Notturno, the MLR Press Release is now available in print from Amazon, HERE
For antique document expert Adin Tredeger, finding a perfectly pristine five-hundred-year-old homoerotic journal is the highlight of a successful career. He’s smart, he’s cautious, and he’s determined keep it safe.
Donte Fedelta has only ever loved one man and the journal that celebrates their affair has finally resurfaced. He’s not above using every trick, including seduction and outright theft, to get it back. He knows Adin’s no match for a centuries-old vampire on a quest.
Adin Tredeger wants that journal. Donte wants it back. Neither man is prepared for something—or someone—they might want more.
Adin was so exhausted he fell asleep on his bed with his laptop still glowing from when he’d checked his e-mail. The dream from the night before returned; his blood sang in his veins. It heated his body and stained it with crimson at the surface of his skin. He woke flushed, knowing that he’d heard Donte’s voice again, murmuring with that peculiar accent in his ear, coming from under his flesh even as his cock, which had always had a mind of its own, rose to seek the man out.
“Crap,” said Adin, taking a few deep breaths. He dressed and headed for the BonaVista Lounge, hoping he could still get something light to eat as well as a drink. For whatever reason, eating alone in his hotel room didn’t feel like an option. Entering the elevator, he was glad to see a few smiling faces, an older couple holding hands and two Asian girls who were dressed for and talking about business. By the twenty-second floor, everyone exited the elevator but him. He stepped off at the top floor, looking for the lounge, when a large hand swept out from behind him and pulled him back in.
“Caro.” Donte’s voice. He was looking at the light panel on the elevator, watching the floor buttons fire up in a chaotic, random way that made him think of science fiction movies from the ’50s. He jerked forward to step off again but was prevented by the hand holding his arm. He felt the whisper of Donte’s breath against his ear.
“I’ve called you and called you, yet you only just now come to me. Stubborn.”
“What do you want?” asked Adin, refusing to turn.
“Only that which belongs to me.”
“And what would that be?”
“What do you think, Adin? Of course I want my journal back. And yet…I wonder if you recall how completely you gave yourself to me.” Donte’s sigh lifted the hair on Adin’s nape. “Perhaps I would like that back as well.”
Adin watched the flashing elevator lights and concentrated on thinking clearly. He kept his voice even. “Does this kind of thing work for you?”
“What kind of thing?” Donte stiffened.
“This whole, I am Donte.” Adin affected the accent, giving it a little more Bela Lugosi than was really, strictly necessary. “Come to me, caro, and your blood will sing in the moonlight.”
“Now, I know I have never said that.” Donte put a hand on Adin’s shoulder.
“It’s only a matter of time, I’m sure.”
“I fear it loses a little of the oompah if you are not looking at my face.”
Adin snorted. “I gathered.”
“Turn around, caro,” Donte ordered.
“Nope. When I look you in the eye, things happen inside my head that I don’t necessarily like.”
“I promise I won’t use mind tricks on you right now.” Donte tugged at him. “I am a man of my word, if nothing else.”
“I can tell when it’s happening; it’s no use anyway.” Adin turned.
“You would be foolish to assume that in the future. Just because you can tell it’s happening doesn’t mean you can stop it.”
“What is it, anyway?” asked Adin. The lights on the panel had stopped blinking maniacally, but the elevator descended in a leisurely way, giving the impression they were hovering, floating in the glass-enclosed space.
“What? Oh, I don’t know, a kind of hypnosis, maybe, a push of thought that takes root in someone’s mind because they are weaker.” Donte leaned against the round brass railing that surrounded them like a skeleton inside the elevator car.
“You don’t like to think of yourself as weaker. I understand, but Adin, you cannot hope to prevail against me as you are.”
“You can’t have the journal; I bought it with proper provenance, but you may try, if you like, to dispute it in a court of law.”
“Yes, well. That presents a problem, though, doesn’t it?”
“Do you really expect me to believe the impression you have been constructing? The biting, the mind control, the Vlad the Impaler accent.”
“Vlad— I’m Italian.”
“Do you expect me to believe that you are…? I can’t even say it.” Adin raised his brows. “The undead. A creature of the night. The prince of darkness.”
Donte pursed his lips. “I believe that was Satan.”
“Yes. Well. Do you?”
Donte’s eyes met his, and he was relieved to feel only an attraction, not a confused jumble of painful desire and fear. “I don’t care whether you believe it. Your belief doesn’t alter the facts. The journal is mine: I drew it. I illustrated it. I lived it. It belongs to me, and I want it back.”
“You will have a hard time proving that in court.”
Donte looked out over the skyline. “Did you ever hear the story about the brothers who were camping in the woods when a bear crashed into their campsite, enraged, and began to chase them? The first brother says, ‘I must outrun the bear,’ and the second says, ‘I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you.’” He shook his head. “You know I cannot take this to a court of law, caro.”
Adin peered at the city and the darkness beyond it. “Fair warning?”
“I like you a lot better without the glamour, you know? Whatever causes it.”
Donte’s teeth shone even and white as he smiled, and Adin wondered about that, Renaissance dentistry being what it must have been. Looking at Donte, he wondered about a lot of things. His most immediate question, which he framed with a smile of his own, crowded out all those other thoughts.
“So, how long do we have the elevator for?”