Lonely Vampire (MM)
Staid vampire Armand Lyon knows what it means to be lonely. Yes, he had human acquaintances. But since he can't reveal what he is, he lives a solitary life.
Tino Verona is a new and very charismatic vampire in town. When he hunts in Armand's territory, Armand is not amused. Then Tino decides to rob the wealthy of the city. Armand catches him and, when Tino claims he's only playing Robin Hood, Armand points out he isn’t giving to the poor. The result? The pair, plus a vampire police detective who's onto Tino's thefts, band together to create shelters for the homeless.
As they do, the attraction between Armand and Tino grows. Has Armand finally found the one man who can make his life complete? Or will the appearance of a rogue vampire who preys on the homeless destroy any hope of happiness for the lonely vampire?
"Again?" Armand murmured when he sensed the presence of the vampire who had been down by the creek two weeks ago. Apparently he wasn't just passing through town.
After shielding and going invisible, he homed in on the vampire's location -- in the alley behind the club. He moved silently forward until he saw the male.
Handsome, in a rakish way.
As he watched, the vampire approached a young man, saying something to him. The young man nodded, gesturing to a darkened doorway, then took what Armand presumed was money. At that point, the pair disappeared into the alcove.
A few moments later, the vampire reappeared. Armand was waiting for him, visible but still shielding. "You are trespassing on my territory," he said with quiet ferocity.
The vampire merely smiled, asking, "Do you own the whole city?"
"Not all of it. My territory spreads west through all of downtown -- as well as south to the Creek, where I first saw you."
"Not a small area." The vampire paced, keeping his eye on Armand. "Can I ask who you are?"
"Well," the vampire said, lifting an eyebrow.
Armand chuckled. "You wanted to know if you can ask -- which is obviously possible since you speak."
"Word games? All right, I'll be direct. Who are you? Will that get me an answer?"
"Armand Lyon. And you are?"
"Constantino Verona. Tino, to those who know me personally."
"Italian, I presume."
Tino chuckled. "Way back in the mists of the past. Armand is French. Right?"
"Correct. Although it has been over well over two hundred years since I last lived in the country of my birth."
Tino stopped pacing to lean against the alley wall, smiling when the young man he'd fed from appeared, scurrying away toward the sidewalk at the far end of the alley. "Sorry for intruding on your territory," he said to Armand. "But I'm new to the city, so ..." He spread his hands.
"From where?" Armand asked.
"Most recently, Philadelphia. I decided it was time to leave, for the usual reasons."
"Exactly. How long have you been here?"
"Almost one hundred years," Armand told him. "Under various aliases."
Tino nodded. "So you're the grandson, grandnephew, or what have you of who you were when you first arrived. I've done that a time or two, in the last thousand years, when I had something to keep me in one particular place. Then wanderlust would hit, and I'd take off again."
"Well, if you decide to remain here, I suggest you find somewhere else to feed."
"Third time in your territory is not the charm, I take it."
"Not if I catch you at it."
"Duly noted.” Tino gave Armand a mocking salute. "Hopefully, we won't meet again. Arrivederci."
"Adieu," Armand replied -- a moment too late, as Tino had vanished. He may be, according to him, over one thousand, but he acts like one of the punks who hang out along the 16th Street Mall.