A Beth-Hill Novel: Wild Hunt Series, Book 6: Family Matters 3d cover

A Beth-Hill Novel: Wild Hunt Series, Book 6: Family Matters by Jennifer St. Clair

Are creatures of the night and all manner of extramundane beings drawn to certain locations in the natural world? In the Midwestern village of Beth-Hill located in southern Ohio, the population is made up of its fair share of common citizens…and much more than its share of supernatural residents. Take a walk on the wild side in this unusual place where imagination meets reality.

The Wild Hunt roamed the forest outside of Beth-Hill until the Council bound them for a hundred years. Nevertheless, a century of existence has made an indelible mark not easily forgotten for these ghostly myths that are no longer so ghostly or myth-like…


A Beth-Hill Novel: Wild Hunt Series, Book 6: Family Matters 2 covers Weaver Celeste is an elf living in exile in the human world. She’s renting a house near the Walker Household, made up of vampires with whom she hasn’t yet been introduced. Early morning, right before dawn, she witnesses a Hunter attack that kills fifteen-year-old Ethan Walker’s human parents. Ethan, the vampire who leads the Walker Household, is the only survivor. Even as Celeste saves his life and gives him a place to hide while he recovers, a coup attempt is unfolding in the Walker Household. Can the vampires loyal to Ethan not only capture those involved but unearth proof that the same people were involved in covering up an old crime before the sun sets?

Genre: Fantasy    ISBN: 978-1-922548-66-5    ISBN PRINT D2D: 9798224572311    ASIN: B0D5V44M3G

Word Count: 21, 872

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Continue the series:

A Beth-Hill Novel: Wild Hunt Series, Book 1: Heart's Desire continue the series A Beth-Hill Novel: Wild Hunt Series, Book 2: Fire and Water continue the series  A Beth-Hill Novel: Wild Hunt Series, Book 3: The Lost continue the series updated 2023 A Beth-Hill Novel: Wild Hunt Series, Book 4: A Glint of Silver continue the series A Beth-Hill Novel: Wild Hunt Series, Book 5: All that Glitters continue the series updated 2023 A Beth-Hill Novel: Wild Hunt Series, Book 6: Family Matters continue the series

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The explosion–or crash, because she heard glass breaking amid the noise of destruction–pulled Celeste away from the loom and to the front windows of her little cottage. She’d rented it with full knowledge that the property butted up against a vampire Household, but her landlord–a human wizard named Thomas Crone–had told her the Walkers were quiet neighbors who usually kept to themselves.

She hadn’t, however, quite gathered up the courage to introduce herself to her new neighbors. Nefir would have been fascinated, of course, but he did not know where she lived–or he hadn’t found her yet, at least, this time–and she’d left Faerie to escape from both court drama and the king.

There was a dark, car-shaped blot in the ditch past the trees at the end of her driveway. The driver had swerved–or been forced off the road, she thought, because there was another car on the road, lights off, a taller SUV, and another one behind it. And flashlights, now, piercing the darkness but not the wards; she was safe behind them, at least. If these were vampire hunters, they wouldn’t come back this far.

She thought she recognized the car in the ditch as an older model with tinted windows–one from the Walker compound. The interior light came on once as one of the men–she was certain now that they were Hunters, but she had no way to warn her neighbors, if they didn’t already know–pulled open the door, and she heard the sound of a muffled shot. And then the smell of something burning, hanging heavy in the air.

The sky had subtly lightened as she watched, and she almost missed the slight figure who darted between the trees at the end of the driveway and vanished into shadow. From its furtive movements, Celeste doubted it belonged to the two cars on the road. But if there was someone missing from the crash, surely the Hunters would be searching the trees and the rest of the ditch? Their search had been fairly circumspect, an afterthought only.

The spark of a flame caught her eye. The men had set the wreck on fire. The figure in the shadows lurched forward, then fell back, farther into darkness now, even as the sky turned from black to grey.

From the end of the driveway, and even halfway down the driveway, the cottage wasn’t visible at all, although Celeste’s view of the road was unhindered. She opened the front door and stepped onto the porch as the men made one last desultory sweep of the ditch, then climbed back into their cars and sped away.

For a moment, the only sound was the crackle of flames.

Celeste waited for a moment to make sure they wouldn’t return, then stepped off the porch and walked into the trees. She found the survivor lying at the foot of one of the young oaks, bleeding profusely from what looked to be bullet wounds, his eyes closed, seemingly unconscious. He couldn’t have been more than fourteen, at best, with brown hair and a thin face now spotted with blood.

She had no idea if he were vampire or human, but she couldn’t leave him lying there, regardless. So she brought an old rag rug from inside the house, rolled him onto it, and dragged him around the back where there weren’t any steps.

In the light of the kitchen, he looked much worse; the thinness more pronounced, but the blood wasn’t pumping from the wound over his heart anymore, and it actually looked like it was trying to close.

So a vampire, then. Cautiously, Celeste knelt beside him and set her meager Healing talent to work to find the bullets.

And they were bullets; six of them; three had gone through, but she dug out the others before the wounds could fully close. She found a cell phone in his pocket, but no identification, and a quick scan of the stored numbers did not help, although the entries marked “Mom” and “Dad” gave her pause. Should she call them? What if Mom and Dad had been in the car with their son and the Hunters had taken their cell phones to see who called?

Sirens approached now; a fire truck and an ambulance, and behind them, a police car. Celeste was vaguely surprised to find out it was dawn.

“They were–already dead,” the vampire whispered, as if the ambulance siren had made her question the possibility of survivors. “That’s why I–didn’t go back.”

Celeste glanced down at him. “Who were they?” she asked gently.

The vampire closed his eyes. “My parents. Both human.” He opened his eyes again. They glittered with tears. “You’re–” His eyes widened.

“An elf, yes,” Celeste said. “Your neighbor, actually. I hadn’t quite gotten up the courage to introduce myself quite yet.”

His eyes abruptly cleared. “The weaver? Oh. Rebecca intended to ask you for lessons, if you–I didn’t know you were an elf.” He tried to smile, but it quivered at the edges and threatened to crumble. “I’ve never actually met an elf before.”

“And I’ve never actually met a vampire before,” Celeste said. “My name is Celeste.”

“Ethan Walker,” the vampire said, but she’d already guessed that, in truth, because it was a bit of a local legend that the heads of the Walker Household were humans, and that they had a vampire son.

The sun shone bright now, outside. The ambulance had driven away, its services unneeded. Celeste hadn’t noticed if they’d taken the bodies from the car, or left them there for the police to handle. The police car remained with the fire truck, and one other car–another familiar Walker car–had arrived. The driver had emerged to speak to the policeman. There were others in the car with him, but they stayed in their seats.

“They’ll be looking for me,” Ethan whispered.

“You’re stuck here until dusk, I’m afraid,” Celeste said. I don’t have a garage or any way to shelter you from the sunlight. And I doubt you can walk anyway; you’ve lost too much blood. You’re lucky they weren’t using silver bullets.”

“I’d already be dead,” Ethan said, and tried to force his arms to bear his weight. Celeste helped him sit up, but he didn’t try to stand. “If you don’t mind, could you let them know I’m alive? If there are any of my family here yet?”

Celeste described the man and the girl she could see in the passenger seat. “My sister Elizabeth,” Ethan whispered. “Human. Andrew. Also human.” His eyes slipped shut. “Please?”

Celeste looked down at him. “Will my blood help?”

Ethan’s eyes flew open. He tried to laugh. “Elvish blood? I–I don’t know.”

“If I go out there to let them know you’re alive, I’d rather you were conscious when I returned,” Celeste said.

“I will be,” Ethan whispered. “Go tell them–please–before they leave. You won’t be able to get through the wards, otherwise–“

Celeste had already turned to the sink and selected a sharp knife from the block. She drew it across her wrist, drained the blood into a juice glass, then used her talent to close the wound.

Ethan watched, dumbstruck. “You’re a Healer?”

“Not much of one, I’m afraid,” Celeste said. “But enough of one to know when someone’s on their last reserve of strength. Can you hold this?”

He managed with his left arm; his right had sustained a bullet wound and his hand didn’t want to close around the glass.

She left him there, sitting on the floor, and walked down the driveway until the occupants of the car had noticed her presence.

The policeman approached. Celeste explained that she lived down the lane, but hadn’t heard a thing. She was a sound sleeper, and her bedroom was in the back of the house. She’d noticed the flashing lights upon awakening, however, but she didn’t have a phone to call anyone–

The policeman took down her statement, nodded to Andrew, and turned to walk back to his car.

To Andrew, Celeste said, “I don’t believe we’ve met, but I know your name is Andrew. And the young lady in the passenger seat is Elizabeth, Ethan Walker’s sister.”

Andrew cursed. “Where is he?”

“Safe in my house,” Celeste said. “But he’s going to need more to drink–I don’t have the proper supplies to feed a vampire, and he’s lost a lot of blood.”

“You’re the elf,” Andrew said. “The weaver. Thomas said you were trustworthy–“

“I intend you no harm,” Celeste said. “And I don’t have a garage, so he’ll have to stay in my house until dusk–“

“Who did this?” Andrew asked softly, staring at the bullet-ridden burned-out car.

“My guess would be Hunters,” Celeste said. “Lucky for Ethan, they weren’t using silver bullets.”

Andrew cursed again. He turned to look at his car, then glanced at Celeste. “Would you mind if I sent one of the others back with you? If he’ll last long enough, I’d rather wait until this is cleared away before I bring him blood–to not attract attention–“

“I gave him blood,” Celeste began, and didn’t completely miss Andrew’s sudden look of horror. “He said he wasn’t sure it would help. I don’t know a lot about vampires–have I poisoned him?”

“No, not poison,” Andrew said after a moment. “Shock, only; you’re not bleeding; I see no bandages, no blood–“

“I have a small healing talent,” Celeste said. “Not enough to heal his wounds, but enough to remove the bullets. I’m glad I haven’t inadvertently poisoned him.”

“So are we,” Andrew said, and managed a smile. “And I’ve never known Thomas to give us false information. If he says you are trustworthy, then that’s good enough for me.”

“Thank you,” Celeste said.

Andrew motioned towards the car. “Does he know his parents are dead?”

“He said they were dead before he escaped the wreck,” Celeste said softly. “I’m sorry.”

Andrew nodded and beckoned to Elizabeth. She walked towards them slowly, her eyes red from weeping.


A Beth-Hill Novel: Wild Hunt Series, Book 6: Family Matters by Jennifer St. Clair print cover 800

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