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Today’s Spooky Legends guest is Katie MacAlister, author of the Dark Ones paranormal romance series. Katie’s latest release in the series is MUCH ADO ABOUT VAMPIRES, which is the ninth installment. Our retelling is written in the voice of Corazon Ferriera (heroine of Much Ado), and features the urban legend surrounding the cheval bayard (water horse) in Normandy, France. Want to win your own copy? Check out the giveaway details below.
From: Corazon Ferriera
Date: October 15, 2011
To: Jacintha Scott
Yo, Jas. We’re in France, as I think I mentioned last week. Alec has to do something for the Moravian Council, and I’m going along because I’ve never been to France, and hey, what’s the use in having an extremely gorgeous vampire at your beck and call if you don’t make him take you places? Right? Right.
I’ve always thought France was a country full of sophisticated, uber-hip people. And for the most part, they are, but when Alec and I were in this teeny, tiny little town in Normandy the other day, he had to go help track down some reaper or other—seriously, what is with those people?—and I curled up at the inn where we were staying to get in some quality reading time with a bottle of local wine.
You know how it is when you want to read—naturally, an old coot settled in next to the fire right across from me, and started yacking. He saw I was reading a book on ghost stories, and went off about all sorts of weird stuff that he’d seen in his youth. Most of it was the usual stuff, ghostly lights in graveyards, spectral hounds, etc. but then he started telling me about this weird thing called a cheval bayard.
That means water horse, by the way. I asked Alec later about them and he says that water horses are a just a legend, and that they take human form and go around causing people grief. They’re supposed to haunt certain areas, and I gather their whole purpose in life is to toss people into the water.
Odd, huh? I’m at a loss as to why this is a big deal, but hey, I don’t live here. Anywho, Monsieur Cocque (stop giggling, that’s his real name) started telling me about the cheval bayard. He said that he (the water horse dude) used to hang around the town trying to court women whose hubbies were away. One day, a water horse hit up his grandma. And Grandpa Cocque came home and heard about it, and got all, “Whoa, he did not do that!” And Grandma was “Oh, yes he did.” And Grandpa was saying things like, “No damned horse is going to put the moves on my babe!” and sent Grandma off to hang out with her mom while he did a little cross-dressing.
So he put a bar of iron in the fire (no clue why it was iron. Maybe he just had a bar of iron lying around), and got into Grandma’s jammies and bathrobe, and then just about midnight, this handsome dude shows up ready to sweet talk Grandma into a bit of watery fun.
Right about then is when I started getting a bit ripped on the local wine, btw. But I remember most of what he told me. Monsieur C. said that the handsome water horse asked Grandpa what his name was, thinking, of course, that Grandpa was Grandma, and Grandpa answered, “Myself.”
Now, I’m not judging, but that’s a seriously messed up answer. Anyway, the water horse tried to put some moves in on Grandpa, but he grabbed the iron bar with a pair of fire tongs, and threw it at the dude. Cheval B., naturally, got all bent out of shape about this, and called up a bunch of other water horses who hang around the region. They all came running and asked him who was attacking him, and Cheval Bayard answered, “Myself is attacking me!”
At which the other water horses looked at each other out of the corners of their respective eyes, and one of them said gently, “Then you’d better stop doing it.” And they left.
When Monsieur Cocque finished telling me that, he sat back with one of those expressions that says he performed a job well done, and I could begin praising him for it.
“Um. They just left?” I asked him, kind of confused by the lame ending. I mean, at the very least I expected that someone was going to get dumped in the water! Or maybe tossed into the fireplace. Or run through with a sword, this being France and all.
“Yes. Because, you see, my grand-père said his name was ‘myself’ and that confused everyone. The cheval bayard left when others would not help him. It was clever of grand-père, was it not?”
“Yeah,” I said very slowly, pushing the bottle of wine away from me. Obviously, I’d had more than enough. “Super clever. What happened to the cheval?”
Monsieur Cocque shrugged. “He did not bother my family again.”
“But…he was still hanging around the village pestering other women?”
“Yes, he is still here. You be careful if a handsome man comes to your door while your husband is away, eh?”
“Sure,” I said, and tried to think of a good reason to go back to my room.
Luckily, Alec called right after that, and I got to toddle up to my room so I could better torment him with phone sex, but man, do they have some weird ideas of urban legends around here. I hope you have some better ones in Scotland!
Hugs and kisses,
For as long as she can remember, Katie MacAlister has loved reading. Growing up in a family where a weekly visit to the library was a given, Katie spent much of her time with her nose buried in a book. Despite her love for novels, she didn’t think of writing them until she was contracted to write a non-fiction book about software. Since her editor refused to allow her to include either witty dialogue or love scenes in the software book, Katie swiftly resolved to switch to fiction, where she could indulge in world building, tormenting characters, and falling madly in love with all her heroes.
Two years after she started writing novels, Katie sold her first romance, Noble Intentions. More than thirty books followed during the years after Noble’s publication. Her novels have been translated into numerous languages, been recorded as audiobooks, received several awards, and placed on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. She also writes for the young adult audience as Katie Maxwell, and for the mystery world as Kate Marsh.
Katie lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and dogs, and can often be found lurking around online.
Want to read more from Katie MacAlister?
This giveaway is provided by Penguin/Signet
One winner will receive a copy of Much Ado About Vampires by Katie MacAlister
Available on October 4, 2011 from Penguin/Signet
About the Book:
Bitter at first bite…
Corazon Ferreira is one heck of a jaded woman. Not only did her husband dump her for a pretty, vivacious blonde, but her sister has lost her mind and married a vampire. Worse, it turns out that Cora herself was a vampire’s mate in a past life…the very same vampire she witnessed killing someone.
If only Cora hadn’t inadvertently been caught up in the ill-laid plans of a reanimated corpse and its master, she could deal with the distractingly gorgeous vampire. But it’s only Alec who stands between her and those who threaten her existence, and there’s only so much temptation a woman can bear before she starts taking her heart as seriously as her head…
Click HERE to read an excerpt
**Don’t forget to visit All Things Urban Fantasy today for her Spooky Legends guest blog with C.C. Hunter and a chance to win AWAKE AT DAWN**
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