Tag Archives: love story

The Sacrifice

Today’s story is a bit special because it’s a gift for @shewhoshipsCS aka @thegreatshipcaptainswan aka Jeannie who is having a Hatchday today. So since I can’t be there, please enjoy this wonderful story written for you.

His father’s old rocking chair moved gently back and forth and the motion had put her to sleep. She was safe in his arms. She was safe in the dilapidated house they’d made their own. Safe from the outside world and the wicked people who walked it.
But the gentle rocking and the comforting arms could not keep her mind from finding danger.
Zena cried out and twitched in her sleep.

“We have to go back.”
The two men reined in their horses and looked back down the road the way they had come, down beyond the wagons that remained and the people that still lived. Charles and Matthew had to lead their people to safety now; their father was among the dead. Everything had changed and it had changed so fast.
The two brothers had been fighting when the first arrows had whistled through the air. Had it not been for Matthew’s good hearing, an arrow might have ended up in Charles’s back. They had been trying to beat each other senseless, trying to hurt each other over a young woman whom they were both in love with.
A young woman who had been left behind. One life to save many. And she had been the one brave enough to make the sacrifice. She had been the one to urge them all to go, to save themselves. She had been crying but resolute as they rode away.
“We have to get our people to safety first. Our duty comes before our hearts.”
“How can you say that!” Matthew snarled at his brother, ready to restart the earlier fight. “She is back there and in danger.”
“And what of these people? What of the children? What of Louisa’s Grandmama? Would Louisa forgive us if we left them to fend for themselves and returned to her?”
Matthew opened his mouth to argue but then he saw the pain in his brother’s face. This was eating Charles up as much as it was him.
“But what if they…”
Charles gritted his teeth and looked at the ground. He could not answer his brother’s question. He could not bear the thought. But he knew what was required of them, and what Louisa had begged them to do. He would not dishonour her bravery by breaking their promises to her.
“We need to keep moving, the sooner we reach the city and safety, the sooner we can go back,” Charles replied after the silence had stretched out.
“But you said…” Matthew looked sideways at his brother.
“I said we have to do our duty first, I said we had to get our people to safety first.”
“Oh,” Matthew grinned at his brother and then spurred his horse on, a wild excitement taking him to be done with duty and rescue their girl. “Well, come on, brother. Get a move on.”

**

Louisa had never thought herself to be a very brave person. She screamed at spiders and needed to light a candle before she could move her feet out from under the covers at night. Today she had found a bravery that she had not known, she had stood up to outlaws and negotiated freedom for her people.
Just two hours ago she had been sitting in the back of a wagon loaded with fabric, negotiating with David and Lea for some maroon lace for a dress she wished to make before the next moon festival. She wanted a pretty dress to wear in hopes that someone might finally find enough courage to make his intentions clear.
Now David and Lea were dead, their wagon emptied of all the expensive fabric they had planned to sell. The wagon had left filled with people. Many of the horses remaining with the outlaws, as Louisa did.
The brothers had not wanted to ride away and leave her behind. She had not wanted to be left behind but she had made the bargain and made them promise. In tears, she had made the two men promise to ride to safety with their people and leave her to her fate.
Because of it, Louisa had found out she was brave. She had found out that she could be a hero like in the stories. Without sword or shield, she had stood up and become a hero. People lived because of her courage.
She would have been proud of herself if she had not been so terrified.
There were at least a dozen men in this gang of criminals. They were not the outlaws of noble heart, robbing the rich to give to the poor. These were terrible men, scar covered and violent, and each looked at her in such a way that her skin crawled. There was violence in their hunger, and Louisa had heard stories…
She knew what was to come and her mind raced as to how she could avoid it, or at least buy time. Not for rescue, she had sent the two men that might do so away. She hoped to buy time for her escape. Hours had passed already and there had been no chance to escape. The men squabbled over the spoils of their attack. They seemed to fight over everything.
That gave Louisa an idea.
A hand rubbed over her back and Louisa jumped, turning she found a gap-toothed man leering at her.
“Are you the leader of these men?” Louisa asked.
“Ha! He wishes!” Another man laughed loudly.
“So,” Louisa said turning to the laughing man. He reminded her of a rat with his long, thin nose. “Does that mean you are?”
“There are no leaders, we are all equal,” another man said. He looked at the others with an expression that made Louisa think that he thought he should be the leader.
“But if there is no leader, then who will I give myself to.”
“All of us!” Another of the men yelled with great enthusiasm and made a lewd gesture. The others all laughed.
“Oh, that won’t work. I want to give myself to the strongest of you, the leader. Only to the strongest will I give myself to willingly and with great passion. So, which one of you is the strongest?” Louisa moved to a tree stump that was clearly often used as a seat by the gang; the wood was smooth. She crossed her leg up over the other, her torn dress flashing her legs.
“I am the strongest!”
“No, it’s me!”
All the men began to yell each other down. Louisa pretended to be unconvinced by their words. Maybe even a little bored. Inside she was terrified and it was all she could do not to shake in her seat.
The yelling turned to pushing and shoving. Punches were thrown.
Louisa watched the men descend into their darker nature. Knives came out and Louisa nearly screamed as one man stabbed another.
They were trying to kill each other, and it was over her! It was insanity. Louisa took no pleasure in the fact nor in the way they were hurting each other. It was awful. But fewer men meant her chance of survival, of escape, increased.
“Whoever is left standing gets me. And to find out what I can do with my tongue.” Louisa called out the words and smiled, gesturing for the men to keep fighting. She had no trick with her tongue but she had heard one of the women say similar in the last town they had visited. The woman had been trying to get Matthew or Charles to purchase her services. Louisa had thrown an apple at the back of Charles’s head, as he was turned away from her. It had served to ruin any moment that might have been happening.
It was that woman that Louisa now pretended herself to be as she waited for a chance to run.
And then the moment came. There were no eyes on her. Four men lay dead and still the others fought on. Louisa slipped from the tree stump and around the trees, she found a horse. One of her own people’s horse. It knew her and knelt for her to get on. She straddled the horse easily in her torn skirt.
The men did not take long to realise she was gone.
Louisa had been born to people that rode, she had been riding since she was tiny and this stallion was young and strong. He moved swiftly taking them back to the road and hopefully to safety. Louisa rode as hard as she could, never looking back.
Perhaps she should have, she heard a rider approach suddenly. How he had appeared so quickly beside her she did not know. She glanced at him and did not recognise his face from the camp and the fight. They must have had others still out on the road waiting for new travellers. Louisa had not thought about that possibility.
The rider leapt from his horse and knocked Louisa from hers. They fell hard to the ground and rolled. The rough ground damaged clothing and skin. Louisa hurt everywhere. She felt as though all the breath had been knocked from her body and she could not draw more. She rolled around on the hard ground clutching her knees up to her chest as she tried to breathe.
More horses approached and Louisa knew her gamble had failed. Now they would not fight over her. Now they would not leave her free to escape. At least Louisa had tried.
Louisa rolled to her knees and tried to crawl away. The man from the horse grabbed her by the hair and pulled her backwards. He tugged her back beside her before striking her in the face. Louisa scratched his face in retaliation and punched him in the throat. He let go of her.
“Leave her alone!”
Louisa looked up and was surprised to see that two of the horsemen bearing down on them were coming from the wrong direction. She was more surprised to recognise them both. It had been Charles that had yelled out. He was in front of Matthew and he leapt from his horse while it was still moving.
A sound behind Louise made her turn back to her attacker. She found a pistol aimed at her face. She had never seen one up close before. None of their people were allowed to carry one.
“Wench!”
The man pulled something back on the weapon that Louisa could not see and then fired. A figure moved and the figure hit Louisa instead of the bullet.
Charles was struck in the shoulder and he lay against Louisa on the ground, bleeding. Matthew yelled as he leapt from his horse, and his blade ended the other man’s life before he could reload.
Louisa cried out. She did not know what she was saying. She cried out over and over, her arms flailing around…

“Zena, Zena, wake up, wake up. It was just a dream.”
She opened her eyes, she was back at their sanctuary, no horses, no bad men. Just them. Zena snuggled in against his chest and sighed. “Charles will find us again, Matthew. I know he will.”
Her best friend looked at her strangely. He shook his head and cuddled her tightly. “You’re safe now, Zena. You’re safe.”
And she felt safe. The dream was fading away and there was nothing else but the rocking chair, the sound of the rain and his arms around her. She was safe now, she was always safe with him.

 

Could you love a boy like me?

It’s been a while since I was inspired to do one of these. But I was, and I can promise that this is part of something far more. I was also inspired by my families recent trips to France and to the commemorations in Arras where our Great Grandfather was a Tunneler. So from a song and from a family history comes a small part of a much greater flood of stories to come one day.

Enjoy

Others were getting suspicious. Young men would come into the hospital near death, or about to lose limbs, and they would have almost miraculous recoveries.

Mathilde knew the truth about the miracles. The truth was, it was all because of Mathilde and her two dads.

Mathilde had been born to a doctor and his wife in Paris. Both were now dead and Mathilde had nearly joined them. Her mother had been the first to fall sick, and her father had worked so hard to save her. He could not, and a fortnight before her death he became very ill himself. Mathilde nursed them both but she could do little ease their suffering. Her mother died one cold morning and her father followed a few nights later. Paris was under martial law at the time and many areas were controlled by factions. A deeply religious man decided that Mathilde had to be infected too and could not be allowed to leave her house to infect others. She was boarded inside, screaming for help. Hysteria saw many others suffer as she did. She was left with the bodies of her deceased parents to die of illness or starve to death.

Luc and Milo were drawn to her cries and found the emaciated nineteen-year-old woman very near to death. They did not fear the illness, they were near immortal Children of the Night, and they offered Mathilde the chance to become one of them. There was an instant bond between the three and Mathilde agreed. She was transformed that night and she had never regretted the decision.

For though they were reviled and hated for what they were supposed to be, they had great power to help others. And with the world being torn about by war now, many years later, that was what they were doing. Few of their kind had the gift to heal, but they did, and they would willingly use it.

“We’ve got more coming in, the trucks are already arriving outside,” another nurse said. She side-eyed Mathilde as she spoke. “We’re going to need a miracle to save most of them from what I’m hearing.”

Mathilde was not sure if that was permission or acceptance of her gifts from the older nurse, but if miracles were needed, she would give them. The men were dying in their thousands and Mathilde and her fathers could only do so much.

The hospital began to echo with the screams of the injured, it was the ones that weren’t screaming that Mathilde went to first.

Her breath caught in her throat as she stood beside one young soldier. He was not a French boy, one of the soldiers come to aid them. She had never seen him before in her life but Mathilde felt an instant connection.

“He is too far gone, Mattie.” Luc stood beside her. “Too much magic would be needed to save him, seek out others.”

“I cannot, Father. I cannot explain it but he must be saved.”

Luc let out a curse and shook his head. “Begin then, my daughter. I will aid when I return.”

Mathilde nodded and knelt beside the stretcher on the ground. The room was chaos and no one had time to watch what she was doing. Mathilde considered turning the young man, something inside her wished to do so. But he was in no position to give consent and the result could be a greater monster than the Germans.

He needed blood, a lot of blood. He drank from her wrist and she worked her blood into his wounds. She willed him to heal but there was nothing more that she could do than she was. She was weak from the loss of so much of her blood and she needed to feed. She could not.

She would never drink from the dying or the injured. It was unconscionable.

There were more to save. Hundreds, thousands. This boy was in the hands of the Gods or his God.

Mathilde worked with the others until she collapsed. Luc found her and fed her while Milo aided her boy. They were all exhausted but Luc and Milo were less picky about who they fed on so could aid Mathilde when she needed. They had to make sure their daughter was taken care of, the same as any parent.

“The boy?”

“He lives, though whether he shall recover is no longer with us. We have done what we can. He will wake if he is meant to.”

“I think he is meant to.” Mathilde got up off the floor where she had fallen. Luc supported her, she was still weak, even after feeding. “I need to see him.”

Luc helped her through the wards to where the boy had been put. In the low light, she could see the steady rise and fall of his chest. She touched his forehead to see if he was fevered.

He was not but her touch disturbed him.

“Potato.”

Luc let out a sound of laughter that was far too loud in the dark ward and he quickly stopped himself. “Did he say….?”

“I think he did,” Mathilde replied and tilted her head to look at the boy. He seemed about her own age. “Maybe he is dreaming of a good home cooked meal.”

“I think most here do,” Luc agreed. “He speaks which is a good sign that he will be okay. You must rest if you wish to help others.”

Mathilde nodded and let herself be put to bed. It seemed there would always be more to help.

***

It took four days for the boy to wake and when he did he seemed energised. He might have sprung out of bed but his leg was not yet healed. It had taken a lot to keep him alive. The magic had not gone far enough to heal him completely. It would be a few weeks before he was back on his leg, and maybe a month before he could be sent back to the front lines.

Everyone called him by his last name O’Connor and Mathilde did too. Though he often asked her to call him husband. He was absurdly cute with his daily declarations of love for the young nurse, and many of the other soldiers she tended got threatened with being taken out back and thrashed when they flirted like he did.

He healed quicker than expected. Another miracle. And Mathilde almost regretted the help she was giving him. He’d be leaving all too soon.

“Come on, Lass. At least promise me a dance after we get out of here.”

“You make it home alive from the war and I’ll promise you that dance.”

“What about us, love? Can we get a dance too?” One of the other men asked. He was to be discharged this week, well enough to go back and fight again. It pained Mathilde to know that many she healed would not make it back home.

“Get home safely and we’ll talk about it.”

“You slay me, Lass,” O’Connor teased. “What does a fella have to do to make you his own?”

“I’m not sure I’m the right woman for any gent,” Mathilde admitted. She was so drawn to O’Connor and her fathers would often exchange knowing looks. Mathilde couldn’t give in though. She was not like he was.

His last night came all too soon and Mathilde allowed herself a private moment with him in one of the storage rooms.

“Could you love a boy like me?”

“Write to me, come back safely to me and we’ll see what happens,” Mathilde promised. She couldn’t help herself, she had real feelings for O’Connor in a way she could not explain.

“I’ll come back for you. I’ll always come back for you.”

He kissed her and Mathilde melted against his body. The kiss was passionate and left them both breathless.

“Come back then,” Mathilde said and she fled, tears streaming down her cheeks. She knew she would be broken if he joined the others in the mass graves that were far too full. She had saved his life and healed his wounds, but she could not protect him as he returned to the fight.

There were only so many miracles they could give, and far too many in the world needed them. All Mathilde could do was keep her secret and pray that he would be safe. Keep two secrets.

Because truth be told, she could love a boy like him. In fact, it was quite certain she had loved him since the moment she had stood beside his stretcher.

Why else did her heart tell her he must live?

 

My Fair Catherine – Now on Kindle

It’s here! My Fair Catherine – City of the Wiccad: Episode 2 is live on Amazon Kindle and ready for you to download and enjoy.

You can download it here for Kindle

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Growing up Catherine never believed in fairy tales or horror stories. Yet, at sixteen Catherine discovered she did not need to believe in something for it to be a danger to her and those she loved. After defeating a murderous ghost, she thought the supernatural world was done with her.
When Catherine meets a handsome man with a troublesome reputation her normal life begins to unravel. Dark forces claim her beau is not free to love her, and it brings a string of terrible murders to her door.
Will her ignorance of the supernatural world, again, leave her in danger as a new threat targets her?
Catherine believes in ghosts. She believes that a woman can be a hero. Will circumstances now force her to believe in magic, and vampires, that a woman can be the villain, and love can both heal and destroy?
Will Catherine survive her world changing or will a vampire do what a ghost could not?
Can Catherine live long enough to enter the world of the Wiccad?

At the conclusion of ‘My Fair Catherine’ find an exclusive sneak peek of Episode 3 of the ‘City of the Wiccad’ series as Jaidee takes us back to the City and to the danger the Order brings to Gabby, Benjamin, Maggie and her witches.

So download My Fair Catherine now.

And both City of the Wiccad – Episode 1: Beginnings and An All Hallows’ Haunting  are both available on Amazon Kindle

Lyric Warm-Up Writing – Evermore

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So, having seen Beauty and the Beast yesterday I am all about that soundtrack, and sweet Faerierebel gave me this prompt because she was first onboard this new obsession. So here we have something little, something part prose, part poem, all heartache. Enjoy…

Evermore

Life could be so cruel, life could be so tragic. And yet the heart keeps hoping. The heart keeps wanting.

And I let you into my melancholy heart.

You’re there in every moment, thoughts plague me. I can’t shake you and you are not mine to keep.

The first moment I saw you, I felt the connection. You walked into my heart like you walked through the open door. Call it clichéd if you want but I know my instincts are always right. The moment you walked into my life I knew what we could be to each other, the passion, the pleasure, the happiness. And I yearn for happiness. My life has not had much of it lately. The sadness held me so tight it almost took my life.

And then you walked into my melancholy heart, one smile and you inscribed your name deep on my soul.

Yet the melancholy remains, no happiness to be had. You are not mine. You’re hers instead.

And I can do nothing but watch and pretend that I can bear to watch you make her smile. Pretend that I am happy for you are her happiness, her contentment. I fix a smile in place and try to fake it until I make it to being happy for you both and not seething green inside with envy.

Why did you walk into my heart if you never planned to let me into yours? You smiled at me like you knew it too and then the moment was gone as she flew into your arms.

But I can’t let this break me. I can’t fall to the darkness where I was before. You’re so far beyond my reach though you’re always within my grasp. So close and yet so far, and I must not let it destroy me. The heart keeps hoping, the heart keeps wanting.

The nights are long and full of aching and I know I cannot keep waiting for something that will not happen. You are hers. You are her happiness.

But when you glanced this way, I thought I saw… No one has ever looked at me that way before.

And so, my heart keeps hoping, my heart keeps wanting.

And my melancholy heart will be yours for evermore.

My Fair Catherine – The Book Cover

I just finished the final edit on My Fair Catherine. Editing is hard. There is so much editing. I use the word ‘that’ too much… But I am so proud of what this book has transformed into. It’s so good. And I’m not the only one who thinks so…

So with just a few days to go, I thought you might want to know what to look for when you go looking for My Fair Catherine – City of the Wiccad: Episode 2.

We went through a lot more different concepts for this book cover and there wasn’t often agreement until we came up with the idea below. I am excited and I do love this look, it’s perfect for a Victorian Supernatural tale with love, drama, vampires, strong women, intrigue and revelations.

Behold:

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