Bite, Blaze, and Enchantment: A Reverse Harem Romance
When my cousin Katie comes to visit from planet Etwan, I beg her to take me with her.
I need a change. A break.
Instead, I find myself facing the same fate as my cousins and a truth I never expected.
Two vampires and two alien dragon shifters claiming me as their mates.
They need me to help save their planet, and I need them to help heal the wounds in my heart. But can I give myself over completely to these four incredible men? Or will the call to return home to Earth be too loud to ignore?
Release date: June 24, 2020
Publisher: Independently published
Print pages: 282
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Bite, Blaze, and Enchantment: A Reverse Harem Romance
As I sit in my room, I'm not feeling myself. In fact, it's been a while since I've felt like anyone in particular; like a person at all. Lately, I'll admit that I have been starting to wonder if I was ever really meant to live on this planet. That line of thought might have been a little spurred on by my older cousin's outlandish claims. The ones about her going to another planet. It is all pure fantasy, of course. Still... I could not help but imagine what it might be like to be swept away to an alien world where things like magic seemed possible. Where I could forget about all the hurt and sadness that this world, planet Earth, the only world that has any life on it as far as I am concerned, has given me.
I am lying in my bed with most of the lights off. Just a small lamp to light the room a little. It is late afternoon I think. Lately, I have been having trouble telling the difference between the times of day. That's what happens when you don't have any kind of sleep routine. When you don't really see the sun a whole lot.
Then my solemn contemplation is cut short when I hear something in the other room. Mom's talking to a visitor. I get out of my twin bed, amble through the dim and dingy bedroom that's become my personally allocated prison. And I slowly open the door without making any sound. I can see my mother in the living room, seated on our three seater couch. Beside her is my older cousin, Katie. It's a shock to see her initially, since she has been away so much. I almost call out her name with excitement; it's rare that anything happens anymore that actually makes me feel elated. Or just feel anything at all.
I will admit I am embarrassed just to watch the scene unfold. My own mother is making me seem like a lost cause, a charity case. Someone to take pity upon. Even worse, my cousin Katie is being thrown in the middle of a difficult situation.
"You can't be serious..."
It seems like the tenth time Katie has repeated the same thing. Not word for word, but with the exact same meaning. Like she was trying to get the same point across to my mother.
Finally, she says, "Your daughter is not cut out to go to Etwan."
Etwan? But that place isn't real. Why is Mom asking her to take me away to a made-up place?
Mom looks crushed, her hope that I might somehow find happiness on the far away planet gone. But what if I can go there and live such a thrilling experience? Find love and more too – just like Katie idd? It doesn't seem like a bad idea really. Too bad it is just fantasy.
"No..." Katie repeats, although hurt is evident in her voice as she says the words. Just as much as she could see the hurt on Mom’s face. "Etwan really is not the type of place for someone like your daughter. I'm so sorry. I just—"
Before my cousin can finish her sentence, I cringe at what happens next. My own mother is down on her knees like a groveling beggar. "I know Stephanie is only nineteen. But you have to admit that going to that planet changed your life in so many ways. I can tell that you're thinking about it. You know it would be good for her, don't you? You're a good girl. Please don't let my daughter continue suffering for something she didn't do. Ever since her father's death—"
"Mom, please!" I speak up finally. I've come out of my room, swung the door open in a huff. Immediately, I regret doing so. The move has left me out in the open, exposed. Two sets of eyes fix on me with judgment. I suddenly feel very unsafe and wish I was back in my cocoon in my bedroom, blanket wrapped around me, face nestled in the pillow. Head buried in so much proverbial sand to shield me from the harshness of reality. The shitty hand that life has dealt me.
"Stephanie!" Mom exclaims, but not with a reprimanding tone. She seems overtly embarrassed. "I, I had no idea you were listening. I thought you were asleep."
"So you just wanted to talk about me behind my back? Is that it? What on Earth are you talking about anyway? Sending me away to some far away planet like that isn’t crazy. It's not real." I now notice that I have stepped forward several paces, did so while I was ranting. My breathing is heavy and I'm finding it difficult to think clearly about what I want to say. What do I want to say? What is there to say?
"I don't know what to say," Mom replies to me, rising from her knees to seat herself on the couch beside Katie. And then there is Katie, the poor girl, sitting and staring in bewilderment. Her eyes move between Mom and me. No doubt she thinks we've both gone off the deep end.
"Please," Katie starts to say to my mom. Then she looks to me. "Stephanie, I know how this sounds. I never intended to make you do anything. I mean. I didn't—"
"It's not your cousin's fault," my mom interjects to save Katie from having to explain. "I asked Katie here without her knowing what the visit was for. She was just coming to see us, to see you especially, to try to pick up your mood."
I know I have been "moody" since Dad died. I still blame myself for what happened. If he had not been coming to pick me up from that party... he would still be alive. If I had not been too drunk to make my own way home like a responsible young adult, well he would still be here with us. It was all my fault.
There is one thing I know for certain: I am not about to sit back and let my own fate be discussed around me without putting in my own opinions. I deserve to have a say just as much as anyone else. And I am not about to sit back and listen to such a painful past even be dredged up so casually, let alone to use to guilt a family member. "Dad's death has nothing to do with Katie, or this crazy request for her to take me away to another planet."
Mom stands and walks over to me. "Please don't take it that way, honey. You know I didn't mean to seem like I wanted to get rid of you. I want more than, this, for you," she says while gesturing around our simple but neat little home. "I want you to experience all the highs and lows life has to offer. Not just the lows..."
"So that's what you think about my life?" I ask. I don't know why I have to be so argumentative about this. She's perfectly right and I am fully aware of the fact. I don't care though. I deserve to feel all the lows that life has to offer. I killed my own father, and I took away a loving husband from my mother. Now she's all alone. Alone even with me living here, since I am just a husk.
While I deserve to be alone, Mom doesn't. Ever since the accident... well, I don't think I much need, or deserve, the company of others. Being by myself is just how I feel I should be.
Katie takes a big breath, and something ignites in her eyes. There's a fire there I haven't seen before. "I know you and I haven't spoken since the accident. I want you to know that it wasn't my intention to break off contact between us. I haven't been around for a very good reason."
"What, because you were off on some alien planet living a life of adventure? Is that what you want me to believe?"
"Please, try to hear me out," Katie replies. She keeps her calm, expression neutral, eyes pleading, voice soft and lulling.
It makes me feel pandered too, but I guess that's kind of what I want. Why else am I acting like a big child? "Fine," I say.
"Alright," Katie continues. She's standing before me now and has taken my hands in her own. It reminds me of all the times we used to spend together as children. I always looked up to my older cousin. A warm wave flows through me thinking about those good times. Back when life was simpler, and a whole lot happier.
I do want to believe. It feels so good to even think about it. No, no I can't. I break away from touching hands with my cousin and step away from her. Mom comes up beside us me. "Stephanie, you have to accept this one thing. I don't expect you to believe it's real. All I ask is for you to go with your cousin, please."
"Katie doesn't want to take me anywhere," I say sadly. Looking at my cousin, I can tell my words have made her feel guilty.
Mom looks like she's just about to start crying, she's so desperate. This is seriously starting to worry me. Then she walks forward, like taking one large lunge. I almost shudder visibly, not that she would ever raise a hand to me. It's just that my nerves are completely destroyed with this all-encompassing depression that's come over me. I feel like the last months of my life have been a dream. A bad dream at that.
Then Mom puts Katie's hand in mind. "Please," Mom says. "Take her, Katie. She’s your cousin. You know this will help her to get her life back. To bring back the sweet, vibrant young woman we know and love."
Katie seems to be struggling with what to do. I can see an inner turmoil in her expression as she almost visibly thinks about her next action. "Well, I guess we could go, for a little while at least. You are both my family and I love you." Katie takes a determined breath and moves closer to the door, leading me behind her. "Well, little cousin, you heard your mother. I can't really say no to family, can I? Not after a heartfelt request like that. Let’s go pack your bag."
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