Devin Jace lives in a huge mansion together with six other people, five of them turn furry, and one needs to drink blood to survive. Sometimes, he suspects it's all a dream. Four years ago, he had no idea supernatural beings existed. It wasn’t until he was snatched off the street and forced to live as a blood slave he realized vampires are real and don’t sparkle.
Three years ago, Mars O’Ceallaigh was part of the team who saved a badly scarred and severely traumatized Devin. As the only vampire on the team, he got to work undercover. To keep up the facade, he tasted Devin's blood. Not a day has gone by since without him thinking about it, both the taste of the blood and Devin. But he wants Devin to be happy, and since he knows vampires are his worst nightmare, he does his best to keep out of his way.
When the team learns Devin's captor has escaped prison, Mars is convinced he will come for Devin. Devin might fear Mars, but there is someone he fears more, so when Mars swears to keep him safe, Devin trusts him. Mars more than enjoys being by Devin's side at all times, but will spending every minute of every day with him be enough to keep him safe?
Devin appeared in the doorway, and Mars almost smiled.
Devin nodded. “I ... eh ... told Hanna.” He waved in direction of the office.
“Okay. Do you remember Dillon Ross?”
The blank stare Devin gave him was enough to tell Mars no.
“There weren’t many men.”
Devin shook his head. “We were never more than two or three, the rest were women.”
Mars nodded. At the time of the raid, it had only been Dillon and Devin. “Any idea why?”
Devin looked into his eyes, which had Mars suppressing a smile. Mars might be his worst nightmare, but there were many shifters who didn’t dare meet his gaze. But then again, his mind control didn’t work on Devin, so he had nothing to fear.
“Because the majority of the guests were straight?”
Mars pursed his lips. “That theory would only hold up if the majority of the johns were male. Were they?”
Devin’s gaze drifted off into the distance, and for a second Mars believed he’d lost him. Then he shook his head. “No, I’d say it was pretty evenly divided between men and women.”
Mars nodded. They’d tried tracking the guests, but none of the slaves had known any names, and they couldn’t find any records of visitors, payments, or bookings.
“But having male sex slaves for women won’t work. You have to be hard to ...” A look of horror stole over his face. “And no one would be able to get hard under those circumstances.”
This was not a topic Mars wanted to discuss. Devin had spoken more to him the last couple of minutes than he had during the last three years combined. He didn’t want to dig deeper into his trauma or explain the horrendous things a vampire could do to a human. He made sure his voice was low and evenly leveled as he spoke. “You’re forgetting mind control.”
“When done right, being bitten is --”
“I don’t want to know.” Devin walked in behind the kitchen island with brisk steps.
Mars nodded. “I’m wondering about Dillon.”
“I don’t know anything about him.” His words were clipped, and Mars pressed his lips together. He put Dillon’s statement aside and went through the next. None of the women had stood out, but if he was to be honest, he hadn’t paid much attention once Ezekiel had grabbed Devin. Had there been anyone else looking better off than the others? Murrie had interviewed them and then Mars had wiped their memories. One or two of the women had been stronger physically, but he’d written it off as variations within the human race. Not all humans were the same.
Had they come from shifter families, someone would’ve alerted them, wouldn’t they?
He looked up, only to find Devin watching him. He quickly looked away. “I ... eh ...”
“It’s okay, Devin. You can look at me all you want.” Oh, crap, that came out wrong.
Devin shook his head and opened one cupboard after the other until he found a large bowl. He then walked to the refrigerator and grabbed a tray of eggs. Baking. Mars almost groaned. If Devin’s cooking was anything to go by, this would be good.
He cracked one egg after the other in the bowl before grabbing things from the pantry.
“What are you making?” He should have kept quiet. Devin stiffened before Mars stopped talking.
“I ... eh ... haven’t decided yet.”
“You haven’t decided yet? You cracked eggs.”
Devin shifted his weight and grabbed the cocoa powder. “I think I’ll make brownies.” He looked over his shoulder. “Or butter cake?”
“You’ve already cracked the eggs.” Mars didn’t know why he was stuck on the eggs, but if he’d cracked them, surely, he had a plan.
“Most cakes have eggs. I can make a batter and decide the flavor later.” He grabbed sugar and a measuring cup.
Mars shook his head. He couldn’t bake, but on the few occasions he’d tried it, he had studied the recipe before starting. “How do you know what to put in?”
Devin shrugged. “Where’s your sense of adventure, Mars? I’m disappointed.”
Mars barked a laugh, which he quickly squashed when Hanna walked into the kitchen. She smiled at him, and he allowed an inward groan. Now she’d never give him a break.
“Whatcha making, Dev?”
Dev? Why did she call him Dev?
“Don’t know yet. Cake.” He smiled at Hanna, and this time Mars allowed the groan to slip out. He was fucking gorgeous when he smiled.
“Mars thinks I’ll fail because I don’t have a plan.”
“I never said that.” He smiled, though. Devin was talking. It was huge progress.
Hanna gave him a teasing grin when Devin wasn’t looking, and Mars shook his head. Annoying creature.