Somebody once asked me which of my characters I’d most like to trade places with. In the Vampire Next Door the answer is…none of them!
Sly is a vampire whose maker Vorigan Malvant is after him. Morgaine is Sly’s honey who Vorigan kidnaps as bait to lure Sly. Roz and Konrad moved to a private school in Newton, run by werewolves. Merry is pregnant and Jason’s father had another heart attack, taking him away to Minnesota in the dead of winter. Gwyneth is fighting with Morgaine and Nathan is well…Nathan.
Everyone’s favorite character seems to be Chad, the ghost. I love him too, and the idea of being the proverbial fly on the proverbial wall has its appeal, but to be so limited by the lack of a corporeal form would be frustrating. No wonder he’s snarky!
Sly and Morgaine have been friends for years and already know each other’s paranormal secrets, so that bit is out of the way. Morgaine didn’t have to freak out over Sly’s vampirism the way Merry and Roz did when they discovered the men they loved were shapeshifters.
But no two characters were more flawed than Morgaine and Sly when they first considered (and almost rejected) the idea of a relationship. Sly was still grieving the loss of his wife, killed by vampire Vorigan who turned him twenty-six years earlier. Morgaine suffered from phobias as crippling as Sly’s sun sensitivity and blood lust. Both were doing the best they could with what life had dealt them, but each experienced a void.
So take one vampire who can’t go out in the sun, plus one witch with Agoraphobia who can’t go out at all, and by the way, she had Nyctophobia too and was deathly afraid of the dark…and how do you get them together?
It’s waaaay more complex than I can relate in a blog article. Let me just say with a little help from friends and apparitions, they manage to overcome their roadblocks to happiness. I’m happy to say Morgaine doesn’t wind up playing “the damsel in distress” and Sly doesn’t remain damaged and brooding.
In fact, I’m rather proud of the way I tied up each character’s story with some stellar inner growth that leads to a happy ending. And this doesn’t just apply to Sly and Morgaine. I made sure all the residents found happiness.
Now, let me give you a short excerpt of a conversation between Morgaine the witch and Chad the ghost to entice you further.
“Morgaine, why don’t you just tell her how you feel?” Chad, the ghost, said.
Morgaine snorted, continued labeling her dried herbs, and tried to ignore the apparition that was making too much sense. “Oh, get a grave.”
“Seriously. I know Gwyneth pretty well, considering we’re roommates. She’ll understand if you just give her a chance.”
“You forget I lived with her for a long time before you did. She has to be the belle of every ball. You even called her that, remember?”
“So, what? Are you just going to step back and let her take over?”
“Look, I already got a makeover. What else are you telling me to do? Change my personality?”
“I think you’re being oversensitive.”
“About what?” Morgaine realized she had snapped at him, but he should mind his own damn business. Sure, he was probably bored out of his mind, but he could find other ways to amuse himself besides butting into her private life… like insulting people who couldn’t hear him or listening in on the phone-sex line like he used to do.
“About your more extroverted cousin getting the attention you crave but refuse to risk rejection for.”
She grabbed her mortar and pestle and another handful of herbs. “Oh, great,” she muttered. “Now our spook thinks he has a degree in psychology.” She took out some of her aggression and ground the sage forcefully. It didn’t need to be turned into powder as if she wanted to cook with it. Courser herbs would do quite nicely for a spell, and she didn’t plan to cook a turkey for another month.
Unfortunately, she couldn’t think of a way to win the heart of a man with her cute, vivacious cousin around—unless she broke the Witches’ Rede and resorted to manipulation. The rules made it quite clear that forcing the feelings and behavior of others would backfire on a witch big time. And would a night of false passion be worth it?
“I know what you’re thinking.”
“No, you don’t.”
“Oh, yeah? I’ll bet you believe all men think with their little heads and you’re not attractive enough to turn on a certain vampire.”
The air rushed out of Morgaine’s emotional balloon, and she sagged against the counter. “Okay, I guess you do know what I’m thinking.”
“So, what are you gonna do about it?”
“What can I do? I can’t turn my cousin into an ugly hag. I can’t make Sly fall madly in love with me. Well, I could do those things, but that would be cheating.”
“At the risk of sounding clichéd, all you need to do is be yourself.”