Excerpt from Bite the Dust: a free read from Sarah Madison

Bite the Dust is one of 32 stories that were selected to participate in the Just One Bite contest held at All Romance last year. All the stories are now available in the Just One Bite Anthologies–Bite the Dust is part of the all M/M romance volume six in the series.

Just One Bite vol. 6

Here’s a little taste–the entire anthology is available as a free download here.

The hunger was strong in him tonight. It had been simmering on the horizon for the last several days. Tonight, it rumbled through him like the first sign of thunder in a summer storm; hot and oppressive, with flashes of impatience.

It had rained earlier that evening, but the clouds had parted and the moon was a thin, sharp sickle, casting a gleam on the damp, oil-slicked pavements.

The hunger pounded in his veins as he walked along the sidewalk. It whispered in his ears; swirling around his body like the panels of his long leather coat when he moved. It was in every heartbeat; it thrummed in his groin. He wasn’t going to be satisfied with anything less than a kill this evening; that he knew. It had been too long since he’d had anything more than a casual feeding. Teeth sinking to the hilt into the throat of a living being. That frightened acceleration of a pulse beneath his lips, the taste of blood, hot and pumping from the source. Nothing less would do.

Tonight he would kill someone.

Once Mikhail made the decision, the hunger retreated, content to dog his footsteps like a wolf sensing the first weary stumble in its prey. He could contain it now, at least long enough to choose the right victim. He never hurried the selection process. Like choosing the right wine to go with dinner, it was an act to savor.

He stepped into the cold night, testing the flavors of the passersby, sizing up a likely target. Few people were out at this hour; none interested him. Almost too easy. No thrill of the chase. He crossed the street and headed down the block to the local bar. Watering holes were the same everywhere. They all made good hunting grounds.

It was closing time when he arrived, and the crowd was already milling out onto the street. People paired up, hailed taxis, or moved off toward the nearest bus stop. A single woman, dressed in a raincoat and heels, caught his attention, and he watched as she walked alone down the sidewalk in the opposite direction from everyone else. He followed in her wake. He was in no hurry. He had all night.

She strode off, brisk and purposeful. He walked at his own pace, knowing he could close the distance between them in the blink of an eye. She looked promising, and yet he didn’t crave her, he felt no strong desire for her. She would do if he found no one better.

She carried a leather portfolio and wore an expensive watch; a lawyer perhaps. What had kept her in the bar so late? Maybe she had been hoping to pick someone up. A flicker of interest stirred in him as he considered this possibility. As long as it had been since he’d slaked his thirst with a kill, it had been even longer since he’d seduced anyone. This was starting to have possibilities.

Only she turned abruptly and mounted a flight of stairs to an old brownstone, just as someone was coming out of the building. The man in a running suit held the door for her and she went in, the door swinging shut behind her. The jogger came down the stairs and started his run, not too fast. A pace he could easily sustain on the wet sidewalk. Mikhail switched his intent from the woman to the jogger. He could hear the thud of the runner’s heart, actively simulating fear, and it attracted him. Still, he took his time. He could catch up whenever he wanted. For all intents and purposes, he was just a lone walker, headed home after a night on the town. He tucked his hands into the pockets of his coat and stayed within the shadows of the buildings as he walked.

 

What happens next was so interesting to me, that these characters, created for a story less than 3 K in length, have made me want to know more.  You’ll be seeing more of Mikhail in the future, trust me!

 

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