- On her way to Bangor, Pearl crashed her car during a storm while passing through the town of Haven.
- After passing 0ut while trying to seek help, she was rescued by Damien Collins, a handsome stranger who took her back to his home.
Early evening at the Collins home
Pearl opened up her eyes. Her head was still hurting, but not as badly as it was earlier. She saw a white ceiling, with a brown ceiling fan hanging down above her, but it wasn’t turned on.
She quickly sat up to survey her surroundings. Looking down at her stomach, she patted it lightly. She got a gentle kick in reply. The baby was okay. She sighed, relieved.
She was in a bedroom. Two big windows with white curtains attached to them were on the right wall, and on the left was a painting of woods; it reminded her of the forest she crashed her car in. There was a brown rocking chair in the left corner with a burgundy pillow on the seat. In the opposite corner sat a small nightstand with a crystal lamp. She got off the bed and turned on the lamp, bringing some welcoming light into the room.
It was then she realized she was wearing a long, powder blue short-sleeved cotton nightgown. Where did her clothes go? she wondered silently. Did that handsome man with the spiky hair take them?
She didn’t have to wait to find out. There was a knock at the door. “Come in,” she said. Damien Collins entered, smiling at her. “You look much better Red,” he answered.
“Red?” Pearl looked at him quizzically.
“Your hair,” Damien replied, chuckling.’
“Oh yeah”. She laughed. “I bumped my head and I guess I’m not all there yet.” She smiled back at Damien. “Thank you for coming to my rescue. My cell phone died and I was on my way back to that farmhouse I passed—“
“That’s the Lawrence place. Gene and Iva. Nice couple. We get a lot of our food and our milk from them,” Damien explained. He approached Pearl closer and held out his hand. “My name is Damien Collins.”
Pearl shook his hand. “Pearl Tyler. Nice to meet you Damien.” She looked at him and cocked her head to the side. “You’re not named after the kid in The Omen are you?”
He burst out laughing. “No, no, no. It’s actually a family name. My great-grandfather’s.”
“Oh, good, Pearl said. “That movie always gave me the creeps. When I found out I was pregnant, that’s one I said I wouldn’t watch. That and Rosemary’s Baby. But I’m having a girl, so at least I know she isn’t going to end up being the devil’s kid.”
She and Damien laughed in unison. Pearl looked around the room. “Is this your place?” she asked.
He nodded. “Well, my Mum and Dad’s. I live here with them and my sister Astrid.”
He smiled again at her. “They were quite surprised when I came through the door with you in my arms. We’re not used to getting strangers in Haven. People pass through on their way to Bangor and the other big cities.”
“I thought that as I was driving into town,” Pearl dryly replied. Her eyes widened. “My cell phone charger is in the trunk of my car, along with my things—“
“Don’t worry Red, your things are here. Astrid and I went back for them after we got you settled into bed,” Damien told her.
Pearl sighed. “Wonderful! I can’t thank you and your family enough. You see, I was on my way to Bangor—that’s where I’m moving because I have a job waiting for me—and I have to call to let them know what happened to me, before they think I changed my mind—“ Realizing the severity of her situation, she started to cry. She just couldn’t be stranded in this backwater town.
Damien put his arms around her. “It’s okay, don’t cry. We’ll get you on the road to Bangor soon. My dad knows a thing or two about cars. We’ll get you out of here in no time,” he assured her. Because if we don’t, the minute Quinn spots you, he’ll never let you leave, and it’s all I can do to protect you…
The Nightshade residence, same time
“God, I hate this damn rain,” Quinn Nightshade spat as he looked out the French doors of his living room. He ran his fingers through his blondish-brown hair and frowned. “I hate this time of year. I never did like the cold.”
“You’re such a wimp Quinn when it comes to weather,” his younger brother Jude said as he entered the living room. “For someone as strong as you, all it takes is a little rain and you’re acting like a little baby.”
Quinn turned around and narrowed his brown eyes at Jude. “Don’t test my patience today, I’m not in the mood.”
Jude shook his head dismissively. “You’ll get over it.”
Quinn turned back around to look out the doors. “There are some things I’ll never get over.”
“Quinn, please don’t tell me you’re still obsessing over Megan—“
He whirled back around, eyes flashing angrily at his brother. “Have you forgotten how she died, little brother? Hmm? She was murdered! Stabbed to death through the heart by that—that—that monster who had the nerve to call himself a man of God! She wouldn’t have harmed him. She wouldn’t have harmed anybody. She was the purest, gentlest woman in the world. I’ll never find anyone like her as long as I live. Never.” He turned back around, fighting tears.
Jude just stood there, watching his brother brood. There was no trying to talk to him when he got like this, which was often. He was inconsolable when his lover Megan died, killed by a preacher gone insane after his wife was murdered as well, thinking Megan did the deed. However, Quinn made sure he had his vengeance, and Preacher Walter Eldridge was never seen or heard from again.
Jude could see why Quinn was so obsessed with the memory of Megan. She was a gorgeous woman, with flaming red hair, peaches and cream skin and a voluptuous figure to die for. He always said when those two met it was lust at first sight. Megan was probably the first woman he didn’t want to drain entirely of blood…
“How’s our patient Damien,” Rhiannon Collins asked her son, as she prepared dinner.
“She’s sleeping Mum. She’s depressed because she really wants to go onto Bangor but can’t because of her car. I stayed with her until she fell asleep.”
Damien’s sister Astrid, who looked like a combination of her mother and brother, with shoulder-length dark hair and deep dark eyes, chuckled as she took out the china. “I think my brother is getting a crush on our guest. What’s going to happen when she finds out you’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing, literally?”
Damien’s handsome face turned dark. “I hope she’s able to leave before she finds out—about all of us Astrid. But she doesn’t have to worry about any of us. You know the one person I hope she never runs into.”
Astrid and Rhiannon looked at each other seriously. “You’re talking about Quinn,” Rhiannon said to her son.
Damien nodded severely. “If he ever gets a glimpse of Pearl…I’m afraid he’s going to do whatever he can to take her. I know she looks nothing like Megan, but one glance at that red hair and that pale skin, and he’s going to go mad. Besides, she doesn’t belong in Haven…” He sat down in a kitchen chair and rubbed his face in his hands before continuing. “I don’t know what’s gotten into me, but as soon as I saw Pearl lying there under that tree in the rain, I felt this sudden need to protect her. Now that I know she’s with child, it’s even more serious that I get her to safety.”
Rhiannon bent down in front of her son and took his chin in her hand. “And you need to get her and her baby out of Haven before the next full moon—which is the night after next. Otherwise, she’ll learn what we really are and she’ll end up right in Quinn’s hands. Werewolves are one thing, but a half-breed vampire with a bloodlust like his is deadly.”
Coming up next…
- Pearl tells the Collins family the reason for her trip.
- Pearl’s first choice of a name for her baby horrifies her caretakers.