Read Cronin's Key III Online

Authors: N.R. Walker

Tags: #romance, #vampire, #gay

Cronin's Key III

BOOK: Cronin's Key III
12.14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub




N.R. Walker


Cover Artist: Sara

Editor: DJ

Proofreaders: Jay
Northcote, Julie Meale and Barbara Moore.

Cronin’s Key III © 2015
N.R. Walker

Publisher: BlueHeart

Smashwords edition:
September 2015


This literary work may
not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in
part, without express written permission.

This is a work of fiction
and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or business
establishments, events or locales is coincidental.

The Licensed Art Material
is being used for illustrative purposes only.

All Rights Are Reserved.
No part of this may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever
without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations
embodied in critical articles and reviews.


Intended for
an 18+ audience only. This book contains material that maybe
offensive to some and is intended for a mature, adult audience. It
contains graphic language, explicit male/male sexual content, and
adult situations


For my readers. Without
you, my words would seem impossible.



The author acknowledges the
trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks
mentioned in this work of fiction:

Merriam Webster:
Merriam Webster, Incorporated

Dictionary: Oxford University Press

Scooby Doo:

Screen Gems

All references to
Dan Brown, and his work: Dan Brown, Inc.


Alec sat
back in the chair and held in a sigh, feeling every bit the lab rat
he’d become. Since he’d changed into a vampire a year ago, he’d
been put through test after test, so each and every one of his
unending list of talents could be explored and

He’d agreed
to this, and he knew it was the right thing to do, but in that very
moment, he wished to be doing anything else.

And with
talents for
making errant thoughts an instant reality—like setting fire to
sofas and making Xbox controllers explode in Eiji’s hand because
he’d somehow won—it wasn’t a good frame of mind to be

He loved
Jodis. He really did. She had become one of his best friends. But
she’d also taken it upon herself to document his talents, and he’d
just about had enough for one day. If replicating wasn’t a talent
so frowned upon in the vampire world, he’d make a copy of himself
to endure Jodis’ tests while he and Cronin hid out in their
bedroom. He’d replicated himself a few times, experimentally of
course, and found it too taxing on himself anyway.

Can you do it again?” she asked, notepad and pen in

Alec had found a certain talent he’d dubbed the
, for obvious
reasons, because he could make things change color. It was absurd,
really, and probably of no better use than a party trick. But he
could, if he concentrated, turn a red pen blue or a white shirt
black. The talent could only manifest by touch, and it lasted only
a few minutes before returning to its original color, but Jodis was
rather intrigued.

Alec, on the other hand, had passed bored like it was
standing still and was well on his way to irate.
“Jodis, I’ve kinda had enough of
this today.”

Last one, I

For Alec, it
wasn’t so much as reining in a temper anymore, where the most
damage done was a cutting remark. Now it was keeping a lid on a few
dozen talents that reacted poorly to anger. He only had to get
really pissed off and a rage would barrel out of him like nuclear
fallout, literally knocking humans and vampires off their feet. Or
he could burst eardrums with a furious roar, or maybe he could turn
them to stone, or dust. Or maybe, just maybe, he could rip an
earthquake through the apartment so he didn’t have to do any more
of these stupid fucking tests.

Alec,” Eleanor cautioned
from the next room.

I wasn’t
going to do
that,” he replied petulantly. He knew Eleanor, with the gift of
foresight, saw possible outcomes of decisions made, and that did
nothing to quell his frustration. “Jesus, now my thoughts aren’t
even my own.” Standing up, he snatched the purple notebook off the
desk, holding it for half a second and slamming it back down. It
was now black, as was every page inside it, and it was smoldering
as though it almost caught fire.

Cronin was suddenly in front of him, a hand cupped to his
face. “He’s had enough,” he said
to Jodis, and they disappeared.

* * * *

As soon as Alec’s feet hit the soft
earth, he took a deep breath of fresh air and reveled in the

His life
hadn’t exactly been quiet in the last twelve months.

He felt the warmth of Cronin’s hand in his, smelled
the sweet aromas of heath and moss
from both the vampire beside him and the cool air of the
long-abandoned battlefield, and Alec exhaled loudly.

had somehow
learned to quiet his mind a little and it gave Alec the silence he
so desperately needed. In the last twelve months, Cronin had taken
Alec on more
than he could count. Knowing when
he’d had enough and was reaching his breaking point, Cronin would
simply remove Alec from the situation, leaping him somewhere quiet
where his mind could have some much needed solitude. But with a
gentle squeeze of his hand, Cronin reassured him he was

I’m sorry,” Alec

Don’t apologize,” Cronin said adamantly. “I can’t begin to
imagine your frustrations.”

Jodis is only trying to help. I behaved badly.”
He could very well speak words
directly into Jodis’ mind and tell her privately that he was sorry.
But he’d prefer not to invade the thoughts of others, preferring to
apologize in person.

She understands,” Cronin
said, trying to pacify him.

Alec sighed
loudly and allowed the quiet to envelop him. “I love it here,” he
said eventually.

The field at
Dunadd, Scotland, had become a sanctuary for Alec. No voices in his
head, no city of millions with flurrying thoughts rushing unbidden
through his mind, no politics of vampire councils, no meetings, no
one hovering.

Just Cronin.

It affords you a great privacy,” Cronin said. His Scottish
accent and formal tone still made Alec smile. “Your talents as a
vampire are a burdensome gift.”

Alec had learned very early
on to block out the voices and thoughts of those around
him, but living in such a large city made it a constant effort, and
his display of anger at Jodis just minutes ago bothered him. “These
talents are a pain in my ass.”

laughed quietly. “Your control over them still astounds us

The control you keep talking about is a talent in itself.
It’s like casting a net over
a thousand different fish.” Alec sighed loudly. “I’ve told
you that before.”

I know. Though it amazes me still.” Cronin squeezed Alec’s
hand again and looked out across the field of long grass to the
line of trees that fronted the river. “Lie down with

Cronin simply lay flat on his back in
the middle of the field and when Alec lay down next to him, Cronin
snatched up Alec’s hand again. And together in the mind-clearing
silence, they watched the blanket of stars glide across the

It was a clear autumn night in Scotland, cold and dark.
Neither of those
impeded a vampire of course, and Alec would never tire of the
simple changes he’d gone through when he became a vampire. It was
the complex changes he was beginning to struggle with. The talents
he’d been given made him unique: the only vampire ever to
vampire talents, some he was still discovering a
year after his change. It was these talents that made his life
hectic, his obligations as
the key
to the
vampire world that gave him a great responsibility, and as Cronin
had said, it was becoming a great burden.

Alec loved that Cronin would
leap them to the very field where his human life had ended.
The old battlefield in Scotland was also where they’d first made
love, where they came to talk, to be by themselves. Like

Thank you for bringing me here,” Alec whispered, his anger
and frustration from before almost gone. “I feel like I can breathe

Is that not what husbands do?” Cronin asked with a smile.
“Save the other from the myriad of madness?”

Husbands,” Alec said, bringing Cronin’s knuckles up to his
and kissing them softly.
“Now that is something I’ll never tire of. And that place you call
a myriad of madness is our home.” Since their wedding just six
months prior, they’d barely had more than a few hours to
themselves. Their apartment was never empty. Alec sighed, still
looking at the night sky. “Do you think we could buy this place?
That little farmhouse by the hillfort could be our private
sanctuary. Just for us.”

Do you wish

Alec snorted
quietly. “I was just kidding.”

I will look into it. I
rather like that idea myself.”

I wasn’t being serious. It was just a
random thought. I’m pretty sure husbands don’t
just go and buy the other one every single thing he thinks

leaned up on his elbow and leaned in so he could kiss Alec softly.
“Don’t think it would be just for you,” he said with a gleam in his
eye. “A quiet place where I could have you all to myself is more
for my selfish reasons than your romantic whim.”

Alec laughed and rolled on top of Cronin. “So when I want a
place for us to have some privacy
, it’s romantic, but when you want some privacy to have
your way with me, it’s what?”


Alec grinned down at him. “I happen to
like wicked.”

And maybe I could bed you in a place of our own without an
audience three rooms away,” Cronin added. “And not in some random
hotel or muddy field.”

Alec brushed his fingers through
Cronin’s hair. “Random hotels are fun, but going back to the
apartment full of people when we’re both covered in mud is the most
fun of all.”

Cronin’s eyes crinkled when he smiled. “They were certainly
surprised. Though it didn’
help that, when asked what on earth we got up to, you showed
everyone the mental images.”

Alec laughed at the memory. Being able to show other people
images in their minds was a talent with some benefits. And just
because he could, he ran a reel of images through
s mind, snippets of
them making love: flushed skin, hands gripping, thighs open, being
joined, heads thrown back in ecstasy. And then, to prove a point,
Alec surged out a cloud of what it felt like when they fucked.
Empathic transference, allowing Cronin to feel what he was feeling,
was one of Alec’s favorite talents.

BOOK: Cronin's Key III
12.14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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