The third book in my Utopia-X series, Exploring Savage Places, will be released Tuesday, June 9, by Loose Id. This novel follows Looking for Some Touch (Book 1) and Seeking Something Wicked (Book 2), both of which are currently available.

The novels in this series are M/M futuristic urban fantasy combined with erotic romance. Each can be read as a stand-alone, but a reader will get a better sense of the world and characters by starting with the first release.

The following excerpt is rated R.

* * * * *

The Pleasureplex of Xanandru, a city governed by a drug-dazed libertine, panders to the basest human instincts. But before its excesses can be quashed, Xanandru will make or break the promising relationships of four honorable men.

Tole and Zee, the two relationship-challenged members of the Coven of Three, must struggle with confounding matters of the heart while tackling another challenge related to the Utopian Metroplex of Regenerie.

Ridley Barron, Tole’s vampire lover, has decided to leave Regenerie indefinitely. His lifestyle is stressful for Tole, and Ridley can no longer bear hurting the man he loves. If he’s away long enough, he figures, Tole might just find another, more suitable partner. Zee, too, has problems on the romance front. Mirandi, the reinstated High Lady of Villius, has taken a shine to her new co-leader. Young Sebastian eclipses Zee as the apple of her eye.

Meanwhile, disturbing reports have been circulating about the Pleasureplex of Xanandru, a hub of carnal indulgence far to the southwest of Regenerie. Bloodsport, sexual slavery, abuse of minors—all are rumored to be taking place in this nouveau Sin City. Since each metroplex is a sovereign political entity, Regenerie can’t do much to clean up Xanandru, except apply pressure by organizing a massive trade embargo. First, though, the reports must be verified.

Zee volunteers to travel there as "just another anonymous perv" and snoop around. Sick of feeling like "the angelic dickless wonder," he figures he needs a break from his routine. An unexpected and intriguing email also leads Ridley to the Pleasureplex . . . but for an entirely different reason.

Thanks to human and nonhuman creatures, including a demi-gnome named Tweet and an endotronic parasapient called the Groan Witch, what happens in Xanandru does not stay in Xanandru. And it changes the lives of good guys and bad guys alike.

* * * * *

"I remember waiting in the dark and wishing I could see the stars, but the city’s lights had washed them from the sky. It was June, a sultry evening. The air felt like molten velvet against my skin.

"I sat near the line of rocks called Boar Knuckles with a lantern at my side. There was a winking speck of light above me, and then another, much lower. Fireflies would be my stars.

"He made me wait. Wanted me to think it through, I guess, and have a chance to bolt if I changed my mind. But that wouldn’t happen. I had no thoughts at all. The night had entranced me, and I was numbly content.

"Invisible creatures moved near the ground. Their rustling and pattering never got too close, though, as if I’d cast a perimeter. Maybe the creatures sensed what I was. Or maybe they sensed his approach.

"I didn’t. He was silent, undetectable. All I heard was my name. At first it seemed the wind had spoken it through the oak leaves. Then he separated himself from the darkness. My heart did a little jump when he stepped forward.

"I said hello as I glanced up at him, hoping I sounded relaxed. He looked like an underworld prince who’d just risen from a hidden passage between tangles of thick roots. His hair was long then, and black as it is now, black as tar. Faint moonlight smudged a gleam here and there on his hair and on his features.

"I’d seen him a dozen times, of course. Probably more. But tonight he struck me as magisterial and mysterious, with an edgy sensuality I hadn’t consciously noticed before.

"‘You’re sure you want this?’ he asked.

"I got to my feet. ‘Yes,’ I said, wanting it even more as I stared at him.

"‘Then get undressed,’ he said. ‘And decide where you’d like me to enter you.’

"I took off my clothes and asked if there was a spot he preferred. His eyes moved downward, over my body, and he smiled without showing his teeth. Maybe he didn’t want to frighten me. We were too far into it now. I’d invited his attention, so I was at his mercy.

"‘I only have a preference when I’m particularly drawn to someone,’ he said. ‘Otherwise, the wrist or inner elbow will do.’

"God, his voice was so low. It seemed to crawl over my skin and lick it into gooseflesh. His gaze was both dark and bright and never left my face. He didn’t say how much or how little he was drawn to me.

"I felt my cock start to swell.

"‘I’d drink from your lips if I could,’ he said, ‘but that would hurt you. Maim you, too, I suspect.’ He paused, as if he were thinking over the possibilities. ‘I wish I had a needle with me. Some of us, you know, can pierce with a fingernail. It’s much less…invasive.’

"It was getting difficult for him to speak. Or, rather, to enunciate clearly. I found that unsettling. After all, I was used to him being so suave and articulate, so casually droll.

"He lurched toward me without another word. I glimpsed the moon over his shoulder as his fingers speared into my hair. His hands felt so strong, I knew he could crush my skull if he wanted to. I heard him draw in a breath, caught an odd whiff of cinnamon, felt my head tilt…

"And then came the burn, deep and searing, as if a brand had torn through my neck into my chest. The hot iron seemed to melt and charge through my bloodstream, through my nerves and muscles and bones. It happened so quickly.

"I can’t remember much else, except the explosion of arousal following that plunge of blue heat. My whole body was gripped and tugged by it, I swear—navel, kneecaps, the skin between my toes. Every cubic centimeter, right down to my organs. I have no idea how or if I moved, what sounds I made.

"By the time he withdrew, my cock was rigid as a firehose under pressure. But nothing jetted out. My balls were aching knots.

"I felt a little crazed. I thought I’d lose my mind completely if I didn’t find relief.

"‘You have to take care of me,’ I said, and he assured me he would, that the fun was far from over. That’s when he got undressed—"

"I think we’ve heard enough," Tole said, snapping Win’s narrative off like a twig.

Zee was jolted by the sound of a voice that wasn’t Win’s. It broke the spell. He glanced at Tole, who sat forward in the recliner, his head lowered and forearms on his thighs. He probably hadn’t moved since Win had begun speaking. It was hard to judge what he was thinking and feeling, but Zee could sense a roiling mass of reactions beneath his immobility.

Pablo was, as usual, on the couch with Win. "I was starting to get turned on," he murmured, sounding disappointed. The heel of his hand made a subtle, telling push at his crotch.

"Tough shit," said Tole. He got up from the recliner. "Let Scheherazade turn you on private."

Win, the narrator, looked up at him. "For chrissake, Tole, you’re the one who wanted to hear about it!"

"I just wanted to know what the bite was like. I didn’t ask for a blow-by-blow of the aftermath."

"The ‘aftermath’ is part of the experience, bud. I’m sorry, but if you’re going to be romantically involved with a vampire, you’d better get used to this shit."

"Fuck you, Win." Tole strode to the dining area. "Come on," he said to the other three men. "We have work to do. The campfire storytelling hour is over."

* * * * *
~ excerpt from Exploring Savage Places,
Book 3 in the Utopia-X series from Loose Id
Copyright (c) 2009 K. Z. Snow

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