Erotic Romance Author
A writing journey that began to pacify boredom has led to a full-time job and the creation of a publishing company – Cozy Reads Publishing.
However, SJ. Turner, the author of the Collins Brothers series, will always consider herself a reader first. Whether choosing to snuggle up a steamy romance or a scary thriller, reading is still part of her nightly ritual.
Want to know more?
Immortal Treasures – Excerpt
“A paranormal fantasy of old-world vampires and modern-day witches. Oh, and did I mention a timekeeper journal and resurrection key?”
Stopping, Olivia spins out from under Clara’s arm. “Wait! The Stepney Castle? You mean the old vampire castle?”
“Are you sure we should have possession of this stuff? I mean, what if they really are vampires?” Her face tightens as she eyes the wall of boxes and steps inside, lowering her voice as if the undesirables might hear her. “After all, they are demonic descendants. Right?”
Patricia laughs, yanking on her white cotton gloves. “Well, they are bloodsuckers. That alone tells me they’re not of a divine nature.” She tips her head, looking at Olivia from under her brow. “Let’s hope you have some magic in those lofty little fingers of yours. We may need your help if they decide to turn up to reclaim their stuff.”
“For the love of the Goddess, will you two knock it off,” Helen snickers, lifting a box to her table. “Don’t forget witches are on the good ol’ demonic descendant’s list as well. Anyway, I wouldn’t worry too much, Liv. I would say if their castle has been vacant for at least a century, and mom scored all this at the auction—” She gestures to the multitude of boxes lining the back wall and the items covering her table. “I think we can safely assume they have moved on or possibly even met their demise somehow. Besides, there haven’t been any vampires around these parts in decades.”
Pulling an old book out of the box, Helen turns it over in her hands. “Oh, my goodness. Why in the world would someone consider sending this to auction? Shouldn’t this be in a museum?” She holds up the barely worn hardcover bound in sheepskin and reads the title. “Just look at this! I mean, are you kidding me? Cassandra Fam’d Romance 1652,” she grins, flipping the book over to show Clara the front cover. “How steamy do you think this is?”
“Oh, for pity’s sake. I can assure you that book is nothing like the smut you read. If I’m not mistaken, the story revolves around a bogus plot to murder King Charles II.” Clara points to the corner shelf. “Why don’t you slide it into one of those clear bags over there? I don’t doubt it’s fairly valuable. I have some artifact boxes in the basement we can use once we sort through everything.”
Patricia slides a box in front of Olivia. “I swear this box is calling out your name. Poor lonely thing, sitting all by itself over there in the corner. Maybe the vampire king of Stepney has something special in there for you.” She winks, a playful smirk dancing on her lips as she turns to grab a box for herself.
Olivia’s hand flies to her hip, her head swaying side to side as the corner of her mouth pulls into a scornful sneer. “Ha ha. Honestly, now that I think about it. I would rather play with this vampire stuff than magic. What is the worst thing a vampire can do? Drink some blood and live forever?” She grabs the lid, slides her hand through the slit in the top of the box and yanks back one side with a squeal. “Ouch! Damn it!” Pulling back her hand, she notices tiny beads of blood rising to the surface and shoves her finger into her mouth.
“What happened, Liv? Vampire bite you?” Patricia chuckles jokingly.
Scrunching up her face, Olivia pulls her finger from her mouth and holds up the digit for examination. “No – no vampire. Just a box lid. Dang thing did manage to draw blood, though,” she whines, jamming it back into her mouth.
“Ew!” Patricia cringes. “God, you’re so gross! Not even an hour among vampire junk, and you are already sucking your own blood? You’re seriously disappointing me, Liv.”
Shifting her weight, Olivia tips her head to glare at her aunt. “Real funny, aunt Trish. I didn’t want to drip on anything valuable.”
“I agree. No bleeding on the priceless items.” Clara points to the doorway behind the stack of boxes. “There are bandages in the bathroom. See that you use one.”
“Nah, I’m okay, Gran. Nothing more than a tiny scratch. It’s not even bleeding anymore.” She holds up her finger then waves her gloves in the air. “Anyway, you don’t need to worry. I know enough to wear my gloves.” She pushes the cotton over each finger, slaps her hands together then pulls open the other side of the cardboard lid, releasing a cloud of dust. Choking into the back of her hand, she blinks the grit from her eyes. “All right, now that’s disgusting. I’m pretty sure I just inhaled a good chunk of the eighteenth century.”
Clara peers up from the table of trinkets she’s been meticulously itemizing. “Now-now, you should consider yourself fortunate. Do you have any idea how many people would pay dearly to get a whiff of this eighteenth-century dust?”
“Yeah? Well, they can have it,” Olivia spits, her tone sassier than intended. Her sight sets on a deep blue satin bag, and she reaches in to retrieve it. Though in pristine condition, it’s immediately evident the small pouch is ancient. Gently pulling the gold cord, she tips out the contents. A gilded set of child-sized utensils clatter to the table — each piece with an intricate embellishment carved on the top. Carefully running her cotton-gloved finger over the initials C.L. along the stem, Olivia peers up at Clara. “Hey Gran, if the Laurent family are indeed vampires, why would they have children’s utensils?”
Clara leans back in her chair and pushes a strand of hair behind her ear as she squints across at her granddaughter. “Well, Julien and Clarentina Laurent aren’t simply any old vampires.” Before she finishes her sentence, she pulls herself to her feet and heads for Olivia’s table. Sitting next to her, Clara takes up the small spoon to admire it. “We are talking about two originals. Their exact creation date is still unclear, but we do have records that show them emerging from the darkness during the early 17th century.” She shrugs, turning toward Olivia. “As for them being able to have children, well, I don’t know the exact science behind it, but they could, and they did – Clarentina gave birth to two boys.”
She sets the utensils down and walks back over to continue tagging items. “You know, great-gran Ancina left a tale behind of personally meeting Mr. Laurent.” Olivia’s head springs up, her eyes widen as she listens intently. “Oh yes,” Clara confirms with a nod. “She claimed he saved her from being set ablaze by the town. But of course, that tale has been passed down through the family.”
“Wait.” Olivia’s brows knit tightly together as she contemplates her grandmother’s words. “A vampire helping a witch?”
Clara nods. “Mmhmm. Gran Victoria swears her grandmother Annabel told her all about it, and you don’t get any closer to the source than that.”
“But I thought vampires and witches are enemies?”
“Indeed we are! Vampires are the true spawn of Satan. They would love nothing more than to tap into our magic, and by that, I mean drain it straight from our veins,” Patricia exclaims, dramatically slapping her forearm.
A snicker comes from the opposite side of the room, and Olivia cocks her head toward Helen. She may not have a comment, but she clearly finds Patricia’s remark amusing. Shaking her head, Olivia turns her attention back to Clara. “That tale makes no sense, Gran. It must be exactly that – a fable. Why would a vampire save an enemy if not to drain her of her magic?”
Clara shakes her head with a shrug. “No one truly knows. When I asked my grandmother the same question, she claimed that fate laid down its cards that evening. That eventually, time would reveal the connection.” She takes a deep breath, staring off with a brass timepiece in hand. “As for old Hattox, unfortunately, she didn’t get to tell the whole story to anyone. However, from what I can gather between old family journals and stories I’ve been told, she did finally meet her fate on old Gallows Hill shortly after. But, unfortunately, the story seems to end there with no record of where her body is.”
“Maybe this is it.” Helen gestures to the multitude of boxes with a smile. “Perhaps this is the connection. Maybe we’re meant to become rich from these Laurent treasures.”
Laughing, Clara holds up the beautifully carved brass trinket box and twirls it around in front of her. “I’m not convinced any of these little beauties can make us famously rich, but I am sure some may be worth a pretty penny.” The childlike smile that spreads across her face draws a chuckle from Helen. “Personally, I am quite content to keep finding these wonderful little timepieces.” She places the box down in front of her and grabs a tag. “They all have such lovely detailing, don’t you think, Olivia?”
Olivia nods, absently pulling the lid open on her third box. “Yes, Gran, they’re all stunning pieces.” She waves her hand in front of her face, fanning away the plume of dust and reaches in. A nervous sensation twists her stomach as her fingers graze the cover of a book. An eerie feeling, though easily ignored until she grabs the spine. Then, a bit stronger than static, an unexpected jolt sets her back in her chair with a squeal.
Clara’s head shoots up, peering at Olivia over the table of stock. “You okay, Liv?”
“Hmm? Oh. Yeah. Probably static electricity from all the dust.” Avoiding their stares, she reaches back into the box.
She ignores the persistent tingle as it moves up her arm and pulls out the old leather-wrapped book. Turning it over in her hands, she reads the name stamped on the cover– Laurent. Though it looks relatively plain, the prickling sensation says something entirely different. She wants to put it down, but something about this basic old tome arouses every fibre of her being.
As she runs her fingertip over the embossed lettering, every hair on her body rises, twisting her stomach into a nervous knot. She gently opens the cover as Mr. Green tangles himself around her ankle with his usual offering of reassurance. Peering down, she scratches the top of his head. Finally, her eyes draw back to the book—to the first perfectly uniform inscription, Julien Laurent—SOV.
The face of the man on the corner flashes before her. He’s so close that she can see the flecks of gold through the blue in his eyes. Olivia’s heart thumps, and she tugs her hand back with a gasp, bounding to her feet as the old book falls to the floor.
To Be Continued…
SJ. Turner – Immortal Treasures coming 2022
Cozy Reads Publishing