Imagine an earth just a bit different from ours. In this world normals unknowingly share the planet with all manner of beings, including vampyres, most of whom rely on bagged blood, which is supplemented by the blood of sabors, valued individuals whose blood contains an element necessary for the survival of the species.
Tyrell Small has always felt different. He just never knew how different. On his sixteenth birthday, his father reveals Ty is one such sabor, with the birthmark to prove it. Upon learning he’ll be required to feed vampyres, Ty decides he’s not having any of that. He’ll run away and make his own destiny. Slipping out his second story bedroom window, he finds Adam Dasani, the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen, waiting for him on the roof.
Adam is reluctant to distress the young sabor about to slide down the drainpipe, but he’s one of the vampyres Ty will one day feed. Equerry to the vampyre king, Adam had been given the task of guarding Ty on the day he was born. Because the blood of the two most powerful saborese families in the shared history of vampyres and sabors runs through Ty’s veins, some vampyres will do anything to obtain him for themselves. It will be up to Adam to keep Ty safe, not only from those rogue vampyres but from others who have plans of their own for him.
Everyone keeps telling Ty he can’t escape his destiny, but he has no intention of sitting around twiddling his thumbs, waiting for life to catch up with him. However, will something Adam inadvertently said give Ty a way to live the life he wants and keep those he loves -- including Adam -- out of danger?
Joe looked down at the baby boy he held. Tyrell was starting to fuss. Had he picked up on Joe’s tension?
“Don’t you worry, little one. We’ll all keep you safe.” He began to croon a lullaby. It had been a long time since Joe had tried to sooth a baby, but it wasn’t something he was likely to forget.
A shadow fell across him. He raised his gaze, up and up, and swallowed as he met the flat black eyes of the vampyre king. Even knowing he had nothing to worry about -- after all, vampyres hadn’t fed on the unwilling for the past two or three hundred years -- he was intimidated. The only one of their kind Joe had ever seen was the woman who’d come to claim his youngest boy when Phillip had turned eighteen.
He started to get to his feet, awkward with the baby in his arms.
“No, you need not rise. You know who I am?”
He bowed his head. “Sir.” This being was the Rege, and Joe knew the courtesy due him.
The Rege reached out his arms. “This is the child.” It wasn’t a question.
“Yes. Tyrell.” Joe handed the baby over to him without hesitation, knowing the infant was in safe hands. “My other grandchildren?”
“They will be watched over from a distance. Since they don’t bear the mark, they will be safe enough.”
“Your daughter-in-law is instituting annulment proceedings.”
“She? Not her father? Goddammit! I knew Magdalena Crist would be trouble. If only Ben hadn’t fallen in love with her.”
“Crying over ‘if onlys’ is futile.”
“I know,” Joe said in a choked voice. He looked away, an ache building in his throat. “This is going to destroy him, to lose his wife and his children.”
“He has this little one. He’ll need to be strong for him. I’ve found a new home and job for him in Clewiston. He and Tyrell will be safe there. As soon as your son is well enough, we’ll see they get there.”
“We’ll never see them again, will we?” Joe hated the fact that his voice quavered, but it seemed he was losing not only his oldest son, but all his grandchildren.
“Phillip will be permitted to get word of them to you, but it will be safer for the boy. If he’s found ...”
“He’s such a little boy.” Smaller than Joe’s sons had been, smaller than his brothers and sisters. “Would they really harm him?” He had to ask, even though he was certain of the response.
“He’s a sabor. They would.” The Rege seemed to hesitate for a moment, and then continued in a soft voice, “Over the centuries, they’ve had no qualms in leaving the infant sabors born to them exposed to the night. Some we could save. Others were not so fortunate. The Crists have cost us in their relentless destruction of a valuable resource.”
“How many?” Joe asked numbly. The very idea that any child, but especially a child who was a sabor could be so callously murdered was wrong on so many levels they couldn’t be counted.
“Even one was one too many.” The Rege’s eyes glittered, red now, and Joe swallowed, truly frightened for the first time. “Noah Crist was determined to wipe the strain from their bloodline. Now that he knows they were unsuccessful, he and his brood will do whatever is necessary to find and eliminate this child.”
“Oh, God!” Joe shivered, feeling cold from the inside out.
The Rege, his eyes black once more, observed him with compassion. “Have no fear for Tyrell.”
“How can you say that? I’m losing my son, my grandson, all my grandchildren!”
“I understand your concerns.”
“That’s no help! Why didn’t you wipe out that godforsaken family before this happened?” It was a cold question, but Joe knew how valued the sabors were.
“Because of who they are, it’s impossible to destroy them. In spite of themselves, they continue to produce a very precious resource. No matter what Noah Crist might try to do to eradicate it, his sons and daughters will pass the gene to their own children, and their children’s children.”
Joe ran a palm through his hair. He could feel it starting to thin. Was he losing his mind as well as his hair? He sighed. “Ben told me Tyrell was born with a caul. It’s supposed to be lucky, but ...” He sighed again.
“We were not aware of this.”
“I thought there wasn’t anything you vampyres didn’t know!”
The Rege didn’t respond to that. “In all our shared history there has never been a sabor born behind the veil.”
“Lucky kid.” Joe felt tired. “Does it matter?”
“We don’t know.”