by Aislinn Kerry
Amber Quill Press
In deeply religious 19th-century Italy, Valentino knows that admitting his attraction to men, even to himself, could put him in grave danger. The church prefers to burn vampires to keep their congregation living in fear and paying their tithes, but a sinner like Val would do in a pinch. He suppresses his desires and joins the clergy to live a life of piety and devotion, until the day one of the devil’s own vampires comes to him begging to confess his sins. Val finds he can no longer deny the truth of who he is, or what he wants.
While the church hunts for someone to make an example of, Val puts his own life on the line as he tries to save the soul of the vampire he loves.
He came toward me like some predatory creature, his gaze intent on me. I strained back into the corner, cursing myself for a fool a hundred times over.
“Do you think it’s so easy?” he asked me. “To deny what you crave when it’s always on offer, no matter where you turn?” He stopped at the edge of the bench, only a breath away from touching me. I had some hope that it would hold him back, but he just climbed up with me, knees planted on the seat, hands braced against the wall, caging me in. “Do you think your strength will last when you’re offered everything you want and there is no one to stay your hand?” he asked, his voice low and tempting even before he touched me. He slid his hand along my jaw. Before I could form a protest, he bent and sealed his mouth over mine.
I stiffened at the sudden contact, my heart pounding so hard it seemed it might burst free of my chest. His mouth was rough on mine, his breath mingling with my own, hands burying in my hair and dragging me forward.
He drew away so he could look down at me, eyes shining. I wedged my hands up between us and shoved at him. “Wait–”
He ignored me entirely as he leaned in. His lips met mine and I couldn’t think at all.
It felt like Heaven, like God’s grace, so sharp and sweet and right it was unbearable. Hands on me, sliding over my shirt, touching me. His tongue swept into my mouth and I pressed in against him. He was right. I couldn’t turn him away, not when doing so meant turning away that which I had craved so desperately for so long. Just a moment, a seductive voice whispered through my mind as his hands dragged down to my waist. Just for one moment. Where’s the harm in it?