OBSESSED by K. Z. Snow

Following are a blurb for and excerpt from OBSESSED , coming this Friday July 11 from Changeling Press. Although the story can easily be read alone, it follows a relationship arc that began in PLAGUED (from Ellora's Cave) and continued into TORMENTED (from Changeling).
WARNING: This is a male-male romance. Although the excerpt below is a tame PG, the rest of the story is not.

* * * * *

After nearly 660 years, Adin Swift is dreaming again.

As a vampire, he slept like the dead. Now that he's reverted to mortality, vivid dreams surface every night to torment him. And the most disturbing ones involve his best friend, Jackson Spey.

It was their "otherness" that drew them together ten years earlier—two extraordinary men living outside the mainstream, one a bright and beautiful vampire, one a cynical and handsome wizard. Their unique bond took on more dimensions than either was willing to acknowledge. Until now.

Realizing he can no longer ignore the desire that's been simmering for a decade, Adin must face the heart-wrenching fact he's in love with two people: the woman to whom he's committed and the man he can't seem to live without. Two confrontations ensue over the course of one explosive weekend, and they will forever alter three people's lives.

* * * * *
Standing just inside the door, he closed his eyes and relished for a moment the unmistakable mixture of smells. The most obvious came from the incense and anointing oils Jackson favored for his meditations and rites. But twined through those fragrances were other recognizable odors that marked this unusual man’s daily life—the heady richness of leather, the musty dryness of old books, the slight fruity-grainy tang of alcohol. And underlying all was the distinctive scent of Jackson himself. It was by far the most provocative.

Adin began to feel lightheaded, weak in the knees. Suddenly, a place he’d visited a dozen times before seemed like some exotic den of iniquity, presided over by an irresistible satyr.

For fuck’s sake, come back to earth, he admonished himself. Damn, but his imagination was stuck in overdrive. He wondered what to do. Sit in his car and wait? Try calling Jackson at the woodshop? Find a diner and have a soothing bowl of soup?

Rejecting all those options, Adin decided instead to make himself at home. What the hell. It was something he’d normally do and would expect Jackson to do. They were friends, after all. Leaving his things in the car, since he didn’t want to seem presumptuous about the length of his stay, he walked into the flat.

It was dim. The windows, set low in the building, didn’t admit much light. And there was precious little to admit on this dreary November day. If it hadn’t been for the faint sounds of other lives floating above, somewhere beyond the ceiling, Jackson’s dwelling would have seemed like a private, insular cave.

If there was such a thing as a "woman’s touch" in a home, this one clearly didn’t have it. Still, Adin had always loved the messy minimalism of the place. A kitchenette and dining area were off to the right, a living area off to the left. Some remodeling had obviously been done to turn these into one large space. The far walls were lined with bookshelves Jackson had built. Ahead, down a short hallway, were the bedroom and bath and a couple of closets.

Adin walked farther inside, peeled off his jacket, and hung it over one of the four chairs surrounding the pecan dining table. He dawdled there, letting his gaze wander over the sprawl of papers and magazines, pencils and draftsman tools. A crystal goblet, its bottom rouged with several drops of wine, stood near one of the chairs. Adin admiringly drew two fingers over a bare spot on the table’s top.

Jackson had built the piece. Modernist in its sleek simplicity, meticulous in its construction, it was a work of art. Like everything he made. The table was originally for a client but it hadn’t met Jackson’s standards. So he’d kept it. To this day Adin had no idea where or how it was flawed.

He strolled over to the brimming bookshelves. A mobile, made of old diecut Halloween figures, hung from the ceiling near one end and spun lazily whenever the furnace blower kicked in. Adin gave it an affectionate tap before turning to the shelves.

It was here, more than anywhere else in the flat, that Jackson Spey was revealed in all his whimsy and worldliness. Antique volumes with embossed-leather and gilt-stamped covers were scattered amidst common hardcovers and paperbacks. Their array of subject matter would have made little sense to anyone who didn’t know the man.

Objects with either occult or personal significance were tucked between the books. Invariably, they piqued Adin’s curiosity as well as his amusement. A Mexican Day of the Dead figure was poised precariously on a model of a Harley chopper. A primitive phallic symbol wore a conical wizard’s cap. There were several framed diagrams, elaborately colored and gilded, that represented arcane philosophies. Evocative as they were, they didn’t capture Adin’s attention like his favorite framed drawing. Smiling, he found it where it had always been, propped between an impressive collection of Arkham House first editions. It was a caricature of Jackson himself, lying supine and bug-eyed beneath the lowering ass of a tentacled monstrosity. The caption read Don’t Mess with Cthulhu.

Shoving his hands in his pockets, Adin blew out a sigh and looked around. He didn’t want to venture any farther into the apartment. He didn’t trust himself. Considering how he’d been feeling, he could end up doing something perverse if he got near Jackson’s bedroom. Crawl into the bed, maybe, or search the nightstand for sex toys, or rub articles of clothing against his face and inhale their scent.

He plucked a handsome, older collection of Yeats’s poetry from one shelf and was about to settle in with it when the front door squealed open and a blade of cool air cut into the flat.

"Adin! Hey, I thought that was your vehicle in the driveway."

And there was Jackson, all six feet two-some inches of him, in the flesh and jacketed in black leather. After flashing a grin, he kicked the door closed with his heel and spun toward the kitchenette, obviously to empty the shopping bag he carried.

Adin couldn’t seem to move. His heart pounded in his throat. "Hope you don’t mind that I let myself in."

"Course not." Jackson pointed vaguely in his direction. "What’d you pick to read?"

"Yeats." Adin slapped the book against his empty hand then inserted it back in its slot.

"One of my favorites, too."

Jackson didn’t turn around to answer. Still, the gruff, graveled voice, which always seemed commanding regardless of its volume, seemed to grip Adin’s lower abdomen rather than enter his ears. He suddenly couldn’t control any of his senses. They were all focused on the tall figure moving between counter and refrigerator. Adin’s gaze swept down the length of him, from wide shoulders to tightly rounded ass to those long, lean, denim-clad legs. The smell of leather and sawdust seemed to snake through the air, slither up his nose, and lodge in his brain stem.

Finished depositing his groceries, Jackson turned. "Did you grab yourself something to drink?"

"Uh, no. I haven’t been here that long."

"Want something?"

Shit, do I ever.

Copyright (c) 2008, K. Z. Snow

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