Gloria Parrish invited our Italus family to an extended welcome back celebration for Rocky Beaumont. Located near the gorgeous Grand Tetons, Gloria has a massive ranch and has been our close friend forever. The festivities will start in Jackson Wyoming, then move on to Yellowstone National Park. I, however, can’t shake this nagging feeling that something terrible is about to happen.
I can’t wait to see what Gloria has cooked up for a surprise. Our first night in Jackson Wyoming started the party off with rough ending that could have been fatal. Bart and Vito are becoming genuinely concerned, but I’m hoping it was only an accident. Unfortunately, it is now quite clear that wasn’t the case.
Craig Wainwright Lizorno
Right after arriving at the Old Faithful Inn we were cut off due to a freak snowstorm after our horseback ride at Lake Yellowstone, as odd magical things began to happen. I hope their suspicions aren’t correct or Rocky might be next after discovering an ex-lover murdered.
James (Jimmy) Griffin
Taking a welcome break after college, I’m a volunteer ranger in Yellowstone National Park and had my life all planned out. Suddenly my whole world is upside-down after meeting my fated soulmate, and of course we are total opposites. He acts extremely interested but remains cagey while now murder has raised its ugly head, so what’s a bear shifter to do?
Spoiler Alert: While this is book 2 of the Desert Paranormal series, it is intertwined with the Desert Vampire and Desert Witch series and contains spoilers for all those books.
Author’s note: Sometimes vampires do take getaway vacations, but not all are relaxing when murder goes along for the ride.
Bart, Vito, and I were sitting on the Scottsdale Italus mansion’s terrace watching the brilliant late fall sunset. We were enjoying the covered veranda, shading us from the sun’s final rays over the Arizona western skies.
Joffre and Craig hadn’t arisen yet, so we still had a few minutes of peace before they took their showers, had their liquid meal, then joined us for some of my famous and delicious Iced Tea.READ MORE
Vito waved when he saw Zelda and Nero heading over our way, but they were still about half a mile away and enjoying their early evening stroll. It seemed like the last year had flashed by and it certainly had been an entertaining one.
Who would have ever dreamed that the Magnus coven would now include a fairy, a six thousand year old vampire and a prince from ancient Egypt, or many new witch and vampire members?
“I had a call this afternoon from our longtime friend Gloria Parrish. I’m sure you must remember her Agnes, her family has owned the property next to ours up near Jackson Wyoming, near the Grand Teton National Park, south of Yellowstone National Park for many decades,” Bart said, and I nodded.
“I certainly do, a lovely lady and a lot of crazy fun. So what has she been up to lately?” I asked, remembering our good times together.
“Well it seems that her close friend Rocky Beaumont is coming back from living in Europe for over ten years. He is also bringing his sister Viviana, or Viv as she prefers, her close friend Max, and apparently Gannon Beaumont her dad is coming along with them,” he told us, and that was some really good news indeed.
“They are all close friends and have been for quite some time and Gloria’s cousin Tyler has the ranch next door. I know Rocky and Gloria were inseparable as kids, and he had spent all his summers with her at the ranch and we always enjoyed them while they were around. I understand that when Gannon lost his lovely wife to cancer, Rocky and Viv stayed with Gloria for months after that event and her parents as Gannon tried to cope with his heart wrenching loss.”
“It was a terrible time indeed. Eventually things got a little better and you know Gannon, no matter what that man touches he turns it into money. The Beaumont wealth is legendary, and I don’t know if you’d heard, but Viv ended up marrying a man she met while touring Switzerland. It was love at first sight from all indications and they were inseparable. He was much older than her but being a vampire he didn’t show it at all. I know Gannon had some serious concerns at first, but Viv was one that always knew her mind and that was it for her and she married him. Of course she was turned very quickly after their marriage, and it was a natural progression for them, but thank the stars they didn’t have a mate bond.”
“I remember now, and weren’t you and Vito at the wedding? I seem to remember you guys were in Europe at the time and swung by for the ceremony,” I said thinking back to that happier time.
“Yes, we were, and it was fantastic! He had a massive house high in the foothills in the Alps, and the party went on for almost a week and was incredible. They were both so much in love, but tragedy struck way too soon. He was killed on an icy road one winter, only a couple of years later, and even with his age and being powerful and ancient, once you lose your head, that’s it I’m afraid,” Bart told us sadly.
“So you said Rocky is arriving back here soon then? Well not here to Italus in Arizona of course, but I’m assuming he returning to Gloria’s vast ranch next to the Magnus property near Jackson?”
“Yes, and we’ve all been invited to go up there for a home coming celebration for Rocky, welcoming him back to the states after all these years. When he finished his degree at Stanford University, he spent a short time at Gloria’s place, kind of a retreat I believe. He then flew off to Europe with Viv and his dad Gannon a few weeks after that. From what I understand he’s been living and traveling around with Viv since that time. They both are heavily involved with the Gannon charitable foundation. Apparently, he finally thought it was more than time to return home to the US, even though Gloria and Tyler Parrish her cousin and owner of the spread next to her on the other side as I mentioned, visited them in Europe quite often for very extended stays,” Bart explained.
“Well all I can say is that from what I’ve seen from time to time in the European gossip news is that our Rocky has quite the Bad Boy reputation over there with all his antics. Come to think of it, wasn’t he recently dating a count or nobility of some sort that ended quite badly from that I understand?”
“Yes, it was a nephew of Viv’s late husband, and all seemed to be going quite well and everyone was expecting a marriage, but something happened, and it all fell apart. I’m thinking that breakup engendered this sudden return to the states to get out of the limelight. From what I heard, the guy was a vampire and when Rocky cut him out of his life, he tried to walk into the sun. It was all quite the scandal and of course everyone blamed the interloper from the states. They even got on Viv’s case from what I understand, for bringing him over and introducing him to the count. That however didn’t go over so well since it was her late husband, and now Viv that controlled the stipends they were living on derived from her assets. It was a real mess for a while, until Rocky managed to smooth things over and convinced the other man they were not right for each other and now are simply good friends,” Bart said, shaking his head with a grin thinking about all the churn.
“Well a broken heart is a broken heart I’m afraid and sometimes things don’t work out as planned and always someone is left hurting. I’m glad they were able to get things right before he left to come back here. No one wants to deal with a scorned vampire,” I kidded, and both Bart and Vito laughed.
“So! Who was scorned? And did they catch someone in bed with someone that wasn’t supposed to be there? And since we have a scorned vampire in the mix, does this other party still have a head left?” Craig asked.
We all jumped and whirled around not hearing him come up behind us.
Vito was the first to recover.
“Puppy you’re up. How long have you been standing behind us there?” Vito asked warily.
Despite his good catch, he was still appearing surprised. He was trying to smile at him before giving Joffre a dirty look.
“Long enough Vito and don’t give me that fake innocent look! Long enough to know that you’ve been holding out on us and have been keeping a lot of delicious secrets between yourselves. Now who is fucking who, or who was left out or included as the case may be?” he demanded, and Vito put his hands over his eyes.
I knew immediate damage control was in order.
“It is a terribly sad state of affairs Puppy and involves people you don’t know just yet and who you will love. Several people were genuinely hurt by this awful event, and I know you well enough to see that you don’t want to add to that hurt now do you?” I asked him softly stroking his arm.
I tried not to smile when I knew that I hit a nerve as I saw the tears welling in his glittering blue eyes.
“No Agnes you are right, and I would never want to hurt someone with my silly fun. I’m sorry I brought it up and hope I didn’t hurt your feelings because I did,” he told her, kissing her cheek.
“No harm done Puppy, you are a fine and caring man. You didn’t know that’s all,” I told him.
He wiped his eyes while Vito put his arm around him, and I breathed a deep sigh of relief for heading this one off.
Talk about thinking on your feet.
Bart clapped his hands between his knees in relief and gave me a wink, but I was still concerned by the look on Joffre’s face.
He was on to me from the way he kept looking at me and smiling.
“Okay then as I was saying and this will make you happy Puppy, we have all been invited up to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks for a home coming celebration. It is for Rocky Beaumont, and his family will be there along with Gloria Parrish and her cousin Tyler Parrish. They own the spreads next to our compound and ranch in Jackson Wyoming. I was thinking that once the celebration is over, we can maybe invite your family up to run with you during full moon. How does that sound?” Bart said, smiling like a cat that got the mouse, and knew Craig would be thrilled.
“Sounds like a good catch to me,” Joffre breathed, then jumped when Bart pinched his ass for him.
“I love it there Bart, my family has been there a few times and we always had such fun in the parks. And Joffre, you need to learn how to play your cards closer to your chest, bitch,” Craig added, with a toothy sly grin.
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