We’re so pleased to welcome author Hayden Thorne today, with an excerpt and giveaway of her latest re-release Desmond and Garrick: Book One, a young adult Regency vampire coming-of-age novel, infused with more than a little humor.
Be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win an e-copy of Desmond and Garrick Books One and Two (upon its release).
Author’s notes: I wrote Desmond and Garrick 1-2 because I love Romanticism and the Regency, and I wanted desperately to write a pastiche using this period. I also wanted to explore not just one subject – that of a developing romance between two young people – but also to show prejudices between a human tutor and a vampire teenager being torn down while a very unlikely friendship grows as each finds in the other a sympathetic mirror to his own misunderstood qualities. To top it all off, I wanted to write a quirky, humorous take on Regency romance tropes as well as tropes commonly used in paranormal YA romances. These two books were a real blast to write, and I hope readers find them entertaining and fun.
from Chapter 13: a scene in which a very confused mortal tutor bears witness to a blossoming romance
When Garrick also realized Desmond didn’t answer, he turned and found, to his greater amazement, that the boy was scrubbing his eyes with his sleeve. He stopped in his tracks, reaching out and pressing a hand on Desmond’s shoulder.
“Why – are you ill, Master Desmond?” he asked. “You should have told me if you were! I wouldn’t have led you this far from Dryden Abbey, and – ”
Desmond shook his head. “No, I’m not ill,” he said, his voice breaking. Garrick was stunned. “I’m just – what you’re saying caught me off guard, I suppose.”
For the romantics out there, especially Desmond, who’s yet to figure things out at sixteen.
“What I’m saying,” Garrick echoed, frowning more deeply. “What was I saying? Heavens, did I just offend you, sir?”
“No. You made me think about Phillip, and you got me thinking about – but that’s hopeless. Yes, he wrote once if only to tell me to stop sending him letters. He’s not in love with me anymore.” Desmond’s shoulders shook as he struggled with his tears, and it seemed that it was all he could do to keep his head bowed the whole time. “No, that’s not true. He never did love me, the way I loved him.” He felt around his pockets and pulled out a handkerchief.
Garrick waited. Desmond’s words seemed to hang in the air for several moments, frozen in time. Then he felt their weight slowly press down on him. Garrick blinked and watched the boy wipe his face with his handkerchief as he slowly regained control of himself.
“What…do you mind repeating that?” Garrick asked, and Desmond looked up, pale and drawn.
Garrick waited, but Desmond didn’t answer. In fact, the boy seemed to have turned into marble all of a sudden, his gaze wide-eyed and horror-struck as he stared out, just above Garrick’s shoulder and fixed at something behind him.
“Oh, balls,” Desmond muttered. Whatever grief that was there but a moment ago had been replaced by speechless shock and dismay. Garrick blinked and turned around.
Leigh Blaise Sherbourne was approaching them on horseback. Covered and rendered quite interesting by his own gray cloud and fog cover, the vampire gentleman closed the distance, his horse steady in its light cantering.
“It’s only Mr. Sherbourne, Master Desmond,” Garrick presently said, touching his hat at the gentleman, “and not one of those confounded mortal artists who curse my waking hours.”
“Well, he curses my waking hours,” Desmond said, his words coming out like a low growl. For a moment, Garrick wondered if the boy had just bared his fangs, but Desmond didn’t despite his clear irritation. Baring one’s fangs, Garrick had learned, was a show of impudence. He was charged by Mr. and Mrs. Hathaway to make sure their youngest son curbed his tendencies as much as possible.
“It’s a surprise to see you both out here, enjoying the countryside and not imprisoned somewhere in Dryden Abbey,” Mr. Sherbourne said, his voice dull and dry – as it always was, Garrick thought. Garrick saw that Mr. Sherbourne regarded them both with an expression he could only describe as mask-like since it seemed the vampire looked as though he’d been carved out of cold marble.
“My pupil desired it, and I must confess, sir, so did I.”
Mr. Sherbourne didn’t appear to listen to Garrick as he spoke. In fact, he was clearly looking at Desmond, who remained behind Garrick, most likely trying everything in his power to stay put behind Garrick without turning into a bat in another angry fit. “If your school time has already finished,” Mr. Sherbourne said, “perhaps you’d oblige me with the pleasure of your company, Desmond.” Then he appeared to realize Desmond wasn’t alone, and he glanced at Garrick. “That is, if Mr. Mortimer doesn’t mind.”
Garrick looked at Mr. Sherbourne and then at Desmond before looking back at the vampire gentleman. Did Mr. Sherbourne just call his pupil by what mortals would refer to as his Christian name? He reminded himself to ask for more particulars from his employers regarding their religion, if they had any, because it appeared to be one more thing he’d yet to familiarize himself with regarding vampires.
“Whatever on earth for?” Desmond stammered, frowning.
Garrick nearly chided the boy right then, but the matter of Mr. Sherbourne’s odd familiarity kept his mind frozen and dull for a few moments.
Mr. Sherbourne merely raised a brow. “Because as your guest, there are several things in your small patch of countryside that I desire to know more about, and as Harper’s spending his time showing the others the cloistered charms of Ramsgill, I’m left alone to fend for myself.”
“School’s not over, I’m afraid,” Desmond said quickly. “I suppose I wouldn’t be able to oblige you till tea, sir – and in the company of my parents, sisters, and guests. If you mean to explore the countryside on horseback, I assure you, it will take you a mere ten minutes to see everything because there’s really nothing to see. Good day.”
Garrick watched Mr. Sherbourne, his thoughts flying all over the place as pieces of another puzzle fell suddenly into place, leaving him with a most unsettling feeling. Mr. Sherbourne touched his hat, his face still cold and impassive, and then turned his horse around. Before long, horse and rider were sailing down the low hill, leaving Garrick alone with Desmond.
“My word,” Garrick breathed as he turned to stare at Desmond, who was grimacing after Mr. Sherbourne but didn’t seem to be keen on taking his eyes off the retreating figure. The sketches that Desmond made in his recent notes weren’t just of any vampire gentleman, Garrick now realized. They were of Leigh Blaise Sherbourne.
Blurb: It’s 1815. Garrick Mortimer is a scholar extraordinaire, an underemployed and starving genius, who agrees to sign on as tutor to Desmond Hathaway, the youngest son of a vampire family living in Yorkshire. Desmond, heartbroken by another boy’s callous treatment of him in school, rebels against Garrick’s attempts at educating him and does everything he could to chase Garrick away, which proves to be a greater challenge than he first thought.
When Desmond’s older brother returns from Italy for a visit and brings with him a small group of talentless and self-absorbed poets, life in Dryden Abbey turns upside-down, mainly when Desmond meets Leigh Blaise Sherbourne, a sullen vampire poet.
Throw into the mix a desperate mother’s plea for grandchildren, a family-owned torture chamber, a cottage-abbey-and-quarter-castle, and a grumpy family magician, and Garrick finds life in the Hathaway household to be a great deal more than he bargained for.