What's The Inspiration?
The title came to me before the story, which took a bit of time. Once I figured out the story it took over. I was so excited with the first version that things got muddled, as my editor at the time pointed out. She provided helpful notes to strengthen this second version - which is the one published.
Part of Prologue
I gawked as Daddy pulled up to our dinner destination — a large royal-looking residence with a wide welcoming staircase and gold adorning the outside. A valet took the keys from Daddy. We followed other guests into the house. The inside of the house was just as grand as the outside. Staring up at the sparkling chandelier, I fell behind as my parents continued into the house.
“Alice?” Daddy called.
I rushed to rejoin my parents. Daddy waited for me at the door to the parlour. The many guests mingled in the large room. I stayed quiet as my parents mingled with the guests. Eventually, Mommy wandered off to chat with other women at the event. I slipped my hand into Daddy’s, wanting to stay with him.
“Hunter.” A wonderfully musical voice spoke from behind us.
“Queen.” Daddy turned from the gentleman he was speaking with.
“Who is this?” She questioned.
Her bright green eyes rested on me. Distracted by her beauty, I almost forgot my manners. The woman was stunning in her sleek black dress. Taking hold of the skirt of my dress, I curtsied just like Mommy taught me.
“Alice Thorpe.” I told her.
“My daughter. She will replace me in due time.”
“Ah.” Understanding flickered on the woman’s features before a serene smile graced her lips. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, young Hunter.”
“This is Queen Ana.” Daddy explained. “She reigns over all the vampires in Stellacote and the surrounding cities. She’s also in charge of the Sanguis in the country. Tonight, Queen has graciously opened her doors for us.”
“A pleasure to meet you Queen Ana.” I curtsied again. “You have a very pretty home.”
“Let me introduce you to Joel and Josie Walker.” Queen gestured to two similar-looking brown-haired children who came to stand on either side of her. “They will be your daytime contacts, young Hunter.”
The chiming of a bell announced dinner. I joined a separate table with the other children. Josie and I became fast friends. Joel, on the other hand, scowled at me the entire time. I tried to befriend him but couldn’t get him to remove that scowl. However, Josie’s bright personality more than made up for his sourness.
After dinner, Daddy guided me to a room in the back of the house. This room contained one large table with many chairs. The chairs around it slowly filled with men from tonight’s dinner and their sons. At least, I think it’s their sons. The boys appeared to be around the ages of six to thirteen.
Once every male was seated, Daddy stood to speak. “Thank you, fellow Hunters, for coming. I know it has been a long trip for many of you. At this meeting, I officially want to introduce my daughter, Alice, as the next Hunter in the Thorpe line.”
Murmuring erupted around the table. I offered a tentative wave from my seat next to Daddy. Being the only female in this male-dominated room, I felt small and insignificant. From further down the table, a red-headed boy waved back. That single gesture offered me a little confidence to smile at the group. Subtle nods, small smiles, and soft clapping soon greeted me from the other Hunters.
Suddenly the doors to the room swung open with such force that they banged against the walls. All eyes were on the figure standing in the doorway.
“What’s all this?” The figure demanded. “The Hunter Society altogether, and no one invited me?”
I sunk back in my chair. Something about this man sent a sliver of fear up my spine. The tiny amount of confidence I’d gained vanished in an instant. The man’s eyes swept over the room. There was something primal and dangerous in his gaze.
“Alex Kingsley.” Daddy took point answering him. “You have been removed from the Hunter Society.”
“And why is that?” The man glared.
“You do not follow the Hunter guidelines.” Daddy stated bluntly. “Therefore, you do not have what it takes to be a Hunter.”
“I don’t have what it takes?” The man let out a harsh laugh. He strolled deeper into the room. “I handle the supernatural, something none of you seem to appreciate. You’ve all gone soft. Having dinner in the home of the vampires, letting wolves run around with humans. You have no pride as a Hunter.”
“You are harming the peace.” Someone said.
“The balance needs to be maintained.” Another person continued.
“Alex.” Daddy spoke with an air of authority in his tone. “Leave now while you still have dignity in your name.”
The man scowled, looking around the room again, meeting the eyes of every Hunter around the table. “You will all regret this decision.”
His pale green eyes fell on me. A slow smile curved his lips. I shivered. Daddy threw an arm out, blocking his view of me. Two Hunters stood suddenly. They each took hold of the man’s arms and roughly escorted him out of the room. Daddy sat back down in the chair heavily. I don’t understand anything that just happened. Still, I reached out to take Daddy’s hand in mine. He smiled softly, pulling me closer to kiss the top of my head.