The Tiny Vampire From Outer Space That’s Bitey IV: Vampires on Earth (Shadow Conn Tiny Vampire Book 4)
Shadow, Marcus and their friends made it to Earth, but they still have a food problem. Earthling blood isn't palatable, and they only have a two-month supply of bloodbags. Marcus must find a way to distill Earthling blood and create a long-term food supply that will feed them and their growing vampire families while not alerting the humans to their presence.
First Night on Earth
Marcus found a computer in the office and used it to look up their bank accounts and the bills they’d have to pay on Earth. Luckily, there were notes in as desk drawer explaining everything. Shadow thought Captain George had had it put there. Marcus wasn’t so sure. He thought they left that information for everyone. There were no bills in space, and given the amount of time some of the humans spent in space, it was quite likely they’d forget how to pay bills.
Shadow sprawled out on the couch in Marcus’ office. [Are we rich?]
Marcus laughed. [No, but we’re not hurting for money.]
[Is there any food here at all?] Shadow asked.
[Other than the bloodbags we brought? Not really,] Marcus said. [I found blood banks, but they’re not like what we had on Umbra and Chivitas. These use their blood for medical purposes. Transfusions and other products for the living.]
[Can we buy it?] Shadow asked.
[I didn’t see a way to buy it,] Marcus said.
[What are we going to do?]
[This house came with a refrigerator and a large chest freezer. All of our bloodbags are in it. They should still last us a month. Maybe two,] Marcus said. [If I can’t find a way to get us drinkable live food, I’ll break into a blood bank and steal them.]
[But we still can’t eat it,] Shadow said. [You’d have to distill it first.]
[Shit.] Marcus contemplated. She was right. The bloodbags would be full of Earthling blood.
[This isn’t any better than we had,] Shadow said.
[Yes, it is,] Marcus said. [Everything on this planet is alive. I just have to find a way to make that blood taste good.]
[Would it be easier to steal the blood bags and practice distilling them?] Shadow asked.
[Yes, it would,] Marcus said. [Good idea.]
[Can we do it tonight?] Shadow asked.
[The sun rises in less than an hour,] Marcus said.
[These nights are short,] Shadow said.
[They are, but I think this is summer, and they get longer in the winter,] Marcus said.
[When it’s cold,] Shadow said.
Marcus stood from his computer. He joined Shadow on the couch and pulled her into his lap. [You are stressed for no reason. There’s no one hunting us. There’s no Elder Guards. There is food, and we can drink it. All I’m trying to do is make it taste better.] He stretched across the couch and situated her until she was laying on him. [We made it. We are home.]
Shadow laid her head on his chest and purred. [We’re really home?]
[We are home, Shadow. No more running across multiple universes. No more pitstops on other planets. We can have our childer in peace. There are some minor issues, and I will take care of them.]
[Where are the rookeries?] Shadow asked.
[The empty one is in the garage. The one with the four sacs is on the floor in the hall closet.] Marcus said. [Did you want to try for more tomorrow night, or did you want to get settled in?] Marcus asked.
[When’s the one after tomorrow?] Shadow asked.
[March 31. In about a week. It’s a black moon,] Marcus said. [There are also super full moons coming up on April 29th and May 28th, and I think I read tht there’s a blue moon a week after the black moon.]
[You said there’s one moon a month,] Shadow said.
[Just about. This month there were three, but we missed the first one. The second is tomorrow, and the third is in a week,] Marcus said.
[I’m used to the breeding season where there are lots of moons in a two or three months,] Shadow said.
[And you don’t have sex during those months if you don’t want to accidentally fill a sac,] Marcus said. [This planet will be a little more tricky.]
[We could end up with more than we want,] Shadow said.
[A couple unplanned sacs are almost guaranteed until we get used to these lunar cycles. I may have to set up reminders somewhere,] Marcus said. [But I’m not going to get worked up about it if it happens.]
Shadow laughed as she heard his underlying thought. [If you want sex that night, we’re going to do it anyway.]
[Restraint isn’t my strong point with you,] Marcus said. [If we end up with twenty instead of ten, so be it.]
[What happens if the sacs aren’t filled?] Shadow asked.
[If you’re not around a male vampire, I doubt they release at all,] Marcus said. [And given what I know of you now, I don’t think you’ll release sacs for a male you don’t think is worthy.]
Shadow laughed. [So far, only for you.]
[The horrible accident was your first one, wasn’t it?] Marcus asked.
[It was,] Shadow said. [But I’m not sure I ever had sex during breeding season. I tried to avoid it.]
Marcus slid a hand down her back. [Well, we know what happens when they fill, so it won’t be entirely unknown. It’ll just be unplanned.]
[What about tomorrow?] Shadow asked.
[We’ll decide tomorrow,] Marcus said. [Remember, I can hear your thoughts too. You’re not entirely on board either.]
[I’m tired,] Shadow said.
[Let’s eat and go to bed. We’re probably suffering from space lag,] Marcus helped her off his body. He walked with her into the kitchen and grabbed two bloodbags out of the refrigerator. “Do you want me to microwave these?”
Shadow jumped and gasped. “Yes.”
Marcus laughed. “Startled by my voice.” He put the blood bags in the microwave on low power for 30 seconds.
“You haven’t ‘talked’ all night,” Shadow said.
“It’s more intimate to talk through the bond,” Marcus said. He pulled the bloodbags out of the microwave and tested them. He shook his head and tossed them back in for another 30 seconds.
“You miss it,” Shadow said.
“My first Bonded and I talked through the Bond in the early days. It wasn’t always bad, Shadow,” Marcus said. “We grew apart quickly though. She embraced the new ways. I didn’t.”
“You were the same age?” Shadow asked.
“She was two hundred years younger than me,” Marcus said. “It shouldn’t have made much of a difference, but it did.”
“Who ended your Bond?” Shadow asked.
“She did,” Marcus said.
“I thought they were permanent,” Shadow said.
“I think she deliberately had herself torpored,” Marcus said. “It wasn’t a clean break. It faded away over the course of about 50 years. What you felt in my memories was the day I realized it was gone.”
“That’s extreme, but I didn’t think she was finaled,” Shadow said.
“I don’t believe she was finaled,” Marcus said. “Or if she was, it was well after that Bond was over.”
“What happens if one of us gets finaled?” Shadow asked.
“If one of us were to get finaled, the Bond would snap,” Marcus said. “And it’s immediate. Not that I’ve experienced it. I witnessed it. There were more than a few Bonded pairs in the wars I fought. If one of them was finaled, the other would scream and collapse.”
“What happened then?” Shadow said.
“Most were killed by the enemy before they could suffer for very long.”
“If I saw it, I’d take them behind the lines, but they never recovered. We ended up sending them home,” Marcus said.
“I don’t want to be finaled,” Shadow said.
“There are only two ways they can final us here. Sunlight and fire,” Marcus said.
“Cutting off our heads and staking us,” Shadow said.
“Not likely here,” Marcus said. He took the bloodbags out of the microwave and handed one to Shadow. “But this is a rather gruesome conversation for our first night here. I’d rather focus on the positives.”
Shadow sank her fangs into it and drained it. She tossed the empty bag in the trash. “We need an incinerator.”
“For what?” Marcus asked after he finished his bloodbag.
“They don’t drink from bloodbags here,” Shadow said.
“These bags don’t burn well,” Marcus said. “They turn into a clump, then I have to clean them out of the incinerator. We’ll just double-bag everything.”
“Do we have bags?” Shadow asked.
Marcus opened the cabinet to reveal several boxes of black 30-gallon black trash bags. “Plenty.” He threw away his bloodbag. “Are you ready for a shower?”
“Yes,” Shadow said.
Marcus walked with her out of the kitchen and down a hall to their bedroom. The master bathroom was smaller than he would have liked, but it was still attached to the bedroom.
“What is that?” Shadow motioned to the toilet.
“I believe that’s where they release their excrement,” Marcus said. “There was one on the Earthling ship in our room, but it was behind a door.”
“What is that white paper,” Shadow said.
“On the roll attached to the wall?” Marcus asked.
“Yeah,” Shadow said.
Marcus contemplated. “I don’t know.” He walked over to the linen closet and opened the doors to grab two washcloths and some towels. He spotted more of the paper wrapped in a plastic bag on the bottom shelf. “Here it is.” He pulled out the package and read the words. “Toilet paper. Made by a company called Charmin. Ultra-soft apparently. The latter must be the texture.” He put the package back on the shelf.
“What’s it used for?” Shadow asked.
“Probably something to do with how they clean themselves after they release their excrement.” Marcus turned on the shower and tested the water. “Wait a minute. This is cold.” When Shadow didn’t respond, he turned his head to view her examining the toiler paper.
Shadow tore off one square and held it up. “They clean themselves with this?”
Marcus laughed. He walked over and took it from her. “I bet they use more than one square, because this...” He drug it lightly over Shadow’s face. “Wouldn’t even clean your face after you fed.”
Marcus threw it in the trash. Then, he saw another container on the counter next to the sink. “This might, though.” He pulled out a wet sheet and smelled it. “It definitely has some sort of cleaner on it. He rubbed it over his hand. “That’s kind of refreshing.” He looked at Shadow. “Come here.”
Shadow took off her dress and tossed it next to the wall before walking over to Marcus.
Marcus wiped her face with it. “How’s that feel?”
“I like how it smells,” Shadow said.
“The toilet paper isn’t useful, but these are,” Marcus said. He threw it in the trash.
“Is the shower ready?” Shadow asked.
Marcus walked over and tested the water. “It is.”
Shadow hopped inside.
Marcus undressed and tossed his clothes on top of Shadow’s. He hoped Alba was serious about performing the domestic duties in their house. Otherwise, he’d have to hire a maid. He wasn’t any good at cleaning, and he didn't think Shadow had the attention span for it.
Marcus stepped into the shower with her. She was already washing, but it didn’t stop him from taking the washcloth out of her hand. Marcus slowly washed her back then her front down to her toes. Once he was finished washing her body, he washed her hair then nudged her under the water to rinse.
Marcus washed and rinsed his body and hair. By the time he stepped out, Shadow was out of the shower and looking for something at the sink. “What do you need?”
“I can’t find the fangpaste,” Shadow said.
Marcus walked over to the sink. He opened the medicine cabinet. It’s this.” He handed the tube to Shadow.
“It says toothpaste,” Shadow said.
“They don’t have fangs,” Marcus said. “It’ll work. Your teeth aren’t going to rot anyway. It’ll just help control vampire breath.”
“How’d we have fangpaste on the ship?” Shadow asked as she applied some to her fangbrush.
“I brought some. When we ran out, I replicated it,” Marcus said. “There’s no replicator in this house, and I didn’t think to make some before we left.”
Shadow smelled it. “It’s mint.”
“I know.” Marcus applied some to his fangbrush. “If I can get out to a store, I’ll see if they have any other flavors.”
Shadow brushed her fangs. She spit out the foul-tasting foam and rinsed her mouth out several times.
Marcus finished brushing his teeth and rinsed his mouth. “If we can find a store that’s open tomorrow, what flavor do you want. I’m sure they don’t have blood.”
“Chocolate,” Shadow said.
“We’ll see if we can find it.” Marcus walked with her into the bedroom. He pulled back the covers and laughed when Shadow dove in. He slid into the bed next to her and pulled the blankets over both of them. Then, he pulled Shadow against his body and closed his eyes.