Sunday, January 23, 2011

Phantasmagoric Feast by Kate Steele

Phantasmagoric Feast

by Kate Steele

Cover art: ReneƩ George

ISBN: 978-1-60521-562-4

Genre(s): Paranormal

Theme(s): Vampires, Gay and Lesbian

Length: Novella

Plagued by self-doubt and to prove, if only to himself, he can be a bold man of action, a slightly inebriated Toby Heaton decides on a reckless course of action. Walking into Mausoleum -- a bar known to be owned and operated by a clan of vampires -- he offers his virgin throat to the biggest baddest blood-sucker in the place... too bad his offer falls flat. At Mausoleum, a human freely supplying a vampire with blood is a nightly occurrence. Still, all is not lost.

Taken under handsome bartender De's wing, Toby is about to embark on a surreal journey. One filled with pleasure and pain. A journey fueled by blood in which he will learn his true worth.

Phantasmagoric Feast

Kate Steele

All rights reserved.

Copyright ©2011 Kate Steele

This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

"A guy walks into a bar," Toby mumbled, following his words with a drunken snicker. He stumbled across the threshold then froze. "But he never thought he'd see something like this." Blinking to clear his drink-befuddled vision, he stared around the room in appalled fascination. Mausoleum -- the much touted vampire bar -- was so much more than he'd expected.

Rather than a dark and noisy, garishly decorated room with neon lights and loud music, this place was an elegant and tasteful monument to the hereafter. Designed with its namesake in mind, the interior of the building resembled an elaborate and ornately decorated tomb.

Majestically posed on tall granite bases, a pair of dogs with multiple heads guarded the entrance -- Cerberus memorialized in stone. There were pairs of strategically placed pillars in each corner of the cavernous, square interior and four more formed a counter square farther in toward the center of the room. On the walls, carved cornices accented decorative friezes rich with sculpted figures of ancient Greek design. Here and there, in recessed alcoves, elegant flower arrangements stood in solitary splendor, the bases of the urns that held them, draped with black satin.

There was loud music as expected, but the lighting was atmospheric and shadowy rather than flashy or neon. It was directed to soften the stark angles of marble and granite used in the room's layout. Booths and tables constructed of heavy, dark wood inlaid with black granite, and with seats and backs padded and covered with black leather, were arranged in groups around the pillars. Each grouping formed an isle unto itself and between these islands most of the patrons gathered. They ebbed and flowed from the central dance floor to the densely packed seating area of their choice, and it was they -- the out-of-the-ordinary clientele -- who truly grabbed Toby's attention.

Everywhere he looked were people dressed in black goth garb. Leather and lace and every fabric in between studded with glittering silver... or so it seemed at first. The more his gaze wandered, the more he noticed splashes of color amongst the funereal black and as he studied the scene, he realized something. Those who stood out so singularly, conspicuous by the lushly tinted shades of their clothing, were the center of attention. From each colorful hub radiated a pool of darkness, crows vying for the attention of a peacock.

Pleased by this semi-poetic analogy, he searched for and found the bar, made a beeline for it and hauled himself onto a stool. Catching the eye of the bartender, he offered a tipsy smile. "Hi there."

"Hello," the man replied as he came to stand before his new customer.

Toby's awareness perked up at the smooth baritone of the man's voice, and he nearly shivered in the wake of the piercing eyes expertly perusing and sizing him up.

"Are you in the right place? After Hours is across the street."

Absorbed in staring at the man, Toby managed a distracted, "Hmm?"

Indicating Toby's suit and tie, he elaborated. "Businessmen. They usually gather over there. It seems more your type of place."

Following the direction of the finger pointed at him, Toby glanced down at himself then back at the bartender. "Oh, I see what you mean. Actually, I just came from there. You prob'ly can't tell, but I've already had a drink or two."

"Hmm. Frankly, I thought that might be the case."

"Shhh. Don't tell anyone else." Toby tried to give him a conspiratorial wink, but found more than an owlish blink beyond his capacity. Undaunted he continued. "But you know, you're not exactly blending either. You're wearing purple," he stage-whispered, eyeing the man's shirt. It was a button down style, which he wore quite casually with the top two buttons undone, the tails out, and the sleeves rolled up.

"You mean I should be wearing black?" the bartender asked, and the smile he employed was so engaging Toby was momentarily stunned.

Being half snockered he'd failed to notice the full extent of the man's appeal. Here was a man far and away from ordinary. His were the kind of looks that invoked sighs of longing from some and unadulterated envy from others. His black hair of medium length -- parted just slightly left of center -- was swept back with just a few strands teasing the gently curved plane of his forehead. Neat brows presided over a pair of deep blue eyes. His nose was arrow straight, his lips full but masculine, his jaw line sharp. Six feet tall or thereabouts, his upper body, showcased by the tailoring of his shirt, appeared to be fit, his chest firm, shoulders broad, and waist trim. His forearms, exposed by his rolled up sleeves, were well defined, and his hands were large with long and what Toby was sure were gracefully competent fingers.

"Um... black? Yeah, I guess," was Toby's tardy response. Under normal circumstances he'd have found talking to such a good-looking man intimidating, but being under the influence had some advantages after all. "I would have thought your boss would want you to blend in more."

"Not really. He's easy-going about that kind of thing. Speaking of atmosphere, what brings you to a place like this... not that you're unwelcome."

"Thanks, I appreciate that, 'cause you see" -- Toby leaned forward and lowered his voice -- "I'm here on a mission."

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