Today I am so pleased to welcome Tempeste O’Riley to Joyfully Jay. Tempeste has come to talk to us about their release, Blood Song. Tempeste has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving them a big welcome!
“AA, THERE ARE a few things from before I thought might interest you. When you didn’t return, I took over maintaining your funds, properties, et cetera for you. I kept hoping you’d return and well, I figured that you would want your life back.”
He pulled out an expensive leather briefcase and handed it to me. “Inside you will find all your financial records, access codes, cards, et all.” He winked. “Hope you don’t mind, but I invested here and there for you, so you actually own more than you did.” The grin that spread across his face was too precious.
“I own things? Money? Huh.” Weird, all I’d had until then was what Star had given me, not that she thought much of money. It was merely a tool to gain what you wished from the mortals, nothing, more.
He was laughing again as he nodded. “Yes, dear. You are rather wealthy and have a couple of homes around the country, even a cottage with land in Ireland.”
“I do? Wow. Thank you.” I didn’t know what else to say. I had been missing for nearly three decades, and yet all this time he took care of my affairs for me. Wow.
“Well, it’s not mine to keep. And it was the least I could do for you.” He looked down as he finished his thought. Weird, why would he do that?
“Nicholas? Is something wrong? You keep giving me the oddest looks, and now you are staring at the floor. Again. Did I do something wrong?” I seriously disliked feeling confused, yet it was something Nicholas seemed to bring out in me far too often.
“It’s complicated, Anya. Honestly, it no longer applies. At least not for you, it doesn’t.” He still wasn’t meeting my eyes.
I took his face in my hand and gently raised it until he had no choice but to look at me. “Nicholas, what troubles you so? Please, tell me?” I cheated by allowing my voice to be loud enough for its power to work on him.
“That’s not fair, Anya. You know what you’re doing.” He seemed to struggle to break the ‘spell’ of my voice. With conviction and wistful longing, I whispered, “Please.”
His eyes unfocused as he finally spoke. “I don’t want to tell you, but you leave me no choice. I was honest, but misleading when we talked before. We were best friends, but we were more than that. We were not lovers in the traditional couple’s sense, but we were more than just friends. We shared a different kind of bond. I have spent thirty years without you and now that I have you back… the cravings for continuing it are becoming painful. Please don’t make me continue to tell you this way.” His whispered his plea hurt my heart. “Please.”
“I’m sorry, Nicholas. I should not do that to you. Speak only what you choose. Forgive me, please.” I dropped my hand, and now it was me that looked down, ashamed.
“It’s okay, Anya. I shouldn’t have brought it up in the first place, and you wouldn’t have felt the need to push for answers. But, it’s too late to take back.” Nicholas took my hand as he continued. “We shared something that most vampires won’t ever share. We shared… blood.” He looked me in the eyes as he whispered the last word.
“We what?” I blinked hard trying to make his words make sense and failed.
“We are able to feed in a cycle from each other. It’s very uncommon. You see, you share more than you can imagine. The weaker of the pairing gains strength, though the stronger one is not weakened in the process. It doesn’t satiate thirst nor is it filling, but well… it sort of bonds the souls in a way that goes beyond lovers or family.”
I didn’t quite know what to say. We fed off each other?
“You don’t remember me at all, but I cannot forget you,” he choked out. Taking a deep breath to steady himself, he continued. “What makes it even worse is that I can feel the power of the blood within you and I know you’ve done the same, in your absence, and with a much more powerful vampire.” He looked devastated, as if he had been lied to and cheated on all at the same time.
“Wha…. Why? Why would we have done that? And what do you mean you can feel the power of my blood?” I couldn’t wrap my head around his words. I was dazed into stillness even as my mind raced.
Nicholas put his hand under my chin to raise my face to him. “I am not trying to make things harder for you. Honest. It’s difficult for me to explain, much less justify, why I’m even telling you.” He took another deep breath before continuing. “The why isn’t the point. With no memories, the explanation would make no sense to you, trust me.” A faint smile crept into his eyes.
I nodded in agreement. I did trust Nicholas, even though I didn’t remember anything about him or us.
“The thing is, I can sense the difference,” Nicholas continued. “That makes it even harder. To know that you not only have forgotten me and everything from before but… that you joined with another. We had always sworn that we would never do that with anyone else.” He sounded so miserable I wanted to wrap him up in my arms, or maybe one of Star’s super soft blankets even as I struggled to grasp the issue and understand his pain.
“Okay, so let me try to understand. You’re not upset that I might become involved with someone in a romantic sense or even a physical sense, but rather that in the decades I was missing, of which I have no memory, I joint fed with someone more powerful? Did I get everything correct?”
I was past confused at this point. Beyond whether it was true or not, beyond why I would’ve done that, I was struggling with a sudden craving to do exactly what he described.
“No, please understand. I’m not angry with you. And you’re right, I have no idea what happened while you were gone, nor do I know what would have led you to make such a choice. I’m….” He shook his head slowly, his gaze unfocused. “I’m envious of whoever it was.”
Shame took his face again. “Not of the power, of the joining, the… I can’t explain it. You’d have to experience it to understand. I wish I could….” His eyes were alight suddenly with a strange driving fire. The look ignited an intense, driving passion in me that made me truly crave this exchange with him.
“You should go home before I do something stupid.” He walked to the window and looked outside, turning entirely from my sight.
Even in darkness, love lights the way.
Anya awakens alone and afraid in a new world soaked with blood and terror. The only things she knows for certain are her name and that humans are precious.
Unwilling to give in to her hungers, she sets her feet upon a path of discovery, searching for clues to her
forgotten past. Along the way she runs headlong into the unimaginable world of the undead and the
waiting arms of Nicholas, a fearless nocturnal defender searching for his love, lost in eternity.
Into their midst stumbles Declán, a young, natural born vampire hunter and Guardian whose passion for Anya is only matched by his draw to Nicholas. His arrival could mark the end of their tale, or with the gift of Anya’s blood kiss, it might bring about the beginning of a new chapter for them all.
Fate has a wicked sense of sensibility…
Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud pansexual genderfluid whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what they couldn’t—defy the hate and come out. He has been their hero ever since.
Tempe is a hopeless romantic who loves strong relationships and happily-ever-afters. Though new to writing M/M, they has done many things in their life, yet writing has always drawn them back—no matter what else life has thrown their way. They counts her friends, family, and Muse as their greatest blessings in life. They lives in Wisconsin with their children, reading, writing,
and enjoying life.
Tempe is also a proud PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, WisRWA, FFPRWA, and Rainbow Romance Writers. Tempe’s preferred pronouns are they/them/their/theirs/themselves. To learn more about Tempeste and their writing, visit http://tempesteoriley.com.
Tempeste has brought two audio copies of Blood’s Song to give away to two lucky readers. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Thursday, February 27th at 11:59 pm ET.
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- Void where prohibited by law.