Authors: Katie M John
Tags: #romance, #vampires, #urban fantasy, #adventure, #paranormal romance, #young adult, #college, #mythology, #forbidden love, #fairytale, #knights, #immortals, #mermaids, #arthurian legend
katie m john
Little Bird Publishing House
First published in Great Britain
Little Bird Publishing House
Copyright © 2010 by Katie M
The moral right of the author
has been asserted.
All characters and events in
this publication, other than those clearly in the public domain,
are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead,
is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved.
The right of Katie M John to be
identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in
accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
No part of this publication may
be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any
form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of
the publisher, nor otherwise circulated in any form or binding or
cover than that which it is published and without similar condition
including this condition being imposed on the subsequent
A CIP catalogue record for this
book is available
from the British Library
A huge thank you to:
my long suffering husband
Jonathan for his constant love and support even though he’s been
much neglected and poorly fed for the duration;
my daughter Rossetti for
providing constant and hilarious distraction;
and to all of my friends who
have indulged my fantasy providing me with much love and support as
well as reason.
Thanks to my brother-in-law,
Fraser for all his I.T help and constructive criticism.
A very special thank you to
I’d never have typed the first
word without you.
To Mallory and Tennyson.
Thank you for leaving the world
the gifts that you did.
2. Fire & Ice
4. Into Temptation
8. Lovers & Lies
10. The Forest of
11. Forbidden Fruit
14. Shifting Light
16. Knight Forward
19. Fallen Angels
20. His Story
21. Chapel of Perils
22. Fighting Eve
24. East of Eden
26. Farewell my Love
27. Turning Tides
28. Moon and Stars
Hear a carol, mournful,
Chanted loudly, chanted
Till her blood was frozen
And her eyes were darkened wholly,
Turn'd to tower'd Camelot
The Lady of Shalott. by Alfred
Sleep is for the innocent. For
the guilty, the night is a time when we are fearful prisoners
locked tightly behind heavy eyelids. We look asleep but we’re not –
we’re living in nightmares, and it leaves us exhausted and half
crazy and this is the punishment for our crimes.
It always starts the same, with
the thick scent of wildflowers and sun warmed earth lulling me into
a false sense of peace, but it doesn’t last. Too soon it fades to
be replaced by the sinister iron-stench smell of blood blending
with mud and the sweeping sounds of sharpened metal striking at the
sky. On hands and knees I crawl forward. My palms slip on the
grease of the rain-soaked earth and my dress is so heavy with rain
that I’m dragged even lower, sliding serpent like towards him.
He looks at me, his cheek half
buried in the earth, his eyes staring blankly out and I can’t tell
if he’s dead or still dying. I think I hear him whisper my name so
I stretch out a hand, but I can’t quite reach. Death breathes on my
bones and flowers of red ice bloom over my heart. I wake, gasping
for air as if I’ve been drowning.
The pain was exquisite, the
pain was love.
Blake Beldevier arrived at
college on the first day of the January term. He came with the
snow. Perhaps looking back this should have served as an omen; a
warning that anybody who was foolish enough to fall in love with
him ran the risk of having their heart turned to ice.
Nothing could have prepared me
for the first time I saw him. He walked in to the common room, took
a seat and started reading
. It wasn’t for this
weirdness that I noticed him - although it would normally have been
enough - but because of his instantly breath-stealing beauty; the
sort of beauty that snaps that secret part of you to attention and
reduces you to the beast you are at heart. It was a rough and
rugged beauty, a colouring of the skin, a face that had been hewn
from a remote and wild cliff face, a darkness of the eyes, full of
latent storms and solitude. He was more beautiful than any other
boy I’d ever seen in my seventeen years.
All of this I saw in an instant
but it was enough. A sickening current swelled in my stomach. I
felt dizzy and stars erupted in front of my eyes as if I’d been hit
by a force of freezing ocean air, knocking the breath from my
lungs. The book I was holding, a thing of exquisite and private joy
previous to this moment, flapped limp in my lap, revealing itself
as the faded and battered thing that it was. Now, here in front of
me, sat something more divine than anything an author could
By the time I’d tried to regain
the appearance of someone who was actually sane, flicking through
the pages of my book to give the impression that I’d been reading
and had hardly noticed him, he’d gone to his lesson.
Sam, who’d been sat at my side
throughout all of this, was completely oblivious to these seismic
shifts. He was too busy scribbling down the last two answers of his
Math homework. As I got up to leave for my lesson, he took hold of
my right hand, kissing the centre well of my palm. His love was a
solid and reliable love and it was for its purity and simplicity
that I loved him; Sam was clear waters and instinctively I
understood that Blake Beldevier was the grey swirling waters of a
The sense of treachery I felt
as I walked to my literature class was almost as overwhelming as
the force that had been the meeting of Blake. Suddenly, it felt as
if I had an iron scarf wrapped around my throat and where Sam’s
love usually offered a warm contentment, for the first time in the
two years that we’d been together, his love felt like it was
The English block was at the
far side of the college grounds and for this I was unusually
grateful. The biting wind and the ice-rain that spliced my skin
seemed a fitting punishment for the torrent of fire that Blake had
caused in me. Perhaps it was a taste of the pain that all of us
would come to feel.
The English classroom was on
the third floor and almost empty when I arrived. Condensation
streamed down the windows of the overly hot classroom which melted
the view into the flat dull grey of the winter sky. It was
comforting to look at something bland and unexciting. The classroom
filled up without my notice, but this escape didn’t last for
“May I sit here?” he asked in a
hushed tone, clearly embarrassed that he’d arrived late to
My heart quickened. I reasoned
with myself that this seat, one of several available, had been
chosen because of its closeness to the door and was in no way
related to my existence. After several disappointing minutes, I
realised my reason was right, he hadn’t even registered me.
The English teacher, Mr Dwell,
was a flamboyant creation; a relic of some previous age of leather
volumes, cream teas and cigars. He reminded me very much of my own
Uncle Josef so whilst others took delight in mocking him, cruelly
impersonating his slight lisp and his portly walk, I felt an
affection for the old man and loved the time I spent in his
slightly out of sync world.
Literature was my favourite
subject and this lesson normally held my entire attention but
unlike other, more ordinary days, today the close scent of Blake’s
warm body caused my thoughts to bounce all over the place and the
words on the page to blur.
“Miss Singer, is there a
problem?” Dwell’s soft Scottish voice filtered through as if it was
travelling through water.
By the time I’d resurfaced, the
moment had passed and the class were searching through their copies
of Hamlet to find where we’d left off last lesson. Whilst I had
been dancing around in my own little daydream, Dwell had selected
people to read, thankfully none of which were me, and the passage
was now being read by an unfamiliar voice.
Hamlet’s words sat easy in
Blake’s mouth, giving the impression that he was reading from
memory, or like an actor who had learnt his lines. And rather than
murdering Shakespeare’s verse like we normally did, his voice
fitted the iambic pentameter with ease, creating an intensity to
the language that, until this moment, I’d struggled to understand.
I lost myself in the music of the reading, jolting back to the room
when he suddenly faltered and became unsettled in his movements. He
turned to me, his eyes flickering with something like recognition.
I noticed with embarrassment that my arm was touching his. There
was something terrifyingly captivating in the fact that I couldn’t
feel him; as if he simply didn’t exist.
The creepy thought that maybe
he didn’t, jumped on me and I looked around the classroom desperate
for somebody else to prove he wasn’t a figure of my overactive
imagination. An ice-spider took a leisurely crawl across my spine
as Blake’s eyes locked onto mine and looked right into the heart of
me. Moving a finger to his lips, he motioned me to silence as if I
had just stumbled across an impossible secret. A smile flitted
across his mouth. At that moment the strongest impulse to kiss him
grabbed me and if it hadn’t been for the sound of the bell then
maybe madness would have won out.
Before the bell even had a
chance to finish ringing, I’d packed as speedily and clumsily as a
frenzied criminal about to skip the country. I wondered how it was
possible to lose your sanity in the space of an afternoon. My
entire instinct was screaming at me to run, to get away but
something else, something deeper, richer, sweeter wanted me to stay
and move closer. And even though a siren was wailing through my
head telling me that this boy was dangerous, all I could think
about was kissing his lips.
Thankfully Sam’s class had been
released early for good behaviour and he stood outside of the
English block, car keys swinging in one hand, two paper bags
containing a late lunch in the other. He greeted me like a dutiful
puppy, falling into step by my side and sending the sandwiches on a
perilous flight as he swung his arm around my shoulders.
“What’s up sweetie pea? You’re
white as a ghost!” Sam’s voice was full of concern.
“Nothing,” I lied
unconvincingly. “I think maybe I’m going down with something. Look
do you mind if we rain check this evening? I need to get my head
down and rest.”
I flashed him a reassuring
smile but it felt like a lie. Sam made a valiant attempt at hiding
his disappointment. He hated his home, not that Sam really
considered it a home as it was merely a place where his drunken
father happened to live. At Sam’s house there was no space he could
call his own. He slept on a pull out sofa bed and all his books and
belongings lived either in his college bag, on the backseat of his
battered mini or at my house. It couldn’t have been more different
from the warm eccentric home that my Mum had created for me. As an
illustrator of children’s books, she’d magically managed to extend
the fairytale into the fabric of our own house which looked part
museum, part library and part falling-down shack.
Even though Sam had his own
‘glorified cupboard’ at ours, I needed space to think about how I
was going to handle the arrival of a certain Mr Beldevier and I
couldn’t do that with Sam so close. There were many girls at
college that would find my situation crazy. Sam was attractive;
blonde and athletic. He stopped just short of being
magazine-handsome but he was sparkly and good and it drew the
attention of other girls to him. I’d had to put up with their
jealousy throughout our time together and it had been made more
vicious because we were an unlikely couple in every way. I was
quiet; he was life and soul of the Rugby club. I read; he played
the drums. I was Art and English, he was Maths and Physics. In
almost all ways we were our own clichéd opposite.