Tuesday, 8 January 2013
Book Spotlight: Sophronia and the Vampire by Jacqueline Farell
by Jacqueline Farell
It's been a while since witches had to worry about being burnt at the stake…
Forty-nine, English and a professional crone, Sophronia is touring America when she is forced to spend the night at a run-down motel on the Californian coast. Her expectations aren't high- - if the bed's clean and the toilet flushes she'll count herself lucky. But events are about to become far more interesting. The motel owner is a juvenile witch unaware of her heritage and in dire need of help, especially when vampires turn up...
Professional crone Sophronia lets her heart rule her head when she meets juvenile witch, Charlie. Then the vampires turn up…
The figure turned and I got my first sight of the vampire. Tall and good-looking in the sharp, defined way they all are, he had dark blond hair and eyes that were a fabulous ultramarine blue… He smiled as he studied me, like a cat that’s just seen a very juicy mouse…
“It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, my dear Mrs. Sheridan.” He loomed over me. Vampires have no concept of personal space. “Charlotte has told me so much about you.”
“How nice, although there’s so little to tell.”
“Charlie, what have you been saying about me?”
Despite my urgent tone, Charlie ignored me and I winced when I saw the dreamy adoration in her eyes. You never look in a vampire’s eyes if you can help it. It’s how they get that first hold over you.
“Nonsense. It’s been enthralling.” He smiled, showing lots of white teeth, but no fangs as yet. “Although apparently you weren’t very keen to meet me.”
“Goodness, who said that? I love meeting new people.” I projected the lightest, airiest of insinuations at him. “There’s no point bothering with me. It would be a waste of your valuable time.”
The vampire turned back to us, all dark charm again. “Ladies. I invite you to my home.”
“You mean The Cabal?” From the excitement in Charlie’s voice I didn’t need to be a mind reader to know she’d suddenly forgotten all about her vampire boyfriend. “Of course. Do you like champagne?”
“I’ve never tasted it,” she said and I wanted to hit her over the head with something. At this rate he wasn’t going to have to compel her even slightly. As they walked toward the car, I hung back. “Um…I’ll stay here if you don’t mind.” The vampire turned round.
“I do mind,” he said, with considerably less charm, not that Charlie noticed.
“You gotta come, Mrs. Sheridan. It’s the biggest casino this side of Crescent City. It’s got a nightclub and a sports complex and the shopping mall is fantastic. All the biggest designer brands have a--”
“It sounds lovely,” I lied, “but I’m feeling rather tired. You go on, sweetie, and I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Don’t you want to come?” She sounded amazed but, before I could reply, the vampire patted her arm.
“That’s fine, Charlotte. If Mrs. Sheridan is too tired, of course we mustn’t insist. Anton.” He snapped his fingers and the driver got out the car. He was a vampire as well, of course, and I could see another one sitting on the other side. Suddenly the place teemed with them. “Anton will get you settled, my dear,” he said and Charlie got in without a murmur. “Let me just say goodbye to Mrs. Sheridan and then we’ll go.” He smiled paternally at her before returning to me. The look on his face sent me scuttling into reception as fast as I could, though it was pointless. The place didn’t belong to me and Charlie had already invited him in. I’d barely blinked before I found myself pinned against a wall. My personal space thus invaded, the vampire dropped all pretense at being civilized.
His eyes seemed to darken. “Sophronia,” he said, the growl in his voice very pronounced, “there’s an acquisitive Russian back at my house, sizing up my possessions and growing more confident every second I’m away. I don’t have time for a scene.”
“And I don’t want to make one, honestly, Hagen,” I pleaded, doing my best to appear meek, “but I am very tired. Tell you what, I’ll come tomorrow. How about that?” He narrowed his eyes.
“You think I don’t know that if I leave you alone for a second you’ll be away as fast as you can?”
“Absolutely not, Hagen. I wouldn’t dream of--”
“Sophronia, you have a choice. Either get in the car of your own volition, or I’ll have you put in the trunk and you can travel to my House that way. But I warn you, if that happens it will make me very unhappy and you won’t like me when I’m unhappy.”
I didn’t like him now. “Hagen, I absolutely swear to you that I won’t go anywhere. I’ll--”
“I’m walking out the door, Sophronia,” he said. “What’s it to be? Are you joining me or should I instruct Torsten to start making room in the trunk for you?” I wondered if I could make it to my own car in time but then yet another vampire appeared near the entrance, his eyes reflecting red in the night. Since I had no choice I walked out to the car.
The vampire didn’t even have the courtesy to look surprised.
END of excerpt.
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