As I began the first story in this series, I decided to follow the tradition that sunlight kills vampires. I tossed around the idea of traveling at night by train. Was there a night train to Naples, Italy? There was and is! You board it in Rome…
A killer still stalks, and passion heats up as Dante and his vampire lover, Alexandros, reunite.
In this sequel to Night Train To Naples, confusion, danger and passion heat up the reunion of Italian diamond courier Dante Rocco and his once business rival, then lover—the vampire Alexandros Nicolaides. Alex has never wavered in what Dante means to him, but Dante arrives in New Orleans suddenly unsure of his feelings and the impulsive promise he’d made to leave Italy for America. In the historic richness of the French Quarter, Dante must decide how he really feels about Alex, even as the powerful ruler of the Louisiana vampires complicates their lives, and Giacomo arrives bent on murder.
Dante pushed aside his growing anxiety that he’d made a mistake in coming here and was the first one at the door when Amtrak’s City of New Orleans rolled to a stop in the station. A plane emergency had spoiled what was to have been his flight into Louis Armstrong International, and they’d landed at Baton Rouge Metropolitan instead. A flight tomorrow would have put him in the airport in daylight, so he’d chosen to spend almost two hours on the train in order to arrive in New Orleans in the evening.
The irony that he and Alex had first met on the night train to Naples wasn’t lost on him, and he was grinning as he paused on the steps and looked at the crowd meeting the train. His spirits sagged. Alex wasn’t here.
“Move it will ya, buddy?” came a voice from behind.
I think he means I’m blocking the other passengers. Stepping down, he muttered, “Scuzzi…sorry.” The hot humidity outside was like a sauna after the air-conditioned train, and he hoped his antiperspirant was protecting his shirt and jacket. For the moment, they were the only ones he had.
As he hurried past people toward the terminal, his thoughts were on Alex. He must not have gotten Dante’s text message about this change in plans. Frowning, his mind flew through what he’d do if Alex didn’t arrive. The only luggage he had was his carry-on containing shaving materials and a change of underwear.
Then Alexandros Nicolaides appeared, stepping into the evening shadows from behind a pillar. Dante’s breath stopped. An indescribable happiness welled up inside him.
Alex walked toward him, fingers tucked into the front pockets of dark blue jeans, his thighs straining the leg seams. His long, blond hair was loose, and it flowed over the upturned collar of a casual dark jacket. As always, he was breathtaking. Beautiful. Dante sighed. He looked good enough to eat–just as he had that morning in Rome two months ago, when Dante had said goodbye, and taken a town car to the train station for Florence, while Alex had flown here to resume his life as a diamond courier.
Eager to reach him now, suddenly Dante slowed his steps as uncharacteristic shyness and doubt overwhelmed him. How crazy had it been to stand next to Alex’s plane as it roared down the runway in Rome for the U.S. and text him that he loved him and would see him in New Orleans? And now his mind was flooded with questions–how did you meet an old lover in a public place, especially a lover for whom you were no longer sure about your feelings or your future together, especially when coming here may have signaled a permanence that might not exist?
He hadn’t warned Alex he was here only for a vacation, but there was no time to puzzle over his emotions or why he’d come because Alex had reached him. He enveloped Dante in a strong hug.
“Buona sera, Dante!” Cool lips kissed first one cheek and then the other, supposedly in the European way of greeting, but the kisses weren’t air kisses. They were full out and real, his cool tongue touching Dante’s skin with an erotic flick.
With those words, Alex had reacted to Dante as Italian, and it was easy to reply in that language and return the greeting. Touching and kissing between men this way was acceptable in Europe, and it somewhat relieved the tension Dante felt about sensual contact or how to greet him. The moment Alex’s strong arms closed around him, the remembered charm and sense of belonging to this vampire flooded the very human Dante.
That sense of belonging was something he thought he should resist; otherwise, it would confuse him even more than he was already.
“My luggage will be flown in on the next flight out of Baton Rouge. All I have is this.” Dante stepped out of Alex’s arms and held up a brown leather carryon the size of a large shaving kit.
“La mia automobile è questo maniera.” Alex wrapped an arm around Dante’s shoulder and pulled him along toward the parking area. In a voice only Dante could hear, he said, “I am so happy you are here.”
“I’ve missed you,” Dante said, and realized it was true.
In the terminal, they walked past a long mural depicting the rich cultural history of the once bawdy river town. At any other time, Dante would’ve been interested in studying it, but now all his attention was on Alex. They left the low white building and entered the parking lot. The moist, reedy smell of Lake Pontchartrain surrounded them as they stepped outside, reminding Dante of reports he’d read describing the devastation it had caused when a violent hurricane had thundered through and its levees had failed.
As they approached a red convertible, Alex hit the clicker in his hand, and the lights flashed and the horn honked briefly as the doors unlocked.
Dante threw his head back and laughed. “By the saints, this beautiful thing suits you.”