A Christmas Journey (with Vampires, a cat, a train ride and a fight)

A Christmas Journey (with Vampires, a cat, a train ride and a fight)

People don’t know who or what we are. We’ve kept it that way for centuries, as stories and myths over ride any sense of reality in the minds of men.

In December of 1875 tragedy came into our lives. My best friend Isabelle fell under the spell of rogue Vampires and almost killed my brother Max’s best friend, who was the son of my parent’s closest regular human friends. You see, for those of you who are new here, we’re Vampires. As part of the Modern Vampire movement, we go by the rule that nobody is ever turned into a Vampire without consent.

Anyway, scandal was the only word for it. Theodore Kings, my brother’s 26 year old friend was not only the smartest and most handsome regular human any of us had ever met, he was also a kind man who was engaged to be married in February. Isabella decided she wanted the handsome Teddy for herself. We almost lost Teddy, as in death. Not the death one has when turning into a Vampire, but forever death. And when my father did manage to save our beloved friend, dear Teddy was horrified at what he had become…he was horrified at what we all were…but that is another story for another time.

My parents were upset at the prospect of Isabella or any of her rogue friends contacting, or corrupting my brother Valentine or me so we were to be sent away for a few months to keep us out of trouble. The plan was to send us to New York to say with my Grandmama Lola for Christmas. I was 16 and Val was 17 and the prospect of the big city was more exciting than anything we’d ever experienced. Plus it helped us get our minds off of Isabella and Teddy. Most of all it got us away from the eyes of our parents.

Yet, Val and I were also angry that my parents had so little trust in us that they thought it necessary to ship us off clear across the country. After all, we were practically adults. In fact, in most circles at that time we would have been considered adults who could get employment, get married or live independently.

My father’s friend Nathaniel Chase agreed to take Val and I from California to New York City on the train. Nathaniel had his own private luxury car so nobody thought there would be any problems. Nathaniel was the very image of the sophisticated and charming Modern Vampire. He was also cunning and dangerous in his own ways – enough to take care of two over active Vampire teens. What trouble could a couple of teens get into when watched over by a 400 year old Vampire?

On the first night Val and I explored the train. There were dining cars, first class, second class, other private luxury cars and all sorts of interesting people. Nathaniel was busy with “business.” Unfortunately that didn’t last for long. He was scolding us for getting too friendly with people, running, sticking our heads out the window and laughing too loud. That was just the short list.

On the second night he caught Val in an embrace with an attractive woman from San Francisco. That didn’t go over too well either. Val used the excuse he was just being a Vampire. Nathaniel knew better.

On the third night there was a party in another private car in which there were plates full of beautiful treats. I had my first eclaire. It was huge – the size of a man’s hand. That with a stomach full of warm blood (from a handsome 19 year old who claimed to be the son of a famous minister), a bottle of sparkling pink wine (which I wasn’t supposed to have) and sugar (which makes Vampires absolutely ill) had me throwing up most of the night.

By the time we got to our first stay over in Chicago, Nathaniel Chase was ready to lock the both of us up for good. But he didn’t.

We stayed in a large new mansion built after the great fire of 1871. It was there for Vampires of our rank. Val and I were in heaven. Off of the train with Nathaniel gone most of the time!

Nathaniel had given us a full set of rules and warnings. Bite only on the wrist, not the neck. Don’t go into questionable parts of town (he supplied coordinates.) Do not talk to Vampires you don’t know. Don’t be turned by a pretty face. Watch for Vampire Hunters. Stay close to the house. Shop, have fun, act normal. Under no circumstance let anyone suspect you are different. Don’t act like children.

Val and I did all that and more. We were the perfect little citizens. At parties everyone commented on how charming young well-mannered people we were. I’m sure that warmed the cold heart of the old Vampire Nathaniel Chase.

On our fourth day in Chicago Val and I were walking along at dusk when we heard a great commotion coming from a warehouse. And you would be right if you guessed we were in a part of town we shouldn’t have been in.

Inside of the building a large group of men were standing in an impromptu arena yelling and cheering. We thought it might be a boxing match until we realized it was a dog fight. Beasts of all sizes had been brought in to tear each other apart. We could smell the blood and the fear in the dogs. We could also smell the excitement and blood lust in the men who watched the fights. I held Val’s arm, utterly appalled by what I saw. Ears were torn off, bowels were torn open and dogs howled and whimpered in pain.

Then just as I thought I’d seen enough a large man held something out to five growling dogs.

“I present you Lucifer. Tonight you will see before your very eyes these dogs devour the devil.” And he held up a black kitten of about 5 months who cried with pitiful mews of fear. My cold blood boiled.

Hiking up my skirts I climbed the ropes around the arena and entered the ring. I yelled at the man to put down the cat. He laughed. Then I growled at him showing my fangs. In horror the man lashed out striking me across the face. His large ring made a gash across my cheek. Val jumped the ropes and came to my rescue. Knocking them man down he was about to tear his arm off when someone grabbed us up by our collars and threw both of us out into the snow.

Nathaniel Chase and two other Vampires stood there looking at us in disgust. We could hear the commotion inside of the warehouse grow louder.

Nathaniel pulled me to him and yanked me into a waiting carriage. “You could have had us all killed.” His coat smelled slightly of patchouli and roses. I saw a long light brown hair against the black of his jacket. He’d been visiting a woman. I should have known.

“You were with a woman weren’t you?” I glared at him with the triumph of someone too stupid to know what I was saying.

His eyes lit up with a fire and he pulled me around in front of his face holding both of my arms like vices. “It isn’t just small animals that they kill. They kill what they do not know or understand. They kill what they fear. They kill anything they see as evil.”

“But they’re evil themselves,” I stammered back, unable to move or remove myself from his glare.

“No, it is their world, so be it if it is ruled by ignorance and superstition. You must NEVER show yourself for what you are. Never. So help me God Juliette, if you ever do anything like this again I will make sure you will spend the rest of your days drinking rancid blood out of a gourd, in a dungeon so deep you’ll forget there are stars in the sky.”

He let me go and turned to my brother. “As for you Valentine. I have no words to express my disappointment in you.”

One of the other Vampires, an elegant looking man called Joseph pulled a small black kitten out of his coat pocket and handed it to me. “I believe this is yours. Do not forget the price you paid for his freedom.”

All the way back Nathaniel lectured us on responsibility and stupidity. When we returned to the house he vanished into the study with the two men. We were told to go to our rooms and stay there until midnight.

I lay on my bed and cried my heart out. Val came in and sat quietly next to me. We were utter failures.

When the large clock at the end of the hall struck midnight we left the room and went in search of Nathaniel Chase.

On the balcony he stood cradling the sleeping kitten in his arms. He quietly sang to himself in Welsh the old song “All Through the Night.”

All the stars’ twinkles say

All through the night

“This is the way to the realm of glory,”

All through the night.

Darkness is another light

That exposes true beauty

The Heavenly family in peace

All through the night.

“You have Lucifer,” I said stroking the purring kitten under his chin.

Nathaniel gave me a rare smile. “His name is Gabrielle now. He’ll go where I go. Do you know who Gabrielle was.”

“I believe an arch angel,” said Val.

“Gabrielle was a messenger. So is this little beast in my arms, brought to us in order to teach the two of you humility. But also to teach me what good hearts you have. Compassion is a rare and wonderful thing. It can also be a danger if you react in fear and by letting your heart lead the way.” He held up a hand knowing what I was going to say. “Your heart and the feelings of your heart are important. But you must be smart. You must not be like your friend Isabelle who turned a man into a Vampire, almost killing him and committing his soul to Hell. She claimed it was romantic but it was cruel and selfish.” He handed me the cat now called Gabriel. “Take care of this cat until we get to your Grandmama’s, then he is mine. And Juliette, remember that we are like dark angels who inhabit the night. No matter how much good we may do we are still to be feared by those who are not our kind.”

Gabrielle lived for another 22 years and went everywhere with Nathaniel Chase.

Val and I got to our Grandmama Lola’s house in New York City by Christmas Eve night.

Nathaniel Chase still doesn’t have much confidence in me. I made mistakes with my heart over the years, as did Val. But we learned that we must keep our hearts to ourselves and take action with our brains and with conviction and with deliberate action.

A few weeks ago I visited Nathaniel, along with my brother Val and my husband Teddy. He still looked the same as he did in 1875. He still has a black cat. The current one is named Michael. They’re all named after angels. Small dark angels of hope and love.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas from all of the Vampires and their cats.


~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman.

This story was first posted December, 2013

Girl in the Woods: Jake’s Place (Serial Novel, Part 15)

Welcome to The Serial Novel: Girl in the Woods, a regular 2016 Friday feature. For those of you who haven’t been following this story please start from the beginning (Click Here.) I started on this epic adventure when I had a small baby who was up at all hours. This is by no means an edited or polished manuscript. I’m just sharing a story – an epic fairy tale full of magic, technology, romance, adventure, and a lot of sharp twists and turns. So have fun, as the story continues… 

Girl in the Woods

Girl in the Woods: Jake’s Place (Serial Novel, Part 15)

After meeting with Olivia, Alexander was ready for a drink.

“So, are you ready for adventure of a lifetime?” Tom asked as he poured a glass of wine for Alexander.

Alexander took the glass and sat. “I thought I was leaving perfect princess hell for a few months. I was looking forward to some relaxation, soul searching, and reconnection with my people. Now I find myself shackled with a knife-throwing bitch from the Crystal Mountains. I may as well be traveling with my mother.”

“I’d travel with your mother,” said Simon with a smile, knowing the comment would annoy Alexander.

“I’d marry your mother,” added Tom.

Alexander rolled his eyes at his two friends. “Spare me your witty response. You knew Justin Snowhawk couldn’t make it and was sending his foul tempered twin sister as his replacement, didn’t you?” There was silence. “Well?”

“Yes, we both knew,” said Tom

“Olivia found out less than 48 hours ago that she’d be taking Justin’s place. You aren’t the only one who was put out by last minute changes,” Simon added.

“Why didn’t…” Alexander started.

Simon interrupted, choosing his words carefully. “We chose not to tell you until now because we knew if you had heard the news at home you would have canceled the trip.”

“You needed to get out of town, away from everything,” added Tom gently.

“You need some fun,” said Simon.

Alexander scowled and took a drink. “This isn’t going to be fun gentlemen.”

“Of course it will, Relax. Make an effort to enjoy yourself,” said Simon.

“It’s obvious Olivia doesn’t want to travel with me. Send her home and come with us Simon.”

“I’ve been on the road too much this year. I need to be with my children before they forget who I am.”

Alexander was still irritated by the session with Olivia. He was in no mood to have his situation trivialized by his friends. “Did the issue ever come up about how this would look? Princess Candi and everyone else for that matter, thinks I’m off on a male only trip, not running across the country side with some woman.”

“You’re not running across the country side with some woman. You’re traveling with your staff, and the President of Universal Technologies International and her staff,” scowled Simon

“Her one staff member. Do you realize she doesn’t even have a personal maid? A woman of her stature should have some sort of personal staff.”

“She can take care of herself,” said Simon. “Stop this one sided sexist argument and relax.”

“I can’t relax. This was to be my last adventure with the guys before a formal engagement is forced upon me.”

“It’s Olivia Snowhawk you’re traveling with. She might as well be one of the guys,” said Simon.

“She isn’t one of the guys. People will assume…” started Alexander again.

“People won’t assume anything. Besides that, Olivia will be the first to protect your honor and reputation,” said Simon as he poured himself another glass of wine. “And so what if something did happen between you and Olivia? You’ve told me more than once that you don’t love Candi.”

“Love has nothing to do with my situation.” Alexander ran his hands through his hair, then put his elbows on the table, head in his hands “I’m already the royal asshole for not marrying Viola. Unless I find a suitable replacement, I may just end up marrying Candi, regardless of how I feel about her.”

Tom leaned back in his chair and smiled. “All the more reason for you to get out of The Capitol for a while.”

“With another woman,” said Alexander still annoyed.

“Forget Olivia is a woman,” said Simon. “You need to get to know the Crystal Mountain contingency of Universal Technologies International better. Universal Technologies isn’t going away. We’re the future of technology and a major force in the economy. And were growing, fast. It is in your best interest to spend all the time you can afford with Olivia.”

“She made it clear that she had no respect for me or my position.”

“She has a great deal of respect for both you and your position,” Simon added. “What has gotten into you?”

Alexander gave him a blow-by-blow account of their meeting right up to her pathetic apology for bad behavior.

“Everything either of you have ever told me about Olivia Snowhawk was completely different from the woman I met tonight.” Alexander gave a cold look to Simon “I don’t know how you put up with her Simon. How could you leave your post with the government to work for her?”

“It was a great opportunity and an excuse to get back to Greenwood, where I’m actually needed,” Simon answered without a beat.

“Universal Technologies is a foreign owned company.”

Simon took a sip of his wine and set down his glass “Alex, you forget I own 35% of the Universal Technologies International Technologies Division. I own a third of all out of country business.”

Alexander shook his head at Simon “She has you right by the balls doesn’t she?”

“See Tom, this is why I got out of government. Attitude Alex, check your attitude.”

“My attitude?” Alexander shot back at Simon.

Simon’s cold blue eyes locked on Alexander “Keep your temper and mountains of personal baggage out of this.”

He suddenly resigned himself to the fact that he would go forward with Olivia. “My temper Simon?”

“You can’t handle being around a strong woman.”

“I can handle strong women.”

“Maybe I was wrong. You should marry Princess Candi. It would suit you to have spineless brainless simpleton for a partner.”

“What does that have to do with Olivia Snowhawk or Universal Technologies?”

“You can’t handle Olivia because you have problems with any woman who challenges your preconceived notions of a woman’s role in business verses the bedroom.

“That’s bull shit and you know it. The situation with Olivia has nothing to do with my attitude towards women, which by the way, is as or more enlightened than yours.”

“I doubt that.”

“Give me a break. I overheard you growling at her about Alaric Shadowford. What the hell was that about?”

Simon seemed surprised then regained his composure. “It was nothing.”

Alexander wasn’t going to let his friend off the hook. “Is there a problem?”

“There was. I took care of it.” Simon replied sharply.

Alexander knew he had hit a nerve.“Well?”

“It has nothing to do with our current conversation.”

“Spit it out Simon. If there is a problem with Alaric I need to know. I overheard you telling Olivia that you didn’t want her to be alone with him.”

Simon hand been caught off guard. “I’m surprised your spies haven’t already filled you in on the situation.”

Alexander ignored the jab. “Why shouldn’t she meet with him alone? He’s an important member of the CMP government, not to mention my cousin.”

Simon took a deep breath and poured more wine. “Extremely distant cousin. You overheard a private conversation you had no business listening in on.”

Alexander looked at him grimly. “Alaric told me they were lovers at one point. She’s still sleeping with him isn’t she?”

Simon took a deep breath and continued knowing Alexander would prod the information out of him. “No, it is over, thank God. I will never understand what she saw in him.“ He stopped ran his finger around the rim of the glass.

Alexander’s interest peaked. “Olivia is rich, powerful, not to mention from his own sick and twisted culture. It makes sense they’d be attracted to each other.”

“It never made sense,” Simon shot back. “From their first night together the man was insanely possessive. If another man so much as talked to her he’d accuse her of sleeping around.”

“So what does that have to do with you?”

“She’s my friend and I care about her. Do you have a problem with that?”

“It’s her life.”

“It was your life when Viola cheated on you. Did you expect me to mind my own business then?”

“That was different.”

“No, it wasn’t any different. Olivia needed me and I was there for her.”

“Simon, tell Alex about the Spring Ball.” Tom added, giving his friend a little extra support. “He’ll understand.”

“Yes, Simon, tell me about the Spring Ball.”

“Last year at the Meadow Creek Spring Ball, Alaric Shadowford, the Ambassador of the Crystal Mountain Republic, very publicly accused Olivia Snowhawk, President of Universal Technologies, of sleeping with another man. She told him she wasn’t involved with the alleged other man, but he refused to believe her. Then he hit her across the face and knocked her to the ground. I saw her fall and came to her aid. He’d split her lip open and she’d cut her elbow in the fall. There was blood everywhere.”

“He hit her.”

“Of course he did. That’s what the bastard did to control her, when he wasn’t fucking with her mind.”

“I can’t believe he’d do that.”

“Believe it. That is what men in the Crystal Mountains do to their women. They beat them into submission. That is one of the main reasons Olivia doesn’t live there anymore.”

“Why’d she stay with him?”

“Who knows, but by the time the Spring Ball came around she’d had enough of him. After Alaric hit her she clawed him across the face. He grabbed her arms and told her he’d kill her if he found out she was cheating on him. I pulled her away and told him I’d kill him if he ever touched her again. Alaric called me a few choice names and made a few ugly accusations about my relationship with Olivia and my abilities in bed. I told him to screw himself and took Olivia home.

Of course, being the good friend that I am, I made the mistake of giving her a little brotherly advice on her taste in men. I thought maybe I’d talked some sense into her. Once I got her home she told me to go to hell and mind my own business. Then she slammed the door in my face. She wouldn’t talk to me for almost a week. On the bright side she took my advice and broke it off with Alaric for good.”

“I take it you were the other man.” Said Alexander leaning back in his chair trying not to smile.

“I was accused of being the other man.” Said Simon quickly defending his reputation.

“Please tell me there was no truth in it.” Alexander said, knowing Simon would never cheat on Ellie.

“Absolutely not. Alaric is a possessive domineering bastard. It could have been a public relations disaster for us if I hadn’t had the authority to keep it out of the papers. Jonathan Snowhawk was furious when he heard about it.”

“Her father knew about it?” Alexander asked.

Simon leaned back and scowled, “Jonathan eventually finds out everything that goes on with his daughter. If it’s bad I’ll get hell for it. That’s why I was so angry when she was late tonight. Olivia claimed the delay with Alaric was due to official consulate business, but I don’t trust him alone with her.”

“Are you afraid he’ll hurt her again?”

Simon answered, carefully choosing his words. “I’m afraid, he’ll somehow force her into taking him back. He wants her to be his partner, vow her soul to him forever. He doesn’t understand her. He doesn’t care about what is really important to her.”

“What is important to her? Power? Control over her men?”

“No, the same things which are important to you. Her work, her home, her friends and family. Why did you even mention control over men? Nothing could be further from the truth. It isn’t typical of her to be in such a volatile relationship. She’s usually calm and almost passive in her romantic affairs.”

“Olivia is passive? I find that hard to believe.”

“She’s extremely caring and giving. Maybe too much so.”

Alexander wondered if Simon knew how possessive he sounded when he spoke of Olivia. He wondered if there was more to their relationship. Simon gave him the cold ice blue look that said don’t ask about it again. Simon’s all too volatile temper could get out of hand. None the less it had peaked Alexander’s interest in Olivia even more.

He started in at Simon again. “So what’s with the headaches? She isn’t one of those insidious high maintenance women is she?”

Simon went from annoyed to reserved in his answer, “If anything she’s low maintenance. You’ve seen that from her lack of staff.”

Tom jumped in “The headaches are painful but not life threatening. She’s learned to manage them.”

Simon glanced at Tom as if to signal him not to say anymore. Tom ignored him and continued telling Alexander about Olivia. “Her headaches are a remnant of everything evil in her past. Olivia suffered unbelievable horrors during the war. Justin, came away more or less unscathed but Olivia wasn’t so fortunate. She paid the ultimate price, physically and emotionally, by sacrificing her childhood along with any innocence she once had. Her scars go deep and the nightmares of violence she witnessed and experienced still cling to her. To her credit she has managed to put most of it behind her and use her experience in tragedy to help others.

Simon added, “That doesn’t excuse her attitude toward you this evening, but try to understand where she came from.”

“I have to add that I’ve never had a better traveling companion. I’m looking forward to working and traveling with Olivia again,” said Tom.

Simon said nothing as he sat back stoically.

“When did you travel with her before?” Alexander asked, not even knowing how he should react to Tom’s impassioned speech.

“We’ve made the trip to Riverbend three, no, actually four times. I assumed you knew.”

“No, Tom, I didn’t know. Seems like there’s a lot I don’t know these days.” Alexander felt puzzled again about why he’d never met her. Why his friends never spoke much of her.

“Is she leaving anyone at home? A current lover or significant other? Children?” He asked knowing he might piss off Simon again.

Simon answered without emotion “There’s nobody special as far as I know.” Tom shrugged.

“She knows Graham. Anything there I should know about?”

“Please, give the woman a little credit. She doesn’t sleep with married men, much less a slime ball like Graham. Besides, you know Graham’s aversion to wizards.”

“I didn’t know she was a wizard. You’d think Dare would have said something to me about it before I left.” Alexander digested the information. Simon was married to a wizard, so the comment was not out of the ordinary. Still it wasn’t expected.

“Dare doesn’t know she is traveling with us. In fact, Dare has never met her. “

“I’m surprised. I’d expect he’d be all over her.”

“I’m sure he would be. It is a good thing they’ve never met. I hope it stays that way. The last thing she needs is an emotional cripple like Dare up her skirts.”

“Then who should she have up her skirts?”

“Don’t be crude. What is wrong with you tonight? You’re never pissy like this.”

“Forgive me for asking about your mysterious friend. I’ll find my answers from other sources.” Alexander snapped sarcastically. “No wonder she’s not married, with all of her secrets and a friend like you hovering around.”

“It’s odd that you’re so interested in her love life, considering how much you claim to detest her.”

Alexander leaned forward and looked at Simon for a second. He knew wasn’t going to let Simon get off easy. “As Crown Prince I need to know who I’m traveling with. You’re holding information Simon. Other than the fact that she’s a pushy self centered bitch, why isn’t she married?“

Simon gave Alexander a cold glare. “Alexander, take a look at yourself before you make judgments on others. Look at your own string of romantic failures. Dumped by three real princesses and now you’re being set-up in an arranged marriage with someone too stupid to know any better. I won’t even start listing the countless other women who couldn’t put up with you. Or worse, the dozen or so who got you in their beds just to say they’d slept with you, the Crown Prince of the Northwestern Kingdom. Think about it. Not too good is it?”

“Simon, that was uncalled for.” Tom scolded him.

It didn’t stop Simon from his attack “ Why the problems with Olivia? Are you finding yourself attracted to her?”

“I find her very attractive, but she’s the last woman on earth I’d be interested in.”

“You’d sleep with her tonight if she’d have you, otherwise you wouldn’t be so rattled by her.”

“So what if I did sleep with her tonight?”

“I’d loose all respect for you simply because it would be a power play on your part and nothing else.”

“Aren’t you possessive of your little friend? I have a question for you Simon. You’ve known her for years, you run a business empire with her, yet you’ve never introduced us. Why is that?”

“Logistics. You tend to visit Meadow Creek in the spring when she’s teaching at the University in Riverbend.”

“What about when she’s in The Capitol?”

“She’s busy.”

“You’d think that just once my path would have crossed hers.”

“Don’t drive yourself crazy thinking about it.”

“You hardly talk about her.”

“I talk about her a lot. But you know I don’t give out intimate details of any of my friend’s lives to anybody. Not yours. Not Tom’s. Not Olivia’s.”

“I’m not just anybody Simon.”

“I understand that but Liv is not just my business partner. I’m the closest she has to anything resembling family here. I’m not going to betray the trust of one of my dearest friends, just to satisfy your morbid curiosity.”

“Liv? Simon, she’s more that just a friend isn’t she? Is she the one you knew at the University at Riverbend?”

“Here it comes” said Tom under his breath

“Shut up Tom” Simon growled at Tom. “You know we met our first year in college, it’s no secret.”

“So there is something to Alaric’s suspicions.” Alexander said trying to taunt the information out of Simon.

“I’m surprised you never figured it out before now,” said Tom thoroughly amused now by the direction of the conversation.

“Thanks a million Tom,” Simon snapped.

“Olivia was that mysterious girlfriend you were involved with your first year of college. She was your first, wasn’t she?” Asked Alexander.

“It was almost twenty years ago.” Simon answered.

“Sleeping your way to the top Simon?” asked Alexander not letting his friend off the hook.

Simon stood up. “Don’t even suggest it.”

“Well?” Ask Alexander with a mocking smile.

Simon gave in, knowing Alexander wasn’t going to back down. “Yes, she was the one. We were only seventeen when we met, the first quarter in at the University at Riverbend. The first time I saw her, she’d come in the tea house on campus, the only free seat was in my booth. She looked out of place and lost. I invited her to join me, out of curiosity more than anything. Her accent was so strong I could hardly understand her, but when we started to talk, I mean really talk, I don’t think I’d ever been more comfortable with anyone in my life. After a few hours of deep conversation I walked her home and stayed the night.”

“That was bold of you.”

“That night I let myself break free from everything I knew about myself and my life. Over the next few weeks I learned Olivia’s life in the Crystal Mountains had been more brutal and traumatic than I could have ever imagined. Yet, she took it almost as matter of fact. No self pity, no regrets. She looked to the future, no matter how hard that was. Like me, she was a problem for her family. They sent her as far away as possible to make sure she’d stay out of trouble and out of the press.

Nobody understood me like Olivia did. She pulled me out of my self-imposed hell and brought me back to life. We learned together how to live and love without fear or regret.”

“You never spoke much about her.”

Simon took his seat again and spoke quietly now. He looked at the window avoiding Alexander’s eyes. “It was our time alone. We didn’t share it with anyone. Olivia went back to her life in the CMR. I went home with the courage to win back Ellie. We kept in touch. That’s it. When Olivia wanted to relocate the international side of the business I suggested she move to Meadow Creek. Don’t read anything else into it.”

Leaning forward Alexander said, “You and Olivia Snowhawk. Do you still think about her in that way?”

Simon shook his head in disgust. “No, of course not. I can’t believe you even asked me that, especially since everyone in the entire kingdom knows you were the first man who ever slept with my wife. A fact my mother regularly reminds me of.”

“As you recall, that was Ellie’s idea steal away my virginity on my 17th birthday, not mine,” Alexander countered.

“Don’t remind me,” said Simon.

“What about Ellie? Does she know about it?”

“Of course she knows. ” Simon glanced out the window at the storm, then back to Alexander. His expression was pained. “There’s a strong bond between Ellie and Olivia. I can’t explain it. Ellie says their souls have know each other for centuries. When she arrived here twelve years ago, Olivia rarely slept through a night without being haunted by nightmares. Ellie helped Olivia control the demons of her childhood memories and lay them to rest for once and for all. Miles helped her out with other issues from her past. Without their help Olivia might still be struggling with memories of her past life. Think of everything you read or heard about the war in the Crystal Mountains and magnify it ten times. That’s the reality of her situation.”

For a rare moment Alexander said nothing. He knew this wasn’t the time to ask any more questions about Olivia’s past with Simon.

Simon continued. “My children adore their Auntie Livy. Olivia even has a room in her house for them. They beg to have sleepovers with her. Even my parents approve of her, in fact, the actually like her and you know how Lydia and Blane are.”

Did he ever. Alexander had spent his life watching Simon struggle with his cold and distant parents. “I had no idea Olivia was close to your family. I’ve been out of touch Simon. Forgive an old friend for passing judgment.”

“Aside from your exceptional rudeness tonight, there’s nothing to forgive. We’re all on edge tonight, especially Olivia.”

“One warning Alex, don’t push her. Don’t badger her for information.”

“I don’t badger people.”

“You have an annoying habit of always asking for more.”

“You do Alex. You always ask “what else, what else, what else after the subject has been closed. You drain people.”

“I do not.”

“Yes, you do,” added Tom.

“You guys are relentless,” said Alex.

“Now you know how the rest of us feel,” said Simon.

Alexander got up to leave. It had been along day both physically and emotionally. He needed time alone.

He put his hand on Simon’s shoulder. “I can’t believe Olivia was the first woman you slept with.”

“Ellie still can’t believe you were the first guy she ever slept with.”

“You know I’ll always love Ellie in my own selfish way.”

“She knows it too.”

“Good night gentlemen.”


After Alexander had left Simon and Tom talked for a while longer about their families and jobs.

“So,” said Tom, “Do you think they’ll end up killing each other?”

Simon topped of both of their glasses, draining their third bottle of wine, “She’s perfect for him. I’ve always thought so.”

“Why didn’t you tell him that earlier?”

“It’s taken twelve years for me to get them together. He’ll figure it out on his own.”



Alexander was in his room at the inn alone. Being alone had been a rare commodity over the past few weeks. He thought about his encounter with Olivia and his conversation with Tom and Simon. These past few months had drained him of all reason he thought.

He sat on the bed with notes from the meeting earlier that evening. His mind was a jumble and wandered away from the pages in a hundred different directions.

“Why couldn’t my closest friends tell me what was going on?” He thought. “It would have saved me the aggravation with Olivia Snowhawk. Why was she so confrontational?”

Maybe Olivia was afraid. He knew he could have that affect on some people with his somewhat devastatingly handsome good looks. But that didn’t make sense, she was surrounded by beautiful people. Her brother was strikingly beautiful, and she spent her days in the company of Simon and Ellie, who were both know for their uncommon good looks. There was also her former lover Alaric Shadowford with his serious good looks and well-toned body. Alex knew some people felt uncomfortable with royalty, especially the eldest prince. But then again, maybe she was just a bitch.

Simon was right, Alexander did find himself attracted to her. It was her eyes that took him. She spoke with her eyes. Now, her body was custom made for him, he could almost feel his hands running over those curves, exploring every turn, peeling away the layers of soft black leather, running his hands over her full breasts… but he tried not to think about that. He had to keep his distance.

She was strange, and she made him uncomfortable. On the other hand, he could turn that thought around and say, “She is exotic, on the edge and ready for adventure.” No, Alexander, stop you brain and get to sleep. Think about Candi. Beautiful, exquisite, and available Candi. Think about the pleasures you’ll have when you return home.” The thought of Candi suddenly made him feel ill.

His mind went back to Olivia again as she explained the route with the precision of an army general. Then of how she joked with Annie and Michael. The camaraderie and friendship between the three was obvious. He saw how she was already had a history with both Tom and Jake.

Then there was Simon. He didn’t know what to think of his relationship with her. It was a side of Simon he hadn’t seen. Olivia was more than a friend to Simon. Together Simon and Olivia were a force to be reckoned with. Alexander tried to brush the idea of them as lovers out of his head but a vision of a teenage Simon with a tempestuous young Olivia had already burned in his mind. It was a long time ago. They were just kids, he told himself.

“Why haven’t I met her before?” he asked aloud, for what seemed the hundredth time that night. He’d extended invitations through Simon but she’d always been busy or ill. On at least two occasions she’d actually sent him formal notes to thank him for the invitation and express impersonal but polite regrets for not attending.

She was so excited when she told him about the ruins. Her entire demeanor changed. There was a passion and an excitement. He should have given her a chance to talk instead of worrying about what other people might think about him traveling with her.

As he undressed for the night Alexander imagined himself seducing Olivia, almost dangerously slow. He could hear her sultry voice, “Prince Alexander, you’re so handsome, so absolutely perfect” As he closed his eyes he could hear Jeff saying “You are so shallow. One day it’s going to catch up with you”.

His mind wondered back to Candi, exquisitely beautiful and perfect, protected from the world in her sheltered innocent life. She was waiting for him body and soul. She was everything a man could want he thought desperately trying to convince himself how lucky he was.

He couldn’t let himself think of Olivia or any other woman. Alexander Florien Byron, Crown Prince of the Northwestern Kingdom had never felt so uncomfortable or unsure of himself as he did at this moment. He was a charismatic leader, a prince, and a man of honor. Why was he so apprehensive about this trip? What was it about Olivia Snowhawk that unnerved him so?

He envisioned her coming to his room in the middle of the night, and then thought, “Maybe if I’m lucky she won’t cut my throat.”



The morning was cold and damp. A low fog hung over the valley. Sunrise was still an hour away.

There were no servants aside from a young valet. A couple of assistants. It was a minimal trip. How odd, it was such a low key, non publicized meeting. He knew things would change once they arrived in Riverbend and his entire personal staff would be at the River Conference. There would be bevies of staff at his disposal at every stop. It was almost liberating but at the same time annoying. Tom had told him to relax. Tom was born relaxed, like a great big tabby cat.

He’d brought his usual security staff. He’d wished he could have left most of them at home as well.

The press was left at home. There was no published agenda. Charles would take care of things along the way. Simon had told him that everything would be taken care of on the Universal Technologies end of things. Alexander would get approval of all press releases.

Alex came down the stairs and could see the Universal group in the large room. Olivia was dressed in black leather holding her jacket over her arm. He noticed the dagger strapped to the side of her boot. She looked like a mercenary wizard.

She and Simon stood by the fire talking, standing close. Other wise it wouldn’t have made him notice, but after last nights revelations he wondered again about his friend’s relationship with this woman. There was nothing in the way they stood or talked that would say anything other than a close friendship, but his mind still worked. Michael came over and put his arm around Olivia’s shoulder and gave a quick squeeze. He said something in her ear and she laughed. He knew that the Universal culture was more hands on than most. It was the custom of the Crystal Mountains. They were physical people, ready to hug you or hit you on a moment’s notice.

Suddenly something slammed into him knocking him against the wall. It was Annie. She caught her balance and gasped. “I’m so sorry your highness, I tripped.”

Alex took Annie’s arms under her elbows and steadied her, then taking his time he gently brushed a stray hair out of her face. Her blue eyes met his, she stammered “I’m so sorry.”

She was tall but it suited her. It made it easier for him to be right next to her face, drinking up her eyes in his, getting uncomfortably close to her lovely lips.

He smiled. Annie thought she would melt in his arms, it was the reaction he wanted. He could have easily kissed her on the stairs without skipping a beat. He was used to this reaction from younger women.

“Don’t be sorry Annie. I’ve been asking Jake to fix these stairs for years, ” he said almost tenderly, his face still close to hers.

Alexander played the game well – a fact he was proud of. Annie smiled and blushed. It wasn’t the stairs. She had caught her heel in the hem of her long coat and he knew it. He put his hand protectively in hers and helped her down the remaining stairs. He continued to make small talk with her until they reached the others.

He thought Annie was a bundle of contradictions. She was no nonsense powerful business presence in the meeting the day before. Her blue eyes could quickly turn icy cold. He pitied anyone who crossed her. She had a reputation for getting what she wanted. Logan had mentioned this more than once. Yet here she was, ready to melt in his arms and be covered in kisses. There was a silly girlish side to her that was absolutely delightful. He could have fun playing with her. Too bad she wasn’t going with them. Too bad she was dating Jeff. It was equally a shame that she wasn’t the Real Princess.

He kissed her hand before leading her into the room. She smiled and blushed. By then Tom had met the others in before the fire but Olivia had vanished.


They made small talk until Andrew came in to tell them the carriage and horses were ready.

“Miss Snowhawk seems to have vanished. I believe she was looking for someone.”

“Go on Andrew,” said the Prince. “I’ll retrieve the missing lady.” It was a gut reaction. He should have sent Andrew after her.

Before he left life hand been too hectic. There was too much to do before he left. Projects had gone undone or under managed. He had to hope that his staff would cover it all. Logan promised to check up on what he could. Tom said not to worry, everything was taken care of. Tom always made sure everything was taken care of. Something would go undone. It was almost a relief to be gone.

The weight of the personal aspect of his job – the business with Candi or any real princess had almost put him over the edge. He had spent late nights working and doing research. These were tasks that could have been delegated, but he took them on just to avoid the issue.

His mother had talked with him before he left. She told him “Take this time to be away and think about your life and what is important to you and your people.”

His father said nothing after the blow out the night before.

Alexander told the King, “Let me tell you what I know about real princesses. The two women I loved, really loved were real princesses and they both left me for other men. I never told you this, but the real reason I left Viola is because I caught her in bed with another man. She was making me wait for our wedding night after our engagement. And you know I’ll always love Ellie, but I let her marry Simon, because she loved him far more than she could ever love me. This real princess thing just doesn’t work for me Dad.”


Alexander found Olivia near Jake’s office. “It is time to go,” he barked at her, surprising himself at his tone. Damn this woman still had him angry.

“I know. Please, just give me a minute.”

“We have to go right now”.

“I’m waiting for someone.”

“This early?”

Jake appeared as if form out of nowhere. “Livy my love, I’ve someone to see you” he almost sang.

As if out of thin air, a tall stunning brunette appeared in the doorway.

“Hannah, there you are!” Olivia cried throwing her arms around the other woman. Hannah shoved a package into Olivia’s hands.

“Prince Alexander” Olivia suddenly changed her mood “I’m pleased to introduce Grand Marshall Hannah Crow. She’s my partner. In fact, we’re working on a book together.”

“It is a pleasure to see you Alexander.” said Hannah giving a reverent bow of the head due a royal prince. “It has been a while.”

“At least twenty years.” He answered taking her hand and leaving it with a kiss. “Dare still worships the ground you walk on.”

Hannah smiled “Yes, he speaks well of you too, my sweet baby brother does. Only, he never mentioned how so very charming and handsome you’ve become.” She gave his a quick up and down inspection and a seductive smile.

Hannah was tall with a perfect helping of seductive curves covered in a tight green jacket and a flowing flowered skirt. Everything was in the right place on this woman. Glossy black hair cascaded down her back like water.. Her large blue eyes were framed with long dark lashes. Her full pink lips gave way to an easy smile. Her high cheekbones matched that of her brothers. She looked to be in her early to mid 30’s but she’d make any man of any age turn his head. “Now there is my fantasy traveling companion.” he thought to himself with a bit of amusement, wondering if she was available.

“Darling Livy, last night was so special,” said Hannah stroking Olivia’s hair with her hand. “I just wanted to let you know that I love you my dear and I can’t until you get to Ravenswood next month.”

“I will think of you often,” said Olivia ” Hannah I love you dearly and I will miss you” she said warmly and the two embraced again. “Excuse us, Alexander, I need some private time with my dear Hannah.”

“Good bye Prince Alexander” said Hannah with a seductive smile and what might have been a wink “I’ll see you in a few weeks at Ravens Wood. Rest assured that my Olivia will take good care of you on your journey.” Then she pulled him aside and whispered in his ear. “Dear Prince, I’m 54 years old. I’m far too ancient for you to be thinking such carnal thoughts about me.” The two women left the room arm in arm. Alex thought he heard giggles.

Alexander should have remembered Hannah could read minds. Just like her brother. He had heard over the years about the exploits of the powerful Wizard in Ravenswood, formerly a member of the Royal Guard, and now the regional Grand Marshall. Hannah Crow had an exceptional talent for solving the more horrific crimes in the kingdom. He found it hard to imagine this friendly seductive creature was in such a gruesome profession, much less Dare Crow’s sister. Like everything else over the past 24 hours she was a surprise. It would take him a long time to get thoughts of Hannah out of his mind.

Alexander pretended to look at a map on the wall then looked out the window at the oncoming storm. He thought about the two successful and attractive woman. Two women in love – obviously with each other. Obviously a couple. Suddenly he felt very stupid about drilling Simon why she wasn’t married. Jeff and Glinda were right, he was the most shallow person they had ever met. He tried to get the thought out of his mind. It had been hard enough to get use to the news that she had been involved with Simon.

He thought “Knowing Olivia is involved with someone is one less distraction I’ll have to worry about.” With his pending engagement to Princess Candi and the urgent business at hand he didn’t need the distraction. He needed to make his heart pure and faithful. He needed to make his mind and body pure and faithful as well. This was one time he wished he was more like Jeff.

At least Olivia was in a committed relationship with a partner or whatever her people called each other. She obviously wasn’t dazzled by his charm and good looks like most women, not to mention the fact that he was a prince. She was really didn’t seem to give a crap who he was. Olivia Snowhawk didn’t stammer or blush or bat her eyes. She obviously wasn’t attracted to him. He was sure this was the reason Simon had been so secretive about details on her personal life. He was trying to protect her from the social stigma of a same sex relationship.

At the same time he felt a big of jealousy when he thought of the two women. That was the sort of partnership he wanted. The way Hannah smiled at Olivia made him want to melt. He wanted someone who would love him as an equal partner, not just as a prince.

Candi made a pretty ornament but she could never be an equal partner. He felt the earring in his pocket. It was a nice fantasy, the thought of finding the mysterious enchanted woman.

Olivia returned still looking cheerful. “Forgive the interruption. I had to take care of a few things before Hannah left.” she said, shaking him from his thoughts. “Let’s find Thomas, we need to get to settled at the winery before nightfall. Heaven forbid we get stuck on the road near Allegory.

With a forced smile, Alexander opened the door for her, knowing there would be no winery tours for Miss Snowhawk that night.

He heard Simon speaking to Michael “Make sure she eats something occasionally, not just an apple here or there. Watch her drinking too. She thinks three glasses of wine makes dinner.”

“She won’t eat when she’s nervous. I’ll keep her calm. You know I’m one of the few people who knows how to take care of her,” said Michael, almost in a whisper.


Girl in the Woods


Next Week: Allegory and a major turn to the story.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

The Next Big Thing

Stick around because the next blog post is going to be “Things I hate about people who aren’t Vampires.” But now, drum roll please, I’m going to get personal. OK it is personal to me, but not really, because it isn’t about me.

About a dozen years ago I started writing a story to my friend Amelia as sort of a funny joke. It was my own take on a fairy tale. About 300,000 words later I had an epic adventure. Then I started to write some spin off stories because the characters were really fun and interesting. I now have a series.

Until I get picked up by a major publisher, publish this myself, or until you see this as the next HBO, Showtime or other  cable network series, this will be for you, my wonderful Vampire Maman readers.

After writing plays and then putting down my pen for what seemed like a century, this is what got me started back up writing again.

It is a story called “Girl in the Woods.” It is loosely based on the old princess and the pea story, but it goes beyond a simple fairy tale. It is a story about a quest for perfection, or more the rejection of perfection the reality sets in. Because we all know there is no perfections, especially when it comes to love.

Below are just a few points of this tale. Pretend you’re reading my private notes.

  • What happens when a twenty-two year old freedom fighter adopts twins – the children of his rival and former best friend?
  • What happens when a prince is expected to marry a perfect princess who turns out to be a junkie who is sleeping with half the men on his staff? What happens when he falls in love with someone else who is imperfect in ways he could never imagine.
  • What happens when a girl pretends to be a princess to escape a war torn country and ends up with a life based on lies? Then what happens when her own son falls in love with the daughter of her former lover?
  • It is the story of two generations of lovers and enemies.
  • It is an epic adventure.
  • There are no vampires (this is fiction folks), but you’ll find wizards, trolls, and mysterious beings that may or may not be from space. And of course there are cats. There are always cats.
  • It is a fairy tale with a prince and a princess. But the main character is the President of an international technology company who just happens to be a wizard, and just happens to be enchanted.
  • A newspaper reporter knows too many secrets about the woman he was afraid to love.
  • The story is post environmental disaster.
  • It is political.
  • It is funny.
  • It is disturbing and sick and twisted.
  • There are betrayals.
  • There is evil.
  • There is romance (of course.)
  • There is magic.
  • It is mostly about a circle of friends. As adults living their own lives, they are still connected.

Every Friday I will post an installment of the story. I’ll put it all on a page that you will be able to locate from either sidebar.

Below is Chapter 1, sort of a prologue to “Girl in the Woods.” A version of this first chapter was first published in the anthology “Passions Prisms” as a stand alone story.

Note: This is rough and unedited for the most part. I’ll polish it eventually.


Girl in the Woods
Chapter 1: Crystal Mountain Republic

“Do you still love her?” Crystal snarled. The vase flew across the room and shattered next to Jack’s shoulder.

Jack kept his hands on his hips, refusing to retreat from the angry woman in front of him. “Not for 40 years. What do I need to do to prove my love to you? We won a war, rebuilt a country and raised four successful children. We run a multinational corporation we’ve built from dust. We’ve built a good life.”

“You didn’t answer my question.”

“Damn you woman. I’m not going to answer you either.”

“Why not?”

“You’re the wizard. Read my bloody mind.”

Crystal threw a bookend making perfect aim. It crashed into his forehead and knocked him onto the floor. Jack looked up through a heavy flow of blood coming from the cut on his forehead.

“You are my heart Crystal and I will love you forever even if you kill me first.” Jack said glaring at her.

A much younger, tall handsome man with sparkling amber eyes and waist long reddish brown hair cautiously came through the door. “What the hell happened to you?” He said to Jack.

The older couple both turned to him. “Nothing” they said in unison.

Two small children tumbled into the room. “Go play downstairs” he told his kids “You’re grandparents are being a bit bad right now.” He looked at his parents with his hands on his hips and a look of disgust on his face. “When are you going to stop this behavior? You’re a bad example for the children.”

“What behavior?” asked his father with a wicked grin wiping the blood off his face with his shirt sleeve.

Crystal turned on the younger man. “Now that you’re here Justin, I want to tell you that now is not a good time to tell me to be nice and polite. Nobody knows where Robert Nightlander is. He has vanished off the face of the earth. I told you and your father that we should have killed him years ago. I don’t care who he might be related to, the man is evil.”

“We’ve located him. He is in the Northern Wastes but has moved around some. You know we can’t go up there.”

“Treaties be damned. I’ll go up there and kill him myself if I have to, before he kills your sister. He’s wearing her out Justin. He’s going to kill her if she can’t find a man with the kind of love it takes to…damn it. It was your duty, and your father’s to protect her.”

“Simon is keeping her safe. He made a promise as well as many others. Robert can’t touch her as long as she stays in the Northern Kingdom.” Justin gave Crystal a hug. She turned away and retreated.


The Northwestern Kingdom. What good was it having her beloved daughter Liv among barbarians, who sat in the sun all day and smiled like neutered sheep. Not to mention the fact their queen was a traitor to the Crystal Mountain republic – the kind of woman who got by with cunning and looks rather than courage and conviction. She knew what it was to have courage and conviction. She knew what it was like to put her life on the line for everything she loved and believed in. Sacrifice is something that bitch in the Northwestern Kingdom would never know.

“He fears Simon because Simon fears no man or wizard. But he can’t protect her all the time. He has his own wife and family to take care of. What if Robert went after Simon’s babies? It would be the blood of children on your hands Jack.”

Crystal excused herself so they wouldn’t see her tears and went alone out on the balcony, as was her habit when she needed to be by herself. She took a deep breath of the cool mountain air.


Memories of a time long ago came rushing back. On another dark night 31 years ago she’d gone out to the town pretending to be another causality of war. Another amputee, disfigured and homeless. She crawled under the fence with the plans unseen. It was a rush, a job well done. She hadn’t been caught this time. Her luck would run out sooner or later but it didn’t matter. What mattered was that she took the maps from the enemy.

As she made her way through the dark woods she tried to get the memory out of her mind of the dead woman. Even in death she was beautiful, her dark hair framing the face, the glassy dead green eyes, the blue gown torn at the neckline. Her throat had been cut. A man’s name had been carved into her chest. She’d been dumped by the side of the road. Chrystal weighed the body down and rolled her into the river and left her, only taking her jewelry and a lock of hair for the family. She had been a spy and Chrystal’s best friend. Crystal was on her way to find the man who had killed her friend.

Silently she picked the lock on the back door. Her prey was home alone, in a chair in front of the fire. Her arm went around his neck and she slammed him into the floor. She was on him, his arms snapped behind his back as she clipped on restraints. She could feel the fear in him.

His struggles were useless as she cut his skin from his chin up around his face, deep and steady. He screamed in pain. “You can dish it out but you can’t take it you pansy assed puke”. She taunted him. “Tell me where Doran Nightlander is headed or I’ll peel your face off.”

“I don’t know” he cried.

“Liar”. She said.

He was breathing hard. “Tell me.”

“Don’t hurt me. I have a family” the man begged like a child.

“We all have families. The minute you took the side of the Nightlander you sentenced yours to death. So where is Doran heading?”

“South along the Greenville Highway.”

“Liar” she said pushing her knife under the skin of his forehead and separating it from his skull. He screamed.

“North on the old road” the man gasped.

“How long ago?” She wiggled the knife under his skin again.

“They left at dawn.”

“Did they have the boy, Robert with them?”


“Liar liar liar.” She grabbed the skin on his forehead and pulled it down exposing his skull. He screamed again.

She smiled and said gently “Tell me where the plans are and I’ll leave you alone. Don’t tell me and I’ll kill your children. I know where they are tonight.”

“You don’t know anything.”

“I’m a wizard you fucking puke. I can feel the fear in you and tell that you’re telling me lies. I can sense where you hid your wife and babes. If you want I can grab the memories out of your brain and erase everything in there, so tell me where the plans are.”

“Under the bed, in the yellow box.”

“Telling the truth. Good boy.”

She looked under the bed and pulled out the box. There it was – a map of the prison. And it was real. She took the entire box in case it contained more useful information.

Walking over to him she looked around the room. It was the beautiful sitting room of a successful man. This successful man’s face was now bruised but could be fixed. It wasn’t a bad face. Nice friendly lines, sensuous lips. He had lovely golden brown eyes, now bloody red and bruised.

The sounds of horses were outside the door. He knew they were coming. He’d planned on trapping her by giving her the directions and stalling her for time. No such luck for him tonight.

She got close to his face. “You raped and marked a woman called Lauren then dumped her body in the woods. What was that about?”

“She was a traitor.”

“She was my friend.” Crystal snarled and drove her knife through the man’s eye and into his brain. Running to the back of the house she escaped into the night.

A few hours later Crystal entered the rebel compound with a shower of hugs and tears. After being almost a day late they thought they’d lost her – again. When she’d cleaned up and changed clothes she joined the crew in the main house.

Commander Crystal Fox returned to her outpost in the southern part of the Crystal Mountains. She was welcomed back as legend. Crystal Fox of the Crystal Mountains. As sparkling and sly as her namesake. A fearless, passionate and lovely young heroine, brave and true. Well, maybe not so lovely anymore. She’d been to hell and lived to tell.

Almost a year before news of her escape and that of Jack Snowhawk from the Baron’s notorious Blacktower prison camp had everyone in the country looking for her. At first there was big money for anyone taking her alive. Now they wanted her dead. It was an honor to be wanted so by her enemy. It meant she was doing her job.

Everyone at the compound talked about Jack. Was he really the wild and brilliant mind they’d all heard about? Had he really stood up to everyone? What were the children like?

She’d met the children he’d adopted or stolen considering whose side of the story you heard. Nobody could believe he had them. The boy was bright and with a personality like sunshine. The skittish girl was special in her own ways, a wizard thought to be more powerful than the Baron or any of his clan.

Crystal always had her standard answer. Yes, Jack Snowhawk was fearless and crazy but he was brilliant and a visionary. One day he’d bring their country back and into the future. Most of all, Jack was a man of honor.

After Jack always came talk of the legendary beauty Hi Shadowford. Everyone was always asking Crystal if Jack still loved her. He’d said vows to Hi and then she left him. It was a mystery why she vanished only to show up later in the newspapers of a foreign land.

Crystal heard their whispers. Was Jack over Hi Shadowford? Would he ever be over her? Poor Jack, how could any man get over having loved the most beautiful woman in the country?


“Do you believe in true love?” Asked one of the younger women as Crystal looked at the wall chart of their battle zones. “Commander Fox?”

Crystal turned weary of the small talk. “Right now I don’t have the luxury of thinking of true love and trivial stories about shallow romances.”

“Being a fighter doesn’t mean you have to be a cold unfeeling bitch.” Said Derek a spy who’d once been her lover.

Crystal fingered the dagger by her side. “Don’t you dare insinuate that I am cold and unfeeling. I have watched my friends and family die in the worst possible ways. My heart will never mend. My pain will never go away. I live for the memory of those I’ve watched die by the hands of those we’re fighting.”

Derek’s expression softened. “We’ve all watched our friends and family dies off in front of us but Crystal, we’re still alive. They wouldn’t want us to just give up and never feel love in our arms again.”

“I haven’t given up. I’ve given over my entire body and soul to the revolution” she answered.

Derek was popular with the woman but never touched Crystal after she’d returned from her imprisonment in the Blacktower. He, like so many other men was also afraid of her. He also knew it was best to leave her alone when she was like this.

She filled up her wine glass and stood by the fire, trying to forget her sickening rush she’d felt as she tortured and killed her enemy just a few hours earlier. At one time she had been a science teacher at a pretty little school with window boxes full of flowers and smart happy children. She’d imagined that one day she’d have children of her own. But then she’d seen her longtime lover buried alive because he’d had the misfortune of being born a powerful wizard. At that moment all hope failed until the next day when she’d been thrown into the tower with Jack Snowhawk. It seemed like a million years ago.


The other women continued to talk as if Crystal was fully engaged with them.

“I’m surprised you didn’t fall in love with Jack Snowhawk. God, he’s gorgeous.” Said one.

“A year with locked in a tower with him and I’d be sated for life.” Another giggled.

Jack was gorgeous but Crystal didn’t want them to forget that he was also a cunning fighter and a true friend. “I’m alive because of Jack Snowhawk and I’d give my life for his. But romance was the last thing on my mind, and his for that matter.”

The others looked at Crystal with disbelief. One spoke up. “That is hard to believe Crystal. Romance had to have crossed your mind. I know what you were like before all of this.”

All of this is what they would say to avoid the words “war” and “revolution” and “dismembered”.

“It’s been a long day. I’m heading upstairs. But get me if anything comes up.” She started out the room tired of the company.

Behind her back Crystal could hear the conversation pick up again. A pretty girl, who was also a talented code breaker, gave a snarky laugh “Commander Fox is in love with the war. We’ve all seen her practically have an orgasm over a good strategy in the map room. It’s almost obscene.”

Crystal spun around threw her dagger so fast it pinned the woman’s coat sleeve to the wall. “I’m not completely deaf or blind. If you forget that I’ll take you out so fast you won’t know what hit you.”

She yanked the dagger out of the wall and left the room. Since she’d come back she forced herself to think of nothing but the war effort. Every other dream was gone. If the war ever ended she’d deal with it then.

“After Hi Shadowford, does she really think Jack Snowhawk would settle for a disassembled freak like her?” Crystal heard one of the women whisper behind her back.

“Say it out loud” she called behind her. “Fucking cowards. Keep it up and you’ll no longer have my protection.”

Crystal climbed out to the roof and putting her coat collar tight around her neck. Jack. How could she think he’d love her the way he had loved his first partner. Hi Shadowford was so absolutely beautiful and perfect in every way possible. Crystal had involuntarily adjusted her eye patch and folded the stump of her arm in her lap, drawing her knees up close to her chest. She’d once been pretty, not beautiful like Hi but she’d been pretty enough to turn heads and make men long for her touch.

When she and Jack were prisoners in the tower together a yellowed newspaper had been brought up. It was in the common language used by the rest of the world. She could hardly read it but she could see the pictures in full color.

On the front was a picture of Hi Shadowford, her breath taking beauty almost jumping off the page. She abandoned the vows she’d made to Jack, escaped the country, gone to a new land and married a prince. She was now a Real Princess, whatever the hell that meant. Hi’s own father had started the revolution and now she had escaped and betrayed them all by turning her back on the cause. The prince she’d married was as handsome as one of the Nightlander Barons and smiling on his beautiful family. A later issue in the same bundle of pages showed Hi with a baby in her arms, a small beautiful blonde girl and a darling dark haired boy who had the green eyes of the Crystal Mountain folks sat at her feet. From what she’d read in the yellowed paper was that the mysterious new princess had adjusted to her new country and was adored by her people.

Their prison guards said, “She was your partner Jack. Now the only woman you’ve got, if you can call her a woman, is this creature here.” He said with an ugly sneer, kicking the mutilated Crystal out of her place in the shadows.

Jack was clearly disturbed by what he saw in the yellowed newspaper, but after that day he never mentioned Hi. Crystal never asked him about it.

Leaning against the side of the building the 25 year old Crystal stared into the fog and thought of her time with Jack. She missed the way he’d brush her hair with his fingers while he sang to her. She missed their long talks and star watching, huddled in the prison tower under a blanket together. She missed being curled up with him at night as they slept. She knew he kissed her hair and shoulders as she slept, or pretended to sleep in his arms. She heard him whisper the words “I love you Crystal” thinking she didn’t hear him. She missed the fire in his eyes. She missed the way he talked about the cause and the children. She missed him so much it ached. She missed the way he listened to her hopes and dreams never once telling her that it was hopeless to still dream.

After they were rescued, he’d made love to her for the first time. He told he that he loved her, his eyes glistening with tears. But Crystal told him they had to go their separate ways for the war. She was needed in the South; he had to with his children and run the intelligence operations in the North. Like a good soldier she accepted the reality of the situation knowing she’d probably never see him again.

Crystal never cried. Not when she watched as her wizard lover was buried alive. Not when they took her eye, not when they cut off her ear, not when the ax fell and severed her fingers, then chopped off her arm. Not when they cut deeply into her face and locked her in a tower for months without hope. She didn’t even cry when she watched Jack ride away to the North.

Now she sat on the roof and sobbed her heart breaking for the man who’d loved a beautiful princess. She loved Jack Snowhawk – the man every woman desired – the man she’d let go.

Years later they reunited and vowed their love forever, but sometimes the thought of everything she’d lost and might still loose hurt more than she could bear.



Her side became suddenly warm and she looked to a child snuggled up to her. She was back in the here and now, over 20 years later.

“Don’t cry Grams. Don’t think about those old dark times.” Her 12 old grandson held her hand.

“I’m sorry. Everyone thinks I’m a brave old warhorse but I’m not. Only you know my secret.”

“I love you.”

“You are my heart and soul dear child.”

“Heart and soul Grams.”

She looked up to see her own Jack standing by the door with a smile, pressing a bandage to his face. His long black curls were now flecked with gray but his green eyes still held the fire that could ignite the passion in her body and soul. He was still as handsome as he’d been 31 years ago. She still loved him more than ever.

In their own way they’d come together as a family that despite war and heartbreak would last forever.


~ end chapter one







More to come…


~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

The Baker Brothers

I rarely reblog anything on Vampire Maman but you have to read this. You MUST read this. Too much creepy Vampire fun. Of course you all know I am not one of THOSE Vampires. Not me. Thank you Matthew Stitt for your fine imagination.

Matthew R. Stitt

The church basement was dark but dry.  Sean walked through the darkness till he dumped over something but it clattered loudly over the floor.

“What the fuck, man!”  Sean’s brother Andrew whispered through clenched teeth.  “Are you trying to bring them down here.”  He added.

“Dude, we’ve been down here three god-damn days.  I’m thirsty and hungry.  I thought you had a plan to get us out.”

“You’re going to have to wait for it, Sean.  My plan is working.”

“What!  Are you kidding me,” Sean replied as he stepped up to Andrew.  “Are you waiting till they leave?  Is that your fucking plan?”

“No, that ain’t my plan, man.  Are you fucking nuts.”

“Then what’s your plan?”

“We wait for an opportunity.”

“Are you serious?  That’s no different the no damn plan.”

“Shh.. I think someone’s coming.”  The Baker brothers listened as the vampire walked above them.  Without the…

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Once upon a time, when I first started to blog I came across the blog of Raani York. The first post I ever read was about the do’s and don’t of kissing – for guys. I laughed out loud. Then I discovered her brilliant letters to celebrities. From there I met Jake the Cat Prince, read interviews and since then I’ve met other authors/bloggers through Raani’s extensive following. You never know what sort of fun you’ll find on Ranni York’s blog.

That is why I’m so excited and honored to help introduce her new book Dragonbride.

Imagine a world unlike any other. A world of dragons and magic and adventure… and romance.



(The Dragon Chronicles, Book #1)
Shalima, “Daughter of the Light”, was born under special circumstances. She was raised by her aunts instead of her mother because she needed to be prepared to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Scriptures, which told that she was the only Magician on Earth.

Her aunts carefully prepared her for her obligations and her sacred duty. She will have to get married to the Holy Golden Dragon, the King of the Dragons, a huge Earth Dragon with magical talents. She cannot believe that she is the “Chosen One”, who has to protect the Dragon Species, all of Nature and finally the Earth. But when she turned into a teenager it seemed that the Old Scriptures were right.

Buy the Book:

on Smashwords: https://smashwords.com/books/view/479647

As an Ebook for following formats: epub, mobi, pd,f rtf, lrf ,pdb, txt, html

The Paperback version on Amazon will be released very soon! More buyer’s links will be available within the next week.

About Raani York

Ranni York Author of Dragonbride

Ranni York
Author of Dragonbride

Raani York has been a high volume writer for years. She has published articles, letters, short stories, poems, continuation stories and descriptions of all kind. She also writes novels, some of which can found on her website.

Raani has been educated in Switzerland and in the U.S. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. She also obtained diplomas in Graphic Design, Color Studies and won a prize as a Logo Designer. She speaks four languages and several dialects.

Raani York works and lives in Switzerland and the U.S. and travels often.

Next to her writing and her cats, Raani likes reading, blogging, Martial Arts, skiing, horseback riding, sky diving and enjoys playing the classical piano.

Website: http://www.raaniyork.com
Blog: http://www.raaniyork.wordpress.com
Email: raaniyorkca@aol.com
Google: https://plus.google.com/115854197563561201228/posts
FB: https://www.facebook.com/raaniyork
FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/DragonScriptures
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RaaniYork
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/raani-york/5/922/b37
Myspace: https://myspace.com/raaniyork
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/12628426-raani-york
Microcerpt: http://microcerpt.com/raaniyork/
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/raaniyorkca/

Dragonbride Teaser:

The mountains possessed a dark but seductive beauty, and they lay in wait for the ones who came through the Fire Hell. The powdered white peaks of the sparkling black mountain-world watched for them with longing.
The Diamond Mountains gave the illusion of being much closer than they really were, and many a pilgrim had been lured to his death by the promise of riches hidden on their slopes. These mountains were so named because of the rough gems strewn about the black volcanic soil. When the sun shone overhead the gems made the mountains sparkle and shimmer brightly, and at night they made the moonlit mountains glow with a soft silver light.
People, blinded by both their greed and the tantalizing glittering of the sunlit earth, imagined that there was immeasurable wealth lying there on the ground, just waiting to be picked. However, the mountains never betrayed the secrets they held. None who had ever walked those slopes could find the diamonds hidden within the black soil, for the mountains protected themselves.
Although healthy forest still grew in the foothills, the undergrowth became sparser just a few hundred feet up, and then the treeline ended. Where stunted trees would normally grow the forest just stopped, as if some unseen hand had cut it short. All that remained were dangerously sharp, dry rocks. Just below the snowline, the rocks disappeared, and the glittering black soil took their place.
Moreover, at the summit it seemed as if the Creator of All Things had dusted the peaks of the fissured mountain range with powdered sugar, for they were covered with a deceptively soft-looking, yet extremely sharp-edged eternal snow.
The mountains never betrayed their secrets…
And if a wanderer were to climb those peaks, going up to the Fire Hell and searching to quench his thirst at a splashing mountain spring, he would find no cool, refreshing water. Instead, these living mountains would seek to frighten him by shrouding the ground with a mysterious fog that made it impossible to see where he was putting his feet. Pilgrims sometimes drowned in the sulfurous pools of water hidden within the hellish rocks when the fog appeared, and if they left the main trails, they would know true fear, for they would be led down treacherous sidepaths that seemed to take them somewhere, yet actually led them nowhere but to their doom.
The mountains never betrayed their secrets…
Though many thought they would find the cool relief of the shadows by early evening, the ascent would continue for another three torturous days. During those three days, their throats would scream for water, and their eyes would tear up in the swirling sand. Blown up by the hot desert winds, the sand burned as it fell upon a traveler’s face and skin. Eventually their limbs would become heavy, and they would barely be able to move; thus, the wanderers would be forced to crawl on, farther and farther, until sheer luck eventually brought them to civilization… to people.
In a canyon between two hills below the mountain range there was a village. It had no official name, but the people living there called it Alpcateçu, which meant Oasis of the Mountains. Anyone who wanted to climb the mountains had to pass through the village. A few taverns and inns surrounded the village fountain, where a market was sometimes held.
Some houses and huts had been built in the wide hills and even at the edge of the forest… and in one such place, hidden within the woods, almost four hundred feet past the deepest thicket and connected to the village only by a sidepath lay the place in which I had been born.


Dragonbride will also be featured on the blogs listed below. Please check out these blogs – you’ll thank me for it later.

Juneta Key http://www.junetakey.com/posts/want-featured-guest-author-blog/

David Beercroft http://www.davidmbeercroft.wordpress.com

Tammy Shanks http://www.manippydippytactics.com

Joyce Slobogian http://www.joyslobogian..com/blog

Peggy Stankiewicz http://psbartlett.me/

Laurie Smith http://laurie27wsmith.wordpress.com

Scarlett Flame http://missscarlettflame.blogspot.co.uk/

Patricia Pierce-Garcia-Schaack http://www.patgarciaschaack.com/
. http://www.patgarcia.co.uk/
. http://patgarciabookreviews.com/

Shirley McLain http://shirley-mclain.net/

Patricia Salamone http://theitalianthing.com/

Kelly Heckart http://www.kelleysrealm.blogspot.com/

Lexie Conyngham http://www.murrayofletho.blogspot.co.uk

Richelle Goodrich http://www.regoodrich.blogspot.com

Darian Wilk http://darianwilk.weebly.com/blog

Kelley http://www.thebookstalker.net/

Linda W. Yezak http://lindayezak.com/

Marta Merjaver Kurlat http://www.martamerajver.com.ar/marta/index.php/blogroll

Ashlee North http://ashleenorthauthor.com/index.html

Jeanette Andersen http://jeanettesandersen.blogspot.ch/

Merlin Fraser http://merlinfraser.wordpress.com/

Denise Bartram http://debooksharing.wordpress.com/

Juliette Kings https://vampiremaman.com/

Marla Todd http://www.westcoastreview.wordpress.com

Lisa Vandiver http://www.lisavandiver.blogspot.ch

Renee Scattergood http://reneescattergood.com/shadow-stalker/

Rebecca Draco http://rebeccadraco.com

Chelle Cordero http://ccepotourri.wordpress.com/

Kathryn Jenkins http://dkchronicles2013.wordpress.com/
. http://dkcwriterscorner.wordpress.com
. http://dkcreaderscorner.wordpress.com

Kirstin Puliof http://www.kirstinpulioff.com/

Elle Lisa Klaes http:// thetroubledoyster.blogspot.com

A. G. Moye http://booksbyagmoye.blogspot.com

Megan Cyrulewski http://www.megancyrulewski.com

Allan Krummenacker http://akrummenacker.wordpress.com

Lorraine Reguly http://wordingwell.com/blog/

August McLaughlin http://augustmclaughlin.wordpress.com/


Let your imagination soar…

~ Juliette aka Vampire Mamam

Note to Raani: Max said he was going to download this and read it. He’ll let you know what he thinks.

Short Story Sunday: The Child

Short Story Sunday is a rerun today. Hope you enjoy it. Have fun.

Vampire Maman

The Child (A Short Unspectacular Vampire Story)

“I don’t get them at all. What is it about the obsession with things like Proust and his stupid cookie or that German guy who kept shoving his cat into a box then pondering if it was dead or alive. And what is up with Hamlet? To be or not to be? Really? He needs some serious counseling. And don’t even get me started on Little Women.”

“Schrodinger. He was the guy with the cat,” I said.

“I hope it bit him,” said my partner (and best friend) Jayne.

We drove for a few more miles, lights off, but not in silence. There is never silence with Jayne along. She talks non-stop for hours on end, and endless stream of consciousness, a dialog of rambling thoughts and opinions.

“They’re all so stupid, you know, people who think they’re smart and profound. An it…

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