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News & Updates
I’m participating in the #trueloveontapas romance novel contest with a romance fantasy titled Now I’m The Villainess. You can read the story for free on Tapas. Or you can check out Episode One on my website.
Tamara LeRoy zipped up her coat to her chin and stuck her hands into her pockets. She’d forgotten her gloves and her fingers were already like Popsicles.
It was freaking cold. It was October, after all, which meant Oklahoma winter would soon arrive.
The Old Sass Cafe had killer hot chocolate, and she really wanted to go sit in the warm restaurant with her boyfriend and have a mug of delicious mocha.
“We shouldn’t be out here,” said Tamara.
Durriken winked at her then looked casually around the cemetery. Okay then, oh mysterious boyfriend. She studied the night sky. The crescent moon offered very little light. Durriken had that great werewolf vision. Her? Not so much. She was a plain ol’ human, unlike most of the residents of Broken Heart.
Tamara might’ve left her gloves at the house, but at least she’d remembered to bring the flashlight.
She flicked it on and shone it around the gravestones. She didn’t like the smell of this place. It was ripe earth mixed with that odd mold smell.
A couple years ago, one of her mom’s friends had raised a zombie army from the cemetery. Things had never really gone back to normal after that. She knew better than anyone that the dead didn’t always stay dead.
“Are you scared?” Durriken had a slight accent, which she usually found sexy. Not that she would tell her mother that. She turned seventeen last month and Eva O’Halloran was wallowing in that whole “my baby is growing up” emotional goo.
Tamara loved her mom, so she put up with the extra hugs and the semi-clingy behavior. Luckily, her stepfather Lorcan managed to intervene when Code Red Smothering threatened.
“I’m not scared, Durry. This is boring.”
He swept her into his arms and kissed her. She tingled all the way to her toes. He moved back slightly. Their breath in the chill air created little puffs. “You know you want to see it.”
“A zombie?” Her heart, which had been beating with excitement from Durry’s kiss, dove down to her toes.
“What?” Durriken looked genuinely surprised.
“Sometimes the bodies here go zombie again. They claw up from their coffins and the dirt and meander around until someone puts them back.” Tamara looked around, spooked. “It’s something about the residual magic.”
Durriken let go of her and backed up a few steps, his expression serious as he scanned the grounds. “I wanted to see the ghost, Tamara. I didn’t know about the zombies.”
Durriken often traveled with his family, who were Roma—werewolves. Roma could only shift during the full moon, unlike the full-bloods, who could shift whenever they wanted.
The Roma were also vampire hunters and often went after rogue vamps who didn’t have the same kind of felicitous feelings about humans that the Consortium vampires had.
The Consortium had rolled into town a few years back and sorta taken over. It was like a paranormal think tank working on ways to one day bridge the gap between humankind and parakind. Tamara thought it was a noble goal and all, but she figured it would be a long time in coming.
Durriken didn’t always know what was going on in town. When he had to leave, she texted him all the time, but since zombies geeked her out, she hadn’t brought them up during their convos.
Besides, they had way better things to talk about than the shuffling, stank-ass dead.
Then Durry’s words filtered through her thoughts. He said ghost. Sheesh. Cold must be freezing her brain. “What ghost?”
“The lady in white. She crosses the graveyard looking for her lost love.”
“Nuh-uh.” Tamara closed the gap between them and grabbed his hand. “I’ve never heard of this ghost, and I live here.”
“Queen Patsy told me about her,” said Durriken. Queen Patsy had lived here her whole life, and subsequent unlife. “The lady in white has been haunting the town forever. Patsy said when she was in high school her and her friends would come down here and watch for the bride.”
Tamara wondered if her mother knew about this ghost. Mom was the unofficial historian of the town; she collected tons of stories for the archives.
“Who is she supposed to be?” asked Tamara.
Durry shrugged. “She died on her wedding night. She was in love with another man, but married someone else. And her husband strangled her.”
“There are a lot of holes in that story,” said Tamara. But she was already thinking about what research could be done to figure out this little mystery. “Patsy knows all the details, but not the bride’s name? And ‘lady in white’? Really? Like there aren’t a hundred of those around. This screams urban legend.”
“Sometimes urban legends are true.”
Tamara couldn’t argue with that. Her mother was a vampire. Durry was a werewolf. She couldn’t dismiss the possibility that some ghostly bride wandered around Broken Heart’s graveyard every so often.
Durry drew her into his embrace. “You’re cold.”
“Wanna go to the cafe?”
“You’re giving up on the lady in white?”
“I wanted to get you alone so I could kiss you.”
“Yeah? How’s that working out?”
Durry kissed her again, splitting the seam of her lips with his tongue. He was a really good kisser.
She got the tingles again, and it felt as though the world had shifted. When they finally came up for air, her legs felt like wet noodles.
He stared at her, and she stared at him, and though they’d talked about, you know, going all the way, she wasn’t ready.
Her mom had been a teenager when she’d gotten pregnant with Tamara. She gave up everything, including school, to get a job and support her kid.
Besides, the werewolves sorta had a thing about actually mating with humans. She knew Durry’s parents liked her, but they really wanted their son to be with another Roma.
“Let’s go,” she said.
Durry kissed her one more time, very softly, then took her hand and led her to his car. Within minutes, they were on their way to the Old Sass Cafe for hot chocolate and hand-holding.
For now, it was enough.
* * * * *
In the graveyard, underneath the crescent moon, the ghost of a woman clad in bridal white moved through the tombstones.
Silent tears tracked her pale cheeks … as she mourned the loss of her true love.
This Week’s Cool Substack Recommendation
My Substack recommendation this week is Age of Aquarius. EJ Trask writes beautiful, terrifying, spectacular fiction. I’m in constant awe of her talented storytelling. You don’t want miss out on her stories!
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