Stoker’s Serenity – Book IV – The Virtues

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      “The sole art that suits me is that which, rising from unrest, tends toward serenity.” -Andre Gide

Serenity’s life has been anything but serene…

Nothing about that looks like it’s going to improve when her best friend drags her to a local metal show. She reluctantly goes along, but once again proves to be a magnet for trouble. Then he steps out of the crowd.

Usually, the shows Stoker plays are pretty chill, despite the amped-up energy of the crowd. When he spots the little brunette in distress, he has no trouble stepping up and stepping in. Turns out it might be the best decision he’s ever made.

Neither Stoker nor Serenity can believe their luck in finding the other. Still, between club life and dark secrets of a hidden past, their budding romance may be clipped before it ever has a chance to flower.


“Hey!” someone shouted, and a wall of leather moved in between me and my assailant. A scuffle ensued and I forced my way away from it, rounding my shoulders, hunching forward, moving my smaller frame between the crush of bodies whenever a gap or opportunity presented itself, working my way doggedly toward the edge of the undulating crowd, most of them oblivious to my distress.

“Hey, hey, hey! It’s okay!” I heard just as thick leather, warm with body heat, enveloped my shoulders, and cut me off from view of any would-be prying eyes.

Tears slicked down my cheeks as an arm went heavy across my back, guiding me out of the mash of people. My white knight tucked me into the front of his much larger frame and bodily shoved people when necessary, moving us both out of the concert crowd and toward the front of the building where the bathrooms and the merch tables were.

“Hang on, hold up; wait!” The voice was warm, velvet with a core of steel and I froze, letting my long dark hair hide my face. I stopped in my tracks, my chest heaving.

The voice shouted over the top of my head, hands kneading my shoulders through the thick leather of his coat reassuringly.

“Rory! Gimme a band tee!”

“What size?”

“I don’t care!” the voice barked. “Just give me one!”


Her cheeks flamed under the supernova-harsh blue-white light of the floodlight at the front corner of the venue. The captain was in hardcore conversation with some of the bouncers, no doubt giving them a rip for not being more attentive. He had a talent for tearing your ass a new one without doing it in such a way that you got all butt-hurt over it. No doubt, knowing him, knowing our history with coming up against traffickers and sexual predators, he was talking them into looking the other way while the rest of the crew beat some fucking ass out in the parking lot. The little shoving match close to the pit was just a preview of coming attractions; those assholes inside just didn’t know it yet.

I turned back to little Serenity. She was a petite thing, almost doll-sized, practically drowning in the band tee Rory’d tossed my way. He was the guitarist for the band I was in. We’d been one of the opening acts earlier in the night.

Her skin was pale for Florida living, her eyes large and dark under long and equally dark hair that fell to her waist, just above the perfect curve of her ass, which was hidden by the dumpy black band tee, and yeah – I know – it was my band’s tee, but she was suited to something like a size small, something that would hug the swell of her breasts and caress the inward curve of her body before the flare of her hips.

She was beautiful, a perfect hourglass figure under the extra-large shirt.

I knew, because I’d been planning to talk to her before she’d been swept away by the surge and roll of bodies at the edge of the mosh pit.

Her voice was light and lyrical as it broke through the feminine spell she had unintentionally cast on me. Fool, you cast it on yourself, I chastised myself, but didn’t spare it another thought, tuning in to what she had to say.

Text Copyright © 2019 A.J. Downey

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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