and removed the beer bottle without breaking the kiss. Where he put it, I wasn’t sure. A moment later his hand was on me again and pulling me to straddling him. I squeezed him with my knees as he slid his hands around my waist. When I ran my fingers through his hair, I was surprised to find it a bit crunchy from the product he used to make it stand up so nicely.

I pulled back and said, “Your hair is stiff.”

“That’s not all that’s stiff,” he said as he bounced me up on his lap and wiggled his eyebrows at me.

I was laughing again when he kissed me. He slid one hand under my skirt. I didn’t stop him. I let him rub my thigh, kneading it with his fingers. It felt good, as did his tongue in my mouth and his hand on the back of my neck. Without meaning to, I moved my hips back and forth as his hand pulled me to him. I wrapped my arms around his neck, and he lowered me onto the couch, his body over mine. He moved me around like I weighed nothing.

Pinned beneath him I wrapped my legs around his waist and ground my hips up against him, dry humping him like we were in high school. My dress had a long row of buttons down the front, and he undid them, kissing the skin as he exposed it. Kiss, unbutton, kiss, unbutton. His mouth moved lower and lower. When he passed my bra, he kissed me more firmly. My legs were still wrapped around him, almost slung over his shoulders. At the top of my panties he paused. For a moment I thought he was going to remove them. Instead, he kept unbuttoning the tiny buttons, kissing me over the lace of my panties. When he’d finally opened my whole dress, he stopped.

“You’re wearing stockings,” he said, and he playfully snapped one of my garters.

“It’s kind of a retro dress. It only seemed right,” I said not wanting to tell him I had worn them in hopes of getting lucky.

“Oh, I’m not complaining. Not at all.” Kneeling between my legs, Peter hooked one finger under the tiny band of my thong. “Were these expensive?” he asked.

It was such a weird and unexpected question I wasn’t sure how to answer. “What?” I asked, hoping for some clarification.

“If they were, I’ll pay you back.” Abruptly, he tore the thong apart at the sides. It happened to so fast it didn’t hurt.

“You can’t just go about destroying my underpants.” It was probably the sexiest thing anyone had ever done to me.

“I just wanted to do this while you were still wearing your stockings.” He lowered his head between my legs. I thought about telling him I had worn the thong over my garter belt so I could take it off and leave them on, but when his tongue touched me, I found it hard to think about anything other than what he was doing and how I could get him to do it harder and faster. He was languidly moving his tongue against me while his hands gripped my thighs so hard I couldn’t move. Since he left me no other option, I grabbed his shoulders, pulling him toward me, which didn’t do anything. I wanted to reach my fingers into his hair to pull him in closer, but I wasn’t brave enough.

Steadily, the speed of his tongue increased until I couldn’t take it anymore. I bucked against him. Only his hands on my thighs kept me from moving away when the sensation got too intense, but the moment of unbearable intensity passed. I crashed over to the other side. He followed up with a few more shudder-inducing licks. I could have sworn his tongue looked a little flatter and a little pinker than it should have, but I was too blissed out to be sure.

As I lay there, trying to compose myself, he slid up and kissed me so I could taste myself on his lips. We kissed, and I started fumbling with his pants and belt. He interrupted the rhythm of our kisses to pull off his shirt. His chest was hard, and while he wasn’t overly muscled, it was very clear from his flat stomach and thick, muscled arms that he worked out.

I ran my hands all over his chest, pulling at his hair and raked my nails down his back as he nipped at my neck. When I started tugging at his pants again, he was happy to oblige me by sitting up and pulling them off as I lay there panting with my legs sprawled on either side of him.

He wriggled out of his pants, turned toward me, and corkscrewed my legs. The next thing I knew I was laying on my stomach while he sat between my legs and rubbed my back all the way down to my thighs with long strokes. His hands rubbed over every part of my back, and then he knelt over me on all fours, his penis touching my back and butt.

Slowly he entered me, and I stretched to fit him. After the buildup of making out, having him inside was a satisfying release. I moaned and pushed up against him. He slid one arm beneath me and pulled my hips up to meet his, his body curled around mine. His hand was between my legs to rub my clit, as he thrust into me. His body was hot against me, both inside and out. I couldn’t think about anything else. Even holding myself up became too much. I collapsed with only his hand holding me up against him as I came and cried out. He climaxed a moment after I did, and when he did he howled, a low spine-chilling noise he muffled by biting my shoulder.

We lay there on the couch, and he went soft and shrank, sliding out of me. I squeaked, and he pushed up so I could roll over onto my back. I lay there pinned under him happy to feel the warmth of his body. As I listened to his slow regular breathing, I realized he was asleep.

I called his name, “Peter?”

No response.

“Peter.” I tried again. “Peter!”

Still nothing. I shook him and finally wormed my way out from under him. He hadn’t seemed that drunk, but he had passed out so hard all I could think was he must have been drunker than I had thought. I sat on the floor naked and looked at him.

He looked very sweet, if a little silly asleep. His mustache had lost its neat curl with one side straight and the other curled down. He didn’t even wake up when I pulled my dress out from under him. I left the apartment and didn’t return any of his calls over the next few weeks. It hadn’t been bad at all, and that was what was dangerous about it. The last thing I wanted to do was settle down. It was easier to avoid settling down if I only hung around with bad boys.

* * * *

A few weeks after my romp with Peter, I managed to ignore my Cinder app, and I almost deleted it a couple of times. It hadn’t been a bad time with Peter. It hadn’t even been an awful time with the vampire, but my own life was starting to feel boring. After meeting a real live vampire and a werewolf, my own life working at the front desk of a hotel and going out with friends seemed lackluster. Peter and the vampire had somehow been more real, more intense than anything going on in my humdrum day to day slog through life.

I found myself looking around as I walked the streets and sat in bars, searching for anyone there touched by magic. Since Cinder also alerted you when someone who was a match for you came into close proximity, I wasn’t totally shocked when it finally happened. My phone vibrated to alert me that there was a man who was looking to meet normal human women nearby.

Continue reading this ebook at Smashwords.
Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-36 show above.)