Genre: Urban Fantasy, Gay-Lesbian
Publication Date: July 15, 2008
Cover art by Anne Cain
Publication Date: July 15, 2008
Cover art by Anne Cain
Can love survive when immortality doesn’t last forever?
Blood Brothers Series
More than a hundred years ago in old San Francisco, Kabuki actor Ryuhei Nakamura and vampire Kiyoshi Ishibe cemented an immortal love. Then at the dawn of the twentieth century, their lives were torn apart by tragedy. Now Ryuhei’s hope is reborn in the form of Jesse Shigeta, a gifted musical student. The young man is so like Ryuhei’s murdered beloved, that he believes fate has been kind in reuniting them once more, this time for eternity.
But Jesse is full of secrets. As a child, the supernaturally gifted young man discovered Kiyoshi’s soul still bound to Earth. His every intent was to reunite his ghostly friend with Ryuhei, but when Jesse falls in love with the vampire himself, he will stop at nothing to keep his place by Ryuhei’s side.
Even if that means calling upon ghost hunters to destroy Kiyoshi.
Warning: This title contains hotmansex, jealous-ghost violence, drama-queen-level angst, hotmansex, overactive college-boy hormones, did we mention hotmansex?
“I’m so glad you decided to join me at tonight’s concert, Ryu-san,” Shuichi said, leaning over Ryuhei.
“Hmm,” Ryuhei murmured non-committally, not paying much attention to his assistant or the performers onstage below. He barely registered the music flooding the auditorium as musician after musician took their turn. The young men were all talented, and pretty of course. But Ryuhei didn’t have much interest in empty pursuits tonight.
“I think I’ll leave early. Excuse me, Shuichi…” Ryuhei started to rise.
“Wait, wait.” Shuichi grabbed his wrist. “Listen.”
A single pulsing drum beat broke though his misery and then the sound of a shamisen, a distinctive rapid strumming that sent a chill up and down his spine. His eyes snapped open and he stared down, leaned closer to the edge of the box as the strumming continued, grew faster, louder, and the curtain slowly rose…
“It can’t be,” Ryuhei whispered, shocked. No one knew this song. No one alive, that is.
“Ah, I knew you’d enjoy this, Ryu.” Shuichi rested his hands on the edge of the balcony. “Thank God you finally listened to some of the messages I’ve been leaving on your voicemail.”
Ryuhei pressed a finger to his lips for Shuichi to be quiet.
A young, attractive man dressed simply but elegantly in traditional Japanese style sat in the center of the stage. His lips were pressed together in concentration, feathery strands of dark hair falling across his eyes as he dipped his head ever so slightly in time with the music. His fingers danced over the neck of the shamisen in fluid, graceful movements.
All of Ryuhei’s attention focused on the song drifting up from the stage. Each soulful note that poured from the shamisen touched Ryuhei in a way that left him speechless. He raised his hand over his heart and pressed it against the front of his shirt to feel the quickening pulse underneath his fingertips. Inside his head, he followed the progression of the piece without missing a single note or a count. He could even hear the melody as it had been played more than a century past by the man who’d composed it.
He didn’t speak the name out loud, but must have projected his thought without even realizing. Beside him, Shuichi shook his head.
“No, no, that’s not his name,” Shuichi said. “He’s one of the young men I was trying to tell you about. He’s classically trained and is a talented composer—”
Ryuhei grasped Shuichi’s forearm. “Tell me who he is!” he gasped, his gaze never leaving the stage.
“Shigeta,” Shuichi explained. “Jesse Shigeta—he’s one of the American students in your scholarship program.”
Ryuhei barely heard Shuichi’s words as the boy played on faster and faster, nearly as fast as Kiyoshi himself. It wasn’t until he’d become a vampire that Ryuhei himself had been able to match Kiyoshi’s speed in this piece.
The young man’s eyes, beautiful and framed with thick lashes, held that same trancelike concentration. He reminded Ryuhei so much of Kiyoshi… Could it be? Was this boy some reincarnation of his love?
The Japanese audience, normally sedate for recitals like these, leapt to their feet as one and cheered at the top of their lungs when the last note drifted into silence. Even Shuichi joined them while the young man on the stage below caught his breath and managed a shaky smile. It was clear he was as surprised as his audience by the intensity of his playing.
“He’s incredible—” Shuichi started, but Ryuhei rushed out of the balcony.
Outside the dressing rooms, Ryuhei lingered in the shadows, unnoticed by the excited students who bustled past. The last young man to come by stopped at the door across from Ryuhei, knocked, then let himself in. “That was great, Shigeta,” he called out.
“Thanks.” Jesse looked up from his shamisen, which he had laid out on the vanity top. He was still dressed in the kimono, as if reluctant to change. He laughed weakly, dimples appearing on his smooth cheeks. “I didn’t expect it to be so…intense.”
“Well, it impressed even Professor Ogawa—and he’s a hard one to please. Good work!”
“Thanks,” Jesse repeated, more quietly this time.
“Are you coming with us to celebrate?”
After a moment of hesitation, Jesse nodded. “Sure. Let me change out of this.”
“Great.” The other student continued down the hall, but forgot to close the door behind him. Ryuhei watched Jesse shrug out of the kimono, the silk falling away to reveal the toned and tanned back and shoulders underneath. The long, lean muscles flexed as he stepped entirely out of his clothing. His underwear traced the curve of each tight, rounded buttock, the mound at his groin visible as he turned to the side to grab a T-shirt from the tabletop. There was no mistaking the jutted curve of an erection stretching the garment, a hint of the pink cock underneath showing through the white cloth. The gasp worked itself out of Ryuhei’s throat before he could hold it back, his own cock giving an unexpected and uncontrolled jerk.
“Someone there?” Jesse glanced at the doorway with a puzzled frown.