I’m so excited to host this blog tour stop for Haunts & Hellions! Enjoy this excerpt and let me know what you think in the comments!
Harkening back to the glory days of gothic romance that had us up reading all night,
HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents:
Haunts & Hellions edited by Emerian Rich
13 stories of horror, romance, and that perfect moment when the two worlds collide. Vengeful spirits attacking the living, undead lovers revealing their true nature, and supernatural monsters seeking love, await you. Pull the blinds closed, light your candle, and cuddle up in your reading nook for some chilling—and romantic—tales.
With stories by: Emily Blue, Lucy Blue, Kevin Ground, Rowan Hill, Naching T. Kassa, Emmy Z. Madrigal, R.L. Merrill, N.C. Northcott, Emerian Rich, Daniel R. Robichaud, Daphne Strasert, Tara Vanflower, and B.F. Vega.
An excerpt from Haunts & Hellions
Northern Spanish Colony
Lupita first met him in the fog rolling off the ocean in the upper parts of the Spanish colony of Californio. Her family’s lonely adobe was situated on a high bluff overlooking a small port a day south from their nearest neighbors at the Russian’s Ross Colony. Her father was part of the landed gentry trying to break free from Spain so they could trade with English ships and have more control over their own lives. He was in the capitol, Monterey, working with other gentlemen on that important task.
Lupita had never sailed the aquamarine sea, unveiled like a bride every day when the fog burned off. She’d been born in Californio. Her mother, Dona Esmerelda, had been born in Castille and would often—vocally and loudly—long to go back to be amongst her people again. Her mother missed her position at court more than she missed her family and Lupita would often disappear when her mother started in on her nostalgic tirades.
It had been such a day and although the weather was cold and gray and the thick fog dripped salt water onto her embroidery, she had chosen to be out near the great Pacific rather than hear her mother tell the stories of court dances again. Her father had said the next land after their beach was the Spice Islands and beyond that the great land of the Qing. Sitting in her favorite willow chair on the veranda, enclosed in the gray moody fog covering the mighty Pacific, she saw the first lantern.
Then multiple lanterns glowed through the fog and vaguely she heard the sound of screams. A ship was in trouble. She was not surprised. The Californio coast was all large rocks and whitecaps. She put down her embroidery, gathered her skirts, and ran to her father’s foreman who was in the stables.
“Manuel, there is a ship in trouble!” she yelled as soon as she was in earshot.
Manuel signaled for two of his best men to mount up and follow him to the beach.
Lupita did not think about what was proper. She knew a ship in trouble meant lives to be saved. Springing up onto a saddled horse in front of the scandalized grooms, she set off after the men into the wall of fog, down to the pebble-strewn beach.
By the time they reached the beach, the ship had struck the great rock that reminded her of a goat’s head. The shipmen were too far out to reach and the dangerous currents pulled them away one by one. Their screams faded as the ice-cold water shut down their lungs and pulled their bodies out into the iron-grey sea.
She thought all would be lost, but then she saw a man the ocean had thrown to the beachside of the rock.
She did not hesitate to jump off the horse and run to the man. He seemed to be breathing. She placed her fingers on his neck to check for the beat of life. His skin was like the water in the dead of winter, clammy and cold. Blood oozed out of what looked to be a puncture mark on his neck.
Lupita could not fathom what would have made such a mark. It looked like he had been stabbed with a small knitting needle.
As she raised his head onto her lap to help him breathe easier, he opened his eyes and looked up at her. She had never seen eyes like his. They were not the brilliant blue or green of the Russians, and certainly nothing like the honey browns, golds, and blacks of her people or the Pomo and Miwok that worked at the Mission in Sonoma. They were green like a pear covered in sand, or grey like steel left too long in the cold mossy forests beyond her house. They were eyes from a world she never knew existed. She was instantly transfixed by their cool beauty.
The man coughed and she turned him as she had been taught so he could cough up the water and bile onto the beach and not onto her dress, although her skirt was already filthy with sand, blood, and seawater. Manuel came and took over caring for the man. She was sent up to the house to make a room ready for him while another of the men took the long ride to the north to summon the Russian doctor.
As she mounted her horse, she looked again at the ship broken on the rocks. The man on the beach could be the only survivor. She thought she saw another man standing at the broken bow looking back at her, but as the sun finally won its daily battle with the fog, a shaft of light illuminated the spot. The man, if he had been there, had gone.
To read more, read Haunts and Hellions at: Amazon.com