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Another Beautiful Nightmare - New Release - WIHM

Updated: Feb 21, 2019

Another Beautiful Nightmare is a Vamptasy anthology, following on from the success of Beautiful Nightmares. The book is due for release on Feb 1, 2019 and will start of Women in Horror Month with a blood-curdling scream.

Included in the collection are:

Lily Luchesi’s - Mercury Falling

Laurencia Hoffman - A Bloody Beginning

Jaidis Shaw - A Mother’s Instinct

Carmilla Voiez - Demons Are A Girl’s Best Friend

A Giacomi - Aqua Vita

Faith Marlow - Blood Moon

S L Perrine - Elegant Assassin

L Gauthier & P Mattern - Hotel Key

Kathy-Lynn Cross - Maryanna’s Mirror

Kindra Sowder - Miscreant

Sheri L Williams - Murderous Mermaid

R L Weeks - Struck Three

Samantha Allard - The Final Girl

S J Davis - Fire, Walk With Me

P Mattern - Kitchen Window

Rue Volley - Hellhound Origins Story

Three excerpts follow and you may scroll through the promotional posters for details of other individual stories and/or watch the video.

It was on the day her mother died that Natalie began seeing demons.

“I’m sorry,” Doctor Wills said, and his face did look sorry. Sympathy was his default expression. How many times had he repeated the same words to people like her? “All we can do is make her comfortable now.”

Natalie nodded, unable to form sentences. The letters were in her head, but they were jumbled like jigsaw pieces, and she was certain some were missing.

“Maybe you should let your brothers and sisters know, if they want to see her before … Is there anyone I can call to sit with you? I know it’s a shock. She seemed to be improving.”

Was he taking the unformed words directly from her brain? She only realized what she wanted to say after the doctor provided the answer. Or was it experience? Did everyone ask the same questions when they knew that soon a loved one would leave them?

He made her feel much younger than her thirty-five years.

She shook her head. No one would come to share her burden. Natalie would summon her brothers and sisters back to their painful past, but they would arrive too late to help. Instead they would pull up to the front door in their huge cars and rush to the room that smelled of wilting flowers. She supposed she should get fresh ones. They’d forget Natalie was there. Forget she was anything more than a messenger, the bringer of sad news. They would be nursing their own grief, and would have no space to share hers. The burden of the middle child. Forgotten. Ignored.

“Please call me if anything changes,” Doctor Wills said before he left.

What could change? Hadn’t he said this was it? They could only make her comfortable and wait for her to die. Natalie’s mother.

Natalie sat by the bed and held her mother’s limp hand. She didn’t squeeze, but rather cradled the claw of loose flesh over brittle bone. The illness had taken everything, but the doctors couldn’t even give it a name. At least Mother was at home now. Unconscious in her own bed. The doctor’s powerlessness had given her that at least.

Her mother grumbled in her sleep. A bad dream? Or had she heard the doctor’s words? Did she know she was dying?

1936. The smell of copper lingered in the air. It wasn't the kind of scent that remained present after Silas had fed – the aroma was too strong. It was pleasant to her nostrils but it sent a pang of worry through her chest. Picking up the skirt of her dress, she followed that scent, and it led her down the staircase, through the hallway, and into what they called “the dungeon”.

“Darling, are you–”

Before she could finish her question, Melina tripped on something. When she looked down, she saw that it was a body. Furrowing her brow, she let go of her skirt as her gaze focused on the floor. There was more than she had expected.

So many bodies were strewn about that she couldn't see the stone floor between them and the pools of blood. This wasn't an unfamiliar sight, but a confusing one.

“My God. What did you do?”

Silas was wiping the crimson liquid from his hands onto what might have been a white cloth at one time, though now it was entirely soaked in blood.

“I couldn't leave them alive,” he said in a low voice.

Melina glanced at him, taking a step back as she felt the blood traveling down the floor and seeping into her skirt. The act itself was not shocking – they had indulged in slaughter regularly, but never of their own house staff. “Were they spreading rumors? Gossiping with the people in town?”

Shaking his head, Silas tossed the bloody cloth onto one of the bodies. “Not that I'm aware of.”

“Then why did you do this?” Taking the candlestick that was on the floor – the only source of light in the room, she moved forward, even though she didn't need it to see in the dark “Silas, you murdered our entire staff. If you think I'm going to clean this mess, you're gravely mistaken.”

Her lover said nothing as he exited the room. Heaving a sigh, she followed him. “Do you have any idea how much skill it takes to walk up the stairs holding up this dress and this damn candle?”

“You should have left it with the bodies. We don't need light to see in the dark, Melina.”

Guy Reed was sweating profusely as he played the final hand. He was the only one remaining in a high stakes card game with celebrity card shark Benton Daley. These were private games, and Benton seemed to have be having most, but not quite all, of the luck.

As Guy placed a solid antique 18 kt gold hotel key on the table he saw Benton’s eyebrows shoot up questioningly.

“Even if that key is solid gold it won’t cover your bet Guy,” Benton said flatly, “What are you thinking, man?”

Guy held Benton’s gaze. He had to wonder about this man, the son of a well known celebrity with a notorious reputation as a gambler. Though Guy was as expensively dressed as Benton himself, and quite a young man, he walked with a cane and an obvious limp.

Guy must have been in some sort of accident, Ben decided.

“Not just the key,” Guy told him, “But the deed to a historic landmark hotel is what I’m wagering. Worth 150k at the minimum. The Mandarin Arms Hotel in the West Central Area of town. Take it or leave it.”

Benton glanced over at his assistant, sitting in the half circle of bystanders surrounding the table. His assistant began typing furiously on his open laptop, then looked up and gave him a thumbs up.

“Okay I accept your wager. Let’s get going with this. I have other places to be.” Benton snapped.

Guy asked for two cards after he looked at his hand. Benton said he’d stay. In a stroke of luck, he had been dealt three aces. He was fairly certain he would win.

Benton was the first to lay his hand down. Guy’s heart was pounding in his ears, and he laid his inferior hand down, saying, “I’m out!”

The hand he’d been dealt originally had been a royal flush. But he had turned in two of the cards because it was desperately important that he LOSE. Guy was happy to fold. He HAD to lose that key, and the hotel, to be rid of the curse that had almost cost him his life.

He’d only escaped by jumping out the 4th floor window of his suite. He had shattered his leg, but he had escaped with his life.

He was alive. That was all that mattered.

Over the next few weeks I will review the collection (excluding my own story) and interview a few of the other authors on my blog.

Tomorrow my interview with Lily Luchesi will be going live on my blog. Stay tuned.

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