For Anya Chase, finding out the identities of her real parents has never mattered. Her “real” mom is the woman who found her when she was a baby and loves her as if she were her own. She couldn’t have asked for a better life, so the day she leaves for college is heartbreaking… Until she meets a strange man on a plane who declares her to be a vampire—and a powerful one at that! Now she has to decide whether to lie to her mother or admit she’s a vampire queen!
Age Rating: 18+
Born Regal by Alex Fox is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.
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“Tell me again. How did he say it?”
My mother, Petunia, giggled like a schoolgirl, pushing back her frizzy orange hair that, despite being in pigtails, stubbornly kept falling over her shoulder as she made us cocoa.
It was a chilly night, though my mother still claimed the night she found me to be the coldest one she had ever endured in the big city.
That's right. NYC baby–though we were thankfully not smack dab in the middle of it.
My mother and I lived in the slightly nicer parts of town away from the giant buildings with our apartment above a little organic homeopathic shop.
We used to share a room but right about the time I hit puberty and began to bleed, my mom had decided it was time to let me have the bedroom.
In her opinion I was a young woman now and young women like me needed their own space.
So, she turned the tiny room she used for sewing into a half bedroom for herself that was barely large enough to fit a bed in.
Despite my protests, she gave me the bigger room that even a week of sulking on the couch hadn't fixed. My mom was more stubborn than I ever could be.
Some people think it's weird that we shared a room for so long, but I have had severe night terrors since I was an infant. I had only grown out of them the year before we separated rooms.
To be honest, I couldn't even remember them by the time I woke up, but I always remembered how scared I was waking up drenched in sweat.
Thankfully, they didn't return with the change in sleeping arrangements.
“Okay, so I put the pancakes down in front of him. He had his badge on and I asked if there was anything else I could get for him. And–”
Her cheeks flamed as she grabbed the milk half fanning herself with the other hand.
“And?!” I prompted trying to coax an answer out of her, practically standing out of my chair to lean forward over the counter.
My mother giggled, swaying her hips a bit.
“I think I still need your number ma'am.” She purred in a deep tone looking over her shoulder batting her lashes slowly making us both burst out in a fit of giggles.
Once she set my cocoa in front of me and I finally wiped the tears from my eyes, a grin permanently stuck on my face, I asked, “So does that mean he's going to call you?”
“Well, he kind of stayed after my shift so we sat and talked for a while…”
“That's why you weren't home before I was in bed.” I gasped, setting my mug down and covering my mouth for added effect. “Mother, you didn't go home with that man, did you?”
We had the birds and bees talk a while ago–not that I had bothered to participate in those kinds of activities.
I had gotten close at one point, but once online distance learning became a thing due to the virus. I had graduated without a boyfriend that ended up screwing his neighbor three days before graduation.
Not that it really mattered anyways since we didn't have walking partners…or any real graduation for that matter.
My mother and I both called him Fuck Boy now whenever we referred to he who shall not be named. She was supportive like that, which is one of the many reasons why I love her.
She nearly had cocoa shoot out of her nose as she sputtered at my shocked mock tone. “No, I didn't go home with him. We just talked, and now I have a date tomorrow night.”
Her chin lifted slightly in a proud manner as she pointed to herself. I had certainly inherited her shyness–so I understood how proud she was of herself on landing a date let alone talking to him.
I was pretty proud of myself too when I had managed to land a boyfriend, and then the universe reminded me why freaks like me don't have boyfriends.
“Tomorrow night? As in I get to order take out and pig out without you judging me as I eat my noodles this time?” I asked, tapping my chin with a satisfied smirk.
“You mean stuff your face like some sort of monster?” My mother asked blandly, tapping on her mug as she gave me the stink eye.
She consistently reminded me of my bad manners when it came to noodles–or take out for that matter.
Realistically though me and noodles just didn't get along, it was shovel them all in before they began falling out of my mouth.
“It's not like I'm concerned about my figure. I'm planning on game design. That means I will be a hermit in a basement, and it doesn't matter how pudgy or pimple faced I get.” I said with a small, satisfied grin.
It's not that I didn't take care of my appearance; my mom called me a natural beauty. I was pretty sure all moms like mine would say that though. You know the non-critical loving kind.
The few friends I had introduced her to had loved her, but of course now that we were all grown it was just me and my mom most days.
Overall, I wasn't horrible looking, if a bit on the plumper side
I had a small tummy roll, soft arms and legs, my hair was dyed a comfortable inky black, my skin pale from the lack of sun the last year or so along with bright ice blue eyes that made me look entirely washed out.
I had tried bleaching and dying my hair once–it hadn't gone well.
Scary cat orange was not the new blond, and other colors didn't suit me so finally I just started covering it in black dye over the rest of my fried hair.
Though to be fair, my mother and I were not good with directions and chemicals. My natural color was kind of a rusty auburn brown that only added to my freckle collection.
At one point I had thought about going into fashion instead of tech work. Turns out though, that corsets and pants aren't exactly the latest trend and making a corset was a pain in the ass.
It made me feel like a bad ass when I used to cosplay as a vampire my freshmen years–but I got out of that phase after my mother refused to let me go to any of the events with my friends.
I was to be indoors in a safe place when it was dark. So, hanging out had to be gaming through the night online.
I was pretty sure my curfew that she still insisted on even now was just to her paranoia of me freezing to death since she found me as a baby. Home before dark and do not go out once the sun has set.
That was the rule–no matter what age I was. Period. Which made it really hard to even be semi cool in high school when you can't even go over for slumber parties. It just screams weird kid.
Needless to say, I planned on partying it up once I was in college after hours. I reasoned with myself that it would be safer.
Oregon wasn't exactly a big city so the likelihood of being mugged was down. At least, in my mind. Plus, I was a little more capable than when I was an infant, after all.
My mother sighed, rolling her eyes.
“Fine order in, do what you want with your summer money. Blow it on your video games for all I care, but don't whine to me when you need more money for food while you're at college.”
I rolled my eyes. We both knew I was better at budgeting than she was. Thankfully I had gotten on a coupon kick for a bit when the pandemic hit.
My mom was beside herself–not working for months at a time. Crying at night. She was certain we were going to get kicked out. There weren't any jobs and we were so behind on our rent.
They also shut off our power for a few days, despite there being government orders to supposedly prevent that sort of thing before we finally got some stimulus money and unemployment was beefed up.
We still had to wear face masks now until they had enough vaccines out but the restrictions were getting looser and looser. It felt like there was finally an ending to the chaos.
I had managed to make some money online with gaming and when the rest of the stimulus money came, I managed to keep us afloat and out of debt–somehow.
Mom finally found another job cleaning houses for a while and caring for the elderly part time to make up for missing bills that weren't covered by unemployment.
Once the diner opened back up and mom was making the management wage again, I began to use my money to save for college.
And, occasionally, Pad Thai from Mr. Chang's around the corner.
“You wouldn't let me starve.” I said, rolling my eyes, drinking some of my cocoa. Perfect as always. “So do I have to call him Dad if you bring him over. Or Officer?”
“You're incorrigible. Go get your own love life.”
“I did. Didn't go so well.” I replied, trying not to be mopey but my tone telling her all she needed to know.
“Is Fuck Boy still messaging you?”
I nodded, frowning. “He keeps saying how sorry he is and wants to have coffee before I leave.”
“Starbucks or Andwellas?” My mother asked grilling me, her eyes full of suspicion that I would crumble and give in.
“Starbucks.” I replied, rolling my eyes. Andwellas was a favorite coffee shop of mine that also had fresh teas. It was probably about as expensive as Starbucks but he thought it was weird.
“Clearly he's not that sorry then.” My mother pointed out before finishing her mug as well. “Movie night?”
“Sure.” I shrugged.
I didn't know what I was going to do without her once I was in the dorms. Already I knew I'd be one of those girls that called their mom's every night. Honestly, I didn't care if it made me lame.
I loved my mom.
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My mom was out with Officer What’s-His-Face as I clicked through the web tabs.
Mr. Chang’s was around the corner. It was now dark, and because of my laziness, the delivery fee I would now have to pay made me cringe.
Between the tip it wanted you to give–that, in New York, you might want to give lest someone spit in your food–and the delivery charge, it came up to almost half the cost of my food.
I instantly had regrets about not picking it up earlier, but I just hadn't been hungry. Of course, I had also been grinding away at a new expansion.
So, in reality, it was my fault for not even realizing mom had left for her date almost an hour ago, the sun had set and hunger was kind of a thing.
I really didn't want to spend nearly sixty dollars on food for myself. Clicking out of the window I sighed and headed to the kitchen. There wasn't much to offer.
Though to be fair, cooking was never one of my strong suits. Mom may not be great at budgeting but she was an amazing cook.
Unfortunately, I always found the task too difficult to master, I neither had the time nor the patience to learn. I enjoyed baking more–from a box.
It was exact and precise just like programming and the same could not always be said for regular cooking.
I could add the exact same ingredients and it wouldn't taste the same each time depending on several things that–again I didn't care to learn. That's what take out was for.
Shutting the door to the fridge, I sighed heavily weighing my options. I could go and make the run–it would be cheaper. It was just around the corner.
Mom had pepper spray among other things in her top drawer. She didn't want me going out after sunset but…I was an adult now technically. I'm also heading off to college in three weeks and counting.
My mind had been made up almost immediately at that thought. Though of course I was trying not to feel guilty from the moment I made that decision.
I was just so dang hungry though and we didn't even have sandwich fixings let alone enough milk for cereal.
After a quick trip to the bathroom to conduct my lady-business, as we all do once a month, I threw on some boots and a heavy jacket.
I grabbed some pepper spray and my keys which had a hidden knife and a whistle on it.
Honestly, I would probably use the knife over the whistle any day but the whistle came in handy when you needed help and attention–according to my mother.
She had only been mugged once and she swore up and down it saved her life, though I still had my doubts.
Nerves and adrenaline coursed through my veins as I called Mr. Chang’s and put in my order to go. After hopping from foot to foot for ten minutes, it was time to head over.
Mom wouldn't be home for a while–they were probably just starting their main course since they went to a fancy restaurant.
By the time I made it on foot to the restaurant the food would either be done or nearly done.
Go and come back. Simple.
“Easy”. I mentally reminded myself as I checked myself over once more to make sure I had everything.
My heart pounded but I held my resolve, opening the door and locking it behind me as if it were any other day. I had been in our complex's hallway at night.
I'd also been to the roof but usually I had my mother with me after dark. There wasn't much up there but it was nice to bask in the warm sun from time to time.
There was a very small hallway that led to the outside stairs and onto the street while there was an elevator that took you to the roof access if you didn't want to use the stairs.
Above the store, we had only two other neighbors, one of which owned the place and ran the store during the day. His name was Howard.
We never saw our other neighbor but mom said she was an elderly woman.
As soon as the cool air hit my face, I had to blink a few times to let my eyes adjust. It was dark–but not as dark as I imagined some places were.
There were not as many people on the sidewalks so I kept my head down with my hood up walking quickly to Mr. Chang’s.
I was about a block away when I stumbled and nearly stepped on a cat.
To say I felt silly about the whole ordeal was an understatement.
The cat peered up at me lazily and I had half a mind to kick it before I realized it had been my own nervousness and stupidity that would have caused me to step on it in the first place.
So really it wasn't the cat's fault.
By the time I made it inside of Mr. Chang’s with my face mask on that I had fished out of my pocket before stepping inside, the warmth of the restaurant surrounded me chasing away any residual fears.
I almost felt like laughing at myself in fact. This was just like the day–only cats apparently were fine with sleeping on the less crowded streets.
“Pickup or dine in?” The hostess asked as I walked forward.
“Anya…ah. Your order should be done. I'll go check the back.” She said after running her finger over a pickup list and headed into the back kitchen.
Within moments she had a large plastic bag filled with the world's most delicious take out. Handmade dumplings, rice, beef and broccoli, hot spicy soup along with some red bean buns.
It was a semi-American order with a clearly Asian flair. Their hot and spicy soup was out of this world delicious, the perfect thing any time I was sick.
Tofu, sprouts–and a number of other things I didn't know let alone cared about what they were.
The first time I looked at it I was a little disturbed at the brown color for a hot and spicy soup since I was so used to it being red everywhere else. Once the smell hit my nose though.
I never looked back. Heaven. It was heaven.
Originally, I had planned to order noodles. It was likely the last time I would eat out again before I left–but noodles over a keyboard was too messy to even consider.
I had more serious gaming to do once I was home and with what I had bought I could graze and play most of the night without destroying my keyboard.
“Thank you!” I told her cheerfully before heading out. With a grin on my face, I headed back to the apartment back into the frosty night air.
As I waited for the light, half-humming to myself, a man slightly older than me walked up waiting to cross as well.
Despite being happy I did my best to politely avoid eye contact, quietly reminding myself he wasn't a threat. Just because it was dark and they were present did not make them a creep.
He was dressed nicely and was checking his watch as if annoyed at the time. I was beneath his concerns, which made me relax instantly as I shifted my weight.
After a moment I heard him sniff, making me glance over at him.
I was still giddy over my food so I lifted it a bit smiling–partially because I also wanted a better look at someone who could very well be a billionaire.
Plus, if I could get anyone to eat at Mr. Chang’s it was the only right thing to do. Advertisement by word of mouth for delicious food.
“Mr. Chang’s.” I said helpfully, holding up the bag, smiling. I had left my hood down and we were a decent little distance apart since neither of us were wearing masks.
It wasn't as critical as it used to be but it was still a polite thing to do. “Their food is really good.”
“Mmm. Delicious.” He said in agreement, his eyes settling on me.
I tried not to blush as I quickly looked away to the light–that was still stubbornly shining its red hand.
This man was built like a sex-god. Chiseled with his chin and strong jaw, zero stubble, black hair, memorizing blueish orange sunset eyes and young enough to be a college student like I would be.
Then again, he looked Asian and appearances could be deceiving since those from the home country often aged gracefully, which of course meant his skin looked a million times better than mine.
“You're awfully young to be out so late at night, alone.” He probed, his voice curious.
The hair on my neck prickled as I laughed nervously, my voice raising several pitches as heat rose to my cheeks. “I'm an adult. Plus, I don't live far from here.”
“Really?” His words were curious and I instantly chastised myself.
This guy could be a mass murder and I just told him I lived close by. Stupid.
“You should still be careful. With a delicious smell like that you might attract all sorts of…riff raff.”
I giggled nervously, unable to help myself glancing at him once more. “Like dogs and stuff?” Smooth Anya…real smooth.
He gave me a small, crooked smile. “Something like that.”
Our light mercifully turned to the walk signal–and as soon as we got to the other side, he headed the other direction.
Despite this I still felt eyes on me for the last two blocks until I got into my building, my heart hammering in my chest.
I did my best to calm myself heading back to the apartment down the tiny hallway and by the time I closed and re-locked the door I had to sink down on the floor to catch my breath.
I had done it.
For one of the few and first times in my life I had betrayed my mother’s trust–for takeout.
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