(Paranormal LGBT Trilogy)
1. The School of Second Chances
One Banshee. One Vampire. One Selkie. And a whole lot of trouble.
When a group of mishaps are drawn together at the most prestigious magical school in Scotland, vampires meet banshees, witches meet wolves, and things begin to happen that haven’t happened for an age. For these eight teenagers, turning sixteen has never seemed so terrifying. To learn how to hone their skills, they will discover more secrets lurking behind the shadows of their mythical lives than they ever realised existed. How they survive the school is one thing. How they survive each other will be quite another.
When Miss Faversham left, they had a few minutes to laugh about Addleberry forest and some of the more obvious rules. No one could understand why anyone would approach a werewolf in full transformation. Even Lane knew it was tantamount to suicide.
Payson smiled when he saw Lane offering to carry Felicity’s bags to her dormitory room. All their luggage had been taken to their dormitories already. But it seemed Lane had forgotten, because he was smitten with Felicity, or he was smitten and wanted any excuse to spend a little more time with her. Either way, he approved.
It was nice to see everyone getting along, and the faint blush that came to Felicity’s cheeks. She looked like a girl who had never been appreciated before. After her story of how she’d been bullied, Payson hoped that he and Lane could befriend her and show her that not everyone was a jerk.
He was only marginally surprised when he noticed Riley lingering. He stretched and stared enigmatically. Payson almost wondered if he had drifted off into one of his premonitions, until Estelle said goodnight and Riley returned the sentiment.
Payson decided to stay back to see what was going on, nodding to the twins as they passed, chatting amongst themselves. Then he noticed that Diantha was standing right in front of him, waiting for his attention. When had his instincts been so low as to not notice that sort of approach?
Before he could answer his own question, he caught Riley’s movement out the corner of his eye, perching on the arm of a sofa as if waiting for him. Then he realised he was almost fixating on Riley. It didn’t make any sense.
Seeing the future was incredible, but with a bit of a violent streak in his own nature, Payson loved the ability Riley had of using just his voice as a weapon. It was something he envied. All he had were fangs. Nothing new or interesting there.
But admiration for his gift couldn’t be the only thing drawing him to the boy, could it?
“Well, we’re here. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. Do you fancy going for a walk with me and exploring a little?” Diantha wondered.
“That sounds good,” he lied, sensing an ulterior motive. He was far too busy trying to figure out Riley, so he said whatever he had to say to get rid of her.
To his relief, Diantha smiled and said goodnight before heading off down the corridor that led to the dormitories.
Now that he was completely alone with Riley, Payson could feel his heart racing and his fangs desperate to make an appearance. He was suddenly starving; like he had never fed before.
“Thanks for earlier. For taking the heat off me,” he said to the banshee. He couldn’t think properly, but it seemed the right thing to say, and Riley smiled, which sent his stomach into somersaults.
“I know what it’s like to be different.” Riley shrugged it off, while admitting to a truth that neither of them wanted to face.
The mix of sensations running through Payson died on impact with those words. Suddenly, his life seemed a whole lot more complicated than it had ever been before. “Yeah, but we’re all different. I hardly thought not dating my best friend would be an issue. And now they all know I’m gay, which I wasn’t planning to broadcast,” he admitted with a sigh of disapproval.
It was difficult enough being gay at all, at an age when it seemed like the entire high school was dating. Acceptance was more widespread, but there were still the usual bigots and homophobic jibes to face at school. It was the whole reason he hadn’t come out yet and let it be known that his ‘dating’ life was private. That and his ‘tough guy’ manner, thanks to his secret vampire nature, kept them quiet. But now he’d just outed himself and didn’t know why.
“You would think that, considering I’m a vampire, you’re a banshee, and they’re wizards, it wouldn’t make an ounce of difference who I dated or when.” He sighed, disapproving of the way the world worked.
Why was it so hard, and why did no one understand? The heart chose who the heart chose, timing be damned. No one could choose who they loved.
He had tried once to convince himself to love a girl—another vampire; even Diantha—but it was no use. He had always known the truth, and denying it just to be what everyone else thought was normal was stupid. He just hadn’t ever been that interested in anyone. At least, not before Riley. And it had physically hurt him trying to convince himself otherwise. He would never do that again.
“But it does,” Riley disagreed, much to his surprise. “Being a different magical creature is one thing; it’s something we all share with each other, against the world. But being sixteen and not dating? Even worse, being sixteen and wanting to date other boys? It’s like a crime to the twins.” He shrugged. “I don’t know why they make such a big deal of it, since they’re not dating either and neither of them have to broadcast their interest. But for you and me, it’s different … dating is dangerous to us. Even in our world.”
He rose from his perch on the sofa arm and stretched again.
Payson was shocked to sense a bone-weary exhaustion in him. That shouldn’t happen; they hadn’t exchanged blood, so why could he sense Riley’s emotions?
“Yeah, well, the first one who comments on it is going to get decked,” Payson said, trying to distract himself.
He didn’t care what anyone thought about him, but if they started having a go, just because he was friends with a girl he didn’t fancy or because he was gay, he would do some damage.
1.5 The Lost and Lonely
One orphan boy. One new family. One big secret.
Phil always thought his life was going to be chaotic. Orphaned as a child and having grown up in foster care, his boyfriend Logan is the only shining light in his world, along with Phil’s two foster sisters, Ella and Estelle. But when Estelle goes off to a fancy new boarding school, suddenly everything changes. His life won’t always be dark and lonely, but it will no longer be simple, either. When the Sutherland’s enter his life, Phil has to question what secrets he’s willing to keep and where the word ‘magical’ fits into his normal, human life.
Phil nearly choked on the drag from his cigarette when his phone rang, flashing the Martins’ name on the screen.
Logan turned from where he was choosing a movie with a look of concern.
No one ever called him; the only reason he had the phone was so that he could contact Logan and Estelle, now that she was away at boarding school.
Phil took a deep breath and placed his cigarette on the ashtray on the coffee table. They were downstairs, since Logan’s parents were away on a weekend sailing trip. They wouldn’t be back for two days, so he could leave the confines of Logan’s bedroom and wander the house freely.
He lifted his mobile carefully. It was the only luxury he’d been allowed, so that his foster parents could get in touch with him if he was supposed to return home for a surprise inspection. Even then, they would send a brief, demanding text. Never a phone call. Yelling at him was fine, apparently, but God forbid his foster folks actually had to talk to him.
“Hello?” he answered, nervous about what was going to happen.
“Phil, get home now. The social worker’s coming by in two hours. You have ten minutes to get on the bus. Text us when you do, so we know when to expect you,” his foster father explained before hanging up.
It gave him no time to argue.
Phil looked up at Logan, disappointed and upset that their time together was being cut short. “I’m sorry. I have to go,” he apologised, explaining the phone call as he got to his feet and approached his boyfriend on the other side of the room.
Logan sighed and turned away, looking as disappointed as he felt.
Phil cupped his face in his hands, not sure there was anything he could say to make it better. “I’ll call as soon as they’ve left. I might be able to get back here tonight,” he said, giving him what little hope he could.
Logan looked doubtful, but nodded. “I’ll be sitting here, staring at my phone.”
Phil believed him. He ducked in for a quick kiss, before backing away again. “I better go.”
Ten minutes after a difficult goodbye, he sat on the bus, texting his foster parents that he was on his way back. Not home. No. That was Logan. Logan was his home, and he was leaving him behind to go somewhere he didn’t want to be. But at least his foster father had sounded angrier with the social worker for the surprise visit than with him for taking off in the dead of night, again.
Phil walked into the house and went straight up to his room to hide his overnight bag under his bed. He didn’t want anyone finding it if they did a search of his room. It was usually just a cursory check from the doorway, but it wouldn’t look good to have what might look like a runaway bag already packed.
He headed downstairs after giving his room a quick clean, hiding the cigarettes and ashtray he wasn’t supposed to have. He’d even hidden his art work, just to be extra careful.
“What’s going on?” Phil wondered as he walked into the living room to find Ella playing with her doll on the sofa. He sat beside her, unsurprised that she snuggled in.
It had barely been a few days since Estelle had left them for her posh school in Glencoe, so he had no hopes that he and Ella were about to join her.
“No idea. Just sprang it on us, as if we don’t have other things to do,” his foster mother said.
The poor excuse for a father patted her shoulder and actually explained. “She called ten minutes before we called you to say that she was coming over. No explanations, no reason. I asked if it had anything to do with Estelle, but she said no. It’s about you two,” he said, actually sounding confused.
Phil had to admit, he was, too. As far as he could remember, he hadn’t done anything wrong, lately. He had his agreement with his foster parents, so they couldn’t have ratted on him to the social worker, unless they found out some other way.
“I asked you to come right home because I need your help,” Mister Martin said. “She said you were both to pack your belongings. Everything you have. And anything Estelle might have left behind,” he continued, frowning to himself.
Immediately, Phil began to panic. Logan was only an hour away, but if he moved or was moved against his will, who knew if he would even get to see him again. And he couldn’t explain that to his foster parents, because they were homophobic.
With his heart thudding inside his chest, he made his way upstairs and began to pack everything he and Ella owned into two rucksacks that his foster father provided. They were worn and battered, so he guessed they were old junk from the attic. As long as they held his stuff, he didn’t care.
Phil pulled out his phone while he packed, dialling out to Logan. It was only fair to give him warning.
“Hey, gorgeous. Are you calling to say you got home? Or, please say that she cancelled?” he answered hopefully.
“No such luck. Logan…” He sighed and wet his lips, not sure how to say it. “Logan, we’ve been told to pack,” he explained briefly, sure that was all it needed.
There was silence on the other end, before his boyfriend spoke to fill it. “By who?”
“My foster dad,” Phil replied, calmly. “He said that’s why we were given two hours’ notice. The social worker told him that Ella and I are to be packed and, if Estelle’s left anything, we’re to take that, too. I don’t know what it means,” he confessed, feeling as if his whole world was falling apart.
“All I can think is that we’re being moved on,” Phil explained. “Maybe they know the Martins don’t really like us or they’re only after the money, or maybe it’s something I’ve done … I don’t know. I just…” He rubbed his forehead, worried that his life was going to break into pieces.
“I know, babe,” Logan replied with a deep sigh. “You want me to know that you love me. I know that. And I love you.” He could almost hear Logan’s smile as he talked; probably sad and sweet, with a little pout. “No matter what happens, that won’t change,” he promised.
“I’ll call you again, if I can, once I know what’s happening,” he vowed in return.
“Yes. And Phil?” He sounded unsure, so he hummed to let him know he was listening. “If you can, I want to see you tonight. Only if it won’t get you in trouble,” he asked softly.
“I know. I love you.”
“Don’t say goodbye,” Logan whispered.
“I wasn’t planning on it.” Phil hung up before he could start crying.
He hated living in foster care. If he had a normal family, things like that wouldn’t happen. But he didn’t and he had to get over that.
With a sigh, he switched off his phone. Some social workers didn’t like getting interrupted by phones, and others thought them a luxury he shouldn’t have. But he’d bought it with money the Martins had given him, and they told him it was his forever, as long as he did chores to earn his monthly bill tariff of only ten quid. It wasn’t a lot, but it was enough to keep in touch with Logan.
But, if he moved, he would lose even that small luxury.
Phil slammed his fist into the wall in frustration.
Life just wasn’t fair.
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Meet the Author
The Winner of two Watty Awards – Collector’s Dream (An Unpredictable Life) and Hidden Gem (Faithfully) – she has explored the worlds of multiple genres, but remains a romantic at heart. A self-professed geek, Elaine has fallen in love with reading and writing LGBT romance, offering diversity in both genre and character within her stories.