Wednesday WIP

Hi all,

Hope your week is going well. Apologies for the lack of posts – 2017 is kicking my butt already *sighs* Still, it’s not all bad – have just started editing my witchy/vampire novella so I’ll share a wee snippet with you now. (Please bear in mind, just started editing so please forgive any mistakes!)

 

Venn stared at the little cottage with some trepidation. It cottagewas just so… cutesy. Warm red brick with a neat little garden, shadowed in the growing darkness, leaden-paned windows and a sloping roof. He wouldn’t be surprised to see deer and little bunnies frolicking through the grass. Urgh. This did not look like the home of a powerful witch. Maybe it was a kind of camouflage? Still it wasn’t as though he had a great deal of options here. Everyone else had turned him away. If this witch couldn’t help he was pretty much screwed.

He glided through the night to the painted front door. There was a neat, hand-printed sign.

For enquiries, come to back door.

Great. Like a servant, or a delivery person. Gritting his teeth he made his way round to the back and knocked sharply on the door. It flung open, spilling out warm light and framing the form of a small woman. He blinked at her a moment. Short, curvy, with brown, slightly frizzy hair pulled back in a messy up-do and thick glasses that gave her the look of a blinking owl. This – this was his last hope?

“Can I help you?”

Her voice was surprisingly rich and smooth. Fine, he was here now, though he wasn’t feeling optimistic.

“I hope so. You are the witch in residence here?”

Maybe she was an assistant or something? There could be someone inside who reeked of power. Her eyes narrowed as though she sensed his thoughts.

witch-fantasy_00408573“The one and only. I am Elizabeth Garrett Morrigan. And I need a good reason to want to help a vampire.”

He sighed. At least she had enough power to know what he was, that was surely a start.

“My name is Venn Draconius. I was told that you can be sympathetic to those who others shun. I am badly in need of help. I am under a curse.”

Her brow furrowed. “What kind of curse?”

“Could we perhaps discuss inside?”

A male voice came from inside the house. “Libby, don’t you dare invite a vampire in here.”

Venn raised an eyebrow. “I assure you no harm will come to anyone in this house on my account.” His lips twisted cynically. “I give you my word on that. Even if I had the inclination, the execution is no longer possible for me.”

The woman stared at him for a long moment, almost as if she was taking his measure. He was surprised to notice that her eyes behind those huge lenses were actually quite beautiful, a deep forest green with tiny flecks of gold around the iris. Odd, he hadn’t noticed a woman’s eyes in probably a century.

She suddenly stepped back, gesturing him in. “I invite you into my home.”

He gave her a brief bow, before stepping past her into a warm and homely kitchen. Curious, he glanced around for the source of the male voice. Perhaps she felt safe because she wasn’t alone.

“I honestly cannot believe you, Libby.” The voice sounded again, close, like it was in the room, but Venn couldn’t see any sign of anyone. “If we’re all killed in our sleep I swear I will never let you live it down.”

Libby gave a brief smile and gestured to an odd shape on the wall. “This is Huwie. Don’t mind him.”

“Don’t mind me? Don’t mind me! That’s gratitude for you.”

“Is that a starfish?”

Venn stared in bewilderment as one of the tiny creature’s arms flapped around, obviously in time with his distress.

She sniffed. “That is Huwie, he is my friend and my familiar and if you expect me to even consider helping you then you’ll be nice to him.”

Be nice to a talking starfish? Obviously this witch was crazier than he’d thought, but for now he needed to keep her on side.

“Erm, nice to meet you?”

Was he supposed to shake hands as well, and which of those waving arm/limb things were classed as hands? He felt the strangest urge to laugh. Again something that hadn’t ocurred to him in more years then he cared to remember.

“Take a seat,” the little witch gestured him to one of the wooden chairs at the table, “and tell me about this curse.”

sl-promo2And if you’re looking for a free read – Scarlett Legacy is currently up on Instafreebie. If you haven’t got your copy yet then grab it now, and make sure you’re caught up for the new release next month 🙂

Scarlett Legacy

 

Take care x

Wednesday Snippet – Wolf Shifter Romance

Hi all,

Hope you’re all having a fun week (and of course, a spooky Halloween-themed one!). I’m very excited as off to see Doctor Strange this afternoon – I do love me some Cumberbatch 😉 Hopefully it will be good, or I’ll only end up seeing it half a dozen times instead of the usual full dozen lol.

In the meantime though… I’m sharing an excerpt from my upcoming release. This is the next in my wolves series and should be coming out next month, so I really hope you’ll all like it!

bfsgraywolf1Katya stood there for a long moment. She should head back to the high street, she really should. She had no business staying here with a man she’d never even met and knew nothing about. But he’d apparently saved her niece’s life. That was what she told herself as she slowly crossed back to the bed. There was a chair by the wall and she carefully pulled it up to the bed, and taking a seat gently reached out to take the man’s hand in hers. What the hell was she doing? Yet there was an odd rightness to it and she didn’t pull her hand back.

She studied his face, calm and relaxed as though he was merely sleeping, yet she had the feeling that when awake calm was not a word that would describe him.

“Where have you gone?” She whispered softly. “And why don’t you want to come back?”

With an odd sense of clarity, she suddenly knew that was the case. He didn’t want to come back from wherever his mind has taken him.

“It can’t be so bad here,” she told him. “You obviously have people who care about you.” To her shock tears stung her eyes. “It’s more than I have.”

The wave of loneliness washed over her. She had grown comfortable in the last few days but this was just a stop gap. Natalia had her own life, and while she might be welcome for a visit then she really had no proper place in it. Soon she would

have to leave, get back to her own task, and she would alone again. The way she always was. Blood was rushing in her ears and her eyes burned with tears. Abruptly the walls seemed to be closing in on her and she frantically tried to get up, tugging her hand back from the heavy weight of the man’s hand on top of it.

cottageTo her shock and horror it wouldn’t release her. Panic ran through her as she tugged harder. A small part of her knew she was being irrational, it was probably an automatic reflex in him that he had gripped on to her, but she was pretty sure a full blown anxiety attack was coming on and she needed to get the hell out of here.

“Let go of me!” She half sobbed, half shouted.

Two things happened almost at once. A wiry man in a white coat appeared in the doorway. Glancing from her tear-streaked face to their clasped hands his face drew into a frown.

“What on earth is going on here?”

Just as she was trying to answer, the grip on her hand increased even more and her attention swung to the man on the bed, who was gazing at her with deep amber eyes.

“Iyana?”

 

Don’t forget, I’m running a Halloween giveaway. Just leave a comment and sign up for my newsletter to get a free copy of my zombie-theme paranormal romance, Love Reawakened – perfect Halloween reading 🙂

Free Paranormal Romance Ebook for Halloween

Take care x

Wednesday WIP

Hi all,

Well, we’re at another Hump Day – this month seems to be just flying by! Hope you’re all having a good week. I’m definitely keeping busy, but wanted to share with you an excerpt from my current WIP. Hope you like it 🙂

 

witch-fantasy_00408573Venn stared at the little cottage with some trepidation. It was just so… cutesy. Warm red brick with a neat little garden, shadowed in the growing darkness, leaden-paned windows and a sloping roof. He wouldn’t be surprised to see deer and little bunnies frolicking through the grass. Urgh. This did not look like the home of a powerful witch. Maybe it was a kind of camouflage? Let’s face it he didn’t have a great deal of options. Everyone else had turned him away. If this witch couldn’t help he was pretty much screwed.

He glided through the night to the painted front door. There was a neat, hand-printed sign.

For enquiries, come to back door.

Great. Like a servant, or a delivery person. Gritting his teeth he made his way round to the back and knocked sharply on the door. It flung open, spilling out warm light and framing the form of a small woman. He blinked at her a moment. Short, curvy, brown, slightly frizzy hair pulled back in a messy up-do and thick glasses that gave her the look of a blinking owl. This – this was his last hope?

“Can I help you?”

Her voice was surprisingly rich and smooth. Fine, he was here now, though he wasn’t feeling optimistic.

“I hope so. You are the witch in residence here?”

Maybe she was an assistant or something? There could be someone inside who reeked of power. Her eyes narrowed as though she sensed his thoughts.

“The one and only. I am Elizabeth Garrett Morrigan. And I need a good reason to want to help a vampire.”

He sighed. At least she had enough power to know what he was, that was surely a start.

“My name is Venn Draconius. I was told that you can be sympathetic to those who others shun. I am badly in need of help. I am under a curse.”

Her brow furrowed. “What kind of curse?”

“Could we perhaps discuss inside?”

A male voice came from inside the house. “Libby, don’t you dare invite a vampire in here.”

cottageVenn raised an eyebrow. “I assure you no harm will come to anyone in this house on my account.” His lips twisted cynically. “I give you my word on that. Even if I had the inclination, the execution is no longer possible for me.”

The woman stared at him for a long moment, almost as if she was taking his measure. He was surprised to notice that her eyes behind those huge lenses were actually quite beautiful, a deep forest green with tiny flecks of gold around the iris. Odd, he hadn’t noticed a woman’s eyes in probably a century.

She suddenly stepped back, gesturing him in. “I invite you into my home.”

He gave her a brief bow, before stepping past her into a warm and homely kitchen. Curious, he glanced around for the source of the male voice. Perhaps she felt safe because she wasn’t alone.

“I honestly cannot believe you, Libby.” The voice sounded again, close, like it was in the room, but Venn couldn’t see any sign of anyone. “If we’re all killed in our sleep I swear I will never let you live it down.”

Libby gave a brief smile and gestured to an odd shape on the wall. “This is Huwie. Don’t mind him.”

“Don’t mind me? Don’t mind me! That’s gratitude for you.”

“Is that a starfish?”

Venn stared in bewilderment as one of the tiny creature’s arms flapped around, obviously in time with his distress.

She sniffed. “That is Huwie, he is my friend and my familiar and if you expect me to even consider helping you then you’ll be nice to him.”

Be nice to a talking starfish? Obviously this witch was crazier than he’d thought, but he needed to keep her on side.

“Erm, nice to meet you?”

Was he supposed to shake hands as well, and which of those arm/limb things were classed as hands? He felt the strangest urge to laugh. Again something that hadn’t ocurred to him in more years then he cared to remember.

“Take a seat,” the little witch gestured him to one of the wooden chairs at the table, “and tell me about this curse.”

 

Take care x

Wednesday WIP

Hi all,

Well, we’re hitting Hump Day so at least we’re making it through the week 🙂 To hopefully help you out I’m sharing an excerpt from my current WIP. This is from the novella I’m working on and is a bit lighter so far than my current series. This is a WIP so isn’t edited yet – hence, please forgive me any mistakes 😉 Really hope you enjoy!

 

tumblr_n0qucd56B61sjoq1co1_500“A-tishoo!” Libby groaned as the fine yellow powder scattered like the wind. “Damn it!”

“Bless you.”

“Thank you, Huwie.”

Libby quickly cleared up the brightly-coloured dust and then held her breath as she measured out a new portion. She would get this potion finished if it killed her. Some days it felt like it might do.

“So, who are you playing the bleeding heart for this time?”

The voice came from behind her. Libby made sure she sealed the top of the container before turning to scowl at the speaker.

“That’s not nice, Huwie. Mrs Flaherty is really having problems and you know I couldn’t just sit by and watch her suffer.”

witch-fantasy_00408573Huwie swivelled one salt-crusted arm round so his tiny face could peer at her.

“She is not suffering. She laid a guilt-trip on you and you gave in, just like you always do.”

Libby sighed. He was probably right. She was well aware she had issues with saying no to people and sometimes they didn’t realise just what it cost her. Magic was in her blood, the women in her family had been witches for more generations than most people could trace back. It was just unfortunate that she seemed to have problems none of them did.

She removed her thick glasses a moment and rubbed at her watering eyes as she blinked at the potion recipe. She could cope with being allergic to fur, dust, pollen, gluten, various fruits, nuts, to be honest more things that she could generally list – but did she have to be allergic to magic? The one thing that made her vaguely special, that set her apart as something other than a nerdy woman with jamjar glasses, frizz-prone hair and her most significant relationship being with a starfish. Yup, a starfish.

 

Take care x

Wednesday WIP

Hi all,

Hope your week’s going well. We’re here again at Hump Day and I must admit I’m feeling it a bit this week. Am stuffed full of a cold after getting back from weekend – I’ve obviously been in Scotland too long and lost my immunity to all those evil English germs! Since it’s mid-week though I’m sharing an excerpt from my current WIP – which is Katya and Niko’s story. Hopefully it should be out soon, watch this space! In the meantime, hope you enjoy 🙂

 

wolves-and-werewolves-fire-and-ice-the-wolf-pack-23828159-240-320Tension thrummed through her, every muscle tightening. Her body screamed at her to run, even though her brain knew there was no chance they could outrun a wolf. This was it. This was how she was going to die. And damn it, it really wasn’t fair. Just when things were finally sort of starting to go right for her, when she’d found some family. Now she would never get the chance to see Naomi again, to hold her child, to get her back. Her parents would have a goddamn field day with this one.

Natalia was trying to gently push her back with one hand, her back straightening as she kept eye contact with the wolf.

“Let’s all just stay calm here,” she said to it. “Don’t do something you’re going to regret.”

Seriously? Her niece was trying to reason with a wild animal that looked like it wanted to eat them. And she’d thought she was losing it.

Stay calm. We need to stall it, Damian is on his way.

Okay, scrap that, she was losing it more. She could have sworn she heard Natalia’s voice inside her head. The woman’s lips hadn’t moved, but her words had been clear as day.

You’re not losing it. Please, just trust me.

Sure, she was dying anyway. Why not go just give in to the madness at this stage? What was it the imaginary Natalia in her head had wanted – stall the vicious wild animal. Made perfect sense, right?

Wolf“Good wolfie, wolfie.” She crooned. “See, you don’t want to hurt us really. We’d make a terrible meal, all gristly and that. Plus, I’m American, everyone knows American food is just the worse. Nothing but junk.” She giggled, an edge of pure panic skating it. Yup, she was going to die a crazy woman – nothing new there. The funny thing was the wolf was actually staring at her as she talked with an expression that on a human would only be described as incredulous. Even the wolf thought she was nuts. She giggled again.

Natalia shot her an anxious glance and went back to her own discussion with the wolf. “Just think about this, Carlos. You know this isn’t going to end well. Please, just walk away now.”

Really? The wolf had a name, and it just happened to be the same as the asshat who’d been bothering her this morning? She was about to comment when a low growl from further down the path drew her attention. Shit, there was a second wolf! They were so screwed. Obviously the wolfie word was getting out that dinner was available here.

 

Take care x

Wednesday Teaser

Hi all,

We’re halfway through the week – so Happy Hump Day 🙂 Hope you’re getting through, but in case you need a wee pick-me-up, I’m sharing an excerpt. This week’s is from my new release, Love Reawakened. Hope you enjoy x

 

nightShocked gasps came from behind her, but the vibrations were already running through the ground. Quickly, she smeared the blood around the edges of the circle. The energy was rising now, waves spreading out as the hairs on her arms stood up, and tiny tremors ran through the soles of her shoes. She drew a final symbol in the blood on the gravestone itself, the rough stone grazing her fingers and making the lines awkward.

“Patrick Connell, rise. Come from your grave at my command. Rise from your sleep at my bidding.”

The earth in front of her practically bubbled now, and then it parted, and a tall figure emerged. Neil almost shrieked behind her, but her attention stayed focused on the corpse in front of her. He was newly dead and perfectly preserved. In fact, gazing at him, you would barely know the difference if you saw him walking down the street. She was quite proud. She didn’t do this spell much, but this was a damn good raising!

“Patrick Connell, you have been raised at my command. You will do as I say and nothing more, bound to me by blood and magic. Do you understand and obey?”

The corpse looked at her, surprising clarity in his deep blue eyes. She didn’t think she’d ever raised one this ‘new’ before, and it was actually a little disconcerting how alive he appeared. He’d obviously been a handsome man, tall with broad shoulders, thick dark hair, strong jaw, and quite startling eyes. Then he opened his mouth and said a single word.

“No.”

Love Reawakened 3You can buy Love Reawakened here:

Amazon – viewBook.at/LoveReawakened

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/647247

Take care x

Wednesday WIP

Hi all,

Hope your week’s been going well. Mine’s been a busy one and looks like that’s going to continue. Last day at my old job today (yay!) but still fully booked up for the rest of the week – not to mention I have a release out! Speaking of… today’s excerpt is from Love Reawakened, which yup, is re-releasing tomorrow. I’m very excited, so hope you enjoy 🙂

 

350px-Creatures-Voodoo_priestessGarret dropped her hand to knock on the front door, and when it swung effortlessly open, he stepped inside, with a brief glance back. Emma nodded at him and followed him down a short corridor into a spacious, airy living room. The modern theme followed through here. Spotless, it was like something out of an interior design magazine, the sort of house that looked stunning but you wondered how anyone lived there comfortably. Emma glanced around for any sign of the occupant.

Instead, the only sign of life was a black cat padding silently into the room. For some reason, it made her feel a little more comfortable. Of course, crazy people could still have pets, but somehow, if someone liked animals, they didn’t seem quite as bad.

“Here, kitty.” She crouched down, clicking her tongue.

The cat lazily changed direction to head for her. Emma was reaching down to pet it, when it turned its head, and she jumped back with a shriek. One side of the animal was sleek and normal while the other had several large patches where the skin was hanging off. The animal looked up at her curiously with one bright green eye and one faded milky one.

“Shit! What the hell is it?” she asked Garret.

“Zombie cat.” His tone was bland, but he gazed down at the creature with a look of slight disapproval.

A low, feminine voice rang out from the doorway, making them both whirl around. “Now, now, Garret, you know his name is Mittens. You’ll hurt his feelings talking like that.”

Take care x

Wednesday WIP

Hi all,

Hope your week’s going well. I’m down to the third to last day at my old job so feeling quite cheery 🙂 I’m also re-releasing Love Reawakened a week tomorrow (third time lucky’s right? lol) and can’t wait it get it back out there. I’m going to be sharing my shiny new cover with you at the weekend, but in the meantime here’s a teaser snippet. Hope you enjoy 🙂

 

e357bcbdf3612bebf7cd279e7f997beaGarret sank into the battered armchair and brought the glass of scotch to his lips. Taking a long draught, he sighed in exhaustion. It had been a long night. Some days, he thought he was just getting too old for this. There were more aches and pains every night, and long gone was the slim sense of satisfaction he used to get. He rubbed a hand wearily over his face, frowning at the two-day-old stubble, and downed some more of the scotch. Stop being such a pussy! It’s a job. That’s all, and tonight had just been a tough one.

At first, he barely registered the knock at the door, his senses dulled by alcohol and pure exhaustion. Then it came again louder, and he frowned, glancing at his watch—four a.m. Who on earth would be knocking on his door at this hour? Well, whoever they were, they were going to get an earful. He didn’t take jobs at home, and everyone should damn well know that. He flung open the door with a sharp retort already forming on his lips, only to stand there in stunned silence, his jaw nearly on the floor when he saw who it was.

“Emma?” he managed in astonishment.

She gave him a small smile. “Garret, it’s been a long time.”

He gaped at her. Emma Strachan was the last person he expected to see. His gaze swept over her, searching for any changes the last several years might have wrought. Small and slight, she barely came up to his shoulder. That, along with delicate features, meant people always underestimated her. He tried not to smile; they rarely did it twice. She had a fiery temper and a wicked tongue. In more ways than one. The thought popped into his head, and he quickly squashed it down. Her dark auburn hair was pulled back from her face and plaited down her back, and she wore combats, thick boots, and a light cardigan. If he wasn’t mistaken, with dried blood on it and across her hands.

nightFor a second, his stomach dropped, but she seemed unhurt, and, then again, blood wasn’t unusual in her profession. One of the things they had in common, at least. He forced himself to meet the deep green of her eyes. She was scared, he realised with a shock, and it took quite a bit to scare Emma.

“What the hell have you got yourself into?”

Colour rose in her cheeks, but she met his gaze directly. “I may have lost a zombie.”

See, at least my day at work won’t be that bad (I hope!). Take care x

Wednesday WIP

Hi all,

Here we are on Hump Day 😉 Hope you’re having a good week so far. Mine has been a bit up and down, busy and tiring at work but meeting a friend tonight for a wee catch-up and possibly some cocktails – so can’t complain at that! Since it’s mid-week, I thought I’d share a teaser from my current WIP. This is just going into next round edits now so hopefully should have a release date for you soon. The response from my wonderful beta readers has been awesome so far 🙂 Hope you enjoy!

 

wolves-and-werewolves-fire-and-ice-the-wolf-pack-23828159-240-320Niko cursed as pain shot through his body. Goddamn it! He hated being helpless. Damian was holding him up on one side, and when he staggered another arm went round his waist and a slight form fitted herself under his arm. He didn’t need to turn to know who it was. He could tell from the scent, floral shampoo, Chanel perfume and something light and earthy that was purely her. This had been a bad idea, the scent was going to get into his house and he’d never get rid of it.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t make his cock twitch every time he caught a fucking whiff of it. If he’d been young and not quite so cynical he would have thought it was the scent of his mate, but then he’d been caught out once before on that. He could only assume it must be because she was related to Iyana. Even thinking her name caused him to flinch and deflated his erection beautifully. Yeah, that must be it. Because she was related to the heartless woman who actually had been his mate, before leaving him without looking back, there must be some kind of genetic chemistry. It was awkward, and definitely uncomfortable, but he would live with it. He had to, there was no other option.

Natalia fussed around them, fluffing up pillows and moving tables back out of his way. With the two others aiding him he managed to collapse into his chair, not quite holding back the grunt of pain as he did so. Damn it, he was weaker than he’d thought. He had been genuinely convinced that the doctor was over-reacting, that a day or two maybe with a nurse and he would be fine on his own. Based on the effort required just to get through the fucking door though, he might have to re-think things.

“Here, take these.” Her soft voice feathered down his spine and it was an effort to get his body under control again. He was seriously not going to be sporting wood in front of the pack leader and his mate.

bfsgraywolf1Looking up she was holding out a glass of water and a handful of tablets. He took the glass gingerly.

“What are they?” He eyed the pills a little suspiciously.

“Pain-killers, which it looks like you need right now, antibiotics to speed up the healing. That’s what you want, right?”

There was a challenge in her eyes, and he grunted crabbily at her, snatching the pills and downing them all with the water. Bratty little girl. If he’d been feeling better he’d have made her pay for that. Ways of doing that flashed into his mind and he bit back the groan that was threatening to rise up. This had been a terrible idea, having her in his house, around him all the time, was pretty much going to amount to torture.

 

Aww, do we feel sorry for him? 😉 Lol, hope the rest of your week goes well – take care x

Wednesday WIP

Hi all,

Hope your week’s going well. Must admit am feeling a little subdued today, such sad news from Brussels yesterday, you have to wonder what the world is coming to sometimes. Still, have to try and think that for every evil extremist out there, there are so many more good people. Just seeing the outpouring of support for Belgium shows that.

Anyway, trying to stay on a positive note, it’s Wednesday so I’m sharing an excerpt from my current WIP. This was only started a few days ago, so it’s not very far in yet but am enjoying it so far – so hope you enjoy this! Please excuse any mistakes as obviously hasn’t been edited yet.

cottageVenn stared at the little cottage with some trepidation. It was just so… cutesy. Warm red brick with a neat little garden, shadowed in the growing darkness, leaden-paned windows and a sloping roof. He wouldn’t be surprised to see deer and little bunnies frolicking through the grass. Urgh. This did not look like the home of a powerful witch. Maybe it was a kind of camouflage? Let’s face it he didn’t have a great deal of options. Everyone else had turned him away. If this witch couldn’t help he was pretty much screwed.

He glided through the night to the painted front door. There was a neat, hand-printed sign.

For enquiries, come to back door.

Great. Like a servant, or a delivery person. Gritting his teeth he made his way round to the back and knocked sharply on the door. It flung open, spilling out warm light and framing the form of a small woman. He blinked at her a moment. Short, curvy, brown, slightly frizzy hair pulled back in a messy up-do and thick glasses that gave her the look of a blinking owl. This – this was his last hope?

“Can I help you?”

Her voice was surprisingly rich and smooth. Fine, he was here now, though he wasn’t feeling optimistic.

“I hope so. You are the witch in residence here?”

Maybe she was an assistant or something? There could be someone inside who reeked of power. Her eyes narrowed as though she sensed his thoughts.

“The one and only. I am Elizabeth Garrett Morrigan. And I need a good reason to want to help a vampire.”

tumblr_n0qucd56B61sjoq1co1_500He sighed. At least she had enough power to know what he was, that was surely a start.

“My name is Venn Draconius. I was told that you can be sympathetic to those who others shun. I am badly in need of help. I am under a curse.”

Her brow furrowed. “What kind of curse?”

“Could we perhaps discuss inside?”

A male voice came from inside the house. “Libby, don’t you dare invite a vampire in here.”

Venn raised an eyebrow. “I assure you no harm will come to anyone in this house on my account.” His lips twisted cynically. “I give you my word on that. Even if I had the inclination, the execution is no longer possible for me.”

The woman stared at him for a long moment, almost as if she was taking his measure. He was surprised to notice that her eyes behind those huge lenses were actually quite beautiful, a deep forest green with tiny flecks of gold around the iris. Odd, he hadn’t noticed a woman’s eyes in probably a century.

She suddenly stepped, gesturing him in. “I invite you into my home.”

He gave her a brief bow, before stepping past her into a warm and homely kitchen. Curious, he glanced around for the source of the male voice. Perhaps she felt safe because she wasn’t alone.

“I honestly cannot believe you, Libby.” The voice sounded again, close, like it was in the room, but Venn couldn’t see any sign of anyone. “If we’re all killed in our sleep I swear I will never let you live it down.”

Libby gave a brief smile and gestured to an odd shape on the wall. “This is Huwie. Don’t mind him.”

“Don’t mind me? Don’t mind me! That’s gratitude for you.”

“Is that a starfish?”

Venn stared in bewilderment as one of the tiny creature’s arms flapped around, obviously in time with his distress.

She sniffed. “That is Huwie, he is my friend and my familiar and if you expect me to even consider helping you then you’ll be nice to him.”

Be nice to a talking starfish? Obviously this witch was crazier than he’d thought, but he needed to keep her on side.

“Erm, nice to meet you?”

Was he supposed to shake hands as well, and which of those arm/limb things were classed as hands. He felt the strangest urge to laugh. Again something that hadn’t occurred to him in more years then he cared to remember.

“Take a seat,” the little witch gestured him to one of the wooden chairs at the table, “and tell me about this curse.”