Be Mine Forever
The third book in my vampire series, this tells the story of the two ghouls from Love me Forever, and Angela and Tom's romance. It also explains the history behind the enmity between Vampires and witches.
Tom Kyd is smitten. In love in with the ghoul, Angela. He wants to protect her and keep her safe. Angela is determined to find out who really is—or was before a rogue vampire turned her ghoul. In uncovering her past and discovering her true identity, she ventures beyond the protection of the colony, and exposes her vampire friends to danger.
"Are you sure about this?" Stella Corvus, neé Schwartz, looked up from dropping teaspoons of cookie batter on a baking sheet.
Angela smiled. Stella had to be the only vampire in the country, maybe on the planet, who baked cookies on a regular basis. Come to that, she was probably the only one with a kid. "No, I'm not sure, but I've got to do something. Tom won't share anything he's discovered - if there is anything to share. I feel I'm at the same point as when Vlad found us in the park."
"You're a good bit beyond that."
"I know. I'll be eternally grateful to you and the rest of the colony. You given me a home, clothes, sanity, a job when I needed one. But I can't stand this anonymity much longer. I want to be more than a name I picked out of the phone book. I look in the mirror and have no idea who I really am."
"At least you can look in the mirror! Ghouls have that over vampires. I live in dread, I'm going around with my hair on end and smudged lipstick."
Angela chuckled. Stella seldom wore lipstick and her new, cropped hairstyle always looked sleek. "Please understand, Stella. I need to know who I am. I think I'm falling in love with Tom. What if I'm married? Have a lover somewhere looking for me?" She sighed. "I used to worry I'd abandoned children or babies, but Justin reassured me there."
"Yup. It's handy having a doctor in the house."
"You've to a good man there. Or should I say good vampire? I keep thinking, perhaps Tom and I..." She sighed.
"That's why you left him?"
"I left him because I got sick of Tom Kyd telling me he'd take care of everything. He followed up leads. He decided if they were red herrings. He studied the old lore books in the library. He declared what was fact and what was fable. He drove me bonkers!"
"I can see why." Stella pulled up a stool beside Angela. "They have a way of taking over. I'm not sure if it's testosterone, the 'me vampire' act or both."
"At least you can 'me vampire' back!"
"You could try 'me ghoul'."
"Doesn't quite carry the same weight. Not yet."
Stella raised her eyebrows. "Not yet?"
"If I can look Tom in the eye and tell him who I am, he'll have to do something about his 'poor, little ghoul' attitude."
"Any idea how you're going about it?"
"Back tracking. Tom's looking for the answer in old tomes. I'm gong to search the here and now."
"He's used the computer too, just as Kit has."
"Yes, and every so-called lead is a dead end. I have one tangible, certain clue: my leather coat. I want to go down to Totnes and search for the shopMariposaaccording to the label. Maybe they keep records of customers." She sighed. "I doubt it's that easy. But it's a chance and I'm grabbing it. If it's dead end, at least I've done something."
"Maybe it isn't a dead end, but you could be in for a shock or two. You don't know what you will discover."
"I really doubt I'm a long-lost heiress. More like something very ordinary like a teacher or secretary." Angela grinned. But at least I'd know, It might be fun to look him in the eye and say. "I'm Tallulah Bloggs and I'm a cocktail waitress."
"If that ends up as the name your mother gave you, you'd better stick with the one you picked out of the phone book."
Angela's smile faded. "That's what's so hard. Hell, I don't even know it I had a mother!"
"You must have once upon a time." They were both silent a few minutes, until the buzz of the timer distracted Stella for a few seconds. She pulled out one cookie tray and slid in the next batch. "Don't forget the reason behind everyone's caution. Somewhere out there still lurks the vampire who made you."
Not a thing she was likely to forget in a hurry. "The odds are he's the other side of the Atlantic."
"He could get on a plane as easily was we did."
Angela nodded. "Trust me, Stella. I'll never forget the horror and terror we fled from. If that monster were anywhere near, and I mean within miles, I'd know." Just thinking about it made her shudder.
"I'll take your word for it." Stella started easing the cooling cookies off the sheet. "Might be wise to leave before Justin gets back. He's bound to give you every bit as much flack as Tom."
Good point. Stella picked up the mixing bowl but, as she turned on the water to rinse it, Angela grabbed it. "No point in letting good cookie dough go to waste." She'd scraped it half-clean when she realized Stella was eying her. "Miss it do you? I'm so wrapped up in myself, I forgot that you, too..."
"Had a life-altering change?" Stella smiled. "I soon got over the shock. Given the alternative to being vampire, it didn't take long to accept the inconveniences. But I do miss cookie dough. And ice cream. And chocolate." She sighed. "No point in going there." She snapped the lid on the flour canister and put it away.
Angela held out a spoon. "Sure you won't have a taste?"
Stella shook her head "No way, thanks. It tried, once. It tasted of nothing, and for days afterwards, I had the awful sensation of a lump stuck in my throat."
Angela reached for a still-warm cookie. Life as a ghoul did have its compensations, and Stella made great cookies.
"Bye, Sam," Stella watched him as he crossed the crowded playground and joined a group of other nine-and-ten-year-olds. Satisfied he was safe inside the school gates, she turned to Angela. "Here we go." She turned down the street, and headed for the moors, and York, "How long are you planning on staying?"
"Maybe a couple of days, I'll either find out something or I won't. I don't plan on hanging around." With a bit of luck she might be back before Justin. He was liable to be as unreasonable as Tom. Male vampires seemed to think they ran the planet. "Look, I don't want you catching flack over this. Do you think Justin will cut up rough?"
Stella shrugged. "If he does, it won't be the first time, or the last. Quit worrying! And for Abel's sake, take care of yourself. I don't want you ending up in the same condition as when Vlad found you."
"I'll be careful," Angela promised, half-smiling to herself at hearing her friend invoke Abel's name. Stella fitted so easily into a vampire existence. She couldn't help but envy her. Vampires had the colony for support and company, being a ghoul was an empty pain in the patootie. Not much point in complaining. Better up stakes and do something. Good thing she hadn't said the last bit aloud. Vampires could get touchy over some things.
"Sure you'll be okay?" Stella asked as the train drew into the platform.
"I'll be fine, honest. I have the mobile Tom gave me, and the credit card." The last Angela felt guilty about, but she needed money to travel, and Tom had told her to use it if necessary. She'd keep track and pay him back. "You know where I'm staying?"
Stella nodded. "Yes, The Royal Oak. Call me. Promise?"
"I'll let you know everything I find out." They hugged. Angela doing her darndest to conceal her anxiety, as Stella worried enough for both of them. "Drive carefully, and let's hope the rain keeps up." One of Angela's worries was that Stella would get stranded, in broad sunlightnot that there was a lot of chance of that in February, but...
"The car protects me, and if the worst happens and it breaks down, which it won't as it's brand new, I'll call for rescue."
"You should have just dropped me and driven home, I'll be fine."
Stella shook her head. "I don't think so. I want to be able to assure Tom, if he asks, that I saw you safely on the train." But he'd still throw a hissy fit, Another reason to get back quickly.
A signal failure outside Birmingham added another hour to the six-hour journey. But by early afternoon, Angela noticed changes in the countryside as they traveled south. Trees showed traces of new leaves and patches of pale yellow flowers appeared in the hedgerows. Flowers Angela knew were primroses another of the memory flashes that had alternately blessed and plagued her the past few months. But recognizing wildflowers wasn't likely to reveal her former identity.
By the time Angela stepped down onto the platform at Totnes, she was ravenously hungry. Train food wasn't the sort to sustain a ghoul. She had to find meat, probably should look for her hotel, and wanted above all else, scour the leather shops. The town looked small. How hard would to be to find one shop?
Copyright © 2004 Rosemary Laurey
Be Mine Forever is set in the UK in Totnes in Devon, in the West country. Below are links to actual Totnes & Devon photos: