Monday, November 14, 2011

Meet the Hero: Johnny De Vere

Name: Johnny De Vere
Occupation: Vampire, guardian of the River of Time
Born: 1462
Age: Twenty-one. Johnny's been twenty-one for a very long time. Johnny will be twenty-one forever.
Loves: Madeleine - though she betrayed him and left him for dead.
Hates: People telling him he will understand things better when he's older. 

Here's an extract from Johnny Doesn’t Drink Champagne. In this scene, Maddie has just gone through the door to the past for the first time, Johnny has come after her. They're spending their first awkward night together in a medieval inn in Billingsgate not far from the Tower of London.

   “You should drink your soup,” he says stiffly. “Before it goes cold.”
    “I’m not hungry.” But he passes the bowl to me, and I obediently sample the aromatic broth. “It’s good,” I say, sounding slightly surprised.
    Johnny scowls at me and paces over to the window again. He makes sure the shutter is fastened tight. I drink my soup but he doesn’t even touch his wine.
    I try to calm down. I use some of the water to wash my face, and dry it on the piece of old linen that the girl laid beside the bowl. I dither about taking off my shoes and generally find every excuse to delay getting into that bed with him.
    I take a few sips of the wine, and find that it tastes absolutely excellent – it is warm and spicy and reminds me of Christmas. I decide I’d better not have any more because I need to keep my wits about me. Johnny says he’ll protect me, yes. From anyone who comes to this room. But who’s going to protect me from him?
    I glance nervously up at him. He’s undoing his doublet, making quick work of a dozen or more little buttons down the front. He shucks it off in one easy movement and leaves it on the end of the bed. Underneath, he’s wearing a linen shirt, and he loosens the fastening at the neck. He places his belt and his dagger on the table. He’s a dangerous man, and I’m alone with him for the night. And yet, I am not afraid. His tenderness to me is revealed more and more, with every hour that I know him. He is unlike any man I have ever met, or will ever meet in my lifetime again.
He hesitates, fingers hovering on the strings that tie up his pants – I mean his hose.
He looks up at me. A blistering look that burns me, deep inside.
I am standing over by the table, wondering if now is the moment to snuff out the candles, though the last thing I want to do is extinguish the light. Not when it lights up such a beautiful, beautiful sight as Johnny in that open-neck shirt.
    “Sorry,” he says. “I am getting ahead of myself. Should I wait outside while you take off your gown?”
     “I… have nothing to change into.”
    “Sleep in your shift. Many women do.”
And you’d know about that would you? I’m tempted to ask, but I don’t.
    “I suppose I could,” I say reluctantly.
Suddenly he seems to see the real reason for my hesitation. “Look, Maddie. It’s just for one night. Stop looking at me like I’m a monster. I’m not going to seduce you, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
    “You’re not?” “I am a gentleman, Maddie. You can rest assured of that.”
My face is scarlet, like his hose. I know that. “Okay.”
    I haul my dress up over my head, and he offers to take it downstairs so the servants can brush the mud off the hem. I agree to this and while he’s gone I rake my fingers through my hair, since I don’t have a comb. Then I hop into the bed. The stones have made the bed warm and cozy. The linen sheets are a little coarse compared with the poly-cotton sheets I’m used to but they are not uncomfortable. The scent of fresh hay and lavender is really rather nice. I snuggle down and rest my head on the pillow.
    In a moment or two he returns and snuffs out the candle, carefully. In the darkness he removes his hose. I turn over in bed so it doesn’t seem like I’m watching him.
    He slips into bed beside me. His body spoons with mine, and I feel his breath on my neck.
    He strokes back my hair and tells me that he’ll watch over me while I sleep. While I sleep! How can I possibly fall asleep, with him and his long muscular limbs brushing against me? His touch leaves me tingling like he’s conducting electricity into my whole body.
    So I just lie still and try to keep my breathing slow and steady while he whispers soothing words and strokes my hair.
    This is the sweetest, scariest experience I have ever had with a guy. I’m a virgin. I’ve never had a real boyfriend before.
     Is this strange, secretive man really my boyfriend?
    I don’t know. Only time will tell.


  1. Nice to meet you, Johnny. :)

    I'm super-anxious to start reading this...just need to finish up the book I'm currently on.

  2. Thanks Ranae and Jackie. I'm not sure that such a short piece of the book really says what I want it to say, but I wanted to post something and I've often admired Ranae's 'six sentences' - so I thought I'd give it a try. Overall, my readers seem to love Johnny - he is selling six times faster than any of my other books. Got a lovely five-star review on this one - makes it all worthwhile - it's up on