Authors: RaShelle Workman
“Lips red as rubies, hair dark as night. Drink your true love’s blood, become the Vampire, Snow White.”
Praise for the Blood and Snow series:
“The modern twist on the Snow White fairy tale was interesting and original, which isn't easy to find these days. Highly recommended.” Sarra Cannon, bestselling author of the Peachville High Demons series
“This book will definitely suck you in (no pun intended) instantly.” Anthony
"BLOOD AND SNOW draws you in from the very beginning and never let's you go, only to leave you anticipating more! Loved it. Can't wait for volume 2." Debbie Davis from Debbie's Inkspectations
"This is a fun, smart, and sexy read!" Elizabeth Mueller, award winning YA author of Darkspell
“I definitely look forward to more, and recommend this to anyone who likes a fairy tale with a twist.” Kay Glass
“If you enjoy vampires and fractured fairy tales you'll enjoy these quick reads!” Laura Pauling, author of the Circle of Spies series
“Best books that I have read!” Mercedez
Love is like a pyrotechnics display. The vibrancy and beauty not truly appreciated until after they erupt. When the sparks burst in radiant color, and gloriously proclaim to the sky, “This is what you’re missing. This is what you’ve lost.”
At least that’s how it was with my mother. I adored her. Loved the way she sang while she cooked, the way her eyebrows came together when she read something interesting, and the way she snuggled into my neck when she tucked me in at night.
Those memories were priceless, and I wished I relished her more while I had her love. Cuddled longer. Hugged her tighter. But then, I didn’t know she was going to die… or leave me.
The knowledge that all this time she was alive, but chose to stay away, filled me with a pain I didn’t know existed. I was devastated, and, if I was honest with myself, also excited to see her.
My mother used to say, “Promises are lies spoken from the heart. Never make a promise unless you’re one hundred percent sure you can keep it.” When she said it, I hadn’t understood what she meant. But as Dorian, Gabe, Cindy, and I got closer to the city my mother called home, I thought she must’ve known all along she would leave.
That I would be alone.
At those thoughts, some of my pain changed to resentment. At her. She allowed me to be raised by a mean stepmother, and a father who cowed to her every whim. A man who wasn’t strong enough to be there when I needed him most.
How could she do that? Why? I hoped I’d get the chance to ask.
“Is Snow’s mom like an elf-mermaid?” Dorian asked Abernathy, bringing me out of my reverie.
Abernathy laughed. “Mermaids are fish. Elves are land dwellers. Snow’s mother is not a fish, but an elf. Please try to keep up.”
Gabe smirked. “It may not be possible.”
Dorian reached over and slugged Gabe in the arm, knocking Cindy and I slightly askew.
“Hey, none of that,” Cindy hissed. “I don’t want to fall.”
“You won’t,” I whispered, leaning into her.
“You doing okay? You must be freaking out about your mom.” Cindy murmured.
“Yeah, a little.” I swallowed, afraid if I said more I might cry. I still didn’t totally believe she was alive, and I wouldn’t until I saw her again, with my own eyes. And maybe she was as Abernathy said, an elf. But since she looked human while she lived with me, wasn’t it possible she could become something different while under the sea? Could she be a mermaid too?
You’re an idiot, my inner voice scolded.
“Hang on,” Abernathy growled.
I glanced ahead. We were nearly to the large bubble surrounding the city. “How are we going to get in?”
Abernathy’s response was flippant. “How are we in this realm? How are you four able to breathe, or more importantly, how are you able to keep from being crushed? The answer is the same for all questions. Magic. I have it and I know how to use it.” He shook his head, and his amber mane danced slowly in the water.
When I thought Abernathy would crash, he yelled one word. “Opherium!” And he glided through.
The bubble surrounding the city was much thicker than I believed, and as we passed through it, my body felt tingly, as though each cell was tickled. On the other side, there was a collective sigh from the others, and I realized they must’ve felt the same strangeness I did.
Inside were tall, vibrant buildings. Colors similar to the coral I’d seen—turquoise, hot pink, salmon, neon blue, and lime green. Yellows, from buttery to vibrant, tangerine, and lavender. Various types of trees grew in rows along the perimeter of the buildings. The trees reminded me of a combination of kelp, and seaweed. Heat from above warmed my skin, and I glanced up. A yellow sun shone bright in the sky. Wispy clouds sailed across a blue firmament. “How?” I began, and then stopped. I already knew what Abernathy would say.
Roads and sidewalks intersected, and meandered along the buildings. The roads looked like they were made from pearls. And all manner of creatures flew or walked the streets. Trolls, elves, fairies, and gremlins. Even humans.
Several streams meandered lazily in different sections of the city. And surrounding the city’s outskirts was a vast ocean. Did mermaids dwell here? I strained by eyes, hoping to catch a glimpse of one.
The idea of mermaids brought up another concern. Where exactly did Abernathy bring us? What was this place? The dragon said the city was called Mizu Atlantica, but what was the city for?
Abernathy flew us along the streets, over the heads of the multitudes of residents. No one shrieked, or screamed. Instead, most waved to Abernathy, and greeted him like an old friend.
I shook my head in disbelief.
This was wild.
Abernathy landed in the exact center of the city. On a large, circular patch of green. It wasn’t grass. It was slimier—like moss, or algae.
“Do not climb off,” Abernathy said, tucking his wings along his back, and to the side. “We are going below.”
As he spoke, a screech reverberated through my body, like metal scraping against metal. I peered over the side, and realized the circle Abernathy stood on descended.
Cindy wrapped her arms around Gabe. Dorian tightened his grip. I leaned into him, thankful for his nearness. Since I told him I was in love with Christopher, he’d been more quiet, but still available when I needed him. I realized a friendship like his rarely came along. I turned back to him, and smiled.
“No worries.” He nudged me with his shoulder.
After several long, nerve-wracking moments, we stopped.
A blue-green light flickered on above, along with a rigorous hum, as the large hole in the ceiling closed. There was a click, and a door in front of us slid open. Standing in the doorway, flanked by two (I’m guessing) bodyguards, was my mother.
She wore slick black pants, and a matching black top. It reminded me of a scuba suit, but with more flair. On her feet were boots with sparkling black buckles holding them to her legs. They went to midway up her calves. On her back was what looked like a large gun. And her long hair was in a braid, hanging down her back.
“She’s kickass,” Dorian whispered.
A glint of a smile crossed my mother’s lips, as though she’d heard him.
I couldn’t say anything. I was shocked. Physically, she looked the same as she did the last time I saw her. Long hair, the color of spider silk, a lithe body. But she also appeared more hardened. There was none of the softness I remembered. Instead she looked… as Dorian said, like a kick ass, no nonsense woman.
A woman who resembled my mother in physical attributes, but that was all.
“Ariel,” Abernathy said, his voice low and soothing. “It’s lovely to see you again.”
“That’s your mom?” Dorian asked.
Abernathy and my mother made small talk. She glanced my direction several times, her smile lighting my insides with happiness. But I couldn’t speak. Dorian wrapped a protective arm around my shoulders. Cindy tried to strike up a conversation, but I didn’t respond. I couldn’t focus on anyone but my mom.
Gabe and Cindy hung back, unsure what to do with themselves.
Mom. I can’t believe it’s her, I thought.
Once Abernathy and my mother finished talking, the circular opening above slid open, and Abernathy flew away. “I’ll return when I’m needed. Good-bye little vampire,” he said.
I noticed my mother flinched at his word—vampire.
“See ya,” I said, and my voice echoed against the strange walls. A strange odor radiated from everywhere. It took me a minute to place it, but I realized the strongest smell was hazelnut. Underneath was salt water. It wasn’t a bad smell, but I was curious if they used some sort of scented candle or… something to cover up the stench of sea water, fish, and all things relating to sea life.
Inclining her head to each of us, my mother directed we follow. My feet began to move of their own volition. We crossed the doorway, and the door slid closed behind us. The blue-green lights lit up the hallway that appeared to be made out of something black. It sparkled and I wondered if the walls, floor, and ceiling were black diamonds. None of us spoke. The only sound was the swishing of our clothes, and the rhythmic padding of our shoes. When we reached the end of the hall, a door slid open. We went through, and entered a room. It looked like a formal living room, with a fireplace, couches, chairs, end tables. Even a piano. But the materials were different somehow. I touched one of the couches as I passed, and was surprised by its softness.
“The furniture is made of eel skin,” my mother said, though she didn’t turn, but kept walking forward.
I was shocked, and pulled my hand away.
Should I be disgusted?
The piano was in the shape of a baby grand. The lid was up. The white keys shone next to the black ones.
“Everything you see here is from Mizu. Created from the animals, rocks, and minerals found in this land. Nothing is from the surface,” Ariel said, answering the question I felt certain I hadn’t asked aloud.
Dorian walked next to me, and gave me a look.
After the living room we came to the kitchen. An overwhelming heat permeated from an enormous fire in the center. Men and women of all shapes, and heritages moved as though in a dance, preparing food.
My mother stopped, and I nearly ran into her before I realized, and halted.
She turned back, and grinned. A smile I remembered. The kind that touched the innermost secrets of my soul.
I breathed in, and waited for her to speak.
“Are you hungry?” she asked.
“Starved,” Dorian answered.
“I could eat,” Cindy said.
Blood sounds good, I thought, but said nothing.
“Please, have a seat.” She indicated a wooden table. The centerpiece was filled with flowers I didn’t recognize.
When we were seated, plates were brought, and positioned in front of us. The food smelled divine. It looked like fish covered in a creamy yellow sauce, green beans, and fresh baked rolls. By the way Gabe, Dorian, and Cindy ate, I guessed it must be good. I didn’t even try to fake it. My stomach was already in knots. I couldn’t add human food to the mix.
No one spoke for several minutes. The cooks whispered amongst themselves, but the five of us didn’t say a word. Dorian, Gabe, and Cindy stuffed their faces. I stared at my plate, and I caught my mother staring at me.