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Relationship Material

Evan Doyle couldn't believe that Malcolm Umbertini had just come on to him.

Mal was Relationship Material. The kind of man you introduced to your family and made long-term plans with. He was tall, dark, and handsome. Out and proud. He had a worthwhile career, a sense of humor, and a glow of self-confidence like a heat mirage rippling off him. He topped (Evan was certain), and did it well. This town had to be full of guys eager to let him.

To think that he might throw a pass to Evan, of all people?

Evan knew he was not Relationship Material. He was Occasional Hookup Material at best. He'd stopped being fit for guys like Mal a long time ago. Mal wasn't just out of Evan's league; they weren't even playing the same game.

And that was fine. Evan also had a career, and a home, and friends. There was nothing wrong with his life. Nothing missing that he needed from a man like Mal. He did well enough, he and his fellow Occasional Hookups.

And if that thought made him feel a little depressed, well, no one needed to know but himself and the rain.

Ángel and the Elf-Lord

Ángel felt like a rabbit taking a stroll with an Alaskan malamute.

In photographs – and on the Internet, and on the cover of Time Magazine – The Cultural Envoy from the Otherworld looked, essentially, like a man: a strange man, with a serious, high-boned face. A tall and slim man, with large eyes, pale skin and hair, clad in black. Accounts of his first appearance from the tree said he'd had long hair, but it was short in every picture Ángel had ever seen. He seemed odd, not normal, but not necessarily inhuman.

In person?

Oberon was utterly, utterly inhuman. He didn't look or sound or smell human. His skin was poreless and faintly lustrous, more like extremely high-quality suede than human skin. He moved with inhuman grace, making a simple walk across the lawn look like the languid stalk of a hunting cat, boneless and deadly.

He was frighteningly beautiful, more beautiful than any man. He glanced at Ángel, catching him looking, and Ángel flinched, heart in his throat.

He was other. And Ángel was terrified.

“Will you come to my room tonight?” asked Oberon.