Carrie and Sara Fleming are as different as two sisters can be. Both in high school, Carrie is an outgoing soccer jock, trying to navigate the minefield of Varsity sports –and dating. Sara is a talented musician, who wants to spend her senior year focusing on graduating and getting into a great music school. Both of their lives change forever when Sara inadvertently finds herself engaged to marry Lucien Gargouille, prince of an ancient race of gargoyles.
Sara has no interest in marrying anyone, but a vow spoken in the moonlight has bound her to Luc – forever. To make matters worse, there is a war brewing. For centuries, the gargoyles have protected mankind from all the dark forces in the world. But someone is making trouble, and trying to break the fragile treaty that has kept evil at bay, and Sara has become a target.
Carrie sees the danger around her sister, but can only watch and wait, hoping that Luc and his Family can keep Sara safe. After all, this is what they were born to do – protect the world from vampires, and all the other creatures, who would try to break out of their darkness.
But when the enemy makes a daring move, it falls on Carrie to not only save her sister, but to keep the two worlds from crashing together.
BECCA, KEVIN AND I WERE DOWNSTAIRS. WE WERE PLAYING WII GOLF. WE WERE ALSO AT WAR WITH SARA, WHO WAS PRACTICING SOMETHING AND HAD ASKED US TO KEEP IT DOWN SO SHE COULD CONCENTRATE.
I responded that maybe SHE should keep it down, because I kept shooting over par, and I needed to concentrate too. She slammed the door and blew into her flute, and we swung imaginary clubs and exclaimed loudly over every shot. It was starting to get a little annoying all ‘round when the doorbell rang. I raced upstairs, and Luc was at the door, with Chris behind him.
“I am here,” he said, “to ask your sister out for a walk.”
A walk? Oh, this I had to see. I invited him in. He looked like he stepped out of a Ralph Lauren ad, dressed in loose, navy blue linen pants and a white silk shirt, sleeves rolled up, and unbuttoned halfway down his chest. He was very buff.
They followed me downstairs. I introduced him to Becca and Kevin, and yelled for Sara. She came out of her room in a huff until she saw Luc. Her mood turned in a heartbeat. Sometimes, she’s amazing to watch.
“Luc? Hi. I wasn’t expecting you,” she said, smiling a little.
He bowed from the waist. “I was hoping to have you accompany me on a walk this evening,” he said, very formally. “Your sister and her friends are more than welcome to join us. Chris will act as chaperone. And of course, Amelie will be with us as well.”
Amelie had been sitting in the corner, her headphones on to drown out all the noise, but she sprang up.
“Excellent idea. It’s beautiful this evening,” she said.
Sara was kind of caught. She normally wouldn’t walk anywhere, because she considers walking a form of exercise, and she hates exercise. But we were all standing around watching, so what could she say?
“That sounds great. I’ll tell Mom we’re going.”
I would have thought that Luc would have wanted to be alone with Sara, and as we walked down the street towards the neighborhood playground, he walked next to her, his hands clasped behind his back, his head tilted towards her, listening to every word she said. Kevin, Becca and I walked behind them, trying to hear what they were saying. Chris and Amelie brought up the rear.
I dropped back and whispered to Chris, “You’re really a chaperone?”
He nodded. “This is a pretty big deal,” he said.
He grinned. “Luc is a very old-fashioned guy.”
I glanced at Amelie. “Are you a chaperone too?”
She shook her head. “No. I am here to protect Sara. Fabienne would be with me, if Chris were not. Two of us must be with her at all times.”
I scooted back up to Kevin and Becca. “Are we enjoying our group date so far?”
Becca giggled. “I can’t believe your sister is going along with this.”
I couldn’t either, but Luc must have been doing something right, because I heard her actually laugh.
When we got to the playground, Kevin, Becca and I headed for the picnic table. I expected Luc to do something romantic, like sit with Sara on the swings, or drag her behind the jungle gym for a little make-out session, but they sat with us. Sara was smiling. Luc was lit up like a Christmas tree.
“Sara tells me,” he said, in slow, careful English, “that you play soccer, Carrie.”
I looked at Sara. She had talked about me? How odd. “Yes. Center forward.”
Luc nodded happily. “I played at University. Very exciting game. Chris plays as well, right?”
Chris had been hanging back by the slides, but came forward and sat with us. “Yeah. Just a little bit.”
Luc nodded, then turned to Becca. “And you? You play soccer?”
Becca’s mouth opened in surprise. “Ah, no. I don’t play anything. I’m a professional spectator.”
Luc frowned and looked at Chris, who translated swiftly. Then he grinned. “That is excellent also. And Kevin is your boyfriend?”
I shook my head. “No.”
Luc pointed to Becca. “Her boyfriend?”
Becca giggled again.
“No,” I said. “We’re just all friends.”
I kept glancing at Sara. I couldn’t believe that she was sitting by, letting Luc spend one second of time talking to us. But she was still smiling, watching him carefully.
Luc shrugged. “Friends are all good, yes? Perhaps next time, we will all go to a café.”
“Chris,” I said, “maybe you could talk to Luc here a little bit about modern dating practices.” From the corner of my eye, I could see Sara laughing silently.
Chris shook his head. “I’ve been perched on the corner of a dorm at Yale on and off for the past sixty years. My advice would be from observing the mating habits of the nerdiest people on the planet.”
Luc jumped off the bench and stood, hands in the pockets of his pants. “Dating practices? What is dating practices?”
Becca caught my eye and we started to laugh. I could hear Amelie, curled up under an oak tree, laughing as well.
Luc ran his hand through his hair. “Did I make a joke?”
“No,” Sara said. She was grinning. “It’s just that sometimes it’s easier to get to know a person when you’re alone with them.”
“Alone?” Luc looked like this was a completely new idea. “Are you sure?”
Kevin elbowed me. “Give the guy a break,” he muttered. “Not everybody is smooth.”
“Smooth?” Luc repeated. “Alone and smooth?”
Chris started laughing too, and began speaking rapidly in French.
“Hey,” Sara said loudly, still grinning, “No fair. What are you guys talking about?”
I felt a sudden chill, and Chris and Luc both froze, and their heads turned in one movement towards the woods. Amelie appeared at Sara’s side.
“What?” Sara asked.
Luc said calmly to Amelie, in French. “Take her. Do not leave her side.”
Amelie put her arm around Sara. “We need to go home. Now.”
Sara didn’t get it. She was frowning and putting on her ‘Oh, no I won’t face, pulling against Amelie.
I looked around. There were six of them, coming out of the shadows. The sky suddenly lit up with lightning and rain poured down in a cold wall of water.
I yelled. “Go, Sara,” and she ran, Amelie behind her. I couldn’t move, even as I felt Kevin and Becca jump off the table and move away.
Luc and Chris stood, waiting. One of the vampires struck at Luc. Luc turned quickly, got his arm around the vampire’s neck, and with a simple jerk, twisted the head, and the vampire turned to dust.
Chris had Turned. I had smelled the smoke, and as the sky lit up, I saw that he put himself between the vampires and the path that Sara and Amelie had taken out of the park. He lashed out with a vicious paw and one vampire was gone.
I looked back at Luc. The rain had soaked the silk shirt, and it clung to his body. He was fighting two of them at once. They were so fast, I could barely even see them through the pouring rain, but he moved like a dancer, all fluid grace, his hands and feet striking out in a series of flashes. It was like watching one of those old kung-fu movies Kevin liked so much.
I saw one go down, and at the same time, heard a roar. Chris was standing on the body of one of them, and I could see it try to move under the sharp talons. He leapt at the third vampire, and broke its neck with one snap of his jaw. Then he turned back to the writhing body on the ground and stepped on it again. It melted into the mud.
The rain stopped as abruptly as it started, and Luc stood, chest heaving, hands hanging by his side. He shook himself, and droplets of water flew out from his body. He ran his hands through his hair and took several deep breaths.
I hadn’t seen what he did to the third vampire. I just knew that it was gone.
Chris had Turned back and ran up to Luc. They stood together, whispering furiously in French. Luc was nodding. He clapped Chris on the shoulder.
Then they noticed me, still sitting on the picnic table.
Luc smiled tiredly in the darkness. “You were supposed to go running home, like a good little girl,” he said in French.
I shook my head. “I don’t do ‘good little girl’,” I told him. “Why didn’t you Turn?”
Chris answered in French. “Luc is a better fighter than I am. Toad has been training him for much longer. Besides, for all his princely airs, Luc has basically a street thug mentality. He likes getting his hands dirty.”
Luc put his arm around Chris and hugged him, pounding him on the back. Then he looked at me, pointing his finger and looking stern.
“You will not tell your sister of this, no? I do not want her to think I enjoy this too much.”
“Your secret is safe with me,” I told him.