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First pages

Chapter One

Simply Not Meant to Be

 

Peculiar Morte was perhaps the most beautiful young woman in the small town of Moonlight Cove. Yet what made her so beautiful wasn’t her mere physical appearance, it was her lovely heart. She was adored by many, but her heart, and her love belonged to Sebastian Williams, but he didn’t even know she existed.

“Good morning,” her mother said while leaning over the bed and kissing her on the cheek.

“Good morning, mother.” Peculiar sat forward and stretched the stiffness from her body. Today was her first day of high school. She couldn’t have been happier.

“Don’t forget, we are making the trip to Salem this weekend.”

She inhaled deeply and smiled as her eyes closed. Peculiar adored Salem. The witches there were so free, so unencumbered to be who they were there, unlike her hometown of Moonlight Cove.

After dressing, Peculiar slipped into the widow’s watch – one of two small ones that adorned her family’s house that overlooked the sea. She loved the thought of it, of sitting there and watching the ships as they left the port and disappeared on the horizon. Often she dreamt of some poor lovelorn lady in days long passed who sat in the same chair, looking out the same window, as she waited for her captain to come home.

“Peccy, are you ready?” Sean shouted.

Sean Gregory Morte, her older brother who was now a senior in high school, was ready to walk his sister to school. They both attended Moonlight Cove Academy, a prestigious school for those who were considered to be of a paranormal nature. Sean was destined to become a Sentinel, a watcher of sorts, who oversaw the lives of the many vampires, werewolves, and witches that called Moonlight Cove their home.

Yes, there were many of them worldwide, but certain cities laid claim to them now. It was not like it was in the old country where witches, werewolves, and vampires could roam freely. The Inquisition put an end to that. So now they chose the cities friendly toward their kind. Milan. London. Moonlight Cove. They were but a few of thirteen cities who loved and adored their paranormal cousins.

“I’m coming.”

Peculiar Morte had her own sense of style. She loved black skirts and always wore a colored, fitted blouse with little black grannie boots. Her favorite item to wear, though, was her vividly colored stockings. Sometimes striped, sometimes covered in stars – those stockings of hers always bore some sort of design. Today she chose a purple blouse and purple and black striped stockings for her first day of her final years at the Academy.

“You and those stockings,” Sean commented then laughed while shaking his head as she bounded down the steps. “I wish you would wear blue more often. It highlights those icy blue eyes of yours and makes them sparkle.”

“Blue is the color of sadness,” she quipped quickly. “I have far too much to do in my life to have time for tears.”

“Where’s your medallion?” he asked, looking at her neck.

“Oh! Don’t leave without me!”

Peculiar dashed up the stairs to her room and snatched the Celtic Triskelion off her dresser, quickly fastened it around her neck, and hurried back down the steps.

Sean wore a medallion too. His was an Egyptian Ankh with an Eye of Horus in the middle with detailing in gold and green enamel.

“I hate having to wear these. Why can’t we just be us and not be defined by who they think we should be?” Peculiar was a bit of a rebel and didn’t like to follow the rules of Moonlight Cove, which often led to a special convening of the Council of Moonlight Immortals to decide her punishment.

And that was Moonlight Cove in a nutshell. You were born, you were assigned your place, and you lived it just as it was dictated.

Witches and Sentinels had been in the Morte family line since they arrived on the Mayflower. The women were notably witches, with an occasional Sentinel tossed in the mix. The men nearly all became Sentinels. A male witch was a rarity and highly prized occasion when it happened. If you refused to accept your family heritage, you were forced out of Moonlight Cove… forever.

This was where the Morte family was considered fortunate. They were not vampires, God or Goddess reincarnates, or werewolves. Those tribes had no choice in the matter and could never choose a different path other than their bloodline. Those could only abide by the laws of Moonlight Cove or be exiled forever. A vampire bloodline was a vampire bloodline and nothing in the world could change it.

Peculiar paused to look in the mirror, fixing her long black curls and checking her skirt to make certain all traces of cat hair had been removed by the lint brush. Sean stood behind her. It was becoming increasingly difficult to keep the boys away from his sister with her perfect complexion, her beautiful blue eyes, and her shapely yet thin build. Plus, his sister was a wonderful witch with a heart of gold. He honestly didn’t believe Peculiar would hurt anyone… ever. If she even thought she hurt someone’s feelings, she would cry, often for days, and the storms would roll into Moonlight Cove.

Peculiar was rather adept at weather manipulation amongst the witches in her coven. For this reason, her sadness and tears brought horrible storms to the Cove. Everyone knew when Peculiar Alice Morte was sad. All they had to do was look out the window.

“Goodbye Marmalade,” she called to her orange cat. “See you after school.”

Marmalade jumped into the windowseat of the large bay window overlooking the sidewalk and pressed his front paws to the glass then meowed just as he did every time Peculiar left the house.

“Come along, Marmalade, I believe there’s a can of tuna in your future,” Mrs. Morte commented and picked up her daughter’s cat. “I miss her too,” she whispered and kissed the cat on the top of his head.

Nicolette Morte and her daughter were exceptionally close. Summer had just ended. She was already missing the sounds of her children about the large Victorian house. Silence descended now that they were gone and back to school. Only the moaning of old boards in the wind was part of Nicolette’s day now.

“So what will it be like, senior high, I mean I know you told me but still…”

“There are cliques, just like any other high school, Peccy. The vampires hang together, the witches hang together, and the werewolves hang together. It’s just the way it is.”

Sean sighed deeply. His sister had this grandiose idea that sects didn’t matter and anyone should be able to be friends.

“You know, I will never find a boyfriend if I have to keep to my own ‘kind’,” Peculiar said, making quotation marks in the air. “It’s stupid. Does the council really believe that people on the outside world only date and get married if they are the same? There are only three other families that are destined to produce Sentinels, and I really don’t care for any of them. The McGregors are stuck up, the Broyhills definitely think they are better than everyone else, and the Maguires only care about how far they can get in the politics of this town.”

“The council merely enforces the laws regarding staying or leaving. They could care less about anything else. Personally, I think the whole council thing is so ludicrous. It shouldn’t matter if you chose a tribe or not and want to stay. I am not choosing. I am leaving the minute I graduate. The letter came in the mail last week. Stanford College accepted me on a full scholarship for a four year geology degree, and I’m going.”

“What?” Peculiar nearly fell over. This was the first she had heard anything about Sean leaving. She assumed he would become a Sentinel just like their father Austin.

“I haven’t told mom and dad, so don’t go blabbing it all around town. The last thing I need is them breathing down my neck about shirking my responsibility to the family and to the community. I don’t give two shits about this town or anyone in it.” Sean stopped and looked at his sister. “The minute I graduate from college, you’re coming with me. You don’t have to stay here either. There’s a whole world out there, Peculiar, and entire communities of witches. You don’t have to pine your life away in Moonlight Cove, Massachusetts. I won’t leave you behind, Peculiar, not when there’s a whole world out there waiting for us.”

She hooked her arm through Sean’s and leaned against her brother as they walked down the sidewalk. “I will wait for that day with baited breath, Sean Gregory Morte. I can’t wait to get out of this town!”

Chapter Two

Sebastian

 

“I’d break every law regarding witchcraft for just one kiss,” Peculiar said, her hand resting beneath her chin as she leaned on it and stared dreamily at Sebastian.

“You’d risk magic jail for a single kiss, wouldn’t you?” Daphne Barber, her closest and dearest friend whispered. “You are going to get all of us in trouble.”

Peculiar straightened up and laughed. “It doesn’t matter, Daphne. He doesn’t even know I am alive.”

“Oh, he knows you are alive, Peculiar, he can hear how hard and fast your heart is beating from clear over there. In fact, it is probably so loud in his ears, and the ears of every other vampire in the cafeteria, that they are all considering eating you for lunch. One minute you are eating lunch, the next minute there you are lying on the floor, all the blood sucked out of you still wearing that stupid grin on your face.”

“Yeah, but it would be soooo worth it.”

Daphne would never admit to Peculiar she thought Sebastian was as cute as her friend thought. He was a vampire, and vampires were off limits according to the Witches Code.

Peculiar picked up her tray, took it to the waste bin, and allowed the contents to slip off into the trash bag. She returned to the table and opened her alchemy book for her advanced studies class in fourth period and skimmed over the start of it.

“I cannot wait to work with metals,” she said, completely engrossed in her book.

She was so engrossed that when Peculiar stood from the table as the bell sounded to end the lunch period, she walked straight into the chest of Sebastian Williams and nearly knocked him over, nearly, because Sebastian only lost his footing. Peculiar looked up into his blue eyes and nearly melted into a puddle at his feet right then and there.

“I’m such an idiot. I’m so sorry,” she mumbled while reaching down to pick up her books.

“It’s cool,” Sebastian said and handed her one of the books that had fallen to the floor.

“You’re Sean’s little sister, right?” he asked.

“Yes…”

“Just wondering, so I take it you’ve decided to join the Coven by the looks of your classes.”

Peculiar half smiled a crooked little smile that involved her turning up the right corner of her lips. “Does it matter?”

“Not really, I just thought you were more a Sentinel type of girl.”

“I’m not interested in keeping paranormals in line.”

“Well, then, what ARE you interested in, Peculiar Morte?” he asked, leaning over her.

She could smell the scent of his aftershave, it was woodsy with a faint vanilla odor. Peculiar wanted to scream ‘you’ and throw her arms around his neck, but instead she found herself drawn into his blue eyes, eyes that were filled with a haunting aura that she could hardly resist.

His complexion was so perfect as Peculiar looked up at him, like the airbrushed models that appeared on the cover of some important magazine, so inhumanly… beautiful.

“I have to go,” she said, pushing past him and nearly tripping.

All the vampires in Sebastian’s clique laughed, all but Sebastian who shot them all a dirty look. If looks could indeed kill, every single one of his friends would have died on the spot.

“Damn Bastian, are you getting all sensitive over that girl?” Eddie asked.

“She’s a nice girl. You had better remember that. ALL of you had better remember that.”

Eddie backed into the group of vampires standing behind him. They knew better than to anger Sebastian. He had a wicked nasty temper, and if he said Peculiar was a nice girl, that meant she was off limits to damn near everyone in Moonlight Cove.

“I think he’s sweet on her,” Eddie said and shook his head. “A Vampire and a witch, the council will never allow it.”

Peculiar ran to her next class while nearly holding her breath. When she reached the door to her Alchemy 101 class, she stopped and took a deep breath. She knew her face was flushed and that everyone would see it. How couldn’t they? She was so pale she could pass for the Bride of Frankenstein. After several deep and cleansing breaths, she opened the door, stepped inside, and took her seat.

Professor Worth slowly walked into the class. She reminded Peculiar of Cat Woman from the Batman comics her brother adored so greatly. Wilhelmina Worth was tall, curvy, and nimble. Her agility, fluidity, and grace seemed to make every spell she cast in class so much more powerful.

All the young witches aspired to look like her, except for Peculiar, who sat there in her black skirt with her black and lavender striped stockings and heeled grannie boots. Peculiar was determined to be her own person and not let anyone dictate to her otherwise.

Yet Miss Worth was so much more than just their Alchemy teacher. She was also the High Priestess of Moonlight Coven.

The door opened, and Peculiar looked up then slumped down in her seat. It was Sebastian Williams.

Oh my goddess! What is he doing in here? She thought and sighed.

“Good morning Professor Worth. Sorry I am late, I was… detained.”

“I’m certain you were. Take a seat.”

Peculiar’s embarrassment only got worse as he decided to take the empty seat next her in the back row. Yet she could not stop herself from taking little sideways glances at him, only to find Sebastian was looking back at her with a bit of curiosity.

Vampires take sorcery oriented classes, you know that right? Sebastian thought, projecting his words so Peculiar could hear him.

How are you doing that? How did you know what I was thinking?

It’s part of the vampire gifts.

Get out of my head. I don’t like it.

Suit yourself, I was going to see if you wanted to sneak out later to Harbor View Bay and hit up the McCormic’s Comics and then the coffee shop. They have caramel lattes that are to die for.

Peculiar arched her brow and looked Sebastian straight in the eye. You must think I am terribly stupid. Vampires don’t drink coffee.

I do. I like it. There’s something about that robust flavor, the earthy aroma as you inhale deeply, and of course the caramel.

Peculiar did not know what to think. Here she was, sitting next to the hottest guy in school, a Junior no less, and he was asking her to go get coffee. Plus she was a Sophomore and a witch, something that should have been a huge turn off to Sebastian.

I thought witches and vampires hated each other.

They do Peculiar, but I am not like them. I like you. I think you’re interesting. I just want to get to know you better, that’s all.

Or eat me. Wouldn’t that be the grandest joke of all time? I can see the headlines, local vampire football star kills witch from Sentinel family. I don’t know that it’s a good idea.

You should know, Peculiar Morte, that I never ask a girl out on a date a second time if she turns me down on the first try. I’m not an idiot who will follow you around like a puppy.

A date?

“Yeah, just you and me, my sister of course, and you can bring a friend if that makes you feel safer. You can even bring your brother.

Oh goddess no! Are you kidding? If Sean knew I was even doing this, he’d teleport me home and ward the locks so I couldn’t escape.

Sebastian burst out laughing, which drew the attention of Professor Worth.

“Is something funny, Mr. Williams?”

“No ma’am,” he said and shook his head.

What time should I meet you there?

Meet me as soon as school lets out. It’s a short trek through the woods. Do you know the way?

Yeah. I do.

And Peculiar, my friends call me Bastian.

Peculiar Morte smiled and blushed deeply as she opened her Alchemy 101 book and began taking notes. Suddenly metal magic had lost her interest. All she cared about was Bastian, those haunting eyes, and wanting to kiss him.

All during Alchemy 101, Peculiar would glance over to find Bastian smiling at her, and each time she blushed to the point of her face becoming completely red. She knew she couldn’t tell Daphne, she would never understand, and worse yet her friend just might report her activities to the council. Yet Anise Pywackett would understand. She had maintained a rather lengthy relationship with Brock Morningstar, a Rougarou from the Chickasaw tribe in Louisiana. Anise was a Senior and was the next in line to assume the positon of High Priestess once Miss Worth stepped down.

They had council approval though, something that she and Bastian did not have, something that could land them in a whole lot of trouble. Still, she decided to tell Anise anyway. She would plead her case, ask for help, and if she refused Peculiar doubted Anise would turn her into the council. Anise despised them.

On the way to her fifth period class, Peculiar caught Anise at her locker.

“I need your help. I need a deception spell. Can you help me write one?”

“Sure, what’s it for?” Anise asked as she stuffed her books in her locker. She had a slip for early work release to work in her mother’s witchcraft shop called the Eye of the Storm.

“I want to keep my whereabouts from others a secret. I have a date with someone the council wouldn’t approve of and don’t want to get caught.

Anise rolled her eyes. “Who is it?”

“Sebastian Williams,” Peculiar whispered.

“Oh my Goddess! You are going on a date with a vampire? Do you know how much trouble you could get into? Geesh, Peccy, you know witchcraft and vampires does not mix. They are far too powerful and if he turns you, you won’t be able to control your energies. It could end badly for all of us, not mention possible exile or worse, execution.”

“He’s not going to turn me into a vampire. He’s nice, really nice and I think I have been in love with him since the first grade. I mean, really, have you looked at him lately? He’s a blonde God if ever I saw one.”

Anise sighed deeply as she stared at her friend. She knew Peculiar was going to do this with or without her help, and she did not want her friend to be banished from Moonlight Cove for the rest of their immortal lives.

“Okay, but until we can work the spell together, I will just do a forget me spell on your family so they don’t look for you when you don’t come home. As soon as your foot crosses the threshold, you’ll have three minutes to get to your room and act like you’ve been home for hours. Okay?”

Peculiar tossed her arms around Anise’s neck and squeezed her. “I won’t forget this,” she whispered.

“Don’t make me regret it, Peculiar Morte.”

As Anise watched Peculiar walk away toward her locker at the end of the hall, a feeling of dread washed over her that chilled her to the bone, and she didn’t know why.

An hour later, Peculiar was hiking through the woods to the town of Harbor View Bay alone. She had chosen to take a chance and trust Sebastian, or Bastian as he had asked her to call him. It was risky, she knew it, but she also knew at this point there was hardly anyone whom she could trust.

She emerged from the woods at the corner of Main and Hardesty and walked across the field to the cobblestone sidewalk. McCormic’s Comics was two blocks away on the corner of Hardesty and 16th Street. Peculiar paused to pick the cockleburs off her skirt and stockings from making her way through the dense forest, ran her fingers through her long dark hair, and walked toward the end of the street.

With each step her heartbeat grew louder and faster as she thought about Sebastian Williams. He was tall, nearly six foot with broad shoulders and blue green eyes that reminded her of the Caribbean Sea, or at least what she’d seen of it in photographs. He always wore tight tee-shirts, usually black – with tight fitting Levis. He was the perfect definition of gorgeous in her mind. It was just too bad he was a vampire. Her family would never go for it.

The hand painted sign of McCormic’s Comics with its’ light bulbs running around the outside edge came into view. Her heart nearly fluttered like the wings of a butterfly with excitement. Her stomach was in knots and breathing was nearly impossible.

Over a boy… she thought. She laughed and put her hand on the door, slowly pulled it open, and stepped inside.

“Can I help you?” the young man behind the counter asked.

“No, I am just supposed to meet some friends. Has anyone been by that mentioned going to the coffee shop?”

“No.”

“Thanks anyway.”

She lingered a moment, picking up a copy of Witch Blade, one of her brother’s favorite comics, then looked at the new editions of Wonder Woman.

“I’d like to buy these three, if I could,” she said and handed them to him. Peculiar leaned closer so she could see his name tag as he rung up the sale.

“That’ll be $10.50,” he said and smiled while thinking she was the prettiest girl that had ever come into his brother’s shop, as Peculiar rummaged through her bag.

“Thanks,” he said as he took the eleven dollars from her hand and gave her back fifty cents.

“Thanks Rory. Could I have a bag too?”

“Oh sure.”

“Thanks,” she replied while walking toward the door.

“See you around?” he replied in a half question.

“I hope so.” Peculiar turned around to smile at him. He seemed shy but he sort of was cute.

She pulled the door open and walked next door to the Daily Grind Coffee Shop and went inside.

Rory Christiansen stood at the counter in a daze, thinking he was in love as he watched Peculiar walk next door and disappear inside.

No Bastian. Maybe he’s just late, she thought. Peculiar sat at one of the tables by the window so he would be able to see her. She waited for an hour.

“Are you going to buy something, sweetie,” the woman behind the counter asked and smiled. Peculiar looked at her, silently noting the pity on the woman’s face. The coffee shop owner felt sorry for her.

“No ma’am. I am just going to leave. I guess they aren’t coming. Thanks for letting me wait inside.”

With a heavy and broken heart, Peculiar Morte picked up her bag, left the coffee shop, and walked the whole way home in tears.

Chapter Three

Life Goes On

 

The next morning, Peculiar got dressed and was waiting at the bottom of the stairs to leave for school long before her mother even had breakfast ready. She just wanted the day to be over with, along with the rest of the week so they could head to Salem.

“Hey, why up on time?” Sean teased as he came down the steps, but by the look of his sister’s bloodshot eyes, he knew she had been crying.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” she said and turned her back to him. “All boys suck. I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Okay…”

“Can we just walk to school without a ton of questions and no drama!”

“Okay, okay, geesh Peculiar, don’t get those striped socks of yours in an uproar.”

“I just don’t want to talk about it, and I know how you are, Sean Morte, you’ll push and push until I snap and tell you. Well, I’m not telling you.”

She sat on the bottom step and remained there clear through breakfast until it was time to leave.

“Come on,” Sean said and offered his sister his hand. “I promise, no questions.”

Peculiar smiled. It was just as well. They probably would have fallen head over heels in love with each other and then the council would have said no. Then they’d have to leave Moonlight Cove. Sebastian would begin resenting her because he had to leave his family. The whole damn thing played out like an episode of the Bold and the Beautiful, but with vampires, in her head as she walked.

By the time they reached the academy, Sebastian was waiting at her locker.

“Hey.”

“I have nothing to say to you,” Peculiar said in a huff.

“I couldn’t get out of the house. I had a family thing.”

Peculiar slammed her books into her locker so loudly everyone turned around and looked at her.

“You know that thing you did, that thing where you got inside my head, well you could have done that and let me know you weren’t coming, but you didn’t so screw you!”

Without warning, Sebastian leaned over and kissed Peculiar. His lips were so inviting, so filled with everything she dreamt her first kiss would be like, but just as soon as Peculiar leaned into him, their bodies pressed together like two souls clamoring to find each other, Sebastian abruptly pulled away then ran down the hall and disappeared.

He stood around the corner, his eyes completely black, all traces of that lovely blue green color were gone. The thing he feared the most had happened. Sebastian had lost all control. Had he continued to kiss Peculiar, he would have bitten her and not been able to stop. She was the one, the soul mate his father had spoken of that comes to a vampire but once in a lifetime. Everything was much more complicated now, more so than Sebastian could imagine.

Young and not experienced in controlling something like he was feeling, the only logical thing that popped into his head was to distance himself from Peculiar and to do so quickly.

Sebastian Williams had dated other girls and had no issues. This, this was different. Just touching Peculiar had ignited passions in Sebastian he had never felt before in his life as a vampire. Sure, the lust for blood was always there lingering in the back of his throat, a dull ache that burned with a smoldering intensity, but this was different. He felt compelled to take her, to make Peculiar his own for all eternity. He knew what it was the moment he felt it, and it was exactly as his father had warned him love would feel like.

Peculiar stood at her locker, completely confused, wondering why Bastian had run away like that without saying a word. It was her first kiss and now she was doubting herself, beating herself up over the fact that Bastian had run off without even so much as a word.

I should have practiced kissing my pillow. It must have been so absolutely horrible! Now I will be known as the most horrible kisser at Moonlight Cove Academy. I’m doomed, she thought.

Peculiar picked up her books for her next class, held them tight to her chest with her head down, and pushed through the swell of growing students that gathered to see what was happening. The end of the day could not happen fast enough.

***

When the last bell of the day rang, Peculiar couldn’t have been happier. She slowly walked to her locker, picked up the books needed for her evening homework then dropped them in her bag and waited for Sean to walk her home.

The melancholy air surrounding Peculiar was evident to anyone but much more so to her brother.

“So what happened today?”

“Nothing and I don’t want to talk about it so stop asking me.”

“Okay.”

One thing Sean Morte absolutely couldn’t stand was when his sister was like this. Her sadness was evident - it was like a heavy and thick fog had descended on Moonlight Cove.

Just as Sean was about to ask his sister if she wanted to stop and pick up a pizza on the way home, his treat and her choice of toppings, the sky above them opened up and it poured down a heavy, cold rain. Peculiar Morte wasn’t merely sad. She was heartbroken.

Sean quickly removed his coat and attempted to hold it over his sister, but Peculiar pushed his hands away.

“Maybe, with any luck, I will either drown on the way home, and if not catch a death of a cold, and die a miserable death.”

There was no way for Sean to know what had happened, but whatever it was, he was going to find out. He was certain it had to do with a boy. He just had no idea it was a vampire or that the vampire belonged to the most powerful family in Moonlight Cove.

As soon as they reached the house, lightning began to flash and thunder rumbled loudly across the sky. Peculiar walked up the steps, straight into the house, and went straight to her room. Sean cringed as he heard the door slam.

“What happened to Peculiar?’ their mother asked.

“I’m not sure, but I think it had to do with a boy.”

“Oh dear,” Nicolette said. “I should go up and talk to her.”

“Don’t mom,” Sean said, reaching forward and grabbed his mother’s arm. “She just needs to be alone. Chocolate chip cookies might help though?” Sean smiled. His mother made the best chocolate chip cookies in the world. They were always soft, warm and perfectly chewy – never crispy.

Nicolette smiled at her son and kissed Sean on the cheek then smiled. “She’s lucky to have a brother like you.”

Sean looked up the staircase. Somehow, he didn’t feel the same. Something had happened to Peculiar that he didn’t know about and wasn’t there to stop. With a steady hand on the railing, Sean ascended the steps to Peculiar’s room and tapped lightly on the door.

“Can I come in, please?” he asked, nearly afraid his sister would start screaming at him.

“Go away!”

“I’m not leaving, Peculiar Alice Morte, so you may as well open the damn door.”

He could hear her feet tromping across the wood floor then the door flew open only to show Peculiar sitting in the middle of the bed.

“You know how mom feels about the use of frivolous magic.”

“At this point, I really don’t care, and I think when you are ready to leave Moonlight Cove, I am just going to go with you and attend some boring, normal high school and just be ‘that Peculiar girl’,” she said and crossed her arms.

“Peccy, get out of those wet clothes and we will drive over to Harbor View Bay and hit up McCormic’s.”

That was the last place she wanted to go but if she turned her brother down, Sean would definitely know something was up.

How do I get myself into these messes! she thought.

“Okay.”

An hour later Peculiar was dressed in dry clothes, and much to the surprise of her brother, she was wearing a pair of flared blue jeans and white shirt.

Sean could tell her mood was improving. Although it was still raining outside, it was not a deluge of rain that threatened to sweep Moonlight Cove into the sea.

“No skirt, no crazy stockings, who are you and what did you do with my sister?” Sean asked, wiggling his eyebrows, which caused Peculiar to laugh.

“I am Isabella Morte, the twin personality of dear boring old Peculiar. I say, who taught that girl how to dress?” she said in her best imitation London accent.

Sean laughed. Peculiar winked at him and curled up the right corner of her mouth as she did.

“Come on, they’re having a sale. It’s buy a comic get a comic at half off. I thought you might like to get some more DC’s”

The entire drive to Harbor View Bay, all Peculiar could think about was how she was going to keep Rory Christiansen from letting on that he had seen her only yesterday. She stared out the window wondering how she could have been such a fool to think that the infamous Sebastian Williams would care about a no body witch like her. As they passed the spot where she had emerged from the forest full of hope, Peculiar nearly burst into tears. She was extremely grateful when Sean slipped the car into park in front of the comic book store.

“Want a latte?” he asked, pointing to the Daily Grind.

Panic started to settle into her stomach. “Why don’t you get one for me and bring it over to the comic book store?”

“Sure.”

As soon as her brother stepped inside the Daily Grind, Peculiar leapt from the car and ran inside McCormic’s Comics.

“Hey,” Rory said and his face lit up.

“You didn’t see me yesterday,” she said just as Sean was coming through the front door with their coffees.

Rory smiled and nodded his head. “Hey Sean, the latest episodes of Batman are in, and I just got a gold edition of the X-Men. Want to take a look?”

“Sure,” Sean said as Rory pulled them out from under the counter and laid them on the glass.

“So is that your sister, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her come in here with you.” Rory attempted to find a way for an introduction to happen, then he could talk to Peculiar and see if she was okay. He had seen her run from the coffee shop in tears the day before, and she was so beautiful. He just couldn’t understand why any guy would stand up a girl like her.


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

Hargrove Perth writes horror, dark romance, fantasy, and paranormal in the Adult, New Adult, and YA categories. When asked why paranormal, she said, "I'm the girl who cries at the end when Frankenstein is misunderstood, and who wants Dracula to keep Mina in his arms forever... I see the humanity in them that others cannot." She is also a multi-genre award winning author in horror, fantasy, and paranormal YA.

Q. Tell us about the cover and the inspiration for it.
A.
I wanted a cover that was simple yet drew the reader to it without creating what I believed the characters look like, so I chose silhouettes. It is my hope it allows the reader to see each of the four love stories in the book in that simple vector.
Q. Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
A.
There are several messages in the book, but I hope the ones that reach readers the most is that it is okay to be yourself, stand up for others, and follow your heart.
Q. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
A.
Finding the right voice for sixteen year old protagonists in the book and making sure they felt real and genuine was the hardest part of writing 3 Shades of Midnight. It's been a while since I was that young :)

Next in:
Romance
Deadline
It's the toughest assignment of her life
The Secret of Blackthorn Manor
Who is haunting Blackthorn Manor?
The Weight of Madness
There’s no logic in love – only madness.