A collection of six short stories that fit between the Amaranthine novels Heart of the Raven and Children of Shadows.
They're meant as a supplement to the novels may or may not make sense if you haven't read the series. They may also contain spoilers.
After five novels of bloodshed and terror, Katelina gets her island vacation, but it’s not what she expected. How can it be when her companions are vampires?
What happens on a vampire vacation, stays on a vampire vacation.
Micah: Micah is ready for some fun in the sand, but he's not so excited about the ocean. The dark waters stir memories from his past that he'd rather forget.
Torina: Torina is ready for a vacation in the sand. But can she find peace on the tropical island, or will worries catch up to her under the swaying palms?
Oren: Haunted by ghosts of the past, Oren's vacation is more torture than pleasure. But perhaps it's time he let some of his old agonies go and tried to shape the life he has left.
Sadihra: Sadihra wants to return to the elite Scharfrichter force, but Wolfe has one condition. Can she accept it, or will their renewed relationship fall apart?
Loren: Loren seems to be the only one who understands what beach vacation means, or so he thinks until he and Micah stumble on Torina and a surprise friend.
Verchiel: It's just a lazy day for Verchiel in the hot tub. Though his efforts at making friends go awry, he refuses to be deterred, much to the chagrin of his fellow vacationers.
BONUS: Chapter One of Children of Shadows
Excerpt from Day 1: Micah:
Micah got off the boat and paused to light a cigarette. He inhaled the deep, familiar flavor and let his eyes roam the scene before him. A dark sky spread overhead, dotted with a million pinpoints of light and punctuated with a large yellow moon. He stood on a wooden dock that stretched up to land lush with greenery; palm trees and lots of tropical flowers he didn’t know the names of. To the left a sandy beach bent around the curve of the island, and in the center of the whole damn rock stood two giant jungle huts on steroids. Made of gray driftwood and roofed in grass, it looked like the kind of place that native girls in grass skirts and no tops would hang out.
“Oh yeah. I’m gonna like it here.”
He hefted his bag up his shoulder and followed the parade down the dock. He wasn’t excited about some of the company on this trip but he could put up with it for a free tropical island. Even if half of them were Executioners. The damn vampire police were no better than the human pigs; always overstepping bounds and waving authority around like some kind of flag. Some day the sons of bitches would all get what was coming to them.
He spat at the thought and caught up to Loren. The curly haired teen stood on the edge of a wooden sidewalk, staring around with excited brown eyes. Just like him to get over excited, like he was six instead of sixteen. Though, since the kid was a vampire, he was even older than that.
He clapped the boy on the back with enough force to jolt him. “You gonna stand there all night or what?”
“Man, can you believe it?” Loren whispered. “That’s a real palm tree!”
Micah snickered. “You gonna kiss it or can we get on with this?”
“Yeah, sorry.” The teen gave the tree one last look and then trudged towards the houses. “I can’t believe Wolfe arranged all this.”
“Don’t think he had much choice.” Micah blew a cloud of smoke and then clamped the cigarette firmly between his teeth. “It’s the only way Jorick would agree to go back to Germany with him. He’s a f****** asshole, but you gotta admit Jorick could take Wolfe in a heartbeat, and the Schar-friggin-what’s-it knows that.”
Loren nodded enthusiastically. “Oh yeah, Jorick could kick his ass easy, even if he is one of Munich’s Executioners.” He frowned. “What’s with the funny name, anyway?”
“What? The Scar-friggy-what’s-it? It’s German you muppet. They’re from f****** Germany. Of course they don’t use English.” He cuffed the kid’s ear affectionately. “Damn. You shoulda stayed in school longer.”
“It wasn’t my fault. It’s kinda hard to go to school when you burn up in the sun.”
“Yeah, yeah, excuses, excuses.”
The first house had large sliding doors that were open and about a million windows. A pair of short, tawny skinned humans stood in front of it, hands clasped before them, and welcoming smiles on their faces. The woman was a little plump, but hell, there wasn’t nothin’ wrong with some meat.
He gave her a lascivious fanged grin; the grin of a vampire on the make. She didn’t recoil, but she didn’t look receptive either, only polite.
“Welcome to the island,” she said when everyone was gathered. “My name is Maria. This is the first house and that is the second,” she motioned to the other island mansion, as if it needed explanation. “There are six bedrooms in each, and you may choose your own. There are many windows, but you need not worry. Before the sun rises they are all covered.” She motioned to a large shed, as if that held some kind of answer. “The kitchen is stocked for both vampires and humans.” Her eyes lingered on the pair of mortals they’d dragged with them. “Should you need anything please ask myself or Henry.” She motioned to her male companion, who gave a half bow. The way the sounds rolled off her tongue seemed to say that those weren’t their real names, but what did it matter?