I am a writer and avid reader of romances particularly historical romances. Please join me on my journey through time
Title: The Black Coach
Author: Nickie Fleming
Genre: Gothic Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 3
The Devil is riding his black coach across the moors of Yorkshire and hunts virgins. Or is this so?
Strange things are happening in the village of Pickering, Yorkshire. Two girls are found murdered, and there is talk about strange going-ons at night. Caught in the middle of this turmoil is Maggie Thompson, an orphan, who needs to fence for herself. Running away from an employer who maltreated her, she nearly dies during a winter storm. She is rescued by a man who lives in a nearly abandoned house. Neil Harrington has his own secrets however. Maggie will have to trust on her feelings to know what is right or wrong. And she can’t forget there is a killer on the rampage…
Sometimes I wondered if I looked different to different people. You know, because not everyone finds the same things attractive, but everyone thinks I am attractive. So I often wondered if what I saw in the mirror every day, was what other people saw when they looked at me?
And I’ll bet you thought you had an identity crisis.
It’s not that it’s all bad. It isn’t. There are obvious advantages to all the weird things I can do. I guess the closest thing I could compare it to, is being a celebrity. Sure they’re rich and famous and beautiful, and all those things are awesome. But they never really know if people want to hang around with them because they’re a nice person or because of all those awesome things.
Whatever. It didn’t matter. My increased heart rate, the warm feeling I was getting all over, those were just dopamine. Something about Ren was attractive to me, so my stupid brain was releasing dopamine into my blood stream and blocking my production of serotonin. Which was why I was having a hard time forming coherent thoughts.
“Yeah…” was all I could get out. Then I giggled.
I know. GIGGLED.
I cleared my throat and pulled myself together, ready to wow him with the intelligence I knew existed somewhere under all that hair tossing and eyelash batting.
I seriously couldn’t control it.
Unfortunately, Casey Santoro chose that moment to plop down next to me. “Amandaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa,” she whined. “I think Paul is cheating on me.”
I sighed. Casey always thought her boyfriend Paul was cheating on her. She was just one of those girls. Which was too bad because she was otherwise pretty and sweet, with dark hair and big, expressive, almond shaped eyes. “Casey can this wait? I’m kind of busy.”
“Noooooooooo, Amanda, I’m seriously worried!”
No Casey. You are seriously insecure.
But I couldn’t say that.
I looked at Ren. “Sorry.”
“It’s okay,” he said amiably.
I turned back to Casey. “What happened?” I noticed Ren watching me out of the corner of my eye.
“I came out of English last period and I saw him talking to Amy Morningwood. She wrote something down on a piece of paper and gave it to him. I think it was her number,” she moaned.
“Casey, Paul and Amy are doing a class project together. I know because Kristy is in that same class. I’m sure whatever Amy wrote down had something to do with that.”
“Ohmigod, are you sure Amanda?” she said.
“Oh thank God! Thank you so much, I feel so much better.” She looked over and seemed to notice Ren for the first time. “Oh hi, I’m sorry, I’m Casey,” she said.
“Ren,” he said nodding, an amused look on his face.
“Anyway, I didn’t mean to interrupt you guys, sorry,” she said and took off.
I rubbed my forehead, feeling a headache coming on.
“Do your friends do that to you a lot?” Ren asked.
“Not just my friends. Everyone does it.”
I sighed. “Freshman year, I helped Jody Beckett, this dorky senior girl, get together with Kyle Manning, the most popular boy in school.” There was some love spit involved, but I left that part out.
“Ah and you’ve been Miss Lonely-hearts ever since.”
“Pretty much. Well minus the advice column, the drinking and the adultery.”
“Good to know,” he laughed as the bell rang. “So what are you doing for lunch?”
“I have a Winter Carnival meeting.”
“Every year for Valentine’s Day the cheerleaders put on this carnival to raise money for charity. We have a few weeks left and we’re kind of behind.”
“You’re a cheerleader?”
“Don’t tell me you’re one of those types who doesn’t like cheerleaders?” I hope. Wait, no I don’t care. No I do. Not.
“Not at all,” he said, smiling.
I sighed with relief. On the inside. I think.
“Well, have fun, I’ll see you around,” he said pleasantly.
“I’ll sext you later.”
He gave me a funny look. “Oh God!” I felt sick with embarrassment. “I was thinking of saying ‘see you next period’ but then I just decided to say ‘see you later’ and ‘see’ and ‘next’ somehow combined into…’sext…’ oh God…”
“Not the worst thing for a pretty girl to say to me,” he laughed and headed out.
My chest ached a little after he was out of sight. Oh God… was I having… feelings for Ren?
~ * ~
“Okay so everybody needs to sign up for at least one shift at one of the booths,” Mrs. Solis, our faculty advisor, told the room.
I liked Mrs. Solis because she was real with me. Every once in a blue moon someone comes along that is immune to my Charisma. Mrs. Solis was the only person at school who wasn’t affected by my charms, so I relied on her for straight shooting. The upside and downside of her immunity was she treated me like she treated everyone, which was kind of crappy.
The Varsity, Junior Varsity and Freshman squads were packed into Mrs. Solis’ small classroom. We were all sitting kind of close and Hilary Hudson kept giving me these uncomfortably intense looks from where she sat across from me. Damn pheromones, they worked based on attraction and since Hilary enjoyed the romantic company of the fairer sex, I was exerting a pull on her.
I made sure not to make eye contact and instead focused on the math worksheet I was secretly working on. Unfortunately, some people were more susceptible to my pheromones than others.
Sometimes if the person was sensitive enough, they could pull a ‘Kevin Friedman’ without my even kissing them. I had never experienced this thank God, but Phil had.
“Who wants to work the funny photo booth?” Mrs. Solis asked the room.
“I’ll do it,” I heard Angela say. I was keeping my head down still because I could feel Hilary’s eyes on me.
“Me too,” piped in Jessica Johnson.
Mrs. Solis nodded. “Okay, the dunk tank?”
This went on for I didn’t even know how much longer. I lost track of time after I peered up to see if Hilary was still staring, to have her lick her teeth at me. I’d always thought Phil was just being a homophobe, but it was actually really uncomfortable. Though truth be told if a guy licked his teeth at me it would’ve been just as creepy. I’d never understood the appeal of ‘tooth-licking’.
“Okay Amoretto looks like you’re the only one left.”
“Wait, what?” I asked confused. I hadn’t absorbed anything anyone had said for the past few minutes.
“You’re working the kissing booth.”