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IBPA Member

Rebirth: Channeling Morpheus 5

Beautiful and Deadly

Rebirth by Jordan Castillo Price

Series: Channeling Morpheus 5
Second Electronic Edition
Length: Novelette - 19,000 words - 68 page PDF
Cover artist: Jordan Castillo Price - see larger cover
ISBN: 978-1-935540-39-7

$2.99 - single ebook
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Summary

Michael never put much stock in clichés, but there’s one he probably should have listened to: You can never go home again.

His family assures him that plenty of young people take a few semesters off between high school and college, that a year of travel is practically a prerequisite nowadays. His father can pull a few strings, and he’ll be a freshman at ISU by September.

Michael has neglected to tell them that he’s not just driving around aimlessly, stopping only to have sex with his chain-smoking boyfriend—that, in fact, he’s hunting vampires.

After a disastrous family reunion, Michael unearths a vampire commune where he and Wild Bill can settle down. But Michael is the only human in residence, and the other vampires can’t stop themselves from sniffing around him.

In the words of Wild Bill, “This can’t be good.”

 

 

Excerpt

“We all know how hard losing Mary was on you,” my mother said.

How could she? I stared at the wall, fixed on a point over her shoulder, anything to avoid her eyes. Her kitchen felt small and strange. The curtains were new, I noticed, though I couldn’t have told you what the old ones looked like if my life depended on it. But the things that had stayed the same, while looking slightly different from the way I’d remembered them—the refrigerator magnets, smaller, slightly faded, the spice rack, now dark with age, with its single mismatched jar that replaced the paprika Julie and I had knocked over when I chased her through the kitchen with a foot-long night crawler—those things filled me with dread, and also with the realization that a road trip to Terre Haute, Indiana, had not been my most stellar idea.

“This doesn’t have anything to do with Mary.” I realized it wasn’t true as soon as it was out of my mouth. Me, tracking down vampires and keeping them from hurting people? It had everything to do with Scary Mary.

“You’re not the only one who’s ever lost someone. For the last two and a half years, I thought I’d lost a son.”

My mom is such a bitch. She was glad to see me for maybe ten seconds, and then her face hardened, and her lips got so thin I thought they’d disappear. This was the look that said, “I was picking up laundry in your room and I found this magazine.” HotBoyz, to be exact. I’d told her that Scary Mary had left it there. And Mom claimed she believed me. But she’d given me that look that conveyed she was none too pleased that her son jerked off to pictures of naked men.

“It’s not unheard of for people to travel before college.” Mom started out tentative, but picked up steam as she went along, selling herself the idea. “I read an article that says lots of students think of a travel year as an unofficial prerequisite nowadays.”

“I’m not thinking about college right now.”

“Your test scores were so high. It’s late to apply for the fall, but your father could talk to the dean. You’d think that after, what is it now, ten years? Eleven. After all these years at the university, he’d be able to ask one little favor.”

“Some things are more important than college.”

“And the tuition would be taken care of. That’s part of your father’s benefits package.”

“Do you even hear words when I talk?”

That stopped her, finally. She pressed her lips together so hard they went white around the edges. The back door slammed, and feet pounded through the laundry room. “Is he here yet? Did I miss him? Stupid accident on the tollway. I was behind this dump truck for an hour and a half, and my phone died….”

Mom and I both stared at Julie as she burst into the kitchen. She sounded just like Mom. Exactly. Same cadence and rhythm to the words, like a car without a parking brake rolling downhill. She stopped when she saw me, though—staggered as if I’d backhanded her. “Oh my God.”

She mashed herself against me and buried her face in the front of my shirt. I patted the back of her hair, which smelled amazing. She and I had never been huggy—unless you count the photos of us playing Beverly Hills 90210 when I was eleven and she was nine. That was before she started high school and realized that her big brother was the antithesis of cool. That the jocks went out of their way to shove him into the lockers when they passed by him in the hall, and call him a fag—which he already knew, and suspected that one or two of them might be as well, the way they stared at his lips when they thought he wasn’t looking.

“You smell like a frathouse buried in ashtrays.” She shoved back and looked at me. “And what’s with that scarf?”

I swallowed, and hoped it hadn’t slipped out of place. “You look good….”

“No, seriously. You smell. Are you homeless or something? Did you come here for money?”

“Julie,” Mom said. Just her name, but the tone was, “That’s enough, young lady.”

“I don’t want money,” I said. I didn’t need it. I had Wild Bill.

“No? You have a job?” Julie scoured me up and down with a look that said she doubted anyone would hire me.

“I’ve had jobs. We’re traveling right now.”

“We? Who’s we?”

“Michael brought his friend,” Mom said.

And this is where I realized that the whole idea that I could come home again was seriously twisted. Not only was I finally coming right out and telling them I was gay, I was breaking the news that I had no plans to go to college, and have a neat little apartment, and work a safe little job.

But I couldn’t tell them why.

When Scary Mary died, everyone was insisting that the fangmarks were some kind of put-on, some bloodplay gone wrong. But I knew they’d been left by vampires. Real vampires. Because Scary Mary told me they were when she called to ask me which shoes she should wear on her date.

My insistence that somebody find the vampires before they killed again had netted me a half-dozen appointments with a child psychiatrist and a prescription for Zoloft.

A child psychiatrist. At eighteen.

Julie ducked her head into the dining room, then stomped back and planted herself in front of me. She’d always played softball religiously, and still looked like she could crush me with her thighs. “What friend? I don’t see anyone.”

“My boyfriend, Bill. He went outside to have a cigarette.”

There. I’d said it. Boyfriend. Julie looked even more pissed off. Whoever said that honesty was the best policy? They obviously lived alone.

 

Series

Channeling Morpheus Ebook Novelettes

Payback
Vertigo
Manikin
Tainted
Rebirth
Brazen
Snare
Fluid
Swarm
Elixir

Channeling Morpheus Shorts
Heaven Sent - takes place after Manikin
Jackpot - takes place after Elixir

Channeling Morpheus Paperbacks

Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary (Channeling Morpheus Series 1) featuring novelettes 1-5
A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion (Channeling Morpheus Series 2) featuring novelettes 6-10

Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary Paperback A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion Paperback

Reviews

"Wild Bill isn’t quite the kind of vampire one would envision, but his lifestyle fits him well. Michael is the perfect contrast to Wild Bill’s crass blatant personality, always willing to tangle with the vamp, in and out of bed. Whether they’re sparring verbally or rolling in the sheets, these two sizzle." - Literary Nymphs

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