Things That Are Destroying Jane Greene’s Undead Social Life Before It Can Even Begin:
1) A twelve-year-old brother who’s convinced she’s a zombie. 2) Parents who are begging her to turn them into vampires. 3) The pet goldfish she accidentally turns instead. 4) Weird superpowers that let her rip the heads off of every other vampire she meets.(Sounds cool, but it doesn’t win you many friends.) 5) A pyschotic vampire creator who’s using her to carry out a plan for world domination.
And finally: 6) A seriously ripped vampire hunter who either wants to stake her or make out with her. Not sure which.
Being an undead, eternally pasty fifteen-year-old isn’t quite the sexy, brooding, angst-fest Jane always imagined….
Helen Keeble’s riotous debut novel combines the humor of Vladimir Tod with Ally Carter’s spot-on teen voice. With a one-of-a-kind vampire mythology and an irresistibly relatable undead heroine, this uproarious page-turner will leave readers bloodthirsty for more.
In which Our Heroine, Xanthe Jane Greene (unexpectedly undead vampire fangirl), is beset by vampire hunters. Fortunately, help is close at hand…
We all jumped, my attackers whirling round. Someone stood poised on the roof of the parked Range Rover, silhouetted against the starry sky. In a breathtaking arc, he leaped ten feet, landing crouched in the middle of the road. He unfurled back to his full height, his velvet frock coat billowing around him, the moonlight turning his hair to pure silver. His high-cheekboned, elegant face was set in an expression of icy determination. As he faced my stunned attackers, his lips drew back in a contemptuous snarl . . . exposing jagged, sharp-edged teeth.
He was a vampire.
His pale eyes flicked to me. “Run, ma chérie,” he said. His voice was as light and golden as honey, with a rich French accent that made the simple phrase sound like an invitation to unspeakable immoral delights. He dropped into a combat crouch, empty hands spread. “I shall take care of these—”
And that was as far as he got, because as my attackers had been conveniently distracted by his appearance, I punted them fifteen feet down the road.
I hadn’t actually intended to do so. I’d only hoped to knock them off balance to give my unexpected rescuer an opening—after all, a dramatic pose was no match for two guns. So I’d kicked them, with all the strength I could muster.
Which, as it turned out, was quite a lot of strength.
“Quick!” I yelled as they skidded away, trailing shocked swear words. I dashed past the suddenly slack-jawed vampire. “Get them before they escape!” One of my attackers was already rolling to his feet—without thought, my blood roaring in my veins, I leaped for him. We crashed back to the ground, him flailing, me desperately trying to work out some way to subdue him. I grabbed for his hair, yanking upward with the vague thought of slamming his skull back down against the road—
I’d forgotten my vampiric strength again.
“AIEEEEEEEEEE!” I shrieked, reaching a high enough pitch to stun bats. I flung the severed head away with all my strength. “AIEEEEEEEEE!” I hopped from foot to foot, overcome with utter squick.
“Shh, hush, it’s all right!” The other vampire’s hands captured my flailing wrists. “Xanthe!” Lights were coming on in the nearest house; with a quick look around, he grabbed the corpse by the back of its collar. “Quick, back here.” He dragged us both into the shadow of the garage. After a few moments, the lights clicked off again, leaving us in darkness. I felt the vampire tension in the vampire’s muscles ease. “Well, that went . . . differently.”
I managed to get enough of a grip on myself to speak, though my voice came out in a Mickey Mouse squeak. “Is he dead? Is he dead?”
The vampire looked down at the headless corpse. “Yes,” he said. “He is very, very dead.” He cleared his throat. “You must be wondering who I am.”
My legs didn’t want to support me anymore. I sat down hard. “What . . . what happened to the other guy?”
“I believe that he has fled, rather understandably. Now, my name—”
“Oh God, he escaped?” Even though I didn’t need to breathe, I was starting to hyperventilate. “Is he coming back?”
“No,” the vampire said firmly, catching my hands between his own. “Because I will not let him. I’m here to protect you.”
I looked at him. I looked down at the corpse. I looked at him.
“Ah . . .” He appeared mildly embarrassed. “I can also help you dispose of bodies?”
“Okay,” I said, still feeling a bit shell-shocked. “You sound very useful. Um. Who are you, exactly?”
He let go of my hand and stood, clearing his throat again. “In life, I was the Comte Ebène Bellefleur. Now, I am simply Ebène de Sanguine.” He bowed deeply, sweeping back his long, black frock coat with perfect grace, as though this was his customary attire. “I would be pleased if you would call me Ebon. I have come to bring you home.”
The best I could muster was a heartfelt “huh?” I was lagging about two minutes behind the conversation. I kept thinking of that horrible crunch through my hands.
“I must deeply apologize from the bottom of my soul that it has taken so long for us to send one of the Blood to welcome you,” Ebon said, somehow managing to enunciate the capitalization. “I must confess that we were unprepared for your Transfiguration”—once again I could hear the capitals clanging into place—“but I can assure you that you will be a treasured jewel among us. Now, ma chérie, we must make haste.” His face turned serious, and he held out a long, white-fingered hand. “This place is not safe. As you have discovered, the hunters are closing in. I will protect you with my very life, but I cannot hold this place secure for long. You must come.”
I struggled to get my brain to concentrate. “Come . . . with you? Where?”
“To your true home,” he said—and suddenly his face was only inches from mine. I froze, transfixed by the pale blue of his eyes, as clear and cool as the light at the heart of a glacier. “Come, Xanthe,” he murmured, shaping the hated sound of my name into something beautiful and wild. “I long to teach you. To show you who you are, and the power you will become. It is time for you to learn everything.”
I stared at him, and he didn’t become any less real. There was an actual gorgeous vampire aristocrat in velvet on his knees in front of me, vowing to lay down his life in my defense. All I had to do was take his hand.
“Okay,” I whispered, my throat dry. “First let’s hide this body somewhere, and then . . .”
“And then?” he whispered back, his breath cool on my lips. His pale eyes gazed into mine, wordlessly promising to whisk me away from all my troubles.
Or, to put it another way, a very strange man with predator’s teeth wanted to get me alone.
“And then,” I said firmly, taking his hand, “you’re coming home to meet my parents.”
Helen Keeble is not, and never has been, a vampire. She has however been a teenager. She grew up partly in America and partly in England, which has left her with an unidentifiable accent and a fondness for peanut butter crackers washed down with a nice cup of tea. She now lives in West Sussex, England, with her husband, daughter, two cats, and a variable number of fish. To the best of her knowledge, none of the fish are undead.
Her first novel, a YA vampire comedy called FANG GIRL, is out 11th Sept 2012, from HarperTeen.
She also has another YA paranormal comedy novel (provisionally titled NO ANGEL) scheduled for Sept 2013.