Cod has endured centuries of humiliation being the last vampire of his cursed line. When he finds out the local supernatural community wants him dead, he has nowhere else to go. When Biff offers him an unlikely alliance, Cod is terrified of trusting a man who’s able to turn his knees into jelly and set his heart ablaze.
A werewolf that’s unable to shift doesn’t amount to much in any wolf pack. Abandoned and left to fend for himself, Biff figures that when life hurls lemons at him, he’ll make lemonade. Making a living hunting down rogue supernaturals has more than its share of benefits and enemies. When Biff’s betrayed by his bosses, the last person he’d expect to help him is an anemic vampire. He wants this fiasco done and over with, but his wolf stubbornly believes Cod is his fated mate.
When a prophecy threatens to shake the very foundations of the supernatural community in the Cogworks, can two supernatural defects put aside their confusing feelings for each other in order to stay alive?
Excerpt“A light hand on the garlic sir?” the waiter asked in an impeccable tone of voice.
“I do not wish to repeat myself again sir, but I suppose I have to.” Biff’s date waved a crimson-colored, sickeningly, overpowering and perfumed silk handkerchief at the waiter. He then let out a heavy sigh.
“Eliminate the garlic, all the garlic from the dish, my good man,” he announced.
“But sir, our duck specialty is renown because of the garlic--”
“Do I need to repeat myself again, man?” Codrick Conell Cornelius, or Cod as he told Biff to call him, wasn’t a particularly large or impressive man. He made up for it by having a loud voice, bad manners and absolutely no taste in fashion.
Not only his waistcoat was the awful and lurid color of magenta, his dress shirt, tie and frock coat were similarly the same shade. Even his top hat was magenta and had matching and absurdly large magenta feather sticking out of it.
To add further insult to the injury, all of these color-matching items were emblazoned with rhinestones. Thank God, Biff no longer had to look at either the shiny coat or hat any longer. Cod had surrendered these items so that they could dine.
Great. I work practically six days a week. When I finally have the chance to date, I get a fop. I’d rather get run over by a speeding dirigible then endure two more hours of this. I need to thank Reg with my fists for spectacularly arranging this wonderful date.
“Did you say something dear Bill?”
“Not at all,” Biff said through gritted teeth, not bothering to remind the fop that his name wasn’t Bill, Ben, or Bernard.
His own patience astounded him. Werewolves, even defective ones who couldn’t shift, weren’t known for being patient. Biff suspected his patience was a by-product of sheer need, pathetic desperation, and spending too many lonely nights by himself.
What he wanted was to suck and nibble on another man’s tender lips, and to feel the heat of another body pressed urgently against his own. He was sick of waking up to an empty bed each morning. Even if Cod was merely a one-night stand, at least Biff could pretend the other man genuinely cared for him.
The desperation ate at him, tore at him, and practically devoured him. He felt so raw and so hungry that he’d sit through an awful blind date just so he could quench his desire even just a little.
Gods of the Cogs, I’m one pathetic lonely wolf.
Biff didn’t have it easy. He’d been exiled from his pack since he was a young man. Werewolves who weren’t able to shift were defects and were of no use to the pack. Biff figured if life threw him an airship full of lemons, he’d make lemonade.
He might’ve found the best way utilize his supernatural speed and strength and earn a decent living by hunting other supernatural beings, but that didn’t mean he was content or happy.
Shifters operated best in pairs. Somewhere out there was Biff’s mate, or so he’d like to think. No one wanted a defect for a mate, so he had to content himself with blind dates and one-night stands. Even so, quality dalliances seemed to be in short supply these days.
“And I suppose you’d want us to omit the garlic from the black pudding as well sir?” the waiter continued.
Cod appear to have not heard the waiter’s sarcastic tone, for he went on, “Yes, omit that as well as the blood.”
“The blood sir?”
“From the black pudding you twat. Do I have to repeat everything?” Cod thundered.
Biff played with the pendant around his neck idly. Cod rather reminded him of a ridiculous puffed up parakeet. The metaphysical wolf that resided inside him only idly observed the date with apparent boredom. Biff was sure the wolf would only take notice when it was sure they’d actually get some much-needed action tonight.
“Of course not, sir. Allow me to repeat your order. Duck sautéed in garlic, minus the garlic and blood sausage without the blood...”
The waiter waited for Cod’s reaction, looking non-pulsed.
Cod only waved him dismissively with his perfumed handkerchief. The waiter eventually turned to Biff and repeated his order. Biff actually saw the man emit a derisive snort once he was finally freed from his torment.
“I swear, if you asked for my opinion, the service at this restaurant only keeps declining. They weren’t like this half a century ago. The original owner would’ve been devastated to know how his dream turned to this dump.” Cod emphasized his point with another wave of his odious handkerchief.
Biff decided to comment. “How would you know, you weren’t born half a century ago.”
Cod’s eyes flashed angrily for a moment. “By the Gods man, you don’t have to sound so offensively straightforward.”
The wolf inside Biff snorted. It eluded the beast why Biff was going to let a ridiculous fop talk to him like that. Biff did have to give Reg credit for choosing a looker. While Codrick Cornell Cornelius would never be considered a handsome man, he was certainly a beautiful one.
Putting aside his awful taste in clothing and manners, he was every inch model material for those high-end airship ads. He had a trim waist, a slender build, white smooth skin most women would envy, and dark blue eyes set in a delicate face framed by long black curls.
While Biff held out a chair for him, he also noticed the man had quite a fine ass.
Cod’s a very delectable and fine man indeed.
Cod stiffened suddenly, as if he’d noticed the way Biff was assessing him.
“You must think me positively ridiculous.”
Of course, I do. The only reason I’m sticking around is to proposition you to bed.
Instead, Biff answered, “Of course not. I find you completely charming. Even your delightful little quirks.”
It seemed Biff said the wrong thing.
Cod abruptly stood from his seat, “Quirks? Excuse me young man, but I am allergic to those particular food items.”
“Sit down, I didn’t mean to offend you,” Biff said quickly.
Young man, really?
His pulse raced angrily, reflecting his anger. Biff slowly counted to ten in his head before he unclenched his fists. His wolf gave him a lofty look, as if to say ‘told you so’. What wouldn’t Biff give to grab hold of the fop’s shoulders and shake him until he returned to his senses. Perhaps Biff could even steal a quick kiss from those soft firm lips. Cod’s lips certainly looked like they were begging to be kissed.
Biff reined in his temper, took a deep breath, and tried again.
“So you’re allergic to garlic and blood, what else? I’m curious to know more about you Cod. Can’t two good looking and well-dressed gentlemen have a pleasant evening?”
Thankfully, the fop sat. Cod took out his odious red handkerchief and pretended to sniff into it like a slighted woman. Biff gritted his teeth at the annoying gesture and counted to ten in his head again.
Cod dislodged his nose from his handkerchief. “Speaking of well-dressed, I am positively radiant tonight, aren’t I, dear Bill?”
“Spectacularly shining,” Biff confirmed, not sure if that sentence was right.
Oh well. It was true. The fop did sparkle from all the rhinestones sewn on his clownish garment. Heck, the stones nearly blinded him. The shiny rhinestones even caught the attention of his wolf. Biff imagined the wolf curiously pawing at the rhinestone with a beast’s curiosity.
He was tempted to ask if he went to a particular tailor that specially designed and customized his outfit, but decided not to. What if Cod took offence to that?
“What else did you want to know about me?”
“I asked about your other unique aspects,” Biff reminded him, although he certainly wasn’t expecting much. “What other activities do you like to partake in?”
“Assuming you’d pass this first date, you have no business knowing about what other activities I like to partake in, Ben.” Cod smirked.
Biff stifled a groan. Oh God, does he really think there’ll be second date after we spend the night together?
“Well.” The fop licked his lips, clearly unnerved his silence. “Being part of the ton, I like to attend parties. I also love poodles and well, I hate most activities under the sun. I’d like to maintain my snowy white beautiful complexion you see.”
“I see,” Biff said, although he didn’t really see.
Which normal person in this time and century said things like, ‘hated activities under the sun?’
If he didn’t know Cod was ‘allergic’ to blood, Biff would’ve assumed the other man belonged to a foul race of creatures he, and the organization he worked for, specialized in hunting. If that were true Biff would’ve been in trouble, because he left his vampire hunting kit back at his cubicle at the Black Ministry.
Not that Biff could ever accuse Codrick Conell Cornelius of being a supernatural predator of the night. He’d never survive the prejudice of the supernatural community wit his gaudy clothes. Those rhinestones would’ve made him an easy target for any ministry hunter worth their salt.
Just a bit more, Biff thought. He impatiently grounded his teeth. It was a bad habit, he knew, but the sound somehow muted Cod’s loud and incessant chatter. To lift his boredom, he made a list of the things he had to do that evening.
First on his agenda was enduring Cod’s voice and the rest of the horrid dinner. Dousing the fop and himself with excessive amounts of alcohol came next. Then he’d suggest they retreat to his apartment for the rest of the evening. The next bit came easy. Biff would’ve just relied on their mutual desire for each other and expect inappropriate touches and the shredding of each other’s clothing. Ripping that offensive magenta rhinestone-studded outfit would certainly give him much pleasure.
Biff didn’t think Cod would resist much, or resist at all. His gaydar pinged so loudly the moment their eyes crossed. He didn’t miss the way the magenta parakeet’s lecherous eyes moved past his face and shamelessly festooned on his body.
Biff was also guilty of imagining what the other man looked like beneath his ridiculous clothes.
It was all a matter of grinding his teeth, keeping his mouth shut, and enduring the evening. The amber eyes of his metaphysical wolf only looked back at him with amusement. Oh, screw you and the dirigible you rode on, wolf.
“And you, my dear Bill Buffoonton, what do you do?”
Oh that was it! That was the last time this fop would misuse the name his human mother gave him. It was the last and only gift the poor woman gave him before moving on to the next world. Biff couldn’t stand another second enduring the fop massacre it.
“Its Biff Buffington actually.”
“Isn’t Beefington the name of a noble house? Why does it sound so familiar?” Cod asked with sudden undisguised interest.
“Buffington, as in the Buffingtons of Bueller’s Buffs up at the North. No, we’re not nobility. Besides being the black sheep of my family, I don’t associate with them much. I work at a ministry branch.”
“Oh.” Cod did a poor job of masking his disappointment.
He placed one elbow on his chin and studied Biff more closely. He looked almost contemplative and scholarly, making Biff think there was more to him then his outlandish and loud appearance. Were the clothes simply a way to disguise a cunning and clever mind?
“The ministry you say. With those fetching biceps of yours, you don’t look like the stuffy, four-eyed and deskbound type to me, Bill. Are you a mechanic or an engineer then?”
How the fop managed to ignore the rest of the information Biff unloaded on him and zoned in on his biceps didn’t surprise him. Oh well, at least he was now certain Cod was also out looking for a warm body to spend the night with.
Biff could see his wolf rising on its hunches, becoming interested.
Mate? Biff was tempted to laugh at the beast’s confusion. The Gods of the Cogs were mocking him if Codrick Conell Cornelius just happened to be his mate.
“A contractor for the local law enforcement actually.” Biff gave his usual answer.
His gaydar pinged loudly again. Not only that. It was giving loud squeaks and warning bells. Despite his overbearing and arrogant appearance, he had a sneaking suspicion Lord Cod wanted to do more than play with his biceps tonight.
“Ah. Consultancy work then.” Cod nodded sagely, as if he perfectly understood.
Biff took back whatever reassessment he had of Cod. Cod was a mindless fop. Period. He was more than a little relieved when the waiter finally arrived with their dishes because he was running out of things to say.