My Big Fat Bloodsucker Wedding by Bella Jacobs

 

Chapter One

Blaire

Wednesday, October 22nd


10 Days Until the Wedding that

Shall Not Be Allowed to Proceed

(Not if Blaire Belladonna Wonderfully has anything to say about it.)


Ten days.

Ten days until my sweet, angelic sister, a woman who lives for books, babies, and late-night giggle sessions with her quilting club is forced to marry an evil, bloodsucking vampire with a plaid fetish and creepy teeth. (Yes, I’m aware that all vampire teeth are creepy, but Colin’s are especially stabby-looking when he’s cranky. And he’s cranky a lot.)

I have to put a stop to this insanity.

The sooner the better…

I poke my head through the open kitchen door on the ground floor of Blackmore Manor, spying on the event-in-progress in the rose garden. My nose wrinkles as I spot Colin and Annie chatting with a few of our new neighbors by the bar.

My sister looks beautiful in a long green dress that matches her eyes, with her brown hair gathered into a decorative pile of curls atop her head. Colin also looks okay, I guess—tonight’s plaid suit is a subdued mix of gray and light green, and his smile is fang-free at the moment—but I’m not fooled. He might be six feet, three inches of studly vampire with broad shoulders, a square jaw any comic book hero would covet, and dark blond hair that sets off his blue-gray eyes, but his savage, blood-sucky side is always there.

It lurks just below the surface, waiting for the chance to drain my sister dry and leave her willowy, delicate librarian’s body in a ditch by the side of the road.

Or, even worse, turn her into a vampire, too.

According to what I’ve been able to glean since we arrived in Nightfall, New Hampshire a month ago, full-blooded witches aren’t supposed to be able to be turned against their will. But Annie and I haven’t come into our powers yet and we have no clue who our father was. Even if our mother is a witch and not the flighty, tree-hugging, but very human hippy we thought we knew before she disappeared last year, the chances that our father was a warlock are slim to none.

Apparently, male witches are exceedingly rare.

Which means Colin could probably turn Annie if he wanted to—with or without her permission. Vampires don’t usually worry about consent when it comes to turning other people into vampires. Most of the vamps in this bonkers town were turned against their will—including Colin.

Though to be fair, it sounds like he was too busy frothing at the mouth from a bad case of arsenic poisoning for his maker to get a thumbs up or down before giving him the Blood Kiss, but still…

Vampire culture is creepy. And rape-y. And absolutely not a good fit for any modern, self-respecting woman, let alone a sweetheart like Annie.

Annie, who still reads Children’s Fantasy books, despite the fact that we both turned thirty-four last summer.

Annie, who knits tiny caps for babies in the NICU to keep them warm.

Annie, who has always wanted a big family of her own, despite the fact that our childhood was a literal dumpster fire that we and our four little sisters barely survived.

And since he’s technically a walking corpse, Colin can never give her children. If she marries him, that dream, her biggest and brightest, will be dead and buried for good.

That’s another thing about vampire marriages—they’re until death do you part. Literally. There is no such thing as a vampire divorce. Couples are free to get pissed at each other and live separate lives, but their union can’t be dissolved.

It’s some sort of magical thing I don’t fully understand because our scatter-brained mother didn’t bother telling us that all this shit is real—or that we’re witches. We had to find out at the reading of her will in late August, when her attorney explained that we’d inherited a Victorian mansion in a supernatural town hidden from human eyes, but that in order to keep it, the oldest Wonderfully of our generation would have to marry one of the Nightfall elders.

It’s the only way to renew the town’s supernatural shield. Apparently, Annie is going to be able to zap that failing shield back to full strength as soon as she and Colin seal their union, even though neither of us seems to have naturally manifesting magic and we won’t start training with our witch teacher, Celeste, until she returns to town for the winter solstice.

But by December, Annie will have been married for nearly two months. It will be too late to pick our tutor’s brain for alternatives to the sacrifice of my sister’s happiness.

Like she hasn’t done enough sacrificing already…

As the two oldest sisters—Annie and I are twins, born just three minutes apart—we both took up the slack for our sporadically maternal mother. But Annie was the one with a talent for the often-grueling work of keeping our sisters’ clothes and bodies relatively clean, defusing squabbles, and getting supper on the table every night. I was the one who chopped firewood for our neighbors and did odd jobs around town to earn grocery money when Mom disappeared for months at a time to do whatever it was that she did out in the wilds of Maine.

By the time I was seven or eight, I’d learned to be grateful that Annie and I weren’t identical twins and that I’d emerged from the womb strong and solid to my sister’s delicate and slender. Yes, there were times when I wished I had her sea glass green eyes instead of my muddy brown ones and that my freckles were a cute little sprinkling across my nose instead of a full-body explosion. But all-in-all I was grateful for the fact that I could rip out carpeting and pound wood floors into place by the time I was ten.

My self-taught handygirl skills kept my family fed and our cabin warm. No matter how bad things got, I never worried that we’d starve. I knew I could provide for my sisters with hard work and my own two hands.

Well, I could back when we were kids and our cabin and forty acres were our entire world…

Now, the others have scattered to the four winds and the only thing we have in common is the fact that our lives are headed nowhere fast.

Casey is dating an asshole who refuses to help with their daughter, Delilah is partying way too hard, Everly just lost funding for her research project in Washington State and may soon be out of a job, and Felicity has probably been kidnapped by fairies.

Or she spaced out and ended up in a foreign country without a cell phone or money to call home. My baby sister is as flighty as our mother and at only twenty, still needs a keeper. A room of her own in a mansion big enough to fit all six of us and a little stability would do wonders for Felicity.

And the rest of us, too. Annie’s library in our hometown permanently closed last January and thanks to the shrinking local population in our part of Maine, my home renovation business was bringing in less and less money every year.

We needed a change and had no choice but to evolve, but I never imagined we’d end up in a place like this, with Annie’s future on the line. Or that just a month after moving to this seaside town populated by vampires, shapeshifters, selkies, and other assorted supernatural creatures, I’d know enough about vampire digestion to be sneaking into an eighteenth-century kitchen to spike a bunch of blood goblets with lemon juice.

Vampires are violently allergic to citrus.

According to the book I slipped into my purse at our new library yesterday, it won’t kill them, but the oozing sores on their skin will last for weeks. And surely Colin won’t want to get hitched with leaking pustules all over his pretty face. He’ll push back the wedding for at least a month, giving me time to save my sister from his clutches.

It’s not the most brilliant plan, and I’ll be in deep shit if I’m caught, but right now it’s all I’ve got.

Turning away from the door, I tiptoe back to the massive wooden food prep station in the center of the room, where three dozen goblets full of blood and wine are sitting on silver trays, ready to be toted out by the servants currently passing hors d’oeuvres for the mortals and champagne for all.

The first event of the ten day “Hallow-wedding” festivities is the “fealty toast.” The Blackmore vampires will pledge to protect our family, and Annie and I, the only Wonderfully sisters currently in Nightfall, will pledge to dedicate our magic to their service in return.

Which would sound okay, I guess, if I needed protection from anyone other than the snotty, stuck-up vampires living in their giant estate on the bluffs above town.

After only a month here, I hate every vamp I’ve had the displeasure to meet with the passion of a thousand, white-hot suns. Colin is a cranky jerk, Baron is a brooding psycho who lives in a swamp at the edge of town for reasons no one has bothered to explain, and Darcy…

Well, Darcy is a grade A dick of the first order.

And probably a bedwetter.

Or he will be, once I spike his blood with citrus. In addition to the sores, lemon plays havoc with vampire digestion. The thought of Darcy, the tall, dark, and condescending trapped on a toilet with his perfectly pressed suit pants around his ankles gives me more joy than it probably should.

But I never pretended to be a nice girl. I’m the defender of my family, the warrior, and I’m not handing my sister over to a bunch of creepy vampires without one hell of a fight.

I lean in, giving the closest tray of glasses an experimental sniff and drawing back with a soft gag as the metallic, faintly sweet scent of human blood fills my nose.

This tray is definitely for the vamps.

Glancing over my shoulder to ensure I’m still alone, I pull my little squeeze bottle of lemon juice from my purse and lean in. But just as I’m about to pop the top, something whooshes past my face, close enough to ruffle my hair.

I wince and duck, swallowing the startled sound rising in my throat in hopes that I might still avoid getting caught.

But it’s too late. A part of me knows that, even before the bat flapping around by my head poofs into a man in a steel gray suit who wraps his massive hand around my neck.