Kat rushed into West Side Stories bookstore, pushing past the throng of regulars and non-regulars alike as they milled around the front half of the store. Some were people she knew from school, the bakery, and from around town – the regular downtown crowd as she thought of them. Others were people she’d never seen before in her life. Raven had said there were expecting a good turnout tonight, but the amount of bodies who’d come out for the event was even more than she’d imagined. 

She shouldn’t have been so surprised, all things considered. Vampyre’s Crossing had just been optioned for a major motion picture deal – four movies in total, all starring real Hollywood heavyweights. They were slated for filming later in the year, with the first movie releasing next summer. The blogs and forums were going crazy daily discussing everything from casting to plot points.  

Kat was as excited for the movies as anyone else, not to mention super thrilled the books had become so popular, but she couldn’t help the slight irritation she felt towards people who only came in to buy the book once they realized it was going to be a movie. In her opinion, these “band-wagoners” were not true fans. They would never understand the finer points of VC, the characters, or the intensity of a life filled with such pain and sacrifice.   

She smiled and gave the obligatory nod here and there to people she recognized, but she dared not stop to say hello. She had to find Arisia and tell her all about the stunningly hot and totally insane super model she’d just sold her last two slices of chocolate raspberry cheesecake to while it was still fresh in her mind.

There was no way Arisia would believe her, but if she knew her best friend, she’d find a way to hunt the man down and get a good look for herself.

That was if she ever found her!

West Side Stories, bookstore and café, was deceptively large – a classically built store front fashioned after the old bookstores of the 19th century. The front was all paned glass and frosted doors, while the inside was all dark gleaming cedar and floor to ceiling bookshelves, complete with ladders and rails to reach the upper shelves. The shelves were organized into genres, while the long square tables set up throughout the front showcased the new arrivals. Everything worked to pull a customer’s eyes up towards the colorful mosaic skylight, built in the shape of the window of Notre Dame.

Towards the back, large couches and plush armchairs were strategically placed to welcome readers of all ages. For event nights, the furniture was moved and fold out chairs were arranged to allow for as much seating as possible. Tonight, because of the popularity of the Vampyre’s Crossing book release, not even the folding chairs had been set up. It was standing room only.

Kat finally spotted Arisia among the throng. She was putting the finishing touches on the main display for tonight’s event. From what Kat could tell, it looked like she’d gotten swag galore from the publishers. She cut through the crowd calling out her friend’s name.

Arisia looked up and waved the second she spotted Kat, gesturing for her to hurry up. When she finally reached her, she was adjusting the last cardboard cutout.

“Well, what do you think?” she asked grinning.

Kat’s eyes lit up as she looked upon the glossy life size forms of Trent and Natalia, arms around each other in a tight embrace as the rest of the VC characters stood behind them in a line. Trent’s younger brother Lorenz, his best friend Skylar, followed by the conniving Natalia, sweet and naïve Fiona, and the newcomer, Chastity. They were all there, eyes fixed on the center of the entire VC universe. Behind them was a large archway, the gate to Evernite, where all the characters lived, loved, fought, and sometimes died. The way Arisia and Raven had set the event up, buyers would be passing by the characters and just under the archway to get a copy of the new book, as if entering the world of the immortal lords of Vampyre’s Crossing.

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