The Vampire Alliance
Angela Louise McGurk
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Number of pages: 369
Word Count: 112,000 Cover Design by Angela McGurk
Photography by Matt McGurk Photography
Eve hadn’t wanted a second marriage, she wanted to remain happily unmarried rather than curse another good man to Rob’s fate. If only Tul had listened to her protestations. Instead the Senate are intent on making her relive her own personal hell. Worse, the instrument they seem intent on using to bring about her suffering is the creature, the merciless drone they’d created from all that remained of Rob.
The world seems to be conspiring against Eve and the Alliance, and even among Johan’s band of rebels not everyone is happy to have Eve as part of the group. With Tul missing and friends few on the ground, Eve begins to slip back into the pit of despair which had once consumed her and that may just lead her to behave more recklessly than ever before. Mistakes have consequences however, and for Eve the consequences of her actions may just decide the course of the future.
Is there a way to save Tul? Does anything of Rob remain in the Senate controlled puppet his body’s become? More importantly, why are the Senate determined to take control of Eve and just how far will they go to gain possession of her?
Eve Sullivan, October 2012
My stunning green satin dress is torn and blood coats the bottom of my skirts where I’ve waded through the gore of a battlefield. My sword is only loosely grasped in my hand, its tip trailing along the ground as I no longer have the will to hold it up. My hair is wispy, coming loose from the pins and twists which Vanessa Rosa and Sophie-Jayne had so painstakingly plaited into it earlier. The beads and jewels from my curled tresses are falling out around me and cracking in the heat, but I don’t care.
The flowers that had decorated the pews have burned away and the soot from the blaze which destroyed them smears my cheeks where once there had been blusher. My mascara hasn’t run yet and my eye shadow is still in place because I can’t let myself cry. If I begin to weep I will never be able to stop again. I will weep and weep and my bloody tears will flood the Earth in some twisted corruption of a biblical punishment wrought by a vengeful god.
Flames are still licking up the pews but I cannot feel their heat. I can’t feel anything over the ache in my chest, the suffocating pressure constricting my throat as I make my way back down the aisle. I step over bodies, both friend and enemy, as the train of the dress Tulloch had dreamed for me soaks up yet more gruesome evidence of what has taken place.
So many have died today and I wish I’d died with them.
Why does this heart still beat its slow percussion in my chest? Why does this brain still plague me with memories of what had gone before and dreams which will never come to pass? Why does the blood in my veins still move from organ to organ and back again when I long for it to stop, when I long for it to coagulate and turn black? I wish for the world to fade and my body to decay. I want this pain to end but it won’t, just like it hadn’t last time.
I find what I’m looking for at the top of the aisle, a scrap of paper now scorched and tattered round the edges. Blood has dripped and sprayed over the document and it’s only through luck that the grotesque blots haven’t obscured our names and signatures; Eve Blakethorn and Tulloch Sullivan, the scrawls that make us man and wife.
I hadn’t wanted to go through another wedding.
I hadn’t wanted to curse another good man.
I hadn’t wanted to feel this all consuming grief again.
And this time they haven’t even given me a few days of joy.
I had wanted a civil ceremony. It could have been carried out in the hotel over Alliance headquarters where it would have been safer. It would have been recognised, legal, everything we needed. However, Tul had come from a different age and he had wanted a church, much like Rob had once done. He had wanted flowers and readings and an organist. He had wanted to see me in a wedding dress. I allowed him the roses, I allowed him 1 Corinthians 13 and three hymns played on the out of tune church instrument. My only sticking point had been the dress. I didn’t want to wear the white of an innocent young bride. Instead I’d insisted on wearing the dress he had commissioned. Even revealing the scars on my back hadn’t put me off wearing this masterpiece, though now it’s tattered and stained beyond repair.
I shouldn’t have conceded at all to any of his demands. We should’ve remained happily unmarried, just like I’d wanted.
They’d timed it perfectly, the Enforcers. They let us sign the register, they gave us time to say the final prayer and sing the final hymn. They let me believe I may yet be allowed a husband, and then they’d attacked. There had been no warning and there had been no mercy. They had mown us down with silver bullets, cut through necks with silver coated blades. For once they didn’t stop to make sure those they killed could be taken back to the Senate and revived as Senate puppets. Today they killed just to show they could. Today they set fire to a church with people still inside and they had laughed as vampire citizens screamed and begged for their lives. Today they took a husband from me, again.
The fact that they had taken Tulloch away alive doesn’t comfort me. Hadn’t they done the same to Rob? What will they make Tul suffer before they have him killed, before they bring him back as one of those creatures, just like they had Rob? How will they make him pay for protecting me before they bring about the future I’d predicted the moment he proposed? How long before they destroy him?
The first tear spills despite my endeavours to prevent it falling. The second rolls over my cheek soon after. They just keep coming as I clutch my second marriage certificate to my chest and I don’t move, even as the wooden beams supporting the church ceiling creek and groan as the fire continues to smoulder. I pay the sounds no heed, not caring if the ceiling falls on me. The heat causes my skin to blister and bubble and peel away but I don’t feel the burns. All I feel is the same agonising weight of loss that had once sent me catatonic. Let oblivion come and this time please don’t let me wake up. I fall to my knees and then curl up on the floor, staring blankly into the fire while still holding the stained page to my chest. Let me burn to ash. Let my flesh become dust and my heart become unrecognisable. Let me disappear as if I had never lived or loved at all.
I hear my friends calling for me from the doorway, not wanting to pass through the flames. I can hear Vanessa so she’s survived at least, although I think Sophie-Jayne is among the charred bodies in the pews. I don’t have the strength to answer the people who beg me to respond, who want me to go back to them. I don’t have the willpower to go on like this anymore. I cannot go through this Hell again.
I should be surprised when Johan appears at my side, his skin beginning to char just as mine is. He’s the leader of the Alliance, why had the others let him come for me?
“He would never forgive me if I let you die,” Johan yells over the crackle of the fire. “Neither of them would forgive me that decision.”
Angela is the author of the Vampire Alliance series. Books one and two, Absolution and Allegiance, are both available for Kindle. Antithesis will follow later in 2014.
While currently occupied running her wedding stationery and graphic design business, Angela spends much of her free time writing, reading, and trying to find a way of saving all the worlds in her head before they evaporate to some forgotten place never to be retrieved. As well as being a designer, business owner and writer, Angela is the mother to two fantastic children and wife to a husband who still hasn’t read her books!
She grew up in a small Northumbrian pit village and briefly lived in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne where the Vampire Alliance series is set. One of her favourite places in the world in Rome and when she gets around to finishing the re-write of the prequel to the Vampire Alliance series this will be set in Rome. The prequel, currently going under the working title of ‘Irredeemable’ has been a workin progress for fourteen years, originally written in Angela’s early teens it is currently being re-‘vamped’ and will be published sometime after ‘Antithesis’.