THE INCUBUS'S MATE
Edgar Van Helsing is a monster hunter. Well, okay, technically he’s a twenty-something tree farmer with a monster fetish. His family thinks he’s in Cleveland in January on vacation, but he’s really here to see if he can find the location of a club he’s seen in online videos. Videos showing monsters having wild sex with humans. Edgar wants to be one of those lucky guys.
When he finds The Menagerie, Edgar is thrilled to see all kinds of costumed people drinking and dancing. Werewolves, vampires, demons, and…a dragon? The last one is way too aggressive when propositioning Edgar, but he’s saved by a small yet fierce guy with wings. Escorted into a private room, Edgar then finds himself getting the sexual fantasy he’s been longing for with the demonic-looking Sai Patel.
Edgar goes home with Sai during a snowstorm for even more fun, only to discover the city’s been locked down by a snow emergency in the morning. Not that being trapped with Sai is a hardship, even if his cupboards are bare and they have to trade doing manual labor for food from Sai’s neighbors. They’re getting to know each other, growing closer, and Edgar starts to hope the snow never stops falling.
But when Edgar suddenly discovers that Sai wasn’t wearing a costume and learns that no one else at the club was either, he has to come to terms with the fact that monsters are real. The sweetest man he’s ever known is a supernatural being, but does that really matter? Now Edgar has to decide if he wants to go back to his simple life on the family farm or let himself fall in love with an incubus.
An Excerpt From The Incubus's Mate
Edgar could hear the club music now, though it was muted. Behind the massive man was another door, this one covered in fuchsia velvet with buttons, like a fancy couch cushion. And above the door was a neon pink sign that clearly spelled out The Menagerie. He’d found it! Despite still being on edge, Edgar did feel a bit of relief now as he stepped closer to the man.
On the podium was a book that looked like an old-fashioned hotel registry and a battered wooden box. Edgar smiled up at the man, having no idea what to do or say now. He’d never been to a regular club, let alone an underground monster themed one.
Pen poised over the registry by fingers the size of sausages, the man asked in a subterranean voice, “Who are you?”
“Edgar Van Helsing.”
His dark brown eyes met Edgar’s. “Van Helsing?”
“Yeah, I know. But I’m not hunting monsters.” He chuckled, a blush warming his face. “I mean, I guess I am, but not for bad reasons.” He swallowed hard when the big man rolled his eyes.
After writing his name down, he asked, “What are you?”
“What. Are. You?” he repeated more slowly.
“Um, a tree farmer? The family business is corn and barley usually, but I run the—”
The massive man sighed. “Are you human?”
He wrote that beside Edgar’s name before setting down the pen and closing the book. He then flipped open the lid of the box, revealing… The wooden handles of a whole lot of ink stamps?
“Have you given blood today?” he asked Edgar.
“Do you want to?”
He nodded slowly.
He grabbed hold of Edgar’s head. Before he could do more than gasp, that giant hand tilted him to one side and then the other so he could stamp something on both sides of his neck. “What was that?”
“The vampires won’t bother you now.”
The big guy gestured toward the other door. “Watch out for the dragon.”
He didn’t say anything else, just covered Edgar’s shoulder with a huge hand and hustled him along. Once he was about ten feet from the giant, the cushioned, pink door opened automatically, the music at full volume now, and Edgar hurried through.
Bright slashes of neon red, pink, and purple lights lit the interior of the club, but only above and around the bar in the center of the huge room packed with all kinds of people. The air smelled like weed, alcohol, and cologne…and maybe a little sulfur? Weird.
“Take your coat?”
Edgar flinched to realize there was an alcove right beside him where a girl with pigtails high on her head and a set of white horns on her forehead blinked pink eyes at him. She looked like a slightly demonic but totally cute anime character.
“Oh! Yeah, thanks.” He took off his parka and handed it over to her. She hung it up and gave him a ticket that he tucked into his wallet.
Edgar moved farther into the space and noticed the private rooms along the perimeter of the room. Each one glowed a soft lavender, but they were only bright enough to let him see silhouettes moving around behind gauzy curtains. He did a double-take when it looked like someone was in one of the rooms bent over and getting fucked. He felt blood rushing south, so he looked away, not wanting to be too obvious or seem like too much of a tourist.
Easing his way through the crowd, he aimed for the bar. The sheer variety of people in here was a little overwhelming. He couldn’t put names to half of them and tried really hard not to stare.
Some of the people had subtle costumes, like pointed ears or oddly-colored eyes. A few had jewel-toned body paint on that was really beautiful. One guy with fangs sort of hissed at him as he walked away from him—did that mean the stamps were working? There were other people just wearing club clothes and body glitter, so maybe there were more people being regular humans here than just him.
The people that fascinated Edgar were those in full costume. Like a dude who was definitely a wolf-man in a loincloth over there dancing with two women who had horns on their heads and tails peeking out from under their skirts. Speaking of horns… Good grief, that guy over there had blood red skin and a huge set of black horns on his head, one of which had a gold ring around it. He had to be a demon, right?
At the bar, Edgar discovered the bartender nearest to him was one of the people who had their upper body painted, this guy looking like an opal with swirls of color on a pearly white base. When he looked at Edgar, his eyes were covered by black contacts. “What can I get you?” he asked, his voice raised.
“Jack and Coke,” Edgar hollered back. It seemed like a safe choice since he didn’t want to get so drunk that he missed anything, but a nice buzz might help him chill.
The bartender nodded and set about making more than one drink, and Edgar watched him do it. His nervous excitement at finding this place and coming inside was starting to fade. Of course, it was being replaced with the hungry anticipation of finding someone who might want to take him into a private room. That was why he was here. He’d seen a short video of a guy getting fucked by a wolf-man while a bunch of other people watched. It had looked so real, and now that he’d seen some of these costumes, he understood why.
After the bartender handed over his drink and scanned his card, Edgar turned around to look over the crowd. Did he want the attention of someone furry, scaly, or… Oh! Look at that guy’s wings! They were about a foot over the guy’s head and tipped with wicked-looking talons. Edgar stood on his toes, trying to see more than black hair, brown skin, and a possible set of little horns, but the crowd shifted and he lost sight of the guy.
Suddenly, someone grabbed the back of Edgar’s neck and shoved him down against the bar. He fought to stand up, but he couldn’t push or twist his way free. “Let me go!”
Someone leaned against his back, the size of them feeling massive and armor plated against his shirt. When a lizard-like muzzle entered his field of vision, Edgar fought to get away again. Those teeth, that breath, it was all way too real!