Title: Screaming Spires
Series: The Cavaliers #2
Author: Georgiana Derwent
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.
“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.
Harriet strode imperiously through the door and found herself in a large stone cell. It wasn’t as bad as her over-active imagination had feared. There were no rats or dripping water or manacles on the wall.
On the other hand, there were no creature comforts. The room seemed to have been hacked out of the hill. Walls, floor, and ceiling were all built out of the same rough, uncovered grey stone. It was windowless (hardly surprising this far underground). The only light came from an anaemic bulb dangling from the ceiling. Harriet felt claustrophobic, both from the small dimensions of the room and the thought of all the earth that was pushing down on them from above.
George was lounging on a hard wooden bench, maintaining an impressive degree of poise considering the discomfort of the room and the fact that his arms were fastened behind his back. He was still wearing the odd wooden handcuffs with swirling designs she’d seen Tristan use on him.
“You look terrible,” Harriet said. It wasn’t strictly true. It was probably physically impossible for George to look terrible in any situation, but he certainly looked much worse than usual. His skin was even paler than normal and had taken on a slight blue tinge. His eyes were dimmed and a deeper, dirtier green than Harriet was used to, and there were dark circles under them.
“Delighted to see you too Harriet,” he drawled, managing a faint, sarcastic smile. “So what are you doing here? Thought you’d take advantage of my incapacity to tell me again what a terrible person I am?”
In spite of George’s predicament, Harriet was scared to come any closer but made herself walk the few metres across the floor to his bench.
“Quite the opposite. It seems so unfair. You do so many awful things and then you get punished for saving Caroline, punished for stopping me from getting so hurt.”
“So she’s convinced you that being one of us isn’t so bad, has she?” he replied. “If only you could bring yourself to be so sweet towards me when I’m in a position to do something about it.”
“I heard that Rupert has ordered that you shouldn’t be fed. It seems so cruel. Isn’t that dangerous?”
“It’s standard procedure for a tribunal. It’s in everyone’s interests for the accused to be weak and pliable, not least their own. Attempts to fight back are never going to end well.”
“So would you prefer to be left like this, for your own protection? If I offered you my blood, would you take it?”
“Don’t taunt me, Harriet.” George’s voice had taken on a dangerous edge. Despite his bonds and despite the protection of her necklace, it made her shiver.
Harriet sat down on the bench beside him. “Let’s not make this complicated. You’re always after my blood, right now you need it more than ever and I’m offering it freely. I suggest you take advantage of the situation.”
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.