As a bonus to help close out this week’s Halloween Flash Fiction Blog Event, Jennifer Estep was kind enough to offer up a copy of her latest, Dark Heart of Magic! Appropriate for the holiday, don’t you think?

To enter, share any one (or more, but you can only be entered once) of this week’s stories on any of your social media outlets. Comment below to let me know which one (or more) you shared. No links necessary, we’re working on the honor system here. You can use the #CMCon16 hashtag, if you like, though… and I’ll be able to see/like/favorite your posts!

Thank you all for hanging out with us this week. We’ve had SO much fun with the awesome Coastal Magic Convention Featured Authors. Don’t forget that you have the chance to meet and hang out with all of them in February! Here’s a quick recap of the authors, with links to each of their stories. I hope you’ve enjoyed them, and GOOD LUCK in all of the giveaways!!

Sunday, October 25th

Kickoff Post

Nancy Northcott
Dina Given

Monday, October 26th

B A Tortuga & Julia Talbot
Cat Johnson

Tuesday, October 27th

Jocelynn Drake
Tawdra Kandle

Wednesday, October 28th

Terry Spear
Kate McMurray

Thursday, October 29th

Dianna Love
Paige Tyler

Friday, October 30th

S E Smith
Kiernan Kelly

Saturday, October 31st

Eric R Asher
Deborah Blake

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Halloween Flash Fiction Blog Event with Eric R Asher

Posted October 31, 2015 By Jennifer


For most people, Halloween is a mix of fun and spooky. With today’s two flash fictions, we cover both. (No, I’m not telling which one this is, lol!) Interestingly enough, this story from Eric R Asher could have easily been inspired by either the image below, or the one that was the focus of today’s other story!




The Shadow Place
Eric R. Asher


There were dark spaces where even the shadows feared to tread. The man in the old trench coat at the bar had told me of an ancient home that once stood nearby; a place scarred by memories and violence. He’d been polite as he sipped a glass of whiskey and cradled his white umbrella, every word carrying the sour tinge of stale cigar. There were legends; he’d said, stories of darkness without purpose, where the veil thins between one world and the next. The last thing he’d said to me was “Run when you see the cat. It doesn’t belong here.”

I found myself in the vacant lot later, amid overgrown dandelion patches and sticker bushes in the muggy night. Clouds obscured the high moon, and dead streetlamps let darkness permeate the air. I stumbled more than once before almost falling onto the rusted iron door set into the earth near the back corner of the lot. I reached out to the old metal handle. The hinges squealed as I pulled the door open wide.

The stones waiting within didn’t look like anything that belonged to this century. The stairs were ancient, hewn things. Footsteps had worn a dip into the center of the stones. How long would that take? Decades? Centuries?

I had walked down three steps before my hand brushed the nearest wall. The cold bit at my flesh. I knew I should run. I should scream at the pain, look away from the bodies as they wrap themselves around me.

“What the hell?” I hissed. Those weren’t my thoughts. What bodies?

A whisper sounded from right behind me, the old man from the bar. “The dead here are my friends. We all come home in the darkness.”

I spun, ready to lay him out flat no matter how old he was. Nothing waited there.

My heart tripped over itself. I knew I should leave, but still my body turned and carried me into the shadows. A small shelf sat at the curve of the stairs. I frowned at the flashlight for a moment before picking it up.

A warm relief flashed through me when the yellow beam cut the darkness. The cold didn’t recede. I wrote it off to being underground. I’d been in caves before, and there was always a chill under the earth.

My feet landed on a dirt floor. A long straight hallway waited there. I swept the beam from the floor to the ceiling. Nothing but plain stone until something glinted in the corner of my vision. Were there two? Was that the cat?

I almost screamed at myself to leave, to get the hell out of that place, but I had to see. I had to know. My boots fell heavy. I stomped down the hall, staring ahead, unblinking, as though the sound of footsteps would chase my fears away. The yellow beam swayed with my stride.

Perhaps a wiser explorer than I would have turned back. They would have let the fear guide them away when whispers echoed from the darkness, and something thumped wetly in the shadows. It only drove me forward until my feet crossed out of the hall.

The cat’s eyes caught the light, and then the beast was gone. It was when I reached that dreary corner that I remembered the old man’s words. I blinked, and the eyes returned for a split second before vanishing.

Run you fool.

Still I stepped forward, eyes fixed on the moldered door on the opposite wall.

The nailed door rattled in its frame. Below it laid the trench coat. I only recognized it from the red patch on the sleeve and the dusty white umbrella beneath the skeleton’s hand. Something moved in the shadows, only a flicker, but that was enough. The door quaked on its hinges. The distant groan became an ear-splitting cry.

Shades and specks and shadows oozed from the tiny crack at the edge of the doorframe. The wood itself bowed forward, and the spell finally shattered.

I ran from that place, hearing the crack and cries behind me, knowing that what had been imprisoned here was now free to ravage the world once more.

Horrible wet thumps echoed up the stairs behind me. I ground my teeth and ran as hard as I could, the flashlight splashing mad shadows and shapes onto the stone. I didn’t want to see the thing behind me. I didn’t want to know what it was.

The cat waited at the top of the spiral stairs. I froze, meeting its all too alien eyes. I screamed when the iron doors crashed shut above, and the darkness grabbed me from behind.



Ahhhhhhhhh… ok, so now you know which one this is. Definitely the creepy one! So… what do you think? Would curiosity drive you down the stairwell, or would you have given up and left when the voices in your head stopped being YOUR voice? (Or, like me, would you not have ever gone there to START with, lol!) Let me know in the comments, and you’ll be entered to win a signed paperback copy of any one book in Eric’s Vesik series. 

All giveaways this week last from their posting date, through November 1st. Winners will be chosen and notified by email on Monday, November 2nd. All giveaways will be fulfilled by the author. You can find the kickoff post for this year’s Halloween Flash Fiction Blog Event HERE, for a listing of all of this week’s participating authors, many including giveaways. Good Luck, everyone!!

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Halloween Flash Fiction Blog Event with Deborah Blake

Posted October 31, 2015 By Jennifer


What’s a Halloween themed event without a black cat image, right? #CMCon16 Featured Author Deborah Blake was kind enough to offer up this little short, with characters from her Veiled Magic world, to help finished off this week’s festivities.




“Beyond the Call”
Deborah Blake (Veiled Magic)


Donata Santori stared at her boss, the Chief of Police, and said, “Please tell me you’re kidding.”

The Chief stared back, his face like a block of granite. “When is the last time you heard me tell a joke, Santori?”

That would be never. “But you know I don’t work on Halloween, sir. It’s Samhain. The most important holiday in the Witch’s Wheel of the Year.” She swallowed hard. “If I don’t show up for dinner with the family, my mother is going to kill me.” It was bad enough that she worked as a Witness Retrieval Specialist, referred to by many as a “ghost yanker,” a job that her mother thought was far beneath a member of the Santori family. If Donata missed the big family gathering, she was going be disowned.

“Sir, I always request the day off months in advance. It’s as important as Christmas is to many non-Witches.” The clock on the wall of her dingy basement office ticked loudly, as if to emphasis the pointlessness of her protest. But she had to try. Besides, what he wanted her to do, well, it was way beyond the call of duty.

“We had a homicide last Christmas,” Chief O’Malley reminded her. “I worked Christmas Eve and three days straight afterwards. It comes with the territory.”

“But what you want me to do isn’t even part of the job.” At his scowl, she belatedly added the, “Sir.” She couldn’t help it if a hint of indignation crept into her voice. “I’m not some kind of a side-show to be dragged out to entertain the masses. What I do is serious; it’s not a magic act.” Well, technically it was, but not that kind of magic. Talking to the dead took real magic, and wasn’t something any Witch took lightly, even the ones with a gift for it like Donata.

The Chief sighed. “Look, I know that, Santori. I am fully aware that what I’m asking is both insulting and outside of your job description. The Petersons are huge supporters of the Police Benevolent Society and have agreed to donate a substantial amount to the scholarship fund for the children of officers killed in the line of duty. The only thing they requested was that I bring you along to put on a demonstration for their friends at the black tie Halloween party they are throwing for the Mayor. Hopefully you’ll be done in time to get to your family dinner.” He shrugged broad shoulders only a little bowed by the weight of long years in a stressful position. “I’m asking you to take one for the team. Maybe if you do, it will earn you some credit with the rest of the department.”

Who didn’t like her because she was a Witch who talked to dead victims of crimes, and therefore creeped them out. Sure, raising the dead for fun at a party was sure to fix that. On the other hand, she knew the Chief, and was pretty sure that he hated to ask her to do it almost as much as she hated having to say yes.

“Okay,” she said reluctantly. “Please tell me I don’t have to wear some fancy black dress.”

“You have to wear a fancy black dress,” he said. And she could swear there was laughter at the back of his voice.


Halloween night was crisp and cold and Donata was glad to have a lacy black shawl to wrap around her, even if she’d mostly worn it for the required spooky effect. She took a taxi to the Petersons’ mansion, since trying to ride her motorcycle in a long clingy dress was a little crazy, even for her. The Chief met her at the door, giving her a look of approval. His craggy features looked out of place over a well-pressed tuxedo, but even Donata had to admit that her boss looked pretty sharp for a guy hovering near the retirement age.

A beautiful woman with improbably platinum blond hair and perfect makeup swooped down on them as they walked in. Although she was dressed as Cleopatra, she was clearly recognizable as Eloisa Peterson, their hostess and leading light of society, for those who cared about such things.

“My darling Chief O’Malley! You brought her! I am so pleased,” Eloisa said, pressing one cool hand against Donata’s briefly. She gave the lower-ranked woman a wintery smile and added, “I am so fascinated by what you do, and what with it being Halloween and everything, I thought it would be such a thrill to have you do a little demonstration for us.”

“Calling on the dead isn’t something that is done lightly,” Donata said through gritted teeth. “Did you have some member of your family in particular that you wished to speak to? Someone with whom you have unfinished business perhaps, or need to say goodbye to?”

Eloisa waved one be-ringed hand dismissively. “No, no, dear. Just do your thing. I’m sure whomever shows up will be just fine.” She wafted away, dragging the Chief off to meet some of the other important guests.

“You have got to be kidding me,” Donata growled under her breath. Then she noticed a small boy with sad eyes hovering in a nearby doorway. He looked to be about six or seven and he was dressed up for the evening in a miniature tux with a tiny red bow tie around his neck. He glanced around as if checking to make sure that no one—his mother especially, Donata guessed—was paying attention, then came over and asked her a question in a voice not much louder than a whisper. She bent down to answer him, also in a whisper, and after a moment, gave him a quick furtive hug before going into the main ballroom where she was expected to perform.

Her hostess had set aside a circular space for Donata to use, with an area around it for the guests to stand and watch. When Donata appeared, Eloisa rang a bell to get everyone’s attention and briefly explained how thrilled she was to have such an interesting guest to show them true magic.

Donata just gritted her teeth and said quietly to the Chief, “I hope you got the check already.” His eyes widened in alarm, but he nodded and patted his jacket pocket.

“Donata,” he said warningly, “I don’t know what you’re planning…”

“Just doing what I was told,” she said, knowing full well there was probably a slightly evil grin hovering around the edges of her lips for anyone who knew her well enough to detect.

She took a step forward so that she was standing in the middle of the circle, and Eloisa backed out rapidly to stand at the edge with one hand placed possessively on her much older husband’s arm. An avid look gave her thin face unusual animation.

“Good evening,” Donata said to her audience. “As Mrs. Peterson explained so eloquently, I am a police officer and a Witch, and I specialize in speaking to the dead. Usually, of course, my gifts are used to bring justice to the victims of crime, but tonight, at Mrs. Peterson’s request, I will be demonstrating my ability to you.”

A wave of excited chatter moved through the group and Donata forced herself not to roll her eyes as she set up the few tools she needed for her magic. There were colored candles set out at each quarter; north, east, south, and west, as well as incense and a mixture of sea salt and water that she would sprinkle around the edges of the circle. As she set things up, she explained that the circle was set up for protection, to keep the summoned spirit inside and any unwanted entities from being called in accidentally.

“This is especially important tonight of all nights,” Donata said. “Halloween, or Samhain as we Witches call it, is the night when the veil between the worlds is the thinnest, and it is easiest for spirits to cross over from the other side.” She didn’t add that considering who she was planning to call, the protective circle wasn’t really necessary, and she didn’t actually intend to invoke it. Having a circle erected would interfere with her plans.

But she went through the motions anyway, calling on the powers of the elements of earth, air, fire, and water, but without putting any magical effort into the words. Then she lit the incense and putting her hands out dramatically, uttered the name of the one she was summoning three times quietly. Too quietly for anyone to hear, even with the room so silent you could have heard a pin drop.

Which is probably why they all gasped a moment later when a loud meowwwww was heard and an ancient black cat seemed to appear from the swirls of incense, its green eyes gleaming in the dimly lit room.

“Jasper!” a high voice cried out, and Eloisa’s young son ran into the circle to stand in front of the small ghostly figure. “You came back! She said you would and you did.” Tears ran down his pale face as he put out his fingers as if to touch the cat, hovering just out of reach. “I didn’t get to say goodbye when you died. I’m so sorry. You were the best cat ever and I love you so much.”

Donata could feel a tiny trickle of dampness on her own cheeks as she watched the ghostly cat rub up against his former companion, purring so loudly it almost drowned out the sound of Eloisa’s plaintive complaint. “She called up the cat? What kind of ghost is that?”

Donata bent her head to hide her smile, wiping away her sympathetic tear at the same time she knelt down next to the boy. “I’m sorry, Timmy, but we need to let Jasper go on to the Summerlands where he belongs. He has been waiting very patiently to say goodbye to you too, but now it is time to let him go. Perhaps someday he will come back to you again, in another form.”

“Like a kitten?” Timmy asked, his gaze steadfastly fixed on the slowly fading swirls of incense. “With no more hurting?”

“Just like that,” Donata said. She stood up and moved her hands in the gesture that would dismiss the tiny feline ghost. “Thank you,” she whispered. “Be free. And a blessed Samhain to you, my furry friend.”

When she glanced over at the Chief, she was almost certain she saw him smile.



No, I did NOT tear up… that’s just my eye leaking!! 

I loved this sweet story, and I can’t wait to learn more about these characters when Veiled Magic comes out on November 17th!! Deborah is offering up a fun prize pack of Veiled Magic goodies to one of our readers today. To enter, let me know in the comments if you dress up for Halloween, and if so, what your favorite costume is/was.


Veiled Magic
by Deborah Blake. © 2015 Berkley Publishing

A spellbinding new novel from the author of the Baba Yaga novels. Since Witches came out of the broom-closet in the early 21st century, they have worked alongside humans as police officers, healers, stock traders, and more. But they aren’t the only paranormal entities in our world… Police officer and Witch Donata Santori spends her days interrogating dead

witnesses by summoning their spectral forms. Normally the job is little more than taking statements and filing reports. But when she’s called in on the case of a murdered art restorer, she finds herself suddenly in possession of a mystical portrait that both the human and paranormal communities would kill to get their hands on.

Unable to take on the forces hunting her alone, Donata seeks help from two unlikely and attractive allies: a reluctant shape-changer and a half-dragon art forger. But as the three of them hurry to uncover the truth about the powerful painting, Donata realizes that she’s caught in the middle of not one but two wars—one for possession of the painting’s secrets and one for possession of her heart…


Veiled Magic Prize Pack: includes a Veiled Magic tote bag which will contain a hand-carved wooden Halloween cat, a black cat magnet, a broom pen, and a few other goodies.

All giveaways this week last from their posting date, through November 1st. Winners will be chosen and notified by email on Monday, November 2nd. All giveaways will be fulfilled by the author. You can find the kickoff post for this year’s Halloween Flash Fiction Blog Event HERE, for a listing of all of this week’s participating authors, many including giveaways. Good Luck, everyone!!

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Halloween Flash Fiction Blog Event with S E Smith

Posted October 30, 2015 By Jennifer


#CMCon16 Featured Author S E Smith joins us today to offer an original little short for our festivities! This was easily one of my favorite pictures from the collection that our authors got to pick from. I have a strange fascination with doorways, archways, gateways, etc. I’m thrilled to see it used the way it has been in this story, and I can’t wait to hear what you think!




The Beast Prince
By S.E. Smith


Chapter 1

Lisa laughed as she ran through the meadow. It was almost midnight, but that didn’t stop the fun that had started over an hour before. If anything, it made the game of manhunt even more fun. She and almost a dozen members of her adopted family ranging in age from four to forty had decided sitting around the fire listening to their parents, grandparents, and cousins reminisce about the ‘good ole days’ was about as exciting as attending a funeral.

Lisa grimaced, that probably wasn’t the best analogy to use considering that was the reason everyone was there; her great grandmother’s funeral. Breathless, she slid down behind a large bale of hay and tried to catch her breath. Laying her hand on her stomach, she leaned back against the coarse straw and listened. The funeral today had been drawn out with almost a hundred family and friends attending. What had surprised Lisa was that her grandparents had insisted on having a huge fire that evening at the old cottage that her great-grandmother had owned outside the city of Bath, England.

She stared up at the glittering stars. From the few times that she had been to England, it was a rare occurrence to be able to see them. With a sigh, she grinned and made a wish on a falling star as it flashed across the sky. Closing her eyes, she thought of her wish – to find a place where she felt like she belonged. Opening her eyes, she shook her head. At twenty, she knew she still had plenty of time to discover that, but still….

“Oh, crap,” she whispered when she heard the sound of footsteps followed by a loud yell and a squeal.

One of her cousins had found another member of her team. Afraid that she would get caught, Lisa held the tiny purse she always carried against her hip and scooted around the side of the haystack before she took off running. She ran down the path, veering to the left when she saw someone with a light up ahead. A short distance later, the path became more overgrown. Slowing to a walk, she glanced back over her shoulder before shrugging them. She was tired and could use the break.

A slight frown creased her brow as she continued down the narrow trail. She didn’t remember this path from her explorations over the last week. She was about to fumble for the small flashlight that she had when the path opened up and the full moon overhead shone down on the remains of an old building of some type.

Lisa stopped and stared in curiosity at the crumbling bricks. The only thing left was an arched doorway and the low brick walls. She could see a tree on the other side of it, but what was really strange was that it looked like it was the middle of the day on the other side. Shaking her head, she briefly looked behind her again and bit her lip before turning to stare at the doorway.

Tilting her head, she silently argued with herself for several long minutes before straightening her shoulders in determination. She wasn’t a wimp and she didn’t need anyone to hold her hand. Clutching the small flashlight in one hand and pulling her cell phone out of the pocket of her jeans, she slowly stepped through the crumbling entrance.



Dun Dun Dunnnnnn!

So… whattaya think? If you wandered upon an archway in the darkness, one that showed daylight on the other side… would YOU walk through it? Tell me what you think in the comments, and one lucky person will win an ebook copy of Voyage of the Defiance, the brand new first book in S E Smith’s Breaking Free series.

(And if you want to read the rest of The Beast Prince… you can find it on her free reads page, HERE!)

All giveaways this week last from their posting date, through November 1st. Winners will be chosen and notified by email on Monday, November 2nd. All giveaways will be fulfilled by the author. You can find the kickoff post for this year’s Halloween Flash Fiction Blog Event HERE, for a listing of all of this week’s participating authors, many including giveaways. Good Luck, everyone!!

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Halloween Flash Fiction Blog Event with Kiernan Kelly

Posted October 30, 2015 By Jennifer


Kiernan Kelly has been a part of Coastal Magic since it’s inception, and always has fun blog posts and stories to share when we do these kinds of events. Today’s story is no different. Full of her well known wit, and a touch of naughty, we’ve got a fun vampire short to enjoy.



Lake Hopatchee
by Kiernan Kelly


In the dog days of summer, Lake Hopatchee drew tourists from all over the Northeast. They came in droves when the blistering sun heated the lake to bathwater temperatures, and fired the sand until unwary sunbathers could cook on the beach like shellfish at a clambake.

During those bright days of June, July, and August, winter, the Little Death, the season of darkness and ice, of bitter winds and knife-edge cold, seemed far away, a dream from which one awoke and promptly forgot. Summer was all the tourists at Lake Hopatchee knew. They dressed in swimsuits of bright cloth, their skin glistening with oil as they stretched out on the golden sand or splashed in the crystalline water, and forgot winter was only a couple of months away.

Thorne knew better. For him, the brightness of summer was nothing but a trick, a bright bauble dangled before the eyes of the naive, a distraction from the ice-encrusted train barreling down the tracks at them.  He knew what rode on the bitter winds, what made its winter nest at Lake Hopatchee, what hunted the frosty nights amid the skeletal frames of the amusement rides on the pier, and along the ice-choked edge of the lake.

He knew and he waited, and was always rewarded when the brisk breath of autumn blew in. When October’s chill sent the last of the tourists scurrying home, bringing sanity back to the lake and peace and quiet to most of the year-round residents, a sense of expectancy began to grow within him.

It was in him now, that persistent tingle, tickling the back of his neck like the warm breath of a lover.

Pushing a wide broom before him, Thorne swept the area bridging the wide, main walkway with the swan boat dock. The park owned a dozen boats, all in dire need of a paint job. Swan heads and gracefully arched necks rose from sleek paddleboat bodies, but the underlying fish-belly pale fiberglass peeked through the cracked and peeling white paint like bone through flesh.

The previous night’s windstorm had been strong, a precursor to the nor’easters that would batter the area in the coming months. It’d ripped one of the boats free from its mooring and cast it adrift on the lake. The boat bobbed on the slick of black water looking lonely and helpless, isolated from its flock.

“Thorne? Hey, Thorny!”

He looked up at the sound of his name, and back toward the main path. The Ferris wheel and wooden rollercoaster rose against the black sky like the bones of an enormous beast. A man stood silhouetted before them, an ant standing in the shadow of giants.

“Hey, yourself.” Thorne grinned and leaned the broom up against a wastebasket, then trotted back across the dock to the main walkway. He stopped a few feet away from the tall figure.


Thorne never tired of the sight of Aiden, and stared for a minute, drinking it in. Aiden’s flaxen hair, soft as silk, and his pale skin, as fine as Italian marble, near glowing in the moonlight. Aiden had broad shoulders, narrow hips, and long, long legs, not to mention an ass that could stop time. He was worth study, like a masterpiece hanging in Louvre. Not that Thorne would ever let Aiden know how he felt. He couldn’t — it was against all the rules. “What time did you get here?”

In response he got a wide, toothy grin, gleaming bright white in the near darkness. “Just now. Damn, it’s good to see you, Thorny.”

His gaze flicked up and met Aiden’s. Those hypnotic green eyes drew him in and pinned him in place. He was unable to look away. Suddenly, nothing mattered to him. Not the dock, not his job, nothing, only Aiden. Only Aiden mattered. Only Aiden…

Thorne shook himself hard. “Knock it off! Jesus, you’ve only been here five fucking seconds and you’re already trying to glamour me? What the fuck, man?”

Aiden laughed, his voice as lush as velvet. “Can’t blame a guy for trying, can you?”

“You’ve been trying since the third grade. Dude, it’s time to get a new hobby.”

A low growl rumbled in Aiden’s throat, and he circled Thorne, his body moving as sinuously as a cat’s, his movements graceful and sensual. Warmth spread through Thorne’s body as, despite his best efforts to the contrary, it responded to Aiden’s heat.

“If you were anyone else, Thorne Hall, I would’ve had you in bed years ago.”

“If by that you mean you would’ve drained me and left my carcass somewhere to rot, then I agree.” Thorne purposely turned his back to Aiden. The last thing he wanted was for Aiden to see the pitch his cock was making against his fly. It would only add fuel to the fire Aiden kept trying to kindle between them. “So, when is the rest of the clan due to arrive?”

“Not for another week or so. I flew ahead to make sure all the preparations have been made.”

Thorne turned back and frowned. “Of course everything’s ready. Do I look like a newbie to you? You know damn well I’ve been doing this all my life, and that my dad did it before me, and my grandfather before him. My family’s got it down, for God’s sake.”

“Shh…You know better than to use the “G” word around me. It upsets my delicate constitution.”

“Bullshit. Save the Dracula-crap for the tourists.”

“You are no fun, Thorny.”

“I’m plenty of fun, and shut up, Aiden.”

They glared at each other for a few minutes, until finally they both cracked grins at the same time.  Neither of them could keep the pretense at anger up any longer. They’d been friends since they were kids, when what they were mattered less than which of them currently held the record in Mario Kart.

It was second nature for them to tease each other, but gods help anybody, vampire or human, who tried to hurt one of them. They’d find themselves either drained or staked, depending on what worked best.

“The caverns have been aired out, dusted, beds made up with fresh linens, and I’ve got twenty-five bags of O negative stocked in the walk-in fridge in case an early storm blows in.”

“Excellent.” Aiden hooked his arm through Thorne’s elbow, and began to walk down the main walkway. At the end of it, past the Ferris wheel, Scrambler, Matterhorn, and bumper cars, was the entrance to Hell.

Not literally, of course. It was an attraction called “Hellbound.” Linked cars followed a track on a slow-moving ride, weaving through some third rate hack’s vision of a Day-Glo Hades. There were garishly painted flames, fiberglass devils, and animated witches in pointy hats jerkily stirring black plastic cauldrons spewing dry ice smoke. Speakers blared a generically creepy soundtrack of cackles, howls, and screams, almost-but-not-quite masking the grinding squeal of hydraulics.

Thorne and Aiden walked into the attraction on foot rather than sitting in one of the little cars. They followed the track deep inside the building to a large, glow-in-the-dark coffin. When the ride was in operation, the hinged lid would pop open as the cars passed, and a luridly painted vampire would spring out at the riders, fangs bared.

For now, the lid remained closed, and they slipped behind the casket and through a black door hidden in the deep shadows.  A set of stone stairs spiraled downward, lit by flickering sconces on the wall.

At the bottom of the stairway there was another door, this one protected by a lock and keypad. Thorne reached past Aiden and punched in a series of numbers. The latch disengaged, and the door clicked open. Thorne gestured grandly, ushering Aiden inside. “After you.”

“Don’t mind if I do.” Aiden flashed Thorne a toothy smile, and walked inside.

Thorne followed, making sure the door closed and locked behind him. It would never do for some wayward tourist or vagrant to stumble into this room. Not unless Thorne wanted to spend his night digging a grave, which he very much didn’t want to do.

Vampires were fiercely protective of their privacy, and with good reason. Too many clans had been discovered and wiped out by misanthropic villagers armed with wooden stakes and iron axes. Genocide tended to make folks skittish about unwanted visitors.

That’s why the vampires create the Guild. Only the most trusted human families, those who could claim a long history of service to the vampire nation, were inducted. My family was among them. Legend had it that my great-great-great-whatever grandfather served Vlad Tepes, himself. In return, the human families were given sanctuary, cushy, well-paying jobs for life, and formally declared off the menu for all vampires, foreign or domestic.

In any case, that’s how I came to be the guardian of the Hopatchee Clan, and best friends with a vampire.

The thing was, I didn’t want to be just friends with Aiden. I wanted more. A lot more, preferably with tons of tongue and friction involved. The problem was, no matter how much Aiden teased me, he and I both knew it just wasn’t done. Vampires didn’t have sex their food, and guardian or not, friend or not, that’s basically what I was, and we both knew it.  I was really nothing more than a glorified Hot Pocket on legs.

Aiden shrugged off the backpack he’d been carrying, and sprawled on a sofa, stretching one leg up over the back. His position gave me a great view of the thick bulge at his crotch. Lovely.

No, really. It was lovely. I wanted to pull his pants down and burrow into it, rubbing my face against his dick and balls.

And what’s worse is, no matter how much I denied it, he knew I was lying. He knew I wanted him.

Did I mention one of the downsides of being a guardian is you can’t lie to members of the clan you’re sworn to protect? Yeah, that.

“Nobody would know, Thorne. Nobody’s here yet, and I doubt if anyone’s going to show up until next week at the earliest. Everyone’s too wrapped up in the season. Halloween is our time of year, after all. They’re all out making the rounds of the “A” list parties.” Aiden licked his lips, and trailed his fingers over the aforementioned bulge. “We have the whole place to ourselves.”

I broke out into a sweat. “We can’t. I took a vow.”

“To protect me. There’s nothing in the pledge that says we can’t fuck.”

“It would be like you’re fucking a Big Mac.”

He sniffed and waved a hand at me. “Please, you have far less fat.”

“You know what I mean!” I turned away, ashamed that I was so eager to break my vow. If he unzipped his fly and I got even the smallest peek at his cock, I’d be done for. I’d rip my clothes off and mount him like Everest. “Vampires feed on humans. Even if I’m a guardian, I’m still human. I’m still food.”

He looked up at me, and in the green depths of his eyes I could see his shrewd mind working, cogs and wheels feverishly spinning. “You’re human now… But nothing says you have to stay that way.”

I felt my eyes flash open wide. “You’ve got to be kidding! Are you seriously suggesting you want to…to…”

“To turn you. Yes.” He sat up, leaning forward, and earnest expression furrowing his brow. “I’ll turn you, Thorne. Think about it. Eternal life. Eternal youth. We can be together forever, and never have to worry what anyone thinks.”

I was blown away by his offer. Turning wasn’t done lightly. Turn too many, and the balance between predator and prey would be upset. It could cause famine for the vampire nation, and extinction for humans.

Still… No, I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. Could I? “I’d have to drink blood. And give up pizza.”

“Pizza is overrated.”

“Have you ever had stuffed crust? Oh, wait, no you haven’t.”

“Harsh, dude.” He stood up and walked toward me, grasping my arms by the elbows. “I’ve been your friend since we were little kids. We’ve grown up together. Now, I’ve reached the Age of Immortality, and won’t ever look a day older, while you’ll continue to march inexorably toward Wrinkle City. You’re balls will droop, your belly will get flabby, your ass will sag, and everything in between will look accordion-pleated. Then you’ll die. Die, Thorny. I don’t want that. Every time I think of losing you, I hurt.”

It was the most poignant, beautiful thing he’d ever said to me, even considering the parts about how gross I was going to look when I got old. “I know. I feel the same way. About losing you, I mean. Personally, I think I’ll make a hot silver fox.”

“Let me turn you, then. We’ll promote your cousin, Sidney, to guardian of the Hopatchee Clan.”

I wrinkled my nose. “Not Sidney. He’s an idiot. He once went swimming in a bathing suit made out of cotton candy. Thought it was going to be the next big thing in swimwear. You can imagine how well that turned out.”

Aiden’s lip curled. Sidney was five foot nothing and weighed over three hundred pounds. “Yeah, I can see that being a bit of a problem.”

I considered the possibilities, mentally ticking off names in my head. “Alicia, maybe. First cousin on my mom’s side. She’s trustworthy, and has a good head on her shoulders.”

His wide smile did funny things to the pit of my stomach. “There, you see? Problem solved.” He opened his arms, and for the first time, I went into them willingly, my smile matching his. He tipped my head at an angle, exposing the soft flesh of my throat. I could feel his hot breath on my skin as he lowered his mouth to where my pulse beat under the surface. “You’re going to love life as a vampire, Thorny.”

“I’d better. I’m giving up stuffed crust pizza for this,” I whispered. Then I closed my eyes, and waited for my new life on Lake Hopatchee to begin.



I’m not sure I’d be willing to give up pizza… I’m just saying, lol! What about all of you? Would you be willing to give up your favorite foods and, well, everything else you’d have to give up, to be immortal? Let me know of you’d accept that off in the comments, and one of you will win an ebook copy of Kiernan’s Nine Tenths of the Law!

All giveaways this week last from their posting date, through November 1st. Winners will be chosen and notified by email on Monday, November 2nd. All giveaways will be fulfilled by the author. You can find the kickoff post for this year’s Halloween Flash Fiction Blog Event HERE, for a listing of all of this week’s participating authors, many including giveaways. Good Luck, everyone!!

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