It’s Christmastime at the Chateau.
Waiting for his lover to return is torment, but the sculptor, Antoine, plans to exploit Savannah’s return to the art colony to the fullest, acting out his fantasies each night. Savannah has spent much time in Boston while she finishes her degree, but they will have weeks together to make up for lost time.
When Savannah doesn’t disembark the ferry, Antoine fears the worst. Something must have happened to her, something terrible. He’s made recent enemies after wolf shifters had come to the island and battles ensued.
Antoine’s plans drastically change as he goes to find Savannah, caught in a Dark Pursuit.
Meet Antoine, the gargoyle shifter turned vampire, and his poet lover, Savannah, in this short story in the Chateau Seductions series.
It would be their first Christmas together. Antoine decorated the castle in preparation for Savannah’s return from her university.
“In the ten years I’ve known you, not once have I seen you hang a bulb on the tree,” Cameron remarked.
Cameron was the manager of the Les Beaux Art at the Chateau DeRoche and Antoine’s loyal friend. Cameron took care of the daily operations of the art colony while Antoine was forced to seek cover from the sunlight.
“Haven’t had anyone to share it with,” he replied.
When had Antoine last enjoyed celebrating the holiday with anyone? Likely not since he’d been a young gargoyle shifter with his family, before he’d been forced to turn over a century ago. Cameron gave him a slow nod. “I know what you mean.” Although human, he’d mated to a wolf shifter named Nadya this summer.
Savannah would have a month off in between college semesters. A month that he planned to exploit to the fullest each night, acting out all his fantasies. She stayed in Boston during the week to attend graduate classes and returned to the island on weekends. Earning her degree was important to her, so he tried not to express how he missed her too often. The bed was too cold, too big. The light all but gone in the chateau. Once she earned her Master’s degree in June, he’d have her all to himself.
He wouldn’t be able to attend her graduation, which would take place outside during the day. But after she graduated, she’d return to the island and they’d continue the discussion that had been plaguing them. The last time they’d tried to talk about it, it had ended in a heated argument before she’d returned to school. She didn’t understand the sacrifices involved. Already, she’d given up so much to be his lover.
He would show her how much she meant to him when she returned. He’d learned patience over the decades, only it seemed more difficult when it came to Savannah. She visited family and was taking care of a few things before she returned to the island. Only two more nights. Just in time for Christmas. The hours trudged past until finally it was time for her arrival.
Although the December nights were colder, they were also longer, which gave him more time outdoors. With the sun setting so early, he was able to trek over to the dock on the other side of DeRoche Island on the evening of the twenty-third to greet Savannah when her ferry arrived. He’d brought a single red rose with him and a barrette so she could pin it into her hair. Maybe it would be considered old fashioned for this era, but Savannah appreciated his romantic gestures, no matter how small. With the way she favored the old Hollywood styles, he thought it would look perfect in her dark hair.
The evening ferry arrived. He paced in front of the dock while his heart pounded with anticipation. He couldn’t wait to rush her back to the chateau, show her how they’d decorated it—probably to excess.
He searched for her among the crowd. One by one, the passengers disembarked. Until the boat emptied.
She hadn’t made it back on this ferry.
Dark tendrils of fear crawled up and wrapped around him. What had happened?
He rushed up the gangway, in search of someone who could help him.
When he found one of the ferry workers, he said, “I’m looking for a woman. She was supposed to be on this ferry. Can you check to make sure she’s not on board?”
“No one’s on the decks.” The man turned to shout at another behind him. “Check the bathrooms. See if anyone’s still in there.”
While he waited, Antoine tried to still his quickened breathing.
“Nope. No one,” came the reply.
“She must have missed it,” the man said. “Maybe she’ll catch the first one in the morning.”
The colors of the seaside village around him swirled. Something was wrong. Very wrong. He could sense it vibrating along his bones. He dropped the rose.
Thank the gods Cameron had convinced him to get a smart phone. He’d only convinced him by demonstrating the ways he could communicate with Savannah while she was away. No notification from her with an explanation. He called and texted her.
After receiving no response, he called Cameron. “She’s not here!” Antoine heard the frantic edge in his own tone. He was frantic. “Have you heard from her?”
“No.” Cameron replied. “Stay calm, Antoine. She was probably delayed with school or something like that and missed the ferry.”
“She would have contacted me. Something’s wrong. I’m going to find her.”