THE INCUBUS'S MATE
What happens when a monster hunter falls in love with a monster?
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Writing Progress as of April 2021
Edgar is a member of a famous monster-hunting family, but their ultra-conservative religious views are pushing him to reevaluate his entire life now that he’s accepted his sexuality. Though he wants to change, he still fears the loss of everything he’s known, and so Edgar takes one more mission to discover if a city dentist is catering to monster patients.
Sai is trying to make something of himself even as he knows he’s slowly starving to death. While his parents insist he just needs to sleep around more to find his perfect mate, Sai knows he’s not the normal sort of incubus who can gorge on the sexual energies of just anyone.
Sparks fly for both Edgar and Sai when they meet and it isn’t long before they’re in bed and discovering how incredible they are together. Sai’s found someone who could save his life, and Edgar feels the same way. But if they’re going to be together, they may have to fight an entire family of monster hunters who are convinced there’s no such thing as a good monster.
An Excerpt from The Incubus's Mate
Edgar didn’t look at any of his cousins who flanked the massive entrance or milled about in the hall of the Van Helsing stronghold. All of them probably knew he’d done something terribly wrong since he’d been dismissed for three months by his grandfather, the head of the family. He doubted anyone other than his brother and grandfather knew exactly what he’d done, though. Neither of them would want anyone else to know Edgar had sinned, jeopardizing his immortal soul, and tainting the family name.
That he was allowed back—had, in fact, been summoned—meant one of two things: either he was going to be excommunicated and disowned, or else he was getting a new assignment and would carry on doing his duty.
He couldn’t quite decide which option he preferred for his grandfather to chose and so he kept his head down and his pace steady as he walked on toward the banquet hall.
It hadn’t always been that way for him. He’d been as devoted and devout as any of his relatives who’d been protecting humanity from the evil of the world for centuries. But ever since his grandfather ascended to Patriarch, their mission now included phrases like how the family was required to protect “good Christians” and “only the worthy.” Growing up, Edgar had learned and later taken the oath that said the Van Helsings protected everyone. Though they were Roman Catholics, they had never limited their duties. Until now.
As Edgar approached the banquet hall, two of his cousins grasped the heavy rungs and pulled the massive doors open. It was rather dramatic given there was a more human-sized door built into the one on the right. When the gap was wide enough, he passed through and into a cacophony of planning and preparation.
Suddenly, a booming voice cut through the noise, “Edgar!”
The throne was new. Edgar tried not to stare as he made his way toward his grandfather, but it was difficult. Though the fit, snowy-haired man wore the traditional leather pants, boots, and vest over a billowing, white shirt—the same as Edgar wore—his grandfather sat on a gilded throne atop the dais that had once held a podium for meetings. And it seemed the damn thing was aged as though to appear as if it had always been here in the castle.
Family members parted to allow Edgar room to approach. He looked at none of them, afraid his calm reserve would evaporate the moment he saw contempt or disgust. He stared at his grandfather, feeling the weight of his pale-eyed stare with every step forward. When he reached the red carpet at the foot of the dais, he stopped and gave a slight bow.
His eyes narrowed as he said, “Patriarch.”
Edgar swallowed as his heart rate increased. Disallowed to refer to him as family? That didn’t bode well. “Patriarch,” he said and bowed again.
“Have you recovered from your…illness?”
Edgar’s mind whirled. His illness? Had grandfather told the family Edgar was sick instead of that he had been removed as punishment? That was rather— A sudden, cold chill passed through him at a new thought. Was he asking if Edgar was now cured of his homosexuality?
The old man’s face hardened. “Do not make me ask again.”
“I am well,” Edgar said and it wasn’t a lie. He wasn’t ill by any definition of the word. Though his nature was at odds with his religion and his family, he was not sick. “Thank you for your concern.”
His grandfather assessed him from head to toe, and Edgar waited. Whether he believed Edgar meant things the same way he did mattered very little to him now. He would keep pretending, keep hiding, and do his duty to the people of the world by protecting them from hellspawn. He still believed in that.
“Then I have an assignment for you,” Grandfather said. His aide and daughter were right there to hand him a stack of papers. “You will go to America and investigate rumors of a dentist providing services to demons.”
A dentist? That was a first for him. While much of his career had been spent doing surveillance work, he’d never spied on a dentist’s office before. Hadn’t given much thought as to how the monsters of the world might care for their teeth, to be honest. But plenty of them could take some type of human form and move about in the daylight, so it was possible they had doctors and dentists and the like.
His grandfather didn’t offer the papers to him, but Edgar knew he’d get the information shortly. Ever resistant to modern technology, the old man refused to use anything with a screen. Someone else would allow Edgar access to the information in the family’s app so he could look up whatever he needed on his phone.
“Do not fail me,” the old man said, and there was a lot more threat in his tone than usual. He often said such things when handing out assignments, but Edgar had the feeling failure now would have far more dire consequences than removal from the roster for two months.
Excommunication and expulsion were how the family severed ties, but there were rumors that his grandfather had a death squad at his disposal, like back in medieval times. Seeing the man now, Edgar could believe that.
“I won’t fail,” he told him and bowed before turning away and walking back out of the hall.
In the corridor again, Edgar made his way down to the armory in the basement. Unlike most of the remaining castles in Romania, the Van Helsing castle was not open for tours, though they still kept all the most dangerous elements out of sight below ground. Beneath the armory was enough food and supplies for five years that was carefully monitored for expiration and condition by the pantry keepers.
Below the pantry was the dungeon. He had never gone down there. Hearing the screams of the imprisoned and seeing the faces of their jailers was enough for him.
Inside the armory, Edgar found his third cousin Rolf and some of the men who looked to Rolf like a leader. Misguided, all of them, since Rolf was too impulsive and reckless to lead, but Edgar wasn’t the one to tell them that.
What Rolf said now, though, made Edgar pause in shock.
“I can’t believe Marcus has been lazing around the Caribbean,” he said in disgust, “while the rest of us thought him missing or dead. But no, he’s got himself a male lover and has turned his back on all of us.”
Marcus was gay, too? For just a moment, Edgar felt as though he had an ally again.
One of Rolf’s minions spat on the floor. “Someone should make his death real this time.”
“Oh, it’ll happen,” Rolf said with an evil grin.
Edgar could only stare at him in horror, which was when Rolf noticed him.
“What?” Rolf snapped.
Caught, Edgar could only say, “But Marcus is your brother.”
“Not anymore, he isn’t.” He stepped up into Edgar’s space. “If I ever see him again, I’ll kill him on the spot. God and our patriarch demand it.”
Faced with this much hate from six men, Edgar didn’t try to reason with any of them by pointing out that the Bible had no such passage requiring that gay men be murdered for their sins. But had his grandfather truly singled Marcus out for death? And not Edgar? He wasn’t sure how to interpret that.
With a nod, Edgar backed up and went around them to the armorer. He wanted to stand up for Marcus now that he knew they were so alike, but to do so would only enlarge the target already on his back. At least Marcus had a lover to comfort him; Edgar had no one.
George, the armorer, leaned on his battered, metal table and gave Edgar an assessing look. “Haven’t seen you in some time,” he said.
“I’ve been ill.”
“You look well enough.”
Not nearly clever enough for fieldwork, George still tried to appear as though he was in charge of something other than a vast array of weaponry. It wasn’t even in his power to deny someone’s request—and he along with everyone else knew that. But he still tried to assert his dominance every single time.
Edgar waited him out.
With a sigh, George picked up his tablet computer. “Well, where are you going?”
“Where in America?”
“Does it matter?”
“Of course it does,” George said with exasperation. “You’re flying so you can’t take anything with you, and the city you’re headed to will determine how I get your equipment to you.”
“Oh.” That was a new development, and he didn’t like George actually having a leg up. “Um…” He checked his phone, hoping someone had granted access already. Thankfully, they had. “I’m going to Cleveland.”
With a nod, George set his tablet back down. “Well, then, you’ll go to the armory in the facility there for all your equipment.”
“We have a facility in America?”
He hadn’t been out of touch so long that they’d managed that, surely. While they had such all over Europe and Asia, those had been built over centuries to combat specific invasions of monsters in those areas. Was America now so overrun that they needed an outpost as well?
“Where have you been?” George said with a sneer. “There are eight facilities in America. That whole place is one big, filthy demon’s den now.” Clearly reveling in his superior knowledge, he leaned a bit closer and dropped his voice to say, “I heard that our people are mostly doing exorcisms because those Americans are so full of hate and anger that the demons can slip right in, unnoticed. Over and over, too.”
“That’s terrible.” He was somewhat familiar with American issues, but he hadn’t realized the situation had become so dire. No wonder facilities were needed there now. That they’d acquired and stocked eight was still a wonder, but he wasn’t about to ask George how they’d done it so quickly.
“Yeah, so you’ll get the tools for doing that, too, when they outfit you.” He waved dismissively. “They can give you a refresher course, if you need it.”
Edgar only nodded. He didn’t need any reminders or tips on how to exorcise someone because he’d always excelled at that. The last demon he’d banished had even known him on sight and fled before Edgar could get his holy water out of his bag.
“So we’re done,” George said pointedly. “Bon voyage and all that.”
Even though he didn’t like to boost the man’s ego, Edgar still said, “Thank you, George. I appreciate the information.”
The man visibly puffed up and smiled with pride as Edgar left the armory.
Back above ground, Edgar walked out of the castle for his rooms above the bakery in the surrounding town. He needed to change out of these traditional clothes and pack things suitable for America. Jeans always worked there. While his long hair would set him apart somewhat, he wasn’t about to change his appearance for what wouldn’t be more than a week-long trip.
And though he knew he shouldn’t even consider it after what had happened last time, he did wonder if he might be able to find a moment to enjoy himself. Though there was a Van Helsing facility in the city he was going to, perhaps he could still disappear for a night to find like-minded men. Or at least one. He ached for even the briefest of connections with someone who wouldn’t condemn him.