PHOENIX: We were fortunate to catch our main characters of Leon’s Lair together and asked them if they would give an interview for our readers. They were nice enough to agree to do that. Here are Jane O’Doherty, her best friend Remy Madison, Peter Sorenson, and Wolfgang (Wolf) Ulrich.
Hello Jane. Could you tell us a little about yourself?
“Me, well. I’m twenty-two. I just graduated from Boston University. This cruise in Indonesia is a present from my parents. I thought it would be great to see some exotic ports of call, you know? Before deciding exactly how to apply my education. I studied in the field of biological research and forensics, with a specialty in toxicology. I was going to go into medicine. Be a doctor. But I got hooked on biology and became interested in forensic chemistry. I guess crime-solving runs in my family. My dad and my grandfather are both retired cops.
My dad is Irish and my mother is Russian. I’m a workaholic. Terribly serious. And don’t sleep much. I live behind my parents’ house in a little cottage. I’m always rescuing animals, much to my mother’s distress. I have two dogs, four cats, a parrot, and a three-legged squirrel. And of course, to make this trip, I had to hire someone to take care of my menagerie. I’m a vegetarian, but I hate broccoli.
Boom! There. Now you know everything about me.
PHOENIX: Thank you, Jane. Peter, could you tell our readers a little about yourself?
PETER: “I’ve spent a lot of time backpacking, hunting, rock climbing, and that sort of thing. I am mostly a loner. I just graduated from college and want to work for National Geographic as a writer/photographer, but they turned me down. I’m on this cruise to get some photos of Indonesia. With the photos and an article, maybe they will be impressed and give me a chance. Probably won’t work though. I’m pretty much a loser. I also wanted to publish novels. I’ve written three, but agents keep rejecting my queries. I’m completely attracted to Jane, but I can’t approach her. Why would a girl like that want a guy like me? I have the personality of an old gym sock.”
PHOENIX: Obviously, Peter has lost all confidence in himself. He is shy, kind of geeky, and isn’t good at social interaction. However, extreme danger sometimes brings out a person’s real character.
Peter turns out to be the hero in our story.
So Wolf, I hear you are a talented and very powerful wizard. And you’re in love with Remy. How is that working out?
“To my own surprise, my mouth had opened, and the words just tumbled out. I saw her thoughts, and she was smitten with me.
“Oh, hell! My strong attraction to her was immediate. I was completely drawn to her, and now it has landed me with a terrible problem.
“It has been hard enough for me to admit to myself that I don’t like my fiancée. I have never even bedded the woman. She just turns me off. Finally, a year ago I had come to terms with it. Colette is a snotty, self-centered, French brat. I don’t like her. However, I have decided that not liking her is my problem to deal with and mine alone, because it is a matter of family honor to follow through. A marriage with Colette has been planned from the time we both were born. My father would be in a rage if I said I was interested in another woman.
“I am being heavily pressured by both families to set a wedding date. I keep stalling. The plan between the two powerful families has been to cement the German and French lines to ensure our European existence as influential mages. I can’t just think about my own desires. I am dedicated to the power of the magic world.
“I just have to break this off with Remy …
“Besides my family commitments, I am not allowed to be involved with a non-paranormal. Breaking that rule has severe penalties, not only with the International Association of Paranormal Creatures but also with the International Council of the Mage. And rule number one: never let normals see you perform magic. How could I hide that from her?
“No, I just won’t call her back. That’s what I’ll do.
“I will just stay hidden while on my assignment to watch Peter, Jane, and Remy. It is terrible, but we have no choice. I feel like we are using them as bait, because we have a feeling Leon will come after them. It could be our chance to catch him, but I also have to make sure I protect them from harm.”
PHOENIX: Tell us what happened, Remy.
REMY: “Well, we were in a pizza parlor when Jane and I were descended on by the paparazzi. I mean the news that we found that vampires really exist has the world completely nuts, I mean absolutely crazy, and we are constantly mobbed by the press.
“And who showed up out of nowhere? Wolfgang! I mean, we met him on the plane coming home from Indonesia. What a gorgeous man! He asked me for my phone number, but he never called. And now here he was grabbing our hands and helping us escape from the press. Instead of going out the back door, he had us duck into the bathroom. He locked the door.
“I gazed around the small room. I said, ‘We’re trapped in here. There’s not even a window to crawl out of.’
“I stabbed Wolfgang in the chest with my index finger and said. ‘And what are you doing here?’
“There was a great deal of jostling and yelling outside the restroom door for about thirty seconds, and then the sound of the back door slamming.
“He said, ‘Can we talk about that later? Look at Jane.’
“I turned to her in the confined space. Jane looked like she was in the middle of a horrible nightmare and couldn’t wake up. Her eyes were closed, and she was tossing her head back and forth, violently shaking.
“Jane, what’s wrong? You’ve seen those press jerks before. I shook her.
“Jane suddenly let out a bloodcurdling scream, backed up, slammed against the bathroom wall, and slid down with her hands covering her face.
“She said, ‘He was so beautiful and so pathetic, and I killed him. I had to kill him. I had to kill him. Now he’s here. He’s here! I saw him!’
“Wolfgang said, ‘Jane! Who’s here? Jane, who?’
“She cried, ‘Leon!’
“Then there was a tap on the door. We heard, ‘Jane, I know you’re in there. I can feel you.’
“There was a pause. Then ‘I know it was Peter who made you do that to me. I forgive you. Come out, and I’ll take you away from all these cretins, and we can share my empire.’
“We’re screwed,” I whispered.
“Wolfgang grabbed me and Jane around the waist and slammed us into his chest. Suddenly all was black whirling space, and just as suddenly. we were standing in the garage at the farm.
“He said, ‘Don’t ask right now; the story is too long to tell,’ holding both hands in front of himself before either of the us could close our slack jaws to talk. ‘And for god’s sake, don’t say anything to anyone else. Do not say how you got here. Do you understand?’
“We stared at him and slowly nodded our heads in unison.
” ‘Go back to the house, and tell everyone that Leon is alive and that the press has found you. Don’t come out of the house. I am going to make different arrangements to make you safe, but it will take some time. Do you understand that?’
“We nodded again.
“He gave us a little push toward the garage side door, and we started walking. I turned to ask a question, but he was gone.
“Well,” I said in a flat, faraway voice, “that was interesting.” I turned back to Jane. “Don’t you think so?”
“Jane looked at me. Her eyes were kind of glazed over. She said, ‘Did I just forget about a car ride back from town, or did we just break every law of physics?’ ”