The Vampire’s Daughter
by Leigh Anderson
Published by Rogue Phoenix Press
Cover by Cherith Vaughan
About the Book
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.
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She did not know what she was going to say or how she would react when she saw him, she just knew she had to. She decided it would be best to go to the house and wait to see if he showed up. The walk to town was not long for her. What seemed like just a quick pace could move her miles in only a few minutes. She was not bothered by the cold, so her hooded cape was more than enough warmth. When she arrived at the house, the back door was unlocked, so she opened it cautiously. Years of disuse caused the door to stick. She forced it open with a small effort, but she was unable to reclose it the whole way. She looked around the room, which she could clearly see by the light of the moon. It was exactly the way she remembered it. Not a speck of dust, not a spider, not a single shred of evidence that so many years had passed by.
She climbed the stairs and opened the door to the master bedroom. It was not exactly as she had left it. The bed had been made and her clothes had been picked up. She closed the door to the room and walked over to the wardrobe. She opened the door to the closet and discovered her old dress. It hung so perfectly, as if it belonged there. She reached out and ran her fingers over the smooth satin. Even in the dark, she noticed that it had aged some. The color had changed slightly and when she touched the sleeve, a button fell free. It hit the ground and she watched it roll around before coming to rest in front of the nightstand.
She looked around the room and realized that the room might appear very dark to someone like Ethan. She didn’t want to scare him if he did not recognize her. She went to a large window and pulled back the heavy inner layer of curtains. A sheer layer still allowed the moonlight to filter in but gave a hint of privacy. She walked over to the other window to open the curtains there when she heard the door open behind her.
When he opened the door, she turned to meet him and tried to remain composed, but her heart raced. She felt her cheeks flush. Her hands tensed. Her knees went weak. Her mouth went dry.
“Hello, Ethan,” was all she managed to get out.
“Victoria,” he replied.
She could not tell from his tone if he was happy to see her or not. The look on his face, his frown, his lusterless gaze, made her fear that he had never wanted to see her again. She hoped he was just surprised. When he said nothing more, she struggled to find something to say.
“You look well,” she said. Even in the evening light, she could see how handsome he was. His scruffy, unshaven face was older and more mature. He looked more manly and strong. She was disappointed by the monk’s robe he wore, but she was glad to see he had not lost his faith. “I am pleased that you are alive,” she said.
“What are you doing here?” he asked indifferently.
“I heard you were back,” she said, slowly crossing to room toward him. “You left quite an impression on my father’s wife.”
“Oh, you mean the vampire who tried to eat me?” he asked.
Victoria blinked. She had not heard of vampires before. “I am unfamiliar with that term, but I do suppose we are talking about the same person,” she said.
She was only a few feet from him and he could see her more clearly now. Her face was thinner and paler, but she was still beautiful. The only change was a few lines across her brow. They conveyed to him that she had spent the last few years in heavy worry or sorrow.
“I am glad,” she said, reaching out and touching the medallion through his clothes, “that my gift was of service to you and that you were not injured.” As she touched him, he let out a deep breath and the heat from it was like a furnace across her face. She closed her eyes and breathed in his scent. She did not notice the small moan of pleasure that escaped her lips. Ethan took a step back from her and she dropped her hand. He still said nothing to her. She fidgeted uncomfortably. “So, you are a monk now? Just like you always wanted,” she said.
“No, not exactly,” he said. “I have not taken vows, but Father Andrew has been kind enough to let me live the lifestyle at his monastery.”
A feeling of relief swept over her at his words and her eyes widened. “Oh, but you have not fully committed yourself yet?” she asked.
He did not reply. At his silence, she blushed and looked down at her hands. She was so close to him. As he looked at her, he could smell the sweetness of her hair. He could hear her soft breaths. He longed to reach out and touch her white neck. His eyes followed the chain of her necklace as it hugged the curves of her chest and disappeared under the edge of her gown. He almost forgot the hurt and pain he had been harboring for so long. He closed his eyes, summoned all his strength, and forced himself to remember what she was – a cold, blood-sucking, she-demon. He opened his eyes and shoved all his feelings of love and compassion deep inside of himself. He forced himself to do what he believed was required of him.
“What do you want, Victoria?” he asked. This time his tone was much more direct.
She knew what she wanted. She wanted him. She wanted him to realize that she had made a mistake and was sorry. She wanted him to finish what they had started so many years ago in that very room. She did not want to give Sebastian the gift of her virginity – she wanted it to go to Ethan. She wanted him to grab her in his arms and tell her he loved her. She wanted him to take her by the hand and run away, never to look back. She wanted to tell him.
She took a deep breath and gathered up all her strength to speak, but as she looked up into his eyes, her words stilled. As she gazed at him, she did not see the warm look of compassion she remembered. He looked hard, angry. A small part of her recoiled in fear. What was he doing in the village? Did he travel with the slayer her father was talking about? Was he here to kill her?
“Nothing,” she finally managed to say softly. “I wanted to see you for myself, was all.”
“Fine, you have seen me. I think you should go.” She was so surprised at the heartless way he simply dismissed her after all these years, she only stared at him. He saw the confusion on her face. “I cannot have anything to do with you anymore,” he explained. “You are one of them.”
She let out a disappointed sigh. “Is that how you truly feel?” she asked. “Am I so different from the woman you once loved so completely?”
“Fair, kind, and true,” he said, reaching up and gently taking her chin in his hand, “are words I once used to describe you.” She blinked dreamily at his touch. His hand was warm, and she felt a slight pulse throughout her body. “But now,” he continued, letting go of her face, “you are only fair. You showed your falseness when you chose another, and no one who drinks the blood of the living can be kind.”
The warmth she felt vanished instantly as he withdrew his hand. He walked over to the door and opened it further for her to exit. She could not believe what she was hearing.
“Whatever you have been told about me and my people cannot be true,” she said, walking toward him. “How can you not trust me? I have only ever wanted to protect you. I thought you understood that.”
“I am a man of God,” he said. “You and your kind are in opposition to Him.”
“You know that is not true,” she firmly said. “Believe what you will of yourself or Father James, but I have worked hard to keep my faith. I still long to be at His side one day. I will not stop until my family is there with me.” He did not respond. “Ethan, please, do not help this man take the lives of my family members before they can be saved.”
“You have been deceived,” he said to her. “They cannot be saved. You cannot be saved.”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
He looked at her and could not bring himself to tell her that they had, in fact, come to kill her and that she would only go to hell afterward.
“Ethan?” she prodded.
“Nothing,” he finally said. “You need to leave. Go home to your family.”
“Ethan…” she tried to plead.
“Go!” he shouted at her.
Her eyes widened at his tone. She was shocked, afraid, and angry. How could he speak to her like that? She almost felt the urge to cry, but her pride would not let her. She stood up straight, held her head high, and walked out of the room.
About the Author
Leigh Anderson fell in love with Gothic romances when she was studying for her master’s degree in English literature and she wrote several articles on vampires in Gothic literature. She then lived in Asia for many years, which inspired her to write romances set in ancient China. Leigh has been widely published around the web, but mostly under another name. She also teaches writing for several American universities. You can find some of her work on her website, LeighAndersonRomance.com.