If you're under 18, then go on and git.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sweet Tarts, Bitter Hearts ***NSFW*** Ch. 17

Copyright 2014
Bailey Bradford

Chapter Seventeen

He’s been alone so long. The realization penetrated through the worry and settled into Abbie’s mind. Claude had been alone, despite being surrounded by coven members. He’d had no one to turn to, to show his weakness or need to.
“You don’t have to ask me. Not for this. Not for sex. Not for comfort. Not for anything you need.” Abbie pulled the collar down more and arched his neck. He heard the material rip slightly.
And he heard Claude’s breath hitch.
Abbie brought his other hand up and ripped the t-shirt open. It was a move he might have laughed at if someone else had done it, but the soft moan it got him from Claude told him he’d done the right thing.
“I—I j-just—“ Claude’s pupils shone red as he zeroed in on Abbie’s throat. “I can’t,” he whispered before his fangs slipped down.
“You can,” Abbie assured him, though he wasn’t a hundred percent certain what Claude was referring to. Abbie shrugged the shirt off. “Come here.”
He knew that Claude needed to cede control. That much Abbie got. Claude moved into his arms, but not before Abbie noted the jerky movements of his limbs.
Claude was, almost without fail, graceful and fluid when he moved. That he wasn’t now bespoke of his chaotic state of mind.
Abbie knew Claude was blaming himself, and that he wouldn’t have mourned or shown anything that could be perceived as weakness around anyone else.
“Only me,” Abbie murmured as he buried his hands in Claude’s thick, dark hair. “Only I give this to you.”
“Only you.” Claude pressed in close and Abbie wished he’d have removed their clothes first.
But no. He wanted this to be for Claude. The vamp was about to rattle his bones right out of his own body, he’d begun shaking so hard.
Abbie pushed lightly on the back of Claude’s head. With his other hand, he reached between them. Claude sucked in his taut belly and Abbie soon had his palm over a rigid, hot cock.
He rubbed, and Claude’s breathy response shot through him like a fine, warm whisky, heating him up in a sensual way.
Letting go of Claude was difficult but necessary. “Unfasten your pants and belt,” he directed quietly but firmly. He moved back just enough to let Claude get his hands between them and have some maneuvering room. It wasn’t but a few seconds before he had the access he wanted. “Perfect. Now your shoes, then kick out of the rest.”
Claude divested himself of the bottom half of his clothing.
Abbie took care of the top, following the same manner he’d rid himself of his.
Buttons went flying off the stark white shirt. He was glad Claude hadn’t been wearing a tie. The jacket, however, was in the way.
Abbie grunted as he shoved the whole mess off.
“Now take what you need,” he said, opening his arms once again.
The sound Claude made was torn from his core. He was against Abbie in a flash.
Abbie slid one thigh between Claude’s legs. He gripped a handful of butt and encouraged Claude to rut. “Come when you need to.”
Claude sniffled, which could have been an aborted giggle or a restrained sob. Abbie didn’t ask. He let the man keep that one secret.
Abbie again tilted his head. “Bite me. Come on me.”
Claude practically shredded the pants right off of Abbie without saying a word.
Had Claude not so obviously needed him, needed the rough, Abbie might have teased him. Not this morning, when Claude was hurting.
Abbie cupped his nape. “Do it. Give me everything.” Give up that hollow, lonely feeling inside. Abbie knew it was there. Like recognized like, as his grandma used to say.
Claude clutched at him with a bruising strength. “Sorr—“
“No. Don’t even apologize for needing me.” Abbie let his fingers drift into Claude’s crack. “I need you just as much.”
Claude’s broken keen almost did Abbie in. His eyes burned and he blinked rapidly as Claude began to move. He pushed up with his leg and Claude rocked faster, harder, his cock so hot and rigid against Abbie’s thigh.
Abbie’s arousal was nearly as strong, but he held himself back. He would take care of Claude.
But Claude had other plans, fumbling at first then palming Abbie’s cock. Abbie’s knees went weak but he remained upright. He was quickly becoming utterly absorbed in Claude’s body against his, in the sight and sound and scent of the man.
Abbie knew this desperation, had felt it before when he’d been a human and lost first his brother, then his father. He’d had that driving, primitive urge to prove that he was still alive, to find a way to escape the pain of being alive when others weren’t.
The memories hit him and he spun Claude around. Neither of them should be thinking, he decided as the tumbled onto the bed.
Claude huffed but Abbie kept most of his weight off of Claude. He settled into the v of Claude’s parted legs and thrust.
Claude moaned and tried to clasp both of their cocks in hand.
“No,” Abbie said, rubbing harder. “Bite me.”
Claude thrashed his head, his eyes closed. Then he snapped them open and hissed, flashing every bit of those long, sharp fangs.
Abbie almost came on the spot. He rutted desperately, Claude’s hips jutting up to meet him thrust for thrust.
When Claude flipped him, Abbie was the one to moan. His back barely hit the bed before fangs pierced his skin. “Ah!” That first, long, deep draw tore him up with pleasure. He shook as he bucked up, his cum spreading between them.
Claude stiffened and more wet heat slicked their skin.
Abbie wasn’t aware of time, of anything other than the blissful release and the feel of his mate coming apart for him. He wanted to stay in bed and hold Claude, to comfort and keep him from the dangers outside their home.
Stupid, he knew. Claude was the ultimate predator, after all.
But he was also a man, who cared about his people, and felt guilt and sadness when he lost one of them.

And he was the man that Abbie loved more with each passing minute.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sweet Tarts, Bitter Hearts Ch. 16

Copyright 2014
Bailey Bradford

Chapter Sixteen

“Get back!” Claude shouted as the light expanded. He caught the vamp nearest him and shot up into the sky.
The light flared then dimmed over several seconds until it went out.
“What the fuck!” Harvey shouted, spittle flying and dribbling down his chin. His fangs were out, not an uncommon reaction to fear.
Claude had kept his in, but he felt a hot ball of terror in his gut. “I don’t know. It’s deadly, obviously, and I think it must have been set to go off if the door was opened. In other words, no one had to man it. I suppose it could be remote activated.” He was talking, calmly. He didn’t feel calm. He was angry, very angry, and very scared of the light weapon that had been used to destroy Reed so instantaneously. It could wipe out his entire coven.
And all the mates would die, too.
Goddamn it!
“Reed’s just…he’s gone,” Harvey rasped. He wiped at his chin. “Maybe we don’t need to be worrying about the human and his family. Maybe we need to be worrying about keeping ourselves alive!”
Claude gave him a firm shake. “Doing one does not mean I am incapable of doing the other as well.”
Harvey glared at him. “Like you did with Reed?”
Claude barely kept from flinching. “Reed didn’t listen to me. See what that got him?” He hated saying it, but an uprising was not going to help them. In-fighting would destroy them as surely as the enemy would.
“It got him dead,” Harvey acknowledged. “If it hadn’t been him, it’d have been one of us, though. You were going to make us check that house over.”
I was going to enter the house after I’d used one of the bricks by the sidewalk to knock the door open,” Claude snapped, his patience unraveling. “That was my intention, and I should have done more to stop Reed, yes, but I didn’t and I goddamned well will not be making a mistake like that again! I am aware that it cost Reed his life.”
“Reed would have went anyway,” said Jonas, the other vamp with them. Jonas shrugged. “He always had a need to push when he shouldn’t have. You know that, Harvey. How many times did he come flying in with blistered skin because he just had to race the sun?”
Claude would not let the blame be passed off completely. “It doesn’t matter. Yes, he went against what I said, but I am still the coven leader, and Reed’s death is my fault. I should not have let him come, knowing his impulsiveness.” 
Jonas shrugged again. “He was going to die young anyway.”
Young was a relative term when it came to vampires, but Reed had only been one for three years.
“We need to find out what that was,” Claude murmured, staring at the house.
“Well I sure as hell ain’t going to check!” Harvey declared.
“A human needs to do it,” Jonas said. “Light won’t do anything to them except make them see white spots.”
As much as Claude wanted to argue, he knew Jonas was right. “Yes, it must be a human.”
Jonas canted his head and said, “We have several at the house.”
“No. I will not endanger anyone’s mate.” Claude was firm on that. “We have time. A human off the streets will do. If you two will remain here, I shall fetch one and return quickly.”
Harvey looked like he wanted to argue but Jonas glared at him. “Grow a pair already!”
“Fuck off,” Harvey snapped. “Fine, I’ll stay here with him.”
“If you see anything suspicious, leave immediately.” Claude didn’t waste another second. He went batty and flew right for the Strip.
There were plenty of singles out, many of them exceedingly drunk or stoned. He could work with that. Claude needed someone he could easily put in thrall, and sometimes that went easier with someone already in an altered state.
He found a man who looked like he had a fondness for steroids. The human was quite the obnoxious prick, too, shouting at different women and grabbing his crotch.
“You know you want this, baby,” the man bellowed at a group of women.
For a moment, Claude considered putting the man in thrall and letting all the harassed females have him. He didn’t doubt for a moment that the man would regret his rude words.
Instead, Claude landed behind him in the alley and changed forms. He strolled up to the man and whispered, “Look at me.”
“Why the fuck would I wanna look at a guy—“ the man stopped as soon as he met Claude’s gaze.
Claude put the power of his will behind it. His coven needed to be kept safe from the new danger he’d seen take Reed’s life.
“What is your name?” he asked the man.
“Eugene, but don’t tell,” Eugene said. “I tell everyone my name is Stony.”
“Ah. Well then, Stony, you will come with me.” Claude held out a hand and stepped back into the alley.
Stony followed him like a hungry dog sniffing a bone.
As soon as they were in the shadows, Claude wrapped his arms around Stony’s waist. “Close your eyes. You will remember nothing of this.”
“Okay.” Stony minded like a good boy.
Claude sent them both flying.
“He’s a big fucker,” Harvey said when he saw them arrive.
Claude acknowledged that with a grimace. “And very misogynistic.”
“Nothing happened while you were gone,” Jonas informed him.
“I suppose that is good news.” Claude lowered himself and Stony to the ground. “Look at me,” he directed once more.
After checking that the thrall was still strong, Claude turned Stony toward the house. “You will enter and watch for traps, explosives, other people, something that would make a bright light, probably aimed at the doorway. Look for bats as well. I want you to search the drawers, desks, everywhere you can for papers identifying who lives in the house, how many people, names, ages, gender. If there is any information at all, bring it to me. You may make as many trips as you need.”
“Okay.” Stony turned and trotted to the house.
Claude hoped Stony came back with something helpful.
Abbie knew something had gone horribly wrong as soon as he saw Claude’s face, and when the front door closed with one person missing, his stomach plummeted right along with his heart.
Claude silently came to him at the foot of the stairs. Harvey and Jonas were carrying a backpack each. They handed them to Claude then slipped off to their coffins.
“Oh no,” Augustin murmured. “Tony—“
“Come with me, let’s check on your patient,” Tony said quietly. “They need to be alone.”
‘They’ being him and Claude. Everyone else had cleared out. “Do you want…” Anything that Claude wanted, he could have. The man looked to be devastated. He would be, having lost a member of his coven.
“If you would help me to look through these bags,” Claude said. “I haven’t had the chance. The man I put in thrall was able to get this to me before I had to leave. Dawn,” he added, tipping his head back.
“Of course.” Abbie took both backpacks. He bit his bottom lip, debating whether or not to ask.
Claude took him by the elbow and started them up the stairs. “It was a light beam, a strong UV one. It had been rigged to flick on when the door was opened. Reed rushed ahead. He was laughing with relief, then he…was gone.”
“Jesus,” Abbie whispered. “What are we up against?”
“Someone smarter than Zebulon.” Claude leaned against him. “Can you think of anyone he’d mentioned knowing that you did not?”
“No, he didn’t really talk to me much.” Abbie hated that. He felt like he was failing Claude.
“He is a pathetic excuse for a vampire, for any kind of living being, for that matter.” Claude sighed as they entered the bedroom. “I don’t know anything about the human or his family. I’m hoping there is information in these backpacks.”
Abbie hated that Claude was hurting, and he certainly was, though he tried to hide it. “If you need to rest, I can go through them.”
Claude shook his head. “No, I have to do this. If…if you would allow me to—“

Abbie dropped the bags and tugged at the collar of his t-shirt. “Anything.”

Weekly ARe winner! And a Totallybound winner, too!

Okay, monthly is done, weekly is next! Let's do something a little different this week and give out $10 to ARe and $10 to Totallybound! Next week we will go back to one winner because I'll be broke :D

Congrats to #51/ElaineG, you win the ARe bucks!

And for the Totallybound gift voucher:

Congrats to #46/Tanya! Tanya, if you don't have a Totallybound account, you'l have to set one up. It's pretty quick.

If y'all will email me with the addies y'all use for your bookstore win, I'll send out your prize!

Thanks to everyone for playing!

Monthly Drawing Winners!

Going back over the comments to count them, somehow several have been deleted from the blog. However, we can still see them under the list of comments. I'm puzzled as to how this happened, but didn't want y'all to think the comments were gone-gone or uncounted. Blogger is just freakin' weird sometimes though.

Now, anyway. This months prizes are a gift voucher to ARe and one to Totallybound EACH for the two winners. The ARe cert will be for $20 and the Totallybound one for $10, so each winner gets $30 in book monies. Y'all will need to email me with the addies y'all use for those two bookstores, and if you don't have a Totallybound account, please set one up because these are non-refundable. Thanks!

ST spent an hour working with Amber to get the names and numbers down. Now, each kiddo will draw a winner!

And, congratulations to:

Eric Roberts and nikirenee! Woot!

Y'all email me at itsbaileybradford@yahoo.com and I will send y'all's prezzies out.

Up next, the weekly winner!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Moved installment. Coyote's Call Excerpt!

I know, bad author, but I just this moment turned Coyote's Call: Off Course in, and Elijah's in here playing Angry Birds and going, "Gamma, yooooooooouuuuuur tuhn!" and frankly, I'm caving to Elijah time. Tomorrow I'll write an installment and do the weekly ARe bucks winner. 

AND I WILL DO THE MONTHLY WINNERS! We should probably just consider that contest to be done mid-month because it takes me that long to get to it. 

But also, as a bonus or an I'm sorry for being a bad author tonight, I thought I'd share an edited excerpt from Coyote's Call. I'll have pub info for this up soon. I had it. Got to find it. Y'all know how I am. >.< 


Coyote's Call: Off Course
Copyright 2014
Bailey Bradford

Chapter One

At a quarter after three on August 21st, Gideon Wells’ car sputtered to a stop on a desolate Texas road. Gideon knew the exact time since it was in the morning, and he was now stranded in the middle of Texas, without a cell phone or anyone to call even if he’d had one.
He did note the temperature gauge since the needle to it was deep in the red zone. Then the whole car shuddered, smoke and flames shot out from under the hood, and Gideon’s impending self-pity was drowned out by sheer terror as visions of him dying a hot, fiery death flashed through his head.
Gideon didn’t worry about his keys or anything other than not dying. He did grab the duffle off the front seat just before leaping out of the car.
At least he’d braked to an almost-stop first. But with the flames and all, putting the car in park hadn’t really occurred to him.
The ground was hard, without even a smidgen of grass to cushion his landing. A grunt was knocked out of him, and Gideon hoped he didn’t break any bones.
He heard a loud popping sound, followed by grinding and what was most likely metal on metal somehow. The car going through one of those barbed wire fences, he supposed. Gideon got a breath in, decided his lungs worked and no ribs were broken. He started to roll onto his side when movement not three inches from his face caused him to freeze.
With the car ablaze and a full moon out, Gideon had no trouble seeing what was waving at him. He just had a hell of a time getting his brain to process the image his eyes were sending it.
Once that all flowed together, terror flared to life in every cell in his body. Gideon tried to scramble back but his limbs seemed to have forgotten they were supposed to follow his orders.
The scorpion was huge, like something out of a horror movie. It had too damn many legs—and a really scary tail that curved up and around.
Gideon couldn’t seem to look away from the creature while his thoughts spun chaotically. Surely it has more than eight legs. Is that right? That can’t be right. Only spiders have eight legs. Well, octopi have eight tentacles, and there’s centipedes… It had to be some kind of freak of nature, a scorpion with twice the legs it should have or maybe a centipede-scorpion mutant.
And that was when he realized there were two scorpions entirely too close to his person. As far as he was concerned, a continent between them would still have the nasty things too close to him.
Should he move? Maybe his body knew better than his brain what to do. If he scrambled back, the scorpions might very well attack him, like the predatory dogs that saw such retreats as a sign of prey.
Did scorpions eat people? He didn’t think so, but they were poisonous. Possibly, not to him but even if the venom didn’t do him in, he’d die of fright if one bit him. Or drown in the puddle of piss he made.
“B-back,” he stuttered, and when his breath hit the scorpions, or maybe just the sound of his voice did it, they sure seemed to wave entirely too many legs at him.
Gideon took that to mean the nasty shits were signaling a charge. His screech of utter horror made his own ears ring and his head throb. It also broke him out of his frozen trance. He shrieked nonstop as he first scrambled to his feet then ran.
Whether it was his imagination or not, he saw things moving all over the ground. Gideon couldn’t shut up, couldn’t force his panic and fear to stay down past his throat.
He ran, but glanced back. Another lightning bolt of horror hit him when he saw the huge fire behind him. Apparently, the car had caught a field on fire. Now he’d be in deep shit for arson or something like that.
“Shit!” And no man of his height—six-four, thank you very much—and weight—two-twenty, almost all muscle—should sound like a terrified five year old girl trying to say bad words.
Gideon turned back around and ran, hoping and fearing that he was stomping on scorpions every time his feet hit the ground. He didn’t know where he was running to, only that he didn’t want to get in trouble for the fire, and he didn’t want the creepy critters to get him.
He considered shifting, but there was the duffle bag that held all his earthly belongings. If he had someone there to strap the bag onto him, he’d have been fine, but he wasn’t leaving his few belongings behind.
So he stuck to human form. It was probably for the best. He was in Texas, after all. Everyone had guns, arsenals, and if anyone spotted a brown bear running past, they’d turn him into one of those stupid rugs in no time at all.
Plus, there’d be a lot of questions about why there was a grizzly bear in Texas. Not that he’d have to answer any such questions. He’d just be dead and keeping the dust off some bastard’s floor.
A bear, running from scorpions… Mutant scorpions. Fucking mutant scorpions. Unless they were supposed to have that many parts and—“Oh, whatever!”
If he survived the night, and if he ever had kids and grandkids and so on, this was not the kind of story he’d be sharing with any of them.
Gideon’s night vision wasn’t all that great, not better than a regular ol’ human’s would be. He was a special shifter like that, his senses all but parallel with any regular person’s. It was part of why he was on his own.
He wasn’t going to think about the other reasons he’d been driving across Texas, heading from Wyoming to he didn’t even know where. Not Texas, that hadn’t been his end destination. It was too hot there, and already he was soaked in sweat. It had to be at least eighty degrees, and that was just wrong for three in the morning.
The moonlight was a boon once he was further away from the fire. Gideon was quickly getting winded, not having been in the best shape to begin with. Maybe he was a tad softer in the belly than he’d thought. He’d put on a little winter reserve weight, and it was showing in how easily he was physically exerted.
After what had to be close to half an hour, he slowed down to walk. He really was in the middle of nowhere. There wasn’t a house or electrical light to be seen in the distance no matter which way he turned.
There were, however, so many stars in the sky that he could spend eternity trying to count them. Off to the east, he could see the red and orange flares of the fire still licking up and up as if they’d scorch the stars themselves.
The fire was just as terrifying as the scorpions had been. Gideon found himself jogging along instead of walking, no longer interested in staring at the stars and the beautiful sky.
Despite the distance he’d come, he could smell smoke no matter which way he turned. That inner core of him roared, fearful of being surrounded by those hellish flames. There wasn’t a creature on the planet other than man himself that didn’t have a powerful, natural fear of fire.
And even a shifter in its human form still felt the terror his or her beast did.
Gideon’s heart pounded so hard he thought he could hear it. His pulse was racing, his lungs burning, chest heaving, legs cramping by the time he slowed down again. The sun was just beginning to rise, washing the West in blooming colors of orange, pinks, yellows and purples. Mountains remained dark shapes in the foreground.
Finally, he dared to peek toward the east. Gideon saw no trace of smoke or anything else to clue him in on what happened after he left the car. Judging by the landscape around him, he assumed he’d wound up in the desert-part of Texas. There were no trees nearby, no grass or gently rolling hills. He racked his brain and remembered seeing a sign for Sonora. That had been on I-10 and he’d taken an off-road from there.
Unfortunately, his map had been in the car. What he did know now was he’d ran west, and possibly a little North, though he couldn’t be sure. Another reason he was on his own. He had a shitty sense of direction, which wasn’t conducive to surviving in his shifted form. All in all, he made a bad bear and a not so great human.
Another two hours into his misadventure, and Gideon was ready to drop. He was exhausted, and hot, and miserable. And hungry—really, really hungry. The sun was unrelenting, bright and strong as it shined down on him.
Assault by sunlight, that’s how I’ll die. It sure felt like the rays were pelting him, making it a personal attack. If he wanted to roll in self-pity, he’d go with the belief that even the elements were out to get him.
“Scorpions, fire, killer sun and heat…” He could barely speak past his dry throat, but the silence was driving him nuts. “No water, no food, no sleep.” Well, he was too pathetic for himself. Gideon stopped walking. His feet were so sore he was afraid to look at them. He stood, just waiting. He wasn’t normally such a negative person. Even when everything had gone to hell with Andrew, he’d still found a silver lining.
It was hard to find one now. He hung his head and the duffle slipped from his fingers. The thud as it hit the ground stirred something in Gideon’s memory. Hope bubbling up, he squatted and opened the bag.
“Yes! Oh thank the gods!” The bottle of water was a little over halfway full, and it was hot. He didn’t care. He pawed through the bag but didn’t find any food. No surprise since he didn’t remember packing any in there.
He also took out a t-shirt and quickly fastened it around his head in a manner he’d seen a survival guy do on TV. It would protect his scalp and ears, and if he stretched it just so, he could cover most of his face except for his eyes.
That would wait. He wanted a drink of water.
Gideon opened the bottle carefully. There was always a chance he was exaggerating the danger, but he feared death was an actual possibility stranded as he was. He considered changing into a pair of jeans to protect his legs, but it was simply not possible in the heat. Stripping down to nothing, now that sounded like a good plan, though he knew better than to do it. Some parts of him weren’t quite as tan as others, and there were dangly bits that no man wanted to have sunburned. He was no exception.
After a few small sips of the water, Gideon forced himself to re-cap the water and put it away. It had done little to quench his thirst, but he wasn’t going to chug it all down. He looked at the items in the duffle.
Birth certificate, bank account info, the family photos, notes from Andrew. Clothes. A little over half a bottle of water. Boy, I’m fucked if I don’t find someone to help me out, or at least a creek to drink from soon.
For a moment, he entertained the vision of some hikers finding his body twenty years from now—well, his skeletal remains, rather. That’d scare the hell out of someone. Or maybe not what with all the dead bodies, real and fake, seen on TV and in movies.
And he didn’t need to be so morbid.
Gideon considered burying the bag so he could shift and travel as a bear. There didn’t seem to be anyone around who would spot him and shoot him.
It just wasn’t worth the risk. He stood up and put the bag over his shoulder. Then he started walking again.