Welcome to my Blogger page, thank you for visiting. This is where I will share my reviews of books, movies and other things I enjoy. If you would like to see my ramblings, fanfiction and other general posts, please visit my Livejournal: beren_writes. Visit my pages to learn about me and my books.
Top set of links above are external links, second set are pages local to the blog.

Monday, 19 March 2018

#AtoZChallenge 2018 Theme Reveal

#AtoZChallenge 2018 Theme Reveal

It's AtoZ Theme Reveal day!

Quick recap - AtoZChallenge, runs through April, 26 posts, each inspired by a letter of the alphabet, lots of bloggers, lots of wonderful posts, and lots of us have themes. P.S. Anyone can play and there's still time to join.

A theme links all of our posts together. Themes are not compulsory, but they are fun.

My theme this year is:

Movie Monsters

Every day I will be talking about some of my favourite movie monsters and the films they come from. Well, okay, for some letters, not my favourite, because I was scraping the barrel, but definitely interesting, and, yes, I have seen every one of the films and monsters I will be talking about.

  • Some of the monsters will have human faces
  • Some of the monsters are animals
  • Some are vicious aliens/paranormal creatures
  • And some of them aren't as bad as they might seem at all.
A few letters are a theme within a theme, for example, I bet those who have visited my blog before never would have guessed that "V is for Vampire" - other days will be a mixture of monsters whose names begin with that letter.

I am very much looking forward to seeing everyone in April and checking out all the other wonderful posts. Now I have to go and write mine :). Good luck to all taking part.

Go here for all the details on the official blog post about the Theme Reveal.
Go here to see all the blog participating in the Theme Reveal

BTW, while we're waiting for April, if you'd like to see what I've done in other years my themes so far have been:

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Happy International Women's Day

Happy International Women's Day

This year's International Women's Day theme is #PressForProgress to obtain gender parity. They have a great website that explains it far better than I can. Their 'take action' section is very comprehensive and their values are very important. It's not all about marching on the capital of the country, it's the small things too.

Also, feminists, always remember those who struggle against even more than just the fact they are women:
  • women of colour
  • lesbian, bisexual, asexual and transgender women
  • disabled women
  • all other women who face obstacles on more than one level
The future is bright, but it dims if we do not remember all women, everywhere.

Ladies, you are amazing, let your light shine forth.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Read an eBook Week 2018 - eBook Sale

It's Read an eBook Week 2018 at Smashwords and to celebrate eBooks all over the site are marked down in price. At Wittegen Press we love to get involved in anything that celebrates books, so we have enrolled many of our eBooks in the promotion. Some books are FREE and others have between 25% and 50% OFF.

Below you will find all our discounted eBooks and links to Smashwords.

Title: The Chronicles of Charlie Waterman
Author: Natasha Duncan-Drake
genre: contemporary fantasy
Cat's Call 100% OFF
Cat's Creation 50% OFF
Cat's Confidence 25% OFF
Title: The Burning Web
Author: Sophie Duncan
Genre: horror, ghost, LGBTQ+
Length: novella
Title: Dead Before Dawn: The Vampire Curse
Author: Natasha Duncan-Drake
Genre: paranormal, LGBTQ+
Length: novel
Title: Dreams and Reality (Dark Reflections 2)
Author: Natasha Duncan-Drake
Genre: sci-fi, LGBTQ+
Length: novel
Title: In the Event of Death
Author: Sophie Duncan & Natasha Duncan-Drake
Genre: horror
Length: 2 short stories
Title: When Darkness Beckons
Author: Sophie Duncan & Natasha Duncan-Drake
Genre: horror
Length: 2 short stories
Title: Myriad Imaginings
Author: Sophie Duncan & Natasha Duncan-Drake
Genre: various genres
Length: Anthology - 28 stories
Title: Night Blood
Author: Sophie Duncan
Genre: contemporary paranormal, vampire
Length: novel
Title: Blood Sacrifice: The Avebury Legacy
Author: Natasha Duncan-Drake
Genre: contemporary paranormal, vampire
Length: novel
Have fun, and don't forget to check out all the other fab books on offer this week at Smashwords too.

Monday, 5 March 2018

It's Nearly #AtoZChallenge Time! Sign-ups Have Begun!

It's Nearly #AtoZChallenge Time! Sign-ups Have Begun!

It's that time of year again, the AtoZChallenge is only a month away. Yay! The challenge runs all the way through April and is a great place for bloggers to meet other bloggers and find new traffic for their site. If you have a new blog you're trying to get people interested in, this is a great way to do it.

This is my 6th year participating and I love it.

They even have a snazzy new logo this year as well as the traditional one for those who prefer old school.

What is the AtoZChallenge?

The AtoZChallenge was originally the brain child of Arlee Bird back in 2010 and keeps growing year by year. Hundreds of bloggers all sign up and then create a blog post for each letter of the alphabet, which they post through out April (1st=A, 2nd=B etc). Sundays are usually non-posting days (which is how you get 26 days out of a month), but because the 1st is a Sunday this year, the first Sunday is a posting day.

Blogs of all different kinds sign up, which is more than obvious by the list of categories they have. Everyone from food bloggers through writers and artists, to self-help bloggers post and visit each other's blogs.

Categories are optional so we don't have to categorise our blogs when signing up, but it makes it much easier for people to find us if we do.


Now it is perfectly okay to create completely unrelated posts for each letter.
  • A is for Apple - where we wax lyrical about our love of the fruit growing industry
  • B is for Bear - our critical analysis of which kind of bear is the dorkiest in its natural habitat. etc
However, I am a big believer in themes. This is where we link all our posts together with an overriding theme that runs through each of them.

My themes so far:
As you can see my themes kind of have a theme, and I'm going with a similar idea this year, but you will have to wait until March 19th, which is theme reveal day, to find out what it is.

I love themes for two major reasons:
  1. From a blogger's perspective, it helps with the creative process of coming up with all the posts. We might have to cheat a little on the odd letter (Q, X and Z) but it make life easier in the long run.
  2. From a surfer's perspective, it encourages return visits and gives the reader an idea of what to expect so may make them more likely to click on our blog to begin with.

Where to Sign Up

This post on the AtoZChallenge site has all the details of how and where to sign up.

Tips to Stay Sane Through the Challenge

It can be a little overwhelming to post every day during a month if it is your first time, and it can seem daunting when others have been doing it for years. These are my words of advice:
  1. Create posts in advance of April and have them scheduled. Some people can write posts every day on the fly, but creating them all first means no worries during April. Even if not all of them get done in advance, having a head start with some will really help.
  2. Visit and comment on at least ten new blogs per day when possible. There is a master list and there will also be a daily post to advertise blogs, but the key to getting lots of new visitors is to visit other people. Most bloggers with visit you back and, if they enjoy your blog, will keep coming back.
  3. Make it easy for people to visit back. When commenting always leave a link back to your blog so you are just a click away. I always make a signature to paste into comments. A few blogs do not allow html so links must be just text, but most will let you put in a direct link.
    <a href="http://tashasthinkings.blogspot.co.uk/">Tasha's Thinkings</a> - 
    Theme Name
    http://tashasthinkings.blogspot.co.uk/ - Theme Name
  4. Keep track of who you have visited. I use a spreadsheet, but you could use a new folder in your bookmarks or anything similar. There is nothing more frustrating than knowing you found a fantastic blog and then not remembering which one it was. We are fallible creatures, and making notes really helps.
  5. Try to keep up on comments and visiting back other blogs. The first thing I usually do of a morning during the AtoZ is reply to the comments on my blog and visit everyone who has visited me. I also note it all down in case I get interrupted and forget where I got to. Only after that do I check the list for new blogs to visit.
    Sometimes it's impossible because real life gets in the way, but I find it's good to make it a rule to try.
So there you have it, my take on the AtoZChallenge. It really is a great time for blogging and meeting new people and making friends. I have lots of people I love to visit every year on the challenge. It's so much fun. Best blog hop of the year by far.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Menagerie by Natasha Duncan-Drake #FreeFictionFriday #Paranormal #humour

It's far too cold for March! Today I have a free read for everyone to raise a laugh and keep us all warm. It's the first Friday of the month which means Free Fiction Friday.

At Wittegen Press we like to make our newsletter subscribers happy, so every month we give away a free short story. If you're not a member yet, don't worry, it's very easy to join—just fill in the form at the bottom of the page and check your email. Even if you miss the announcement email to the list, the password for this month's short story is in the welcome email when you sign up.

Our newsletter is for:
  • announcements about books and our authors
  • competitions
  • free fiction friday
and we promise, no body else will ever hear of your email address from us.

Come join us, we are friendly and give away free stuff.

This Month's Free Short Story

by Natasha Duncan-Drake
genre: paranormal, romance, humour, lgbtq+

Sid is half-fae, but that's only part of his secret. Another part is he's also a little bit - okay a lot - attracted to Jamie of the perfect abs and lovely nature. When Sid gets over excited there's glitter and you don't usually get a lot of glitter in a zoo.

Newsletter Subscription Form

We'll send you details of book releases, competitions and other news from our authors, BUT we WON'T spam you, or pass your details on to anyone else.
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We will also give you 2 FREE ebooks just for signing up.

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Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Two Free Short Stories for The Romantic at Heart

Two Free Short Stories for The Romantic at Heart

Good morning on this snowy Wednesday. I hope you are all warm and safe. Thanks to dear old Valentine, February is the month of love and Wattpad had lots of contests running. I have entered two of them and hence, today, I present 2 free short stories that have a side of romance. One is 2K words and the other is ~2.5K, so they are both the prefect length for a coffee break.

Castle In the Air

Katie's Great Nana Brenna always told the story of the cursed princess and the castle that appears every one hundred years. Only Katie ever believed it was true.

genre: paranormal, fantasy, vampire, lgbtq+, romance
length: 2K words

Oh Dear

written for the Valentine's Contest 2018

Lorrie is about to discover she had been oblivious for far too many years. Her wife, Mags, has a really big, supernatural secret, and their neighbours aren't exactly average people either.

genre: paranormal, werewolf, lgbtq+, romance, humour
length: ~2.5K words

P.S. If you enjoy the stories, I would be incredibly grateful if you would hit the vote button on the chapter at Wattpad - it's one of the ways stories become more visible on the platform. Many thanks.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Yay! Mina's Children is through to the shortlist for the Open Novella Contest

Mina's Children is in the Shortlist

Please excuse me while I crow just a little bit :) I found out this morning that Mina's Children: The Legacy of Dracula is a finalist in Wattpad's Open Novella Contest.

In case anyone is unfamiliar with the platform, Wattpad is a free fiction site where anyone can post stories, and it is a great place to spot new talent and find new readers. It has a dedicated reading ap for most devices, as well as a website, and has millions of users.

After coming second in round 2 of the Open Novella Contest I worked really hard to come up with an ending for the novella that would entertain my readers and those judging the contest. It seems to have worked so far :).

For those who have no idea what I am talking about, Wattpad started the Open Novella Contest back in November last year. It is a multi genre contest run over many of the Wattpad Ambassador profiles with three rounds.
  • Round 1: pick a prompt, write 2K in the first 4 weeks of the contest
  • Round 2: write another 6K to bring the total up to 8K before 19th Dec
  • Round 3: write another 12K to bring the total up to 20K or there abouts before 31st Jan (writing more was an option, but only the first 20K counted in the contest)
I have no idea how many people entered Round 1, but 550 progressed to Round 2, and 217 progressed to Round 3.

That has now been narrowed down to 36 finalists, which you can see here:

I am thrilled that Mina's Children has made it through to the last 36. I have everything crossed for the final judging.

Mina Harker (née Murry) was changed by Dracula's attentions, and so were her descendants. Reggie comes from this line of vampire hunters, nature's definitive balance to the darkness. Her whole life has been building up to this one mission in Romania, to face the evil that started everything for her family.  Unfortunately there are others with their eyes on Dracula too, and Reggie has run right into them. She must make them allies or remove them from the game before she can face the ultimate foe.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Recipe - Easy Butter Chicken without the butter :)

Easy Butter Chicken without the Butter

This is based on this BBC recipe, but I altered the ingredients because when I made it as is, I found it way too astringent. Altering the spices and adding coconut cream balanced it for me, although I have only eaten butter chicken not out of a packet once or twice, so I have no idea how it measures up to normal butter chicken.

As ever with recipes I post that are based on chicken, if you are vegetarian anything similar like Quorn or tofu would probably take the sauce well too. Having checked Google, Quorn and tofu both take marinade well :).

START THIS RECIPE THE DAY BEFORE or MORNING OF for best results - I would recommend marinating the chicken for at least half a day, overnight is even better.

With all the extras will server 3-4, with only the rice will serve 2-3
up the amount of chicken for more if necessary - there is plenty of sauce


3 skinless chicken breasts (~450g)

juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp mild chilli powder
200g (~7/8 cup) natural yogurt

The rest
2 tbsp oil (I live olive oil, but use whichever you prefer)
1 large red onion
3 cloves garlic
inch fresh ginger
1/2tsp garam masala
1 tsp fenugreek
3 tbsp tomato puree
300ml (1 1/4 cups) chicken or veg stock
250ml (~1 cup) carton of coconut cream

To serve (pick n mix)
120-150g jasmine/basmati rice (check the packet for typical serving size and cooking time)
naan bread
mango chutney or lime pickle
fresh coriander


  1. In a bowl or bag mix the marinade.
  2. Chop the chicken into bite sized pieces and add to the marinade. Seal and place in the fridge overnight, or for a good few hours. This will allow the lemon to get into the meat and the yogurt to mellow the acidity.
  3. Chop the onion finely.
  4. Mince the ginger and the garlic.
  5. Heat the oil gently in a pan and add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook on low until the onions are translucent and soft - at least 10 mins.
  6. Add the spices and the tomato puree and cook for 2-3 mins until the mixture is fragrant.
  7. Add the stock, the chicken with the marinade and the coconut milk and allow to bubble gently and reduce to thicken the sauce.
  8. While the chicken is bubbling away, cook the rice and prepare any of the other extras.
  9. Once the sauce is reduced by about half, serve immediately with the chosen extras.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Happy Valentine's - Motivation by Natasha Duncan-Drake #paranormal #humor

Happy Valentine's day to one and all. In honour of all the hearts and lovey-dovey stuff, today I have a little humorous tale of paranormal romance.

And don't forget to click the link at the bottom because Soph has created a much longer tale of ghostly romance in honour of the day. It's so long it wouldn't fit in a post, so it's a free download from Smashwords :).


by Natasha Duncan-Drake

"Don't tell me you're torturing him again."

Dee looked over at the wolf sitting with his head on the table, balefully watching her with his big blue eyes.

"I am not torturing him," she said, turning to Tobi and accepting a quick kiss from her girlfriend, "the puppy eyes are not trying to wheedle something out of me, he's stuck and he did this to himself. I told him not to come in, that I was practicing complicated magic, but did he listen to me?"

She didn't bother keeping the exasperation out of her voice.

"Oh, Will, what have you done now?" Tobi said, walking over and giving the wolf a rub on the head.

He whined in response.

"So why haven't you turned him back?" Tobi asked.

"I can't," Dee replied. "I don't actually know what changed him into a wolf. He's part fae, the magic will wear off eventually and it's too dangerous to mess around."

"How long is eventually?"

"A day, maybe two, a week at most."

"Deadre, you cannot leave our third as a wolf for a week," Tobi said in a tone that Dee found entirely unnecessary. "We're supposed to be going to my parent's this weekend and, like that, Will will shed everywhere."

"This was not my fault," Dee defended herself. "I told him three times not to open the door, and yes, it was locked, but you know nothing can keep him out if he wants in. It's his major talent."

The wolf made what could almost be taken as a scoffing noise at that.

"Not the point," Tobi said and put her hands on her hips.

Her hair had also started turning dark brown at the ends which, when it came to dryads, was not a good thing at all.

"Okay," Dee did her best to placate her volatile girlfriend, "if he doesn't change back by tomorrow we'll take him to Shallaka. If anyone can figure out how to turn him back it will be her."

The ends of Tobi's hair began fading back to green.

"You really don't know how?"

"Sorry, no," Dee admitted. "I was practicing a spell for a new piece."

Dee specialised in using magic to create art, and she was becoming quite well known in the field. Some people thought having a degree in magecraft and using it to make sculptures and paintings was a waste of power. Her parents for one. They had been horrified, but she couldn't help what she loved doing most. She could have gone out and gone into industry, the military or police work, like most of her classmates, but she'd met a Bolshie dryad and a mischievous half-fae who liked to encourage her to follow her dream.

"I was focusing on a subconscious image, trying to get it to manifest, and Will walked in and interrupted my concentration. Unfortunately I was right on the point of casting. I don't know if the subconscious image was a wolf, so that's why he ended up that way, or if the magic found the wilder part of his nature and just went with that form."

It wasn't that Dee couldn't turn people into animals, it was just she hadn't done this deliberately. Will was a natural shapeshifter, so it was quite possible the spell had activated that, but she couldn't be positive. Magic was nothing to mess around with unless you were sure.

"Damn, and I was hoping for a good hard shag tonight," Tobi said, which made Will sit up and wag his tail. "I suppose you and I could improvise, Dee darling."

Dee couldn't help it, she burst out laughing. Will looked crest fallen at the idea he might be left out.

"Do you think about anything else?" she asked with a wry shake of her head.

"It's spring," Tobi replied, "all dryads are horny in the spring."

"And what about the summer, autumn and winter as well?"

"My tree is very fertile," Tobi said, doing a very good impression of affronted, "it's just nature."

Will yipped hopefully.

"Sorry, Sweetie," Tobi said, "but I draw the line at bestiality."

"Is it technically bestiality if he's not a real animal?" Dee asked, laughing at Will's dejected expression.

"As far as I'm concerned, yes," was the very sure answer. "Shame, what I was after was a big hard ..."

Will sparkled round the edges, there was a small explosion, a large puff of smoke and wolf became man. Admittedly a man coughing as he inhaled magical residue, but he was definitely no longer canine shaped.

"Works every time," Tobi said with a big grin.

"Told you it would," Dee said, she'd been texting her girlfriend for the last half an hour.

"You ganged up on me," Will accused.

"Only because I knew the best chance of getting you back quickly was your own magic," Dee told him and held out her hand. "You just needed the right motivation to activate it."

Will was incredibly powerful when it came to magic, the only problem was, he had little to no control over it. Dee had been positive since the day she had met him that it was a mental block brought on by years of abuse from his fae relatives (they were not fond of half-breeds). She and Tobi were working on helping him with it. Sometimes they used less than orthodox methods.

"So, I am still a horny dryad," Tobi said with such an innocent smile it should have been illegal, "shall we take the afternoon off?"

"One of the reasons I love you is you have great ideas," Dee said and let Tobi pull her out of her chair. "Come on wolf-boy," she added and grabbed Will's hand on the way past, "you still need to apologise for interrupting my creative moment."

"I'll do my best," Will promised.

A triad was not a common occurrence, a triad from three different species was even rarer, but Dee loved how theirs worked.

The End


Phantom Love

by Sophie Duncan

When Ben promises to show his cousin, Ellen, a ghost, the pair set in motion a series of events that lead them into a terrifying encounter. Yet, within her fear, Ellen finds a purpose, and it is to find out what Millicent Van Curren, shot by her lover, wants from them.

Phantom Love is book 1 in the Inspired By... Series, where each story is prompted by a memory.


If you love paranormal fiction and would like to read another freebie, I have a new novella up on Wattpad. Wattpad is a completely free to read platform, that you can read on your phone/tablet with the ap, or on the web. In case you can't guess by the title, it's a vampire novella ;).

If you enjoy it, I would be so very grateful if you click the little vote button on each chapter - they help the story go up the rankings on Wattpad and  be seen by more readers.

Mina's Children: The Legacy of Dracula

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Best Mates by Natasha Duncan-Drake #werewolves #magic

Wolf howling with Best Mates written over the top.

It's my 21st wedding anniversary today and I am in a romantic, fluffy mood, so I decided to share it. This is some flash fiction I threw together today. It has magic and werewolves and romance, and I hope you enjoy it.

It has not been beta'd by anyone but me, so I apologise if I missed any mistakes.

Best Mates

by Natasha Duncan-Drake

Pytar slammed the door behind him and turned the key in the lock for good measure. Only then did he look at Lunis. Not unexpectedly, his best friend was raising both eyebrows at his behaviour.

"I think I did something stupid," he said, even as he heard distant howls in his head.

"Not really anything new," Lunis pointed out, "but you don't usually barge into my rooms and immediately bar the door."

Pytar would have protested, but his friend had a point.

"It's worse than usual," he admitted.

"How is that possible?"

Again, a fair point. It wasn't Pytar's fault he was a mage with too much power and not a lot of control. He was doing his best. When he'd been hit by a mage storm at the age of seventeen, ten years after most children with any ability had started training, and suddenly found himself with powers, he'd become a headache for everyone, including himself.

"I found a statue," he said. "It was a wolf and I knew you'd love it, so I bought it."


Lunis sounded resigned. Not that Pytar could blame his best friend, well only friend really. Everyone else seemed frightened he'd do something spectacularly dangerous and stayed well away from him.

"When I got it home it felt weird," Pytar explained. "I didn't want to give you something cursed, so I used a little magic to examine it."

He paused, embarrassed.

"And?" Lunis prompted.

"And I think I activated the spell on it rather than just looking."

When he stopped again Lunis made an agitated hand gesture.

"I heard howls," Pytar said. "In fact I can still hear howls. I think," he was so embarrassed, "I think the statue is quite old and it might be an ancient mating talisman."

"By all that is holy," Lunis said, pinching the bridge of his nose. "You're telling me you just declared open season on yourself to every unmated werewolf in range?"

Pytar grimaced.

"I think so," he admitted in a very small voice.

He'd studied these things, but mating talismans were history, there weren't supposed to be any left. Once upon a time werewolves had held a yearly festival for those among them not lucky enough to have found a mate, and willing humans had used talismans to declare their interest. These days werewolves tended to use the internet like everyone else.

"Can you stop it?" he asked rather desperately and fumbled in his backpack for the damn statue.

He almost dropped it as he finally pulled it out, it was glowing. Instead he held it out to Lunis in perfect faith. Lunis knew everything there was to know about wolves, were- and natural. He'd come to the academy a year and a half after Pytar, an independent researcher with his own funding, and the only person who seemed able to drag Pytar out of all the trouble he found on an almost daily basis.

Surprisingly, Lunis did not immediately reach out to take the statue. In fact, he stepped backward.

"Oh god," Pytar said, "I'm sorry, could it affect you too."

He hadn't thought of that. Two of them attracting werewolves would be even worse.

Howls sounded in his head again, louder.

"What do I do?"

He didn't know how to turn this off.

"How many howls do you hear?"

"Um," the question caught him off guard, but helpfully the howls came again. "Six," he said.


Lunis sounded even more exasperated than usual.

"You've activated it at full strength," Lunis said, pinching the bridge of his nose again.

Pytar made him do that a lot.

"Can I turn it off?" He could hope.

"It's too late," Lunis said. "The magic in such things was designed to override the natural proclivities of the werewolves taking part in the festival. Once caught by the enchantment the only thing that can stop it is for the spell to be completed by the initiator mating with a werewolf."

"That doesn't sound very safe."

"It wasn't supposed to be safe," Lunis told him in a very pointed tone, "it was supposed to work, and werewolf mating is complicated. But I don't understand, everything I've read suggested that the charm could only be activated by someone who really wanted it. That was the safeguard."

Pytar swallowed. He was beginning to get a clue as to how this might have happened. This was going to be even worse than he thought.

"Tell me," Lunis said even though he hadn't said anything. "You know something," his friend added, "I recognise the guilty expression."

Taking in a breath Pytar went to speak, but nothing came out. He couldn't just tell his best friend he'd been harbouring a crush for almost as long as they'd known each other. Lunis had never shown any interest in relationships, ever, and Pytar had come to the conclusion his friend was either asexual or just completely focused on his work. They didn't really talk about things like that. It wasn't as if anyone was interested in Pytar, he was too dangerous in most people's books.

"Pytar," Lunis said with a very stern look.

"I may have been thinking about someone when I was examining the statue," he said as the damn thing glowed even brighter.

It was definitely mocking him.

"And your magic acted," Lunis concluded.

Pytar nodded. That was why his magic was such a problem, because he had not been trained to use it from a young age, sometimes it did what he wanted at an unconscious level without him consciously trying to do anything.

"Who are you in love with?"

"What?" The question caught him completely off guard.

"This is mating magic," Lunis told him, "your feelings must have been profound to have affected it. We may be able to salvage this situation if we get you to the object of your affections before any of the werewolves find you."


Love? It blew his mind. He'd never admitted that to himself. It had to be just a crush.

"This is no time for bashfulness, Pytar," Lunis said. "If you are close to the person you love when the werewolves arrive it should throw off the enchantment, even if that person does not return your feelings. You cannot form a mating bond with a werewolf if you are in love with someone else."

Pytar's mouth moved, but his larynx seemed to be frozen.

"Pytar," Lunis said sharply.

"You," he blurted out. "It's you."

Lunis froze, mouth just slightly open and eyes wider than they should have been. Pytar didn't think he'd ever seen his friend stunned before. Exasperated, bemused, resigned, but never stunned.


Pytar nodded, biting his lip.

He totally didn't expect Linus to sit down heavily on the nearest chair.

"I'm sorry."

His heart twisted, he'd never seen Linus like this. Linus was one of the most controlled, careful people Pytar had ever met.

"I don't expect anything, it's why I didn't tell you. And I thought it was just a crush. I know you don't like me like that and I would never think ..."

"I'm such a fool."

Those words made Pytar shut up. His stomach clenched as he saw the only friendship he had crumbling before his eyes.

"I'll go."

He wanted to run and hide.

"No," Lunis said, coming back to his feet before Pytar could so much as twitch towards the door.

Power rippled up Pytar's nerves as a spell flared somewhere close. It took him a moment to realise it came from Lunis.

"You're a mage," he said, as he looked in Lunis eyes and saw a spark of mage fire.

In the year they had known each other he have never remotely guessed. Lunis had never given the remotest hint at being anything more than sensitive.

"How?" He had never felt anything, he didn't understand.

"Magic," Lunis said. "I blocked my own power."

"Why? Lunis, why would you..?"

"My name isn't Lunis," the man he clearly didn't know at all said, "it's Fenrir."

It was Pytar's turn to want to sit down.

"Only one person is given that name," he said.

"High mage of the werewolf council," Lunis, or rather Fenrir confirmed for him.

"But you're not..."

Fenrir pulled up the sleeve of his shirt to reveal a very ornate silver armband with a large symbol in a circle on one side. Pytar had only seen much planer versions on TV. It was a werewolf suppression band, usually only employed on werewolves who were criminals to contain their abilities.

"Who did that to you?" Pytar demanded as his protective instincts fired.

"I did," were the words that froze him again.

"Why?" It seemed the only valid question.

"The mage storm that changed you," Fenrir said, "I created it. At the time I thought I'd had a magical accident. It took me months to figure out what I'd actually done. Then I heard about you and realised it wasn't an accident at all. Part of me did it deliberately, the wolf part."

"I don't understand," Pytar admitted. "What? Why me?"

That storm had come out of nowhere. It had taken him from his safe little life as a regular human and thrown him into the middle of the magical part of society.

"You're my mate."

Now Pytar did sit down, directly on the floor.

"You know how your magic does things you want without asking for your conscious consent?" Fenrir went on. "Well occasionally it happens to the rest of us too. I didn't understand until I found you. I knew I had to help you, it was my fault, but I wanted you too much. I did the only thing I could, I suppressed my magic and my wolf and I came here."

"Were you ever going to tell me?"

Fenrir sat down again, running his hand through is hair.

"I don't know. I didn't want to force you into anything, I'd already done that."

Pytar didn't know how to react, so he sat there and let the ideas run around inside his head.

"Do you believe in destiny?" he finally asked.

"No," Fenrir said.

"I didn't either," Pytar said, "but then a mage storm appeared in my bedroom, it put me in a coma for a month and gave me all these powers that I can't control properly. Ever since I've felt like there's something out there waiting for me. It's what's kept me sane."

He hadn't even admitted that to the councillor helping him through the transition.

"You think you became a mage for a reason?" Fenrir said. "But that reason was me."

Pytar looked at the statue in his hand.

"Part of that reason was you," he said, "but I think this is bigger than both of us. I do think the universe wants us together though," he added. "How likely is it that one of these would surface now? Wasn't the last one found dug up twenty years ago and put in a museum?"

Before Fenrir could reply the howling ripped through Pytar's head again, this time very loud.

"What happens if you take that off?" he asked, pointing at the band on Fenrir's arm.

"All the urges I've been suppressing come out," Fenrir said, voice completely devoid of emotion, "and I become prey to that as well."

He pointed at the statue.

"And what would you say to that happening?" Pytar asked.

"Me, what about you? Mate bonds are for life, Pytar. There's no going back. It's why we don't use magic like the statue anymore. Why they are so rare."

"You just pointed out I'm in love with you," he said.

"I could have been wrong," Fenrir said.

Of course Fenrir would have doubts now.

"Bollocks to this," Pytar decided and knelt up. "Can I kiss you?"

Fenrir blinked at him.

"We might as well find out," Pytar said.

He waited as Fenrir thought about it, and finally nodded, just a little. The wooden floor was hard under his knees, but he didn't bother standing up, crossing it quickly. Leaning forward he closed his eyes, putting his lips against Fenrir's. He should have known it wouldn't be that simple though, with him it never was.

Just the simple action was like lighting a touch paper. His magic jumped for joy, his hormones weren't far behind, and he had no choice but to lean into the kiss. Fenrir responded in kind, mouth opening almost immediately, and tongue darting out to skip over Pytar's lips. By mutual consent they deepened the kiss and Pytar hummed in delight as strong arms wound round him to pull him closer.

There was a fizz, a bang and sparks erupted from Fenrir's right arm. With a clunk the heavy silver band split in two and fell towards the floor.

Pytar had just enough time to watch it hit the floorboards and look back at Fenrir, before he was flattened with the werewolf right on top of him. However, that was where Fenrir froze, eyes squeezed tight shut.

"If ... if you don't want ... this ... do ... something and ... run."

It seemed to take every ounce of will Fenrir had to force the words out. He was shaking and Pytar could feel the werewolf's magic swirling. To see such control was breathtaking.

"I broke the band," Pytar said and eyes that were no longer blue, but deep orange opened to stare at him.

With all the magic swirling around he couldn't actually be one hundred percent sure it had been all him, but he was pretty certain. At least it made his point.

The statue had fallen from his hand as he was pushed back. It glowed so brightly he could see it without turning to look at it, and when he did, it flashed and dissolved into a pile of ash on the floor.

"So that's why there are so few of them left," he said.

Teeth biting into the side of his neck brought him back to what was going on with a bump. It wasn't hard enough to break the skin, but it did hurt. Surprisingly he found he didn't mind and he moaned as his nerves lit up. He'd read about werewolf love bites, but he'd had no idea how much he would love them.

"Oh hell yes," he said as Fenrir licked where he had just bitten. "We should have been doing this ages ago."

Fenrir's only reply was a growl and bite off Pytar's top button. The howls sounded in Pytar's head again and this time Fenrir put his head back and sent one of his own.

It made Pytar shiver as something magical clicked into place. He was pinned down by a full grown werewolf who also happened to be a high mage, and he wasn't the least bit afraid. For the first time since magic had invaded his life, he knew where he was supposed to be. He grinned as Fenrir looked down at him hungrily.

"Just so you know," Pytar said, "you're buying me a new shirt."

"I'll buy you some new pants too," Fenrir said, voice deep with an underlying growl that spoke of barely controlled power.


He never got to finish the question as Fenrir sat back, took hold of the top of his trousers and casually ripped them down the middle. Pytar couldn't help being impressed with the impressive strength that must have taken and, throwing caution to the wind, he grabbed Fenrir's belt to reciprocate in a much less showy fashion. The future would undoubtedly be messy, but he was going to enjoy this.

The End


BTW - if you like paranormal fiction and would like to read another freebie, I have a new novella up on Wattpad. Wattpad is a completely free to read platform, that you can read on your phone/tablet with the ap, or on the web. In case you can't guess by the title, it's a vampire novella ;).

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Mina's Children: The Legacy of Dracula