Short Story Friday

A Lunch Date Gone Wrong

By:

Victoria Clapton

2019

 

The bright orange glow from tonight’s full moon glowed over the mostly empty benches on Jackson Square. It was a cool, autumn evening in the French Quarter. Most of the tourists and artisans headed home over an hour ago and were now missing the magical ambience that situated on the old cobblestones.

“Are you ready, Sybella Rose?” I shivered as Demien’s hand came to rest in the small of my back, reassuring me that this idea of a date, a date with a vampire, wasn’t crazy.

I held up a heavy picnic basket my friend Aloysius had filled and smiled. “Sure.”

Like me, Demien loved to go down to the river at night, to watch the waters of the Mississippi roll by in rippling shimmers, so I didn’t even ask him where we were heading for our lunch date at 2:00 a.m. Over the levee, towards the moonwalk, we had a spot.

He made no sound as he moved, guiding through shadows. Only his long dark hair, ruffled lightly in the breeze. The sweet, citrusy scent of bergamot assaulted my senses with every step he took, and I fought the irrational urge to reach out for him, to pull him into a kiss that he may not even want.

Recently, I’ve made a career at throwing myself at the almost five hundred year old vampire walking gracefully beside me. I physically could not stop myself. I needed to touch him, to consume him, to be consumed by him.

As he showed no signs of insatiable attraction, I can only assume he is not afflicted by the malady, a curse known as The Binding, as I was. This, too, his ability to ignore the urges pressed upon us, drove me even more insane.

Someone listened to Trombone Shorty in one of the cars that pass by on Decatur Street. This town, my beloved New Orleans, embraced its culture like no other place.

“Where are your thoughts?”

I hadn’t realized that Demien had paused at the crosswalk, waiting for the signal to cross over Decatur, and now scrutinized my temporary silence.

“I was just thinking about New Orleans and its artists. Such a special place.”

The walk light flickered, and we crossed the street. I did not even bother with why a vampire cares about crosswalk procedures at two in the morning. Demien was filled with so many conundrums, keeping up with them was impossible.

“That’s why we locals fight so hard to keep outsiders from ruining it.”

I panicked for a moment, right in the middle of the road, when it occurred to me I no longer held the heavy picnic basket. Demien urged me along, shaking the picnic basket he must have grabbed from me at some point as he guided me towards our lunch destination.

Nerves assaulted me. No matter how long this went on, I continued to find myself baffled at the way Demien’s presence both calmed me and shot my nerves to frazzled. I could never predict what he would do next. His actions caught me off guard.

So, I stood there on a grassy patch near the moonwalk and the river, watching him spread out a checkered picnic blanket for me to sit upon while we dined…well, while I dined.

His movements held my attention as he carefully unloaded the basket–a bowl of fruit salad, a po’ boy dressed, a few bottles of Abita Amber. The snacks kept coming, more food than I could eat.

My mouth draped open as Demien opened each item of food, arranging it beautifully before me, and then held his hand out to help me sit in the Victorian skirt I had chosen to wear tonight.

This man, this vampire, was ruthless. Terrifying. I had seen him kill. I’d felt his violent rage against me, and I could not reconcile the horror with his heart.

“How was your day?” He motioned for me to begin eating as he stretched out his impossibly long legs and leaned back on his hands.

“You’re beautiful.” I murmured, then cursed. I hated this curse. I took a breath, then I answered his original question like a normal person. “JoJo taught me how to draw a few veves today, but I had to promise not to catch anything else in the shoppe on fire.”

“Again?” There was a smile in his tone. I could not control the magick inside of me, everyone knew it. Asking me to not let my emotions take over, to not magickly ignite the voodoo shoppe or anything else into roaring flames was almost a joke.

“Look, Mr. Vampy-Pants, this is your fault.” I was teasing, but his dead body lost whatever semblance of pretend mortality he acted out as it froze into complete stillness and his gaze settled onto the water.

He had slipped back into the dark place where he resided, and I had to do something before my stupid comment ruined our lunch date.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way, you know. Believe it or not, even though you are a huge pain in my ass…I enjoy your company.”

“You’re not eating.”

“Jerk!” I whispered under my breath but picked up the po’ boy and took a huge bite.

He scoffed but relaxes somewhat, and I focused on my food to keep from crawling into his lap and begging him to take me right there in public.

The moment between us was peaceful, enjoyable even, until a whirring sound and a warning yell pulled me from my happy place.

“Watch out!”

Demien scooped me up in a blur, and the eruption of thuds and thwacks in the place where we’d just been sitting took me by surprise.

“What the bloody hell?” I declared, though I’m less concerned with what interrupted our moment than the loss of Demien’s arms when he released me.

I took in the tenseness in Demien’s shoulders, the way he ever-so-slightly crouched, and looked beyond him to see that some punk had been out on the Moonwalk in the middle of the night in roller skates and had lost control, careening through the grass straight on top of our picnic.

Demien’s anger froze the kid into place. Having let his guard down with me, he’d slipped straight into predator mode at the first hint of me being in danger.

I stepped around my solid hunk of vampire and offered a hand to the kid who’d plummeted upon our lunch. “Here, let me help you up. Are you hurt?”

He stuttered and stammered, “N…no. I’m fine. I’m so-sorry.”

“Okay,” I said calmly. “You should go.”

Like any rational person, I thought that if anyone should get bitten here, it damned well better be me, but I kept my thoughts to myself and aided the kid to his feet.

“Sorry, again. I didn’t mean to…” The kid’s preservation instinct kicked in and he took off into the night.

I took a deep breath and began picking up the remnants of our lunch date gone wrong, and then pulled on the bond between us. “Demien, come to me.”

I didn’t know if he’d succumb to my request. He was just as likely to disappear into the night. I packed everything away except the blanket, which I flipped over.

“Demien, come and sit.”

He didn’t look at me. Deep down, I knew he couldn’t. He was fighting the demon inside of him, the predator that had wanted to kill, that still wanted to kill. But he once more found a place on the blanket.

Relief rushed through me…then insanity. Without any hesitation, I maneuvered my body until I was sitting between his two legs with my back up against his chest. My bare neck waiting, beckoning just below his mouth.

“Sybella,” he growled in warning.

His fangs brushed against my skin.

“What? Didn’t we come here for lunch?”

 

 

 

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The Weaver–Cover Reveal!

THE WEAVER

by

Heather Kindt

 

Most writers choose the endings to their stories . . . most writers are not Weavers.
Laney Holden is a freshman at Madison College whose life goes from normal to paranormal in a matter of seconds. When the antagonist in the book she’s writing shoves her down the stairs at the subway station, she learns she is a Weaver. Weavers bridge the narrow gap between fantasy and reality, bringing their words to life.
Laney soon meets William whom she also suspects is a character from her book—one she’s had a mad crush on since her pen hit the paper. But he’s in danger as her antagonist reveals a whole different ending planned for Laney’s book that involves killing William. Laney must use her writing to save the people closest to her by weaving the most difficult words she will ever write.
THE WEAVER is the first installment of The Weaver trilogy. It is an NA paranormal romance set in a small town on the north shore of Boston. It will leave you wanting more.

 

 

Coming Fall 2019!

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Fall In Love With A Book!

Calling All Romance Lovers…

♥Happy Valentines Day!♥

 

 

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The Crown and Country Series

Fellow author MK Mancos is putting the finishing touches on Book 4 in this brilliant series! Catch up and be ready when she’s done!

Book 1

Queen’s Menagerie

 

A fiend is murdering the Queen’s agents.

Menagerie Special Agent, and tiger shifter, Mordecai Pope is charged with apprehending the villain who litters the river’s edge with the half-shifted corpses of his colleagues. As he examines the bodies he discovers the murderer has not only taken tissue samples and blood, but removed the talises – a special tattoo used to prove the shifter’s registration and animal class. When an unregistered, half-shifted man is found alive and repeating the Reaver word for venom, Mordecai begins to suspect there are more to the murders than meets the eye.

Lady Evangeline Murray has spent the last seven years cursing the memory of her fiancé who was lost on an exotic expedition to the far ends of the world. His pursuit of scientific discovery often overstepped the bounds of morals and propriety. Through the years, Evangeline has had to keep her own counsel over the man all of society dubbed “a man without peer” but whom she felt little respect. To prove his madness and free herself from binding betrothal laws, Evangeline has embarked on a perilous venture of her own. In possession of her fiancé’s notebooks, Evangeline has painstakingly recreated his experiments and deciphered his secret codes even though scientific exploration is illegal for women in East Angelía. Now her work has brought her under the suspicion of her new beau and Menagerie Agent, Mordecai Pope.
When Mordecai’s case and Evangeline’s past collide, they must work together to find a killer bent on creating an army of shifters and setting them loose on the world, even if it means losing each other forever.

 

 

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Between Two Wolves

Between Two Wolves

by

Catherine Vale

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

 

Having your throat cut has a way of changing a girl…so does being bitten by one of your two lovers.

Luscious and curvy, that’s what they called me, as they shared me. Jericho behind me, his viking-huge hands on my hips, and Colt in front of me, his muscular thighs parted, generously saluting, taking what was his, with fingers weaved through my fiery red hair…. So my ex-fiancé had cheated. Who cares?

Well, I’d cared. For months. His betrayal had eaten me alive, filling me with resentment fueled rage. I’d stopped seeing beyond the past, at the cost of the present, and the future. My world had crashed down around me, and I couldn’t breathe.

Black Wolf Mountain was my answer. So, I went, leaving everyone I knew and loved behind as I searched for myself in the wilderness. Instead, death found me lying in a bed soaked with my own blood.

But death is no match for a wolf…not my wolves.

But what about me?

Is there more to me than death can take?

Is there enough of me for two to love?

 

Note To Readers: This is a stand-alone novel, a complete story, and free of cliffhangers.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26400359-between-two-wolves

 

Author Bio:
NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author Catherine Vale writes urban fantasy stories of magic and mayhem and paranormal romance.

 

Author Links:

Website: https://catherinevale.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/valeromance

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8191547.Catherine_Vale

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2MHhth6

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/catherinevalebooks/

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Nmm0Xt

 

 

Ancestors—The Binding: Book Three!!!

As each evening passes, life in the Big Easy becomes increasingly complicated, at least it does for Sybella Rose, Vampire Queen of New Orleans.

Immediately after discovering she had unknowingly been half-fae before receiving the Cadeau de Illecebrous from her mate, King Demien, Sybella Rose, along with her friends, disinterred that the Binding was nothing more than a curse to control and annihilate vampires all over the world. Now, she must unearth a way to abolish the curse and free vampires of faery manipulations, but she will need the help of her friends before the drama can be laid to rest. Unfortunately, the Touchets have been avoiding Sybella Rose, and it seems that they have been harboring much-needed information about the Binding.

Sybella Rose’s world comes to a crashing halt when the Council of Nine interrupts a meeting and Oliver steps in to take the brunt of a deadly attack meant for her.

Will Sybella Rose lose her best friend before she an destroy the Binding?Have their efforts been for naught?

Join Sybella and Demien one last time in the nightside of their beloved New Orleans as they turn to the Ancestors for guidance and, once again, attempt to save all that they hold dear.

 

Ancestors is available today!

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Victoria Clapton

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About The Author!

Southern-born Victoria Clapton is no stranger to writing. She completed her first book of poetry at age eight and her first novel at age thirteen. Multilingual, friend to all creatures, Victoria is a forever curious world traveler with a mysterious knowledge of things and places that encompass many lives ago, an avid collector of saga books, a practicing vegetarian and yogini with her feet well balanced in earth’s splendor. She and her cat companions enjoy all things Viking, faery, vampire, new writing instruments, herbology and anime.

 

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