Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bella Cinderella by Summer Day (If The Shoe Fits, Wear It) #eight #TheEnd

If the Shoe Fits, Wear it
     Huck and Ruby said their goodbyes.
    “Thanks for the invite,” Ruby whispered.
    “Yeah, this was way freakier than we imagined.”
     Ruby hugged Jewel. “Awesome party, people will be talking about it for years to come,” Ruby said, “especially since we have footage,” Ruby waved her smart phone.
    “Uploading it soon…” Huck added.
     “Don’t go, guys, the fight is so much fun,” Jewel added as her stepsisters continued to hurl shoes at each other and Marco waited coolly on the pavement for  Giovanni to arrive in his car.
    “We’re going to see if we can get a ride with them,” Ruby said. “Just think… a real Italian prince.”
    “He’s not a prince,” Ruby said. “It says here his family are rich but untitled.”
    “Well, the internet never lies…” The two friends left discussing how they could ever have believed the rumor that there was a prince at Venice Beach High.
     Riff was packing up his guitar, after playing the required set.
     Jewel’s eyes were sparkling as she walked towards Riff.
     “Hey, that was amazing,” Jewel said. “Aren’t you in my English class?”
     Riff looked up at her, blue eyes, dark hair and a smile as handsome as the sun and said, “Yes.”
     “So… I never heard anyone play Happy Birthday like that before.”
    “Oh… I’ve had lots of practice.”
    At this moment, Jewel’s step family were shouting at each other again and Jewel wanted out. She was so over playing Cinderella to those trampettes. Meanwhile, Riff had worked up the courage to ask Jewel to go out with him.
   “Hey, I was wondering if you’d like to go to this diner with me?” Riff asked. “I always go after I’ve finished playing, helps me wind down…”
  “Yes, sure,” Jewel said, “Like I’d want to stay here.”
   Together they piled into Riff’s car. It wasn’t particularly flashy but it was comfortable on the inside, and it drove smoothly.  
   “I’m saving up to buy a new one,” Riff told Jewel.
   “Oh, I don’t mind,” Jewel replied. “This car totally rocks.” Just like you, she wanted to add.
    Falling in love at first sight can make you forget things. So, while Marco was being berated by Giovanni for disappearing and the nasty stepsisters were tearing each other’s hair out in the argument to end all arguments, Jewel rode happily with Riff along the West Coast towards this little beach shack diner. Neither of them could speak as they took their places in their booth. Riff chose a song on the old-fashioned juke box and let Jewel pick the next two.
      He liked it here. It reminded him of when he was young. It had been decades since he’d met anyone as amazing as Jewel.
      The waitress came with the menu but Riff only ordered a drink.
      Jewel was starving and ate her sandwich hungrily.
      When she finished, they both looked at each other.
      So what if Riff wasn’t some dude whose parent’s owned an island?
      So what if Jewel wasn’t of noble birth?
      Afterwards, they drove to the beach.
      Riff had never expected to meet this girl. He was supposed to be sampling a few months of ‘normal’ school then his parents expected him home. He thought his disguise had worked pretty well – low key, second hand car. But with Jewel, he wanted to tell her everything. He wanted to tell her the truth.
      Jewel had found something that had been missing from her teenage world up until now. No amount of money, jewels, fast cars, golden slippers or tiaras would replace instant chemistry.
    When Riff parked the car near the ocean across the road from the diner, Jewel stole a kiss on his perfect lips. For a first kiss, it sizzled. Riff used all his power to hold back his fangs. Given that her blood appealed, his restraint was a miracle in itself but he couldn’t let himself get that close too quickly, again. His parents would freak out. The Crown Vampire Prince and a ‘normal’? His father would say it could never be.
     Riff took Jewel’s hand. He didn’t care what his parent’s thought.
     “C’mon,” he said, “I want to show you where I live.”
    That was when Jewel noticed she wasn’t wearing any shoes.
    “I must have left them on the dance floor.”
    Sure enough, there they were; gold turned to glass amid the streamers, balloons and remnants of the party to end all parties.

Bella Cinderella amazon kindle:

Teenage Fairy Tales: a collection by Summer Day continue in Snow Bright and The Magic Mermaid...

Summer Day is the author of Pride & Princesses, Wuthering Nights, Anne Eyre and Truly - teen novels inspired by classics.  Snow Bright and The Magic Mermaid are parts two and three of Teenage Fairy Tales: a collectionBella Cinderella, Snow Bright and The Magic Mermaid are inter-connected novellas inspired by classic fairy tales. All Summer's novels are currently available on Amazon. (Many chapters are on this blog!) 

Monday, March 11, 2013


Hi Guys, if you scroll a little through my blog you'll notice Bella Cinderella! I hope readers enjoy my novella take on Cinderella (set in Venice Beach with some teen vamps added to the action). I think you might guess which hottie is the really the handsome young prince, though... 


It seems like I've finally got my follower widget working... Just let me say I'm beyond thrilled when a reader joins:) It's like, when you have a huge box of jelly beans and they spill out of that pinata you weren't allowed to touch until your birthday party:) WOO HOO I'm so busy reviewing the edits on POPULAR and THE HOTNESS. While not specifically sequels to Pride & Princesses they are set in and around familiar places and both contain familiar 'characters' - I can't wait for readers to read... but I'm making sure the manuscripts are just as right as possible before putting them out there. So, if I'm not social networking as much as I like to, I hope to be webbing again soon. Meanwhile, think of me writing away with my music on in the background or the dvd playing shows I've already seen on the flat screen in the foreground (like Suburgatory and The Gilmore Girls on repeat) as the background story to my typing... ps. I have to play shows I've already seen and liked or I'm distracted enough to stop writing. If you haven't already gathered, I like soft noise, but noise all the same, while I work... music is good too but it's nice to feel you are among television friends while you're actually the only person in the room along with endless amounts of tea... the kettle is my friend. VIRTUAL HUGS to ALL:)

Sunday, March 10, 2013


I recently read STATE OF EMERGENCY by Summer Lane @SummerEllenLane on Twitter. This is a fast moving & fabulous YA read. Summer's gorgeous blog is here as are details about her novel. I have browsed through this blog and I think it's FABULOUS! I just uploaded my twitter friend @AirickPhoenix 's new novel GAMES OF FIRE onto my kindle & cannot wait to read:) Airicka blogs, is active on FB and Twitter and is a fantastic writer. Another blog I love is: so check 'em out lovelies & have a great Monday. Also, Truly is Free on Amazon on Monday 11th March... I think the follower button is finally working here at my blog! Thanks to my (heading towards) nineteen thousand views:) All because of fabulous readers (ie. you) Please check into my follower 'widget' if you'd like to join & let me know if it's finally working!! Hugs Summer:) 

WUTHERING NIGHTS by Summer Day (Twelve)

Chapter Twelve
The Cottage   
   Heath disappeared most evenings at school. Kate knew he went hunting. He’d be back for band rehearsals, he had promised her. He’d been counselled by his doctor. Kate was sure he practised being ‘safe’, which meant only drinking wild animals and never more than he needed to survive. Magenta, drunk in the interim, ensured he was not tempted by humans; nor would he be, unless his vampiricism developed fully. This was a roll of the dice, according to his specialist. They wouldn’t know if he was a full bloodsucker until he reached eighteen. In the meantime, his diet subsisted only of protein, citrus, Magenta and plasma delivered via special order from London once a week. Blood oranges were still his favourites.
    Tomorrow night, the inter-school Battle of the Bands competition was to be held as part of the Sixth Form dance.  Kate and a few others, including Annabelle Hunt, were factored into the front row as audience members or “fake fans”, as Kate joked. Annabelle had made such an effort to be friends with Kate that the girls were now talking and Annabelle had hesitantly been accepted into Kate’s circle of popular girls.
     Those girls were sitting in the front row. The band hoped they wouldn’t be sitting there long. Tonight, they wanted everyone in the room up dancing.  Heath would be lying if he said he didn’t like the fact that a lot of girls paid him attention. He was tall with dark hair and had a “mysterious” look about him. He’d heard Annabelle giggling and whispering about him to his friends once. He still disliked the Hunts but he enjoyed female attention in all its forms and it didn’t pay to display open warfare towards Annabelle’s older brother, Edmund.  He’d tried that in his first year at boarding school and all his privileges had been withdrawn. He hadn’t seen Kate in over a week.
      There was only one girl whose opinion truly mattered to him and she sat front row centre as the band played her favourite cover. Afterwards, everyone rushed off to supper but Heath and Kate had plans.
      As Heath packed away his guitar, the drummer, who fancied Kate, smiled at her.
     ‘Did you like your song, Kate? We played it especially for you…’
      Heath rolled his eyes, jealously. 
      ‘I more than enjoyed it,’ Kate replied but she was looking straight at Heath when she spoke.
     Heath had a good singing voice. He and his band were the coolest – some said most dangerous boys at school – by far. Although Kate was proud of Heath’s ability to assimilate, it had begun to annoy her to see other girls paying Heath so much attention and the last thing she wanted to do was let him know how great he was. That would create too much of an ego problem. 
      ‘I mean, it was better than okay,’ she covered.  
     ‘That was your song,’ Heath said.
       Kate couldn’t help but smile. Heath knew what she liked so well.
        Heath pretended not to care and smiled at Annabelle Hunt as she gathered her things, much to Kate’s annoyance.  Heath made sure Kate noticed how much Annabelle Hunt flirted with him. When he became bored with Annabelle’s conversation mid-sentence, Heath turned from her and walked over to demand Kate’s undivided attention.  Kate paused and glanced into Heath’s eyes. It was obvious to strangers they had a connection that went beyond words.
      When they were alone, Kate tugged at Heath’s shirt and gave him the lamb sandwich she’d made in the kitchen especially for him. They were having a roast today at the girl’s school and Kate knew it was Heath’s favourite. He thanked her, pulled off the lamb, wolfed it down then left the bread. Heath was always starving these days. It was as if none of the food he ate satisfied him.
     ‘C’mon, I also bought us tea…’ Kate had her flask and some more lamb and chicken wrapped in a satchel. Heath grimaced, but realised weak tea kept him hydrated. Kate was always trying to look after him, even though they’d be seeing each other less now that they were both studying for half-term finals.
      ‘You really did rock, Heath,’ she whispered, looking up at him when she said it.  He tried not to beam so hard.  He grew happy and less prideful under her gaze but he held back from saying what he wanted to say. Heath wanted to tell Kate Spencer how much he loved her but he couldn’t. If he told her, he felt sure that she would torture him, use it against him and tease him more than she usually did. It was in her nature to be both a chameleon and contrite. He wouldn’t say the words until he was sure she felt the same.
    They agreed to meet at the cottage to study for their exams. They enjoyed meeting up, just to read and talk like they used to when they lived in London.
    The cottage was a secret meeting place that had been used for decades by the students from both schools. Built into a stone wall that marked the outside gate of the shared sporting grounds, it could only be reached by running (or walking very quickly) far out of sight across the never ending playing fields and through a kind of dugout that led to an even more lush pasture.    
    The dwelling had been uninhabited for at least a decade. The hut had been built in the curve. High on the hill, it lay abandoned when no one had bothered to demolish it. Most of the students knew of its existence and it was the “go to” place for midnight feasts… and lover’s meetings.
    By the time Kate arrived, windswept and dishevelled, Heath had caught her up.
    The interior of the cottage had recently been renovated by teenagers. There was evidence of junk food and discarded games, posters tagged on walls, various blankets and duvets rolled into a cupboard, and a well-used fireplace. It was the perfect spot for a winter picnic.
  ‘Reminds me a little bit of Hampstead,’ Kate said, looking out the window.
  ‘Scotland reminds me of nothing in the South. It’s…lonelier…wilder,’ he said, rubbing his mouth when Kate couldn’t see. He suddenly needed his incisors filed but he wasn’t going to admit it. Only Heath could feel the sharp tips of the teeth inside his mouth, reminding him of his true nature.   Kate placed the food on the red checked table cloth over the low coffee table as Heath lit the fire. The boy hungrily demolished the roast chicken from Kate’s satchel as the girl looked on in amusement. She spread out the board game on the floor. The pair of them began playing Scrabble in their usual competitive way until Kate, bored with the game, messed up her side with the pieces tumbling across the floor amidst a cloud of laughter.
   ‘This is such a boring game,’ she said. ‘I’ve never understood why I can’t make up words… ’
    She leaned over towards him. Heath felt unexpectedly nervous, but tried to act cool.
   ‘What sort of words?’
   ‘Oh, you know. Words they don’t teach us at school…’ Kate smiled wickedly then changed the subject.
    ‘I am so bored with classes but I can’t wait to see your band perform tomorrow night. I miss Hampstead. I miss the glass house where we used to go… to hunt for food…and flowers…’
    Kate loved flowers. She’d even given Heath some edible ones once, when he was little, which he’d duly tried to eat. Kate rolled onto her back and stared up at the low beamed roof. Heath looked bashful. The fire flickered, creating artistic shadows of the pair on the inside of the cottage. 
    ‘I think we should play a different game…’  Kate said.
    Heath looked at Kate incredulously, as he turned the page of his History text. He hadn’t expected this.
    Kate reached over and stroked his hair. He could still feel the touch of her fingers, moments later. Overwhelmed, he took her hand in his and used all of his willpower to stop himself pulling her to him and fanging her. He didn’t want to mess things up with Kate before they were ready. Heath ached for her loveliness; she was part of him more than anything or anyone ever could be or would be. When he thought of his biological family, he was dismissive of them. He didn’t remember their faces. Besides, they had abandoned him when they discovered he was a bloodsucking freak; just as his friends would probably turn on him, if they knew the truth.
    He dropped his pen and changed the subject. ‘What…what are your plans for next year?’
    Kate laughed… ‘Okay, we’ll play your way. Let’s see, if I wasn’t going to be a famous painter, do you know what I’d be?’
    ‘I don’t,’ Heath replied as she plaited her hair into a braid.
    ‘Well, I love my horse so…I’d be a vet…and save the animals…’
    ‘You’d have to study hard for that,’ Heath said sarcastically, glancing back at the words on his page. 
    ‘What, don’t you think I’m capable?’
     Heath knew Kate could do anything she set her mind to, starting with gaining access to the school kitchen when he couldn’t, but it wouldn’t pay to compliment her right now. She was far more confident than he was.
     ‘It’s not that,’ he hedged. ‘I’m just not sure if you have the dedication,’ he replied, turning his head so she couldn’t see his smile.
      ‘Oh, you…’
       He reached over and caught her hand. Kate looked up at Heath with a devotion she quickly hid with words.
  ‘Let me get closer to the fire. It’s freezing in here…’ Kate said.
    Heath moved closer to her, closer to the flames which were weak, but turned and crackled forming a strong light. 
    Heath made the first move. He put his hand on Kate’s hair and she held his gaze.
    ‘Run away with me Kate.’
     Kate laughed.
    ‘When? Where to?’
    ‘When we’ve finished school, after we turn eighteen. We could go to Prague or Paris or Spain.’
    ‘What with?’     
   ‘We’ll get jobs…’
   ‘I can’t just abandon everything…my family…’
   ‘Apart from your father…they’ve abandoned us…
    Kate considered this for a moment.
    ‘I know. Harrison is…not to be trusted and mother lets him sign everything. He controls all her assets after she and father separated. She even signed half of the house into his name. Mother never did like responsibility.’ Kate reached out to Heath and he leant over and kissed her wrist, softly, again.
    Kate opened her eyes wide, suddenly seeing the future.
   ‘Yes, let’s do it. Let’s go to Spain. I’ll study art and design, though I once thought Paris might be the place for that. Never mind, I’m sure they have good design schools in Spain and you can…start a band… only we’ve no money, not a cent. It’s just a fantasy, Heath. Ten minutes in another country without a roof over our heads and we’d be fighting all the time. And…’
    ‘What?’ He wanted her to say it but she wouldn’t.
    ‘…and liking each other less…’
    ‘I could never like you less, Kate. There is no such possibility.’
    ‘Because I love you.’
     Kate liked it when he spoke like this, but it worried her. ‘I know,’ was all she said.
     What she should have said, and what she later regretted not saying was that she also loved him. It was obvious. Her journals were testament to this. Each one covering a year in their lives together, written in schoolgirl writing, with train tickets and photographs taken on her polaroid when Heath was least expecting it, pasted into the pages. She kept the most recent one hidden under her bed.  Her favourite photograph was one she took of Heath in his navy blue school blazer standing on the playing fields with a bemused look on his face, just as he realised she was the culprit – the school photo journalist.
     Kate glanced longingly at Heath after he’d kissed her again. She looked into his perfect eyes and felt the hard cut of his arm muscles. This boy, soon to be a man, was everything to her. He was her whole life, the male version of herself. She knew to be wary, though - family neglect had taught her this; not to let him know her entire being was his to do with as he pleased. Kate sat up and glanced down at her shoe, resolving to change the subject.
     Heath loved that about her - the two versions. In this version, Kate had fresh colour rising in her cheeks. He wanted to be closer to her, to touch the vein in her wrist, her neck, to kiss her lips, but he didn’t dare move.
     ‘I think you should take your studies more seriously, never mind about me. I could never love a man, who didn’t know at least as much as me,’ she joked as she packed up the chess pieces.
    ‘Well, then, there are a great many men for you to love,’ Heath replied with a raised eyebrow.
    ‘Oh, you…’ Kate threw one of the Scrabble pieces his way.
    Heath laughed in return, loving that he could get to her so easily.
    He had applied to various universities but he wasn’t sure what he wanted. Beyond Kate’s love, nothing. He’d gone through the motions, telling no one before now that he’d considered applying to Oxford.  He’d organised teachers he knew would give him good references and because his marks were flawless, he had a reasonable chance of being accepted. He just had to pass the interviews. He’d studied every evening when he wasn’t with Kate, and when he was, he studied late into the night. He wanted to achieve more than anyone he knew. More than anything, he wanted Kate to be proud of him.
    They read some more and fell asleep beside the fire. When they woke the next morning, fully clothed, wrapped together under a pile of blankets, it was morning.
   ‘C’mon,’ Kate said, dusting off bread crumbs from her skirt, ‘we don’t want to miss chapel or they will notice and maybe stop me going to the gig tonight. Someone could report us…’
    Heath rolled his eyes. ‘You mean Hunt…’   
    ‘Really, he’s not that bad. I think he wants to be your friend. Actually I think Annabelle is quite keen on you. You better be careful, Heath. Those secretive, silent girls are the worst with their little schoolgirl crushes…’
    ‘Is that what you have on me?’
    ‘Silly, I’m not the silent, secretive type…’ Kate said.
    It wasn’t the answer Heath wanted to hear.
    ‘Well, you never had to be…’
    Heath turned with the coat and handed Kate her scarf.
    ‘How can you joke like that Kate?’
    ‘What? I’m just kidding.’
    ‘How could you think there is anyone for me apart from you?’
    ‘I…I think you like me…too much. It will distract you from getting good marks in your finals.’
    ‘Am I hearing things? Listen to yourself Kate. I don’t “like” you too much. There is no “like” here.           
    Kate looked away, aware of the depth of her feelings for the handsome boy that stood opposite her. Over the past year, he’d grown a head taller than her. She had to look up in the morning half-light to meet his eyes. Again, she looked away.
    ‘Look at me Kate.’
    ‘I know most girls think you’re hot…’
     ‘Oh, so you’re saying you don’t?’
     ‘Those girls don’t know you, like I know you…’ Kate said slowly.  Before Kate was forced to answer, the door blew open as one of the younger students arrived, out of breath. ‘Come quick,’ he said, ‘… they’re taking the register. They know someone broke into the kitchen last night and stole some chickens and the headmaster is going ballistic…’
      Kate giggled while Heath grabbed their coats as they prepared to run. It would be wiser to attend roll call, or else it would be completely obvious they’d been out all night; and then Mr Spencer would be informed, or worse. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wuthering Nights (Eleven)

Chapter Eleven
    Hinton was surprised that the lights were still on in the drawing room as he entered the house. The dog had slept by the fire until everyone else had gone to sleep. Then, he’d done as usual and wandered upstairs to lie at the foot of his master’s bed.
     The boy had removed his coat; he wore the latest sneakers and low rise jeans. Hinton wandered into the kitchen to see if there was anything to eat. He hoped Greta had left something since. He was very hungry after hours of clubbing in Soho. He was often photographed there with various girlfriends, but lately, his shallow existence had begun to bother him. Perhaps he was more like his adopted father than he thought. The family photographs that filled the drawing room told barely half the story of its dysfunction.
     Hinton shook his head at the pictures on the wall as he climbed the stairs. It was funny to him that Heath could give himself airs and graces but no one knew where he came from either. Heath could use the title bestowed upon him for “services to the economy” but that didn’t make him a Lord, not in Hinton’s eyes. He couldn’t have cared less about titles but he thought it almost funny that he had to practically ask permission to live in his own house when his sister had more rights to it than Heath (who only owned the house because of a swindle…) but that was another story.  
    The boy was aware there were two sides to the family history. In the first version, Heath had “saved” him as a child from a vicious beating by his drunkard brother-in-law, Harrison. The other was contained in an apologetic note from Harrison years later. Truth lay somewhere in between. One thing Hinton knew for sure; Heath cheated Harrison out of his own home during a game of high-stakes poker.
    There are always more sides to a story but this was the particular side that Hinton chose to believe. Before the bet, papers had been signed. Heath, the foundling child, had risen to become the rightful owner of Hareton Hall. Hinton grimaced in the mirror as he cleaned his teeth and splashed his face. His image was hazy with condensation. He rubbed the mirror with a towel and wiped his face dry. Hinton turned off the light and walked quietly to his room. Heath’s light was on. As usual Hinton didn’t bother to say goodnight. Instead, he flopped on his own bed fully clothed.
    Heath wasn’t so bad. He’d been more of a father than Harrison and treated him more like a biological son than the father he’d never met. Besides, unless he won the annual Art Prize at his college, he had nowhere else to go.    
   Hinton had flicked on the television news in his bedroom and was chugging orange juice and eating what was left of some roasted chicken, when he heard a piercing screech that made him walk into the hallway.
    Doors flung open and Heath’s dog bounded out of the main bedroom towards a room with blazing light under the door; a room that had never been used since his teenage aunt had inhabited it more than twenty years ago.
    A dark-haired girl flung open the door and stood on the landing, looking pale and frightened in the half light. Hinton Spencer froze on the spot.
   ‘Who are you?’
   ‘I’m… I’m Katarina Hunt.  You must be…’
   ‘Hinton, your…cousin by marriage, for all intents and purposes.  I…I was adopted. Are you okay?’
     ‘I don’t know… I think I will be. Someone tried to get into my room…’
      The boy, mesmerized by her white skin and red lips, stared at her longer than was necessary, then apologized, adding, ‘sorry…it’s just that you are identical to my…adopted Aunt…’ He gestured to Kate’s picture on the wall.
     ‘May I?’ Hinton said.
     ‘Yes…come in, please…’ Kate said with desperation in her voice. Hinton checked the cupboards and behind the curtains, even under the bed.
     ‘There’s nothing in here…’
      A slight breeze wafted through the room, seemingly from nowhere.
     ‘I…I  met…your Uncle, um Heath and I wanted to come back to see some old photos and the house my mother grew up in. Then the storm set in so I asked if I could stay the night and…I don’t think Heath wanted me to stay and… someone tried to get into my room.”
    Hinton looked around.
    ‘The door was shut when I came up.’
    Almost speechless, Katarina whispered, ‘not through the door, through the window.’
     Hinton wandered past the bed and towards the upstairs bay window. It was unlocked and unopened. He pulled it up. They were on the upper floor. Below, lay a stone pathway.  The flower beds were a metre away from the walls and the trees even farther. It would not have been possible for anyone to climb up.
    ‘There is no one there now,’ Hinton said. ‘Are you sure you didn’t have too much to drink?’
    ‘Are you serious? I know what I saw.’
     Outside, the wind started to pelt down onto the trees. In the distance, an icy storm began to howl again.
     ‘Tell you what,’ Hinton said, smiling, ‘why don’t you come into my room… I’ll take the floor, of course, and you’ll be safe until morning when I drive you home.’
    Katarina looked at him hesitantly. This wasn’t the cousin she was supposed to meet, though she’d heard about him often enough at Art College. Hinton was known as a real ladies’ man, a guy who failed his A-levels and only got into college because of the brilliance of his drawings and a scholarship. Everyone knew his family were loaded. Hinton was a year ahead of her, so they’d seen each other in the halls but never spoken. He’d dated more than his share of girls at the college, and dumped them just as quickly. 
    Katarina reluctantly dragged her checked blanket off the bed and pulled on her jeans over her underwear as Hinton pretended to look away.
   ‘C’mon, then,’ Katarina said, as the storm raged outside.
    Hinton couldn’t believe his luck. He started walking towards his room when he realised the girl had taken a wrong turn.
   ‘I’m going to sleep in the drawing room,’ Katarina said. ‘Perhaps, you could come with me?’ She was still pretty scared after the earlier incident, though she’d never admit it and Hinton had all but convinced her she was dreaming.
   “Mmm… give up my bed for a hard couch?” For a minute she thought he was going to refuse.
    ‘Why not?’ he said with his most affable smile. ‘We can pretend we’re on a camping holiday.’  Although her likeness to her mother threw him momentarily, Hinton was beginning to like this new cousin.
    Heath was able to sleep through practically anything but lately he’d been woken up at all hours. He’d drunk three glasses of brandy before bed and fallen into an almost trancelike state reading the stock reports and going through some important files in relation to an upcoming merger. He’d been out hunting squirrels and rabbits again. He’d swiftly scaled the outside wall so no one would notice him coming back or leaving. Disgusted, he wiped the blood from his mouth, rinsed and brushed his teeth before bed. 
     Though he dimly heard the sound of a woman’s scream it faded just as quickly and the only change in his vast, kingly bedroom was the blurry sight of his dog’s ears standing up. He crawled under his duvet. Heath slept a few hours every night. After his maturity, at twenty-one, he hadn’t slept at all. But recently, he’d started falling into a deep slumber in the early hours of the morning. He reached over for his newly prescribed elixir. There were many underground markets now and different products for both vampires and hybrids that hadn’t been available to Heath in his youth. After he chugged some Magenta (a new elixir), he fell back into a deep sleep. The dog whimpered and snuggled at his feet like she always did when he woke.
     In the dark he heard a woman’s voice, clear as glass.
    “Heath… Heath…” the girl whispered to him. Then, her hand reached over and shook him awake.
     Dark hair fanned across his ear, irritating him and interrupting his dream, which was more than a dream. Heath opened his eyes and saw the perfect brown eyes of another and heard Kate’s pleading voice as he reached out to touch her cheek.
    ‘Heath,’ the girl said. ‘Forgive me for what I did. I’ve been away for eighteen years. Please come back to me, I have missed you. It’s so cold out here…come back to me…come back…Let me in. I’ve been in the in-between for so long…’

Friday, March 1, 2013


Chapter Ten


     ‘It’s late… ’ Heath said, changing the subject as Katarina took another sip of tea.

     It was past midnight and the storm hadn’t subsided.

     ‘Do you mind if I stay the night?’

      Heath was mildly surprised but glad he hadn’t had to make the suggestion.

     ‘Of course not, I don’t know when or even if the boys will be home, but there are six guest rooms and Greta should be in at eight in the morning. Take your pick. I’m just going to stay here by the fire, go through a few papers. I have a business meeting in the City tomorrow. Even though it’s Saturday, some of the foreign markets don’t sleep…’

     ‘Mmm…’ Katarina said. Normally she would have felt odd staying in a stranger’s house. Before it was her uncle’s it had, after all, been her mother’s. Kat was surprised Heath had become so traditional. He’d once dreamed of being a rock star according to a letter her mother had written (the only one that she had been allowed to read and keep).   

    Katarina gazed at her mother’s portrait in the hallway. How was it possible to look so similar to a person you didn’t know?     

   ‘Thank you. I just texted my father and he thinks I’m staying with my friend - the girl you met in the pub.’

   ‘Blonde one, long hair?’

   ‘Yes, that one,’ Kate regularly excused Stacey’s flirtatious behaviour.

    Heath nodded, making himself seem more amiable than he was. He tried to imagine he hadn’t dreamed of sinking his teeth into the blonde girl’s neck and draining her until she shuddered.

   ‘I was wondering if I could sleep in my mother’s old room?’

    Heath hesitated, but he knew refusal would put her off guard.

   ‘Well…um, I don’t think Greta has the bed made up…’

    ‘Which one is it?’

    ‘First right, top of the stairs, but…’ He could feel his muscles tightening; he needed his medication and perhaps some protein from the larder…

     ‘That’s okay; I’ll just take this…’ Katarina gestured to the checked mohair blanket that had been wrapped around her. Before Heath could utter another word, she said good night and was bounding half way up the creaking staircase, two steps at a time, revealing her youth.

    It would be a long night, Heath thought, as he finished his pint of Magenta and took some extra capsules. The storm water pelted down on the sill in the drawing room as the lights suddenly flashed. The dog jumped up and howled. His ears were alert to the unfamiliar sound of music playing from Kate’s old bedroom.

     ‘Settle,’ Heath warned.

      The dog nuzzled his head under his paws and softly growled instead.  He sensed a person approaching.

      Outside, Hinton, Heath’s adopted son, walked alone towards the house. He was grown now, hunched over his plastic-wrapped package. It was his latest completed canvas, carefully covered. Hinton had lived at Hareton Hall since his sister, Frances, had arrived with him in tow eighteen years ago. Now he had no family but Heath and Linus. The boy wore a blue scarf, brown coat and ski hat pulled down over his ears. He’d been in central London finishing his Art History class and then he’d stayed on to assist the tutor during a photography lesson. Hinton was one of the best students at Art College and made extra cash tutoring. The class had been developing film (in a dark room during their lesson in pre-digital camera work) and some students had then decided to go into the West End for drinks. Before he knew, it was almost daybreak.

    The boy hated going home. His uncle was legally his adopted father but Hinton always called him Heath. Before Hinton went off to class, Heath had been in a surlier mood than usual and was always on at him about “making something of his life” and going to work in the City at the family firm. Hinton couldn’t believe he expected so much of him when he expected absolutely nothing of his own son. Linus, who was blonde like his mother, did little else except socialize and run dance parties in abandoned fields.

   Heath and Hinton had countless arguments about Hinton’s “lack of direction.” Hinton knew Heath liked to keep his family close by and didn’t want either of his sons to leave home before they had finished studying. He was a difficult and unsociable parent but he was the only parent Hinton had since his own had died shortly after his birth. Franny had raised him until her desire to flee The Hall after Harrison’s death overcame her. Hinton was in school then and The Hall became his holiday home. Greta, who had children of her own to care for, only came in three days a week now.

   Heath rarely trusted new people enough to actually employ them so when staff left, they were not replaced. Over the years only Greta remained. Hinton couldn’t really believe how he’d been trapped into his adopted father’s lair, especially since Heath had never actually been demonstrative towards him during his childhood. But then, he’d never shown much love to his own son, either. Slowly, Hareton Hall had become his home. And it was all because of her, Hinton thought. As he neared the house, the first picture to greet him in the hallway would be Kate Spencer’s.

     Hinton was sceptical about love partly because of the rumours that connected her to his adopted father. Besides, Hinton was nineteen and had a reputation to uphold. He enjoyed “playing the field” as Heath used to say in the old days. Since Art College had more female students than males, the odds were definitely in his favour. Even so, Hinton couldn’t wait to get out of Hampstead for good. As he walked up the drive, along the old stone road, shivering in the early hours of the morning, he considered the merits of leaving London. The borough was freezing and the cab from the station would only take him so far along the icy road now that the storm was subsiding. He often took the bus. There was nowhere to park in central London anyway and he hated asking Heath for money.