About Thorns: A Bloodrose Compilation
Author: Julia Talbot
Word Count: 78600
Page Count (pdf): 299
Date Published: 12/20/2016
Publisher: Turtlehat Creatives
File Types available: pdf, epub, mobi
Things go bump in the night at this exclusive paranormal club…
Club Bloodrose is an exclusive club for all manner of creatures of the night, from vampires to werewolves to demons. The four stories in Thorns revolve around the inhabitants of the Bloodrose and their lives and loves.
In An Itch to Scratch, werewolf Deke has this itch. He loves to be bitten by vampires, and he wants a safe place to get his scratching. Kasey is a vamp who doesn’t play with his food, at least until he meets Deke. Then he knows he has to take a chance on getting involved. Will they be able to find the balance in power a vampire and a werewolf need to be together? Deke and Kasey return in The Werewolf Code, working their day jobs as private investigators. When a genetic mutation threatens werewolf kind, Deke and Kasey have to solve the case fast, or risk losing everything.
In Belling the Cat, vampire Jonny has everything he wants in life. Club Bloodrose is his baby, and he should be totally fulfilled running it. He knows something is missing in his life, but isn’t sure what until he meets cat shifter Luc, who’s intent on stealing information Jonny is hiding. Luc has a past and needs Jonny’s files, but that’s all he wants from the handsome vamp. Right? Finally, in Emerald Eyes, Luc’s brother Yves is a rockhound who needs a set of priceless emeralds to right an old wrong. When things start to go badly for Yves, his brother sends him a bodyguard, a werewolf named Reuben. The last thing Yves needs is a watchdog, especially one as sexy, and annoying as Reuben. Right?
All of the novellas in Thorns have been previously published and have been re-edited for new publication.
I began the Bloodrose series in 2008 with a bizarre little erotically romantic adventure story called The Werewolf Code. Y’all loved the silly thing, but told me you wanted Deke and Kasey’s beginning, since the idea of an auction at an exclusive club intrigued everyone.
So, while I wrote The Werewolf Code first, An Itch to Scratch comes first chronologically. Itch is an adventure, as well, but way more an erotic one. Then Belling the Cat came in 2009, with the first half of vampire club owner Jonny’s story. That novella ended kinda abruptly, and for years, readers have been asking me to finish it.
So, in 2015 I finished Emerald Eyes. While there are other Bloodrose stories, Jonny and Luc and Deke and Kasey are the major players, so I wanted to compile all their stories into one volume. While there have been some glitches, including Emerald Eyes going out of print after only four months on sale, I’m proud to put out this collection now and give readers old and new a chance to get to know these characters of my heart.
Julia Talbot, February 2016
An Itch to Scratch
The owner of the very exclusive club Deke had applied to smiled at him, making a note in a leather bound folder. The place was like that. Leather portfolios and leather chairs, the smell of expensive booze and tobacco strong, even this early in the day. “Deke, then. Your application looks perfect, and your references are impeccable. So we only have two things to talk about.”
“Okay.” Deke twisted his key ring around his fingers, trying not to look nervous. Normally he wouldn’t set foot in a swanky place like the Bloodrose, but he had this itch that he just had to scratch, and it was getting tough to find a safe place to do it. So, there he was, sitting in front of an amazingly hot guy named Jonny, who had gone over his file with a fine toothed comb.
Jonny smiled, revealing a set of tiny, needle-sharp fangs, reminding him that he’d chosen the damned club for a reason that went beyond private membership and a free massage. “First, we need to decide exactly what you want out of your experience at Bloodrose. It says here that you would like to try to defer your membership fees by entering into an exclusivity contract with one of our current members.”
Deke’s cheeks heated. You didn’t have to be broke to be unable to come up with the kind of fees Bloodrose charged, damn it. “Uh. Yeah. It’s an option on the application. I mean, I assumed people did it all the time.”
“They do. Not to worry. I just want you to understand that, barring any incompatibility, this will lock you into a year’s worth of commitment.”
“I do. Understand, I mean.” That was the reason Deke was there, in fact. With an itch like his to scratch, he ended up at a lot of skanky bars, picking up a lot of nameless guys, and he was getting tired of it. Not to mention the fact that it was becoming dangerous.
Oh, he didn’t worry any about disease or anything. That was a fortunate side effect of being a werewolf. No, what he worried about was the weird little packs of vamps and other things that were banding together out there. A man could get himself in real trouble if someone had bad intentions working, and there were more and more vamps out there who would like nothing more than to lock him away somewhere and treat him like their own little Energizer bunny.
“Well, then, we have a few options. I can try to match you with a member and you can do a few interviews. Or, if you really want to go for those membership fees, I can choose more than one patron who might meet your needs, and we can have an auction.”
“An auction?” Whoa. Whoa, what did that mean? He had a sudden image in his head of some dude talking really fast and blabbering on about how he was from sturdy stock and how he could mostly control his wolf shifting, even on the fullest moon. “Wait. If someone… what? Buys me for a year, what if we don’t get along?”
“All auctions have a two week guarantee.” Jonny leaned his elbows on the giant mahogany desk, looking as earnest as a vamp with a three hundred dollar haircut could look. “I also happen to be very good at placing members with partners.”
“And this is the best way to defer my fees?”
“For you? Yes. You’re a valuable commodity, Deke. It also helps me, I admit. You could simply come to the club on a temporary membership and meet someone, thus taking a member away. Instead, you’re willing to allow me to find someone to pay for you to come here.”
“Well, yeah. I mean, that’s kind of the point. I need a safe place to do this, you know?” He didn’t want to take someone to his apartment, didn’t want to go someplace private without a security fail safe in place. Bloodrose had private rooms, good steaks, and lots of vamps to choose from. From what he’d heard.
“Well, then. I’ll get the ball rolling on the patrons. That just leaves us one thing to finish up.” Something in the air changed, the whole feel going from business-like to sexual. Predatory. Jonny went from all business to slinky, growly…
Deke liked it.
“Yeah? What’s that?” His fingers tingled, and Deke wiped the sweaty tips on his pants legs, trying to not to get too riled up. It would make him all furry.
“Blood tests. I just want to make sure everything is nice and clean for our patrons.”
“Well, it’s not like I can carry the usual…”
“I know.” Jonny cut him off, holding up one pale, elegant hand. “There are just as many nut jobs out there who want to hurt vampires as there are ones that wish to harm werewolves, Deke. I need to know you’re not one of them.”
“Fair enough.” It was, too. How could he blame the man for protecting his business? “Do you, uh, do you have a lab on the premises? I don’t want a regular lab getting a hold of my blood, huh?” That way led to test tubes and straightjackets and all.
“Naturally. I can have it drawn here, or we can do it the old fashioned way.” Jonny moved, way too fast for him to see, coming across the desk to cup his chin in one hand. “I’m more than happy to test you myself.”
“Yeah?” Now his hands weren’t the only things that were sweaty. His skin prickled with heat, his breath starting to come in shallow pants. This was what he’d come here for, right? This was his damned itch. It drove him crazy, prickling at his skin like little needles that didn’t have a full load of his favorite drug.
“Yes. It will help me know who to pair you with, as well. If I know your flavor. Are you willing?” There was something warm creeping into Jonny’s icy eyes, something that looked a lot like need.
Deke swallowed, the sound loud and harsh. “Oh, hell yes. I’m willing.”
“Excellent.” Jonny took Deke’s hand and pulled him from the chair before pushing him back on the solid surface of the desk itself.
A corner of heavy wood dug into his thigh, just down by his knee, but Deke ignored it. The feel of Jonny’s hands electrified him, sending shivers down his spine and making his nipples harden and ache. His cock ached, too, and Deke tilted his head back, letting Jonny at his throat.
Yeah, okay, so sue him. He’d never show that kind of beta behavior with another wolf, but vamps were a whole different ball of wax. That was part of the fun, the inevitable surrender.
“Are you certain about this?” Jonny asked, and Deke rolled his eyes.
“I ain’t some nervous first timer.” Deke dragged Jonny’s hand down to cover his cock, which thumped with his pulse, even through his pants.
“No. No, I think you might just be a professional.” Jonny’s smile opened up against his throat, the feel of silky lips and the prick of tiny teeth making him buck, making him want to just fucking impale himself on them.
When Jonny finally bit him he almost came, his hips rising and falling, the feeling shooting through his whole body. His blood rushed to meet Jonny’s fangs, his whole body bending to help push it up and out. Scrabbling, his hands tried to find purchase on Jonny’s body, even as his feet drummed on the floor, the damned desk leaving bruises all over his leg.
It didn’t last near long enough. Jonny pulled away, gently, slowly, licking his lips, and Deke sighed, hanging on to keep the world from spinning away. The pull of his blood faded, but the beat of his heart didn’t slow.
“Oh, Deacon, I could simply keep you for myself. You’re delicious.”
“Okay.” Sure. Whatever worked. He would just stay right there, jonesing on the feeding.
“So agreeable.” Jonny chuckled, licking at the tiny wounds on Deke’s neck. “I would very much like to fuck you now.”
God. Yes, please. Deke nodded, struggling to get up so he could tear at his button and zipper, his cock beating at his pants, battering at them. Jesus, if this was what Jonny could promise him with the club, he was so in, no matter what it took.
“Shh. Let me.” Sure, Jonny seemed calm, but his fingers trembled against Deke’s belly. The man wasn’t as unaffected as he tried to make out, and Deke knew he was right about what he’d seen in those eyes before they started all this.
“Yeah. Come on.” He sucked in his belly, letting Jonny have at him, and his pants slid down his legs, scratchy as hell. He’d only worn the damned slacks because this felt like it was a job interview or something. Not a place for jeans.
“Pretty, pretty,” Jonny said, cupping his cock with one hand. “Hot. I’d forgotten how hot a werewolf can be.”
It was true. He could be like a damned furnace. Some nights it made it hard to sleep, even for him. He’d had more than one vampire tell him that it was incredibly pleasant, though. They were cold-natured.
Once his pants came down, Jonny turned Deke over so he was face down on the desk, bare ass up in the air. Deke rode that feeling like the slut he knew he was, rocking his ass back, trying to spread his legs and open up wide.
Jonny laughed, the sound low and deep and sexy as hell, before pushing a finger right inside Deke’s body. It scraped deliciously, and Deke moaned, his whole body into it, his entire self an aching ball of want.
“Please. Please, just fuck me.”
“I’ll have to put in your file how beautifully you beg,” Jonny whispered against the nape of his neck, stirring the thick hairs there. Then the man slid inside him, thick cock pushing in alongside the finger Jonny still had in him, stretching him until he wanted to scream.
Sometimes he fucking loved super-hero healing. There were a lot of downsides to being fuzzy. Rough, hot sex was not one of them.
“So bloody tight. So hot.” Jonny was losing his American accent with every thrust.
You had to love older vamps for shit like that. They were like onions. You never knew what you were gonna get when you started peeling back layers. There was always some old world secret lurking behind their modern faces.
Sharp fangs stung the back of his neck. “Something tells me you aren’t paying attention, Deacon, despite my best efforts.”