full jacket mini photo 2015-full-jacket-mini.jpg

Dead and Gone by Smiling Demon (deviantart)

The original image I used to create the cover for Michael. Thanks to Smiling Demon otherwise known as

Another visual aid from deviantart by honeygoune

The original background image is by billydean at deviantart

Thursday, 19 March 2015


Michael ~ Gehenna Book One is now available through smashwords. Links are on the left.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Gehenna is FREE

Go and get it at an Amazon near you! Links on the left. :)

Sunday, 11 August 2013

9 days left to the kindle freebie promotion of Gehenna!

Also, I'm hoping to have the prologue and first chapter up of the sequel very, very soon.

Monday, 22 July 2013

First free promotion of Gehenna starts 20th August 2013

Gehenna becomes free for a 48 hour period on Amazon. If you have a kindle and fancy a copy, pop along and download for a total price of zero :)

Sunday, 21 July 2013


Dear blog, I'm recycling you from the the old webnovel blog into an author blog. I confess, it is in a desperate attempt to build a better presence online--an essential ingredient I'm told for ebooks. :) I should warn you, this self-promotion malarky is scary stuff, and goes entirely against my English reserve. I've never even kept a diary, so I don't have that experience to fall back on. Enough excuses. I'm off to try and find something to blog about. Requests accepted and appreciated so long as they are family friendly and don't make me blush.

Thursday, 8 November 2012


Sunday, 20 February 2011


The clouds had burned away as the morning progressed. The city was now basking in gentle sunlight. The reporter was in her thirties, suitably attractive and modestly presented in her semi-fitted, navy maxi suit and short-cropped blonde hair. She radiated solemn professionalism. Out of sight of the camera, the sound technician gave her the thumbs up and started to count down from three to one. On the count of one, she began her spiel.

“This is Eva Brandt reporting from the Illyria sector on the outskirts of the old quarter. Behind me is the infamous ‘Medical Centre for the Research of Human Demonology’. Within these ancient walls lies the body of the vampire, Gabriel Tracey, his murderous rampage of the last few weeks finally over. Tracey, masquerading as his son, Michael Thane, tortured and killed over eleven women. His last confirmed victim is MCRHD employee Dr Nicole Keller, whose body was discovered here earlier today. In the same mortuary is the body of John Paul Sauvage, the recently elected ‘Special Commissioner’; an perversely fitting title for the man allegedly responsible for commissioning Tracey’s reign of terror. We many never know the extent of Sauvage’s plans, or the reasons behind them, but we do know he intended to plunge our city into bloody civil war.

“We were saved from this fate by the epic battle that took place this morning at the city’s renowned Didascalium seminary. As dawn broke, the forces of good and evil collided in our midst, and right on our viewing screens. We, the citizens of Gehenna, can only be thankful that good prevailed, pulling us back from the brink of annihilation. Michael Thane, Tracey’s son, was one of the main agents of this reprieve. Eerily identical to his father, Thane has spent the last few weeks on the run, accused of being the killer himself. Despite being a fugitive, he became the supernatural protector of the one special constable who knew he was innocent, Elizabeth Grant.

“If not for the courage and determination of these two people, we would likely be facing a very bleak future indeed.

“Many people are now wondering where we can go from here. The city is both bewildered and full of hope: bewildered that we could have come so close to war by the killing spree of one feral vampire, masterminded by a corrupt member of the Privy Council, and hope that forging stronger links with the citizens of the old quarter will help ensure we never fall victim to such evil machinations again.

“Joining me here today is Chief Constable Cabrera of the Special Constabulary, another key player in ending the recent troubles; next to him is our Lady High Constable, Helen Stanley, and finally Dr Ruth Burgess who is not only the resident psychiatrist of the MCRHD, but a victim and survivor of Tracey.”

Ms Brandt turned a practised smile on Cabrera. “Chief Constable Cabrera you’ve been involved from the beginning. What lessons do you think we need to learn from the last few weeks of turmoil?”

The microphone was duly presented for him to speak. “We need to learn not to judge,” said Cabrera, bluntly. “Sauvage used Gabriel Tracey to tap into our darkest fears regarding vampires, and we leapt to conclusions based on the flimsiest of evidence. One vampire, no matter how evil and sadistic, cannot possibly represent the whole vampire population, and yet we let ourselves be led to believe this one did. That was our first and worst mistake.”

“Do you concur with that assessment, Lady Stanley?”

“I do. This has been a campaign of paranoia, and paranoia allowed to run unchecked leads to a distorted view of reality. Councilman Sauvage was a cunning and intelligent man. He knew what buttons to push.”

“Speaking of Councilman Sauvage, do we know the circumstances of his death yet?”

The question was tossed out for a general response. Cabrera answered, “No. Details are not yet available as to the cause of death of Councilman Sauvage.”

“How about the status of Constable Grant and Michael Thane? What news is there of them?”

Ruth looked surprised at finding herself addressed. “Both are doing fine and responding well to treatment.”

Ms Brandt leapt on her reply. “Really, have you actually needed to treat Mr Thane?”

“Er, no,” Ruth amended, flushing a deep red. “Vampire physiology breaks down human medication within minutes, rendering it all but useless. Michael Thane has healed himself, but remains with Ms Grant while she’s recovering.”

The reporter turned back to Cabrera to ask, “There are rumours that Constable Grant and Michael Thane have formed a romantic attachment. Is there any basis to this rumour?”

“I’m afraid I can’t comment on that topic. You’d have to ask them.”

Eva Brandt’s professional smile didn’t waver, but Cabrera could tell she was disappointed by the lack of conjecture. “Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us, I’d like to ask one more question. There are also rumours of involvement by angels during this turbulent event. Can you confirm if this is true?”

The microphone was once again presented to Cabrera. He left a pause and then looked at the camera squarely. “Yes, it’s true, angels have been involved. But it’s no good looking for guys with wings, because they look just like us. But that’s not the important part; what is important is that when it came to fixing a cataclysmic crisis, the angels picked a vampire, in this case Michael Thane, to sort us out. Satan, who was up to his neck in this too, picked a human—Sauvage. If you take nothing else from this lesson, then take this: we must never judge anyone in our community, vampire or human. If the angels of Almighty God don’t think a vampire is beyond redemption, how dare we presume to condemn them? We can’t and must not prejudge. Today proves that if we work together, we can make all our lives better.”

The reporter’s eyes were almost bugging out with excitement. She hadn’t expected him to confirm the rumour. “Did these angels who chose Michael Thane say if he, as a vampire, can be redeemed?”

“I can’t tell you about Michael,” said Cabrera gruffly. “I can only tell you what I know. The hairs on all our heads are still counted—we still matter. We are not and will not be forgotten, and we don’t strive alone for our redemption. The ultimate will of God is to save, and the angels are busy working out that will with any soul willing to try. My advice is to try.”


“I have to go soon,” announced Aaron. “I’ve stayed too long as it is.”

“Yeah, busy times.”

The screen in Liz’s hospital room was switched on with the sound kept low. Liz was lying on the bed and sleeping peacefully. She had her colour back. Michael hadn’t left her alone for a moment. From his position by the window, he gestured to the screen and the interview showing on it. “Will you get into trouble with the powers-that-be for the beans being so spectacularly spilled?”

Aaron appeared unfazed as he leaned against the opposite observation room window. The usual frenetic activities of a hospital continued in the corridor behind the glass. “There’s no proof.” He shrugged. “Many will believe Carl and benefit from that belief, just as many will scoff and call him delusional. Either way I won’t get into trouble, no.” He cast Michael a quizzical glance. “Aren’t you going to ask me?”

“Ask you what?” asked Michael.

He could see the horde of reporters still lingering in front of the MCRHD despite the press conference having ended over an hour ago. They were probably hoping to catch sight of him or Liz.

“Carl didn’t answer the reporter’s question on whether you, a vampire, can be redeemed, because he doesn’t know the answer. I do.”

Michael got the distinct impression he was supposed to ask, so he obliged. “All right, can a vampire be redeemed?”

“Yes, they can.”

“Really?” Michael crossed his arms and quirked a brow. “I’ve never heard of it happening. Not even a whisper.”

“Possibly because most don’t,” returned Aaron. “Unfortunately, many of the fundamental requirements for redemption become impossible once vampirism sets in. Love being the main one.”

Michael didn’t try and hide his scepticism. “Love?”

“Yes, Michael, love. The one thing you had absolutely no knowledge or experience of until now.” Aaron pushed away from the glass and strolled over to join him at the window. “Don’t you know your bible? ‘Faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love’ says Saint Paul. ‘Love covers many sins’ says Saint John, and ‘whoever does not love does not know God’. ‘Love extravagantly’ advises Saint Paul. Need I go on?”

Michael shook his head. “No, I get it.” He scraped a hand over his face. He was bone-tired and his eyes felt gritty. He wanted to fall into a soft, clean bed and not crawl out of it for at least a week.

“Do you? Why do you think vampirism is a progressive corruption?” Aaron didn’t wait for an answer. “Because the deeper it sinks into you the less able you are to love. You become dead on the inside, the living dead in a very real sense. Do you recognise this description of yourself, and all the vampires you know? You should. This is how it was for you before you met Liz.”

“I’m tired, beaten up and surrounded by humans who want to snap my picture and plaster it all over the morning papers. I don’t have the patience to decipher nuances. What’s your point?”

Aaron lifted a hand and briefly laid it against Michael’s chest, over his heart. “You’re alive now, in here. You’re changed.”

Michael felt his last drop of patience drain away. “If I’m changed it’s not in a good way. I’m still a vampire. I drank Liz’s blood. I can feel the difference in me and it’s getting stronger every damned day.”

“You drank her blood, willingly given, well over forty-eight hours ago, and yet you have no blood lust, not even pangs. A big hint don’t you think? The difference you can feel is called emotion, Michael. This is a good change.” Aaron stepped away, turning so he was looking down on Liz. “I’ll let you in on a secret, Michael. You’re a long, long way off redemption, but you’re finally on the right path. A vampire who can feel love will not go feral. Loving a gift from God, such as a wife, is a step towards loving God Himself. That is the cure for vampirism.”

Michael found himself rooted to the spot, transfixed. Wife. Aaron hadn’t finished. Blue eyes came back around to pierce him. “You prayed inside the Bethlehem Star, do your remember?”

Like he could ever forget seeing Liz bleeding from that damned crystal light. “Yeah. I remember.”

“I’ve marked that up as a red letter day for you. I’m expecting there to be many more.” Aaron got as far as the door before he turned. “Remember, love extravagantly. It’s like riding a bike. Once you start, it gets addictive.”


According to Ruth, Michael hadn’t let them move her until she’d already begun healing. Despite being in agony himself, and despite all of the people watching, he’d untied the bandages at her wrists and worked directly on the wounds. He’d done the same to her neck. Liz didn’t have a single scar to attest to what Gabriel had put her through. Fine with her; Liz didn’t want any reminders.

She’d visited the mortuary before being discharged. It had jarred her to see a grizzly old man called Max working in Nicole’s place. He’d been kind enough though when he’d pulled back the sheet covering Gabriel’s body. Liz had sucked in a tight breath. The baldness was shocking on first sight. Even the eyebrows had been false. Gabriel had been well on the way towards the final madness. What struck Liz most, however, was how different he now seemed from Michael. The basic frame of Michael’s face was there, but she saw the differences rather than the identical features.

She’d pointed to the thin line encircling his whole head at brow level. “What’s this for?”

“Removal of the brain,” answered Max bluntly. He had a voice like crunching gravel, deeper even than Cabrera’s. “We wanted to make absolutely sure regeneration is impossible.”

“The body is scheduled for incineration, along with Sauvage, this afternoon,” added Harry who’d accompanied her.

“I’d like to watch,” Liz had announced.

Harry had opened his mouth to argue. Liz shut him down with a don’t-mess-with-me-on-this look, saying, “It would close things off for me.”

Harry had given in. She’d been right to insist. It had been cathartic to watch the flames through the furnace door as they burst into life and began licking up the sides of the twin cardboard coffins, finally consuming them utterly in a roar of fiery-orange. Gabriel was finally well and truly gone.

Hoorah. Liz was certain it would sink into her subconscious in a year or two, or rather hoped it did.

Now she was on her way home. Liz put her head back on the seat headrest with a sigh. She wasn’t tired, she was gut-wrenchingly miserable and confused. How could Michael just disappear like that? It didn’t make any sense! He’d stayed at her bedside, by all accounts, unnerving the medical staff with his glowering looks and patent distrust, until she’d been in the clear, and then just buggered off.

Now what was she supposed to think? Was he still angry? Did he care or not? Did he love her or not?

“Tired?” asked Harry from the driver’s seat.

They were in his banged-up street car. Liz was feeling exceptionally fond of the old rust-bucket. The familiar smell of peppermint sweets and screen-wash was comforting to the point of being sentimental.

“No” she answered, closing her eyes. “I just wasn’t expecting to be heading back to my old apartment after I got out.”

“I see.” Harry did see, she could tell from his tone. He cleared his throat and then asked, “Do you want me to take a trip out to the abbey, see if I can find him?”

“No,” said Liz, too sharply. She softened her voice, “Definitely not. Thanks for the offer, but no.”

Harry, bless him, would go and confront Michael for her, but what would be the point? If Michael wanted to contact her, he knew where to find her. She intended to give him a week and if he hadn’t come to her by then, she planned to go to the abbey herself. If he didn’t want her around anymore then fine, that was his prerogative, but he should at least have the guts to tell her so. Her belly cramped in fresh misery at the thought. Her appetite had gone down the tubes since she’d woken up and found him gone.
A few minutes later, Harry pulled up outside her apartment building. It was raining again. The canopy over the entrance was dripping with water. Liz leaned over the central console and planted a kiss on Harry’s cheek. “Thanks,” she told him, meaning it.

“You’re welcome.” Blue eyes warm with concern searched her face. “Are you certain you’ll be okay on your own? I really don’t mind taking the couch at my place. If nothing else, it’ll help keep the media from hounding you.”

“I’ll be fine, honestly. My apartment is unlisted, so the reporters won’t be able to find me.” Liz gave him another kiss, just for being the man he was, and opened the passenger door. The gulley between the kerb and the tarmac was gushing with rain water. She got out of the car, waved a brief goodbye and dashed under the canopy. Harry left the car idling at the kerb, waiting until she turned and waved again before indicating to pull back out into the light, midday traffic.

She was soaked to the skin by the time she’d run up the steps and through the stone archway into the foyer. Ruth had neglected to bring her a coat when she’d dropped by with street-clothes, and Liz’s hair was wet enough to send dribbles of water down her neck. Shivers racked her as the elevator climbed towards the nineteenth floor. Cold, aggravated, and with a headache brewing behind her eyes, Liz keyed in her entry code and braced herself to enter her apartment. She hadn’t been here since Michael had dragged her away nearly two weeks ago.

There were still bullet holes inside the lift and along the corridor walls.

Liz opened her door, entered and slammed it shut behind her. She groaned the moment she got a good look at the inside. Harry had arranged for a specialist clean-up crew, but even from the door she could see the damage Michael and Gabriel had wrought during that first fight, and that was just what she could see from the door. Her entertainment screen was gone. There was a hole in the wall between the living room and the hall, and the living room door was entirely missing.

Wonderful. Liz took a fortifying breath and began walking down the tiny hall towards her bedroom. She was just wondering if she should send Michael an invoice for damages when a hand clamped down over her mouth, and she was dragged back against a hard, tall body. Liz’s heart leapt up into her throat.

“How many times did you kiss Gillespie?” Michael rasped against her ear.

Dizzy with mingled relief and fury, Liz fantasised about elbowing him in the gut, before ditching the idea as predictable, and therefore liable to fail. Instead, she waited patiently for him to let go of her mouth and turn her to face him.

He did. Liz was ready to let loose with both barrels, fully prepared to lambaste him for abandoning her at the hospital, until she got a good look at him. Damn, he was gorgeous. There was no use denying it: she was a pathetic, weak-willed female. He was holding her against him with his hands linked behind her back. His dark brown eyes were crinkled with laughter and warmth and he was wearing his crooked smile. He wasn’t angry, he was winding her up. The blasted vampire had gone and got himself a sense of humour.

“Hi,” he said.

“Hi, yourself.” She’d forgotten how deep his voice was. It rumbled through her nervous system like some bizarre, auditory cat lick.

Regardless of weak-female-melting, she leaned back in his arms, scowled and voiced some complaints anyway, “Would it have been too much to ask for you to stick around until I woke up? I didn’t know if you were okay, or if anything was wrong. I’ve been worried sick.”

Michael’s hands moved to cup her ribs, lifting her. The next thing Liz knew, they were in her living room sitting face-to-face. He’d chosen a large, squashy leather armchair and arranged her so she was sitting across his legs. Her back was supported against the armrest and her right side was tucked into his left side. They were close enough for her nose to brush his jaw. His body heat surrounded her, warming her through their clothes.

“I had to sort out a few loose ends in the old quarter,” he told her. “I wanted to check things are back to normal before you went near it.”

Liz frowned. “My job involves the old quarter. I work missions there, remember.”

“Exactly,” he said, patiently, “Which is why I had to check.”

“It wouldn’t have hurt to wait a day. Cabrera has signed me off from active duty for three days. Is everything back to normal?”

“Far from it,” he admitted, “but nothing dangerous.” Michael shrugged a shoulder. “They seem leery of me. The press this side of the corridor are setting me up to be this misunderstood white knight, and they know better, which basically means they don’t know what the hell to expect anymore—makes folks nervous.”

“And I bet you’re enjoying that, aren’t you?”

Michael’s lips curved into a smile, conceding, “A little, yeah.”

It hit Liz then, this was the first time she’d seen him since the big fight. She ran her palm over his shirt-covered chest. “Are you okay? No after effects from breaking half the bones in your body?”

“I’m fine. No problems. Bones heal quicker than organs and I still had your blood in my system, speeding up the healing up even more.” He left a pause and then asked, “How about you?”

“You fixed me up good as new. I don’t even have any scars to brood over thanks to you.” When she went to pull her hand back, he placed one of his own over it, keeping it in place.

“I’m not talking physically, but mentally,” explained Michael. “What he did to you must linger in your mind,” he added.

“Ah,” Liz pulled a face. “You know, it’s odd and admittedly out-of-character for Gabriel, but I really don’t remember that much about it. I remember being scared stiff you’d been blown to smithereens, I remember wanting to kill Gabriel so badly I could taste it. I even remember shooting at him and him coming at me, but the rest is hazy until I woke up on that bloody chain. He must have drugged me so I wouldn’t slow him down by struggling.”

Michael gave her a look that screamed sceptical. “You’re right, that is totally out-of-character. He liked to terrorise, not just inflict damage.”

“I’m fully aware of that,” she agreed, “but he didn’t have much time and I think, in the end, getting another crack at you was more important to him than torturing me. You didn’t give him a chance to have his cake and eat it, so he had to chose, and he chose you.”

Michael’s chest expanded with a long in-take of breath that was surprisingly ragged. “Promise me you’re not just telling me what I want to hear.”

“Pinky swear.” Solemnly, Liz held up a crooke’d little finger. “Waking up upside down on a chain hanging a hundred meters off the floor, while bleeding like a stuck pig hurt like hell if that helps convince you.” Liz tugged free her captured hand and framed his jaw, leaning in to press her forehead against his and glare. “Get it through your thick skull. I wouldn’t lie to you.”

His dark eyes never left hers. He left a pause, then said, “It wasn’t a hundred meters. Maybe, twenty or twenty-five, tops.”

Liz resisted kissing the lips quirked so close to hers and pulled back. “Whatever. It seemed like a hundred to me.”

“Okay. As I wasn’t the one hanging up there, I’ll bow to your expertise.”

“Good of you.”

“Are you sure, one-hundred-percent, that you’re okay?”

Liz rolled her eyes. “I’m fine. Find me a bible and I’ll swear on it if it’ll help convince you.”

It was only when he relaxed did Liz realise just how tense he’d been. He confirmed it when he told her, “I lied. Needing to check things out in the old quarter wasn’t the only reason I left before you woke up. I was terrified you’d take one look at my face and start screaming. I couldn’t stand that… the idea of it ripped me up inside until I had to get out. I bolted like a scared kid.”

Liz had to swallow a sudden lump in her throat. Michael wasn’t hiding his emotions. He was undoubtedly a hard, intimidating man and yet he loved her enough to fall to pieces, and not try and hide it. “So you left the hospital in favour of sneaking up behind me in my own flat?” She dropped a kiss on his lips, and said, “You’re an idiot. Yours was the face I was desperate to see.”

“Good to know. Marry me, Liz.”

“Excuse me?” Liz snapped her head back to stare up at him, almost rapping his chin as she did so.

“You asked me and I turned you down, so now it’s my turn—quid pro quo.” He gave her a rueful smile. “By the way, I’m banking on you not seeking revenge for my lack of tact.”

“Correction, ‘tactless’ is a major understatement: you freaked on me,” said Liz baldly. “What happened to the ‘I’ll turn feral in ten years and so saying no for your own good’ schtick you tossed at me?”

“According to Aaron, I won’t turn feral, not while I’m with you. I figure I either trust him, or go crazy trying to stay away from you.”

“You wouldn’t be able to do it. I’m too irresistible,” said Liz. “Did he happen to mention why you won’t go feral?”

“Love is the magic bullet according to the angels of Almighty God. Apparently you driving me crazy is the way to stop going literally crazy. The deal is you have to marry me. He was very specific on mentioning ‘wife’.”

Liz was relieved, but she’d been prepared to take the risk anyway. “Remind me to thank Aaron the next time I see him.”

“Sure. So does this mean you’ll marry me?”

Liz tucked her tongue firmly in her cheek and said, “I’m still thinking about it. What happens if you fall out of love with me?”

“I won’t fall out of love with you. I may want to throttle you every now and then, but I’ll still love you. What’s your answer?”

“And the stalker deal you warned me about?”

“Hello. Vampire. I’ll stalk you regardless.” He jiggled her, demanding, “What’s your answer, Liz?”


Lady Helen Stanley sat in the chair behind her desk. There was a tremor in her hands, Cabrera had never seen before. The dark circles under her eyes emphasised her pallor. The press conference had taken a lot out of her, especially coming so soon after her ordeal at the hands of Sauvage and his fundamentalist cronies. Cabrera had big plans for the men who had yet to face the music. They would feel the full measure of his wrath.

“I knew about Caroline,” she said abruptly.

“Excuse me?” Cabrera felt the jolt to his toes.

“I always fully vet my key personnel,” she told him. “I was aware of your history and your searches for her. I didn’t blame you, and more importantly, you didn’t let it affect your work. Who could ask for more?”

“Oh,” Cabrera didn’t know what else to say. He’d always assumed he’d been clandestine when it came to his off-duty investigating.

“This Gerry Roland character,” she continued. “Did your angelic friend give you any ideas if we should expect more from that quarter?”

“Aaron believes the city can return to normal, but we should always be vigilant. He can’t promise Roland won’t be back or pulling strings from afar. He also pointed out that Satan has been here all along, in one guise or another. These past few weeks have been harrowing for us, but its business as usual for evil.”

“I see,” Lady Stanley nodded and sighed, “Of course, he’s right. We must continue as we were except for putting safeguards in place to avoid such connivances in the future.” She sat up straight in her seat, visibly stiffening her spine. “I’ve called an emergency meeting of the Privy Council. I expect you to be there to support me.”

Cabrera left a pause. “Are you sure? It’s bound to come out how close I came to putting us all in peril. I screwed up in a big way.”

“We’ve already discussed your proposed resignation, Carl. I’m not accepting it. If I thought you weren’t fit for the post, I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you. I believe we’ve none of us come out of this experience whiter-than-white, myself included. You faced the ultimate evil; we didn’t. You made the right choices when it counted and I’m satisfied.” Her pale blue eyes dared him to contradict her statements. “I suggest we leave the detailed analysing for the Privy Council.”

“Fair enough.” Carl met her stern gaze, wanting to convey more than words. “Thank you.”

She waved a dismissive hand. “No thanks are necessary. You are aware, I hope, of my plans to propose the Constabulary take charge of the militia, rather than leave them as a separate jurisdictional function?”

“I don’t have any problems with the proposal. The militia, fresh from having their asses whupped on the battlefield, are now getting those same asses kicked in the papers, and they’re braced for another from the Privy Council. Captain Ickle is suspended from duty and potentially facing charges after ordering the attack on the Star.”

“Make sure the charges stick.” Lady Stanley’s expression hardened. “I do not lay much credence on the captain’s claim that Sauvage had ordered him to attack from beyond second-death.”

“Personally, I suspect the command came from Gerry Roland. Not that I’m rushing to the asshole’s defence.”

“A man who cannot think beyond his own ambitions does not deserve to be in a position of authority,” said Lady Stanley. “Let’s move on. What’s being reported on the special constabulary having planned Michael Thane’s hostage-taking? Is there a backlash building?”

“Not so far. Thane’s character, having been maligned through mistaken identity and the machinations of Sauvage, is going through a white-wash of epic proportions. The journalistic world seems to be suffering a guilt-trip for their part in the scheme. They’re turning him into a hero. Much is being made of his ‘teaming up’ with us to return peace to Gehenna. The hostage-taking has morphed into ‘protection from Evil Gabriel’.”

“Hmm. All very useful for improving vampire-human relations don’t you think?”

“Very,” agreed Cabrera with a smile. Humanity’s capacity for mass self-delusion never ceased to amaze him. “His relationship with Elizabeth Grant is something I’m hoping to exploit. Liz works for me and I’m considering asking him to join us in a consultancy capacity. He’s overprotective and I think the idea will appeal to him as a means of watching over her during working hours.”

“Such considerations will need to be put to the Council before an approach is made to Thane,” reminded Lady Stanley.

“Of course.”

“However, I agree with you.”

Which, of course, meant his proposals would be agreed forthwith. Letting the briefest of grins curve his lips, Cabrera got to his feet and bowed. “I’ll see you at the meeting.”


The south chapel in the abbey had undergone a transformation. Thick, white candles and wall-scones danced and flickered, adding warmth and light to the mellow stone walls. Flowers perfumed the air, and added an impromptu alter full of rich colour and natural beauty.

An unknown individual, purported to be an angel, was performing the ceremony. Ruth Burgess of the MCRHD and Harry Gillespie of the constabulary were acting as witnesses, along with a nervous Justice of the Peace called Declan Foley.

The images were not numerous, but they were clear. Godric had paid handsomely for them to be taken and delivered. In life, he had been a powerful and respected Saxon nobleman, holding the title of Thegn of Pherlmere. He had not died a young or happy man, though, and lines of suffering had already been carved into his face when death had delivered him to Gehenna nine centuries before. Not so the man in the picture he held in his hand: this face was smooth and handsome. Dark hair was cut short in the modern fashion, the style reminded the old thegn of the Normans, only without the ridiculous shaving of the lower head. Michael Thane, the name resonated in the old man’s head. He knew both the name and the well-formed face all too well. The girl standing next to Thane would be pretty under most circumstances, but she’d made a truly radiant bride.

Osmund had brought in the package and now waited patiently for Godric to give him his next task. Godric trusted Osmund implicitly. He appeared young, although he was the same age as Thane. But whereas Thane was dark, Osmund was blonde and wore his hair long. He was the only vampire the old man had ever met who was capable of complete loyalty. Even so, he had no idea of Godric’s relationship with Michael Thane.

Grandfather to Grandson.

On the screen behind Godric’s desk, a frozen image of the last moment of Gabriel Tracey’s evil life was shown in vivid detail. The crystal spikes were ripping through flesh and shattering bone, having only just entered his body. Godric had frozen the recording so he could gaze on the agonised, soundless scream of Tracey’s gaping mouth.

Such a fitting end.

Godric laid the photographic image of his grandson’s wedding on his desk, and folded his hands over it. When he spoke, his voice was steady and careful, “I want to be kept informed of all activities undertaken by Michael Thane and his new wife. Pay particular attention to developments involving the constabulary and the Privy Council, as well as reactions here in the old quarter. Ensure no one suspects. This surveillance is to be discreet. Do you understand?”

Osmund rose to his feet without any discernable change of expression. “I understand. All shall be undertaken as you instruct.”

“Thank you, Osmund. You may leave me.”

Once the heavy oak door had shut behind Osmund, Godric lifted his hands and once again took up the picture of his grandson. Shame, bitterness and guilt sat heavily on his shoulders.

“No matter how much you might wish otherwise, you can’t undo the past,” he murmured out-loud.

“Why would you want to?” asked Gerry Roland. “He’s not done too badly for himself, all things considered.”

“That’s hardly the point,” retorted Godric gruffly. “You may leave me too. I’m tired and wish to think.”

Roland stiffened, his pale, sallow face going tight with anger under the low lying hood of his cloak. “You play a dangerous game, Thegn.”

“I don’t think so.” Godric flicked an impatient finger. “Go. I have no daughter here for you to threaten me with.” He smiled when the Evil One remained silent. “Yes, I have access to the Lady High Constable, and Cabrera through her. Not that I plan to let you take advantage of that fact.” The old man tipped back his head, letting his aching eyes close. “We’re finished you and I.”

“I decide—not you, old man,” Roland hissed. “Even a fat old spider with many threads spinning all over Gehenna must face facts. You’re still a vampire on the cusp of going feral. Time is not your friend—friend.”

“I may be a vampire, but I can still exercise free will. I have a choice. Gabriel is dead. We’re finished. It was a mistake to get involved. I want no more of your petty schemes. I’m too old and too cold to fear you. Begone with you.”

“And Michael?”

“I plan to wait and see what kind of man my grandson can become under the right circumstances. God knows, I didn’t give him the opportunity when we were alive.”

“Repentance, Godric?” sneered Roland.

“I don’t think so, more like curiosity.” Godric abruptly dropped his head back down to glare, “Now get out.”


The fire in the grate had banked down. Most of the candles had guttered out. Beyond the glazed balcony and thick drapes, the morning sun was climbing a deep blue sky. The huge bed was reduced to a nest of sheets, blankets and furs. Liz was toasty warm and lying boneless, and fast asleep on top of Michael. He ghosted a caressing hand down the delicate bones of her spine. He had never felt such contentment. He’d dozed but couldn’t sleep. He was too full of surging, swirling sensations; they filled his chest to bursting point. Every breath stoked them higher and warmer. Her scent, their scent, wreathed around him. Her heartbeat thudded languidly against his own. Even his fingertips felt sensitised.

In the end, it was mundane hunger that drove him to slide out from under Liz. Naked, he padded over to the fireplace and fed the fire, stoking the embers to get a good blaze going again. Dragging on loose, black lounge-pants, he headed for the kitchen.

With that appetite satisfied, he did a security check on the house and grounds and then returned to his chamber—their chamber now.

In the interim, Liz had kicked off the sheet and covers, and stretched out with one arm behind her head and the other flung over his pillow. Her face was relaxed and flushed with sleep. Standing over her, need punched him in the gut and rooted Michael to the spot. The maelstrom of emotions she caused him was too intense for desire to stand alone, but it could certainly spike to breathtaking proportions. Liz filled a gaping hole he hadn’t known he had and then flooded the rest of his being. Not taking his eyes off her, Michael perched himself on the bed next to her hip. Starting at her toes, he ran his hand, hovering minutely over her skin, all along her body, over her abdomen and ribcage, into the sharp curve of neck and jaw, stopping at her lips. Green-gold eyes cracked open and she smiled sleepily at him. Michael cupped her jaw and kissed her.

He would never get enough of her.


Author note: Thanks for taking this fictional journey with me. I sincerely hope you enjoyed the ride and got something worthwhile out of it. Please do leave comments. I would love to know your thoughts.

Helen Taft xx

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Saturday, 15 January 2011


Thursday, 11 November 2010


Thursday, 14 October 2010


Monday, 30 August 2010


Monday, 2 August 2010


Wednesday, 28 July 2010


Thursday, 22 July 2010


Saturday, 3 July 2010


Friday, 11 June 2010


Saturday, 29 May 2010


Sunday, 11 April 2010


Monday, 1 February 2010


Monday, 7 December 2009


Thursday, 26 November 2009


Friday, 13 November 2009


Saturday, 31 October 2009

COPYRIGHT NOTICE - © 2009 This is a work of fiction and is copyrighted by Helen Taft. All rights reserved.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT: Thank you to Nike Johnston for being my grammar saviour. You’re a heroine for agreeing to copy edit this novel for me and it is hugely appreciated. I owe you big time xx.

Note (1) Gehenna is the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew word (Gehinom/Gehinnom). It was this word(s) that the gospel writers used in the original Greek and Hebrew scriptures of the New Testament, and was later translated into the English word, ‘Hell’. In modern Judaism, Gehenna is more a Purgatory-type place.

Note (2) As did C S Lewis in the foreword of ‘The Great Divorce’, I just want to state that this story is not meant to make anyone rethink their beliefs regarding Hell (Or Gehenna), or anything else.

Note (3) The summary and premise probably make this clear, but just so no one can say they weren't warned--this story contains biblical, Christian themes as well as paranormal ones. If you are vehemently secular then this story may not be for you.

Note (4) The story is free for anyone to read and is suitable for readers of 13 years or over. I write for the love of it, and because I enjoy entertaining people. A BIG part of that is knowing my readers are enjoying my efforts, so I'm always thrilled to receive comments. Please feel free to leave a comment here on the blog or email me at (Please title your email 'Gehenna' so I know it's not spam). Thank you!