Rafe is a vampire and Adam is his human blood slave. But Rafe wants more--a blood bond. Adam, not willing to join the vampire world, leaves it all behind and heads for DC and a new life.
Back in town for the holidays, Adam and Rafe rekindle their romance and head to the local fetish club, The Catacombs, where Adam is known as Iron Man because of his hardware--a steel cock plug and chain harness. They spend the week having wild, aggressive, kinky-as-hell sex. Anything goes.
When it's time to return to the real world, Adam is torn. Rafe is more than a vampire, more than his lover. He's his partner. Adam isn't sure he can give up his humanity, even for the man he loves. He has to decide--a vampire blood bond or his lonely human life in DC?
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Iron Man by KyAnn Waters
He buried her after sunset. Dark clouds hung low over the snow-capped mountains and flurries drifted on the cold winter air. The wind carried whispered words. Rafe Ramos stood next to the open grave. Those who approached to offer condolences wore somber expressions. Grief squeezed his chest and his eyes burned.
One of his close friends, Omar Kimble, rested a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Do you need anything?"
Nothing Omar could offer. Death had a way of making a man evaluate life. There was a time he'd felt as if the world was his. Then everything just...changed.
He squinted into the darkening heavens in an effort to find solace. At least Mom was with Dad. Rafe wouldn't spend the holiday at the hospital--he wouldn't spend it with family. He didn't have any left. A lump formed in his throat. Even with friends standing around him, for the first time in his unnatural life, he felt truly alone and would be for eternity.
"We'll stop by this week." Jeremy's words registered, but Rafe could only nod. Then his friends walked away together.
Icy wind stung his cheeks, chilling him to the bone. But then he was always cold--he was vampire. He remained rooted to the spot, his gaze glued on the casket as his mother was slowly lowered into the ground. Unable to watch the men pile dirt on the pristine oak box, he turned and went to his car. For several minutes, he sat in the parking lot of the cemetery. He didn't have a reason to go home.
For the last six months, he'd watched her wither into a frail shadow of the vibrant woman she'd been. The doctors told him he'd been lucky for the time they had. That wasn't true. He could have saved her. He hadn't tried. Saving humans was forbidden to him but that wasn't what had stopped him. Had he pulled her into his dark world, she would have known he wasn't the son she knew.
Cancer had nearly consumed her before they discovered the ugly diagnosis. She never complained. Caring for her kept him from thinking too much about himself, about how fucked up his life had become. He hadn't just grown bored. He was stagnating, taking pleasure in nothing and no one and that wasn't Rafe. After the change, he'd reveled in his existence. That was before Adam.
Larger flakes of snow began to fall on the windshield. A tear slid down his cheek. His mother had been a constant friend in his life. "Goodbye, Mom." Goodbye to the last string linking him to humanity.
Finally, he pulled out of the cemetery parking lot and headed home.
* * * * *
Rafe threw another log on the fire. Sparks exploded from the crackling wood and rose into the chimney. Outside the living room window, snow continued to pile up on cars, houses and shrubs. For the second time in an hour, a plow rumbled down the street with yellow lights flashing.
He went back to the sofa and sipped a beer, wishing for the mind-numbing intoxication that wouldn't come. He hadn't fed in days and without the warm elixir of blood surging through his veins, he was without human sensation. Yet, he didn't have the energy to feed and even less motivation for The Catacombs, the vampire club that would see to all his needs.
The neighbors had really outdone themselves this Christmas. Colorful lights dripped from the house. The shrubs twinkled under the blanket of white and the porch pillars were wrapped to look like candy canes. Rafe hadn't put up a single holiday decoration. He no longer considered himself religious--not for three years. Not since becoming vampire.
With a groan, he leaned into the cushions. He was twenty-six years old and a seasoned firefighter of five years. This week off work was going to be hell. Shit, his life was hell. He wasn't taking time off by choice. His captain had insisted that he needed to mourn. He worked the graveyard shift at the station. And while he trusted the humans he worked with in harried situations such as an out-of-control inferno, he didn't trust them enough to bring any of them into his personal life. He hadn't trusted anyone since Adam. And that relationship hadn't worked out as he'd hoped.
Adam had been more than a blood slave to sate his hunger. At least, Rafe had wanted more. Without forging a blood bond, he and Adam couldn't have eternity. For that Adam had to become vampire, had to exchange blood with Rafe. They would not only bind their lives, they would share thoughts and live as one.
"Love," he said into the empty room. Love hurt like hell. Rafe had pushed, obviously asking for more than Adam had been willing to give. Then he'd pushed Adam out of his life altogether because Rafe hadn't been willing to settle for less than forever.
Now, instead of the sweet taste of Adam's blood floating over his tongue and warming his body, he fed from slaves at The Catacombs. Men who served the sect, served vampires. Men who weren't like Adam. Adam hadn't fed any vampire except Rafe. They hadn't just been symbiotic. They'd been partners.
Rafe drove the maudlin thoughts from his mind and considered his current situation. Tonight he'd rather not be home. He'd rather be hanging out at the fire station or on a call. He didn't wish harm to anyone, especially this time of year, but nothing cleared the mind like focusing on something else. Fires were dangerous, explosive and unpredictable. Exactly the way he felt.
At some point, he'd need to think about feeding. Right now, he just couldn't summon the strength to move. The silence was deafening.
Rafe started at a knock on the door. The hour had grown late. He couldn't think of anyone who would bother him tonight--not after the funeral. At this hour, his friends would be at The Catacombs.
With a heavy sigh, he stood, strode over to the door and pulled it open.
"Hi, Rafe, I heard you had a bad day."
His gut clenched. Emotion choked his throat. Adam Cross was the last person he expected to see at his front door. "You could say it's been a bad year." And it hadn't improved when this man walked away.
"May I come in?"
Rafe stuffed his hands into the front pockets of his jeans. He swallowed hard at the sight of his ex. Today had already left him drained. He wasn't sure he wanted to handle a conversation with Adam. But he stepped aside anyway. "Sure. Can't say I'm very good company."
Adam dusted snowflakes from his rakishly tousled hair and hunched his shoulders as he crossed the threshold. "I used to be able to cheer you up." He faced Rafe. Heavy silence hung between them. His full lips pulled into a somber line and were slightly reddened from the cold. "It's been a while. I had to see you, although I wish the circumstance were better."
Memories of them together still stung. The breakup hadn't been bitter or angry. Adam had the opportunity to take a position in Washington, DC, consulting for the government. Prestigious, lucrative and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to excel in his field. All excuses. Adam had left to get away from Rafe. He'd made his choice.
Adam's skin warmed. Rafe flared his nostrils, drawing in more of the coppery-sweet aroma of the thick blood flowing through Adam. His cock stirred. Time hadn't lessoned his appetite for this man. His acute hunger intensified and bordered on painful. As much as he needed to feed and wanted to fuck, now wasn't the time to ravage his former lover. Emotions still ran too deep and Rafe still wanted more than Adam's blood. He still wanted more than Adam was willing to give.
Adam shared Rafe's sexual predilections for adventure. Their playground had been The Catacombs, a highly exclusive place that catered to men with Rafe's appetite and Adam's inclinations.
Rafe nodded toward the living room and started forward. "Would you care for a drink?"
"That would be great."
Rafe walked to the bar. He still stocked Adam's favorite Scotch whisky, Aberlour, and poured two inches of amber liquid into a tumbler.
Adam stood next to the crackling fire and shrugged out of his camelhair trench coat. Damn, he looked incredible. Evidently their breaking up had been good for him.
A casual crew-neck shirt hugged the contours of his muscular chest. Adam kept in shape--he enjoyed the attention of looking good. His belted Dockers fit his job but not his personality. Not the real man that Rafe knew. Business casual was fine for the office but Rafe preferred him in a studded codpiece and leather chaps to show off his long legs and calves carved from granite.
Slightly damp chestnut curls brushed against his collar. Rafe hadn't forgotten the piercing eyes and thick lashes but he'd forgotten the intensity of the vivid green color. Square forehead, hollow cheeks and a cleft in his clean-shaven face gave him a masculine appearance.
Rafe handed him the drink then sat on the couch. He wasn't sure what to say. He hadn't seen Adam in a couple of months. With his mother's illness, he doubted he would've been good company.
"I came home...for Christmas." Adam sat in the chair facing the couch and rested his forearms on his widespread thighs.
"That's good. So how's your family?"
Adam rolled the tumbler between his palms. "About the same."
"I guess not much changes."
Adam lifted his head and met Rafe's stare. "We both know that isn't true." He took a healthy swig of his drink. "But not everything does." His heated gaze raked over Rafe, lingering on his face. "You look good."
Rafe smiled along with a nervous chuckle then combed his straight brown bangs from his forehead with his fingers. He should've had a haircut, but then he hadn't expected company. Hadn't expected Adam to show up on his doorstep. "I was thinking the same thing about you." He stood and crossed to the hearth. After opening the metal screen, he knelt on one knee and picked up a split log.
"I had to come over...when I heard about your mom. I'm so sorry."
Rafe paused then tossed the log on the dying flames. "Yeah, me too."
"If I had known she was sick, I would've been here for both of you."
Rafe released an unsteady sigh. "You left, Adam." He glanced over his shoulder.
"Theron knew where to find me."
Of course he would. Theron was one of the surviving seven, a Master Vampire. He controlled every aspect of his sect, including blood slaves. "I know, but I've never asked him about you." He turned back to the flames. "We both made our choices. I appreciate that you're here, but I haven't fed, haven't slept. It might be best if you go."
"No." Strong fingers closed over his shoulder. "To offer condolences isn't the only reason I came over."
Desire flared in Rafe's groin and his cock stirred.
Rafe paused then slowly stood. Adam wrapped long fingers around the back of his neck and pulled him into a kiss. A shiver skittered down his spine and his nipples tightened around the steel posts piercing them. Adam's lips were soft but insistent. Fuck, did Rafe really need this added complication? The man had a way of making him shed any inhibitions. They'd been wild and hungry for one another. Then Rafe's hunger had driven them apart. Adam hadn't thought Rafe could handle the limitations of their relationship. Adam had refused to bond with Rafe--refused to become vampire. He'd understood, but the rejection had still hurt like hell.
But the man could kiss. Rafe parted his lips and Adam's tongue delved into his mouth. Adam tasted good. A hint of mint blended with the essence of whisky and raw man. His grip tightened and he moaned low in his chest. Kissing back, his tongue swept into Adam's mouth, tasting, lightly sucking, then demanding.
Maybe Rafe needed this--to lose himself in his former lover, the man he still wanted, even if just for tonight. Inside, something snapped. A rush of need left him dizzy and his cock swelled against his jeans. Rafe became the aggressor, grasped Adam's buttocks and jerked him close. Adam groaned as Rafe pressed their erect cocks together.
"Is this what you came here for?" Rafe slithered his tongue against Adam's. He tasted better than he remembered. Intoxicatingly male. He threaded his hands through Adam's hair, holding his head as he deepened the kiss.
Adam ripped his mouth away and he gripped Rafe's shoulders. "I couldn't stay away." He shifted his hips, rubbing his groin into Rafe, pressing into the hard ridge of his shaft. "Is there another man in your life? A blood slave?"
He gave a low laugh. "Would you care?" Adam eased back and their gazes met. Rafe tugged on Adam's belt buckle. "Because I couldn't care less if there is anyone in yours." With fierce possessiveness, he cupped Adam's erect cock. "If you only stopped by for conversation, tell me now." He nipped at his lip, biting a little harder than he should. Part of him wanted to punish Adam for leaving but the bigger part was just damn glad he was there now.
"You always did want to fuck me."
With those words, Adam turned his head, laying open the flesh of his neck. Saliva pooled in Rafe's mouth, his tongue swelled and his canines lengthened. Control unfurled within him and the feral man, the part that wasn't human, took over. A growl rolled from his chest as his lips pulled back in a snarl.
Muscles throughout his body tensed.
"Now, Rafe. I feel as desperate as you."
Not possible. Rafe threaded his fingers into Adam's hair and angled his head. Opening wide, he hovered over his flesh, anticipating sinking his teeth into the sweet elixir coursing through Adam's veins--the drug that made Rafe human again.