Blood Noir by Laurell K Hamilton
Readers have an insatiable appetite for the renowned author who consistently tops the “New York Times” bestseller list. In this riveting tale, Anita Blake, the vampire hunter, finds herself entangled in a precarious situation that jeopardizes the authority of Jean-Claude, a powerful master-vampire. This favor, which Anita carries out for her lover, Jason, plunges her into the heart of a scandal with far-reaching consequences. Little does she know, she is unwittingly being manipulated by an ancient vampire queen who seeks to reclaim her dominion. This unexpected turn of events puts Anita squarely in the middle of a power struggle that could alter the supernatural realm forever.
Love, Jealousy, and Power: The Complexities of Relationships
In this web post, I will tell you a story about an interesting encounter I had when I returned home. Upon entering my kitchen, I found two men seated at the table. One was my live-in partner, while the other was a close friend of ours. What made this situation even more intriguing was that one of them was acquainted with a leopard, while the other was a werewolf. However, they had another unique commonality – both were strippers, who, during their performances, would undergo a complete transformation in front of a live audience. These nights were always filled to capacity at the club. While one can easily find clubs featuring strippers who shed only their clothes, witnessing an actual shape-shifting experience, both their skin and body, was a truly remarkable sight.
As I walked in, Nathaniel, my partner, came over to greet me with a kiss and a warm embrace. I couldn’t help but run my hands through his auburn locks and appreciate the strength of his physique, from his broad shoulders to his firm posterior and long, muscular legs. Standing at 5’7, he had grown taller since we first met, and I still stood an inch shorter at 5’6. At 21, he was finally embracing his full potential, though he had always possessed a certain beauty that transcended conventional notions of attractiveness. His features had matured slightly, making him appear more his age rather than looking like a minor.
As he peered down into my eyes, his gaze reminiscent of soft lilac, I couldn’t help but appreciate his distinct eye color. Interestingly, his driver’s license falsely stated that his eyes were blue due to restrictions on using more accurate descriptions like lavender or purple, though his eye color would change depending on his mood or what he wore. It was never simply blue.
Nathaniel’s hands gently slipped under the jacket of my suit, reaching a bit lower to touch the top of my skirt. However, he hesitated momentarily, likely due to the presence of my gun holstered on my shoulder. Sometimes, guns do get in the way of intimacy. Nonetheless, I wrapped my arms around his bare upper body, savoring the fragrance of his skin. For his off-duty attire in the summer, he would typically wear tiny jogging shorts, as many were comfortable going nude in their animal forms. While that level of comfort was not for me, I appreciated his consideration.
Observing the jealousy from others underscored the true power dynamic at play here. It wasn’t solely about the sexual or emotional connection we shared but more about the power we held, desired, and possessed. My body count, in terms of vampire executions, was the highest among vampire executioners in the United States. I would give up a less favored body part to have someone welcome me home in this manner at the end of the day.
I shifted my gaze to Jason, who was still sitting at the kitchen table, nursing a cup of coffee. Despite its aroma, he clung onto it as if it contained something stronger and more intoxicating. Jason, two years older than Nathaniel, stood at my height, or perhaps a bit taller. His hair was a natural shade of blonde that rivaled that of movie stars, and it didn’t require the assistance of a high-end salon. He sported a shorter businessman’s haircut, which, despite my fondness for longer hair, only enhanced his handsome features without distraction. Wearing a blue t-shirt, his eyes appeared even bluer than usual, reminiscent of a summer sky before it becomes oppressively hot.
In contrast to Nathaniel, Jason and I shared a deep friendship, rather than a romantic relationship. As his friend, I was invested in his love life, which led me to ask about his current girlfriend, Perdita Purdy. Jason playfully teased me for my use of “going steady,” suggesting a term that was more indicative of our high school years. However, he confirmed that Perdita and he were more than casual acquaintances, emphasizing that she was a serious girlfriend rather than a one-night stand. However, things had become complicated between them.
Nathaniel kissed me on the forehead, his affectionate response amusing Jason. Nathaniel decided to step away and prepare some coffee for us, knowing Jason’s response to my question might be disappointing. Jason’s normally cheerful expression dimmed as he turned away from us, leaning against the cabinets with his arms crossed over his chest. He avoided making eye contact as he confessed that Perdita had given him an ultimatum.
To my surprise, she wanted him to stop engaging in sexual encounters with Jean-Claude and Asher, individuals whom Jason hadn’t been sexually intimate with. Jason clarified that while he had a close relationship with them, it didn’t extend to a sexual nature. Nonetheless, Perdita, who struggled with extreme jealousy and possessiveness, didn’t believe him when he asserted his fidelity. In an attempt to appease her and calm the turbulence in their relationship, Jason asked Jean-Claude to temporarily exclude him from our shared experiences.
Unfortunately, Jason’s efforts proved futile, as Perdita still refused to believe his words. I interjected, expressing my surprise at her lack of trust and understanding. Following this statement, Jason revealed an additional revelation – Perdita not only doubted his faithfulness to her but also believed he was having sexual encounters with me. It was a baffling accusation, considering our relationship was purely platonic.
In response to Perdita’s unfounded suspicions, Jason demonstrated his commitment to her by requesting a break from engaging in sexual activities with other individuals. He thought that taking a step back from our encounters would help ease her insecurities. Despite his efforts, however, her doubts persisted, driving a wedge between them.
At this point, Nathaniel approached the kitchen table with fresh coffee, but his smile dissipated upon sensing the weight of Jason’s words. Putting the coffee aside, he made an offhand remark about never having enough coffee, prompting Jason to playfully retort about the effects of caffeine on others. Meanwhile, Jason expounded upon his predicament, sharing that Perdita desired not only exclusivity but also a lifelong commitment. However, the intense, possessive nature of her love felt like suffocation to him, revealing that she wasn’t the right person for him.
Jason pointed out the irony of my comment regarding finding the right person, reminding me of my own romantic entanglements. He suggested that I, too, struggled to commit to just one person, thereby drawing a distinction between our situations.