Jack Addison. Son of a famous monster hunter. Grandson of a celebrated inventor. He has a lot to live up to, but his ego is as big as the expectations of his family. At just nineteen, he’s fresh out of a prestigious academy, set to make a name for himself in a world where people need protection from strange and dangerous creatures.
During the annual hunt for the Loch Ness monster, Jack finds a rival in Roux Chat-Bonnes, a cat-like being who recently joined the same profession and is set to steal the bounty–and fame–from under Jack’s nose.
Jack won’t let that happen. He sets out on the hunt alone, but the creature that he finds in the cave near Loch Ness doesn’t have tentacles. Instead, it’s got hairy legs, eight black eyes and a taste for human flesh.
Themes: living up to expectations, pride, dreams, self-discovery, tolerance, fame, monster hunting, inter-species relations
Genre: M/M romantic erotica, horror-comedy
Erotic content: Scorching hot, explicit scenes
Length: ~7,500 words (Episode 1 in the serial)
WARNING: This story contains morally ambiguous characters and scenes of sex that might be considered taboo.
The damp cold soaked into Jack’s clothes, biting his skin as he walked down the path spiraling between the trees. The coachman who had brought him here from the nearest train station had told him that all the other venators had already arrived at Loch Ness, but Jack wouldn’t let that stop him from kick-starting his monster-hunting career with the most prestigious event worldwide.
So he might have boarded the ship for Europe a little bit too late. Big deal—what counted was that Halloween lasted for another twelve hours, which was more than enough time to collect the bounty for Nessie’s head and become another bright star in the Addison family tree.
As he followed the winding track, his feet gradually sank into the clouds of vapor that obscured the undergrowth. The loch itself, visible in the dying sunlight, was also partially hidden by the thick fog, providing cover for the monster that only left the depths once a year.
The sound of music and voices ahead gradually became louder when Jack neared the shore, and the cheerfulness of it all started to drill its way under his skin. Could it be that someone already had got the bounty? Was he too late after all? But when Jack left the trees behind and saw the large inn by the dark waters of the lake, there was no carcass in sight—only empty carts, cages, and human silhouettes in lit windows.
He sped up, eager to step into warmth. He hadn’t thought his outfit through all that well, and the short leather jacket meant that the wind kept licking his back through the shirt. Then again, life was meant for living, not dreading a pinch of cold. Most importantly, he had his pistols, his family sword, and the latest Addison device, which would give him an advantage over other venators and lead him to the hell hole Nessie had crawled out from.
He pushed the door of the Monster’s Head open and stepped inside. He didn’t expect the Scottish to recognize him, since he’d lived in New York most of his life, but he was sure there was no venator alive who wouldn’t recognize his last name. After all, the device they all carried had been named after its inventor, Jack’s late grandmother.
The music he’d heard on the way came from a gramophone in the corner, but a large contingent of the people gathered sang to the lively melody while sampling beer, as if this was an opportunity for socializing, not the annual hunt for the Loch Ness monster. Almost fifty years since its first appearance, Nessie had only been captured by photography and sketches, and there was no way to predict where exactly it would appear this time, but Jack was still disillusioned by the behavior he was witnessing.
Was no one even trying to stay in adequate shape for tonight’s hunt?
And worst of all, with the commotion, hardly anyone noticed his presence. Quite tall and muscular, despite being just nineteen, he had the kind of charm that drew the attention of women and men alike. To top it all off, his wide smile full of even, white teeth, sunshine hair, and blue eyes in a lightly tanned handsome face ensured that even without his last name being mentioned, he never drank his beer alone.
The inn was filled mostly with other venators—something Jack could recognize by the emblems sewn on their clothing, but they all ate and drank in groups, talking in many languages he did not recognize.
“Hello, love. If you need someplace to sleep, we only have hay mattresses left,” said a busty blonde woman with a thick Scottish accent. She approached him out of nowhere, dressed in civilian clothes and wearing a dress with a neckline slightly deeper than propriety would normally allow, she was likely a member of staff.
“What? You don’t have rooms available? But the nearest town is an hour away!”
She sighed and patted his chest. “You must be new to this. There’s only so much space available at the inn. I could accept a down payment for next year. Many choose to sleep in the barn.”
Ha! Next year. There would be no hunt next year, because Jack Addison would catch and behead Nessie tonight. Especially since everyone else seemed to only be there for a good time over beers and whiskey.
This conversation did seem like a good opportunity to drop his name though. “Yes, please write down my name. Jack Addison.”
No reaction, just a smile. How demotivating. But a man sitting by the nearby bar gave Jack a curious look and poked two of his friends, both of whom were also venators.
“Addison? Like ‘The Kraken’ Addison?” the guy asked in a polite accent that sounded exactly like Jack’s only English professor at the American Institute of Interdimensional Studies.
Pride swelled in Jack’s chest, and he approached the men with a smile. “I am his son.”
The Englishman squeezed Jack’s hand. “Hector Collins. And these are my former schoolmates, William Tucker and Drake Nguyen.”
William tapped the bar counter, trying to draw the attention of the pretty young barman who had so many orders to complete that his cheeks were glistening and rosy despite the cold. “What are you drinking, Addison?”
Jack licked his lips, sliding his gaze off the barman’s neck and to his new friends. “Oh, I’ll have coffee.”
All three English men laughed to the point of slapping their knees.
“Good one, Addison. Keeping your wits about you, eh?” asked Drake.
Hector gaped and touched the thick handle of Jack’s two-handed sword. “Is this… is this the sword that ripped open the Kraken?”
Jack smirked and reached back, pulling Gouger out of the sheath on his back. “The very same. You can touch it, but be careful, it’s extremely sharp.”
“Can I have some butter, please?” someone asked in a strong French accent behind Jack’s back, and he wouldn’t have paid it any mind, if it wasn’t for seeing his new friends exchange curious glances.
What could be more interesting than the legendary Gouger? Jack wanted to sneak a peek at the guy, but once he looked over his shoulder, everything else was forgotten. He put the sword back into the sheath.
A chat. A real-life chat!
He’d read about them in the first Monster Manual written by his dad. The textbook had since been redacted to call them ‘creatures’, but that didn’t really change what these non-humans were.
About Jack’s height, but much more slender, even in the long leather jacket, the chat was ginger with a few white stripes on his head. The massive ears that twitched in attention hid white tufts that would have been cute on a normal cat, not this man-sized critter. His paws were white, as if he were wearing gloves. A ridiculous notion for a creature that was more animal than human. Did the fluffy fingers really hide killer claws?