GENRE: LGTB Paranormal
BLURB: Valentine’s Day turns into a nightmare when an ancient vampire burns her way through the greater Columbus, ushering in the Aztec God of Death. Theo and Carlos will have to set aside their personal problems in order to put an end to a deranged killer. But as the body count rises, they find out they’re going up against more than a vampire -– they’re going up against each other. In the midst of the chaos, Theo faces his own personal turmoil. When Lloyd confronts Theo about his feelings, Theo isn’t sure whether his heart still belongs to Carlos or if he truly cares for Lloyd. If he wants to save the world, Theo will have to overcome his troubled heart and harness the power within.
An Excerpt from Evelyn Shepherd’s Event Horizon (A Theo Bourne Novel):
Newport Music Hall was located on High Street. Lloyd was standing in line already, rocking back and forth on his heels. Snow lined the sides of the street, an ugly gray color of exhaust and mud. It was only Thursday, but it felt like we had stepped into the ice age. Valentine’s Day was Sunday, and the weatherman hadn’t given me any hope that we’d see the world warming up for the holiday weekend.
I crossed the street and jogged down the sidewalk, past a gyro shop and a scalper trying to pawn off tickets.
“Lloyd!” I called out and cut in front of a group of teenage girls to stand beside him.
He was dressed in a pair of tight jeans and a band T-shirt with the Linkin Park logo on it. He had pulled a leather jacket over everything, and every fiber in my body suddenly seemed to tremble with anticipation. I was well aware of his lean, hard frame standing next to me. I was aware of his aura, held captive inside him, a power that could rival Carlos’s if given the chance.
Lloyd was five years my junior and had a classic bad-boy appeal to him, with shoulder-length black hair pulled into a half ponytail and stubble along his hard jawline. Soulful silver-blue eyes lit up as soon as they landed on me, lust darkening them like a storm rolling over the ocean.
“Hey, you look good,” Lloyd said, stuffing his hands into the pockets of his jacket.
I shrugged and glimpsed down at my outfit—sneakers, jeans, and the green T-shirt I had stolen from Carlos that said ARMY on it. I had thrown my trench coat on before I left but had completely forgotten my scarf.
I could feel dozens of eyes on me, zeroing in on the large scar along the side of my throat. It was a bit of an eyesore.
“So who is this band?” I asked. To be honest, I had no idea. Lloyd had asked me to go with him because his bandmates were busy, and since Carlos was making no initiative to go out and do something for the holiday, I’d agreed.
The turnout for the concert was good. Well over a hundred people had to be waiting in line. They jostled around us, and I scooted closer to him to use some of his body heat. Lloyd’s body temperature, just like Carlos’s, ran higher than a human’s. Whereas Carlos ruled over the werecoyotes, Lloyd was in the werewolf pack. At one point I had thought he’d take over as the pack leader, but his desires ran down a different path.
“It’s a new rock group. My buddy got the tickets, but then something came up, so he gave them to me. All I know is that it’s their first live gig. He says the singer is really talented, though. Her name is Elissa Tripp or something like that,” Lloyd said. His breath warmed my cheek as he looked down. He was about an inch taller than me.
I wasn’t short, but I really had a bad habit of hanging with freakishly tall people.
His strong arm sneaked out to wrap around me, and a squeal of giggles broke out behind us. I ignored the teenagers and tried to squish the guilt and desire that suddenly boiled up in my stomach.
I wasn’t stupid. I knew Lloyd wanted me. I had saved his life during my first case in Columbus, and ever since then, we had grown close. Lloyd hadn’t tried to hide his feelings, which was one reason why Carlos hated him so much.
The bad part was that I couldn’t even deny that I wanted him. Lloyd made fire run through my veins just like Carlos did. It had gotten harder to ignore the burning that migrated straight to my groin.
“You cold?” Lloyd asked and rubbed his hand up my arm. His arm was like a steel band around my back.
The line started moving forward again, this time people actually heading in. I pulled away. “They’re going in. Let’s go.”
Lloyd sighed softly and followed me. Was it wrong that I was attracted to two men? I had no doubt that my heart belonged to Carlos. I couldn’t picture my life without him. But…it was growing increasingly harder to picture my life without Lloyd.
Damn it! This was why I didn’t do relationships. They just got too complicated. I had done them once, and it only wound up screwing me in the end. How had I let myself fall back into the same trap?
Except this time I might be the one doing the screwing.
We shuffled into Newport; it was a dingy-looking music hall that had been in Columbus for decades. The front room had a set of stairs that led up to the blocked-off balcony area, and a set of double doors opened to the music hall.
Lloyd and I grabbed a beer at one of the two bars set up right past the entrance doors and headed over to a table along the side. There was a lowered floor where people gathered in front of the stage.
I slipped onto the stool and took a sip of my beer. “What’s the band’s name?”
I didn’t listen to much music. Sure, I’d been to clubs before, but that was the extent of my musical knowledge. Though I was becoming a number-one fan for Lloyd’s band.
“Event Horizon,” Lloyd said.
The inside walls of Newport were painted black and lined with old posters of previous bands. In the pit there were bright red lines running along the floor, though I couldn’t make out the shape they made. It looked complicated. Along the ceiling, spotlights were strung up and pointed toward the stage, where the last bit of equipment was being set up.
“So my band is having a gig tomorrow,” Lloyd said around the rim of his plastic cup.
“Are they? At Red’s?”
Lloyd used to work at The Hunting Moon, a popular club that was shut down after its owner was murdered. Now he worked at Red’s as a bartender. Occasionally, just like at The Hunting Moon, his band played.
“Yeah.” He pushed his cup back and forth between his hands. I reached over and grabbed it, forcing him to keep the cup still. His eyes met mine, and a shot of white heat ran down me. I could feel him peeling away the layers of my soul, trying to discover the part that would open up to him.
“What is it? You only start getting twitchy when you want to say something,” I said as I got my own emotions under control.
He licked his lips, and a smile twitched into place. “Heh, right. Well… There’s going to be an agent there. Red knows a guy from L.A., and he said he was coming into town, so he put in a word for us.”
“Shit, really? That’s amazing, Lloyd!”
“Yeah.” His smile grew, his eyes warming up. “I’m excited. I was just hoping that maybe you could come tomorrow…”
He gave me a look that made my insides squirm, and everything in me just melted. I’m a plaything for two men.
There was no way I could possibly win.
Maybe I should become a priest or something. They don’t have these kinds of issues.
“Sure, you know I will,” I said and looked away, dodging his hungry, piercing gaze.
His hand found mine and held on tight. I could feel his heartbeat against my palm, and it was like I held his heart in my hand.
“Thanks.” His words were low, almost swallowed by the chatter filling the club.
I coughed into my free hand and pulled my other hand slowly away. “No problem. Hey, I think the show is about to start.”
The warm-up band came on stage and got the crowd going. They sounded all right, nothing I’d rush out to buy. I kept my eyes trained on the lead singer thrashing across the stage, jumping around and screaming into the microphone, and not on Lloyd. I could feel his gaze on me, though, drilling a hole into my head in an attempt to see my thoughts.
I wanted to run to a private corner of the music hall and feel him inside me.
I dropped my right hand and balled it into a fist, digging my nails into my palm to distract myself from my thoughts. Eventually the warm-up band finished, and Event Horizon moved on stage.
The lights went out, and a spotlight clicked on, centered on the microphone in the middle of the stage. Standing in front of the mic was a tall woman. She was exotic and wild like a panther, with straight jet-black hair that fell down to her waist. Strands were knotted into braids and fitted with colorful ribbon. There was a fierceness in her eyes, like twin black holes staring out at the crowd. Her eyes sucked me in. It felt like they pulled me into their darkness—crushed me.
Her caramel skin glowed beneath the spotlight, and the white sequined top she wore glittered like fresh snow. There was something about her that stood out, like a streak of night against the bright day sky. And that contradiction was so wrong—so wrong against all that was right.
And yet…I couldn’t feel anything from her. Nothing that felt sinister or bad or off. There was no undertone of power that hadn’t been there before. I could feel Lloyd beside me, his aura held captive, but that was it.
The band started, and her body began to sway. Her face remained a haunted mask, forever twisted in horror; her eyes were listless, her mouth opened wide like it was screaming, and her facial color was a ghostly white.
I looked over at Lloyd. He was watching her, captivated like the rest of the crowd.
The woman started to sing, and it was damn near hypnotizing. Her voice was high and whispering, but there was something buried deep in her vocals, sifted out by her lyrics, that made me think of a thousand screams, of misery and desolation. Her voice was the epitome of heartbreak and nightmares, and I felt lost in it.
I grabbed on to the table and gripped it tightly, feeling like I was about to slip right off my stool and fall into an abyss. I was a monster, a freak, a vagabond who was trying to parade as a normal man. I ate the hearts of men; I wasn’t one of them. I couldn’t even devote myself to one person. I let myself become entranced by another.
I was no better than the drifters who tore through the world and barreled straight down to hell.
“Theo? Hey, Theo, are you all right?”
I could hear him. I could make out Lloyd’s voice, but it was miles away. I was trapped within the blackened daydream.
Warm hands pressed against my cheeks, and my eyes snapped open. Lloyd was watching me with narrowed eyes, his cool orbs the color of a fresh spring. They were a guiding path toward the light, pulling me back from wherever I’d gone. I gasped, not even realizing that I’d been holding my breath.
I could hear the singer of Event Horizon in the background and the cheers of the fans, but it all narrowed down into a single pinpoint of sound.
“You okay?” Lloyd asked, his thumb stroking my bottom lip. “You look pale.”
I racked my brain for an excuse. “My knee, it’s acting up. I pushed myself too hard at the pool.”
It wasn’t a complete lie. My knee ached, like a bunch of raging hornets were beginning to swarm.
“Come on,” he said and trailed his fingers down my jaw before dropping his hand to grab mine. He was a life preserver thrown out into a sticky ocean of blight. I held on tight and let him pull me from the stool.
We wove past a bobbing, swaying throng of fans. There were about a hundred, maybe a hundred and fifty people packed into Newport. They all seemed to be watching the woman with a bewitched devotion.
Lloyd guided me out of the auditorium through the double doors, which slammed closed behind us, sealing off the music. A table set up to our left displayed T-shirts and band merchandise. We took the right and headed up the stairs to the bathrooms.
Once there, I immediately walked over to the sink and turned the cold water on, splashing some on my face. That seemed to help pull my mind back from the destructive path it had been walking.
What the fuck had been wrong with me? I felt like a whiny bitch teen. Sitting there, listening to that singer’s lyrics—I’d felt lost and small again.
I grabbed some paper towels and dried my face. He was watching me, and it was pissing me off. I threw the towels away and glared up at him. “I’m fine.”
“Are you still having nightmares?”
I reeled back. I had told him once that I woke up screaming some nights, convinced I had failed. I had nightmares that he was dead, that I had been too slow in saving him. I’d sit in bed, clutching at my sheets like a baby, trying to calm the tremors that would run through my body. The only way I could go back to sleep was by hearing his voice. It was pathetic that I was so weak. I’d been restraining myself lately from calling him, refusing to give in to my fears.
I looked away, glared at a dirty spot on the floor. Was that dirt or old vomit?
When he didn’t look away I gritted my teeth. “What?”
His hands found my cheeks again and turned my head so I was facing him. “Answer me.”
“What do you want me to say? That I can’t sleep without seeing your mangled body? That I wake up at night and puke all over myself because the visions in my head are so fucked-up? I swear, there are nights that I can smell brimstone.”
His mouth crashed onto mine, and I could feel the sea slamming against the rocks, feel the stars bursting in the sky, and feel my heart racing through my veins. I grabbed on to his leather coat and braced myself, frozen in place.
He tasted so good, and I knew it was so wrong.
I gathered my scattered thoughts, grasping at them as they blew away like leaves in the wind, and pulled back. “Shit…”
“Call me,” he said, ignoring me. “If you wake up screaming and you don’t know if I’m alive or dead, call me. I don’t care what time it is, call me. I’ll always answer.”
I stared up at him, my mouth hanging open.
His lips brushed mine again; his breath smelled sweet like peppermint, and he murmured, “I know you love Carlos, but damn it, I can’t live without you. I need you. I’m not going to act like I don’t; I’m not going to pretend this isn’t love. And I know you want me; I can smell it. I can save you just as much as he can.”
I licked my lips, my tongue flicking out and dusting his. He nipped at it, a low rumble forming in his throat. I could see topaz cresting over his eyes, rising up like the sun over the water, but he pressed it down, held it in, let it be just about him, just about me.
And damn it, I couldn’t resist. I just couldn’t resist.
His mouth sealed over mine again, and I didn’t fight him like I should have. I devoured him and fed off him. He tasted sweet, and he smelled rich, of musk and leather and woods and wolf and everything I needed.
I wanted to say yes, I wanted to beg him to save me, I wanted to scream for Carlos. I wanted so much, and I felt selfish and wrong and undeserving, but against his hands, I didn’t give a damn.
His lips were hot, and his tongue found mine; it dominated me, begging for more. Lloyd pushed me back against the wall of the bathroom and pinned my hands above my head. My heartbeat was so loud I was sure the entire concert hall could hear it.
I moaned into his awaiting mouth, wanting to grab his hair and tug him closer, but he held my hands firmly in place with one of his. His other hand ran up my side and pushed my shirt up, his fingers dancing over my defined abs. Each touch was a kiss of fire against my skin.
Lloyd moved his mouth away from mine and began to kiss a trail along my jaw, and my mind flashed with the familiarity of it all. Just a few hours ago, I was doing this with Carlos, my lover.
“Lloyd,” I groaned, not wanting to give in to the guilt, wanting to savor this moment.
He pulled away, though I could see the reluctance in his eyes. God, I wanted to pull him back against me so badly. I wanted to feel him in me. I wanted him to fuck me hard, and I knew it was wrong, so very wrong.
There was a long pause, filled with all our desire and all our regret.
Finally, when I thought it had stretched too long, he smiled and brushed my bangs from my eyes. “I’ll win you over somehow. Don’t think I’m giving up.”
I sniffed. What…? Something smelled off. I smelled burning wood. Our eyes met, and something sparked between us, something that wasn’t sexual.
Adrenaline, the rush of death, of danger.
He concentrated, his eyes going full yellow, his nostrils flaring out. He let out a hiss. “There’s a fucking fire!”
We barreled out of the bathroom and down the stairs. I could still hear singing in the distance, just behind the set of double doors. The stench of fire grew stronger—and so too did the pungent odor of burning flesh and hair, the smell overwhelming. Screams almost canceled out the song, but it was still there, still a haunting, macabre melody in the background. Smoke billowed out from the bottom of the door.
I looked at Lloyd for a split second and adjusted the sleeve of my trench coat so it protected my hand. I grabbed the handle and pulled at the door, but it wouldn’t open.
“Shit! The door won’t budge!” I shouted and tugged the other sleeve of my coat down, grabbing at the door with both hands.
Lloyd nudged me out of the way. “Let me try.”
He fixed his own coat sleeve and pulled at the door. The muscles in his neck tightened as he strained to open the door. I focused my attention on the heavy door to help, using a mental flex to finally wrench them open.
As soon as we opened the door, people shoved past us, nearly knocking me flat on my ass.
“Holy shit!” Lloyd shouted.
The singing grew louder, and I could feel myself once again slipping into a downward spiral of madness. I gritted my teeth and bit down on my tongue, almost hard enough to bleed. I had no time for self-pity.
Fire had erupted over the ceiling, turning it into a sky of roiling flames. Embers fell down like rain, and people were rolling on the floor and running around, their bodies burning. They were like hysterical fireflies chasing each other in circles. Some were paralyzed in place, watching as if mesmerized, fixated.
As I grabbed on to Lloyd, his aura spilled out and clogged up the room. However, I could feel it trumped by another aura—one that was far more powerful, far more deadly.
One that hadn’t been there before.
I looked at the singer. She was the only one left on stage, still singing. The other members of the band were lying in smoldering piles at her feet.
Evelyn Shepherd lives in Columbus with a fox terrier named Sunny and a ferocious appetite for sexy urban fantasies and horrors. She spends her time writing, but when she isn’t working on her next novel she’s either reading or spoiling her nieces and nephew. She is currently working hard at her next novel.
Blog: http://singleauthorseeks.blogspot.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Evelyn-Shepherd/133411650060305
Black Hippie Chick's Take on the Book:I really enjoyed this book,it is a romance novel that has a real story in it. It starts out with a really hot scene in a pool, which allows us to get a glimpse into Theo's life & his supernatural abilities. He is consider a phantom, which means he has the power of telekinesis & the ability to produce doppelgängers.
Event Horizon, also includes a lot of action. Theo must find a way to help save humanity from the Aztec god of death. In order to do this, Theo is going to have to try and figure out which of his love interests he should be with.
This book is a M/M romance, so if this type of relationship offends you, you may not want read this book . If however, you love a story with action, romance & a paranormal element then you will enjoy this piece as much as I did.
PRIZE INFORMATION: The author will be giving away a $20 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter.