Title: The Vampire's Daughter
Author: Leigh Anderson
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4
Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press,
Love and faith collide in this exhilarating Gothic novel when Ethan, a boy destined for the priesthood, finds that he cannot resist the alluring heart of Victoria, The Vampire’s Daughter.
When Ethan discovers that the love of his life, Victoria, is actually the child of a monstrous beast and must marry another man to save her family, he retreats to a monastery to live out the rest of his days alone. But the Church has other ideas. Ethan’s mentor asks him to lead famous vampire hunter Dom Calmet back to his home village to rid the town of the vampires that plague it. Ethan must then take a journey, emotionally and literally, back to the town of his youth and decide between love and faith when he once again meets The Vampire’s Daughter. Containing many tropes of a classic Gothic novel (an obscure heroine, an indecisive hero, an exotic location, references to classical literature, dark castles, a foreboding sense of danger) combined with the sensuality of a modern romance, The Vampire’s Daughter will leave you gasping for more.
Victoria and Gregory rode toward the village at a steady pace. She was looking forward to seeing Ethan, and Gregory was glad to be out of the barn. As she got close to the village, she could sense something was wrong. She could hear the faint sound of a woman crying. Sorrow seemed to hang in the air. As she got closer, she could see a few people moving about quickly and quietly. Some were boarding up their windows; others were reinforcing their animal enclosures. Riding through the town, the usually cold people looked at her with disgust. In one house, she saw a little child pointing at her until the mother came up to close the drapes. A group of older women gathering firewood stopped and mumbled as she got closer. She dismounted at the blacksmith's and greeted the man with a smile, but he did not repay her in kind.
"Thank you for watching Gregory for me for a few hours, sir," she said as she tied him in his usual stall.
"No need to thank me," he replied as he untied the horse and gave her back the reigns.
"Why?" she prodded, confused.
"You should not be here," was all he said as he headed inside.
She led her horse back out into the street and looked around. There was hardly anyone about. A few prying eyes watched her from the houses.
"I have just as much right to be here as any of you," she thought to herself as she held her head up high. She felt herself getting mad, but she wasn't sure why. Why were the people staring and pointing at her? Why would the blacksmith say she didn't belong there? What had she done to any of them? She decided to go to her future home and see if Ethan was there.
She tied her horse to the hitching post at the end of the walk. She approached the house and ran her fingers through what looked like claw marks on the oak front door. She did not remember seeing them there before.
"Hello?" she called inside as she opened the door. A small fire was going in the fireplace, telling her Ethan had been there and most likely would return. She felt herself calm down and her anger at the people melt away. The room was warm and safe. She closed the door and looked around the cottage. It already looked so homey, fully furnished with curtains on the windows and rugs on the floors.
She ascended the wooden steps to the second floor and opened the first door to a room on the left. It was small with equally small furniture—most likely a child's room. She imagined that one day, her and Ethan's children would be playing on that floor looking up at her with wide-eyed wonderment. Then their eyes reflected fear, and she thought of how the townspeople reacted to her today and how, even now, she was an outcast. She sighed, frowned, and shut the door on the frightened children she imagined were there.
She opened a door on her right and found the master bedroom. She entered the room, took off her cape, and hung it on a hook by the door. She walked over and placed her small hand on the large pine spindles of the bed. She walked to the far side of the bed, running her fingers over the covers. A multi-colored crotched blanket overlaid a beautiful pink and ecru quilt. She folded the blanket back so it only covered the foot of the bed and the quilt could be more fully seen. The quilt was so soft to the touch. She bent down and put her cheek to the fabric. She sighed in delight. She looked at the door and listened to see if anyone was there. When she only heard silence, she took off her shoes, climbed up onto the bed and laid long ways across it. It was a large bed. She stretched her hands way above her head and still could barely touch the other end. She laughed at herself and how she found such delight in such a simple thing.
"What are you doing?" a voice asked.
"Ahh!" she screamed as she sat up straight and turned toward the voice. "Ethan! You startled me!"
"I startled you?" he asked. "What are you doing in my house?"
"Your house?" she asked. "I thought this was our house."
Ethan began to laugh as he put the wooden club he was carrying by the door. "You should see yourself," he said. "Why were you so afraid? I did not mean to scare you."
"I do not know," she replied, settling herself down. "Everyone was just acting so strange when I got here. I guess I am just on edge..." she trailed off, noticing the club. "What is that for?"
"Do not worry about that," he said, taking off his coat and sitting on the other side of the bed. "Everyone is a little nervous. Some wolves came into town on Sunday night and killed a man."
"Oh, my goodness," Victoria said, putting her hand to her mouth. "That is awful. Who was it?"
"Mr. Stanek," he said. "We just had the funeral this morning,"
"I am sorry I missed it," she lamented.
"It's all right; you had no way of knowing about it."
"Still, I feel awful." She laid back and placed her head on one of the pillows.
Ethan looked at the sorrow on her face. He knew Father James was wrong about her. She cared and felt deeply for every person.
"Wait!" she said, sitting straight up again. "You said 'wolves' as in many of them? Is that what clawed the front door?" she asked.
"Yes," he said. "There were five by my count, but some people saw more."
"A whole pack attacked the town?" she asked. "That is like something out of an old legend, back when werewolves ruled the woods at night."
"I know," Ethan said. "The whole town is worried about the next full moon. Everyone is boarding up their windows and reinforcing their doors. I'm sure they are overreacting, though. Werewolves. How silly. They were just normal wolves. This cold weather probably has them desperate for food."
"You actually saw them?" she asked. "My God, are you all right? You were not injured, were you?" She crawled over to him and put her hand on his face.
"No, no, I'm fine," he said, chuckling over the fuss she was making. He liked how much she cared for him. "I'm fine," he whispered, looking at her beautiful face. His face turned stone serious and he exhaled slowly.