The Admirer – Excerpt

Prologue

 

Louisa Edwards considered herself the consummate woman of the times. She cared for the house, directed the servants, and occupied herself with the appropriate hobbies and charitable contributions. She presented herself and her house in the best possible image, and often entertained rich neighbors and influential people. If she heard the muttering of “middle-class pretensions” and “nouveaux riches” that some made around her, she simply ignored it. It was the wife’s duty to further the status and the influence of her husband, and therefore her own, by any means necessary.

Her success in these endeavors helped her to forget the one great failure in her life: despite numerous attempts, over twenty years of marriage, she had failed to provide her husband with any children. She consoled herself with the utter conviction that, had God been willing to give her any children, she would have raised them to become upstanding citizens.

The proof of this bold statement lay in her ward, Rose Fraser. Rose had been the daughter of her husband’s sister, and Mrs. Edwards graciously took her in when she found herself orphaned, fifteen years ago. Rose was everything Mrs. Edwards could have hoped for in a daughter: she was proper, obedient, and demure. A lifetime of work and prayer had led to this moment, the apex of any girl’s education: the marriage mart. It could be their magnum opus, or their swan song. Mrs. Edwards was so determined to achieve the former, that the possibility of the latter never entered her mind. When a neighboring lady, who happened to be a peer of the realm, extended to Rose an offer of patronage for the London season, she did not see this as a gift from God, or even as a good omen: she saw it as no more than her due.

She had not expected any opposition, especially not from her husband. Mr. Edwards had allowed for the girl to have a lady’s education, paying for governesses and tutors with no hesitation. But now that she was ready for her season, the end of the journey, the moment they all were waiting for, now he objected?

“The governesses came here,” he explained impatiently when his wife questioned him. “I could see to both their wages and my business at the same time. London is almost 200 miles away; just the getting there will take three days at least. And to stay there for the whole summer? I won’t have a business left when I return!”

As she took in a deep breath, Mrs. Edwards reminded herself that she was grateful that her husband had been present to take over the business after his father’s tragic hunting accident, that she would undoubtedly find the life of a military wife exceedingly uncomfortable, and that she did not wish he had remained in the Pacific after the Crimean war. As she slowly exhaled, she plotted her arguments to convince him that his presence was necessary. It would be very awkward, and potentially dangerous, for Rose and herself to travel so far without any male protection.

“Well, you know best, my dear.” Mrs. Edwards appeared resigned to her fate. “Of course, Rose and I must go. To refuse this invitation from the viscountess would be a great insult. But, since you cannot be spared from your business, I am sure we shall manage without you. I trust you have faith in my ability to act on your behalf? Someone will have to receive the offer of marriage for Rose, should any be made.”

Mr. Edwards did not reply. His jaw was clenched; his complexion was turning to an unbecoming shade of red, which darkened even further as he spied his wife’s slight smirk. He turned to the main object of the discussion. “Rose,” he called. “What do you think of this affair?”

Rose had hoped that her guardians could settle the matter between themselves, without calling on her. She strongly disliked having to choose a side in their conflicts. Her opinion would not make any difference, and the only result would be to hurt or anger the person she sided against. Hurt her uncle or anger her aunt. Neither bode well for Rose.

She tried to be diplomatic. “I am sure that you and my aunt will do whatever is in my best interest.”

Her aunt would have none of it. “The viscountess invited you to London, and offered her patronage for your London season. Do you wish to insult the viscountess by refusing her?”

“No, my aunt.”

“The only way to politely refuse this invitation is to already have an agreement with a gentleman. No such gentleman came to your uncle and me to express his intentions. Have you been carrying on with someone in secret?”

“No, of course not!”

“I thought not. Since you have no serious prospects here, there is no reason for you not to go to London, is there?”

“No, my aunt.”

Mr. Edwards abruptly left the room, declaring that he had arrangements to make. Mrs. Edwards, pleased to have gotten her way, instructed Rose to write to the viscountess and formally accept her invitation, informing her that they could be expected in town in a fortnight. She then rang the butler and began to make arrangements of her own.

Many frenzied days later, the Edwards and their ward left for London.

 

Chapter 1

 

The first dinner in town of the Edwards family was a simple, rich, and tense affair.

While they did send word of their arrival, they reached the house which the viscountess helped them secure, on Charles Street, at nearly five. By the time they were settled in, it was too late to call on anyone. Not that they knew anyone in town worth calling on other than the viscountess, according to Aunt Edwards.

The viscountess, though she could not call on them herself, took care of furnishing the house and providing all the necessary servants. The staff was thankfully flexible enough to include the few servants whom the Edwards brought with them, such as Eliza, Rose’s maid, and Robinson, their butler, who had been with the Edwards for as long as Rose had lived with them. The usual cook, however, had been replaced by a French chef, who prepared a meal unlike any Rose had ever eaten.

Despite the deliciousness of the meal, and the wonder of finding herself in a new town, the tense atmosphere around the dinner table made Rose feel uneasy. As soon as their carriage had stopped in front of the house, Uncle Edwards had jumped out and declared that he was off to Arthur’s, a nearby gentleman’s club. Aunt Edwards tut-tutted him; the club was nowhere near prestigious enough to satisfy her, but she did nothing to stop him. He stayed out for two hours, only coming back at dinnertime.

Rose had hoped that the hours spent at the club this afternoon would have soothed her uncle’s displeasure in coming to town, and that the satisfaction of being here would have pleased her aunt enough to lift her spirits. She had hoped for a pleasant dinner, but that hope was in vain.

Her uncle was obviously still upset. His posture was rigid, his expression somber, and he only opened his mouth to eat. Her aunt appeared to not eat at all; she was too busy making plans. They had to visit the shops, of course; Rose did not own anything fit to wear to a concert or a ball, and only possessed a few decent day dresses. Rose was expected to put on her very best dress the next day, when they were shopping. There were also calls to be paid, and it would not do for Rose to look like a pauper on her first day in town, or indeed, ever.

Rose stopped listening as her aunt expressed, once more, her displeasure at arriving in town so late in the day. Rose had heard the complaint often enough in the last few hours. Earlier in the journey, her uncle had pointed out that they would have arrived in town sooner had they taken the train. To which her aunt invariably replied that trains are noisy, dirty, and fit only for cargo, and that they were taking their carriage, as civilized people do. Perhaps Uncle Edwards made the observation once more; if he did, Rose did not hear.

Instead, she let her mind drift along the sounds of the household: the clopping of feet on the floor, the whooshing of someone rushing through a corridor, the clanging of silverware and china being gathered, the soft humming of a maid. She thought she heard a knock at the front door, but it made no sense; the Edwards weren’t expecting anyone. Perhaps it was someone knocking next door.

“That is quite enough, Rose!”

Her aunt’s sharp tone brought Rose’s attention back to the dining room table. She looked down and saw that she had eaten half her plate. Her aunt had very decisive opinions on the appetite of a lady, and Rose usually paid better heed to them. She put down her knife and fork.

“Leave the girl alone,” her uncle replied, speaking for the first time in hours. “She’ll need her strength to go through the circus you’ve planned for her.”

“What good would it do for her to be strong if she can no longer fit into her dresses?”

“Aren’t you going to the shops anyway? Let her buy bigger dresses and be done.”

To say that Aunt Edwards was shocked was to put it mildly. “You… insufferable… Do I walk into your factories and tell you how they should be run? No, I do not. This is my affair, and you will kindly let me run it my own way. I know best.”

The sound of a throat clearing interrupted the discussion.

“Begging your pardon, madam, sir” said Robinson.

“What it is?” asked Aunt Edwards.

“A message was just delivered for Miss Rose.”

“Well, take it back! Whoever sent it should have better sense then to deliver messages during dinner time. Let him come back at a more decent hour.”

Aunt Edwards’s tone was harsh. Harsher, perhaps, than it would have been had she not been so upset with her husband. But, regardless of the tone used, the lady of the house had spoken, and all Robinson could do was leave the room, with a small bow and a quiet “Yes, madam.”

The table was cleared, dessert was brought up, and Rose was left with the difficult task of calculating exactly how much of said dessert would be too much, and therefore further upset her aunt, and how much would be too little, which would in turn insult the chef.

After dinner, the family retired to the sitting room. As Uncle and Aunt Edwards each took a seat in their respective chair, Rose made her way toward the piano.

“Rose.” Her aunt’s call stopped Rose in her tracks. It was not as harsh as the dinner reprimand; the tone was conversational rather than chiding.

“May I not play the piano tonight, my aunt?” Rose knew the answer, even as she asked the question, but she held out hope nonetheless.

“No, you may not,” replied Aunt Edwards. “I have told you before, child, you are much too proficient on the instrument as it is. No one wants a braggart for a wife. Take some needlework instead.”

She would have preferred to play, especially on that night, when the mood was so dark. Rose had so much on her mind: being in town for the first time, the current state of disharmony between her aunt and uncle, the necessity to find a husband who would get her guardians’ approval, the hope that her fiancé would be a man she can have a loving relationship with, the fear of making such an utter fool of herself that she would ruin her chances of happiness forever. Music would express her worries better than words could, and she had much hope that by driving her disquiet into the world and out of her mind, she would find some peace.

But it was not to happen, not at that moment. Aunt Edwards had spoken. Rose picked up the needlework she had started back in Yorkshire, and took a seat.

Her uncle read the evening newspaper. Her aunt read from a small book of poetry. Rose embroidered a handkerchief. The silence was oppressive.

It was Robinson who broke the tension once more. “I’m terribly sorry for the interruption, but there is the matter of Miss Rose’s message.”

“Have you not sent it back?” The news did nothing for Aunt Edwards’s mood; as mistress of the house, she expected her orders to be obeyed without question.

“I intended to, madam, but I’m afraid that I returned to the door to find the messenger gone.”

“Well, bring it in,” said Uncle Edwards. “Oh, do not frown at me, my dear. I know you are as curious as I am to find out what this mysterious missive says, and who sent it.”

Rose laid down her needlework as Robinson approached her. He handed her an intricately folded piece of paper, bearing her name.

“Well?” asked Aunt Edwards, as Rose was silently reading the note. A more observant person than Mrs. Edwards might have noticed that Rose was struggling to control her breath and her voice, or how tightly she was holding the paper, until her joints were white and her hand was trembling.

“It only says welcome to town.”

“Who sent it?”

“I do not know, my aunt. There is no signature and no seal.”

“Robinson, who delivered it? What can you tell us about his appearance?”

“Nothing, madam. He was but a street urchin.”

Before her aunt could express her displeasure at the butler’s unsatisfying report, and at the idea that anyone would use a street urchin to deliver any kind of message, Rose asked permission to retire for the night.

“Oh, very well. Remind Eliza to prepare your sea green day dress for tomorrow. You must be especially careful with your appearance, since you have already been noticed.”

Rose promised that she would, and, after wishing a good night to her aunt and uncle, she left the room while her aunt resumed her interrogation of Robinson.

 

***

Rose was pacing in front of the fireplace in her room, holding her anonymous note. It was no more than that, a note, much too short to deserve the name of letter or missive. It was only a few lines, but those lines chilled her to the bone.

 

And so you arrive, Miss Fraser, to London town,

Like a little country mouse walks into the viper’s nest,

Beware, you meek and feeble thing, not to be swallowed whole

 

Rose could not decide what to do. She told herself that she was overreacting. It was a jest, nothing more, a jest of poor taste, and she ought to throw the note in the fireplace and forget all about it.

Yet she could not bring herself to do it. A jest this may be, but people did not act without a reason, and she could not fathom an explanation for someone, anyone, sending her this note. The best she could hope for was to uncover the identity of her… she was not sure what to name the person who wrote this. “Admirer” was altogether the wrong term. “Tormentor” felt too strong, after only one note. “Correspondent” suggested that she was writing back to him, which she had neither means nor intentions of doing.

The… taunter, as she finally settled on, would not stay anonymous very long. She had seen enough little brutes playing this kind of game to know. He would want to get a better look at her reaction, enjoy the fruits of his labor, so to speak, and he would betray himself. When he did, she would be able to face him and get some sort of explanation.

He would probably deny it, of course, unless she could provide some proof. So she kept the note, put it in a drawer, and resolved to put the matter out of her mind for the night.

But as she lay in her bed, falling into an uneasy sleep, she could not shake the suspicion that something more sinister than a mere jest was afoot.


“Blood Relations” Interactive Story – Part V

To celebrate our upcoming release, “Blood Relations”, we have an interactive story where YOU, the reader, get a say in what happens next!

Here is Part V of the story – Frances and Carolina from FB, this is a partial explanation for you…

You have until Sunday September 1st, at midnight EDT (Eastern Daylight Time), to post, in the comments section, your answers to the questions at the end of the story! After that, we will choose one that we find particularly inspiring, and Part VI will be posted.

Enjoy! 🙂

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Finally, Sasha McLaren was in bed. She was exhausted by the day. The grueling autopsy, the nagging police officer, the kids not wanting to eat, not even their favorite fries from the diner around the corner. What was up with that? When was Todd coming back from that conference again? He was her rock and her confidant and there was so much she wanted to share that night…

Rolling around in her bed, her mind wandered back to the morgue. That autopsy was very peculiar and she wasn’t too pleased with the results. She had been thorough, but something was eluding her. The body did not have many clues to offer, only a few bruises. He had obviously been kicked in the right place. A bad date gone wrong? She was secretly cheering for that one. With his past, she bore no sympathy to the victim. He had gotten what he deserved…

But that neck… It looked like somebody had taken a bite out of him, much like one would in a hamburger. The inspector had been really annoying, questioning her judgement in front of everyone.

“What do you mean, a bite?”

“Sure. Just like you would take in a hamburger.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“Not in the slightest, sir.” She had tried to stay polite, but wanted to slap him.

“You mean to tell me that this looks like somebody tried to eat that guy? What, like a vampire would? You clearly have been reading too many romance novels.”

“I’m not saying this is what happened, but it does look like it.”

This finding was quite intriguing… What if vampires really did exist? Sasha turned to the other side. She needed a fresh opinion. Somebody with an open mind. The inspector had been so patronizing… There was no way they would find the truth with him as the head investigator.

– – – – –

Katherine followed the cat through the neighborhood. She felt like Alice in the fairy tale that she had to read for English class in the 7th grade. What had been the name of that book? Many other questions were going through her mind: first, where was he taking her? What did he want her to do? How did he know about her powers? She was barely coming to terms with them. Those voices she could hear, the things she could move, and, most scary of all, the things she could make people do. Ok, it was awesome to get out of those dreaded math assignments, but could she use it to save Mariana? Katherine was doubtful. But she was a loyal friend, and she and Mariana had made a pact with each other, to always be there for one another. Granted, that was in the 4th grade, with a pinky swear, but it still counted as binding. Good thing the sun was still up; she felt a little bit more secure. What if the vampires attacked her at night? What if Mariana didn’t recognize her? Those thoughts were getting the best of her. What if that cat was just a lure from the vampires, assuming that they even existed? He did sound pretty convincing. Katherine had to rely on herself now, and no amount of superpowers seemed to reassure her.

The cat finally turned around and said:

“We have arrived. After you, my dear…”

Katherine, almost stumbling upon the cat, looked up, horrified.

“What in the name of hell is that?”

 

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QUESTIONS:
– Where is Katherine? What did she see?
– What do you think Sasha will do? Will she investigate on her own? Who is this Todd? Could he help her?
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“Blood Relations” Interactive Story – Part IV

To celebrate our upcoming release, “Blood Relations”, we have an interactive story where YOU, the reader, get a say in what happens next!

Here is Part IV of the story – watch out Nicole C. from Facebook, you will recognize your comment in this!

You have until Wednesday August 21st, at midnight EDT (Eastern Daylight Time), to post, in the comments section, your answers to the questions at the end of the story! After that, we will choose one that we find particularly inspiring, and Part V will be posted.

Enjoy! 🙂

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When Katherine reached the school, she still hadn’t heard back from Mariana. Nor did she see her at their usual hangout spots throughout the day. By the time school ended, Katherine was getting really worried, and decided to stop by Mariana’s house to check on her.

When she reached the house, she was surprised to see Mariana’s parents’ cars in the driveway. That meant they were not at work – which didn’t look good. Did something happen to her friend? She had just started up the walkway to the front door, when a big grey cat jumped in front of her, starring at her intently.

“Mariana is not here, Katherine”, he said.

Katherine stopped dead in her tracks and starred at the cat. Cats don’t talk!

“Do not be afraid, Katherine – I mean you well.”

“You… you… you talk?”

“My name is Samuel; you can call me Sam. I know what you can do, Katherine, and I need your help. I know where Mariana is.”

Katherine blinked. How did this cat know her name – and her superpower?

“Please, Katherine. Consider you abilities – you should not be too surprised by a talking cat…”

“I… I guess so…” Kind of, she added mentally. Her “abilities” were one thing, a freaking talking cat was another all together. Still… “You… you know where Mariana is?” She continued. “She’s not home? What happened? Where is she?”

“Something terrible has happened to her. I’m afraid she is lost to the other world, unfortunately. I was hoping that you both could help with that problem, but we will need to rely on you now. They are getting too numerous.”

“Something… terrible? What happened?!”

“She has been turned.”

“Turned?”

“Yes.”

“What does that even mean?” I can’t believe I’m having this conversation with a cat, she thought. A cat!

“You are not familiar with the term? I thought all teenagers today knew about the trend that vampire lore has become. Granted, the real thing has nothing to do with what you find in those romance books and movies.”

“Vampires? What the hell? Vampires don’t really exist.”

The cat gave her what she thought was his best attempt at a level, slightly annoyed, look – considering it was, well, a cat.

“Again… Katherine, think about it.”

“Yea, yea, I have abilities, I know, I know.”

“We need your gift to help with the problem of the vampire populations’ recent increase in this town.”

“Erm… You need me to get involved with vampires?”

“You can help us Katherine.”

“And Mariana? Can we help her too?”

“Mariana is lost to us. She has been transformed. It is up to you, now.”

“No way! I’m not letting her down! She’s my best friend!”

“Katherine! Listen to me! The Mariana you knew is no longer. If she sees you at night, she won’t give you a second thought. You are but food to her now. She is dangerous. As are all the others being turned. We need to do something about it before it’s too late.”

This was all too weird. Sure, Katherine had a “gift”. She had known for a few years now. Mariana knew about it too; she was the only one. Katherine was too afraid of being labelled a freak or being hauled away to a testing facility to tell anyone else. She hardly ever used it either: she just wanted to be normal.

But now this cat – talking cat – wanted her to not only use it, but use it against vampires? And against her friend? Not a chance. Katherine knew Mariana: she was sweet and friendly, and would not hurt a fly. Surely part of her had survived the transformation? There must be a way to help her… But how? She had no idea where Mariana was, and could not find her on her own. Her abilities were not something that could locate people on a whim.

However, this cat did know… Perhaps, if she agreed to help him, he could lead her to Mariana, and she could then do her best to save her friend.

“Ok,” she decided. “Sure. I’ll help you.”

“I am glad to hear that, Katherine. Come, I have much to tell you.”

The cat walked by her and made his way down the sidewalk. Katherine hesitated only a second, and then walked behind the cat.

 

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QUESTIONS:
– What do you think Katherine’s “superpower/ability” is?
– Why would Samuel need her to help with the town’s vampire problem?
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“Blood Relation” Interactive Story – Part III

Here is Part III of our interactive story, in honour of  “Blood Relations”.

Comment below with your answers! Please post your comments by Wednesday, August 14th, midnight (EDT)!

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‘You really don’t want to do this, Mariana’?

What, like she was gonna takes orders from a cat? She was thirsty! The anger at the idea that someone would try to stop her from feeding, the indignation that the someone was a cat, only fueled her murderous instincts. She launched herself at the animal.

But as fast as she was now, this king of cats was even faster. When she reached the mouth of the alley, it was empty. She tried to tell herself that it was just as well. Even that big a cat was still just a cat, wouldn’t give her much to feed on.

But she was still thirsty. She began to look around, to listen, trying to find something, someone, to feed on. The street was empty. People were inside their houses; she could hear them moving around. If she focused, she could hear their heartbeat.

“Well, folks,” said a voice from a radio, somewhere on her left, “we made it halfway through the show, and it’s tomorrow! We’re celebrating, with twelve hits for the twelve strokes of midnight, no commercial breaks, starting right now!”

Midnight. About five hours until dawn. Dawn was bad. She had to hurry, feed quickly and find a safe place to hide before the sun came up. She was too far gone to question her new-found instincts; that would come later. For now, she went to look for someone out in the streets, someone to eat.

***

Well, that was close, thought Samuel. In hindsight, reaching out to a vampire less than a day into her change had not been the best idea. He was running short on time, though, and his options were limited.

He would have to appeal to the other girl next. Thankfully, she was safe and sound in her bed, and should therefore still be human in the morning.

***

Seven hours later, Mariana was hidden away in the basement of an abandoned industrial building, safe and satiated, sleeping the sleep of the dead.

***

Not too long before that, Katherine Wilson was being woken by her parents. Had she heard from her friend Mariana? ‘She never got home after you two went to the movies last night, and her parents are worried’. Katherine hadn’t heard from Mariana. She was more confused than worried, at that point, but she still did her duty and began texting, oblivious to the large grey cat watching her every move from across the street.

***

At about the same time, Sasha McLaren entered the morgue. She was in a rotten mood. It was supposed to be her day off. She was supposed to take her kids to the zoo. She almost went home after reading the file compiled by the officer in charge, Sargent Johnson. The name of the victim was Richard Leak, aka “Big Dick”, and he was found in the alley behind the club where he worked as a nude dancer when he wasn’t making pornos. There was a post-it attached to the file: “look at the neck”. It was the neck that made her stay; torn apart, just like the others. Looks like she was going to spend her not-off-after-all day opening up a Chippendale named Big Dick Leak. Jesus Christ.

 

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QUESTIONS:
– Now that Mariana is out of the action, waiting out the sun, who should we follow?
Sasha or Katherine? What should happen next?

.

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“Blood Relations” Interactive Story – Part II

Here is Part II of our interactive story, in honour of  “Blood Relations”. Watch out, Corey M. of FB, you will recognize yourself in this!

Comment below with your answers! Please post your comments by Tuesday, July 30th, midnight (EDT)!

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She was lying on her side, her back against the side of the concrete wall of one of the buildings. The first thing she noticed was her aching throat and mouth, as if she hadn’t had a drop of liquid to drink in days. She had never felt a thirst like that, and it was hurting like hell. She pushed herself up with her arms and sat looking around her, trying to remember what had happened to her. She slowly started to realize that something about her was different. She could see things she shouldn’t be able to, at least not at night.

Then, she heard a faint noise at the back of the alley.

To her surprise, she was already standing in a karate stance, ready to fight, without even having thought about it. She had moved so fast that she froze in place, thinking that was impossible, and she must be freaking crazy. She heard the sound again. She looked to the left at the end of the alley where garbage cans lay scattered on the side, except one. All of a sudden a big ball of grey fur jumped out of the can that was still standing, landing a few feet from her. She jumped and snarled at it.

“What the hell? Did I just snarl?” she said, shocked.

“Yes, you did snarl”, she heard a voice say.

She looked around the ally several times, then up, to see if there was anybody on the roof. No one!

“Who’s there? Show yourself!” she screamed in panic.

“My name is Samuel, but everybody calls me Sam. Do not be alarmed, I will not hurt you.”

She swept the area but there was nobody there, except the big grey cat which jumped out of the garbage can earlier. Now he really caught her attention, for she had never seen a cat as big as that one before. He was strutting slowly towards her with his enormous bushed tail and head held higher than an ordinary cat. His big green eyes were observing her with an intelligence that was almost human, though the color was way off. Not a normal green at all: it was dark forest green. How weird is that! She thought. Then, to her astonishment, she saw his mouth moving as she heard:

“I am the king of all cats, and I can talk. You are not crazy, Mariana.”

She snorted in disbelief.

“You’re a talking cat, and I’m not crazy?” she screamed at him. “What the fuck happened to me tonight? Am I in the Twilight Zone, or what?” she continued rambling, discouraged”.

Then, she heard the sound of a small heart, beating and pumping blood. She could hear the blood flowing as it traveled along the arteries and veins. She licked her lips, the thirst suppressing all other senses, and her thinking. Her instincts made he crouch to attack the cat.

“You really don’t want to do this, Mariana”, the cat said in a menacing voice…

 

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QUESTIONS:
– What do you think might happen next?
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“Blood Relations” Interactive Story – Part I

To celebrate our upcoming release, “Blood Relations”, we are starting an interactive story where YOU, the reader, will get a say in what happens next!

Here is Part I of the story!

You have until Sunday July 21st, at midnight EDT (Eastern Daylight Time), to post, in the comments section, your answers to the questions at the end of the story! After that, we will choose one that we find particularly inspiring, and Part II will be posted.

Enjoy! 🙂

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Mariana turned into the alley shortcut, just like she always did, but that night, there was what looked like a street gang gathered there. She had never come across that kind of situation; certainly not here. She tried to back away, but the group spotted her, and one of them rushed behind her to cut her off, moving unnaturally fast.

“Well, what do you know – lunch has arrived.”

Without giving her time to think about that, he lunged at her, mouth open in a snarl, hands outstretched in such a way that she wasn’t sure whether he wanted to grab her or claw at her.

Mariana didn’t intend to go down easy, though. She had taken some karate classes, and could hold her own in a fight. Swinging her leg in a kick, she landed it on his chest, stopping his motion and sending him stumbling back. She frowned. The strength of her kick should have been enough to send him further back, possibly on his ass.

Before she knew it, he sneered and was back at her at full speed, unhurt and unfazed. She managed to block him, just barely, but one of the other guys joined in and grabbed her from behind, restraining her. He was way too strong for her to break free, even while using her best karate techniques.

“Hey Craig!” the guy behind her called out. “Wait!”

Craig stopped and frowned at him.

“Don’t you think that, with skills like these, she’d make a great addition to the group?”

Craig blinked, then smiled slowly.

“Yes… yes, you’re quite right, Tim.”

Turning to Mariana, he said, “Change of plans. You’re no longer for lunch, but invited to lunch. Just think of it as your lucky day.”

The next moment, he walked toward her, smiling triumphantly, opening his mouth. Grabbing her by the shoulders, he leaned his head back, and bit her on the neck. Mariana cried out – that freaking hurt. As she felt her blood leave her veins, though, she lost the energy to scream, and started to feel woozy.

After some time, Craig let go of her, and looked at her, almost tenderly, like a father would look at a child, but more condescending-like.

“There, there, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Now, you’ll need some of this too, before I finish.”

Horrified, but too weak to do anything about it, Mariana watched as the guy – or thing – bit his own wrist, pried her mouth open, and pressed his bleeding wound into it. She tried not to swallow the vile blood pouring into her mouth, but she was still being restrained by Tim, not to mention Craig’s iron grip on her jaw, which seemed way too strong. Besides, there was just too much of it; soon her reflexes kicked in and she was forced to start swallowing. After a while, Craig pulled away.

“That should be enough. Now, I’ll just finish off here, and you’ll fall asleep. But don’t worry my dear – I shall be there when you wake up.”

He bent back toward her neck and resumed his feeding. Soon after, everything went dark.

But when she woke up, no one was there…

 

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QUESTIONS:
– Why was Mariana alone after all when she woke up? What happened to Craig,
Tim, and the others with them?
– What does she do next? What would you do in the same situation?
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Latest Upcoming Release – “Blood Relations” by Caroline Fréchette

We have our latest – and first! – upcoming release! “Blood Relations” by Caroline Fréchette is set to release on October 11th, 2013.
We will be having a launch party at the Heart & Crown in the Byward Market (downtown Ottawa) from 5:30 pm to 9 pm on October 11th to celebrate. There will be special offers for those who buy at the launch, a draw, as well as free wine for the early birds, so be there early! Of course, you will also get to meet the author and get your copy autographed.
Stay tuned for a post with further details on the launch 🙂

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Fréchette - Blood Relations

BLOOD RELATIONS
A Family by Choice novel

by Caroline Fréchette

Urban Fantasy/Horror

Who cares if they’re not normal? Neither am I.

Life has not been easy for Alex Winters since he used his pyrokinetic powers to take control of the Russian district. Violence and betrayal have become a way of life, but he’s somehow managed to keep the gangsters in line. At barely sixteen, he thinks he’s seen it all. He hasn’t. Things spiral out of control when the latest double cross takes a turn for the supernatural. The new group muscling in on his territory turns out to be a brutal gang of vampires. Can Alex defeat an enemy even more powerful than himself? Can he keep his people safe and his boss happy? Can Alex survive in a world that just keeps getting more dangerous?

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 11th!


“Blood Relations” Trailer Shoot

We recently shot a trailer for our very first book, “Blood Relations”, by Caroline Fréchette, set to come out this October!

Here are some pictures from our day. To see the whole photo album, go to our Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/PressesRenaissancePress!

 

Makeup in progress

Makeup in progress

Checking the storyboard

Checking the storyboard

Is that a dead body...?

Is that a dead body…?

"Alex" and "Jimmy", two close friends you will get to know in "Blood Relations"

“Alex” and “Jimmy”, two close friends you will get to know in “Blood Relations”

Alex is pretty special...

Alex is pretty special…

"Jimmy" and "Alex" on a bench

“Jimmy” and “Alex” on a bench

It's a wrap!

It’s a wrap!

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