Welcome to my stop on the tour for Screaming Spires by Georgiana Derwent, hosted by FMB Promotions.
Today we have an excerpt, and a character guest post- featuring George, enjoy!
Screaming Spires (The Cavaliers #2)
Author: Georgiana Derwent
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, New Adult, Vampire
Format: Ebook, Paperback
Length: approx 100, 000 words
Publication Date: April 12th 2013
A Tale of the Posh, the Privileged and the Paranormal...
The Cavaliers are the most elite society at Oxford University - rich, powerful, and beautiful. No one realises that they are no ordinary students, but a group of aristocratic vampires from the English Civil War. For four hundred years they have groomed the most promising students to run the government, police, and finance in the way the vampires wish, granting them eternal life in return for absolute obedience.
In her first year at Oxford University, Harriet French became inextricably tied to the Cavaliers. Now Harriet’s back at Oxford for her second year. Armed with a vampire boyfriend, some great friends and the truth, she’s expecting an easier time. She’s wrong. Her best friend is now a vampire and the Cavalier who turned her to save her life is facing death for the one good deed he’s ever done. Just when it seems that things can’t get any worse, the Cavaliers’ ancient enemies decide to strike at the heart of the society and they’ve got Harriet in their sights.
Screaming Spires continues the story of an ancient vampire conspiracy and the ordinary girl caught in its web begun in Oxford Blood.
Excerpt“Dance with me,” someone said suddenly, taking hold of her hands in a way that left no room for argument.
With a sinking feeling, Harriet recognised George’s voice. She forced herself to stay calm as she looked up at him, pristine in his tailcoat and Cavalier bowtie.
“Dance with you? Are you insane? You killed my cousin. You kept my necklace hidden for weeks. You mesmerised me whilst they drained Caroline. If I had the strength, I’d kill you.”
George smiled and shook his head. “No you wouldn’t,” he said firmly, leading her onto the dancefloor.
Before Harriet had a chance to take stock of the situation, they were in the middle of the marquee. She moved to the music as though she had no control over her body, allowing herself to be alternately spun around by George and pulled into him.
“So don’t I get a thank you then?” he whispered after a particularly vigorous twirl.
“I don’t know how you have the nerve even to speak to me, never mind to ask for my thanks.”
“I gave you what you wanted,” he said, pulling her closer. “I gave you your best friend back. If I’d asked you beforehand, what would you have said? Let her die or change her?”
Harriet was finding it difficult to concentrate on the conversation. The marquee was hot and full of people; the music was loud; the dancing was too vigorous. She needed to sit somewhere cool by herself and get her thoughts in order. Instead, George’s deep green eyes were boring into her, his cool hands were gripping hers, and it was becoming harder by the minute to remember all the terrible things he’d done. Harder still to push him away.
Character Guest Post
Good evening. My name’s George, or Lord George Stewart if we’re going to get formal about this. You’ve probably heard of me - anyone who’s anyone knows my name and wants to know me. Today, I’ve been persuaded to tell you all about my society, The Cavaliers.
I don’t know why I’m bothering. Anyone who needs to know about it probably already does. If you’re not well-educated and well-connected enough to be familiar with us, there’s no way we’d be considering you for membership. I also get the impression that most visitors to this website are women, so we definitely wouldn’t be letting you join.
To sum the society up, we’re a group of rich, attractive men in our early twenties who appreciate the finer things in life and like to party. Or to put it another way, we’re a group of rich, attractive vampires who are secretly controlling Britain. You might think I could do with being more modest, but I think it’s an overrated virtue. Besides, if you saw us, you’d agree. Especially if you saw me. Quite frankly I was pretty damn attractive back in the seventeenth century, back when I was human and the vampirification process is well known for smoothing out any lingering flaws.
We were founded during the English Civil War, as our name really ought to suggest to anyone who’s had a decent education, but it’s depressing how few people (even amongst the Oxford students I’m spending most of my time with at the moment) know much about that war. Personally, I still prefer to refer to it as The Rebellion, but that really does get blank looks.
The years before the war, when I first became an adult, had been non-stop wonder and glamour. The court ladies couldn’t resist me, with my long blond hair and beautifully cut outfits. It was all masques and banquets and balls. And then suddenly, it was War. At first, that seemed like just another adventure. Our brightly coloured soldier outfits, our beautifully turned out horses (mine won a prize from the king), our gleaming swords. The women swooned more than ever.
But after a few months, things began to get very real. People were dying all around me. People I’d partied and schemed with. Entire houses wiped out. Divisions between friends and even between family members who were fighting on the other side. By the time my older brother was killed in front of me, I longed for it to be over, but I still longed for our king to be triumphant.
And then the King and his charming but sinister advisor, Richard, came up with a solution. It turned out that the secret to Richard’s strength and longevity was that he was a vampire. At the King’s command, he took fifteen young lords and turned them. I was one of the chosen ones, of course. They wanted the finest specimens for this experiment and there was no way anyone would leave me out of that selection.
From day one, I think we all agreed it was wonderful. I’ve never understood those few fools who complain about the vampire life. Living forever, being heartstoppingly beautiful, having mind control powers - what’s not to like? “You have to kill someone,” squeal the naysayers. “You have to drink human blood.” Let me tell you, killing someone isn’t as big a deal as people make out, and it gets easier every time. As for the blood, I guess the transformation process must do something to our tastebuds, because it’s utterly delicious, especially when taken from a beautiful, adoring girl who’s half mesmerised and half aware. I really can’t recommend it enough.
I won’t go into the tale of how we lost the war and how those hideous freaks the Roundheads were created - it’s far too depressing a tale for a warm evening. Instead, I’ll skip forward to the Restoration, when the new king, delighted to have practically invincible bodyguards, decided that we ought to make some more. It gradually became a regular, ritualised affair. Select fifteen possible candidates each year. They had to be talented, they had to be rich and high class, they had to be beautiful. Nothing else would do. Over the course of a year, we’d observe the potential members and kill those who failed us, until, on Midsummer’s Eve, we were in a position to make the winners one of us.
Back in the day, we’d base our searches at court, which was where all the most promising young men were. And conveniently, where most of the best parties and the most beautiful young women too. Maintaining the Cavaliers’ hold on society is a solemn role, but it doesn’t mean we can’t have a bit of fun in the process.
As time went on, our new recruits were the obvious choice for any high appointments, whether the king wanted a judge, a general or a member of parliament. The only thing we couldn’t help to fill was the archbishop roles. We’re not so good with crucifixes. Besides, I at least am Catholic, and whilst it would be the understatement of the year to merely call me “lapsed” I still don’t think I could fill an Anglican role on principle!
Over the decades and centuries, the various monarchs began to have less and less control of appointments, but by then, it was becoming a virtuous circle. Where one of us was in power, we could usually either select our successor or at least smooth their path - and we always promoted fellow Cavaliers. In my time, I’ve been a naval commander in the eighteenth century, a cabinet minister in the twenties and a governor of an African state in the mid-Victorian era (I’ve never quite forgiven our leader, Augustine, for that one - quite what he was thinking sending me somewhere with such long days and so much sun I do not know).
It was only in the mid nineteenth century that we moved our main selection process to Oxford. By that time, it performed the role the court used to - providing a steady stream of talented scions of the aristocracy and the gentry on the cusp of adulthood. We work in shifts - a few decades in a high profile role, a few decades resting in isolation, then a return to Oxford to help with the recruitment.
My current stay at Oxford is my fourth time there, and it’s fascinating to see how much changes and yet how much stays the same. The last time I was there was the nineteen-fifties. I entirely approve of the fact that women are now admitted - it makes feeding much easier and parties much more fun - but I’m less sure about the numbers of poor, dull students milling around. The way we work is still just the same though - select fifteen promising students, who are announced at our decadent Winter Party. Monitor them over the year, killing those who disappoint. By the time of our Summer Party on Midsummer’s Eve, there are ten left. At a wild, drunken party in the woods, we kill five and turn the others. The hardest part is covering up the deaths - both the failed candidates and the women (or occasionally men) that the successful ones have had to drain to complete their transformations. That’s where the combination of mind control and near total control of the state comes in so useful.
Well, that’s enough from me for the moment. If you want to learn more about me and the other Cavaliers (not that any of them are a tenth as interesting) you should read Georgiana Derwent’s Oxford Blood and Screaming Spires. I don’t know how she found out so much about us and lived to tell the tale. I was tempted to mesmerise her and anyone who’s read the book to make them forget but I secretly rather like the attention...
About the Author
Georgiana Derwent read History at Oxford University. Aside from the vampires, The Cavaliers Series is an exaggerated but fairly accurate portrayal of her time there. She now works in London and lives with her fiancé. He’s been very supportive throughout the writing of her books, mainly because he likes to claim that all the most attractive characters are based on him.
Georgiana fell in love with vampire novels after reading The Vampire Diaries back in 2000. At the time it was a struggle to find any similar paranormal romances, a situation that it’s fair to say seems to have been rectified in the last few years. She now loves paranormal series, fantasy novels, and modern literary works in roughly equal measure.
Ever since her teens, she wanted to write a vampire series. Ever since going to Oxford she wanted to write a book about her experiences there. During a dull few months between finishing university and starting her graduate job, she had the idea of combining the two and The Cavaliers Series was born.
Author Links: Website and Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads