You’ve always hated her, but you might not know the whole story. . .
Edith may not be brazen and enchanted like her twin sister, Ember, but in a world of dying magic, perhaps her simple desires are enough.
After a Selection Banquet gone awry, Edith is left without a suitor or a plan. Befriending a little white fox and occupying herself with a philanthropic project outside castle walls, Edith soon rebuilds morale and musters enough courage to reach out to her estranged twin sister.
But Ember’s been harboring an evil secret – and thwarted love and jealous can turn acts of merit into classic tales of wickedness in this new twist on an old tale.
The twins were ushered to their places alongside their father at the head of the table. Suspicion and unease distracted Edith as she watched her sister’s boisterous entrance, and she completely forgot to tidy herself. She had gotten ready and gone down to the kitchens at sunrise, so whatever primping she had done was most likely melted away, brushed off or wrinkled up. As was life sometimes. Her appearance may have been untended, but every meringue was torched, every cake iced and all glasses and hearts brimming. Regardless of how prepared the dinner was, though, being prepared for blind marriage at a moment’s notice was mortifying, especially for a quiet girl. Because, for pity’s sake, who wouldn’t be a little unnerved by such an orchestrated union as was about to happen? Edith was beginning to be glad she wasn’t a sorceress or soothsayer. Who could possibly face each sunrise with any amount of morale when they knew the exact affliction awaiting them?
The dinner was a whirling blur of meaningless, superficial conversation. Then, unexpectedly in a most expectant of times, three resounding knocks echoed through the hall. It was the deep, guttural sound that makes a heart quiver behind its cage. The guests, having dropped their utensils and ceased their chewing, slid to the edges of their seats.
Ember, confidently unruffled, continued cutting her elk steak into dainty, bite-sized pieces. Edith, on the other hand, could have vomited at the sound. An overwhelming feeling of dread suddenly overcame her, its tidal wave effect nearly driving her to run away from the ridiculous scene to the refuge of her garden or her mixing bowls.
Formal: Amazon Paperback
Meredith Jade was raised in a small town by parents who taught her to love reading. From the moment she could hold pencil to paper, she wrote. After graduating college and traveling abroad teaching English in Uttaradit, Thailand for a year, she came home. Writing was that home. Her writing has a range of inspirations, all a result of her voracious reading as a child and young adult. Anything from Victorian Literature to bird watching guides to NY Times best sellers have served as an agent for her imagination. Never Upon a Time is her first novel.
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She fell under a spell. But this time the ancestors were not responsible. Before long, Samaria’s neck fell backwards and off to the side, propositioning the creature, the man, to feast. Her arms winged, begging him to enjoy. She moaned in this trance and it carried throughout the hut. His sting was pleasurable. As he drew her blood, she felt drops of moisture trickle onto her shoulder. His fingers dug into her forearms; he squeezed and massaged tight skin. Rather than scream or attempt to fight him off, Samaria raised her breasts. Her waist circled about, bare hips merely laced with straps easily loosened. She pressed against his muscular body, unable to feel enough of his flesh. Craving to be manhandled. And he leaned back, roaring into the heavens. Beads of sweat filed down from his chin to full neck. His eyes were a pure shade of rage, enlarged.
The more Samaria directed his attendance, the more she appeared to enjoy this pale man’s bloodlust, the more he lost every ounce of himself. Before long she leapt upward, wrapping her legs around his waist, begging him to lower his lips once more. She turned, revealing the untouched jugular as it pounded beneath firm skin. Samaria was no longer a victim. She was now a predator. Her limbs latched on to his entire form. Her fingers pressed against his neckline, commanding an exchange of places. He eased back, widening himself, propositioning Samaria to bite and feast on flesh in the same manner he had. His grasp extended beyond her sides, draping to her lower back, encouraging this seemingly fragile woman to be demonic. He moaned louder in the process.
“Feast!” His word was clear and understandable.
She moved to obey. Upon reaching his throbbing Adam’s apple, wildly panting with a torturous lust, the vision faded. Samaria was forced back to reality. Her pale lover was gone. All that remained was a hunger for deep-red blood and sin.
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A Viking with a thirst for blood.
A naive, but powerful African princess.
A vengeful sibling.
What more could you ask for in a paranormal story. And it’s only the beginning…
Everyone turned to see Nzinga approaching; the darkness of the world riding her skin, driving her evil.
“No,” one of the elders began. He immediately knew what had occurred and dropped to his knees in defeat.
Nzinga saw his surrender and laughed.
“For more than a millennium you’ve held many of us at a distance, you and your good warlords. We were too evil to possess humanity, denied another chance to live again.” The multilayered tones piled from Nzinga’s lips, spreading wide and moving swiftly. She was possessed. It was the only way that they could freely roam the earth. Nzinga’s anger and rage fueled their powers. They needed her to be coherent, just enough to be aware of how much she despised her life, but not enough to remember her humanity.
“My daughter,” Mama sobbed, bent on her knees, dragging away from what was once her pride and joy.
Nzinga merely ran her eyes over her mother before reaching through the air and snapping the woman’s neck. Samaria screamed, her own potential rage equally terrifying. She forced away Nzinga’s creature, though he could not be easily dismissed. Samaria moved to the inside edge of the circle. Standing at the brim of their meeting place, she reflected on the lifeless corpses of her people. She wanted to mourn for them, but couldn’t yet.
“I hate you Samaria. You ruined my life.”
“You ruined your own life Nzinga. They could not exist in you because you would’ve turned dark. Even when you were still important to this cause, selfishness controlled you.”
“But they chose me from birth!”
“Yes, but then I came along.”
COMING JULY 2014