TEMPLE WEST

YA paranormal romance novelist and author of the Velvet Trilogy

Temple West | YA paranormal romance novelist and author of the Velvet Trilogy

Top 5 Fan Fiction Finalists - Choose the Winner!

Welcome...to the top 5 finalists for the First Annual Temple West Fan Fiction Competition. Most contests require minimal participation: a like, a retweet, a comment. This competition required blood, sweat, and tears. Or, at least the words "blood, sweat, and tears."

The entries submitted are the result of an enormous amount of work by the writers. There were so many fun and fantastic entries that it was painful to narrow it down to five. And to everyone who did not make it to this round, know that I personally read each and every submission and am so grateful for the time and dedication you put into your scenes. This competition has been such a blast that I will definitely be hosting it again next year, so you'll have a chance to enter again!

A brief recap of what our writers had to do:

Their entry had to be between 500 and 2000 words long. It had to be told in first person, but could be told from any character's point of view. However, it had to include at least two characters from the Velvet Trilogy universe. It also had to include the phrase, "Well, that was unexpected."

The winner of this competition will receive two prizes: they will become a BETA reader for the third book in the Velvet Trilogy, and they will also receive my mentorship on their own work-in-porgress story or novel. Your vote will determine who receives these prizes. Read through them all, and then vote using the poll at the bottom. No limit on number of votes. Voting open until midnight on Friday, April 7.

May the best writer win.


SILVER

by Rosemary Blodgett

Rosemary's blog

Rosemary on Twitter

POV: Mark (Velvet Trilogy character)


“Would you like to dance?” I asked. I’m not a fan of dancing, but seeing as it was Jenny’s prom, it would have been rude not to ask. A slow dance wouldn’t be so bad, less embarrassing. I viewed the dance floor – my body didn’t move like that. Apparently, my sister Trish inherited a different set of genes. She and Ben seemed to be having a lot of fun and weren’t afraid of making fools of themselves. Well matched.

Trish’s smile stretched from ear to ear. Not like earlier this afternoon when I told her why I’d come home for the weekend. Or when I’d asked her if we would be sitting with Caitlin. That earned me a death stare. Something was up between those two but she wasn’t talking. Had to be because of Adrian.

“I’m fine here, Mark.” A shy smile reached Jenny’s eyes. Those beautiful, deep blue eyes, breathtaking against her blue dress. I wanted to hold her in my arms, kiss her, hug her, and not let go. 

I took her hand instead. 

Chicken.

“You’re wearing the bracelet I gave you.” I rubbed the silver bangle. “I didn’t want to say anything in front of everyone. I didn’t know if you’d told them it was from me.” It had looked plain and rather boring until I’d added the blue jewel that dazzled like her eyes.

Jenny lifted her arm. The delicate silver bracelet slid down her wrist. The twinkle lights, strewn up all around the outdoor pavilion, made it sparkle.

“It goes with everything. I love it.” Jenny gave me another of those shy smiles I was growing accustomed to seeing thrown my way. That smile made me want to protect her even more. I couldn’t explain about the protection the bracelet gave her. Couldn’t tell my family, either, when I’d given them each a silver trinket at Christmas. I told them I’d been trying my hand at silversmithing. 

Adding the jewel to Jenny’s had been a stroke of genius. Saying it was to match her eyes, it wasn’t only a line I was feeding her, but a way I hoped would ensure she always wore the bracelet. It seemed to have worked. She had no idea of the dangers in Stony Creek. I’d had no idea. 

The slip of the tongue back in Boston and the de la Mara’s name had gotten me recruited. 

My eyes wandered from Jenny’s wrist to the dance floor. Adrian was leading the group in some dopey dance. Man, was I glad we weren’t out there. “Is that the song from Footloose?” I asked Jenny. I’d only seen the movie once because Trish insisted we watch it on family movie night. I wouldn’t have been caught dead watching it otherwise. 

“Yup. The song and the dance. Adrian’s got some moves!” Jenny looked from the dance floor back to me, and for a moment I wondered if she’d only said no to dancing to make me happy. She took my hands and pulled me closer. “I have some moves, too," she whispered.

I know I should have seen it coming, but that kiss took me by surprise. We were a couple, but I still hadn’t expected Jenny to be so demonstrative about it. Not here at the prom where everyone might see. Only no one was looking our way…not even the chaperones. 

The action was on the dance floor. Trish was on the far side of the pavilion. Too far away to have seen that kiss. It was just as well, she was mad enough at me already. 

“Trish seems happy,” Jenny said. She must have noticed where my eyes had traveled. 

“Yeah.” I was happy, too. It was a bold move, but since no one was paying attention to us, I made it. I took Jenny’s hand and led her out of the pavilion. There were benches scattered throughout the park. Most were just out of range of prying eyes. “She and Ben make a good pair. Adrian and Caitlin, well that’s a surprise, isn’t it?” I was curious what Jenny might say about those two. 

“Oh, not really. You should have seen Adrian at the barn before Halloween. I knew he was showing off only for her. I sensed something between them almost immediately.” Jenny hesitated for a moment before sitting down. I thought for a second that she’d make us turn back. 

“You’re good at sensing things, aren’t you?” I said moving a little closer to her. “You came looking for me that night during the sleepover. Do you remember what you said?”

Jenny’s voice was so low and the music still loud enough to be pounding in my ears that I almost didn’t catch her words. “I wanted…I needed to talk to you. I…” She didn’t need to say any more. I knew how she had felt. I’d felt the same way. Though we’d practically grown up together, we’d never hung out, not just the two of us. The age difference. Seemed important then, but not so much now. 

She leaned towards me and I found her lips as eager as mine. I should have been paying attention to what was going on around us. Only it was impossible to ignore the clever girl beside me. I wanted her all to myself. I nuzzled her neck and traced the line of her collarbone with light kisses. My hand squeezing her hip as she moved closer. My mind wanted, just like my hands and my lips, to only be focused on Jenny. 

If Chase were here, he’d remind me to not get distracted. Constant vigilance. 

Feeling guilty, I stole a glance over her shoulder back to the dancing. Everyone was jumping up and down in time to a pop tune. Looking for Caitlin and Adrian, I finally caught a glimpse of them with Stephanie and Tim. I almost jumped when Jenny rested her hand on my chest. I squeezed her hip again, began moving in for another kiss, when an overwhelming feeling made the hairs on my neck prickle. 

Something was wrong, or out of place. Which was it? I moved to nuzzle her neck again but really, I was scanning. Beyond the pavilion. Towards the parking lot. 

I caught the flicker back toward the cars. At the woods' edge. 

Then I saw one. “Well, that was unexpected.” It was barely a whisper from my lips but spoken near Jenny’s ear and she had heard.

“What’s unexpected?” she practically purred. 

“How much I’m enjoy tonight.” Not poetry, but I had to cover my tracks. I stopped looking across the parking lot so she wouldn’t look, too. I didn’t want her to see what I saw. My mind was elsewhere, but I leaned in to kiss her anyway, keeping up the pretense. 

I hadn’t imagined any of the Council showing up here, out in public, not like this. They might be in the shadows, but now that I’d spotted one I’d quickly noticed more. At least three. How many more were outside my field of vision? 

Right then I knew. 

There was no way I was going away with my family this summer. I was staying right here in Stony Creek. I wasn’t going to leave Jenny alone and exposed. My training in France didn’t start until the fall, but now it might need to start earlier. This was critical. Tomorrow I’d have to contact Chase. We had to keep an eye on the de la Maras. Something big must be going on if the Council was involved. How much danger was Caitlin in? Did she know? Did she have any idea what she was involved in? 

Thank goodness Jenny had the silver bracelet.


BROOKLYN

by Ana Salazar

Ana's blog

Ana on Twitter

Ana on Instagram

POV: Gen (original character)

 

Water droplets were running fast down my ice tea glass. Summer in Brooklyn was in full swing, filled with tourists wandering around the shops wanting to get the full New York experience. 
Working mornings at Brooklyn Forest Café was like a CIA mission when it came down to getting every order right, and as fast as possible. So whenever I got my ten minute breaks, I tried to get away from the rush of tourists, but those ten minutes were never really enough time to isolate myself from the massive flow of people. 

I couldn’t really leave the café for just ten minutes. I mean, I would probably just get to go across the street and back and the ten minutes would be up. Also, in those ten minute breaks I could just stare at Andrew, the other morning barista from across the shop. And my friend Camille always stopped by to see me and have a drink before heading to the city for work.

“I like the cashew milk combination with the matcha and mocha powder. You did well, Gen,” said Camille, taking a few more sips of her drink. She’d been the only one of my friends that, like me, had not taken a summer vacation because she needed to save money for college.

“Thank the lady with the Louis Vuitton handbag and last-season Chanel shoes. It was taking too long so she decided it wasn’t worth wasting her time waiting for another thirty seconds,” I said, smiling and taking a sip of my tea.

“Well, to the Louis Vuitton bitch that gave me a free, expensive, stupid drink.” She raised her cup and took one more sip. Camille sure knew how to make the best out of every situation. 

“How did you know it was cashew milk and not almond anyway?” I asked just to tease her.

“Hey when you deal with bitches that believe shopping on Fifth Avenue gives them class, you pick up a thing or two.” We both laughed because that couldn’t be more true.

She works at the Dulce & Gabbana store on the famous New York’s Fifth Avenue and she always has stories about angry and petulant people that are supposed to be from the high class that behave worse than a New York Stock Exchange executive assistant when their stocks went down. 

“Cinnamon mocha cappuccino for Trish?” yelled Andrew from behind the counter. Andrew started working for Brooklyn Forest Café in March and although he was a little stupid, he was still good looking and he told the best jokes. “And Americano half and half for Tommie.”

Damn, even just yelling out names he looked cute.

“When are you going to like, talk to him, Gen?” asked Camille when she saw me starting at Andrew. I just ignored her and kept starting at him as Tommie and Trish, or the people I assumed were Trish and Tommie, reached out for their order and sat about two tables away from us. 

I had never seen the pair, but then again, only people coming early in the mornings were regulars, anyone else coming after ten was a tourist. I had taken the order from the guy when he showed up, the girl showed up a few minutes later, and two minutes after that I had clocked out for my break.

They looked cute together. She had really pretty blond hair and this body shape that screamed, “I can take you down in two seconds,” but somehow she made it work in her favor. 
He, on the other hand was very attractive. Like, unbelievably attractive. Like in a dangerous way, and then he would smile and all the danger seemed to go away. It was hypnotic to say the least, and a little scary, but it seemed to work fine for them because the girl had eyes for no one but him.

“When he decides not to call me 'dude' every single time he tells me something. He only sees me as a friend, Camille, and you know it,” I said looking away from him and refocusing on Camille. 

“Well, if you don’t talk to him, that fact will never change,” she said, taking one more sip of what was left of her drink.

“What time are you meeting with her?” I overheard the guy, Tommie, asking the girl. I couldn’t help it, something about them seemed odd and I kind of was paying too much attention to them so of course I overhear the question and her answer.

“After lunch. I told her I was stopping by after my plane landed.” The girl’s voice was so… void of any expression. It was like listening to a robot talk. 

Extremely weird, if you asked me.

“Hey, stop listening to them and pay attention to me, I came all the way to talk to you today and you’re ignoring me,” said my friend and I just gave her the "that is BS" stare. 

“You came here for the free drink I texted you about, and because you hate to be all by yourself at your house when your sister is not there.”

She just shook her head, smiled, and took one more sip.

A few more minutes went by and we just talked about the new collection that was coming to the store that week and ways to approach Andrew and make him fall crazy in love with me. When my ten minutes were up I stood up to go back to the counter, but couldn't help look back at the couple that I'd been eavesdropping for like the last five minutes and saw how the guy, Tommie, stood up and looked at the girl, Trish, square in the eyes and said:

“You will remember nothing of this meeting and conversation, you will go back and meet with Caitlin as if you had just arrived from your trip."

She stood there like a statue for all of five seconds as the guy left the café. I looked at Camille and she was staring, too. That was the weirdest thing I’d seen in a while. 

“They are weird,” she whispered as the girl just stood there watching the guy leave.

“No kidding,” I said.

The girl finally turned around and took a look at her surroundings. She looked stunned, like she didn’t know what she was doing. Her eyes met mine and then she looked at Camille. She looked around again and then the coffee cup she had in her hand, and approached us. She was looking very confused.

“Hi,” she said, “could you guys tell me where I am?”

Camille and I looked at each other and then at the girl. “Brooklyn Forest Café?” I answered, but it sounded more like a question. 

“I’m in Brooklyn?” she said and took another look around. She was legit surprised she was at the café. It's like she had a black out or something.

Then something even weirder happened. She composed herself and her eyes did this weird thing, like they were retracting from reality or something. She smiled and just walked out without saying anything else. 

She just left. 

The weirdest thing I had ever experience. No doubt.

“Well, that was unexpected,” said Camille as the door closed after the girl.

“To say the least,” I said, still stunned. We both looked at each other and shook our heads.

“I’m telling you, people are the weirdest creatures in the world.” I nodded as my boss Kate called out my name.

“Your ten minutes are over, it's Andrew’s break now.” I looked at Andrew and smiled. He smiled back and waved.

“Call me later, maybe we can go see a movie or something,” I told Camille, she nodded and headed on her way. 

“Hey, is it just me or was that couple that just left weird as fuck?” said Andrew as he removed his apron and started doing the most important thing he had done in his life: starting a conversation with me for the first time.

I freaked out a little and I almost didn’t say anything back, I mean the dude was talking to me!
“Yeah, they were weird.” I said and looked around for my apron. I was so nervous. He was talking to me about something non-job related! There must be something in the air, and whatever it was I needed to get my hands on it so Andrew would not stop talking to me after this. 

Was that sweat I felt on my face? 

Maybe just my cheeks setting themselves on fire? 

There were so many warm and tingly things happening to me right now. 

“Yeah. Well, see ya, gotta go smoke one before coming back to this jungle,” he smiled and left for the alley. 

“Something unexpected, indeed,” I said, remembering how Camille had described the exchange with the Trish and Tommie couple. “Completely unexpected.” I tied back my apron and headed back to the front counter. This day was all kinds of weird, but when you lived in New York, anything was possible.


UNDER THE TWINKLE LIGHT SKY

by Kimberly Tumambing

Kim's blog

POV: Jenny (Velvet Trilogy character)

 

I’m fairly certain I’m shaking. Visibly shaking. I need to calm down. It’s not like I’m alone, in an art studio, with the hottest boy to ever grace Stony Creek. 

But I am. Alone with Mark Fields. In his art studio. 

Just last Christmas he was asking if I would model for him. Now, we have been to Prom together, gone on a couple dates, and hung out with my group of friends. Even with the rumors Meghan has started about me, I’m so happy I could explode. 

That’s why I’m shaking. How am I supposed to just sit here as Mark's beautiful, chocolatey eyes scrutinize every inch of me? 

He looks up, stares for a minute, then gets back to sketching. I can almost hear the gears in his head turning as he measures the space between my eyes and the size of my nose. Is this shirt too tight? Or cut too low? What does he think of my hands? I think they are too rough and worn looking. 

Oh, no! Mark just looked up again. 

“Jenny, why are you shaking? Is it too cold in here for you?” Mark asked as he crossed the room to me. He ran his hands up and down my arms. But my goose bumps aren’t because of the temperature in the room. 

“No. I’m just nervous.” I say as I look towards the floor. I’m naturally shy. So looking Mark in the face isn’t always easy. Sometimes I have a hard time looking at him without visualizing us kissing.

“Hey. Look at me, Jenny. What’s going on in your head?” Mark lifts my chin up. 

“I was thinking about the night you asked me to model for you. That night was one of the best nights of my life. You make me feel like everything I say is important. You see me. I often feel like I can blend in with my surroundings and hide, but you always seem to see where I am and pull me out. Even at prom, you made me feel as if I am more than a wallflower. I really appreciate that, Mark.” I was speaking just above a whisper but he had brought his face so close to my own I knew he could hear me.

“Oh, Jenny. You are beautiful. I adore how laid back you are, and how observant you are. You are kind and caring, and you listen. I’m from a big family, so I can attest to how wonderful it is to just have someone around who will listen when I talk.” Mark leaned his forehead against mine. 

I took a deep breath and gazed deeply into his eyes. We had shared a kiss after prom. But here, in his studio was special.

Mark was looking at me again in that calculating way of his. I stopped trembling long enough to realize he was moving again. I tilted my face up to meet his and our lips connected. My breathing sped up as he deepened the kiss and for a moment I thought maybe this is what heaven is like. 

He stepped back and broke the spell. His cheeks expanded with a smile. “Kissing you is better than apple pie covered in ice cream and caramel sauce.”

I’m sure my blush made me look like a big tomato. 

“Now, if you can stop trembling long enough for me to finish sketching, I will take you out for dinner.” He smiled again and fixed the bun at the back of his head.

I started laughing. “Deal.”

***

A few days later I was sitting at home listening to Caitlin’s ring back song. I was singing along to N’Sync’s “This I Promise You,” when she answered.

“Hello?”

“Caitlin? It’s Jenny!”

“Hey, Jenny, how are you?”

“I’m doing great. I wanted to call and see how you are doing in the big city? What’s it like?”

“Jenny, slow down.” She’s laughing at me. “I’m well. The city is beautiful and filled with people always rushing around. Everyone here seems to be going somewhere. Like they have important business every second of every day. How are you? What is going on in Stony Creek? How’s Mark? How are things with Meghan?”

“Things are improving. Trish came home and she seems to be handling Meghan. We are all getting ready for the wedding. Trish even has Adrian helping out. Mark is great. He is really making progress on his collection of paintings. I spend a lot of time just sitting in his studio as he paints.” I laugh.

“That sounds amazing, Jenny. Thank you for keeping an eye on Adrian. I appreciate it. I miss him so much. I didn’t realize how much being separated from him would hurt.”

“Yea, I’m worried about how I will ever survive being separated from Mark. Summer is slipping away from us. I hope he won’t forget about me when he is studying abroad. He set me up with Skype so I can talk to him. Maybe you and Adrian should get Skype.” The phone was quiet for some time before Caitlin responded.

“Yeah. I don’t really have time for that right now. My internship is keeping me super busy.”

“Caitlin do you need to talk about something? Are you okay?”

“I’m just trying to figure out my life. This internship has opened new doors for me. Don’t worry, Jenny. I’m coming home at the end of the summer, but I may have some new ideas for my future when I do. Thanks for calling. I miss you all.”

“Thanks for chatting. I think tomorrow I’m going to spend more time with Mark. Now I’m thinking about making every minute count. I don’t want any of the girls in Paris turning his head. Good night, Caitlin.”

“Good night, Jenny.” I hung up the phone and stared at it. I could sense Caitlin was near depression and I knew in just over a month, I would be feeling that way. Mark had changed my life. I needed to make sure he knew that before he left.

***

I did a small twirl in front of the mirror again. My hair was curled and partially pinned up. Trish had written instructions on how to apply my makeup and I was satisfied with the outcome. My knee length blush dress had a pleated skirt and off the shoulder top. I was certain Mark was going to look amazing in a tux and I hoped I could look semi-decent next to him.

All I needed now was to strap on my sweet little flats. So I headed downstairs. I turned the corner into the kitchen where Jack sat at the table. 

“Isn’t that dress a little revealing for you to wear to a wedding?” he said. 

I looked down. Everything was covered and the neckline was modest. I blushed and looked up at him.

“We wouldn’t want people to think Meghan’s words are more than just rumors, would we?” Jack sneered at me. 

“Why are you being so mean to me?” I could feel the tears pricking my eyes.

“Mark is too old for you. And why do you like him, anyways? He is putting ideas in your head, Jenny. You are meant to stay here in Stony Creek, not to travel the world with an artist.”

“Jack. Mark is a good guy. He cares about me. And he genuinely wants me to live a life full of happiness and fulfillment. You’re my twin! You of all people are supposed to support me.” 

Jack stood up from the table and came across the room. “He isn’t right for you. Don’t do something with him that you will regret. After Paris, Mark will leave you. I just want you to be prepared for him to disappoint you.”

I took a step backward. “I am well aware that Mark may break up with me. I know what is going on. And I’m prepared for the heartbreak. And I have no intention of being a slut, Jack. You are wrong about Mark.”

A knock at the door startled us both. I wiped the tears from my cheeks. I ran to the front room, grabbing my shoes, and a light sweater. I opened the door and looked up into Mark’s eyes. I walked outside and closed the door before reaching down to fasten my shoes. 

“Jenny, what happened? Why are you crying?” Mark folded me into his arms. 

“Jack was just very nasty to me. He called me a slut.”

Mark smoothed down my hair and held me even closer. “Jenny, I’m so sorry. I seem to have only caused you pain. I never meant for this to happen.”

“No, Mark. This isn’t your fault. We haven’t done anything wrong. I just don’t understand what’s going on. I want to be with you. I want to hang onto every minute we have together. Even if you break up with me after your time in Paris, it will have all been worth it.”

“Ah, I see. So that is what is really upsetting you.” Mark pulled back and looked into my eyes. “Jenny, you are very precious to me. And I am not going to break up with you. Not now, not after Paris. I plan to be around you for a very long time.”

I smiled and wiped the tears from face. “Let’s get out of here.”

***

The wedding was beautiful. The bride and groom smiled so much they glowed. Mark looked fantastic in his suit. Mark came over to the table I was seated at and extended his hand. He smiled. 

“May I have this dance?”

“I would be honored.” I stood up and he escorted me to the dance floor. 

The DJ put on “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts. Mark placed his hand on my hip and took the other in his own. He began to lead me in small circles around the floor. He leaned his head in and touched my forehead with his. 

“Jenny, I want you to know something before I leave for Paris.”

I looked up. “What is it?”

“You have been the best thing to ever happen to me. Every minute of every day with you is precious and exciting. You inspire me and my art. You make me want to be a better person. And you make me want to have fun. You are so much more than you give yourself credit for.” He spun me out and away from him before pulling me back in. “And I love you.”

I stopped. Right there in the middle of the dance floor. 

“I’m coming back to you after Paris. I hope you will wait for me. I love you, Jenny. Some days I even regret agreeing to study abroad. Will you wait for me to come back? Will you chat with me through Skype and keep me company?”

I started to cry. He swiped his thumb across my cheek to wipe away the tears. My mind was whirling. I nearly pinched myself in disbelief. The twinkle lights had begun to blur together behind his head and I realized I was holding my breath. I released the breath slowly.

“Well, that was unexpected. I love you too, Mark. Of course I will Skype with you and wait for you. I will be here when you come home.” 

Mark picked me up and twirled me around. He hooped and hollered a little. Then he set me down and kissed me. Really kissed me. The kind of deep and passionate kiss that makes it into epic movies like Princess Bride.

Separation may be a scary thing, but surely we would make it. I knew it in my bones. All great love stories have some sort of obstacle. Ours would be Paris. But this kiss, in this moment, meant more than words could say.


NIGHTMARE

by Shelby Llewellyn

Shelby's blog

Shelby on Twitter

Shelby on Instagram

POV: Caitlin (Velvet Trilogy character)

 

I wiggled my fingers and toes.  No pain.

Pitch black surrounded me.

My hands tried to grope around my body to see if there was anything to grab ahold of.

Nothing.

My stomach felt like it dropped out of my body, but I stay floating in nothing.  

I tried to call out, to anyone who could be close to me.  

My voice fell flat, even before it could ring out of my mouth.

Light shone out slowly from somewhere. My eyes searched frantically, before landing on my own chest.

Light spilt onto the dark canvas where I was floating, creating a beautiful vine pattern around my body.

My lungs took a deep breath to calm my racing heart.

My voice rang out, "Hello? Is anyone here?" 

A white noise responded moments later.  It shook the vines softly.

Suddenly, a loud growl, of all things, was in my ear.

"What is this?" A low echo resounded in the darkness.

"CAITLIN?" a young voice asked from the same direction as the growl.

"Lucian? You okay?"  My voice came out as a whisper.

"I'm okay.  What's around you?"  I could hear the shock in his voice.  

"I have no idea." My eyes continued to search for the boy.

"So...Caitlin," the low voice reappeared. "You've met my son, have you?"

I sat there in shock. My body shivering, but not from any cold.

"You have entered the dimension of hell...all by yourself! I haven't summoned your soul here yet, not for a short while, anyways."  His voice echoed indefinitely.

"Is that where I am?" My voice came out low, and in shock.

His laugh was a growl. "Of course you are! Where else could you be, you insignificant little human?"

My throat constricted, my breath cut off before it could catch.

"I should end your life.  What do you say Lucian, my boy?"  His voice caught on the word, as he strained to keep it light-hearted.

I choked on my breath.  Clawing at the invisible hand or even hands circling my throat even tighter.

"I could finish you off, little girl.  You wouldn't even feel a thing. A single flick of my wrist, a broken neck, and no more little Caitlin Holte."

I grunted in response, adrenaline starting to pump through my veins, and black spots hinting across my vision.

I went limp in the invisible hands, hoping he would let me go.   

The hand or hands released me, and I took so many deep breaths I lost count.  

"Caitlin, you gotta leave! Now!" Lucian called out. He must've been near; his voice was crystal clear.

"But you have to come with me!  I'm not leaving you here.  This doesn't seem like a place for you to be."

"Please Caitlin, go back to Adrian.  I'm fine. Dad is just looking out for me." 

"Don't make me do this, Lucian!" I screamed towards him. 

Just as a loud roar came from Lucian's dad, I was knocked out.

***

My ears pick up the sound of a heart monitor.

Bum bum...
Bum bum...
Bum bum...


I open my eyes into the harsh lights of a hospital.

By my side sat Adrian, on his phone.  I took a breath before relaxing again, and Adrian looked up at me.

"Well, that was unexpected, huh?" he whispered. It was almost 10:30 at night.

"Why are we here?" I blinked a few times, my head aching.

"Three days ago you collapsed at the ranch when we were together, and I brought you here, since you weren't waking up."

I stared at him.  I was basically in a coma for three days. I only felt like I was asleep overnight.

"I heard your's and Lucian's dad." My voice crumbled.  "Lucian said not to worry."

Adrian sat there, a small smile played on his handsome face.  "Trust me when I say,  we will find him, and bring him home."
 


THE DATE

by Bobbi Lalli

Bobbi's blog

Bobbi on Twitter

Bobbi on Instagram

POV: Caitlin (Velvet Trilogy character)

 

Adrian and I have been together for almost two years, now. The Council, his father, all the shit we went through to get here to this point seems so surreal. Life is strange in the sense that everything changes you, shapes you, and forms you into this person you need to be -- instead of the person you thought you’d become. If you would have told seventeen-year-old me that at the ripe old age of nineteen I’d be going to school in New York, have a part time job at Myriad, and live with my incredibly attractive boyfriend who attends Columbia, all while living in the world's cutest brownston,e I would have told you that you were out of your mind. Yet, here we are. 

Our lives have been pretty busy the last few months, what with my spring collection being due in a little over a month, and Adrian believing he’s found a breakthrough in the vampire genetics. We haven’t really had the time to be together. It seems like every night it was one or the other of us climbing into bed at some godforsaken hour and curling into the other. Nothing but mumbled ‘goodnight’s and ‘I love yous' to carry us through. 

But tonight we’d set aside time for a special date night. I was nervous. It felt like we hadn't been on a real date in ages. I stood in front of the mirror applying the finishing touches to my face. 

“You look gorgeous, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise.” Adrian walks up and wraps his arms around my waist, burying his face in the crook of my neck. “You’re always beautiful. Even in that ratty old shirt you refuse to throw away.” 

I lean back into him. “You’re crazy, de la Mara.” I smile and meet his gaze in the mirror. Turning I wrap my arms around his neck, leaning up to kiss him slowly. “Happy Valentine's Day, handsome.” 

“Happy Valentine's Day, Cait," he murmurs against my lips before deepening the kiss and subsequently turning my legs into jell-o. God, it doesn't matter how many times this boy kisses me, I will always turn to putty in his hands. After another long moment he pulls away and fingers the hem of my shirt, his knuckles grazing my stomach. 

“Isn’t this a part of your collection?” He arches a brow at me.

“It was. But it didn’t exactly feel cohesive with the rest of the line. And, it would have been a shame to waste such a cute outfit.” I had been inspired by my prom look when designing this piece. It’s a simple cream lace crop top paired with a knee length white pencil skirt, and cream heels. I felt elegant, and beautiful. Although, I still paled in comparison to Adrian’s Armani-clad body. But is there honestly anything that could compete with that?

“You ready to go?” he asked, pulling me out of my thoughts.

“Can’t we just stay home?” I waggle my brows suggestively at him. The smile that takes up residency on his face is breathtaking. 

“As fun as that sounds, love, I’m afraid I have to insist on our going out.” Laughing, he grabs his wallet, a mystery bag, and my purse off the dresser then returns to gently tug on my hand, leading me towards the door. 

“Spoil sport!” I stick my tongue out at him, but follow him out regardless. “Are you ever going to tell me where we’re going?” 

“You’ll find out when we get there. If I told you there wouldn’t be much of a surprise, would there?” After getting me situated in the car, he pulls an extra tie out of his mystery bag. 

“What’s that for?” I ask, shaking my head at him. “Oh no, mister! You’re not putting that thing on me! Adrian, I just did my make up, you’ll ruin it. I want to look nice!”

“You’d look nice even if your make up was smeared so bad you looked like a raccoon. Now sit still, please?” He gives me the puppy dog eyes. Like I could resist those and I surrendered, allowing myself to be 50 Shades of Blind for the time being. 

We drove most of the way there in comfortable silence, Adrian’s hand in mine. Him rubbing his thumb in mindless patterns on my hand while he drove, humming along to the radio. Eventually, I heard the car's engine shut off and Adrian declared that we had reached our destination.

“No peeking, Cait. I’m serious.” 

“I wouldn’t!”

“Uh huh.” after a minute, he said, “We’re almost there.”

“Can I take this thing off, yet?”

“Almost, just a little longer.”

After what felt like forever I felt his hands in my hair, gently untying my makeshift blindfold. 

“Oh. My. God.” I stared blankly, tears forming in my eyes. The scene around me was otherworldly. Of course Adrian would come up with something like this. 

He’d taken us to a stretch of land with the ocean as the backdrop. But the main focus was the white canopy and Parisian dinette. On the table was at least a dozen white and red roses, with even more petals sprinkled on the ground around us. “How? When? What?” I asked breathlessly, feeling a little dizzy. It was too much. He was too much. 

“When I said I had to run into the lab this morning, with the help of Julian and Kalare, although they gave me shit for it the entire time.” He was wrapped behind me again and I took the opportunity to stare up at him and press a kiss to his jaw.

“You’re amazing, A. Did you know that?”

“I did know that.” He smirked, “Come, sit.” 

Leading me over to the table and pulling my chair out he hands me meticulously wrapped gift. 

“For later.” I fork over my sloppily wrapped one in return. 

We talked, we ate, we laughed.  We may have had Julian sneak us a little champagne for the occasion.  Everything was perfect.

“Okay, the suspense is killing me. Can we do the presents, now?” I ask, my lip pushed out in a pretend pout.

“Only if you open yours, first.” He wiped his hands on his thighs smiling nervously.

I slowly unwrapped my gift, puzzled when I pull out a hardcover copy of Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince. I quirked my eyebrow at him and he just kept smiling.

“Open it," he whispered. I gingerly open the cover and freeze, my hand flying to my mouth, tears welling in my eyes. The center of the book had been carved out in a heart shape, stopping on chapter 15 - The Unbreakable Vow. Tied through the heart is the most beautiful ring I have ever seen. A gold band with a heart shaped diamond, tiny intricate butterflies on either side. When I eventually drag my eyes away from the book, Adrian had slipped down to one knee in front of me.

“Caitlin, you are the single most mesmerizing creature I have ever met. You taught me what it was to be human. You gave me the strength to be the man I always wished I were but never thought I had the choice to be. But, most importantly you taught me what it was to love, and be loved in return. So, would you please marry me?” I noticed a single tear had escaped from his eye. With shaky hands I reached out and wiped it away. I slowly shake my head yes, I open my mouth to say, "Yes! Yes, you idiot! Yes!” But all the came out is: “You should open your gift, now.” I smile, still trying to hold back tears -- failing miserably.

Looking slightly hurt he rises and returns to his seat, unwrapping his gift.

He laughs, looking up at me with watery eyes when he finally reveals a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow. 
 

“There’s a piece of green silk tied to the side to show you where to look” I laugh with him, wiping my tears back. I’d been on pinterest for days trying to find the perfect way to pop the question to him and had finally settled on a Deathly Hallows Chapter 8 proposal - The Wedding. What are the odds? Seriously.

“Yes.” He whispers barely audible, then louder -- after a slight pause, “Yes, Cait.”

At the same time, my head starts shaking “yes” all over again.

Scraping his chair back, he rushes over and pulls me up, kissing me. Slow and burning, causing a blush to creep up my body. A small moan escaping my lips. Time seizes to exist. There’s just me and the man I love, and this all consuming kiss.

Eventually we hear a throat clear and manage to pull apart from each other, smiling sheepishly. 

“Well, that was unexpected.” Julian laughs. “Only you two nerds would think to propose to each other not only on the same night, but for fucks sake, by both using Harry Potter books to do it.” 

Adrian simply flips him off and resumes kissing me.

And the rest of the world slips away.


Who will take home the grand prize? Cast your vote to decide!
"Silver" by Rosemary Blodgett
"Brooklyn" by Ana Salazar
"Under the Twinkle Light Sky" by Kimberly Tumambing
"Nightmare" by Shelby Llewellyn
"The Date" by Bobbi Lalli
survey

BOOKS 1 & 2 NOW IN STORES!

Purchase Velvet at any of the following retailers

Purchase CASHMERE at any of the following retailers