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Old Sins, Long Shadows

Living forever is hard, but loving forever? That’s damn near impossible.

Children of Night, Book 2

1856, New York City. Moments after Conrad Quintano drives his life-mate away, heartache and guilt descend around his heart like a pall. Convinced that Damian’s hatred is as permanent as the scars Conrad has inflicted on him, Conrad steels himself for an eternity of emotional torture.

Present day, San Francisco. For the sake of vampire twins Marc and Julie Fischer, Conrad and Damian present a united parental front. In reality, their truce is a sham. Conrad, weakened by his recent ordeal, struggles against the urge to bring his mate back to his bed. And Damian misinterprets Conrad’s explosive temper as proof their relationship is irreparably broken. 

When an old enemy’s quest to create a dangerous new breed of vampire threatens the twins’ lives—and the precarious state of vampire peace—it’s imperative the estranged lovers put the past behind them. Or the shadows of the past will tear apart everything they hold dear.

Old Sins, Long Shadows is one of those 'books of the heart' that demand to be written. Originally, Conrad and Damian's story was supposed to be long over by the time the series started. Then, once I realized they both wanted--desperately to get back together, I expected this would take some time--and several books to bring about. But my characters had other ideas. This book haunted me until I finally had to rearrange the entire series to bring them their happily ever after sooner rather than later. ...

Here's how their story began...

Alcázares Reales de Sevilla, España
Late Fifteenth Century

The evening was balmy and warm. The air, already thick and sweet with the fragrance of a thousand blossoms, was made even more so by the guitars of the Sevillanas. The courtyard of the royal palace was crowded tonight and in the flickering torchlight, the jewels and glittering raiment worn by those in attendance threatened to outshine the stars.
Truly, if the world had an epicenter, Sevilla was its name. Of that Damian Ysidro Esposito-Montoya, Vizconde de Castile was absolutely certain; and he was one of the privileged few lucky enough to live here, at the very heart of all that was cultured and elegant, beautiful and refined. As he glanced around appreciatively, he was aware of an almost unbearable excitement welling inside him. The night was young and filled with infinite possibilities.
“Well, amigo, it appears your beauty has caught someone’s eyes,” the voice of the duke, his patron, murmured in Damian’s ear. “Did you know of this?”
Damian inclined his head and smiled back at him, his expression an almost perfect blend of humility, adoration and gratitude. “Sí. Muchisimas gracias, Excelencia. I am flattered. You honor me, as always, with your kind regard.”
“You misunderstand me,” the duke replied peevishly. “The eyes to which I’m referring are not my own. They belong to that creature over there, the one lounging against that pillar on the far side of the hall. Who is he? Do we know him?”
Dutifully turning his head in the direction the duke was indicating, Damian cast a desultory glance across the marble floor of the patio de las Doncellas, already knowing what he would find. “Ah. Sí, Excellencia. He arrived here a fortnight ago in the company of that Italian baron you found so amusing at dinner the other night. His name is…oh, dear, let me see if I cannot recall it for you. Is it Señor…Quintano, perhaps? . I’m almost certain that is what he is called.”
While the duke processed the information he’d been given, Damian allowed himself a small smile of satisfaction. Yes, that was very well done. As the duke’s most trusted attendant, he was expected to remember and keep track of the names and status of everyone at court, as well as any other information His Excellency might find useful to know. As his most intimate companion, on the other hand, he was not expected to have eyes, or even the smallest level of interest, for any other man.
It was important, therefore, that he strike the proper tone when attempting to recall the name of the man who, had the duke but known it, had spent most of the past few evenings watching Damian from beside that very same pillar. Damian was confident his answer—calm, disinterested, just hesitant enough—had achieved the desired effect. In truth, however, there had been no “perhaps” about it. By now, he knew the man’s name almost as well as he did his own.
His name was Conrad, Conrad Quintano, and those eyes that had been at the center of the duke’s complaint, the eyes that Damian could feel trained upon him even now, were surely the most astonishingly mesmerizing orbs the good God had ever created.
In fact, those same adjectives could also be applied to the man himself. Conrad was, perhaps, half a head shorter than Damian, but possessed of so powerful a physique that, just gazing upon it, quite literally stole Damian’s breath away. His face was hard, not beautiful in any sense of the word, but strong and so very masculine. His usual expression was dour, grim, the look of a man who had perhaps seen too much of the world. But fierce as Conrad was wont to appear, there was yet a sweetness to his mouth that Damian could almost taste and he wished, oh, how he wished, that he could taste it in truth.
As of yet, they’d exchanged only a few brief smiles and a handful of words in passing, but Damian had spent most of the intervening hours spinning deliciously erotic fantasies in which they did and said so much more. These last few nights in particular, as he rolled about on his cot, quite unable to sleep, those same sweet syllables had repeated themselves endlessly within his head. Conrad Quintano. Conrad Quintano. Con-rad Quin-ta-no.
“He looks like a peasant,” the duke observed.
Damian sighed. He did not look like a peasant. There was a regal air about the man that showed itself in the way he stood, the way he walked, the way he held himself. “And yet, he seems quite taken with you, my lord.”
“What’s that you say?” the duke snapped. “Me? Are you blind, Montoya? It is you he’s been staring at.”
.” Damian pressed closer to the duke, faking a tremor. “I fear your Excellency is quite right about that. If looks could kill, I know I would be in grave peril. It’s obvious he envies me my position and wishes to replace me by your side. In truth, now that I think it, I’m not sure I should not fear for my life. He looks to be extremely dangerous. Do you not think so, Excellencia? And more than capable of doing…well, just about anything he might wish to do.”
The last part of his speech was no exaggeration and Damian could not completely suppress an actual shiver of delight as he thought about it. In his fantasies, Conrad had already done a great many things, all of them capably.
The duke frowned. “Has this been going on for some time then? You should have mentioned it to me sooner. Who does the brigand think he is, to threaten you while you are under my protection? It’s insupportable. I shall have those eyes plucked from his head for his presumption. Perhaps I should send a few men over there now, to teach him some manners.”
Ay, Dios mio. Damian bit his lip. It was possible he’d overplayed that last hand. “Oh, but surely that’s not necessary? If your Excellency pleases, would you not prefer me to bring him over here, that you might speak with him instead?”
The duke looked affronted. “You forget yourself. Why should I wish to speak to such a one as he? Did you not just hear me say it? The man is a peasant. I am sure of it.”
Excellencia, I am sure you are correct, as always. But, if you’ll forgive me, that is precisely my point. One would not wish to discount the peasants too quickly, would you not agree? For, upon my honor, I’m convinced they must rank among the world’s most proficient lovers.”
“Montoya! What nonsense is this? Is it your intention to insult me?”
Damian shook his head. “No, no, ExcelenciaLe ruego perdonarme. Never would I do such a thing. If my lord will but allow me to explain?”
. Do so,” the duke replied, glaring at Damian through narrowed eyes. “Immediately.”
“Well, my lord, if you will but consider their numbers, I’m sure you will agree with me. How can they not be prodigiously skillful at the art of lovemaking? There are so very many of them in the world. Given the rate at which they’re reproducing, they must be devoting all of their time to practice!”
It took a moment for Damian’s thrust to hit home. Eventually, it did however. The duke laughed aloud, clapped Damian on the back and turned immediately to the neighbor on his other side and repeated the joke, giving himself the credit for having thought of it.
Satisfied the danger had been averted, Damian allowed himself the luxury of glancing once again in Conrad’s direction, but the space he had occupied all night beside the pillar was now vacant. Disappointed, Damian scanned the courtyard, hoping for at least another glimpse of the man, but Conrad was nowhere in sight. Que pena, Damian thought sighing sadly, his enjoyment of the night severely diminished. What a pity.
Never, in all his life, had Damian known anyone who affected him in the way Conrad did. Next to him, all other men dwindled into insignificance. They left him cold, whereas Conrad fired his blood.
He wanted him as he had never wanted anyone. His body ached to have him in all the most unholy ways. There had to be some means by which he might satisfy the lust that raged within him or it would surely drive him mad.
All he needed was a small space of time in which to indulge his desires, just a few short hours, perhaps a single night, if he were lucky. If he could but contrive a way in which the two of them might be alone together, undisturbed—was that really so much to ask? Ah, if only fate would smile upon him.

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Now Comes the Night

Home is where the heart bleeds.

Now Comes the Night
Children of Night, Book 3

Growing up, vampire-born twins Julie and Marc Fischer were taught one simple fact of life: you can choose your food, but not your family. Six months after moving to San Francisco, though, the new challenges and choices each are facing are a Gordian knot of complicated.

Marc must decide whether to stay with Conrad and Damian, the only family he’s ever known, or embrace his destiny and the unexpected family—the ferals—that comes along with it. Meanwhile, Julie is forced to deal with the unpleasant realization that the man she loves isn’t necessarily the man who’s best for her.

For Conrad and Damian, the holiday season is stirring up bittersweet memories, and neither can keep from revisiting past passion and pain. 

Faced with new mysteries to solve, new alliances to forge, new secrets to keep, and old relationships to rebuild, it’s no wonder the Fischer-Quintano vampires long for the good old days—when food was food and family was all that mattered. 

Product Warnings
If you’ve previously suffered from Disco Fever, this book could precipitate a relapse. Extreme care is recommended for anyone with a pronounced weakness for mistletoe, fang play, pretty young men of either species or extremely dangerous alpha-male vampire single dads. May contain trace amounts of polyester. 

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