Elaine was kind enough to feature me on her blog lately. You can check out her awesome feature at: http://ellelainey.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/predators-kiss-excerpt/
And now it's my pleasure to tell you about her wonderful book, Runaway Girl! I think the cover is about the most beautiful thing I've seen in a long time, and I know you'll love what's inside it as well.
The vampire council didn’t enjoy convening outside of their regularly scheduled meetings, but considering everything that had happened lately, Lucius found it more than important. It was imperative. The very future of their race, their people, stood on the balance and although he knew that Damian was more than capable of taking over the leadership of their clan, it simply wasn’t enough. He was not of pure blood and no one other than a pure blood had ever led their people before. If Damian was to succeed to the station that Lucius had prepared him for, then they needed to ask him to do something that might risk breaking his heart.
They had to bring back Amelia.
Lucius rose from his seat and brought the council to order, his movement instantly silencing the chatter amongst the elders. “I pray the council will forgive the lateness of the hour. Unfortunately, I have some distressing news for you that could not wait. Damian, if you would bring me the files we discussed, I would be most grateful,” he asked the young man standing watch by his side, ready to protect him at all cost.
Damian reluctantly crossed the room to an old desk by the far wall and retrieved a manila file of papers that Lucius had been working on and handed them to his master. He then made sure the room was secure and took his place beside Lucius’ seat. The moment the double wooden doors were closed, Lucius took his seat and addressed the council. “Amelia was a willful child. She tormented me and Damian, disappearing and playing tricks. Only when she was an adult did her tricks become dangerous. I believe you all know the story of my daughter, so I will not bore you with the details. However, for the sake of this meeting, I must explain her disappearance. For a century, I have lived without my daughter. Finally tired of her confinement—which was placed upon her for good reason—Amelia contacted a Haitian with certain special gifts,” Lucius recounted the tale.
“Her soul was transferred to a human body, upon her request, forever to live on until such time as she wished to return to our people,” Matisse replied, slightly annoyed. “We all know the story, Lucius, and how badly affected you were by her actions.”
Lucius smiled in gratitude for the obvious sentiment his friend displayed. He didn’t want him to relive the memory any more than Lucius wanted to. “Please, my friend, my meaning will be clear in a moment. But you are right. This Haitian man offered Amelia an eternal life without my influence. Her soul was transferred into a human body and, even if that body died, her spirit would simply move to another body until she wished to come home again. But it has been two centuries and she has not returned, and I am not the only one who believes that this is against her will.”
Lucius recalled a conversation with Damian suggesting that Amelia’s Haitian man may have made a mistake in his spell. It stood to reason that after so many human lives, his daughter should become bored of the monotony and wish to return home.
Although he wished for this more than anything, he knew of Damian’s resistance on the subject. Amelia had crushed his heart a million times over. Why should he wish for her return so that she could try to break him again?
“We were unable to find the truth for a very long time. It was only recently that a secret investigation into the incident provided me with new information. It seems that my daughter misplaced her trust. Not only has our witch friend spoken ill of this Haitian, she also discovered that Amelia’s soul has been fractured.”
A muttering of astonishment circled among the elders, who all turned their attention to the beautiful, gifted woman seated in a shadowed corner of the room. The witch woman was well known to all, but no one knew her name. Instead, they all called her Lady in respect and gratitude for using her many gifts and talents for their people, instead of against.
“Do you mean … Sire, you cannot possibly mean that her soul is broken,” Elder Nikolai said, shocked by such a revelation, sure that a broken soul had no hope of being repaired. Upon his words, the witch smiled the most beautiful smile of reassurance, and Lucius explained.
“That is not what I’m saying,” Lucius replied. “The spell cast upon her soul worked. It cannot die, but she cannot be whole again without our help. Our Lady has agreed to perform the necessary spells in order to return Amelia to us. My time is growing short, and my usefulness to the clan is fading. I wish for Amelia to be restored at the meeting of the three clans, so that she may take over the leadership of our people from me.”
No one was surprised that Lucius wished to pass on this great responsibility to his daughter. Few could lead for such a time without growing weary of the human world and its interferences. Their whole race was feared, but glamorized. Vampires had become legends within movies and story books. There was no respect anymore.
“To do this, we must find the fragmented pieces of her soul and bind them back together,” Lucius began again. “I know all of you are aware of my intention to unite Damian and Amelia so that they may rule together. I also know that a few of you have been using his particular gifts for your own errands, but I must ask for full availability of him from this moment forth. Damian must be the one to return Amelia to us.” Lucius hated asking his council to put aside their own personal errands to cater to his whim, but in this instance it was absolutely necessary. There was no telling what Damian would feel about returning Amelia to his side. He had equal reason to love and hate her.
“I am, as always, ready to bow to your wishes, my friend,” Elder Matisse said. “And I agree that Damian must be the one to bring Amelia back to us.”
After all, Amelia had tortured and tormented Damian for many centuries. He had ample reason to wish her soul obliterated from the earth. It would not do for him to be given the opportunity to dwell on things in case his loyalty could not overcome his personal feelings on the matter.
“Yes, these are my thoughts exactly,” Lucius continued. “As my trusted council, however, I wish to share as much as I can with you and ask for your guidance and assistance in this matter, as it concerns the fate of us all. The files that I had Damian bring to me contain information on each of the young women who our dear Lady has identified as possible candidates. Each show remarkable skills and traits beyond their human capabilities and it is our belief that each is in possession of a piece of Amelia’s soul. There is no telling how many fragments my daughter’s soul has been ripped into, but until we can reclaim these young women, we will never know.”
He sighed, momentarily losing faith. It all seemed so impossible, so difficult after searching for her, not knowing for so long. How many times had his daughter suffered some human sickness, death or heartache over the course of her many lifetimes? How many times had she loved, cried and been without her father when she most needed him most?
“Master, do not fear,” the witch said, rising from her seat. “Miss Amelia may return without her whole soul, so we must only find the greatest parts and she will be restored fully.” The witch woman knew that Lucius was in despair, but just the presence of her by his side relieved his greatest fears. They were not friends as such. In fact, he wasn’t sure that the Lady ever had a friend in her life, but they were allies
in their quest to see the vampire race succeed well into the future. And he couldn’t achieve this goal without her.
“Yes, thank you,” Lucius replied. “Let us all pray that by the time of the meeting of the three clans, Amelia and Damian will be united and ready to take over my leadership.” When he rose from his seat, the other elders did the same. Damian followed dutifully.
Matisse approached and took his hand, offering his full support in anything he wished, while Nikolai smiled and wished him well in his search. Each knew well how many years he had longed for the day when Amelia would be returned to him. He thanked him, appreciating the support of his friends.
“Do you forget, master, what I told you?” The witch woman waited until the elders had left the room, and Damian was sent to find a soldier escort to see her safely home. “Amelia will never rule your people. Damian’s heart cannot allow it. You know as well as I that he is the next leader of the clan. Why do you resist?”
She wondered if there was a reason why Lucius could not accept Damian as the next leader, even after her prophesy that he would be a much better candidate than his young son Matthew. Nor was she ignorant of the fact that he had not once mentioned the possibility of Matthew taking over his rule, either on his own merits or because Amelia’s soul could not be reunited. It was very curious.
“Damian cannot rule alone,” Lucius replied with a sigh. “You know as well as I that he is not of pure blood and cannot rule without Amelia.”
The Lady frowned at him in disapproval. She did not understand this claim of the clans, but she knew more about the situation than Lucius ever would. “If you choose to ignore my guidance, then woe be to you. I wash my hands of the affair.”
After she left, Lucius smiled as if she was just an old woman who was talking nonsense. One day he was going to realize that, beautiful young woman or not, she was more powerful than he gave her credit for. Without her, the vampire race would die, as would their savior.