Blessed Curse - Sandra R. Neeley Page 0,2

fangs into her soft, sweet flesh, drawing her blood into his body with long, strong pulls. Alastair wrapped his other hand around her waist, holding Adrienne tightly to him as he continued to drink from her as he rose into the dark, night skies while the mists and fogs of the typical New Orleans night hid them from view.

Nine Months Later

Chapter 1

“Marceline! Marceline! Come quickly!” a clearly frightened female voice called down the darkened hallway.

Marceline LaCelle Leschessaire De’Mers opened her eyes and glared in the general direction of the voice calling to her. She’d told them not to interrupt her — not under any circumstances was she to be interrupted. She sat on her knees before the great fireplace in her private rooms. Rooms that not too long ago were awash with elegance and opulence were now cluttered with seemingly non-connecting items strewn about as though discarded in a hurry. Marceline’s bedroom was as dark as the hallway leading to her rooms, as dark as her spirit since her precious granddaughter had been stolen away in the night.

Marceline closed her eyes once again, clasping the delicate golden chain in her hands, focusing every bit of her strength, her powers, on the object her granddaughter had often worn. She was attempting to divine any information that would give her a direction to follow to find and bring her granddaughter, her precious Adrienne, back into the light, into the fold of the coven anxiously awaiting her return.

“Marceline!” the voice now outside her door called again, even louder than it had been before.

Marceline pursed her lips and squeezed the golden cross tighter. “I am busy!” Marceline snapped.

“Please, Marceline! Come at once!”

“Surely you can handle whatever this is on your own, Pauline!” Marceline answered irritatedly, getting to her feet. She looked at the array of items strewn about her bed and floor. All of them belonged to Adrienne, and she’d used each of them to try to locate Adrienne, but none had been fruitful. “Where are you, my darling?” Marceline whispered, holding the golden cross to her chest reverently.

“You must come! It’s Adrienne! She’s in the courtyard!” Pauline said urgently.

Marceline dropped the cross to the thick, woven throw rug carpeting her room and rushed for the door, fumbling to unlock it and fling it open. “Bring her inside! Do you not hear the storm?” Marceline asked, running as quickly as she could, her wrinkled, unkempt nightdress and robes fisted in her hands to allow her to hurry without hindrance.

“We cannot!”

“Bring her in!”

“But… there’s a vampire!” Pauline said, hesitance clear in her voice.

Marceline didn’t slow down. She kept running as quickly as she could. Down the hallway, down both sets of stairs, through the large drawing rooms and finally the foyer of the huge mansion sitting in the center of the Garden District. The historical residential district that was the center of upper-class society and old money, in the city that played host to as many mystical creatures as it did humans, all desperately trying to find their place — New Orleans.

Marceline grasped the handles of the double French doors that opened onto the courtyard at the front of the home and threw them open, hoping against hope that it wouldn’t be the vampire she feared it was. “Adrienne?!” she called, her eyes straining to see through the darkness of the night, made murkier by the hurricane drenching the city in its wake.

“Adrienne?” Marceline called again, stepping out into the gale force winds and driving rain.

“She’s a bit… under the weather,” a male voice answered, with an evil cackle of laughter.

“Begone, demon! You are not welcome here!” Marceline said forcefully, raising her voice to be heard over the storm.

“I am no demon, Marceline — I did try, but they just won’t let me play with them,” he said with a pout on his thin, cold lips. “Surely, though, you can offer more of a welcome to the male who’s returned your beloved little witch to you and yours,” Alastair said sarcastically from his vantage point, hovering just above the nine-foot high wrought iron gate at the front of the courtyard.

A moan sounded from Marceline’s right, drawing her attention to the woman lying in the shadows. She realized then, it was Adrienne, lying on the paving stones of the courtyard, writhing in pain, a plain white, cotton gown plastered against her pale skin as the rain pelted her.

Marceline ran toward her granddaughter, all the while banishing Alastair with a protection spell she whispered non-stop. Finishing her