This novel is set in San Juan County, Washington. Hillary Hermes was once the most feared alchemist of her time. She awakens in this time as Hillary Somers, her memory is gone, and all of her inherited powers are trapped inside the body of a frail, timid, teenager who’s filled with doubt. Time has transported her through the line of the Somers Witches.Lovers are caught in the war between vampires and witches.
Read the first chapter:
The Vampire, the Witch, and the What?
A summer of madness
I’m awake after one thousand and ninety five days. I am powerless, but it’s worse than before I slept. I see him coming. What force can awaken me now? It can only be supernatural. Dr. Dante Ferreti is driving home on a cool night at the end of July. He zips along a winding road in San Juan County, Washington. He’s enjoying the sound of the waves crashing against the island and the smell of the ocean. I’m crawling to my knees in the street. My brain is foggy. There’s my car on the other side. He parks quickly and leaves his car, but carefully. He knows his brother’s scent. Dante leaps just in time to pry his brother off me. He swings the beast across the lawn. He thinks I’m dead.
My neck stings; it’s sore. In fact, the vampire doesn’t even break my skin. “How can this be? I saw him slash your throat,” he whispers. I am struggling to breathe when he brings me to my feet and carries me to his car. “Why were you out alone?” he asks. He offers to drive me home. Then I hear Hillary Somers speak with my voice. “I don’t usually have a problem. The island is so small; in fact I didn’t know anyone else lived here,” I reply. I’m struggling to speak as Hillary Somers. “Well…my family and I recently returned from…” he says, making excuses for his brother.
I‘m in and out of consciousness in the car, but I remember waking briefly and seeing the windshield wipers move furiously through an even more furious rainstorm.
I’m not Wiccan, like the rest of my family. It’s been awkward ever since I woke in this body. This world is strange to me. I feel out of place as if I’m not a part of this world. I’m not, but Hillary Somers was born here. I look like a teen, yet like a young woman. I know and don’t know everyone and everything here. I look into the mirror while he drives. I’m Hillary Hermes, Hillary Somers alternate personality! It’s my body, my face, inside of me or Hillary Somers.
I am too stiff to move or talk. He has shoulder length hair, brown eyes and a Goatee. He is very European. His face is young, but mature at the same time, as if it is worn through the ages. He is much like an eighteen or twenty-year old. He is in a business vest with slacks and a light-colored shirt. He waits for me to move. I see him. I hear him.
“I’ve seen this before, when my kind wakes from the dead, but she isn’t a vampire. What was she?” He whispers to himself. Then I wake her.
Hillary Somers wakes up, gasping for air. It’s as if this is the first time this has happened to me, but he knows it isn’t.
“Who are you?” he asks.
“I’m Hillary Somers,” I say, blinking again. I listen to his mind as he thinks about me.
I look to the mirror to see brown hair that settles into a bang on my forehead. I have big blue eyes, with shoulder-length cascading hair, and *huge* red lips.
He searches my eyes although he wants to avoid me. Hillary Somers is terrified; she knows what he is. I whisper to her.
“Don’t be afraid. We can’t feed off humans - only other vampires. I’m Dr. Dante Ferreti. Are you a Somers witch?” he ventures cautiously. I am shocked he knows of my family.
“My family, yes. And you work at the university?” I ask.
“Yes,” he replies.
I try to calm Hillary Somers but it takes all my strength. I’m inside her. I can barely remember my name.
I’ve been here for three years, maybe more, trapped inside her. I touch him accidentally and with one touch I can see his whole mind, every action, see what he sees. I must conserve my energy, what little I have, but I’m curious.
He looks at me; I can tell he is hungry. I’m in a car with a hungry vampire, what must I be thinking? This is the first time he has been hungry in decades, but it is my beauty that disturbs him so. Humans usually don’t bother him, but my beauty intimidates him. “I live on the other side of the island,” I say. He takes me home, not speaking.
“Interesting ring, it looks centuries old,” he says to me. I can access my memories now.
“Oh…It’s my great grandmother’s,” I say. I usually boat to school.
“Is it your first semester at Prodigus University?” he asks.
“Yes. I live on Henderson St.” He speeds up to the front door of Somers manor. He knows where I live and I don’t. He seems indifferent, which is fine with me. Dante is beautiful but strange and gives answers that don’t make sense. I slide out of the car. “Thank you for everything,” I say.
“You’re welcome.” He zooms out of the drive way. I have to keep an eye on him for our sake. I venture inside his mind.
He races to work at Peace Island Medical Center. He is working on autopsies. He is infatuated with surgery. Many like him can’t do it because of the blood but he has trained himself. Silently, over centuries. It’s complicated. It’s the best of all worlds. He can slice and dice to his heart’s content, stash blood, as much as he wants, and none would be the wiser. It satisfies his thirst, his compulsion to kill, but he can’t kill them. They are already dead. The curse that plagues his family doesn’t prohibit feeding on the dead, or from blood banks, but he has never tested it. He can drain the bodies if he wants, but his diet consists of something else: other vampires.
He fills his backpack with blood from the blood bank and sits in his office. He can’t stop thinking about it. He has never been in the presence of a human woman who affected him.
That night at home I meander to my bathroom and splash water in my face. I look closer into the mirror. It’s the same face, my face. I nestle in the bed to sleep. Somers Manor is so large that you can be there for days and no one will notice. Madeline and Tom aren’t there.
I am bothered by the encounter with the vampire. It is as if I have met a vampire before. But have I? I contemplate as I settle in my bed and drift asleep.
That night I have a disturbing dream. I am entrenched in a death match with a woman dressed in brown from head to toe. I know her but I can’t remember her name. There are streaks of lightening everywhere. A boy is caught in the crossfire, and he screams. I’m sitting up in the bed now. No, it is just a dream. I hear a scream, he isn’t breathing. Hillary Somers is keeping me from remembering.
I get dressed fast as I can and boat to school. I am not interested in seeing him anytime soon.
Then there he is, Dr. Dante Ferreti standing next to his car. Dante tries to avoid me any chance he can. But he can’t. I see everything through his eyes and through Hillary Somers’ eyes. Why now has this happened? He awakens me. There are other super naturals here. Most of the land here dates back to the Somers. I’m here to protect Hillary from him, and there must be more of these vampires. Dante walks directly to his office. He is a professor at Prodigus University with an office not far from his brother Dino. He glances quickly into Dino’s office and notices he is not there, much to Dante’s pleasure. He quickly ducks inside. He sits, relaxes, and inserts his CD into the player. He opens the Internet, then dashes to the bookshelf and retrieves an ancient book. He sits back down and whisks through it. There it is: the ring, the philosopher’s stone.
“Could it be? It looks just like the ring on her finger, but could this be it? This could explain why Hillary didn’t die when Dino attacked her,” he says. Then he flips the page and there I am. It is a woman, a shadow sliding up the stairs of a building in France. “The year was 1656, but could it be her?” he questions. He leans back in his chair and wonders if he should tell anyone, but Dino is bound to find out, maybe he already knows. “What is your name?” he asks.
He grabs his coat and hurries home. I see him, through his mind. I turn it on and off not to upset Hillary Somers. I hide this in another part of her psyche. I watch them like a movie, the vampires. I feel what they feel. I know what they know. They are in the great hall of their large estate. He stands in a suit leaning against the fireplace. He is very old world in an elegant sort of way. Dante confronts his twin brother Dino. Dante always tries to control himself, but Dino and Dirk are very cunning and always up to something. “What happened with the older sister Hillary Somers?” Dino asks.
“You know what happened, you tried to kill her,” says Dante.
“After all these centuries, you still care,” Dino says, mocking, petting Dante like a puppy. Then he moves to the edge of the room and slides into his favorite leather chair as if he is contemplating. “We’re looking for Madeline Somers,” he says.
“Last of the Somers line. You were going to turn her?” asks Dante.
“Relax. It wasn’t me, it was Dirk,” says Dino.
“Dirk is here? So you sent Dirk to do your bidding?” he asks.
“She is supernatural, so I wouldn’t have died anyway. I told Dirk about the Somers,” Dino says.
“The witches will be ready for us now. You were lucky tonight. If you keep making mistakes this will interfere with our plans for them,” says Dante as he moves to leave.
“Relax. Hillary Somers was not in our research. We need Madeline for the ritual,” says Dino.
“You need her…Have you ever turned anyone? Do you even know how?” says Dante.
“Mother is coming,” he says abruptly. Dante quiets instantly. That’s all he needs now, his mother.
“Mother will draw every vampire in the world here,” says Dante slowly.
”You should be happy. You’ll like that. It won’t be so difficult for you to eat. Is she another Somers witch or a protector? She must be supernatural,” says Dino.
“You don’t know, do you?” Dante says as he storms off. But he hears something, Dino falters, he runs to his side. Dino feels a pain in his chest as if he’s having a heart attack. He opens his shirt and doesn’t see anything in the mirror but a red spot on hi skin where his heart should be. Dante sees him staggering to the mirror.
“What’s wrong?” says Dante.
“I felt pain in my chest,” says Dino.
“Was it a heart attack?” he says, putting Dino in the leather chair not far from the fire place. Dino closes his shirt and coat and looks at Dante as if he is joking.
“How can it be,” says Dino.
“I don’t know,” says Dante.
“Well, you are a doctor,” Dino says.
“Well, if you put it that way, all my patients are dead,” says Dante.
Dino looks at him and turns to the mirror again. “I have felt this before,” says Dino.
“A few days ago,” Dante says as he picks up his wine glass and begins to drink.
“Do you think it’s because we are twins?” Dante says.
“I don’t know but be careful,” Dino says as he continues on. “In eastern Europe there is one heart and one soul for each vampire,” he recites slowly, staring across the room.
“You don’t believe this, do you?” says Dante.
“Dante, we are Dhampirs. How does that affect us?” asks Dino.
“Dino, all I know is you are having chest pains, and I am having chest pains. Why Eastern Europe? It’s our birth place. Mother was essentially dead when we were born,” Dante says.
“So we are like the rest of them?” says Dino, coming to some startling revelation.
“Perhaps, we were revived when we were born,” says Dante.
“Yes, along with mother. But we are immortal, Dino,” Dante says.
“What else does it say? While one set lives, we won’t die. If both die, we will die,” Dino says, reciting in his usual slow manner.
“I don’t see how this matters. We have often thought we would have some kind of death. But Dino, why do we feel like this now?” Dante asks.
“Our family needs us. Which is why we have to get to these witches? Don’t go soft on me,” he says, looking at Dante. He rises again, and staggers to the hallway and up the mahogany steps to his room.
Dino invites Madeline to his bar and she walks out with a job. Madeline doesn’t quite know who he is, but she wonders. She senses darkness. It is Dante who Madeline fancies. That’s why she needs me. I can’t see any ill will in his mind when he is with her. I whisper to Hillary Somers that her sister is fine, and I still watch his mind. This small witch is heir to the whole Somers dynasty. I have to keep her safe. He often stumbles into his brother’s bar needing a drink after a long day at the hospital. Madeline believes Dante is irresistible. She is glad he is not one of her professors.
Dino is a professor of Neurology and psychiatry. He owns the only bar in town that is remotely trendy, as well as a chain of bars all over the states. In the coming days, the locals flock there, and it is packed every night. He is always behind the bar, wiping it down, looking and listening to every conversation he can find. With advancements in medicine, Dino can pass his age off as anywhere between twenty and forty. Dino meets Madeline much by accident, or is it. There is a part of their brains they are hiding from me, but they don’t know I am there. I’m much too clever, but they are killers. It takes an immortal to catch an immortal.
Dante often makes excuses to go to his brother’s bar. He finds it daunting to keep up his tasks. She bothers him. His conscience wavers for the first time in centuries. He watches her for several weeks and now there she is, standing. Madeline always wears skinny jeans. She loves to wear high-heeled sequined colored shoes, to contrast with her average frame. Her shirts are frequently buttoned in front, with cropped sleeves, and brilliant colors. She has wavy brown hair that flips over her green eyes. It is shoulder length. We look like sisters from the 40s or 50s.
Madeline seems very kind and naïve but then again he doesn’t spend much time with humans. She is so nice it makes his task that much harder. What task? Dante finds himself watching her closely as she walks to her car after her shift. They are supposed to be alone here, but a seventeen year-old can’t be too careful.
Then there is that night when she goes to her car and screams. He is out the door and on the man in a few seconds, throwing him across the parking lot. “What are you doing?” she says. She thinks she sees his brown eyes flicker like fluorescents. Then Dante stoops forward and stretches out his hand. She is hurt and he slits his hand. Dante is always in vampire hunting mode. With his mother coming, paranoid behavior has gotten the best of him. He doesn’t know what the small witch can do, but he can’t risk someone turning her before she can lift their curse. Wait a minute -- lift their curse? But how?
Madeline wakes and doesn’t remember a thing. She is in his car, is it the part where he calls her darling, or her professor, or something else, that makes her head swim. She groans and tilts her head against the window. “Sit back, dear,” Dante commands.
“What happened?” she asks.
“I had to take care of a disorderly drunk, that’s all.”
But there’s something else, something outside. “I’m hearing something, a vampire and Natasha. I hear them. She can stop the conversion process. She is a powerful chemist. That is why you are here,” she says.
“What do the Ferretis want with them?” he says.
“That I cannot tell you,” she says.
“I see them. There you are. You are not what I expected,” he says. She morphs from a woman in a wheel chair to one in her fifties. “I‘m saving my energy when I’m in that form - I‘ll need it for her,” she says simply. Then there is nothing.
When Madeline arrives home I am waiting, like a careful protector. I hear Madeline screaming. Dante hurls something against the door. Both are gone. I bolt to her room. I know what it is as she sobs to describe it.
“Madeline, quick! A spell to protect the house,” I’m yelling.
“I’m not strong enough,” she sobs.
“Yes, you are,” I say in a scream.
“Insidious, creatures of the night, with wind in its place,” she says, and it’s sealed.
I see what happens. I hide it from Hillary Somers; it will just upset her. We walk inside and Hillary Somers starts talking. Dante speeds away in his Mercedes McLaren. Madeline eagerly waves goodbye, only partly listening to me.
Every time he sees me on campus, he flees as if I am the plague. Madeline and I walk inside. I’m very upset that he brought my sister home. It is interesting to say the least.
“He acts like an eighteen-year old. Yesterday I saw him rushing to his office trying to avoid me,” I claim.
“What’s wrong?” asks Madeline.
“There is something odd about those brothers. I thought we were alone here on this island and then they appear out of nowhere,” I say.
“Dino just opened up the bar,” Madeline announces.
“I love you, Madeline,” I say.
“I love you, too,” says Madeline.
“I’m tired. I’m going upstairs. Where’s dad?”
I glance around for our father the Magician.
“I haven’t seen him in days. He must be at another Magician’s conference,” says Madeline.
My dream that night is more of the same. I am in front of her. I can’t make her face out. Suddenly blood comes gushing from her mouth; she is stabbed from behind. He pulls the dagger from her body, and then he flings her to the floor easily. It is a vampire. I wake up in a hot sweat. Was this the body of an eighteen-year old or a woman in her mid-thirties? It must be that nightmare. I shower. I have to pull myself together and get to school.
If my day isn’t creepy enough, at the university I run into Dante Ferreti again. He can’t avoid me, and I follow him as quick as I can. He ducks into the library and looks around. He can use his super speed here. He sits down at the nearest table.
“I want answers,” I drawl as I plop down in the nearest seat next to him.
“What are you doing?” he asks.
I turn around to sit. This room is like none of the others in the library. It is totally inlaid with glass stained windows, just enough that the sun beams through when sitting on a leather chaise, reading along the long bench in front of the nearest hometown masterpiece painting. The furniture is modern and comfortable.
“I need some information,” I say.
“What do you mean?” Dante asks.
“You tell me.”
“It depends,” Dante says.
“What happened the night you brought me home? Your brother tried to kill me?” I ask.
“It was my brother, Dirk. He succeeded, but then I brought you back. I gave you rescue breath, and you resurrected yourself,” says Dante. I am trying to make sense of it all. He searches for something in my eyes, but there is nothing.
“You’ve been avoiding me?” I ask.
“Yes,” he says.
“Why?” I ask.
“I think it is better this way. Besides, I’m faculty here,” he says.
“I wish you would tell your brother the same thing. Well, stay away from me and Madeline. You and your brothers,” I say.
“My brother is extremely hard to control,” he says and laughs. Then I become angry and repeat what I just said. When he sees I am serious, he shouts, “I can’t control Dirk!”
“Well, try. Or I’ll tell everybody about you and your brother!”
“Threats haven’t worked on us in hundreds of years,” he says, thundering.
“They haven’t worked in centuries on me either,” I reveal, suddenly empowered. I storm away. I stand behind, clinging to the wall just beyond the library. I have to take it easy; something is keeping me from full power, and in fact I feel worse. Hillary Somers will soon figure it out. He sighs and is relieved that I am gone. He stirs and returns home.
Sixteen hours later
Dante confuses Madeline. He tries to win back her trust. She admits to herself that she has a crush on him but she tells herself nothing can come of it. He not only looks older than her, he is centuries older, and she is a teenage witch. They should be mortal enemies. Even as they argued in the hallway they stuck out. It has to be just fate or a cruel accident that he teaches her Biology class. In fact, he gives up on her until one day when he sees her talking to a man in his brother’s bar. Dante and Madeline are in the bar. Dante begins arguing with her, as always. She stands and gathers her books to leave. Dante blocks her way. “I need you to do something for me,” says.
“Nothing,” she answers.
“Is he bothering you?”
“Yes,” Madeline says, pointing to Dante. By this time everyone in the bar is looking at them so all he can do is move out of her way. The vampire’s creed is never draw attention to yourself. Something the Aristedes have no respect for.
She ignores him and begins to walk away. He hears her scream. Dante runs to her, right when Johan turns.
“Run!” he yells.
She runs to a clearing. She hides behind a nearby bush. She hears rustling. Then Dante pops in at the last moment. She runs to him instinctively, and then backs away. “Please come,” he pleads. She agrees. He walks her to his car and puts her in the other side.
“He didn’t look like the others,” she says, ashamed. “Beauty lies within the beast. Vampires are different from each other,” he mocks. Then he explains that some of them evolved.
“See you tomorrow,” she says, and walks into the house and leans on the door, sighing. Every time I watch her like this I feel helpless.
“I heard about Madeline,” Dino says to Dante, walking into the house.
“Well, you didn’t try to turn her.”
”No, it’s more complicated. She can stop me with her mind.”
“That is your plan, not mine. I don’t think we can turn her. I’ve told you before,” Dante says, dropping his saddlebag on the couch and running upstairs.
“Are you falling for her?” Dino yells after him.
“It’s not a problem,” replies Dante at the top of the steps.
“Tell me about this Hillary.” Dino says.
“She‘s beautiful. And infuriating,” says Dante, disappearing.
Dino stands and buttons his coat and starts out the door.
“Where are you going?” Dante says.
“It’s about time I met this Hillary Somers, don’t you think?” says Dino.
“Well, I can’t wait to formally meet you either, Dr. Dino Ferreti,” I say.
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About the author:
YL Parker as born and resides in North Carolina. She has been a teacher for over 18 years.
She has always loved stories ever since she was a young girl.
She wrote screenplays for ten years and now has brought her storytelling to books.
She has BA in English and a MA in Teaching and Learning with Technology.
Visit her Website to find out more about her upcoming projects, including more in this series!