In the Shadows

I was five when I knew something was different about me.

My first memory.

I had no recollection of who my parents were or what they even looked like. All I knew was that I was alone at the orphanage, disconnected from the outside world. I picture it even now, almost like an oil painting: the thick bristles of the paintbrush created the bright blue sky as it connected to the shockingly white snow. The snow blanketed everything around me, as if protecting me, the green forest displayed at every angle.

The orphanage was out of place in such a nature-infused environment. A large, two-story building, its windows seemed to cover almost every surface. I remembered the brightness of the sun as it hit my sleepy face through one of those many windows. It would instantly warm my body, greeting me to yet another day.

Vines covered old gray bricks as they coursed over the external surface of the orphanage. I had nightmares about those same vines making their way into my room as I slept. They’d appear ominously as their shadows pounded against the walls, taunting me as a storm brewed on outside. Venturing toward my bed, the vines would slither across my body, trapping me in place. One would wrap around my neck, squeezing tightly, as I struggled for air. Rendered frozen, the feeling of fear would take hold, bubbling up deep inside my chest. And as I felt the burning pain in my throat, a thought would flash through my mind of thismoment being my last. It never was, though, as I would instantly wake up.

I always did have a wild imagination.

To chase away the terror, I would stand before my windowpane the morning after. Sighing in relief, my eyes would be drawn to the vast forest off in the distance. It surrounded the orphanage, like a gatekeeper, the leaves of the trees bristling in irritation. The wind blew right through those tall structures, whistling, as my ears picked up the all too familiar sound.

I somehow found myself standing directly in front of that very forest. My memory was hazy on exactly how I got there but I recalled waking up, after one of my many dreams, to the feeling of immense hunger as my body stirred in discomfort.

Then suddenly I was at the foot of the forest.

I would not describe the sensation as simple hunger. I would almost describe it as a feeling of starvation, like there was some essential component my body was missing. Whatever it was, this need was so powerful I was weak in the knees with the pain; my belly contracted and released, contracted and released, continually. Food provided temporary relief for me, but there was always this presence in the corner of my mind as my brain searched for the one thing my body craved.

I ignored that nagging voice in my head, the one whispering for the one thing I needed. It was something unfathomable yet inherent. I paid it no attention and just openly stared at the forest beckoning me. Taking shallow breaths, the cool air blew in and out between my cold, chapped lips.

It was at that exact moment I realized the forest isolated me from everything and everyone outside of its confines—almost like a hungry bird circling its prey. Even young, my instincts picked up on that, immediately telling me something.

Eyes were watching me.

…………………

Excerpt from Dahlia, available on Amazon and other ebook retailers.

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Sneak Peek of Rowan, Blood Crave 2

I wanted to post an excerpt of my upcoming novel, Rowan. It’s the continuation of the Blood Crave Series following Dahlia and Fallen Tears. So if vampires and such are up your alley, check them out! There’s a twist, I tell you. A twist!

Below is an excerpt taken from Chapter 1. It’s in a random section (didn’t want to post the beginning; gotta leave some suspense).

Trying to remove all thoughts of him, Rowan focused on the task at hand. She sucked hard on the last remnant of candy, then stepped out of the shadows and onto the main street. She knew she’d catch the eye of some pathetic twenty-something year old. As of now, she didn’t give a hoot who it was. She just wanted—no, needed—one thing.

Blood.

She caught sight of a somewhat nice-looking blond walking across the street. He looked strong and healthy, definitely able to do the job, not dying on her and all. Humans who were frail had a tendency to not recover from the stress their body went under while being fed on, no matter how little blood she would take at times.

Rowan also learned sexuality was just as powerful as the ability to manipulate people’s thoughts. She’d use either, depending on her mood. It was why she’d dubbed herself the Charmer. Vampires had scary reputations and she didn’t really think she was scary. She’d changed from the old Rowan, having been on her own for so long, but she wasn’t creepy.

Or was she?

Ignoring the thought, Rowan tilted her head, calmly waiting for her meal to cross the street. She tracked his steps with her eyes as he made his way over, walking toward her. As he passed by, she grabbed onto his essence, tapping into his thoughts. She instantly felt a sense of urgency coming from him.

He was late in arriving to a friend’s condo, a new one, and couldn’t find the address. He felt slightly agitated at being lost, especially in a new city where things were so unfamiliar. Being a guy and all, he didn’t dare ask anyone for directions.

Typical.

Eyes raised, Rowan unconsciously popped another candy in her mouth.

Three.

She silently fumed, yet another reminder of him. No time to be distracted, Rowan, she thought to herself. But her candies were rather addicting, especially when caught up in the chase.

Eyes narrowed on her target, Rowan focused once more. She waited two beats before following Blond Boy from behind. A few more strides and she quickly caught up to him, falling into step thanks to her long legs. She managed to ‘accidentally’ step on the heel of his right sneaker, forcing him to stop as he spun around. Annoyance clearly flashed across his expression but it quickly disappeared as his gaze rested on Rowan. His eyes roamed up and down her body unashamedly, a smile growing on his face.

Boys were too easy—a pretty face and they were hooked. Internally, she rolled her eyes at his response. She could tell he no longer thought of being lost.

Frankly, it was quite pathetic.

Putting on an apologetic face, she frowned, stepping forward. “Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t hurt you, did I?” She brushed a hand against his upper arm for added affect and knew he worked out from the bulge felt beneath his clothes. She felt the shiver vibrate through his body from her contact.

Hook, line and sinker.

She rather enjoyed this game of cat and mouse. It gave her something to do and, to be honest, it was rather refreshing. Mind control wasn’t as entertaining and she didn’t do it unless needed.

“No. Um, no, you didn’t. I’m fine.” His voice pierced through Rowan’s thoughts, sounding slightly off centered, almost like a pubescent boy. It didn’t match his physique at all. She watched him swallow deeply, clearing his throat. Rowan bit her lip, trying to hide the smirk forming on her face.

She instantly let go of his arm, eyes widening. “Well, then. Now that I know you’re fine….” She took a step back, smiling as she slowly walked away. She accentuated her stride, allowing her hips to sway gently back and forth when—

“Wait!” She paused in mid-stride, her smirk quickly forming again. Smothering her smile, she changed her expression to one of apologetic sincerity. Hands clasped together, she turned to face him, watching as he jogged over. He stopped, only mere inches away from her.

“What’s your name?” he murmured.

Her candy having dissolved, Rowan chose to suck on her tongue instead for the lingering taste, then gave her upper lip a quick swipe. She watched his blue eyes flicker to her mouth as he followed her movements. She slowly exhaled, her breath filling his nostrils before finally answering.

“Rowan.”

He continued to watch her mouth, not saying a word. He sure was slow. Although aroused, which was easily seen by his dilated eyes, his quick, shallow breaths, the way he looked at her, he didn’t make a move. Rowan was sure if he had his way, they’d be staring at each other all night long.

That was so not happening.

Impatient, she pursed her lips, deciding to take things into her own hands. He was definitely not the pursuer. Taking a closer step to him, she brushed herself firmly against him, feeling his body stiffen. Slowly moving her mouth toward the shell of his right ear, she whispered something any guy would love to hear. Her devious smile locked in place, eyes glinting wickedly.

“Would you like to have some fun?”

Excerpt from Rowan, Blood Crave 2. To be released April 2013