From Afar - Novella
Paranormal M/M erotic romance
Release date: 2/23/2010
Word count: 28,000
Page count: 80 (pdf)
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Story Behind the Story - for behind the scenes info on the book
Loneliness. A concept with which Raphael Laurent is very familiar. He's lived a solitary life for thirty-six years, shunning the excesses of the local vampire clan-until he spots Lord Aleric Vane, the handsome and dissolute third son of a duke. For three years Raphael has watched from a distance, for only when he is near Aleric does the hollow, empty ache in his chest ease.
Cut off from his family for refusing to follow his father's dictates, Aleric's nights are filled with vice. But after three years in London, the city has lost all appeal. Desolate and penniless, his future appears bleak. Until a mysterious man drops from the shadows to drive off a trio of murderous thieves.
When Aleric awakens, he finds himself forever changed. The itch for more that drove him to London is gone. In its place is the feeling that he's known the beautiful Raphael all his life.
But to save Aleric, Raphael had to break the rules, giving him a chance to love the one man he never thought he could have, but a chance that could be ripped away by Aleric himself...
Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: male/male sexual practices.
© Ava March
"It would be best if you cut all ties to your friends and family. Even a brief visit could prompt uncomfortable questions. They may notice the change in you."
He'd never dwelled on it before, but now that he thought about it, he realized he hadn't a true friend in all of London. Acquaintances, fellows who joined him for a night of revelry and women who joined him in his bed, but no one who would bat an eye at his sudden disappearance.
Fortunate, given his new circumstances, but still, not a very good indicator of the type of life he had chosen for himself. In his quest to soothe that constant itch under his skin for adventure and excitement, for something more than bland routine, he had gotten himself nothing but a very empty, lonely life, and in the process destroyed his relationship with the only people who had ever remotely cared for him.
He heaved a sigh. "I doubt my acquaintances will miss me, and I haven't spoken to my father or my brothers in three years."
Brow furrowed, Laurent leaned forward, easily balancing on the edge of the dresser. "Why not?" he asked, intense curiosity written all over his face.
Aleric was a bit taken aback by the question. Everyone who was anyone knew the answer. But given Laurent's nature, he obviously did not move about Society. It had been the talk of the ton for a while there—how the Duke of Haverton had turned his back on his youngest son. Aleric's response to the gossip had been to throw himself into the life of a dissolute rogue with aplomb, or so he had thought.
"First sons are heirs. Second sons spares. Third sons go into the church," he informed Laurent. "To my father's extreme displeasure, I chose not to take the living at Barton Hall." Extreme was putting it lightly. As a powerful and wealthy duke, there were few who dared to go against the man's wishes. Aleric had dared, and then some. Days of arguing with his father had ended with Aleric walking out the door of the family's country estate. He hadn't returned since.
Laurent lifted a skeptical brow. "A vicar?"
"Indeed," he replied with a tip of his head. "And since I did not fall into line, do the expected, my father cut me off. Hence why I haven't spoken to him in years."
"And why not your brothers?"
"They are dutiful sons who willingly follow in my father's footsteps. Quite unlike myself." He didn't bother to mask the sarcasm in his tone.
He shifted on the bed, pulling one knee up, mimicking Laurent's posture, and picked at a stray thread on the silk coverlet. He'd thought his options limited a few hours ago. Not a shilling to his name, the heavy threat of creditors knocking on his door, and with the distinct possibility of soon finding himself without a home hanging over his head. Yes, he had grown more than tired of the City, but...the realization he could never return to the life he knew slowly sank in.
Everything familiar was now gone. And where before he held secure in the knowledge that with enough begging, with sufficient contrition, with a bow of his head and a promise to fall into line, his father would take him back, now that was gone as well.
"It will get easier to accept with time." Laurent's soft voice broke the quiet.
"And how much time have you had?"
A veil of sadness fell over his face. "Thirty-six years."
"How old were you when you were...turned?"
Six years younger than Aleric. Odd, to think the man was actually fifty-seven years of age. He certainly didn't look it. "Are there others like us?"
Laurent hesitated. "Yes."
More questions tumbled about in his head, but he had the impression Laurent would not welcome them now. Laurent hadn't ducked his head, had not gone back to hiding beneath the curtain of his hair. He still regarded him with those patient silver eyes. Still...
Aleric absently shook his head, not able to pinpoint where that sensation, that sense of discomfort, of trepidation came from.
"It is getting late," Laurent announced. "You should settle in for the day, get some rest. Even though you can hide yourself from the sun, you need to sleep during daylight hours. Your body will demand it. If you wish, you are welcome to my bed." A graceful leap and he landed soundlessly on his feet.
His bed? Of course, whose bed would he be in? And a very comfortable bed at that, though a bit untidy. The rumpled coverlet exposed hints of the white sheet beneath. The pillows bunched at the headboard. The mattress soft yet firm, and large enough to easily accommodate two men. His skin prickled with awareness, with the memory of that rumpled silk coverlet sliding against his back as Laurent pounded into him.
He snapped his head around, his attention going immediately to Laurent as the man adjusted the drapes covering one of the windows. The muscles in his back rippled and flexed with his movements. Aleric clenched his fists against the need to palm the round globes of his arse.
Arousal washed over him, focusing his senses fully on Laurent. He flared his nostrils, soaking up the scents in the air. Male musk, a hint of clean soap, and dried sweat mixed with the distinct scent of his own seed. Laurent still wore his mark. A tremble shook his body. His breathing turned harsh, heavy. He felt a light prick, like the touch from a needle, on his gums.
He absently ran his tongue over his upper teeth, snagging two sharp points.
He rocked forward, coiling his muscles, a split second from springing from the bed, from launching himself at Laurent, tackling the man to the ground, sinking his teeth into that muscled shoulder and taking him...
Copyright © 2010 Ava March
"I loved the instant connection of this couple. Their sexual energy was palatable. Ms. March adds a touch of suspense and action to From Afar to counterbalance the erotic play between the men. I found the story a quick but excellent read." - Literary Nymphs Reviews
"...this novella is definitely worth reading, especially for the romantic relationship and historical setting. I've not read an Ava March book before but I shall certainly be reading more of her books in future." - Reviews by Jessewave
"...very nice contrapositions in the story: Aleric is the nobleman, but it's Raphael who has the money; Aleric is the less experience in man love of the two, but he is the one who is more sexually driven to explore...All of them make the characters multilayered and original, and so, even if this is only a novella that spans for only 2 nights in the life of the men, it has a wider breath." - Elisa Rolle
"Not only did Ava March bring it with the steamy scenes, but her characters, particularly Raphael, came to life and touched me with their vulnerabilities and emotional realism." - Fiction Vixen
"Only Ava March could have pulled this off with such flair: a M/M Regency Vampire Romance. From the first scene, with Raphael's desperate, lonely voyeurism, to the last, the reader is sucked into this dual world Ms. March has created for us." - Whipped Cream Erotic Romance Reviews
"From Afar is a lush novella full of wonderful descriptions that evoke both time and place... The sensual prose breathes life into what could have been a mundane rendering of a clichéd plot. If you're looking for a vampire story with a difference, you won't regret reading From Afar." - Fallen Angel Reviews