I thought I would give you a peek at what I've been working on. It's a YA Vampire Hunter Series I am working on. Angels, vampires, werewolves and a lot of fun. This is the beginning of MARKED.
Do Vampires Sparkle?
by Lisa McCourt Hollar
It started On New Year’s. I was working… it wasn’t as though I had anything going on; no boyfriend, no family, no friends… which is how I liked it. No one to tie me down, no one to complicate my life… and I was happy. Really, I was. Who needs people anyway? So if anyone tells you I was miserable they would be wrong.
Some of my fellow employees tried to pull me into the festivities. They were celebrating in the back room, waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square. I was up front just in case a customer came in.
“Francine, the store is empty, no one is going to come walking in while we’re in the back and even if they do, there’s a bell.”
Joseph wiggled his eyebrows at me. I just stared at him, unmoving. He had a crush on me… why I don’t know. I’d done everything I could to discourage him, but still he persisted. I could see the disappointment in his eyes when I refused, I think he was honestly hoping I would kiss him at the stroke of midnight. Blah!
“Leave her be,” Debbie said, pulling Joseph to the back. She was wearing a pink shirt which went against company policy, but who was going to tell? The only manager assigned to work tonight was Carl and he was already drunk in the back. She shook her head, letting me know she didn’t approve of my ‘sour’ attitude. I’d overheard her telling that to Carl once. “Francine has a sour attitude. I really have to wonder why she hasn’t been fired yet.” I’ve been spitting in her coffee ever since.
The ball was dropping, I could hear them counting down in the back… ten… nine… eight… and I was doing my level best to ignore them while I zoned up the aisles, making them look presentable for when the drunken idiots came in and they would… seven… six… five… four…. A chill went through my body. My Grandmother would say someone had walked over my grave. A silly thought, but I was suddenly filled with a sense of dread. I looked around. No one was in the store, but… three… two… one!
Everyone was cheering and clapping, which is why I didn’t hear the alarm, or at least that’s what I told myself. There’s a mirror that is angled so that you can see the back of the store from the front and I glanced up just in time to see Joseph and Debbie kissing. Why did I feel… jealous? No, it wasn’t jealousy, but I was uncomfortable with it. Turning back to the shelf I’d been straightening, I was startled to see that someone was in the store.
He was watching me and I watched him back. His eyes were dark, brooding. His hair hung in his eyes so they were hard to see, but what I did see, I liked in a morbid sort of way. Images of making love to him on a bed of black roses in the middle of a graveyard came to mind. Like I said, morbid. There’s a reason people steer clear of me.
The world stood still in those few moments. My heart was beating loudly, blood rushed to my head and the room spun. I thought I heard someone call my name. Then the sound of glass breaking brought me back to the room. I shook my head, clearing it. Mr. Gorgeous still stood across the aisle, but now he was looking at the ground. I’d dropped the packet of glass Christmas ornaments I’d been dusting off.
“Francine, for Pete’s sake, look what you’ve done!” Debbie had her hands on her hips and looked like she was about to scold me like a child that had gotten caught misbehaving. Joseph was standing behind her. He looked worried and I realized it was his voice that I’d heard calling me.
‘That’s coming out of your paycheck,” Carl hiccupped.
“Fine, they’re marked down to .25 cents anyway.” I bent to pick the package up, nearly bumping my head with tall, dark and gruesome. He’d dropped to his knees to help me and I found myself staring into those dark orbs of his again. Horrified, Debbie rushed to help him up.
“She can take care of that herself,” she said, taking hold of his arm. A puzzled look crossed her face and she let go. Stepping back she looked at her hand and then at him. “Can… can we help you find anything?”
“I’ve found what I need,” he said. He was still looking at me and a small thrill rushed through my body. Leaning forward, his face came close to mine as he reached past me and lifted a glass goblet off the shelf of discounted items.
“Nice choice,” I said, admiring it.
“I’ll ring you up.” Joseph’s voice was stiff. The customer smiled at me, God, his teeth were blinding, then stood and followed Joseph to the register.
The rest of the night was a nightmare. Like I said, all the idiots came in, stumbling over each other in the mad rush to buy more alcohol before closing. Finally the store was closed, the till locked away.
“Just leave it all till morning,” Carl said as I started to put the return items away.
“Penny hates it when we leave things for the morning crew.”
“I know, but I’m tired and I just want to go home. Joseph, will you drive me?”
“Sure, Carl. Francine, would you like a ride too?” Joseph looked at me like a lost puppy dog, begging me to take him home with me.
“I’ll walk,” I said. “It’s not very far and it’s a nice night.
“You can give me a ride,” Debbie said.
“What’s wrong with your car?”
“Well… nothing. I just thought, maybe…” She looked at him suggestively and I almost felt sorry for Joseph.
“My car’s crowded, I don’t think there’s room for you in it,” Joseph said, his face reddening as he looked away.
“But you were just going to give Francine a ride.”
“Have a little dignity,” I whispered as I walked past her and out the door.
He was waiting for me a few blocks from my apartment. Maybe it was a coincidence, but I walk the same path every day and if someone was watching me they would know. Alarms should have been going off when I saw him sitting on the bench just outside of the park. Instead my heart began to pound again and not in the run for your life, this guy is a whacko type of way. I was pulled into his eyes again… hell, I was drowning in them.
We stood there staring at each other. And then I felt his arms around me. I’m not one to fall into a man’s arms, but there I was… and enjoying it. The world fell away. Cliché, I know. Then it came rushing back when I felt the guy’s teeth chomp into my neck. I could hear a voice yelling my name. Then he let me go and I was falling backwards.
Strong arms wrapped around me and I heard voices. They were familiar and not at the same time.
“Francine. Francine, are you alright.”
“We’ve got to get her out of here.
“She’s lost a lot of blood.”
Then someone lifted me. I opened my eyes. Joseph was staring back.
“You’re going to be okay.” He was trying to sound reassuring, but it wasn’t working. Maybe it’s because he was shimmering… no, he was glowing. My last thought before I passed out was, Shit, vampires do sparkle.