For those readers who have inquired about my series…… so far this is it.
Just in time for Halloween, I’ve got a fun treat! Share a paranormal encounter you’ve had that left you truly wondering about the existence of what’s out there in the comments below (OR on my Facebook page). I’ll be giving away a free copy of each of my novels to the one I deem the creepiest and most intriguing on November 1st! Whether it be spooky spirits, haunted houses, real-life vampires or the monster under the bed, I can’t WAIT to hear what you’ve experienced! Happy Halloween!
I don’t know about you but I have always loved Halloween.
As a kid I would trick or treat in my neighbor. My dad would take my friends and I around and I remember the first time I was allowed out all by myself.
My girlfriend and I never left our neighbor. We were safe on our hill and seemed to get plenty of candy.
Okay, I love the fall in general.
Cooler nights, a crisp afternoon breeze,leaves changing colors against a muted blue sky. Corn husks, pumpkins, gourds, mums.
Boots, sweaters, candles, reading in front of the fire…..the smell of warm apple pie…yes I love the fall while it ushers in the harshest time of the year: winter.
I hate winter, really I do. I sneak away to Florida as much as I possibly can to soak up sun and warmth.
Traditionally, fall is the time of year marked by significant change for me. The death of my father, and my beloved grandfather, a Thanksgiving spent without my mother who went into rehab for drug and alcohol issues just days before the holiday. Other losses to painful to share. Ironically, most of my family has birthdays in October and November and I am so grateful for them all: parents, siblings, children.
As the sun moves from Libra into Scorpio I feel a bit of a chill while loving the change all around me. It is bittersweet, a double edged sword as the saying goes.
Transformation, joy and the coming darkness all rolled into one.
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I was unsure of how long we stood staring at one another. Sounds and smells melted around me as I stared at her porcelain face and thought back to the last time we had been together. She was dying, a political prisoner in The Conciergerie. It was summer of 1794 and selfishly, I need to see her one more time, to sink myself into her warm flesh and take her, just as she had taken over my heart and soul.
We made love and I took her blood while she begged me to turn her, to not let her die. I could have given her the dark gift but there was something about her and the time and place that just fit. I could not image living with her here and now. I could move ahead with her memory perhaps, but not with her beside us. She was so perfect, existing in the 18th century, poised and so powerful among all of us vampires. The modern world would have swallowed her up and her uniqueness would have been lost, like fog just before dawn, its tendrils burning up in the morning sun.
I stared into her hypnotic emerald green eyes. She was beautiful – my god, she was still beautiful, but something had been lost in her transformation, unless it was my memory failing me. She seemed icier and less caring. At least that is what I saw in her eyes.
“Hello, Michel, are you surprised?” She smiled coldly.
She still had a rich French accent, not like mine which had dulled after living in New York for over a hundred years. Ironically Christian had retained a heavy accent too, as if time could not alter their roots.
“Quite, Madame Delacore.”
Her eyes grew darker. I had always towered over her, and draped in her velvet cape she seemed even smaller, almost child-like, though I never ever saw her as anything but powerful.
The boy beside her did not move but studied me carefully, as if he had heard horrible things about me and was trying to access if they were true. His hand rested lightly on her shoulder as if protecting her, but from what? He looked so much like Christian and then like tumblers on a lock, it all fell into place for me.
I looked from him to her and I knew, though I am not sure how it would have been possible, but I knew.
“Yes, Michel, this is Mathieu, Christian’s son.”
I subconsciously made a mental note to apologize to Amanda later.
“And Christian never knew about him?” I was treading on thin ice already. Why was I antagonizing her?
“You both had left already, remember?” She smiled and in her eyes I saw such disdain. “You left for England before I knew……”
“You and my father were dear friends.” Mathieu spoke for the first time. Even his voice was sedate and deep like Christians’.
“We still are,” I tried to sound calm.
“That was the one thing I could always count on. You two were inseparable.” Josette smiled up at me.
Did she know? Dare I tell her? How could I tell her that it was no choice for either of us? We had to leave her behind and get out of France.
“Until now anyway.” She smirked at me. “He left you both and sought me out in Paris. The young mortal knew it all along and now here you both are and he is with his…father.”
So she knew about Amanda and I living together. This was not good.
“Philip has been dead for hundreds of years.”
“This is true, but Philip was not his father. His mother, Eléanore, bedded a far older and more powerful being and conceived Christian. This was her secret which she took to her grave.”
“Josette, this sounds like….a science fiction movie. Who was this powerful being?”
“I am not sure, Michel, though your paths have crossed more than once. He always watched over you both and when I was rotting away in prison he came to me and offered me immortality in exchange for him.” She nodded towards Mathieu.
And she began a tale that sounded so far-fetched I knew it had to be true. I have lived a long time and I have heard all manner of bullshit and this was almost chilling. Mathieu’s eyes never left mine as she spoke about raising him in the French countryside with a mortal woman named Nell and this being…..I am not even sure she called him by name, protected them both, though why she would not say.
I remembered a strange man when we were children and Christian’s mother had just died. He was in her boudoir when we stumbled upon him and now I know why he was there. Eléanore was his lover and he needed to grab onto anything to remember her by.
“Where are they now, Josette?”
“Christian is somewhere in France though I have no idea where.”
“And this “he”, Christian’s father. Does he have a name?” I needed to play dumb though I was not sure why. I did not want her to know that I had met him several times, the latest being in our town house in New York City.
She shrugged. “I cannot use it freely. When he knew Eléanore he used ‘Captain Andreas’, so perhaps that is what we should call him.”
“Captain Andreas…..and he does not realize that his son wants nothing more than to be left alone to dwell on his past mistakes.”
“Meaning me?” Josette caught Mathieu smiling.
“He has never gotten over you, my lady. He is still racked with guilt and pain over… the entire affair.”
“And what about you my dear Michel?”
“Forever the roué I suppose.”
“A roué who is playing house with a beautiful mortal girl and her son, or is she not so mortal?”
“She saved Christian’s life,” I confessed, focusing my attention on Mathieu. “She was in turn reborn with the blood of another vampire, yet she is not quite vampire. She has a vampire’s…intuitions.”
“She has more than that, Michel. She is one of my descendants and you know how powerful I was even before being turned.”
I had always wondered. There was Christian’s intense attraction to Amanda and something about her reminded him of Josette too, with blood that called to him like the song of a siren. Amanda had no idea of her heritage and now she was even more powerful, full of Sabin’s blood.
How ironic, the continuing circle of fate which kept them bound to one another.
Their presence was so unsettling. She had followed us here, but why? And how long had Amanda been telling me about seeing Christian in the club? Josette’s presence in Southern California was no coincidence.
“Yes, I certainly remember.”
“Leave us, Mathieu, wait for me outside alright?”
You would think I would have so many questions for her, but I had closed the door on her centuries ago. It was almost hard to believe she was here and yet, nothing she did should have surprised me. I was no longer in love with her and in that regard she had the wrong vampire.
“Christian’s father sent us to the New World to get Mathieu away from France. There is much unrest there now, no leadership, and he wants Christian to assume the throne—”
I burst out laughing. The irony was so overwhelming, tears filled my eyes. I tried to catch the blood before it stained my leather jacket. I could not believe what she was telling me.
“Josette, this makes no sense. Is this Andreas deluded?”
“No, he is…..more powerful than you could ever imagine but he has Christian and he has plans for him. Plans even I cannot thwart.”
“So what is it you want from me now?”
“I’m not quite sure.” And her face changed and for a moment she seemed scared and unsure of herself.
“I have a bar to run, Josette. When you figure it out let me know.”
I left her on the catwalk just like that. I scanned the room for Amanda but did not see her. I prayed she had gone home. Casually I slipped into my office and out a back door which dumped me into an alley behind the club away from the ocean. No, I cannot fly, but I can move faster than the naked eye and I glided home afraid of what I might find.
I couldn’t believe I had walked away from her. She had been the center of my world for what I considered the best years of my young vampire life and I was walking away. I was desperate to know where Christian was and at least I now knew he was somewhere in France. It was better than nothing.
I silently entered our tiny cottage and immediately relaxed. I smelled their warm human flesh; their hearts beating in unison. Once inside her bedroom, I found them both asleep, mother wrapped around her son, holding him close.
God, they were so vulnerable. I bent over and brushed her warm cheek. Josette knew where we lived. I was many things but not naïve. She would kill Amanda and her child in her own time. Did she know the child was Christian’s?
I could no longer leave them here alone at night unprotected. What to do?
There were plenty of vampires I trusted to run my club in my absence. That was not the issue.
Thoughts tumbled as I tried to sort out where we could go quickly. New York was out of the question. Someone had already burned down our townhouse, a clear message. Now Venice Beach was no longer safe. I hesitated to wake them but we had to pack and leave within the hour.
Christian was somewhere in France, so it seemed the most logical place to start. I found myself booking airline tickets on the red eye from California to New York and then onto Paris. I had no time to second guess my decision, it was now or never. I could not believe I was actually considering going home after centuries of being here in the New World.
As I closed the laptop, I wondered if I we would ever find Christian and if so, would we be welcome in his world or had he descended into darkness, in the chaotic world of the Parisian vampires? And what of Andreas, his true father? What would he do with us? We were stuck with nowhere else to go and so I roused my mortal charge from sleep and explained how we had to leave now.
She cried as she packed, begging to know what had happened at the club to cause me to take such drastic measures.
How could I tell her that everything she ever thought about Josette Delacore was true? That she and Julien were in mortal danger and we had to leave now for that danger was right here in Venice Beach?
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So? What did you think? Leave a comment and let me know!
Okay readers. As promised, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the beginnings of Immortal Obsession, here is a FULL chapter from my latest novel, Eternal Hunger. (Well, 1/2 of the chapter today and 1/2 tomorrow because this is a HUGE sneak peek!) Just to set the stage (or the scene as they say), Michel has opened a night club in Venice Beach, California and Amanda drops by. The club, aptly named Michel’s, is a hangout for vampires and mortals, much like the Gray Wolf in Greenwich Village before it burned down. Much has happened to these two characters since their debut in Immortal Obsession five years ago. I am hoping to publish Eternal Hunger in November of 2016, so please stay tuned and again, I thank you for always dropping by.
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“What is it?” I thought to myself, leaning across the bar as Amanda approached. “You look like you have seen a ghost.” I’d rather she not come here but I knew at times she was so lonely. I guess being a new mother was just not enough to satisfy her.
She leaned forward gently touching my arm. Her warmth soothed me as did the sound of her beating heart.
“Who is with Julien?”
“I left him with Sarah for a bit. I was feeling really restless.” She scanned the room and sat at her usual seat at the bar.
Sarah was her new friend. Sometimes they came here and sometimes they hung out at our cottage. Amazing how similar they were and how Sarah had taken such a liking to Julien.
“You are going to think I am crazy, Michel, but I swear I saw Christian.” She was dressed entirely in black with small diamond stud earrings. Heads turned as she passed but I knew her heart had been given to him and no one could sway her in her devotion to him. I had thought that he loved her too but nothing could sway him from Josette.
“When?” I scanned the room but did not feel his presence. Since we had the same maker I always knew when he was near. I had not felt his presence in months. It was dark and noisy but nowhere near as loud as it would be later on.
“Just a minute ago; I saw him near those tables in the back.”
“Let me take a look,” I sighed, though it was no use telling her I did not sense him. It was not the first time she had thought she saw him here. She described him as having shorter hair and appearing younger. Since we had been made vampire at the age of twenty I did not know how there could be a “younger version” of Christian, but I took her at her word. There was no other vampire who looked like him so that discounted the ‘everyone has a twin’ theory. She said it appeared he wanted her to see him, then quickly disappeared.
I moved through the dancing crowds or rather, they parted for me. I ignored their stares. I was a vampire on a mission, ignoring the young beauties who continually vied for my attention. As I moved towards the tables and chairs that lined the perimeter of the bar, I dreaded telling her once again that Christian was not here. She would ask me if I thought she was losing her mind and I would say no and we would do this dance.
I stopped to scan the catwalk, moving into the shadows where I could watch without being seen. The colored lights played off the walls of the dance floor, leaving traces of colors on the ceiling. Just as they had been in the Grey Wolf, the rooms upstairs were for private parties, so mortals and vampires could carouse together in privacy. I knew every room and studied every door.
It was fairly quiet, yet just as I decided to head back to the bar I saw him. He was moving slowly on the catwalk, his alabaster face shot with colors of red and blue as the lights hit him.
For a moment I thought it was my dear friend, the resemblance was so uncanny. This vampire was younger looking and his hair fell only to his shoulders, yet thick and blonde just like Christian’s. My mind raced, wondering how there could be another vampire who looked so much like Christian, someone who was so striking and unique even when we were children together in Meudon, France.
He searched the crowd until he spotted Amanda sitting at the bar, her back to him. She nursed her glass of white wine appearing nervous and I knew she was wondering where I was. I sensed he meant her no harm as he watched her. I never took my eyes off of him as I made my way around the bar to the stairs and found myself ascending the metal staircase.
I wanted to get closer to see this exquisite creature for myself, but feared scaring him away. As I reached the second floor landing a couple emerged from one of the private rooms, the mortal girl wrapped around the vampire in a hypnotic daze. As the figure turned towards them I stepped behind the open door so as to not be seen. I knew he would sense more than one vampire present yet I waited until the couple passed me. The male vampire was one of our regulars, sated with the blood of his companion who had the trance-like look mortals acquired after having given themselves to us.
I had seen it thousands of times.
I could never imagine what it felt like until I tasted Amanda’s blood. It was an almost ineffable experience and one I avoided again at all costs. I did not want the desire for her blood to confuse my feelings for her and ruin both of our lives. She belonged to Christian and we were both raw nerves, connected to one another by our love for him.
Just as it had been with Josette Delacore ; yet I refused to fall prey to a ménage a trois ever again.
As the couple passed, I took a minute step from behind the door and came face to face with the vampire. He looked so much like Christian, my first instinct was to hug him to me. The resemblance was uncanny and now I understood why Amanda thought she was losing her mind.
“You must be Michel,” he said, his voice filling my head as the blaring music and the din of the voices below fell away and silence engulfed the two of us.
I shook my head in disbelief but Amanda had been right. He was the mirror image of my best friend, with shoulder-length hair and a more youthful face. Just as I tried to formulate a question he handed me something.
I took it automatically and in a moment he was gone.
I dared not waste my time trying to catch him. My inertia over the exchange paralyzed me, and so I ducked into the recently emptied private room to regroup.
The circular room had wall – to – wall mirrors with a burgundy leather couch being the only piece of furniture present in the center of the small room. The idea was all mine – my thinking that whatever one was inclined to do, you could view yourself from all angles. I caught my reflection in the mirror, realizing I looked paler than usual. I sat down and then looked at whatever it was he had given me.
The diamonds caught the light; rays slipping through my hands and bouncing off the mirrors. I turned it over and over, still unsure of myself. It was fragile yet all the pieces remained in place. The time piece was still running and before I turned it over I knew how it would read, for I had given it to her as a gift for her sixteenth, in August of 1788.
IL ne sera jamais asses de temps. M
There will never be enough time.
It was so true at the time.
There had never been enough time for the two of us. She was a married woman and had other lovers, one of them, my best friend, Christian. I thought that this gift of the silver chatelaine adorned with only objects she would understand could encapsulate and quantify my love for her. It was all the rage and I remember how I chose silver and diamonds, for that was how I saw Josette Delacore. The softness of silver was like her heart, yet the hardness and shimmer of diamonds represented her spirit, her élan and grace. Diamonds are the hardest substance known to man and I suppose she was that too.
The chatelaine was heart-shaped with a time-piece that was the central focus. Balancing the timepiece on each side were: a key to her diary, a sheathed tiny blade for drawing blood, a velvet pouch for her writings, a small vile for potions, and a pendulum for making contact with the dead. A small mirror was the last item dangling from the heart-shaped chatelaine, with a silver cover with the initials JD engraved in them. The center of the heart had a secret compartment. It was all so clandestine, like our love affair.
And here it was in my hands again.
Where did this vampire….this vampire who looked just like Christian get such an object? What was he trying to tell me by giving it back to me?
Or was he simply delivering a message for someone else?
I caught myself sounding like Amanda with all this nonsense about Josette still being alive. It was not possible unless she had not died in The Conciergerie in 1794.
The chatelaine was flawless, the Smokey Quartz and diamonds glistening. I carefully placed it in the interior pocket of my jacket and tried to pull myself together. I had to get back to Amanda.
With her psychic abilities she could touch it and read it in a second but did I want her to know any more about Josette right now? Wasn’t she dealing with enough at the moment, a new mother, Christian gone and me just trying to be the good uncle to them both?
As I headed back down the catwalk I paused, scouring the dance floor for this mysterious vampire. I knew he was there watching me. I could sense him. Did he know about Amanda and her precious blood? Clearly she had seen him here before, but was he on a mission solely to give this priceless object to me? I called Amanda from the catwalk, watching her answer her phone, looking around for me.
“I don’t see him, Amanda.”
“Where are you, Michel?” She looked up at me but I blended into the shadows and I knew she could not see me. I felt so stupid, yet if the vampire was here, I did not want him to connect us.
“I am a bit….indisposed at the moment—”
“Damn you, Michel.” She slipped her iPhone back in her purse.
“Why don’t you go home now? I’ll see you later, okay?”
I felt a pounding in my chest then realized it was the timepiece ticking in my pocket. I kept watching Amanda, still at the bar as I tried to compose myself. I wanted her to leave and yet I did not want to draw any attention to her by making a scene.
Something moved in my peripheral vision and I turned only to find her standing beside me. She had to be an apparition or someone who looked so much like my former lover, Josette Delacore. The likeness was uncanny but then I slowly realized it was she, my mortal lover, Josette Delacore, not dead for centuries but very much alive with the blond vampire by her side.
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Come back tomorrow to read the rest of the chapter!