Sunday, November 9, 2014

CRAPLOADS TO BE THANKFUL FOR (and a surprise chapter for you!!!)

CRAPLOADS TO BE THANKFUL FOR (and a surprise chapter for you!!!)

November is a month to be thankful and I am thankful for soooooooo many things. I am thankful for my family. I have wonderful parents and brothers. I have cool sister in laws and nieces and nephews. I have a husband that I adore and kids that I’d step in front of a train for. I have more animals than you could shake a stick at and I have room in my heart (if not my house) for more.
I am a very lucky girl.
I am also thankful that at forty-blahblahblah that I have a new and amazeballs career. Writing was a dream of mine and now it’s my reality. If I can re-invent myself on the dark side of my forties (49 to be exact) so can anyone!!!!
So in the spirit of being thankful, I’d like to share the first chapter of READY TO WERE!!!! This book was released in the Three Southern Beaches anthology last July. The NEW and IMPROVED and LONGER version will be coming out November 25! However, it’s available for pre order NOW! YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY.
I hope you enjoy reading this sucker as much as I enjoyed writing it. It’s the first book in the SHIFT HAPPENS series. 
Happy Reading!
Smooch, Robyn 

Chapter 1
“You’re joking.”
“No, actually I’m not,” my boss said and slapped the folder into my hands. “You leave tomorrow morning and I don’t want to see your hairy ass till this is solved.”
I looked wildly around her office for something to lob at her head. It occurred to me that might not be the best of ideas, but desperate times led to stupid measures. She could not do this to me. I’d worked too hard and I wasn’t going back. Ever.
“First of all, my ass is not hairy except on a full moon and you’re smoking crack if you think I’m going back to Georgia.”
Angela crossed her arms over her ample chest and narrowed her eyes at me. “Am I your boss?” she asked.
“Is this a trick question?”
She huffed out an exasperated sigh and ran her hands through her spiked ‘do making her look like she’d been electrocuted. “Essie, I am cognizant of how you feel about Hung Island, Georgia, but there’s a disaster of major proportions on the horizon and I have no choice.”
“Where are you sending Clark and Jones?” I demanded.
“New York and Miami.”
“Oh my god,” I shrieked. “Who did I screw over in a former life that those douches get to go to cool cities and I have to go home to an island called Hung?”
“Those douches do have hairy asses and not just on a full moon. You’re the only female agent I have that looks like a model so you’re going to Georgia. Period.”
“Fine. I’ll quit. I’ll open a bakery.”
Angela smiled and an icky feeling skittered down my spine. “Excellent, I’ll let you tell the Council that all the money they invested in your training is going to be flushed down the toilet because you want to bake cookies.”
The Council consisted of supernaturals from all sorts of species. The branch that currently had me by the metaphorical balls was WTF—Werewolf Treaty Federation. They were the worst as far as stringent rules and consequences went. The Vampyres were loosey goosey, the Witches were nuts and the freakin’ Fairies were downright pushovers, but not the Weres. Nope, if you enlisted you were in for life. It had sounded so good when the insanely sexy recruiting officer had come to our local Care For Your Inner Were meeting. 
Training with the best of the best. Great salary with benefits. Apartment and company car. But the kicker for me was that it was fifteen hours away from the hell I grew up in. No longer was I Essie from Hung Island, Georgia—and who in their right mind would name an island Hung—I was Agent Essie McGee of the Chicago WTF. The irony of the initials was a source of pain to most Werewolves, but went right over the Council’s heads due to the simple fact that they were older than dirt and oblivious to pop culture.
Yes, I’d been disciplined occasionally for mouthing off to superiors and using the company credit card for shoes, but other than that I was a damn good agent. I'd graduated at the top of my class and was the go-to girl for messy and dangerous assignments that no one in their right mind would take... I’d singlehandedly brought down three rogue Weres who were selling secrets to the Dragons—another supernatural species. The Dragons shunned the Council, had their own little club and a psychotic desire to rule the world. Several times they’d come close due to the fact that they were loaded and Weres from the New Jersey Pack were easily bribed. Not to mention the fire-breathing thing…
I was an independent woman living in the Windy City. I had a gym membership, season tickets to the Cubs and a gay Vampyre best friend named Dwayne. What more did a girl need?
Well, possibly sex, but the bastard had ruined me for other men…
Hank “The Tank” Wilson was the main reason I’d rather chew my own paw off than go back to Hung Island, Georgia. Six foot three of obnoxious, egotistical, perfect-assed, alpha male Werewolf. As the alpha of my local Pack he had decided it was high time I got mated…to him. I, on the other hand, had plans—big ones and they didn’t include being barefoot and pregnant at the beck and call of a player.
So I did what any sane, rational woman would do. I left in the middle of the night with a suitcase, a flyer from the hot recruiter and enough money for a one-way bus ticket to freedom. Of course, nothing ever turns out as planned… The apartment was the size of a shoe box, the car was used and smelled like French fries and the benefits didn’t kick in till I turned one hundred and twenty five. We Werewolves had long lives.
“Angela, you really can’t do this to me.” Should I get down on my knees? I was so desperate I wasn’t above begging.
“Why? What happened there, Essie? Were you in some kind of trouble I should know about?” Her eyes narrowed, but she wasn’t yelling.
I think she liked me…kind of. The way a mother would like an annoying spastic two year old who belonged to someone else. 
“No, not exactly,” I hedged. “It’s just that…”
“Weres are disappearing and presumed dead. Considering no one knows of our existence besides other supernaturals, we have a problem. Furthermore, it seems like humans might be involved.”
My stomach lurched and I grabbed Angela’s office chair for balance. “Locals are missing?” I choked out. My grandma Bobby Sue was still there, but I’d heard from her last night. She’d harangued me about getting my belly button pierced. Why I’d put that on Instagram was beyond me. I was gonna hear about that one for the next eighty years or so.
“Not just missing—more than likely dead. Check the folder,” Angela said and poured me a shot of whiskey. 
With trembling hands I opened the folder. This had to be a joke. I felt ill. I’d gone to high school with Frankie Mac and Jenny Packer. Jenny was as cute as a button and was the cashier at the Piggly Wiggly. Frankie Mac had been the head cheerleader and cheated on every test since the fourth grade. Oh my god, Debbie Swink? Debbie Swink had been voted most likely to succeed and could do a double backwards flip off the high dive. She’d busted her head open countless times before she’d perfected it. Her mom was sure she’d go to the Olympics. 
“I know these girls,” I whispered.
“Knew. You knew them. They all were taking classes at the modeling agency.”
“What modeling agency? There’s no modeling agency on Hung Island.” I sifted through the rest of the folder with a knot the size of a cantaloupe in my stomach. More names and faces I recognized. Sandy Moongie? Wait a minute.
“Um, not to speak ill of the dead, but Sandy Moongie was the size of a barn…she was modeling?”
“Worked the reception desk.” Angela shook her head and dropped down on the couch.
“This doesn’t seem that complicated. It’s fairly black and white. Whoever is running the modeling agency is the perp.”
“The modeling agency is Council sponsored.”
I digested that nugget in silence for a moment.
“And the Council is running a modeling agency, why?”
“Word is that we’re heading toward revealing ourselves to the humans and they’re trying to find the most attractive representatives to do so.”
“That’s a joke, right?” What kind of dumb ass plan was that?
“I wish it was.” Angela picked up my drink and downed it. “I’m getting too old for this shit,” she muttered as she refilled the shot glass, thought better of it and just swigged from the bottle.
“Is the Council aware that I’m going in?”
“What do you think?”
“I think they’re old and stupid and that they send in dispensable agents like me to clean up their shitshows,” I grumbled.
“Smart girl.”
“Who else knows about this? Clark? Jones?”
“They know,” she said wearily. “They’re checking out agencies in New York and Miami.”
“Isn’t it conflict of interest to send me where I know everyone?”
“It is, but you’ll be able to infiltrate and get in faster that way. Besides, no one has disappeared from the other agencies yet.”
There was one piece I still didn’t understand. “How are humans involved?”
She sighed and her head dropped back onto her broad shoulders. “Humans are running the agency.”
It took a lot to render me silent, like learning my grandma had been a stripper in her youth, and that all male Werewolves were hung like horses… but this was horrific.
“Who in the hell thought that was a good idea? My god, half the female Weres I know sprout tails when flash bulbs go off. We won’t have to come out, they can just run billboards of hot girls with hairy appendages coming out of their asses.”
“It’s all part of the Grand Plan. If the humans see how wonderful and attractive we are, the issue of knowingly living alongside of us will be moot.”
Again. Speechless.
“When are Council elections?” It was time to vote some of those turd knockers out.
“Essie.” Angela rolled her eyes and took another swig. “There are no elections. They’re appointed and serve for life.”
“I knew that,” I mumbled. Skipping Were History class was coming back to bite me in the butt.
“I’ll go.” There was no way I couldn’t. Even though my knowledge of the hierarchy of my race was fuzzy, my skills were top notch and trouble seemed to find me. In any other job that would suck, but in mine, it was an asset.
“Good. You’ll be working with the local Pack alpha. He’s also the sheriff there. Name’s Hank Wilson. You know him?”
“Yep.” Biblically. I knew the son of a bitch biblically.
“You’re gonna bang him.”
“I am not gonna bang him.”
“You are so gonna bang him.”
“Dwayne, if I hear you say that I’m gonna bang him one more time, I will not let you borrow my black Mary Jane pumps. Ever again.”
Dwayne made the international “zip the lip and throw away the key” sign while silently mouthing that I was going to bang Hank.
“I think you should bang him if he’s a hot as you said.” Dwayne made himself comfortable on my couch and turned on the TV.
“When did I ever say he was hot?” I demanded as I took the remote out of his hands. I was not watching any more Dance Moms. “I never said he was hot.”
“Paaaaleese,” Dwayne flicked his pale hand over his shoulder and rolled his eyes.
“What was that?”
“What was what?” he asked, confused.
“That shoulder thing you just did.”
“Oh, I was flicking my hair over my shoulder in a girlfriend move.”
“Okay, don’t do that. It doesn’t work. You’re as bald as a cue ball.” 
“But it’s the new move,” he whined.
Oh my god, Vampyres were such high maintenance. “According to who?” I yanked my suitcase out from under my bed and started throwing stuff in.
“Kim Kardashian.”
I refused to dignify that with so much as a look.
“Fine,” he huffed. “But if you say one word about my skinny jeans I am so out of here.”
I considered it, but I knew he was serious. As crazy as he drove me, I adored him. He was my only real friend in Chicago and I had no intention of losing him.
“I know he’s hot,” Dwayne said. “Look at you—you’re so gorge it’s redonkulous. You’re all legs and boobs and hair and lips—you’re far too beautiful to be hung up on a goober.”
“Are you calling me shallow?” I snapped as I ransacked my tiny apartment for clean clothes. Damn it, tomorrow was laundry day. I was going to have to pack dirty clothes. 
“So he’s ugly and puny and wears bikini panties?”
“No! He’s hotter than Satan’s underpants and he wears boxer briefs,” I shouted. “You happy?”
“He’s actually a nice guy.”
“You’ve met Hank?” I was so confused I was this close to making fun of his skinny jeans just so he would leave.
“Satan. He’s not as bad as everyone thinks.”
How was it that everyone I came in contact with today stole my ability to speak? Thankfully, I was interrupted by a knock at my door.
“You expecting someone?” Dwayne asked as he pilfered the remote back and found Dance Moms.
I peeked through the peephole. Nobody came to my place except Dwayne and the occasional pizza delivery guy or Chinese food take out guy or Indian food take out guy. Wait. What the hell was my boss doing here?
“You going to let me in?”
“Open the damn door.”
I did.
Angela tromped into my shoebox and made herself at home. Her hair was truly spectacular. It looked like she might have even pulled out a clump on the left side. “You want to tell me why the sheriff and alpha of Hung Island, Georgia says he won’t work with you?”
“He said he had a hard time believing someone as flaky and irresponsible as you had become an agent for the Council and he wants someone else.” Angela narrowed her eyes at me and took the remote form Dwayne. “Spill it, Essie.”
I figured the best way to handle this was to lie—hugely. However, gay Vampyre boyfriends had a way of interrupting and screwing up all your plans.
“Well, you see…”
“He’s her mate and he dipped his stick in several other…actually many other oil tanks. So she dumped his furry player ass, snuck away in the middle of the night and hadn’t really planned on ever going back there again.” Dwayne sucked in a huge breath, which was ridiculous because Vampyres didn’t breathe. 
It took everything I had not to scream and go all Wolfy. “Dwayne, clearly you want me to go medieval on your lily white ass because I can’t imagine why you would utter such bullshit to my boss.”
“Doesn’t sound like bullshit to me,” Angela said as she channel surfed and landed happily on an old episode of Cagney and Lacey. “We might have a problem here.”
“Are you replacing me?” Hank Wilson had screwed me over once when I was his. He was not going to do it again when I wasn’t.
“Your call,” she said. Dwayne, who was an outstanding shoplifter, covertly took back the remote and flipped over to the Food Channel. Angela glanced up at the tube and gave Dwayne the evil eye.
“I refuse to watch lesbians fight crime in the eighties. I’ll get hives,” he explained, tilted his head to the right and gave Angela a smile. He was so pretty it was silly—piercing blue eyes and body to die for. Even my boss had a hard time resisting his charm.
“Fine,” she grumbled.
“Excuse me,” I yelled. “This conversation is about me, not testosterone ridden women cops with bad hair, hives or food. It’s my life we’re talking about here—me, me, me!” My voice had risen to decibels meant to attract stray animals within a ten-mile radius, evidenced by the wincing and ear covering.
“Essie, are you done?” Dwayne asked fearfully.
“Possibly. What did you tell him?” I asked Angela.
“I told him the Council has the last word in all matters. Always. And if he had a problem with it, he could take it up with the elders next month when they stay awake long enough to listen to the petitions of their people.”
“Oh my god, that’s awesome,” I squealed. “What did he say?”
“That if we send you down, he’ll give you bus money so you can hightail your sorry cowardly butt right back out of town.” 
Was she grinning at me, and was that little shit Dwayne jotting the conversation down in the notes section on his phone?
“Let me tell you something,” I ground out between clenched teeth as I confiscated Dwayne’s phone and pocketed it. “I am going to Hung Island, Georgia tomorrow and I will kick his ass. I will find the killer first and then I will castrate the alpha of the Georgia Pack…with a dull butter knife.”
Angela laughed and Dwayne jackknifed over on the couch in a visceral reaction to my plan. I stomped into my bathroom and slammed the door to make my point, then pressed my ear to the rickety wood to hear them talk behind my back.
“I’ll bet you five hundred dollars she’s gonna bang him,” Dwayne told Angela.
“I’ll bet you a thousand that you’re right,” she shot back.
“You’re on.”


Tuesday, October 7, 2014



I have debated with myself for days—mostly in private, but I did realize I was babbling to myself at the grocery the other day. It was Wednesday—Senior Citizens Day. I was slightly less self-conscious when I realized most of the people in the store were all mumbling to themselves. I will now only shop on Wednesdays. 

My debate has centered around my “not fun” status. I have been told that I am boring by my kids because I don’t dress up for Halloween. Isn’t it enough that I get their damn costumes and candy and pumpkins and bloody trolls and monsters for the yard??? Not to mention the grave stones and headless things that give me nightmares. Clearly not. I shall fight this unfair assessment. I will dress up and embarrass the hell out of them this year.

Their Dad is the fun one…However, I’m the one they come to when they are sick or need help with homework (even though I’m useless when it comes to Algebra) or to ask about the birds and bees or when they can’t find something or if they’re hungry or etc… Thankfully, they seem to be fine with the fact I talk out loud to the invisible people from my books all the time. I’m sure this will lead them into therapy at some stage of their lives…

Often they have to clarify if I’m talking about a real person or a fictional one. BUT, I must point out that same question is relevant for their actor father. We pride ourselves on being a little odd. Weird is a compliment in our family. 

Sooooo, back to my dilemma—what to be for Halloween…I have considered a Teletubby, the purple one of course. I have imagined myself as the Pink Power Ranger or Dora the Explorer. All of these options would mortify my children. Elmo would send them running for cover. 

So many choices. So many ways to make them see the error of their thoughts about their “not fun” mom. They assume I will choose to be a Vampire because of my obsession with the paranormal, but that’s too easy. Typical I am not. I have also mulled the thought of becoming Bob the Builder, but that show could drive anyone to drink. However, Caiou would make me tear my own head off and eat it. 

I believe I will be a Teletubby. I will get tons of pictures hugging and tackling my children in my ginormous purple suit. I will talk like a Teletubby for the entire evening and I will dance as we go from house to house. I feel good about my decision. 
Five bucks says that they will beg me to never dress up again.
Happy Halloween. 

If you want some Spooky Sexy reading, check out the Hot Damned Series!!!! There are no Teletubbies in it. 

xoxo Robyn 



Monday, August 11, 2014


Well, the first part of the question is easy. It’s what I love to read and I’m a sucker and a half for happily ever afters. I write snarky, sexy paranormal comedies and snarky, sexy contemporary comedies. The rest of the answer goes like this…
The crazy, mixed-up tale of how my first
book came to be – also known as, WTF? 
I'm getting published.

I’ve been asked how I got published. The answer is simple...I lied. That’s right, I lied.
I wouldn’t recommend it, although it worked for me. It certainly could have blown up in my face, but wether it was sheer will and determination or dumb luck, I’ll never know. Here’s how it went...
     I pitched an imaginary novel (as if it were done) to major NY publishers and agents at a writers conference in Chicago. I was shocked, delighted and appalled that everyone I pitched to asked for a full manuscript. After a brief and hopefully unnoticeable panic attack, I very logically explained to them that I needed to get the book professionally edited (real meaning--write it) and would have it to them in three weeks. What the hell did I have to lose? My sanity had been gone for years.
     Having been an actor for umpteen decades came in handy. Clearly, pretending to smell delicious imaginary aromas in commercial auditions and becoming one with my inner lawn gnome in acting class, made my fear of telling ginormous lies nonexistent.
     The next part of the story goes like this...I went home and wrote it. I didn’t sleep for three weeks, my family ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly and no one in the house had any clean underpants. I loved every minute of it. I ended up with several offers. I went with a three book deal with Kensington Publishing and HOW HARD CAN IT BE? was born.
    That’s my crazy story, but the real answer to getting published is to write. Just write. Everyday. Every writer I’ve had the good fortune to know says the same thing. Oh, and read...tons.
     Writing groups are a great idea too. I was such a nervous wreck about going to my first meeting with real writers that when I couldn’t find a parking space, I turned around and drove home.
     Thankfully, I grew some bigger testicles and went to their next meeting. I met some of the neatest and most generous women. I learned to look at my writing with a more critical eye and grow thicker skin. In this group of amazing women, I found critique partners, cheerleaders and friends.
     It’s empowering to be with others who share your passion, no matter where you are in your career. I highly recommend it.
     I do believe writing the book of your heart is important, but knowing what’s marketable is not stupid. You may have a passion for the magical unicorns that helped win the Civil War by twerking through the South, but my guess is you won’t sell many books…
     You could also lie.
     The publishing industry has changed and continues to change. With digital reading devices now in the game, viable options for writers are endless. I have extremely talented friends who publish traditionally through NY and equally as talented friends who are publishing independently. I do both and am a very happy camper.
     The bottom line is that you have to write a good book and then you have to never give up. And while you’re never giving up, you have to write another good book and another and another… It’s a wonderful thing to have a job where you can work in your underpants.
     Writing may seem like a solitary sport, but it’s not. A critique partner, other writing friends, spell check, Coke® with extra ice in a styrofoam cup and a great editor are just a few of the things I think every writer needs.
     So that’s my romantic story and I’m sticking to it. I’m not sure how good the lesson is, but the ending is happy. I love happy endings.

QUESTIONS…(from my buddies at Read a Romance)

Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.

Hmmm, my mom would have an embarrassing list about a mile long. Thank God, she’s not writing this blog. I will pick inspiring because daring could get me into trouble depending on statute of limitations in various states.
The most inspiring thing I’ve done was giving birth to my kids. It is by far my greatest accomplishment in my life. They are amazing people and I am still shocked that my Hot Hubby and I created them. 

Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer.

Well I answered that above. I don’t recommend my method. I got a gnarly case of the shingles after staying awake for three weeks straight…However, if it happened that way again, I’d probably do the same thing. 

Tell us about a book that changed your life.

I am a voracious reader. I would be hard pressed to name just one book. From childhood the books that have stayed with me are Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, Anne of Green Gables, A Wrinkle In Time and Are You my Mother?.
As a teen, To Kill A Mocking Bird, A Prayer for Owen Meany and Bird By Bird.
As an adult, anything by David Sedaris, Jeaniene Frost, Thea Harrison, Darynda Jones, John Irving and Ann Rice. And I also adore biographies.
I know I have left out many, but those were the first that came to mind.

A big smooch to my Pookie, Darynda Jones and Read A Romance month for inviting me to this bloggy fun!!!!
For those of you that don’t know me, I shall post my warped bio and some links!!!!

I write because the people inside my head won’t leave me alone until I give them life on paper. My addictions include laughing really hard with friends, shoes (the expensive kind), Target, Coke Zero Cherry with extra ice in a styrofoam cup, bejeweled reading glasses, my kids, my super-hot hubby and collecting stray animals. A former professional actress, with Broadway, film and T.V. credits, I now live in the south with my family and too many animals to count. Writing gives me peace and makes me whole, plus having a job where I can work in my underpants works really well for me. You can leave me a message via the Contact Page on my website and I’ll get back to you as soon as my bizarre life permits! I love to hear from readers!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Spring is a dangerous time of the year for me. For real.

Yes, much to my great delight, I broke my tooth. How you may ask? Ice. I was chewing on ice. Not just any ice…I was cheating and living on the edge. I was drinking a half Coke/ half Diet Coke. I am thinking this is the Universe’s way of punishing me for indulging. 

I really am a nice person. Yes, I have a potty mouth, I stay up too late, I am freaked out by clowns, I fold laundry and never put it away, I sometimes skip to the end of books, I don’t always listen to my messages, I like to pick off nail polish and I think burnt cookies are better than sex, but I do try to be kind. Actually I like nookie way better than cookies, but it sounded good.

Last spring I broke my foot leaping across the floor while teaching upper elementary school kids ballet. I am proud of the fact that not one swear word passed my lips. I can’t say the same about the tooth incident today. I was alone, so I let her rip. Buttassmunchfucker has now been added to my vocabulary. However, cocksuckertoothshitass is right up there too. If I was a Werewolf or a Vampyre this would not be happening. So I’ve decided to give up my humanity and become a Werewolf. I think being a Vampyre would be difficult because I don’t love the taste of blood. I collect stray animals so clearly it would work getting furry. Fangs would be stronger than teeth and bones would heal faster. This would solve a multitude of issues, although I would also end up institutionalized, which might suck.

I suppose I will have to lay off the hard stuff (meaning ice) and realize that when you’re forty-blahblahblah nothing works as well as it used to. I will tuck my delusions of becoming a Werewolf back into my books and I will more than likely have a wonderful time getting a root canal. I promise to share…

Speaking of my books and Werewolves…READY TO WERE is awesome and I am loving writing it. I can’t wait till you guys can read it. I will post excerpts soon. 

Thank you for listening to me bitch. There is more of Spring left, so I plan to be careful. I have no time to break anything else. 
Till next time,
xoxo Robyn 

PS. If you haven’t read FASHIONABLY DEAD, it’s freeeeeeeeeeee!!! And FASHIONABLY DEAD DOWN UNDER is out and kicking some major cocksuckertoothshitass. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014


OKEY DOKEY ARTICHOKEYS!!!!! Here it is!!!! I promised you the first two chapters of FASHIONABLY DEAD DOWN UNDER (Book 2 of the Hot Damned Series) and I am making good on that promise!! Just so you know, this is unedited so any booboos (not boobies), misspelled words or poopy punctuation has not been fixed yet and is all my fault! It will go to my brilliant editor before it comes out, but I wanted you guys and gals to get a little sneak peek. PLUS, I’ve been getting threats on a daily basis because I left this puppy on a cliff hanger!!!! I know...I SUCK. FASHIONABLY DEAD DOWN UNDER will be coming out the end of March.
If you haven’t read FASHIONABLY DEAD (Book 1 of the Hot Damned Series) you should. It’s only $.99 and it’s full of snarky, sexy Vampyre shenanigans. It’s a must for those of you who love your undead on the funny side!! I’ll post the link at the bottom. 
xoxo Robyn

Pain—then ice—then intolerable heat. A second took years, yet time stood still. The claws of those that trapped me were razor sharp. They tore through my flesh as the ones who owned them grunted and screamed with delight. I struggled for balance, but realized I was standing on air. Violet and silver dust engulfed me as I choked on smells of burning flesh and anger. How was this happening? I was supposed to be planning my wedding to my hotter than Satan’s underpants Vampyre Prince…not taking a ride to Hell with smelly and disgusting Demons. Shitshitdamnitshit. 

Journey? The soundtrack in Hell was Journey? I would have thought Nine Inch Nails or AC DC, but certainly not Journey…Don’t get me wrong, I loved Journey, but Don’t Stop Believing just didn’t seem like an appropriate anthem for the Underworld. Was I even in Hell? Maybe this was Purgatory or some other random plane of existence? Although I would expect Barry Manilow, John Tesh or Kenny G if I was stuck in Purgatory.
“Where in God’s name am I?” I muttered as I gingerly pried my dry eyes open.
One thing I was absolutely sure of—I definitely wasn’t on Earth. The ride to where ever the hell I was with the stinky Demons had sucked the big one. It was violent, smelly and it hurt like a son of a bitch.
Easing my body to a sitting position was difficult but doable. Now, to figure out where I was…
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I moaned, both from the pain shooting through my limbs and the simple fact that Faithfully was blasting from invisible speakers hidden somewhere in my cell.
Wait. Was this a cell? A trap? A bedroom?
A bedroom? I was in a bedroom?
This couldn’t be Hell. It had to be some kind of holding area. The Underworld was supposed to smell like sulfur and look like post-Armageddon. This place looked more like some douchenoggle with big bucks and debatable taste had shopped at all the most expensive home stores on Fifth Avenue…while they were drunk.
My body ached like I’d been beaten and I checked myself for wounds. Surprisingly I was fine. Maybe all that flesh tearing had been an illusion. Being a Vampyre I healed quickly, but the trip to Hell, or where ever I was, had been rather turbulent. Turning my head took effort, but I needed to figure out my location and how to get out.
Interesting. I was on a large bed draped in cheesy and predictable slippery black silk. The walls of what I decided to assume was a massive bedroom were all done in burnished gold leafing. Thick and ornate crown molding framed the walls. The shades of the molding were more muted and depicted horrific scenes of mutilation and decapitations of some kind of animal looking thing. Okay, this was more like the Hell I expected. The artwork added to the ambience— frescos of orgies and graphic depictions of group sex and death graced what had to be twenty-foot high walls. The floor was so highly waxed it literally sparkled—the uninviting cold black marble stretched from one end of the huge room to the other.
Trying to block out Steven Perry singing Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin’ was almost impossible. I had a bizarre urge to sing along…
Wait a fucking minute…were the walls breathing?
Stop. Pull yourself together—walls didn’t breath. I needed to deal with the situation at hand. I would not let Steven Perry or walls with a heartbeat derail me from getting the hell out of Hell. 
First things first, I needed to get up. I wasn’t chained to the bed. I was able to move as freely as my battered body would allow. I suppose the most unnerving part was that no one was around…or were they? I hadn’t seen anyone or anything since my forced arrival. Could Demons cloak themselves like I could?
“Astrid,” a disembodied voice hissed from out of nowhere.
          “Holy Hell,” I screamed and dove under the bed, slamming the side of my head on the metal frame and bending back all the fingers on my left hand. “Who’s here?” I shouted, nursing my painfully throbbing fingers and head not to mention the rest of my body.
          “Al Pachino.”
          “Al Pachino lives in Hell? I didn’t even know he died.” Plus he seemed more like a Purgatory guy to me. “Bullshit,” I muttered, cautiously peeking out from under the bed. There was no one in the room but me. Maybe the walls were alive. “You are not Al Pachino. You don’t even sound like al Pachino. Who in the hell are you?”
“I’m part of you,” the wall whispered.
“I’m a fucking wall?”
The wall laughed heartily. So heartily it pissed me off. “So did you enjoy your trip, Astrid?”
“Are you kidding me? It sucked,” I snapped and scanned the room for a hidden Demon. There had to be someone in here. Walls did not talk.
“What on earth did you expect my dear? You’d just killed their leader who happened to be your Father,” the voice informed me. “Not to mention you offed your psychotic bitch of a somewhat human mother not even ten minutes before your father arrived.”
“My father was no prize either. He was a gross, stinky, disgusting and evil Demon and wasn’t even upset that I snuffed out my mother,” I shot back. Fine. I’d lost it I was talking to a wall…
“Darling girl, if you were able to kill both your parents why didn’t you stop the Demons from taking you to Hell?”
“Well, Wall, you seem to know quite a bit already. I’m sure you know exactly why I couldn’t stop the Demons.”
“Couldn’t or didn’t?” the wall inquired politely.
I’d had enough of the wall. “What does it matter? I was a bit tired from offing my parents and I had, um…other reasons.” Damnit, this was impossible. Was I really talking to a wall? Yes. Yes, I was.
“Ah yes,” the wall said lovingly. “Your unborn child. That child will also be part of me.”
“Look, no offense, but you’re a freakin’ talking wall. I don’t really see the connection between you, me and my baby.”
“If you’re not going to be pleasant, I’ll leave,” the wall huffed and the heartbeat disappeared. WTF?
Fucking. Awesome. The wall was gone because I pissed it off. Not only had I made myself an orphan earlier and earned a lovely unplanned trip to the Land of Damnation, but I’d made a talking wall in Hell angry with me. What did a girl have to do to catch a freakin’ break? I’d done everything that was expected of me and still I got the shaft…I’d fulfilled the crazy Vampyre Prophecy. I’d saved the Vampyre King and proved I was indeed their Chosen One. Although I might have reconsidered the job had I known ending up in Abyss of Darkness was part of the description.
“Are you screwing with me?” I shouted at the wall as Open Arms surrounded me on all sides. The incredible urge to sway and sing along was almost debilitating. There had to be something subliminal going on here…Was Journey part of some evil plan? Was it laced with hidden references to Hell and debauchery? Was Steven Perry a succubus? Either someone downunder was obsessed with 80’s pop music or I wasn’t in Hell at all.
“Oh my god,” I gasped as crawled out from under the bed. I very slowly stretched out my cramped legs and arms. “I clearly fucked someone over in a former life to have to deal with this.”
“Why would you think that?” the disembodied wall voice hissed.
“Mother fucker,” I screeched, grabbing a pillow off the bed and hurling it at the wall. “Do not scare me like that. I’ve had enough surprises today.”
The wall chuckled in reply.
The Demons had unceremoniously dragged my ass through the portal to Hell insisting I was their new queen—like that was ever going to happen. If they hadn’t arrived in such large numbers, I might not be sitting in Hell right now talking to a wall and trying to make my body work, but I was…and I was furious.
However, as unhappy as I was about my new address, I would hazard a guess that my beautiful mate, Ethan, had gone ballistic. He would have arrived at the caves by now where my deadly family reunion had taken place and would know that I’d been abducted. My gut clenched at the thought of what he would do. His father, the King of the Vampyres, would have clued him in to the somewhat unbelievable story of my pregnancy and Ethan would…Shit, I didn’t know what he’d do, but I needed to get out of here quickly before he attempted to come to Hell and rescue me.
I’d lost enough. I would not lose the man who was my world and I flat out refused lose my baby. Unease skittered up my spine like little mice and I shivered involuntarily as Steven Perry began to belt out Wheel in the Sky. OMG.
Could the talking wall keep me from leaving? Time to find out.
On the far left side of the room was a bay window. I wondered how high up I was and if I could jump. What was I thinking? I could fly for fuck’s sake. I grimaced and stood. I just needed to find a way out of the garish bedroom and make my way to a portal that would take me back to Earth.
Of course since I had no idea what that portal might look like or where to find one, that might prove to be a clusterfuck in the making. Awesome. I needed to figure out where I was.
Walking hurt so I decided to fly to the window and check out the landscape. After two pathetic attempts that resulted in my ass hitting the floor—hard, I realized my powers weren’t the same in Hell as they were on Earth. Not. Fucking. Good.
“Looks like you lost some power, my dear,” the wall said.
“Ya think?” I snapped. Why was I even talking to the wall. It was a wall. I would ignore it and if it got mad—so be it.
My eyesight, hearing and sense of smell were still bionic, but my ability to cloak myself was gone along with my ability to fly. I needed to get the hell out of the room. Staying low and away from the walls just incase they had hands too, I slipped out of the bedroom and made my way down a massive hall. Ironically—or maybe not—Steven Perry belted out Separate Ways. Who in the hell knew Journey had so many hits?
Something was off besides the fact that the walls talked. Why was I able to breath and why in the hell did Hell smell so good? Was I even a Vampyre anymore? If descending to I-have-a-shit-ton-of-money-and-no-taste-and-Journey-is-the-best-band-ever-land meant that I had turned into a full Demon someone was going to pay. 
Not wanting to show fear, but filled with dread that made my heart beat like the drum section of a percussion happy high school band, I stood in the center of the dimly lit hallway. If the Demons had wanted me dead they would have already killed me. I was creeped out that I’d been talking to a wall and had seen no one. It felt like I’d plopped down in the middle of a game with no rules… 
This world was filled with dark magic and Steven Perry…and strangely, I found that combination appealing. Very appealing. It was unlike the foul magic of my Mother or my Father and his minions. This was smarter and a whole hell of a lot more dangerous. Thankfully my body was becoming my own again. The pain was receding although I was still without my undead powers…
Voices. I heard voices…and they didn’t belong to Steven Perry or anyone from Journey as far as I could tell. A man and a girl.
Oh, I wanted to go home. Where were my ruby slippers or at the very least a Fairy Godmother? This was bad…very, very bad.
Moving quietly toward the sound with as much outward calm as I could muster my stomach roiled. Why, why, why did shit like this seem to happen to me on a daily basis? My karma couldn’t be that bad…Suck it up and deal with it. I’d just defeated massive evil. I killed my vicious Father and my bat-shit crazy Mother in the space of twenty minutes. Not something I was proud of or wanted to brag about, but it was me or them and clearly I had more to live for…I was a kick butt half-Vampyre half-Demon who was pregnant. I was a virtual impossibility. I could do this. I’d talk my way out and go home. Or I’d whack a bunch more Demons and go home. Done. No fucking problem. 
However, when I reached the source of the voices my courage disappeared. The sheer amount of magic in the room was like nothing I’d ever felt. The darkness wound around me like a perfectly cut cashmere wrap and the magnetic pull was intoxicating. There was no turning back. It felt right to be where I was in this very moment. I was positive this was where I would get some answers. Luckily I slipped into the room unnoticed. In the spirit of self-preservation and utter terror, I quickly hid behind a massive black brocade curtain as Steven Perry appropriately busted into Who’s Crying Now.
“Dixie, this behavior is unacceptable!” the man bellowed.
          He was magnificent and frightening. His magic was stronger than any I’d ever witnessed. I sipped farther into the shadows so I wouldn’t be seen. Fuckity fuck fuck. Every instinct in my body screamed at me to run away, but that was impossible…they would see me. This was a mistake—possibly a deadly one. But, I’d been drawn here by an unmistakable pull. As much as I wanted to disappear, I wanted to stay even more.
The beautiful man stood at least six feet six inches tall and had long raven black hair—identical to the girl named Dixie he was displeased with. She was stunning, yet her demeanor was meek. Their eyes were golden like mine, although his turned a ruby red as his anger mounted. Was the girl related to the man? Who in the hell were they?
Their skin color differed. His was more of a pale mocha and hers was a peaches and cream. They were both long and lanky and reeked of magic. The girl, Dixie, appeared to be about nineteen or twenty and the man? Who knew…
“I’m sorry,” she muttered staring at her fingernails. She picked nervously at the chipped black polish.
          “Would you like to explain these grades?” The air crackled with his anger and energy. He threw the paper to the ground at her feet.
Grades? WTF? This was Hell…people got report cards in Hell?
“Um…I studied?” she whispered, ducking her head to avoid a blow. 
     “No child of mine receives straight A’s.” His voice was soft and menacing. 
I was so fucking confused I almost stepped out from my hiding place, but sanity prevailed and I stayed put.
   “I said I was sorry dad. I’ll try harder to fail next time.”
One question answered…
     “Where did I go wrong?” he lamented. I watched him pace. His presence filled the room completely, leaving little space for anyone or anything else. His very expensive black leather pants and black silk shirt matched his hair perfectly. It was clear the girl loved him and was upset with his displeasure. 
He threw his hands up in disgust, “I’ve given you everything, and this is how you repay me?”
          “Didn’t realize there was a price,” she muttered quietly.
          “Everything has a price,” he hissed. 
Damn, he had really good hearing
Dixie shrunk down low and waited. I held my breath wishing I hadn’t chosen this particular room to explore.
“You will drop the goody-goody act. You will be rude and promiscuous and scandalous. You will not be compassionate unless I am concerned and I expect you to flunk out of The Demon College just like all of your sisters did. Do you understand me?” he demanded.
          “I’m really sorry Dad,” she sounded like a broken record—this was clearly a familiar conversation for them. 
“I am Satan,” he bellowed and the room vibrated. “I have a reputation to uphold. You are a Demon Princess, you have a Porsche, your own bungalow in the most exclusive zip code in Hell and certainly more money than anyone your age should have access to and yet you throw all this in my face? Why Dixie, why?”  He wearily dropped down on the couch next to the girl and she put her arms around him.
          “I love you,” she whispered.
          The ghost of a smile touch his lips. “And I you.” He wrapped his arms around her and looked into her eyes. “Is it true that you donated one million dollars of my money to feed hungry humans on Earth?”
  “Yes,” she buried her face against his chest. “I did.” 
          He heaved an enormous sigh, “I have to punish you, you know.”
          “I know.” 
He put his finger under her chin, forcing her to meet his eyes. “If I don’t punish you, all hell will break loose down here. No pun intended,” he grinned.
          “Daddy, that pun was totally intended,” she giggled.
          “That it was.” He stood up and ran his big hands through his hair and turned and mesmerizing gaze on her. “You are so like your mother.”
          “And that’s a bad thing?” she challenged.
“It’s an…interesting thing,” he conceded. His voice was melodic and hypnotizing.
          “Yes Dixie?”
          “What’s my punishment?” 
He gave her a terribly evil and intoxicating smile. “I’ll have to think about it.” He turned and walked toward my hiding spot. Shit. Why did I have to be so freakin’ tall? Please walk by me. Please. He stopped a foot from where I hid. I held my new found breath and prayed to everything and anything I could think of…including him.
“Come out, Astrid. I’ve been expecting you.
Sweet baby Satan, this day couldn’t get any worse. Actually it probably could…

Shitfire, hell and damnation. This was bad. Satan was expecting me? How was that even possible? And how did he know I was hiding behind curtain number two? Although he was Satan or Lucifer or Beelzebub or the Prince of Darkness or...
“I prefer Satan. Lucifer is fine on Tuesdays and the Prince of Darkness will do in a pinch,” he said smoothly in his dark, rich voice.
Son of a... I quickly slammed my brain doors shut and hoped I still had at least that ability. Test it, my filterless and quick to come up with horrific ideas brain told me. Fine…Satan is a douchebag who wears ladies underpants and picks his nose...Nothing. No reaction. Thank you Jesus and Buddah and Moses and Judas and whoever else was kind enough to be helping me out at the moment. Wait. I take back the Judas thing. Don’t want to pray to a dude who gets people crucified. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I idly wondered for a moment if Judas lived down here. Focus. Satan was on the other side of the curtain I was hiding behind and he’d requested the pleasure of my company. Fuck.
I was southern and I had manners. If I could teach art to genital obsessed seniors, I could converse with Satan. Right? Right. If he was expecting me, he was probably aware of my recent patricide and matricide…Would he be impressed or pissed? After all, my Father had been in charge of Hell. Wait. How was my stanky Father in charge down here if Satan existed? This made no sense. Were the Vampyres wrong? Was my Father a big fat hairy liar? Who in the hell did I kill an hour ago? Was he even my Father?
“I’m waiting,” Satan informed me in a tone that got my feet moving quickly.
“Hi,” I said as I burst from the curtains and shoved my hand out to shake his, acting like it was the most natural thing in the world to be eavesdropping on the King of Debauchery’s conversation from behind black brocade. “I’m Astrid and there was clearly some major fuc...mistake. I don’t live down here and I’m not dead. Well, actually I am dead, but not dead-dead. I’m undead and my undead, um…husband is going to be pissed. I’m a newlywed of sorts in a Vampyre undead way and I need to go home, your Honor of Darkness. Now.” I expelled a loud and long breath as I hadn’t inhaled through my insane diatribe. 
“Interesting,” he purred and watched me. He hadn’t taken my hand and I let it drop limply to my side. “So you’re the Chosen One.”
“Apparently,” I snapped, annoyed that he didn’t have the decency to shake my hand. “And you’re the bad guy.”
“Occasionally,” Satan laughed and all the air left my lungs. God, he was beautiful…and scary.
“Cigarette?” he offered holding a pack of my favorite brand out to me.
I was soooo tempted. I could breathe for God’s sake. Would one measley cigarette hurt me? Um, yes. Yes, it would. In my struggle with temptation, I’d all but forgotten I was pregnant. Would I have taken it if I didn’t have my little miracle inside of me? I’d like to think no, but I wasn’t too sure. Hell was going to be hell.
“No, I quit,” I said looking away from my former vice.
“Such a shame,” he replied watching me intently.
It was if he could read me without diving into my mind. Shit. Time for a change of subject…“I thought my Dad was in charge down here.”
“You do realize down is a misnomer,” he informed me. He was in my space and I itched to take a step back, but knew in my gut if I moved away I would lose a few points in whatever fucked up game we were playing.
“I’m not following,” I said politely, very aware he avoided my statement.
“My dear beautiful creature,” Satan said moving even closer. “It’s a misconception is that Hell is below and Heaven is above. What does that even mean? Nothing is up or down, that’s just mundane human mythology. Most likely the poor mortal fools made the mistake because Hell is occasionally called the Underworld. So very literal, those humans…Hell and Heaven are simply on different planes, accessible through Portals. Earth was modeled after a combination of the seasons, climates and terrains of Heaven and Hell. We all share the same moon, sun and stars.”
“Interesting. So about my father…” I said ungracefully changing the subject. Again. Although what he said was fascinating and I did want to know more I was in a bit of a time crunch. The faster I could get out of here the better. I was certain Satan already knew if he was going to kill me, so I had very little to lose. I wanted answers not a history lesson.
“Yes,” he replied silkily. “Tragic ending.”
“Who was he?” God, the Devil was more cryptic than the Vamps. “I thought he was in charge down here.”
That stopped the Devil in his tracks. “Did he tell you that?” he demanded in a voice that made my stomach drop to my toes.
“Um, no…not exactly. I guess I just assumed or maybe my mom told me.” Under no circumstance would I tell him the Vampyres believed my dead pappy, Abaddon, was the leader of the Underworld.
“How rich,” he laughed, going from deadly back to blindingly beautiful in the matter of a moment. “Your father,” he spat derisively, “was definitely not in charge here. He was my minion and managed a certain—how shall I put it—area of Hell…but he was weak and stupid—unfit to rule.” 
I stayed silent. The way he stared at me made my skin heat. He was breathtaking, but I wasn’t pulled to him in a sexual way. It was a power thing…I think.
“Daddy, you should tell her more,” Dixie said quietly from across the room. I’d forgotten she was still here. Her Father’s presence was so large and overwhelming everything around him disappeared.
“She’s on a need to know basis,” he informed his daughter. “Welcome to Hell, Astrid. Say hello to your cousin, Dixie.”
“My cousin?” WTF? If she was my cousin then he was my…
“Uncle,” Satan supplied as I quickly re-shut the faulty doors in my mind. Damnit to hell, I was one walking defect…nothing worked.
“That’s just awesome,” I gushed inching my way to the door, “but I have to go. It’s been kind of lovely meeting you and I seriously hope we don’t have too many get togethers and…”
“Halt,” my Uncle the Fucking Devil hissed.
I did.
“Don’t you think it only fair that you learn about your other part of your heritage?” he half asked-half insisted turning his back on me.
“Um, no that’s okay. I’ve seen enough in the last couple of hours to last a life time…a long one—like mine.”
“Unacceptable,” he replied so quietly I wasn’t sure I heard him, but the if look on Dixie’s face was anything to go by, things were about to get hinky. Shit. “You will stay here until I deem it reasonable for you to leave. You will immerse yourself in the Demon culture and you will get to know your family.”
“There’s more than just the two of you?” I asked hoping there wasn’t.
“Oh yes, my lovely niece. Many more.”
“There will be people looking for me,” I said racking my brain for any excuse to leave.
“That should be fun,” Satan grinned and I almost fainted. His charm was addictive.
“The longer I’m here the better the chance that there will be problems for you.”
“Trust me my dear, there are already problems…Plus time runs differently here than it does on your chosen plane,” he said and turned to leave.
“What the hell does that mean?” I demanded. I had no clue if he knew I was pregnant, but if time was screwed down here what did that mean for my baby?
“It means,” my uncle replied slowly while staring me down, “that I determine how much time you miss on Earth. A week here could equate with a minute in your world…or it could equate to a year or ten. That my dear will be up to you.” 
“To me?”
“Yes, good behavior will be in you favor. Remember that.”
With that he disappeared in a blast of black glitter and smoke.
Son of a bitch, this day just kept getting worse…
“Come with me,” my cousin Dixie said. “You’ll stay at my place during your visit.”

I rolled my eyes at the use of the term visit, but didn’t correct her. There was something fragile and trusting about Dixie. Honestly, I kind of liked her, but more than that I was hoping I could use her to get the hell out of…well, Hell.


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