Bitten by Ecstasy

By: Naima Simone



For all his intelligence and accomplishments, the small vial in his hand made him no better than a pathetic addict.

Why didn’t the fucking Fates just pin a “Kick Me” sign on his ass?

He ground his teeth together, trapping his enraged roar in his throat. But the preventive action didn’t prevent the cry from swirling in his soul like a deadly tornado gathering strength and speed from the pain and despair feeding it. The only thing separating him from the junkie on the street was geography. He’d lied to the people closest to him. Had lost the woman he loved. Lost the future so carefully planned out for him. He cared about nothing but the next hit.

He drew back his arm and prepared to hurl the hated tube across the room, smash it against the wall in a splatter of glass and crimson.

But the howl never escaped. And when he lowered his arm to his side, the vial remained in his palm, cradled, sheltered.

This time a sound did tear from him. But not the thunderous bellow that would have brought Nicolai running from his bed to the other end of the house where he’d allowed Bastien to bunk these past two months.

No, this was a soft, unmanning whimper and it ripped another slice from his pride, already tattered beyond repair. The price of the container and its contents had been hefty—the one pleasure den he’d found that’d possessed the liquid had demanded Bastien pay for its rarity. Yet…the cost to his soul far outweighed the money that had exchanged hands. What value could one place on damnation?

His fingers trembled as he unscrewed the cap off the slender tube. After he lifted the lid, the sweet bouquet of the blood hit his nostrils, filtered over his starved palate and his beast sighed in rapturous anticipation. His mouth watered, his gums tingled. He inhaled, savoring the tantalizing scent. It was like a delectable appetizer whetting the senses for the main course. Only a swallow remained, the contents barely filling one-fourth of the glass, curved bottom.

Yet it was enough…for now.

It had to be.

Bastien lifted the tube to his mouth, the glass lip pressed to his own. As he upended the vial, hellish images flashed across his mind’s eye. Writhing men and women, mouths open in perpetual screams, naked except for the orange-and-red flames licking their flesh. Damned for an eternity to their sins and desires.

He had box seats to the vision of hell.

Then the blood hit his tongue and he didn’t give a damn.

Potent and lush, the taste burst in an explosion of sensation and power before racing for the back of his throat. The blood tunneled down his esophagus, filled his lungs, expanded in his chest then mushroomed in his gut like an atom bomb.

In that moment, he understood why crack addicts chased the next hit, why bodybuilders insisted on injecting steroids in the face of irreversible consequences.

Euphoria.

Power. Joy. The fucking answers to the universe.

Except for him, there was no detox. There were no ninety days of rehab or a chip celebrating his sobriety.

It was way too late for treatment—and for him.

His breath shuddered out of his chest…and fear sidled in.

Because the blood had only taken the edge off the relentless greed, not sated it.

No! His brain kicked into fight-or-flight mode and he scrabbled up the slippery slope of surrender and defeat.

He refused to accept this was it for him. Refused to sit by with his thumb up his ass and condone this slide into madness. He was a healer, damn it! His job was to seek out answers, solve problems…to fucking heal. He might go down, but no way in hell was he going down without a fight.

And the first step was to locate the female who had condemned him to this hell. The female who tormented him in his dreams with her sun-kissed skin and silver eyes.

Feral satisfaction swelled inside him and his lips curved.

He was going hunting.

A half-hour later, he descended the staircase of Nicolai’s sprawling home on silent feet, a leather satchel slung over his shoulder. Treading softly through the lower level of the house toward the kitchen, he embraced the silence that wrapped around him like a comforting cocoon. He’d found friendship and love here—a sanctuary from the truth he’d been afraid to face. A part of him shook at the thought of leaving, of fleeing the place responsible for easing the sometimes heartbreaking isolation encapsulating his spirit.

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