I’ve always wanted a big family. Since I wasn’t blessed to have one, I enjoy creating them in my books. In this case, we’ve got a hero whose family happens to be the people he works with on a daily basis. Some are vampires, some are humans. And they all love him no matter what. Oh, and speaking of love, I’m sharing the love by reminding you to visit all the other Snippet Saturday authors by clicking through to their website from the links I’ve provided below. Have fun!
Meet Kenoe Hatsept and his family from the Vampire Council of Ethics…
Vampire Council of Ethics Book Three
by TJ Michaels
Copyright 2009, All rights reserved
Note for Readers: You must be over eighteen to read this excerpt.
Kenoe silently flipped open his vid phone, slipped the ear bud in so he could have his hands free, and whispered into the tiny microphone.
“Dial home.” His words formed as mist in the cool early summer air. The line rang two, three, four times. Relief left his chest in a
huff when someone answered.
“Serati here. This better be fucking good.”
“Alaan, it’s Kenoe. Something is wrong in Japan, and I mean more than just the number of rogues in Nagano. I’m in Tokyo—”
“Tokyo? What the hell are you doing there?”
“Changed my itinerary. As I was saying—” Kenoe rushed on before Alaan could question him further, “—I’m in Shibuya district and I’ve
just seen the weirdest damned thing. I’m not sure I can describe it.”
“Spill it already, Hatsept. I’m in bed, so get to the point.”
Alaan was his usual charming self. Kenoe couldn’t blame him. It was barely morning back home while the night was young and the parties were just getting started in the clubs not far from where he stood.
In the background came a female voice.
“Who is it, Alaan?”
Alaan answered his mate on a yawn. “It’s Kenoe.”
“Really? Give me the phone.” Tameth, as bossy as ever. Kenoe smiled thinking of his best friend.
“No. Roll over and go back to sleep.”
“We weren’t sleeping anyway, asshole. Now give me the damned phone.”
“Careful, woman,” Alaan snapped. “Behave or I’ll cut down your weekly quota of cock.”
Alaan Serati—the only man Kenoe knew who could make a bass-filled growl sound playful. And Tameth was one of very few females who
could handle the big blond brute. They were perfect for each other.
“Oh, please. You’d never survive.” She laughed. Then Tam’s voice filled the line. “Kenoe, you okay? What going on?”
Funny. Her voice had always gotten under his skin. But now, it slid over his consciousness like a soothing balm rather than a stimulating bliqueur. But the blood-firing effect did happen with Shinju, hell almost ten times worse than Tameth had ever affected him and… Oh shit. Could Shinju be the one? His bondmate? Nah, no way. Impossible.
“Huh?” Come on, Hatsept, get your shit together. “I mean, yes, I’m fine. I just happened to be leaving dinner when I saw
“It was a man, a human with no scent of vampire origin. But he moved like one of us, there one moment and gone the next. And if I’m not mistaken, I’ve caught a glimpse of him before.”
“But that doesn’t make any sense, Key. You’re the best damned tracker of all the elite Seekers. How could you not be sure whether
you’ve scented him before or not?”
“Like I said, he carries no vampire scent. In fact, he has no scent at all. You know I never forget a smell, but this guy doesn’t seem to have one. I swear, he moved so fast I almost missed him.”
“That is strange,” Tameth said in confusion. “But even still, if he’s a human why do you care?”
“I have my reasons.”
“Hold on, let me conference Carin in. This sounds like some stuff you two should discuss. It worries me that a human moves like a vamp, but doesn’t smell like vamp, rogue, or…anything.”
“Exactly. In fact, I’ll just call her directly.”
“No way,” Alaan said with a raised voice in the background. The man always had exceptional hearing. “I want to hear what the hell is going on too.”
A few moments later a sleepy and none-too-happy Bix picked up the line.
“Head Seeker here, goddammit.”
Tameth put her phone on speaker and relayed what Kenoe had told them. Bix roused Carin, who was instantly awake after hearing their
“That worries me,” Carin rasped, voice scratchy and thick with congestion.
“What the hell’s wrong with you?” Kenoe wondered quietly. His brow pulled down into a frown as he watched the shadow of the man creeping around Shinju’s house. Seeker instinct went full tilt and he was ready to drop the phone, jump out of that tree and take off at a dead run to aid his woman.
Whoa. Hold the door. His woman? Aw, hell.
“Cold. First one in three years.” Carin croaked while trying to clear her throat.
“How? We don’t get sick.”
“Out playing in the rain with Alaina. Took my new vampire DNA for granted and got kicked in the ass by the human genes behind it. I’ll be fine by morning.”
“Damn, I hope so. Anyway, why does this guy I’m watching concern you? What are you thinking?” Kenoe asked on a whisper.
“I’m thinking about facts,” Carin said, followed by a huge sneeze and Bix’s quiet “ewww” in the background.
“Oh shut up,” Carin mumbled to her mate. “Make yourself useful and grab that box of tissue on the nightstand, will ya?” After a pause and a few totally unladylike snorts and sniffles, Carin continued. “Anyway, the facts are that the only way a human can be enhanced with vampire traits is by ingesting large quantities of blood or exchanging bodily fluids via lots of sex with a vampire—a full-fledged, natural-born vampire—over a long period of time. But that kind of contact leaves an imprint on human and vampire alike.”
Kenoe cut in. “Basically, scent.”
“Right. But you said this guy doesn’t have any vampire scent. Even I, an altered human, can smell the subtle differences between vampire and human. So for this guy to have no scent at all is just not normal in either of our worlds.”
“So what do you think is going on?”
“Kenoe, I just don’t know, sweet pea. I’ll have to think about it.”
Bix added, “In the meantime, looks like pseudo-duty, Seeker. Just watch this guy, get a visual and send us the digital. But you’re not assigned to him, nor on real duty, so no other investigation. You’re still on vacation, understand? We’ll see what we can find on him. If he’s dirty, we’ll put somebody else on him while you get your downtime in. We do have some good agents planted inside the human government over there. We’ll find something. Check in with Alaan in a day or two.”
“Yes, sir. Oh, wait, Dr. Carin, can you and Tam stay on the line for a minute?”
“Sure. Whatcha need?” they asked almost in unison. He loved his friends so much. Always there for him no matter what. And the two biggest damned mother hens he’d ever known.
“I figured I’d ask you two since you’re female, but now that I have you on the line I’m thinking I should have gotten a guy’s point of view.”
“Well, it’s not like we aren’t listening.”
Bix. And the bastard was laughing at him. Kenoe laughed back and then let it all hang out.
“I’ve met someone. A human. But I’m way out of my element here. I can’t say I’ve ever experienced anything like it. I smell her everywhere and the sight and scent of this female sends me on a fucking trip.”
Four voices echoed across the phone line as they all started talking at once. “What? Really? Do you think she’s the one? What does she look like? Have you approached her yet?”
With his eyes still plastered on the shadow near Shinju’s home, the doubts Kenoe had about the woman’s place in his life began to fade. The urge to strangle the possible threat had him snarling into the phone.
“Kenoe? What the hell are you growling at?” Tameth snapped.
“Sorry. I’m watching her house and…shit, this is driving me crazy.”
“If you feel so strongly, she could very well be your mate. Or maybe even a bondmate.” Carin sniffled. “I’m human, yet Bix and I went nuts after we met. Not to mention that psychic-link-bond-zing thing we had going. It was insane.”
Hmm. It would certainly explain his tumultuous emotions. God, he was horny and protective, afraid and bold, certain and unsure. All at the same damned time.
“I think…hell, I don’t know what to think,” he pushed out forcefully, even though he knew Carin was right. And from the thoughts and feelings seeping through what must be a true newly forming bond, Shinju was all over the map right along with him. He couldn’t quite hear her thoughts yet from this distance, but her emotions were pounding at him like a sledgehammer against a concrete wall.
“Then what’s the problem?” Carin asked impatiently. Her tone was the same as she used when trying to reason with her three-year-old daughter. “You know how weirded out you prime males get when you try to resist the mating call. God, I remember when Bix and I first met. He hardly played fair once he decided I was the one. Pulled the most underhanded tactics out of the hat…”
“Underhanded tactics? Like what?” Kenoe had never heard this part of the story.
“One day we were in my lab—in fact, it was only the second time I’d ever seen him. He decided to pull some junk…and he was successful. The underhanded part is this—Bix knew I was an empath. I’d never really looked into how to use my gift, but I could sense something zinging between us.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean.”
“It’s there with…what’s her name?”
“Shinju. Shinju Maruyama. And yes, it’s there. She just waltzes right into my head and I don’t even think she realizes it. It’s like she isn’t aware she has any psychic skill but is using it just the same.”
“Hmm. That’s different. Anyway, I was supposed to be mad at Bix and he was determined that he’d rather have me horny. So as he left my lab he sent the nastiest, most lust-inducing images into my head, and at the same time he made me actually feel his hands on me. It was the wildest, weirdest sensation I’d ever experienced. Something only he could do because we were meant to be together as bondmates.”
Kenoe’s eyebrows practically flew off of his face. So he could send images into Shinju’s head? But only if she was “the one”?
“Now I can talk to Bix and send images to him too. And he’s the only one I can’t block because we’re bonded.”
“Key?” Tameth chimed in. “If she’s it, go for it. Besides, you’ve already seen the outcome of two of the most bullheaded men you know try to outrun their females. And vice versa.”
“Yeah, tell me about it.” Kenoe chuckled. “But I just don’t know.”
“Well, I do know,” Tameth snapped into the phone with a tone that bordered on pissed off. “You think you don’t deserve it.”
“What the hell are you talking—”
“Hush, you. You think that because of what you went through at the hands of that asshole brother of yours that you’re tainted or something.” It wasn’t a question, but a heated, mad-as-hell accusation. And it hit the mark pretty damned close. “Well, listen, Kenoe Hatsept, you’re one of the best men I’ve ever known. A perfect mix of sensitive and badass. Whoever this woman is, she’ll be lucky to have found a man like you.”
Kenoe did something he hadn’t done since learning how to pleasure a woman at a young age in the harem from hell—he blushed. Not sure what to say, he let the first thing he could think of slip past his lips.
“What is this, some kind of psychobabble?”
“Cut the shit, Kenoe. This is serious.”
Great. Now it was Carin’s turn to chime in. May as well prepare for the shredding he knew was coming. Thank God they had his best interests at heart.
“We’re talking about your life here, stud,” Carin gubbed through her stuffy nose.
“But what if I can’t…I mean, what if I can’t love her like she deserves?”
“What about what you deserve, damn it? If this woman is the one for you, it’s because she’s meant to be. She’ll complete you in a way you’ll never understand unless you go for it. Everything you’ve worked for since the day you fled your brother’s harem has brought you to where you are today. But that’s over, Kenoe. It’s done. Lowan is history. Now it’s time for you to live for yourself. And that’s all I got to say about it. Now don’t make me and Tam have to fly all the way to Japan to kick some vampire sense into your ass.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Kenoe couldn’t keep the grin out of his voice, nor the unfamiliar flutter out of his stomach. Blushing? Butterflies? Geesh, he was turning into a girl! “I’ll catch you guys later.”
Tameth chimed in. “All right. Hey, remind me to tell you about the new jet we just got. Fill you in later?”
“Love you, Key.” And in the background he heard Alaan’s deep bass echo, “Yeah. I love you too, Hatsept pipsqueak.”