Crank slouched on the sofa picking at his nails. He’d tried to put his feet up — in Beryl’s lap when she sat down on the opposite end — but she’d knocked his feet to the floor and threatened to emasculate him if he tried again. Jon sat on a chair beside her, talking quietly with Beryl about some band Crandall didn’t like and whether or not they’d go to the concert to support their current tour. Crandall rolled his eyes and glanced over his shoulder. Mike stood behind the sofa, stretching. He clasped his hands behind his back and leaned forward, stretching his shoulders and chest. Crandall stole a quick glance at Jon and Beryl to be sure they weren’t paying attention, and then, when Mike straightened, caught his gaze and licked his lips in the most unsubtle manner he could manage without laughing or saying something crass.
Mike’s immediate reaction, while quickly covered, sent blood rushing to Crandall’s crotch. Halfway to a back stretch, Mike froze, his eyes widened and his mouth fell open just enough to let out a soft sigh that could’ve been a moan had he not been in mixed company. And the stare! He stared at Crandall’s tongue as it passed over his lips and then disappeared back into his mouth leaving a wanton grin behind. Mike turned away, but his silent desire sent Crandall’s thoughts further away from the show scheduled to start in ten minutes and deeper into the gutter than it’d been all day. That said plenty. He’d spent the ride to the club in the back of Jon’s minivan thinking about the sexual positions he’d researched online all afternoon. He’d known porn was plentiful through the internet, but he’d never much liked the oversized Barbie doll style bodies of female porn stars. If they were so big to be obviously fake, they turned him off. Gay porn, on the other hand, had plenty of guys that looked…well, normal. Slender and muscular, bare and furry, big, fat cocks and slender long ones. He’d been enthralled right up to the moment his cell phone rang, Jon calling from the street to wonder why Crandall hadn’t been out front waiting.
The dressing room door swung open. Crandall sat up straighter, not because he cared about their latest, and still uninvited guests, but because the interruption gave him a brief moment to adjust himself in his suddenly too tight pants. He glared at Jackson and then shared his distaste with each of the five men who walked through the door. All but Jackson strutted in decked out in leather, black make-up, and weird shit in their long hair. Darkly colored feathers, frayed yarn in clashing, but still dark shades, and beads in similar hues.
Crandall sensed Mike looming over the back of the sofa. His protectiveness would annoy Crandall had every muscle in his own body not tensed, sweat breaking out along his chest and neck, and his throat constricting as his heart raced. In other words, had every one of the newcomers not been vampires.
Jackson frowned at Crandall and Mike. He said, “Inertia Stand, meet our house band, Dead Inside.” Jackson’s gaze fixed on the Blood Hunters, his trust in his band obvious in the looks that never shifted to the Immortale spreading out within the room, menace and amusement crossing their faces in a mixture that sent Crandall’s instincts to strike into overdrive.
Mike’s hand fell hard on his shoulder, stilling Crandall, but not settling his nerves. Mike’s voice carved through the fog of need that whispered – no, demanded – that Crandall act. Distant but distracting, Mike said, “Nice to meet you guys. I’m Mike. This is Crandall.” From the corner of Crandall’s eye, he saw Mike’s free hand gesture to the non-hunting members of their band. “This is Jon. And Beryl.”
The one with the most feathers, beads, and yarn nodded. His grin revealed short but sharp fangs. “Well met.” He laughed. “I’m Bash Celik, and this is my band.” The others grunted or nodded or ignored Inertia Stand all together. “You can introduce us as just Dead Inside. I’ll intro the band members on stage.”
Crandall sneered back, wishing he had fangs to show off; if only for the intimidation factor. “I’m not playing your fan boy, Celik,” he said. “Introduce yourself.”
Beryl stepped between them, smiling and reaching for the vampire. “Are those real? They must be custom.” Her hand froze inches from his face, but not to be outdone by her own mortal instinct to retreat, she cocked her head to one side and studied his teeth. He peeled back his lips into a snarl so she could see the fangs again. “Fucking awesome,” Beryl whispered. Her eyes shifted up to his and she offered the hand that had hesitated to touch. “Beryl. Bassist. I’ll introduce you when we’re done.”
His snarl melted into a placating grin. “Thank you, Miss Beryl,” Celik said. He kissed her hand. “The fans call me Blood Rain, or just Rain. Whatever you feel comfortable with.” When he turned away from her, he nodded to Jackson and wandered across the room to talk with one of his band members.
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