Category Archives: Short Stories

Valentine’s Day – Love Bites

In honour of Valentine’s Day I’m sharing a Valentine’s Day excerpt from my story ‘Love Bites’. Enjoy!

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The pedestal fan in my lounge room pushed around the muggy heat without offering much relief. I cracked a window and sighed in relief as the cool air flowed in. Finally the cool change had arrived. I pushed the window open as wide as it would go, then opened the window in the kitchen, too, so I could heat up a frozen pizza in the oven. Flicking through TV channels, I settled on an old black and white movie. I’d barely snuggled under blanket on the couch with my pizza when there was a knock at the door. I lay my pizza down with a sigh and answered it. A floral delivery lady stood outside with a bunch of yellow gerberas and a heart-shaped box.

“Happy Valentine’s Day,” she said, smiling as she handed the flowers and box to me.

I thanked her and went to the kitchen to fill a vase with water. I put the flowers in the vase and pulled out the card to see who had sent them.

To my favourite gal pal. Love Stu.

I smiled to myself as I peeked inside the heart-shaped box to find it full of my favourite chocolates (the ones with the cherry centres). Stu and I had been good mates since high school. He always knew just how to cheer me up.

I placed the box of chocolates beside the couch for later while I finished off my pizza. I’d barely sat down when another knock at the door interrupted me. I trudged back over to answer it.

It was Todd. Muscles bulged beneath his skin tight white t-shirt and his shaved head gleamed under the porch light. He held a single white rose and a box of chocolates with a hopeful look on his face.

I didn’t take them.

“What’s this about?” I asked, indicating the flower and chocolates.

“I knew you’d be alone for Valentine’s Day and I wondered if you would be my Valentine?”

“Oh, so this is a pity Valentine, is it?”

Anger boiled inside me. Todd and I had not parted on good terms. He’d taken up with his ex-girlfriend while we were still together. I found out about it the day he dumped me. It was a hard blow to get dumped and to find out he’d been cheating on me all at the same time. I was still feeling hurt from being treated so badly by him. I was nowhere near ready to forgive him. And now, to rub salt into the wound, here he was offering me a Valentine because I was obviously too pathetic to find a date for Valentine’s Day. I wondered why he wasn’t spending Valentine’s Day with her.

“Of course it’s not a pity Valentine,” he said smoothly. “Michelle, I still have feelings for you and I was hoping there was a chance we could get back together, now you’ve had time to cool down about everything that happened.”

In other words, his ex had tossed him to the kerb again. I could have spit chips. Did he think all I needed to do was cool down, maybe have a little affair of my own to get everything out of my system, and I would take him back? “So you came over here, presuming I would have no plans on Valentine’s Day? You thought I would be drowning in self-pity and you would have a chance at worming your way back into my life?”

He ran an eye over my grey sweatpants and stretched Mickey Mouse t-shirt.

Do you have plans?” he asked, a hint of a knowing smile played on his lips.

“As a matter of fact I do have plans,” I lied. “I was just about to get ready when you knocked on the door. Now I’m going to be late for my date because I’ve been held up talking to you.”

I slammed the door in his face and stomped off to my bedroom. I peeked out of the curtains and saw him leaning against the side of the house, grinning. He was going to call my bluff. Now I would have to pretend I really did have a date or else have to face Todd’s smug smile when he found out I was lying.

I jumped in the shower and washed my hair. A perfectly good night in front of the TV with my favourite chocolates had been ruined. After I had blow-dried my hair, I peeked out of the curtains again. He was still there. I gritted my teeth and went to my closet. I found the sexiest dress I owned, just to spite him. A cherry red colour, the dress had a heart-cut bodice with shoestring straps and flared out from the waist. It showed just enough cleavage and leg to be sexy, without being too trampy. I left my hair out, popped in some hoop earrings and slipped into my favourite red high heels.

I grabbed my purse and opened the door, expecting Todd to be still standing on the porch. He wasn’t. Doing a quick scan of the front yard, I spotted his elbow jutting out from behind the tree line. He was spying on me, probably testing to see if I’d give up my ruse if I didn’t think he was there. I almost trod on the box of chocolates and rose he’d left by the door. I couldn’t just leave them there—the chocolates would attract wildlife and I didn’t want some possum to get sick because it had devoured a whole box. I put the rose in the vase with the gerberas from Stu because I couldn’t stand to see it wilt and die. The white did look kind of pretty amongst all the yellow. I opened the box to see what kind of chocolates were inside. Lemon creams. Yuck. I knew Todd was a health nut and didn’t take a lot of notice of junk food (he always hated it when I ate junk food in front of him), but surely after dating all those months he would have some idea of what kind of chocolate I liked. I guess he really didn’t know me that well at all. There was a little note stuck inside the lid, ‘You squeeze my lemon, baby.’ Why did I ever date this guy? I dumped the chocolates unceremoniously into the bin.

As a last minute thought I grabbed the heart-shaped box of chocolates from Stu and tucked them under my arm to take with me. Hopefully Todd would think they were a gift for my mystery date and realise I wasn’t faking it—even though I was.

I got in the car, put the chocolates on the passenger seat and started driving with no idea where I was going or whether Todd would follow me. I reached over and plucked a chocolate from the box to suck on.

Driving on autopilot, I ended up in the city and before long I neared the neon lights of the new nightclub that had opened up a few months ago. I guess it must have subconsciously stuck in my mind from my earlier conversation with Cherie.

I wasn’t really one for going out in the city, usually, though I’d been out to a couple of the nightclubs with the girls when they’d dragged me. The rumours of it being frequented by aliens or monsters or vampires had intrigued me. I guess now I could find out for myself. I’d tried to convince Todd to take me nightclubbing a couple of times when we’d still been dating, but he’d always resisted the idea. He said the music in those places gave him a headache.

Good, I thought. If Todd had decided to follow me this would really rile him up.

I pulled into the car park out front and replaced the lid on the chocolates (had I really eaten half a box?)

As I climbed out of the car I felt a little woozy, as though I’d had too much to drink. I leaned over and checked the label on the chocolates. Liqueur. No wonder I felt a bit drunk. I’d been so angry at Todd I hadn’t even noticed they tasted different to normal. I looked around for Todd, but couldn’t see him. For all I knew he was sulking back at his house, or back in the arms of what’s-her-face. I must have really thought a lot of myself to have thought he’d follow me all the way to the city out of jealousy.

I’d wasted petrol getting to the city and I wasn’t about to turn around and drive back home again, I figured I might as well ease my curiosity. Actually, considering my slightly drunk condition, driving wasn’t really an option anyway.

I shouldered my spaghetti-string purse and walked to the door. The bright blue neon sign above the door read, ‘Love Bites’. It suited my Valentine’s Day mood perfectly. A neon clad employee checked my I.D. and took my cover charge. Nerves hopped around my body as I walked through the doorway. It felt strange walking in alone. No date. No gaggle of girlfriends.

Like the pub back in Min Min, ‘Love Bites’ had not bothered with any Valentine’s Day decorations. That’s where the similarities to my hometown bar ended. The interior walls were painted black and nearly the entire expanse of the large room was taken up by a dance floor. Bodies writhed in rhythm to music pumped out by a D.J. in a booth. Coloured lights flashed, reflected by a giant disco ball hanging directly above the centre of the dance floor. The bar was off to one side and that’s where I headed, squeezing through throngs of dancers dressed in skimpy fluorescent clothing. My short skirted, low cut dress felt more like a nun’s habit next to all the bronzed, sweaty flesh.

I tried to gain the attention of the androgynous bartender. While I waited to be served, I studied the interesting specimen. I couldn’t decide if the bartender was a masculine female or a feminine male. The lurid glittery eye shadow and pink short shorts made me think maybe a woman, but I swore those shorts bulged a little too much in the front. Besides, there were lots of men in the nightclub wearing make-up and pink items of clothing, so it was no real indicator. This place was a far cry from my small town bar where everyone wore flannel shirts and dirty jeans and occasionally the women might wear a nice cotton dress if she felt like dressing up a bit. It was like another world in here. Maybe the bartender was one of the ‘aliens’ from the rumours. Certainly he/she would appear as alien in the Min Min pub.

“What’ll it be, honey?” the bartender trilled. Even the voice gave away no indication of gender.

I ordered a pink fruity cocktail in celebration of Valentine’s Day. Even though I was already tipsy from the chocolates, I figured one drink wouldn’t be so bad. I was single on Valentine’s Day, why not treat myself? While I sipped, I scrutinised the dancers for tell-tale signs of aliens or monsters. Despite the blue lipstick, gold hotpants and glittery green body powder sported by some of the dancers, beneath the glitz they all seemed to be human. I guessed I wouldn’t be meeting strange creatures after all.

An upbeat dance song came on and, feeling a little freer of my inhibitions, I decided to get up and have a dance. The lights flickered over the dance floor to the pounding beat of the music. I threw my hands up in the air and shook my booty for all it was worth. A woman with a purple afro came up to bump and grind beside me. Her orange body suit cut away in strategic places to reveal smooth brown flesh.

“You’re cute,” she said.

“Thanks.” At least I thought it was a compliment.

“This ain’t a place for cute. You’re out of your league, sweetheart.” She shimmied around me. “If I were you I’d go back to Kansas, Dorothy.”

“But I like it here in Oz,” I quipped back.

She grinned. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

She spun around and grabbed hold of the closest male so she could grind against him.

I shrugged her off. I could handle myself well enough. I’d been to the pub enough times to know a thing or two about fending off unwanted advances.

A cute gay couple wearing nothing more than spangled hotpants pulled me in between them to dance. It was easy to forget the words of warning as I giggled and joined in the over-the-top dance moves of my new companions.

“Thanks for the dance, doll,” the taller of the two said as the song ended. “Gotta go. You were a blast.” They both blew kisses at me before dancing off through the crowded dance floor. They sure knew how to move those hotpants-clad hineys.

I downed another cocktail and returned to the dance floor. A new song started and I lost myself in the high tempo rhythm. I was actually having a really good time until a pair of fangs scraped lightly at my neck.

***

You can read the whole story in Beautiful & Deadly: A Fantasy Collection.

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More Christmas presents for my readers!

Earlier this month I posted a present for all my readers: a free-to-read, fun, family-friendly Christmas story ‘Jungle Bell Rock’.

Today I have some more Christmas presents:

 

  1. 35% off ‘Annabeth and the Wolf’.

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If you enjoy fairytales with a twist, supernatural creatures, or LGBT fiction, you can now pick up a copy of ‘Annabeth and the Wolf’ at 35% off the regular price. Just use the coupon code

Santa2015

when you buy a copy from Torquere Press.

*offer valid until 1st January 2016

2. Christmas special for ‘Beautiful & Deadly’.

beautiful&deadlycover FINAL

For the month of December I’ve reduced the price of my recently released collection of fantasy-themed short stories ‘Beautiful & Deadly’. Now available for only $2.99 on Amazon!

*offer valid until 1st January 2016

3. A handy-dandy list of links to all my free-to-read Christmas stories.

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Feel free to share and enjoy 🙂

  • Jungle Bell Rock. Inspired by the Christmas Carols ‘Rocking Around the Christmas Tree’ and ‘Jingle Bell Rock’, the animals at the zoo have a rocking Christmas party.
  • A Farmer’s Night Before Christmas. An Aussie farmer’s version of the traditional Christmas tale.
  • Dashing Through the School. Inspired by the song ‘Jingle Bells’, a child is due to perform in the annual school Christmas play, but nerves take over.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays everyone!

A Big Thank You!

beautiful&deadlycover FINALWow, what a fantastic launch. I have so many people I want to thank.

To those who donated prizes…

Please support these fabulous, generous people by checking out their websites.

To those who came to the launch party…

I loved having you all there–you made the launch party a success. I had so much fun sharing excerpts and behind the story tidbits. Thank you for participating in the quizzes and competitions. Thank you especially to everyone who got the word out about the launch party and invited their friends.

A big thank you to everyone who picked up a copy of the book…

It was exciting seeing so many people grabbing their free copies during the launch. I am especially thankful to everyone who has been spreading the word about ‘Beautiful & Deadly‘. The free promo is now over, but you can pick up a copy for $3.49 USD/ $4.85 AUD.

Some stats

It was exciting watching ‘Beautiful & Deadly‘ moving up the charts throughout the launch. These were the top stats:

#6 in Fantasy Collections and Anthologies (Amazon.com.au)
#22 in Paranormal (Amazon.com.au)
#28 in Superhero (Amazon.com)
#36 in Fantasy Anthologies and Short Stories (Amazon.com)
#900 in free kindle store on Amazon.com.au
#3805 in free kindle store on Amazon.com

bestseller amazon au 2 Oct 11am collections

I am still absolutely amazed by those stats!

Thank you in advance…

To everyone who reviews. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the collection.

Launch Day! 3 Reasons to Come to the Launch Party!

beautiful&deadlycover FINALI’m so excited!!! I can’t believe launch day is finally here! As of right now Beautiful & Deadly is LIVE on Amazon! Check it out here. It’s currently priced at $3.49 USD ($4.85 AUD), but it will become FREE for 48 hours to coincide with the launch party. So at about 12:00am PST (7:00pm AEST) on the 30th September it will become available FREE!

3 Reasons to Come to the Launch Party!

Number 1

There are going to be some great PRIZE GIVEAWAYS! Including:

Number 2

I’ll be posting excerpts and sharing the background behind the stories over the duration of the launch. Plus there are some fun activities planned, too!

Number 3

You’ll be the first to know when the book goes FREE!

I seriously can’t contain how excited I am! I hope to see you all at the launch party. Please spread the word!

CLICK HERE to JOIN THE LAUNCH PARTY!

One Week Until ‘Beautiful & Deadly’ Launches (and you’re invited to the launch party!)

beautiful&deadlycover FINALI can’t believe I’ll be releasing my short story collection ‘Beautiful & Deadly’ in just one week! Things are starting to get scary and exciting. Not to mention busy, busy, busy. At the moment I’m putting together a Facebook launch party to coincide with the launch of the book on Amazon. You’re all invited, so pop by and join the event! There’ll be book excerpts, behind the story tidbits, fun activities, discussions and, best of all, PRIZES! I’ve had some awesome prizes donated by author D.K. Burrow, Mumma H Nutrimetics, Wrap Me Delicious – It Works! Global and the Leigh Family Juice Plus franchise.

Today I wanted to share the line up of stories that will be appearing in the collection. Many of them have appeared in anthologies over the years and now they’ll be all together in one collection. There’s also several new, never-before-published stories.

The Line Up

Angel Blood

Eighteen for Life

Aphrodite

Love Bites

A Troll for Christmas

Curse of the Falls

Island of No Return

Red Lipstick

Spectrum

Spectrum and Captain Awesome vs. Arachnid

Equinox

Ice Crystals

The Seashell

The Sweet Taste of Self-Loathing

Maya and the Prince

The Bony Finger of Death

Do any of those titles sound intriguing? Which one do you most want to read?

Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly for the launch. I’m hoping to offer the book FREE for the first 48 hours!

Why I Decided to Self-Publish + Prize Winners Announced!

Why I Decided to Self-Publish

beautiful&deadlycover FINALIn two weeks I will be releasing Beautiful & Deadly: A Fantasy Collection. It will be my first time venturing into the world of self-publishing. In the past I had never really seriously considered self-publishing—preferring to stick to the traditional publishing route. Self-publishing has typically had a bit of a stigma attached to it—self-publishing is for authors who can’t get published by traditional means, right? Plus it would mean all the marketing and business side of publishing would fall to me. I didn’t feel I was business-minded and that I lacked the confidence to market my own work.

But over the past few months my mindset has changed.

Why I changed my mind:
  1. I listened to a webinar on self-publishing children’s books through 12 x 12 and it got me inspired, especially when it was mentioned that children’s writers could do well through being hybrid-authors (authors who are both traditionally published and self-published). I ended up signing up for the Picture Ebook Mastery course run by the Children’s Book Insider and I started playing around with the idea of self-publishing my own children’s book. My biggest drawback came from the fact that I am not an illustrator and hiring an illustrator would be costly.
  2. A friend put me onto the ‘Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast and I started listening to it. I became even more inspired. There were writers out there making a good living off self-publishing. I think there is this mindset that there are so many badly self-published books out there that self-publishing has developed a stigma that turns readers off. But the authors on these podcasts were finding that if they put the work in and put out a professional-standard book, they could do well. I began to think, “If they can do it, why can’t I?”
  3. I started reading more about self-publishing and seemed like a lot of authors were saying that even in traditional publishing a lot of the marketing was left on the shoulders of the author. That was a big selling point for me. The marketing aspect of self-publishing had been a major off-putting aspect for me, but if I was going to be responsible for marketing my work even in traditional publishing, then it was no longer a point against self-publishing. In fact, marketing a self-published book would be great practice if I ever end up being traditionally published. Plus haven’t I already been marketing my short stories in their respective anthologies? This wouldn’t be too much different, except it would just be me (no other contributing authors/publisher to share the load).
  4. There have been times in the past where I briefly thought I would like to put all my published short stories into a collection, but now that the idea of self-publishing had lost its stigma for me, I started entertaining the idea much more seriously. The more I planned the collection, the more I wanted to make it a reality. And because most of the stories in the collection have been previously published, I think it took some of the pressure off, because they’d already been through a lot of edits and I knew I could put out a professional book. There are two rules for self-publishing; one of those is for your book to be professionally edited.
  5. The second rule is to have a professional cover. I started researching cover artists, but at the same time I started playing around making my own cover. Thankfully I have been doing graphic art for about 8 years as a hobby and I have made a lot of mock covers over the years. My first cover was very amateur looking, so I scrapped it and made another. This one I felt looked professional, especially after some tweaking based on feedback. It was more validation that I could actually self-publish a professional-looking book. (P.S. For others considering self-publishing, I highly recommend getting a cover artist, unless you have been doing graphics yourself for years and have enough skills to do it yourself. If your cover doesn’t look professional, readers will be put off buying the book.)

Fingers crossed and wish me luck as I plunge head first into the world of self-publishing.

For those interested in exploring self-publishing, this series of posts by Author Entrepreneur Management Solutions is a must read. It takes you through planning, marketing, expenses and predicting income.

I’d love to hear stories from anyone else who has taken this route. Or what other writers think of self-publishing? Would you do it? Why or why not?
PRIZE WINNERS!

And now for the winners of my blogiversary giveaway!

Prize 1: An advance copy of Beautiful & Deadly.

Mary Preston!

Prize 2: A limited edition short story of your choice from the collection.

Angelina M Linan!

Prize 3: Your choice of a story critique OR a $5 Amazon gift card.

Melissa Gijsbers Khalinsky!

Thanks to all who entered and shared the competition. Winners, please check your email for your prizes!

Blogiversary Celebrations – New Look Site & A Prize Giveaway!

gift-553140_1280Welcome to my blogiversary celebrations! Today marks 6 years since I first started this blog as a way to help aspiring writers by sharing my acquired writing knowledge, as well as sharing my own writing journey.
I have some exciting announcements for my blogiversary:

  1. My blog has received a new look and a new and improved domain name.
  2. My short story collection Beautiful & Deadly is due to be released on the 30th September and I am excited to share the book trailer with you for my blogiversary.
  3. To celebrate my blogiversary, I’m having a competition! That’s right, it might be my blog’s birthday, but YOU get the presents! Details at the end of this post.

A Brand New Look

Regular visitors may have noticed my blog’s brand new header and updated look! You may also have noticed a change in my website’s name. I decided it was time to not only get an official and simplified domain name, I also decided it was time to rename the site to reflect my name. So now instead of thegracefuldoe.wordpress.com, my new web address is *drumroll*

johartauthor.com

But don’t worry, if you use thegracefuldoe.wordpress.com it will still take you to this site 🙂

Beautiful & Deadly

beautiful&deadlycover FINALThe last five years I’ve had a number of short stories published in various anthologies. A few months ago I had the idea to put them all together in a single collection, along with some new, never-before-published stories. In the coming weeks I’m going to talk a little more about how the idea to publish my own short story collection came about and a sneak peek at some of the stories included, but for today I’m excited to premiere my first ever book trailer!

Competition Time!

To help celebrate my blogiversary I’m running a competition to win an advanced PDF copy of ‘Beautiful & Deadly’ along with some other great prizes!

To enter, simply fill in the rafflecopter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Prizes:

  1. An advanced PDF copy of ‘Beautiful & Deadly’. You will get to read it more than a week before its official release date!
  2. Your choice of any single story from the collection as a limited edition PDF.
  3. Your choice of a short story critique or Amazon gift card.

Competition closes: 11.59pm (AEST) Wednesday 16th September

Winners will be drawn at random and announced on Thursday 17th September.

Beautiful & Deadly Cover Reveal!

I’m so excited to be revealing the cover for my upcoming short story collection ‘Beautiful & Deadly’!

beautiful&deadlycover FINAL

Keep an eye on my blog next week as I will be debuting the book trailer during my blogiversary celebrations, launching a competition to win an advanced PDF copy of the collection and giving details of the release date of the book!

Arrr! Talk Like a Pirate Day (with prizes!)

In celebration o’ Talk Like a Pirate Day, I’ve a special announcement I’ve been burstin’ to tell ya.

Ok, so I’m not great at talking like a pirate, but I do have some exciting pirate-related news to share. I recently had not one, but TWO stories published in the anthology ‘Teapot Tales: Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea‘.

teapot Tales ebook cover

The first story, ‘Island of No Return’, is about a cursed pirate captain who makes a deal with a sea goddess. It was partly inspired by the lyrics of Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’. Here’s a snippet:

“Be warned: do not make your decision to proceed lightly. All magic comes with a price. Are you prepared to pay the price?”

Lucas held out his arms and tore off his sleeves to reveal the blackened skin where the curse had already taken effect. “I am willing to pay any price to rid myself of this curse. I will not be taken by the darkness.”…

She moved towards him as though floating across the surface of the water until she stood so close their faces were mere centimetres from each other. Her lips pressed against his. At first, a warmth stirred inside him—she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever encountered, after all. But soon the warmth drained from his body and he felt his blood turn ice cold in his veins.

The second story, ‘The Seashell’, is about a tide pool explorer who’s magically whisked into an underwater world. This one is based on my memories of the adventures I imagined as a child playing on the beach.

Jagged pillars of rocks lined the shore. Waves crashed against them in a rhythmic percussion, accompanied by the screech of seagulls. Ashleigh skipped and balanced over the slippery rocks, avoiding the tide pools and skittering crabs.  Out of the corner of her eye something sparkled in the sunlight. Like a colourful beacon it glinted from a cragged rock jutting out of the ocean.

The anthology features sea-inspired short stories suitable for a variety of ages. And, as the title suggests, the stories are short enough to be enjoyed over a cup of tea. Check out the book trailer!

A CHANCE TO WIN SOME PIRATE BOOTY!

The authors of ‘Teapot Tales: Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea‘ got together (in conjunction with Melusine Muse Press) and decided in celebration of our newly released pirate-themed anthology and Talk Like a Pirate Day we would do a giveaway! Head on over to the Melusine Muse Press blog to go into the draw to win one of several prizes, including a copy of ‘Teapot Tales: Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea’. There’s lots of ways to get bonus entries into the draw, including liking my FB page. The winners will be drawn and announced on the 25th September.

 

Aphrodite (short story)

I’m posting this short story for J.A.Mes Press’s Rebirth anthology. The idea is to post a short story around the theme of ‘rebirth’, whether that means traditional forms of rebirth or more supernatural ideas, such as vampires or werewolves. All proceeds from the anthology will be going to a charity to benefit stroke patients.

Aphrodite

Title: Aphrodite

Author: Jo Hart

Word count: 565

Book: Yes

Cyprus buzzed with early morning trading. Usually Danaos would have been right in the midst of it, bartering with the goods ships from Rome, but this morning he strode towards the temple. If this didn’t work he feared his wife would be dead by morning. What would he do then, with three young ones at foot and no mother to tend to them?

A handmaiden of Aphrodite led him to the stone dais that housed the six foot statue of the beautiful goddess. Danaos knelt before it with clasped hands.

“Oh beautiful Aphrodite, help us in our hour of need.”

To his surprise a woman, more beautiful than any woman he’d ever laid eyes upon, stepped out from behind the statue. Her pale skin glowed under the flickering flames of the lanterns. Golden ringlets tumbled over her shoulders and reached nearly to her knees.  Her pink lips resembled a cupid’s bow and the rest of her face was smooth and unblemished. The curves of her body dipped and swelled in perfect proportion. With a jolt, Danaos realised this woman was the exact likeness of the statue before him.

A soft smile appeared on her lips, “Yes, I am she.”

Danaos bowed low. “My lady, Aphrodite. It is an honour to be graced with your presence. Please, I beg of you to save my wife.”

“Do you love her? Love is my specialty and I can only help if your love is true.”

“I love her with all my heart. And my children love her as dearly as any child loves a mother.”

She walked full circle around Danaos, studying his form.

“You are a beautiful man,” she noted. “I appreciate beauty. Such a strong masculine form and thick golden locks.” She ran a hand through his hair and over his broad shoulders. “Tell me, do you love your wife so much that you would you do anything to save her life?”

“Yes! Anything.”

“Would you trade your human life for one of immortality and become the companion of Aphrodite?”

Danaos hesitated. This would mean leaving his wife and his children. But the children needed their mother. His wife’s family would ensure his wife and children were cared for when he was gone, of this he was sure.

“I accept your terms. I will become your companion.”

Aphrodite smiled. She came around behind Danaos and laid gentle kisses in the crook of his neck. “This might hurt a little. Don’t panic. It will be over soon.”

Two fangs penetrated his neck. The piercing pain subsided as soon as the fangs withdrew. A dribble of red blood ran down Aphrodite’s white chin. Danaos felt the world around him turn black.

When he woke he felt different. Stronger. Healthier. Hungry.

“You’re not a god,” he mumbled, still a little drowsy.

“I am vampyr,” she said. “Pretending to be gods is less frightening to humans and comes with added benefits. We appreciate the sacrifices.” A sadistic grin twisted her beautiful features. “And now you are vampyr, too.”

“What about my wife? We had a deal.”

“She is alive and well. Vampyr saliva has healing properties. I never break my word.”

Danaos sat up. His previously tanned skin now appeared paler. He wondered what other changes had occurred during his transformation. “What exactly does being a vampyr entail?”

Aphrodite licked her lips and laughed. “You have eternity to find out.”

 

You can now find an updated version of ‘Aphrodite’ in the collection Beautiful and Deadly, along with many more supernatural-themed stories, including  vampire stories such as ‘Love Bites’ and ‘Eighteen for Life’.