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This is an excerpt from Blood of the Dark Moon, originally published by Aphrodite's Apples and now contracted through Freya's Bower:

For those looking to sample another excerpt from the book, click here.

Get up.

Amanda thought she heard Jesse speak to her. But she was barely coming out of a deep sleep.


Her eyes flew open. The first thing she saw was his face, blurred in the haze of sleepiness.

“Get up, Amanda.”

She tried to mumble something to the effect of, “Go away”, and rolled over.

Leaning over, he put his hand on her back. “I know that you’re tired, but I need for you to get up.”

His touch sent liquid fire searing through her system. Great, just what I need, she thought with annoyance. Now she was irritated at being woken up and she was horny. What a fantastic combination. When she was human, Amanda didn’t deal with mornings very well. She supposed since her body clock had done a one-eighty upon becoming a vampire, she wasn’t going to do evenings gracefully either.

With great reluctance, she rolled over to face him. “What?” she asked groggily, her voice not much above a whisper.

“Get up, and get ready to leave.” His voice did odd things to her stomach and made her thoughts fuzzier.


“Yes, I’m taking you out. Do what you need to do in order to get ready.” Jesse gestured towards the rest of the room.

“Out where?” She slowly sat up and looked dazedly around the room. Out, like to a restaurant? Something fancy? Was she supposed to dress up?

“Just dress in normal clothing. What you would normally wear every day. Nothing fancy.”

Amanda merely gave him a look. She hated it when he answered her thoughts like that.

Staring at her in return, he inquired, “Well, are you going to get up?”

Dear gods, what a pain in the ass. Oh, bite me. She hadn’t intended her retort to come out quite like that, but it did anyhow. A split second later, it occurred to her that this wasn’t exactly the appropriate thing to say to a vampire. Well, another vampire. “I mean—oh, whatever.” She made a noise that was between a groan and a remark, and dismissed him with a “Meh” before plopping back down on the bed, pulling her pillow over her head as she did so.

Jesse calmly sat down on the bed beside her. “Am I going to have to drag you out of bed?”

She fought the urge to give Jesse the middle finger. After all, it probably wouldn’t get her anywhere, and besides, she was too tired to move. What time was it, half past sunset? Maybe if she lay still he would give up and go away.

Suddenly, a strange, discomforting sensation birthed in the center of her chest, as if something had reached inside of her and squeezed. The grip was so strong that if she still had the need to breathe, she would’ve gasped. As she lay there, attempting to analyze the feeling, the grip became a tug.

Amanda bolted upright, clutching her chest. What the fuck…? She glanced at him. His expression was completely blank, and she couldn’t read him at all. Oh, he can block me out but still read me? Hardly fair.

“Good, you’re properly awake. Now get up.”

Her jaw tightened. If this was going to be a regular routine as part of her new vampire life, she missed being human already.

I haven't decided on your regular routine yet. Why don't you take a shower while I think about it?

A shower sounded superb to her, but his “deciding” on her “regular routine” most certainly didn’t. She glared at him, angrily walking towards the bathroom. On her way there she gave in to her earlier urge, sending him a strong image of her giving him the middle finger. Amanda thought she heard a chuckle just before she slammed the door shut behind her.

After going through a few cupboards, she found a towel and set it aside. She tossed her clothing aside in mere seconds and turned on the faucet in the shower.

The hot water pouring down her body was ecstasy on her back, and she closed her eyes. She savored the delight of the long sought-after shower, every inch of her skin was alive and dancing. She didn’t remember when she had last bathed and figured that it had been far too long for her comfort. Fortunately, whoever saw fit to place her in this room had also stocked the bathroom with soap, shampoo, and even conditioner.

Amanda took the soap in her hands and began to scrub away at her body, relishing in the sensual feeling of clean water and suds washing away the grime and sweat from her skin. She couldn’t recall the last time taking a shower resembled a religious experience. It was as if she were bathing in the sacred springs of Delphi, where the god Apollo had blessed the land and its oracle as hallowed ground. Who would’ve thought that purification would be such bliss? Only those who didn’t comprehend the god, she decided. She was in the process of applying soap to her legs when familiar, gentle hands slid across her back. Amanda yelped in surprise.

“Oh, hush,” Jesse said.

How did he get into the room? She hadn’t even heard him enter. Didn’t she lock the door? She couldn’t remember. The power of thought was rapidly being stripped from her, washed away with the suds that went down the shower drain.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” he told her.

His hands made their way onto her head, and he gently kneaded through her long hair. Soap, she noted. No, it was shampoo. He gave her hair a gentle cleansing and scalp massage, and she closed her eyes, enjoying his touch. Involuntarily, she leaned back—and promptly backed directly into Jesse, who stood behind her in the shower, as nude as she was.

“I haven’t exactly been fair,” he murmured into her ear, “so I’m going to make it up to you.”

“‘Fair’?” she echoed, laughing. What an understatement.

He carefully rinsed her hair, his hands slowly stroking her head, neck, and back, guiding the water to remove the last of the shampoo from her scalp. Amanda fought desperately against closing her eyes or leaning back, but found it increasingly difficult to do so. The presence of his naked body behind her, his hands on her bare skin, and the water streaming down was entirely too sensual for her to withstand without reacting. In spite of herself, the back of her head came to rest gently on his chest, the water from the shower head continuing to pour over them.

Something exquisitely slippery and soft caressed her breasts…Jesse’s hands, lathered in soap. He kneaded her skin, teasing her nipples, and drove her out of her mind with the touch of his hands stroking her breasts. The soap ran down over her body from his hands, his slow, sensual torture making its way over her stomach and hips. A moan escaped from her lips.

His fingers danced between her inner thighs, stroking the sensitive skin with his soap-filled hands. The briefest of caresses touched her most sensitive folds from the tips of his fingers before he bent over and leisurely continued his way down the insides of her legs. It was torturous song and delight, filling her with mindless, radiant joy. The constant feeling and sensation reverberated all over every inch of her skin, and before long moisture seeped between her legs that she knew wasn’t from the shower. It mingled with the soap, the water; everything blended together in a warm, liquid haze. The pleasure pulled her underwater, and she willingly surrendered to the tide.

Jesse gently massaged her thighs, her calves, then made his way back up to knead her back and buttocks. She melted, becoming one with the water and the sensations threatening to drown her. His hands worked their way over her shoulders, her arms, and over every part of her body. When his fingers went over the back of her neck, she cried aloud in ecstasy. He rubbed her neck, the sides of her face, and her head before gradually making his way down the strands of her hair to her lower back. One of his hands glided down to slip between her upper thighs. One finger entered her, then another. The sounds coming from the back of her throat sounded partly joyous—and partly agony. Amanda leaned forward on the shower wall in front of her, his fingers slowly pumping in and out of her. In the experience of the intense pleasure her mind opened, and she felt his desire towards her and his enjoyment of how wet she was inside—as wet as she was on the outside—as well as the feeling of the inside of her delicate skin.

His left arm snaked around her neck, and his wrist pressed against her mouth. It was wet, but not with water.

Drink, he commanded.

Lyrael didn’t hesitate, but sucked away at the wound he had made on his wrist, his fingers rapidly thrusting deep inside of her. Before long her sucking matched the tempo of his hand mercilessly penetrating her body. She was beyond thinking; her mind as fluid as the water that poured down over them and the blood that flowed down her throat.

When the tidal wave came, it crashed over her and filled her with its piercing glow. Her knees buckled, and only the wall in front of her plus Jesse’s strong arms kept her from falling into the tub in which they stood. His lips pressed against her back repeatedly, showering her in passionate kisses like she had been rained upon by the water which gushed out of the shower head.

We should get out before we run out of hot water.

Amanda agreed with him, but could neither think nor vocalize it. The delicious haze still ran through her while he slowly helped her out of the shower and lovingly dried her off with the nearby towel. They sat on the floor for a long time, her lying against him, her eyes closed in dreamy bliss.

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