Friday, October 19, 2012


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We don't celebrate Halloween here  in Nigeria- no scary decorations outside our house and trick-or- treating yet some us mark the occasion in the little way we can. I for one do the same thing every year; read a scary book e.g Tales from Edgar Allan Poe, Ghost Stories and some of Stephen King's stuff- Skeleton Crew, Pet Sematary and The Shinning. And then the scary movies; I've gone through Hell Raiser, Interview With The Vampire, Evil Dead, Friday the 13th and last year was Child's Play. This year (and I hope I'll be able to sleep!) my selection is the scary and unappreciated 1995 Tales From The Hood. 

A cross between Night Gallery and Creepshow with some elements of Twilight Zone and Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction- it features a  mostly African American cast, written and directed by Rusty Cundieff with Spike Lee as executive producer. Apart from the supernatural undertones; each story in this anthology movie  deals with contemporary issues like child abuse, racism, corruption and trying to find redemption; grittier than any horror movie I've watched over the years and while it had good reviews from some; others gave it bad ones, which I don't understand- it's not like violence and strong language isn't present in other horror movies and when it first came out it  was called a 'black horror' movie, which disgusted me; this is a movie where the focus is more on African Americans and then it's just dismissed as a 'black horror movie'. It's not like there's been a lot of African Americans in the horror films of the past- lead characters that is. And so far the few horror film with a dominant African American cast include Blacula and Vampire In Brooklyn(and this one had some comic elements in it); instead to just embrace it , they just diss it.
I've always like anthologies so I chose this movie as my Halloween pick for this year. It's a shame it's now out of print in DVD, mine is an old, old copy but still clear in picture. Maybe next year, by God's Grace, my pick would be The Ring; I'm yet to see that. But seriously I do wish we celebrated it her, I would've dressed up as maybe Tina Turner or Little Eddie Beale or maybe even Lil' Kim!

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NEWSLETTER: SUVUDU - Justin Cronin, Cloud Atlas, Star Wars, and more!

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October 2012

Star Wars: The Essential Reader's Companion
From the desk of Pablo Hidalgo

Dear Readers,

There's the old adage that says "write what you know." That's why I wrote a giant book about Star Wars novels. I know them well, for I've been reading them for over 30 years, for pretty much my whole life. They introduced me into a galaxy of reading, and I figure I'd return the favor by penning a tome—Star Wars: The Essential Reader's Companion—that is meant to help introduce readers into the Expanded Universe of Star Wars novels.

I was probably around five years old—maybe even younger—when I first read the Star Wars novelization ghost-written by Alan Dean Foster based on the screenplay by George Lucas. I had The Star Wars Storybook from Random House. I had some version of the Marvel Comics adaptation as well. But I also had the paperback novel, something that gets branded as an "adult novel" by those sorting such things. You'd think it would be beyond the reading level of a child. Certainly, it was... but my hunger for Star Wars made me keep working out the words and language, instilling in me a love for conjuring images by reading the printed word. The full color photo insert in the middle of the book didn't hurt either.
Click here for the rest of Pablo's letter!

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Each week we're giving away the first 50 pages of an awesome Del Rey or Spectra book — for FREE! Check out the titles we premiered last month:
Blood Eye
Blood Eye
by Giles Kristian
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Coup D'Etat by Harry Turtledove
Dime Store Magic
by Kelley Armstrong
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Bad Glass
Bad Glass
by Richard E. Gropp
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Dearly, Beloved
Dearly, Beloved
by Lia Habel
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The Hobbit
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New this month
Star Wars: The
Essential Reader's

by Pablo Hidalgo
Blood Crime
by Kim Harrison
Star Wars: Darth

by James Luceno

by Raymond

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The Romance of the Apocalypse
Apocalyptic fiction, once the domain of genre literature, has crept into the mainstream with books like The Road, The DogStars and Cloud Atlas receiving critical accolades and public enthusiasm alike. What has changed? We all claim to fear the end, but do we secretly wish for it? If so, why?

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Justin Cronin's The Twelve: Two Worlds and In Between
Pop culture defanged the vampire, transforming the bloodthirsty nightstalker of legend into non-threatening boyfriend material for teen girls. Justin Cronin's The Passage brought the horror back to vampire fiction, and now The Twelve has returned to continue the terror. How did he do it?

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Raymond Benson Q&A
What was the biggest challenge in writing HITMAN: DAMNATION? What about the biggest reward?
Whenever one tackles a novelization of a best-selling franchise, whether it's a videogame, movie or TV show, or whatever, the biggest challenges are a) pleasing the license holders, and b) pleasing the fans. To do that, one must become very familiar with the franchise and feel confident that you actually *can* spend a few months in that world and create something original and yet familiar to those who expect certain things. There is a group of authors who specialize in tie-ins and we belong to the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers ( It's been our jobs to be the best there is at doing tie-in work, so I take it very seriously.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Writing Books

 When it comes to writers my idols include Danielle Steel, Stephen King, Enid Blyton, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Chiamanda Adichie, Chinua Achebe , J.K Rowling, Barbara Cartland and  Dan Brown. When I was a young child, I developed an interest in writing and spent half the time trying to put something worthwhile on paper. Looking back, I realise my interest wasn't out of the blue; it was through reading and watching book adaptations on T.V- The adventures of Tom Sawyer, Jane Eyre, Little Women, Ivanhoe, Alice in Wonderland, The Legend of King Arthur, The Prince and The Pauper, Oliver Twist and David Copperfield.  Folktales came to me through Nigerian programmes like Storyland and Tales By Moonlight and books like Cinderella and Beauty and The Beast and stories from Enid Blyton. I spent most of the time over the years trying to put something worthwhile on paper and in 2006, my current books were published.
Right now I'm working on my first novel and more stories for kids; but right  I'm discouraged and unmotivated because of distractions, obligations and lack of money. Also; I'm not satisfied with my approach and I wind up having to start all over again! But a writer I chat with on Twitter says it's not unusual but I shouldn't  be overly concerned with how I sound, I have to leave that to the readers to judge; so I'm struggling to do just that.
A friend approached me today asking me to 'teach' her how to write. My reply was: everybody has a story to tell, I can't teach her to write- nobody  taught me. Besides, writing is a matter of interest, not talent; if you aren't in a habit of reading a lot, you can't put anything on paper. But another friend disagreed with what I said. As far as she was concerned, writing came from talent; not everybody had the skill to write books. After my own struggles and reading about other writers' struggles, I know better; it is interest and determination. It took four years for Barbara Taylor Bradford to complete her first and most famous book "A Woman of Substance", Stephen King's writing career started by writing short stories for magazines and manuscripts that were ignored until  his first novel ''Carrie'' was finally published.
Maybe I'm being impatient about it all- I want to be in King's and the other writers' level; to be a best selling author overnight; more for the recognition than the money- which I also want. But I also want to leave a legacy behind, something I'll always be remembered for. I don't see writing as a thankless, hopeless task because it's my true calling. But if I'm going to be a successful writer I have to be more focused, more determined, more optimistic and believe in myself. Luckily I'm not one to wait for inspiration; I do what I call 'practice writing' by writing fan fiction and posting it on the internet and then I  turn to the 'real' work and try to improve on it. It's been 6 years since my first publications so my determination has to remain strong. And by God's grace; I will succeed.

"When inspiration comes; let it find me working."- Pablo Picasso

Sunday, October 14, 2012


During my secondary school days I was bullied, nearly every day from my very first day. It was an all girls' school and a public one for that matter. There was a handful of nice girls that I got along with, too bad the rest of them were the most horrible set of spiteful, dirty mouthed bitches I ever had the misfortune of being exposed to. I experienced it all; verbal and physical abuse- the more cowardly of them slipped poison-pen letters in my school bag; the bolder ones touched me and insulted me in my face- I still get angry just thinking about them. In my senior year I went to another school, also all girls' but private. The bullying there was more verbal than physical and I got a lot of novels I spent my hard saved  allowance on stolen, I never got them back and they all ganged up on me by not revealing who stole them. I wonder if it is a very serious crime to prefer reading a book instead of gossiping in class because that's what I did.
Why do bullies feel  the need to inflict pain and harm on others in the first place? Do they actually derive  satisfaction  and delight when a person crumple up and cry  and fight back? Do they like the look of frustration on the victims' face and wait for them to hit out so they could begin the physical part of the
 bullying ?
Bullying is NOT harmless at all; it is psychologically harmful as it is  degrading- verbal or physical- and these days it leads to tragedy. Where I come from, if a child is bullied, the child is expected to report to a teacher or FAR BETTER his or her parents and the matter is firmly handled from there. I keep on hearing about bullying cases in the States where victims of bullies actually commit suicide; the first time I heard it, I wept and kept on going over over why the parents and the school authorities did not know about it; the victim was far too young to die! I just heard about a poor girl Amanda Todd, a bully victim who took her own life and I wonder if her tormentors will show some remorse over her death, if they don't they are just pure evil!
There was a case some months ago where a bus monitor, a woman in her 60s who was verbally bullied by the students in the bus and it was caught on camera. The students were made to apologize after it got to the news; here in Nigeria where it is a taboo to insult your elders, those bullies would have been flogged! I've never heard such nonsense in my life where a woman old enough to be their grandmother would be treated like that by a bunch of mannerless brats!
I don't know what bullies are trying to prove. If they are being mistreated at home themselves it doesn't give them the right to inflict pain and humiliation on others. If they simply want to see their victims' reaction, to have a sense of power then they are simply evil, wicked and heartless, or basically pure cowards- I'd like to see how they would like it if they come up with somebody bigger than them or with a filthier mouth like them.
I HATE BULLIES  and the ACT OF BULLYING; always have, always will. How many more suicides and traumatized victims will it take for bullying to stop all together?
Please, a child reporting a bully to a teacher or his or her parents is NOT a weakling and the parents and school authorities should regard it as a VERY VERY  SERIOUS ISSUE! And Bullies deserve punishments for what they do and learn a HUGE lesson that they have NO right to torment their fellow man.

When people hurt you over and over, think of them like sand paper. They may scratch and hurt you a bit, but in the end, you end up polished and they end up useless.” 
― Chris Colfer

Saturday, October 13, 2012



Movie about legendary film maker, director and ultimate 'Master of Suspense' Alfred Hitchcock whose legacy includes Psycho, Mr. and Mrs. Smith,  Rear Window, Strangers on a Train, Rebecca and The Man Who Knew Too Much. Portrayed by Oscar winner Sir Anthony Hopkins; the movie details his relationship with his wife (played by Dame Helen Mirren) and the making of the 1960 horror/ psychological thriller Psycho (the movie that caused people to take sponge baths after the scary shower scene and don't get me started on the very eerie soundtrack... the scratching violins).

Trivia: 'Psycho' starred Janet Leigh;  mother of Jamie Lee Curtis who starred in horror films The Fog and the Halloween movies.


Milla Jovovich  returns once again as Alice  in the fourth sequel of the 2002 movie Resident Evil  and the fifth movie in the Resident Evil Franchise.

                           HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 

Dracula( voiced by funny man Adam Sandler) is not biting necks in this computer animated  movie; here he is a hotel owner and an over protective Daddy!

Friday, October 12, 2012

CARBO FAN FICTION- Return Journey: Chapter 6

 Chapter 6

Bo was going through a case file when he heard a knock on the door. ‘Come in.’ He said, not looking up and stiffened at  the sound of  Daniel’s voice. ‘Hey there, Bo.’
What the hell is he doing here? Bo thought, feeling his anger boil up all over again. it’s bad enough he was touching Carly, now he was about to rub his face in it. ‘Hey, Daniel.’ He managed to say. ‘What do you want?’
Daniel blinked at the rather surly greeting but replied, ‘I actually came here to talk to you about something important, so if you aren’t too busy...’
‘Actually I am but let me save you a lot of trouble, I already know why you came over.’
‘You do?’ Daniel was astonished. He’d come  to tell Bo about him and Darcy, not that he felt he needed to but since Bo never approved of him and Chelsea, the last thing he wanted was Bo hearing it from other people.
‘Yes.’ Bo said curtly. ‘I’ve known about it for a very long time now, it’s not exactly a deep, dark secret. And I could care less; you both do what you like.’
Daniel was even more astonished. ‘What do you mean by that, you should care... since you’re her...’
‘I’m not anything to her, she made that loud and clear; she has you to take care of her now after all, doesn't she? Did you come here thinking you needed my permission or something?’
‘Actually, no; we don't need your permission.’ Daniel snapped, wondering what the hell was wrong with Bo. ‘I just felt you had a right to know the situation of things, we’re very much in love and she’s going to be my wife someday.’
Bo felt someone just poured ice-cold water all over him. Wife? Wife?!
With effort, he smiled grimly. ‘Well... as you probably know, I already have a loving family at home; a wife and a daughter so there’s no room for anybody else. You two just handle your business and leave me out of it, okay man?’
Daniel couldn't believe what he was hearing. ‘What?’ he exclaimed.
‘You heard me, it’s none of my business and I could care less so please get out of my office so I can get some work done, thank you!’ Bo shouted, so angry and jealous that he had to keep himself from bashing his fists into Daniel’s face. As if Daniel and Carly having a baby together wasn't bad enough, Daniel was going to marry the woman he loved, something he never did and will never do and it wasn't even Vivian’s fault this time. Stupid, stupid, stupid him!
Daniel raised his hands, now feeling quite sure Bo has lost his mind  completely to be talking about his own daughter like this. True, Darcy was still very angry with Bo for hurting her mother but even she would be shocked by his attitude. ‘Fine, whatever! I’ll go, I don't know why I came by in the first place because you are one crazy dude, Bo Brady!’
‘Just get out!’ Bo yelled at him, as Daniel slammed the door after him. Shaking with anger, he lowered himself into his chair, burying his face in his hands. He was definitely crazy... for walking away from Carly.  
On the other side of the wall, Hope watched him through the open blind.
‘I do not understand what you’ve just told me, cher.’ A confused Darcy said, shaking her head.
‘It’s like what I told you baby, he doesn't care- he completely spelt it out for me and at the same time he was so angry. I don't understand why he would say that and then act like I did something very terrible to him, it was so weird.’
Darcy pushed back a few strands of hair from her forehead then shrugged. ‘My life is my own... but oui, it is strange for him to act like that.’ She smiled cynically. ‘Yet again, why am I so surprised... it’s not like I ever really  had a place in his life or in the family for that matter, the whole time he pretended to love me and Maman and he turned to be such a liar...’ sudden tears filled her eyes. Daniel enveloped her in his arms, furious with Bo.
‘It’s okay baby, don't cry. I love you and I’m here to look after you and Carly... I always will, you hear me? I made this promise to your mother and I told Nicholas too. We’re a family now, okay?’
‘Yes we are.’ Darcy sniffled, touching his face. ‘I love you so much.’ she kissed him passionately and his arms immediately tightened round her as he kissed her back. ‘But Daniel... please don't ever abandon us like he did, please...’
‘That will never, ever happen... I promise.’ Daniel vowed from the bottom of his heart. ‘Carly’s my friend and I’ll die if I ever lost you.’
Darcy clung to him, tears falling down her cheeks. From a distance, Maggie and Hope stared at the pair in amazement.
 ‘Good afternoon, Miss Manning.’
‘Good day to you, Henderson. Is Monsieur  Kiriakis home?’
‘He’s home and very, very pleased to see his beautiful granddaughter.’ Victor beamed in delight at the sight of Darcy. ‘I’m always happy to see you, my dear; come in.’
Darcy entered, looking at him coldly. He was one of her mother’s biggest detractors but for some reason, his attitude towards her has changed.  Carly had received a large bouquet of roses from him this morning and she was still puzzling over the gesture.
‘Henderson, serve some coffee.’
‘I’m not staying long but thank you.’ Darcy said quickly. ‘I came here to ask you what you are doing.’
Victor frowned. ‘What do you mean?’
‘Why did you send Maman flowers all of a sudden? What do you want from us?’
‘Oh, that.’ Victor shook his head. ‘I didn't mean any harm by it. I actually wanted to come see her but something unexpected came up.’
‘See her about what; issue her a warning on behalf of your precious daughter-in-law?’ Darcy asked her voice now harsh. ‘What will it take for you and everybody else in this town to stop thinking bad my mother, what on earth did she ever do to you? Why can’t you just leave us in peace, why? Just because that woman probably still sees Carly Manning as a threat, well let me tell you... Bo Brady isn't worth fighting for or crying over for that matter... so please inform her of that and don't you dare send anything to Maman ever again. If I had my way, Maman and I would’ve left here a long time ago and I would not be having this conversation with you.’
‘Darcy... come on now, you’re crediting me with a lot of malice!’ Victor protested. ‘Yes I wanted to warn Carly but it’s not what you think; I was going to advise her she  needed to be more on her guard with Vivian still about.’
‘And since when have you started caring about her, you hate her!’ Darcy accused. ‘You don’t lose any time saying bad things about her, I’m sure you were glad your son abandoned her; you joined the others to laugh at her behind her back! And you call yourselves my family? Like I want to be part of such sanctimonious, heartless people! You stay away from my mother and stay away from me, I don't want you anywhere near us... just leave us alone!’
‘Darcy, wait!’ Victor said commandingly, taking her by the arm, which she immediately shook off, glaring at him. ‘Just wait a moment, please. I’m not trying to harm Carly, I promise. Okay...alright I admit it, I was completely unfair to her and I’m sorry for the way I treated her, for everything I thought of her. I’m not saying all this for your sake either, my dear. I mean every word of it.... that’s why I sent her the flowers. I wasn't sure she would want to see me or listen to anything I have to say just yet.’
‘You must think I’m very stupid if you expect me to believe you and Maman doesn't need you to advise her on anything!’ Darcy said angrily. ‘I don't know what you are after but your tricks are not going to work, trust me!’
She walked out of  the living room, into the foyer and flung open the door, almost running into Justin. ‘Wow, watch it!’ he exclaimed. ‘Hi Darcy.’
‘Hello Justin, I have a long awaited score to settle with you.’ Darcy slapped him soundly on the cheek. As Justin stared at her in disbelief, she added, ‘the next time you and Maggie Horton want to gossip about my mother, first look all sides to make sure I’m not there ... Salaud!’ She pushed him aside, leaving him staring after her.
Nicholas and Lynn weren't in the house when Darcy got home but there was a note on the foyer table telling her they’d gone to the mall. Sighing, Darcy placed her keys and purse on the table, taking off her jacket. After diligently obeying her mother about turning a blind eye, she’d snapped but she just couldn't help it; Victor and Justin had it coming for a long time. If it didn't mean leaving Daniel and Ciara behind, she would’ve insisted on Carly thinking over Nicholas’ suggestion some more.
Merde!’ she muttered, going up the stairs. ‘I hate them all!’
Luigi stiffened, hearing the sound of feet. ‘Damn it, what’s she doing back?’ he muttered, praying she wouldn't enter Carly’s bedroom for some reason. So far he’d removed the camera in Darcy’s room, he was going to take off the ones in the living room, study and kitchen... not to mention the bugs in the living room and kitchen phones.  Now he would have to come back another day to finish up, that is if Darcy Manning didn't catch him first and her old man would skin him alive if he got arrested. Better make a run for it now.
He waited for her door to close before crawling out from under the bed, anxious to make a hasty retreat before he’s seen. Unfortunately as he opened the door, he ran right smack into her. As Darcy began to scream, he grabbed her by the throat and pushed her roughly, causing her to hit the side of her head very hard against the wall. Luigi stepped back frightened, as she fell on the floor unconscious. ‘Oh my God... Kiriakis is going to kill me.’ he whispered as he fled, leaving Darcy on the landing. Which was where Nicholas and Lynn found her half an hour later. As Lynn tried to resuscitate her, Nicholas called an ambulance, his fingers trembling as he dialled.

CARBO FAN FICTION- Return Journey: Chapter 5

Chapter 5

When Carly got to her sixth month, many people finally noticed her condition. At the supermarket she saw Caroline, Kayla and Maggie staring at her bulging stomach but kept on walking. Their opinions didn't matter to her nor did she give a damn what they thought. She hardly saw Bo which meant he was keeping his distance like she wanted him to. She saw Hope a few times in town but the other woman was quick to avert her gaze on every encounter. Darcy found time to enthusiastically knit baby clothes and decorate the nursery’s walls with colourful murals. Adrienne and Maxine accompanied Carly to a baby store to choose a crib, a changing table, baby monitors, stuffed toys and other things while Nathan and Melanie surprised her by showing up at the house with a rocking chair for her. ‘It’s from both of us.’ Nathan explained. ‘We can’t have you nursing a sore back.’
Frankie and his wife J.J sent a giant brown teddy bear, reminding Carly of her promise to come over to D.C for a visit. Nicholas and his fiancée arrived from England for a short visit, with an expensive baby stroller.
‘At this rate, there won’t be any need for a baby shower.’ Carly joked.
‘Have you thought of names yet?’ asked Nicholas.
Carly shook her head. ‘I don't even know the sex of the baby, not that I want to. But I’m keeping the names to myself when I finally choose; I want the baby to be the first to hear it.’
‘That’s so sweet.’ Lynn said softly. She was a tall, willowy girl with strawberry blonde hair and a rosy complexion; a well known model and clearly in love with Nicholas, Carly and Darcy adored her. Nicholas wanted to avoid the English paparazzi at all costs so he and Lynn were going to have a simple civil wedding in the fall.
 Nicholas nodded, turning to his sister. ‘And you... Mum tells me you’ve hooked a doctor. When do I get to kick his ass?’
‘Why would you want to do that?’ Darcy retorted. ‘He is a wonderful man.’
‘I’ll be the judge of that when I meet him.’
‘I invited him over for dinner tonight and you’ll be on your best behaviour, understood?’ Carly admonished jokingly.
Nicholas grinned, shrugging. He was enraged after Darcy told him the whole story via email but she’d made him promise never to refer to the incident which Carly now regarded as a closed subject. He was glad to see Carly looking happy and serene and putting the past behind her; showing strength like she always managed to and he admired her greatly for that. Out of respect for her, he won’t confront Bo Brady but he dearly longed to. Darcy had told him she still spent as much time as she could with her little sister but she was yet to forgive Bo and hardly visited any of the Bradys- she only interacted with her cousin Brady Black and she was yet to meet her other siblings, Shawn Douglas and Chelsea. But she refused to dwell on it and he promised not to bring it up at all during dinner. They were a family again and that what really mattered; the bonus being his little brother or sister on the way. And while he didn't relish having an encounter with Vivian; he had to make sure she wasn't going to harm Carly or Darcy- he would personally make her pay if she dared. She’d played a major role in ruining his mother’s life and it wasn't going to happen again while he was still around.
That evening, Daniel showed up and passed Nicholas’ quick inspection to Carly’s amusement; a little later Maxine and then Nathan and Melanie. She had invited Adrienne even if it meant having to tolerate Justin in her house but she’d unexpectedly come down with a cold. The last to arrive was Brady.
‘Sorry I’m late.’ He said, kissing Carly on the cheek and then Darcy. ‘Dad called just as I got out of the shower.’
‘Oh, does that mean he’s better now?’ Carly asked anxiously. Bo had told her about John’s condition and how he was flown to Switzerland for treatment, accompanied by Marlena. Hearing about how they’d betrayed Roman shocked her but not as shocking as Bo’s revelation that John was Santo DiMera and Colleen Brady’s son; Lawrence’s parents had adopted him when Colleen couldn’t take care of him. After hearing the whole story, Carly couldn't help but marvel how  John and Isabella- the  son and daughter of organised crime kingpins- had turned out very decent and warm hearted people; Isabella especially. She of course knew a long time ago that John had been adopted by the Alamains, hence his former name Forrest Alamain but now knowing he was actually Ryan Brady was mind blowing and needed getting used to.
Brady nodded enthusiastically. ‘His physiotherapy turned out great so he and Marlena will be coming home soon.’
‘That’s wonderful news, I’m so glad!’ Carly hugged him.
‘I too am glad Brady, congratulations. You’ll have them back with you in no time.’ Darcy said.
‘Yeah and we’ll be working together again at Basic Black. Which means I’m going to resign from Titan; grandpa will have to get someone to take over from me. Oh hi.’ He said, noticing Nicholas and walked to him, hand outstretched. ‘You must be Nicky, Carly and Darcy’s told me a lot about you.’
‘Nicholas,’ Nicholas corrected with a smile, shaking his hand. ‘I outgrew “Nicky” ages ago. Darcy’s told me a lot about you too; it’s nice to finally meet you.’
Dinner was a pleasant affair, the guests enjoyed the home cooked meal Darcy put together and discussed various topics, especially Darcy’s first exhibition which was going to take place at the art gallery at the end of the month. Despite several forms of cajoling from Nicholas, Lynn, Melanie and Daniel, Darcy firmly refused to let them see the finished pieces; insisting they wait on the day of the show. ‘Which I hope will turn out well.’ She fretted as they all sat in the living room, nursing after-dinner glasses of wine, except for Carly who sipped a tall glass of club soda.
‘Baby; you’re going to sell every single piece in sight.’ Daniel urged, squeezing her hand. ‘Don't think otherwise.’
‘But I’m so nervous; this is my first exhibition- what if I get bad reviews...’
‘You aren’t going to get bad reviews. James Amory maybe one of the most powerful art critics in the country but he would be a fool not to recognise your work. It’s going to be fine, cricket; I just know this exhibition will launch you squarely into the art world, so cheer up.’ Carly said.
‘Yeah honey and we’ll all be there that day to support you.’ Maxine promised, raising her glass.
‘Hear Hear!’ Melanie agreed, also raising her glass.
Before Carly could say anything, the doorbell rang. ‘Who could that be?’ she wondered, putting down her glass.
‘Do not move Maman, I’ll see who it is.’
Darcy walked across the small foyer and opened the door, doing a double take at the sight of Vivian at the doorstep. ‘What are you doing here, what do you want?’
‘Good evening to you too, my dear.’ Vivian replied airily, side stepping Darcy.  
‘Don't ever refer me as “my dear” and kindly go back to the witch’s cave you crawled from, you are not welcome in this house.’ Darcy indicated the open door. ‘Get out.’
‘I didn't come here to fight with you or your mother; I came to see Nicholas. I came back from my vacation and heard a rumour he was in town.’
‘My brother isn't interested in seeing you.’
‘That is for him to decide, isn't it? Whether you like it or not, young lady I raised him since he was a baby.’
‘Stealing another woman’s child doesn't make you a mother.’  
Vivian reddened, quivering with anger at the insult. ‘You watch your tongue.’
‘You stole my brother from Maman and you’re asking me to watch my words? You’re the most evil woman I ever set my eyes on; it’s a wonder you can ever sleep at night after everything you did to my mother!’  
‘Darcy, who is it?’ Carly called and then appeared, frowning at the sight of Vivian. ‘What are you doing in my house?’
Vivian’s eyes went to Carly’s stomach. ‘My... Bo left you a present, didn't he? Or whose husband did you snag this time?’
Completely losing her temper Darcy darted at Vivian, her hands encircling her neck.  Garce, I’ll kill you!’ she snarled, shaking the woman viciously.
‘Darcy, stop it... let go of her!’ Carly shouted in horror, grabbing her daughter’s arms but Darcy’s grip on Vivian’s neck was too strong.
Hearing the shouts, everyone hurried out of the living room. ‘Darcy, break it up now! Come on...’ Daniel and Brady made her loosen her grip and pulled her away. Vivian coughed painfully, rubbing her throbbing neck. ‘You’re all witnesses...’ she gasped, pointing at Darcy dramatically. ‘You saw what she tried to do, she tried to kill me!’
‘A thousand times over if I am lucky!’ Darcy shouted, lurching towards her again but Daniel held her firmly around the waist. ‘None of that Darcy, calm down!’ he ordered. Melanie slipped her arms round her friend’s tense shoulders, glaring at Vivian.
‘Get out of this house. You’ve got no business here.’ Nicholas said to Vivian, his expression impassive, his voice ominous.
Vivian stared at him in disbelief. ‘You’re... you’re ordering me out?’
‘Yes, I am. I’m sure my sister must have told you you’re not welcome here.’
‘I only came here to see you and then that sister of yours attacked me for no reason!’ Vivian protested, infuriated Nicholas was siding with Darcy.
Carly opened her mouth to say something but Nicholas stopped her. ‘Mum, you go back in with the others, I’ll handle this. Daniel, everybody... please leave us alone.’
‘You honestly think you’re safe around the woman who buried your Mum alive?’ Melanie asked sarcastically. The first time she’d heard that infamous tale she was sick to her stomach.
Nathan winced at the unsavoury image but took his girlfriend’s arm. ‘Come on Mel, it’s between them both.’
Carly hesitated but Lynn and Maxine led her back to the living room. Nicholas turned to his aunt. ‘What are you really doing here?’
‘I already told you. I haven’t seen you since  your poor father’s funeral and you didn't contact me since then, I wrote to you many times and left messages with your secretary...’
‘Just how did you know I was in town in the first place?’ Nicholas demanded. ‘Does that weasel who follows you around spy for you?’
Vivian flushed. ‘Not exactly.... he saw you in town and informed me...’
‘Spare me your lies Vivian; I’m not nine years old anymore. And what makes you think you’re a part of my life after everything I found out about you? Putting Mum in that casket, framing her for murder, stealing me from her when I was a baby, turning a blind eye when my so-called father abused her for years. I’m willing to bet you egged that son of a bitch on.’
‘I did no such thing and don't you talk that way about him! And you have to understand, your father was sick, very sick poor boy! He didn't know what he was doing...’
‘Sure he didn't.’ Nicholas sneered. ‘Just like he didn't know what he was doing when he didn't tell Bo Brady Mum was alive, just like he didn't know what he was doing when he took advantage of Mum’s memory loss... caused by you.’
‘Your Mum made her choice her own self, nobody forced her... she never really loved Bo Brady since she went with you and your father willingly!’ Vivian argued. Carly overheard that part and winced; Darcy, Maxine and Melanie put their arms round her consolingly.
‘Then why did Ivan tell me the whole time she was delirious, she screamed for Bo, huh? He was there and he heard her scream his name, begging him to take away her pain! The two of you ruined her life and you ruined mine the day you stole me from her; I spent the first few years of my life with a vicious serpent in disguise!’
‘I loved you like a son!’ Vivian sobbed, tears falling down her cheeks. ‘I gave you everything a child ever wanted; your so-called mother couldn't possibly have done all that I did for you- it’s not like she thought of you the whole time she chased Bo Brady as soon as she stepped foot into Salem! It was all about him and his son; there was no room for you!’
‘She did her best to make room for me in her life and I was too stupid and naive to see that my father was using me the whole time! And you, you told me nothing but lies and I fell for them! I feel nothing but hate and disgust for you.’
Vivian burst into tears and turned to leave but Nicholas grabbed her roughly, forcing her to face him. ‘I’m not done with you yet! You listen to me very carefully. If you’re harbouring any ideas about hurting Mum or Darcy or even stealing that baby; just know  if you so much as touch them...I swear I’ll break your neck and tear you in half! I’ll kill you myself, you understand me?’ he shook her and almost heard her teeth rattle.
 ‘How could you say such things to me?’ she wept, struggling to free herself.
‘As easy as it was for you when you did all those despicable things, you she-devil! Don't think I’m making idle threats either, I meant every one of them. Now, get the hell out!’ Flinging the door open, he pushed her out and slammed the door shut after her.
Nicholas waited for the rage in him to abate before rejoining the others in the living room. Daniel rose to his feet. ‘What happened?’ he demanded.
‘I gave her a warning and in her own interest she better heed it.’ Moving to the couch where Carly was sitting between Darcy and Lynn, he knelt in front of his mother, taking her hands.  ‘Vivian won’t hurt you or Darcy, I’ve seen to that Mum. She’s not the only one who holds a lot of power. But if you want to come back to England with Lynn and me, I can get a house ready for you there. You’ll be safe there.’
‘Isn't that going to the extremes, Nicholas? She and Darcy have a life here.’
‘What sort of life?’ Nicholas snapped, rising to his feet to face Daniel. ‘The only difference between this town and the one in The Crucible is that Mum hasn’t been lynched yet! At least she and my sister can get on with their lives properly and not to put up with the  insufferable, sanctimonious lot here; present company excluded. There are more than enough hospitals she can choose from in London.’
‘Nicholas,’ Darcy began but Carly raised a hand.
‘Alright, alright!’ she said firmly. ‘Can the lady in question have a say in this? Thank you. Honey, it’s very thoughtful of you but like Daniel said, your sister and I do have a life here and I’m not going to let Vivian or anybody else chase me out of my home. They are just people who chose to suddenly form a bad opinion of me and I stopped bothering to care about it because I refuse to let them hurt me with their attitude. As for Vivian, she’ll never change no matter what.’
‘You know what, maybe you get a restraining order or police protection.’ Nathan suggested.
‘I agree.’ Brady said. ‘You and Uncle Bo probably aren’t on speaking terms but I don't think he’ll refuse to help you if you go down to the station, or you could talk to Roman.’
‘I don’t need any favours from the Brothers Brady, thank you very much.’ Carly said coolly. ‘But as for the restraining order, I’ll talk to E.J DiMera about that as soon as possible. If Vivian  still wants to keep bothering us with her shenanigans, I’m going to fight her with everything I’ve got.’
Brady offered to drive Maxine home and Melanie and Nathan also took their leave. Nicholas and Lynn retired to the guest room while Carly was tucked into bed by Darcy. ‘Darcy, I’m pregnant, not an invalid.’ She protested.
‘And I’m your daughter who loves you too much.’ Darcy replied briskly. ‘I take care of you and you just sit back and relax, yes?’
Carly chuckled, touching Darcy’s black hair. ‘Thank you, sweetie.’
Darcy regarded her soberly. ‘You’re sure you won’t at least ask my Uncle for police protection like Nathan suggested?’
‘I’m sure. Don't worry... I’m going to get that restraining order and Vivian will toe  the line for the first time in her spiteful  life.’
Darcy scowled then shrugged. ‘Fine.’ She kissed Carly on both cheeks. ‘Goodnight.’
‘Goodnight.’ Carly waited until the door closed behind Darcy before switching off the light.
Daniel was waiting for her in the living room, raising his head from the magazine he was reading. ‘You okay?’ he asked, putting it down and drawing her by the hand to sit beside him. Without a word, Darcy rested her head on her boyfriend’s chest, closing her eyes as she felt his fingers comb through her hair. ‘I'm angry, cher.’ She muttered. 
‘With Vivian?’
‘At everything Maman went through with her, with Lawrence... and then more from everybody here. I’m sorry if I sound like a shrew but I hate that woman, Hope. She caused my parents a lot of unhappiness and she’s the one all happy and cloistered by everybody now. It’s like Maman’s  a memory that needs to be forgotten and I can’t understand why she’s so... so...’
‘What is this Zen?’
‘Calm, serene. And considering  she was very unhappy for a long time, would you prefer her still unhappy?’
Darcy shook her head. ‘Then stop worrying about her. She’s a strong, motivated woman who’s moved on with her life; the hell with what happened or what people think of her, you heard what she said... she doesn't care anymore. And given the amount of stuff that went down here long before you two came back- they are sanctimonious as they come, especially Hope. And Bo’s a moron for treating Carly the way he did.’
Darcy raised her head immediately. ‘Maman and I had an agreement never to discuss him so please....’
‘Okay, okay.’ Daniel raised his hands in surrender. ‘We won’t. We can do other things.’
Darcy saw the sudden glint in his eye and smiled coyly. ‘Like?’
‘Hmm... let’s see.’ His mouth covered hers and she slipped hers round his neck, meeting his kisses with equal passion as she pressed her body against his. They’d finally made love at his apartment a few weeks ago after he’d cooked her a romantic dinner and he’d been surprised but delighted by her lack of inhibitions after the initial shyness. His love for Darcy was all consuming and he couldn't imagine his life without her. On her part, Darcy felt like the luckiest woman in the world now that Daniel was finally hers.  Their relationship wasn't exactly a secret but so far only a handful of people which included Brady, Melanie and Maxine knew about it.
‘We can’t do this here,’ she whispered as he buried his face between her breasts. ‘No... cher... we might wake up Maman or Nicholas...’
‘Not if we’re quiet.’ Daniel whispered, gently biting on her right earlobe, his hand snaking under her skirt. Darcy pushed it firmly away.
‘Fine, we go upstairs... but we must be quiet... very quiet.’ She whispered back, getting up.
‘I knew you would see it my way.’ Daniel leered, kissing her hard again before allowing her lead him up to her bedroom. Darcy couldn't help but giggle as she locked the door after them. ‘You...’ she murmured, going to him and began unbuttoning his shirt. ‘You’re lucky I never thought of joining the sisters.’
‘After what we’ve been doing together lately baby, you’re definitely not nun material.’ He whispered back, pulling her top over her head and crushing her against him, their lips merging feverishly, hands exploring.
‘Good Lord!’ Victor exclaimed in sheer horror for the third time as Daniel reached behind his granddaughter to unclasp her bra; hastily turning off the monitor before he saw images he’ll never be able to block. He sank back in his chair, unable to believe what he’d just seen. So far he’d not been able to discover any plot by Carly to make trouble for Bo and Hope  but he’d definitely discovered something far more shocking. Daniel... what a dog he was; first Chelsea, now Darcy- did Darcy even know her lover was once with her sister? She wouldn't be too thrilled if she didn't, neither would Bo, he’ll be furious to learn Daniel was sleeping with another one of his daughters. It was a very fortunate thing that Chelsea was now with Max, the last thing Salem needed was yet another love triangle... two sisters over the same man would be a very ugly sight. He didn't know how he felt about his granddaughter and godson right now but like Nicholas, he would show Vivian the real meaning of hell if she harmed Darcy; he was very proud at the way Darcy had handled Vivian when she’d insulted Carly- she had Bo’s nasty temper alright. His mind went to Carly. She wasn't going to do anything, of that he was certain; she and Darcy never discussed Bo  and although he listened in on her conversations very carefully he still had no idea who the father of her baby was, which was something everybody in Salem was dying to know. Daniel seemed overly concerned about the baby so at first he’d thought maybe it was his but after what he’d just saw it probably wasn't him. And he had to admit, Carly was showing a lot of courage remaining in Salem in spite of Vivian and everybody’s-  true enough- unfair treatment to her, it was like she simply wanted to forget it all and concentrate on the baby she was expecting. In the morning, he will  tell Luigi to get rid of the cameras as soon as possible. But he was still going to have a word with Carly.
Two people didn't sleep well that night. Bo tossed and turned long after Hope was long in dreamland, thinking of Carly. He missed her very much yet he was very angry with her for giving herself to Daniel, anytime he saw that creep these days he wanted to beat the hell out of him. And he had no one to blame but himself once again; he didn't realise the depth of his love for Carly until after she went over to another man- years ago he’d denied his love  for her and she went ahead to marry Victor- the worst next thing after Lawrence. And now it was too late! Gritting his teeth, he punched the pillow.
Carly came out of the bathroom, looked at herself in the mirror and touched her stomach with both hands. If only Bo hadn’t been cruel... if only he knew the truth, she thought sadly.
Moving to the dressing table, she sat down on the stool and opened the drawer, removing a small box wrapped in silver paper. What she’d planned to give Bo for his birthday and she couldn't return it after going through a lot of trouble to have it done. And Bo would’ve found it so meaningful too. Tears falling down her cheeks, she put it back in the drawer, closing it again. Her one and only love... she missed him so much and wished she could tell him the truth. But her secret will always have to remain a secret.