Tag Archives for " dark fantasy "
Dindi is kidnapped to be the bride of a shark... To escape she must untangle a terrible curse caused by a love and magic gone wrong.
This stand-alone novella is set in Faearth, the world of The Unfinished Song. Available here ONLY.
The Unfinished Song - This Young Adult Epic Fantasy series has sold over 70,000 copies and has 1,072 Five Star Ratings on Goodreads.
Okay, time to tell you about one of my favorite books of all time. The Darkangel by Meredith Ann Peirce. This story is about a girl named Aeriel. She is the servant of a beautiful, rich maiden, Euduin, who is to be married. But just before the ceremony, Eoduin is kidnapped by the frightful darkangel, with fiercely beating black wings and pale dead skin. Aeriel’s masters blame her for their daughter’s loss, and everyone gives up all hope of ever saving poor Eoduin. Even Aeriel knows there is no chance her friend is still alive, for the icari, the vampyres can drink a maiden’s blood and soul before she has a chance to scream. So, instead, she vows to avenge her friend and kill the terrible vampyre so that no other maidens are taken and no other lives destroyed.
But when she meets the vampyre again, she is stunned by his beauty—his twelve midnight wings are resplendent and his face the fairest she has ever seen. She falls unconscious and is taken to the darkangel’s castle to be a servant to his wives. For thirteen years, the darkangel has kidnapped beautiful women and wed them, stealing their souls and drinking their blood on their wedding night. These hideous wraiths wail and scream so for the loss of their souls and beauty, that they must be attended so they stay quiet. Aeriel finds the newest wife is her own Eoduin.
Aeriel is forced to care for the wives of the darkangel, and feed his terrible gargoyles, and tell the darkangel stories whenever he grows bored. She learns to love the pitiful women who had so much stolen from them, and to pity the frightful gargoyels who she knows will rip her to pieces if she ever tries to escape, but who are so mistreated and frightened, she cannot help but see them as prisoners the same as herself. She even finds that she can pity the darkangel, for he is not yet a true vampyre, not ugly and twisted and thirsting for souls and blood. The wraiths tell her that he is collecting souls for his dreaded mother, the lorelei, who drank his blood years ago and made him what he is now. She will eat the souls he brings her, and then eat his own—turning him into a true vampyre, empty and forever hunting souls to fill that emptiness, just as his six older brother do across the world in far off lands. The wraiths tell Aeriel she must kill the darkangel before he collects his fourteenth bride and steals her soul, but Aeriel has begun to love him, for she finds him to be as pitiful as all the other tragic residents of the castle. Trapped and twisted by his mother, as surely as the wives were by him.
Can Aeriel bring herself to kill the darkangel before he ruins any more lives? Or will she find a way to save him?
The Darkangel is the first book in a trilogy of Aeriel’s adventures across the land of Avaric, where the plains are pale dust, the mountains low, and the blue-white moon Oceanus hangs always in the sky while the Solstar rises and sets a fortnight apart. I dearly love this book, I cannot do it much justice trying to explain how beautiful the settings are, how rich stories, nor how emotional I get when Aeriel speaks to the darkangel or weaves garments for the wraith wives. The following books, A Gathering of Gargoyels and The Pearl of the Soul of the World, are no less entrancing and together they are one of the best fantasy stories I have ever read. If you haven’t yet, I absolutely recommend you check them out—you won’t be disappointed!
One of my favorite fantasy creatures as a teenager was vampires—they were cool, had nice clothes, did whatever they wanted, and stayed up as late as they wanted. Okay, so they could only really stay up at night—I was young and silly, and easily pleased, staying up at night was one of the best super powers a character could have in my opinion. In any case, this love of vampires meant I collected a lot of books about vampires. Anne Rice, Bram Stoker, Laurell K. Hamilton, Hideyuki Kikuchi… there wasn’t actually a lot, was there? At least compared to now, where vampires are all over the place. Man, was I born in the wrong decade.
Anyway! One particular vampire book really caught me for a few years, because it was so different from all the other vampire books of the time. If you know any of the above authors, you’ll know their stories are all about adults and vampires. There just wasn’t a lot of teen fiction involving vampires back then—except for one. Silver Kiss by A. C. Klause. Now this book was intense! Not only was it about a teenager and vampire, it was also a romance! And a tragedy… Yeah. Back then, I’m pretty sure adults were trying to convince all the youngsters that vampires were too dangerous for anyone but an adult, because almost every teen-vampire book I found basically replayed the end of Romeo and Juliet. Silver Kiss wasn’t any different, but something about the heartfelt emotion of the characters made the bittersweet ending more bearable.
The book starts out with Zoe, our protagonist. She is a young teen whose mother is dying in the hospital, leaving her father with no time for her since he’s always by his wife’s side. Her best friend doesn’t have any time for her either, because she has no idea how to deal with death and is more concerned about her family moving to another state. Zoe can’t even visit her mother because the doctors say she “exhausts” her mother too much. She’s alone. So, she stops sleeping, forgets to eat most of the time, and wanders around the park at night when the house gets too quiet to bare. It is on these walks in the dark that she encounters Simon.
Simon, as you may have guessed, is a centuries old vampire. He spends his nights eating rats, and stalking another vampire, who both turned him and murdered his mother many years ago. By day, he rests in a large suitcase filled with the dirt of his birthplace, hidden in an abandoned building. Simon finds himself curious about the girl who walks around the park in the middle of the night, and soon discovers she is as alone as he is. The ever closer approach of her own mother’s death becomes another similarity he feels between them.
As they meet more often, Zoe and Simon find a kindred spirit in each other, as well as a willing listener to their pain. They give each other solace and understanding as they learn from each other how to face the loss of death in their lives. For Zoe, she learns how to mourn with Simon, when everyone else leaves her alone. For Simon, he learns to accept the demise of his family, and himself, comforted by the fact that Zoe will not leave him alone. They grow close because of their similar pain, but discover that staying by each others side, they can sooth that pain enough that life is still worth living.
I’m not ashamed to admit that this book made me cry the first time I read it, and maybe I teared up when I read it again to refresh my memory. It’s a dark love story, and the only happy ending is in the characters’ own belief that life is precious, death isn’t the end, and the knowledge that even when people leave you, you aren’t alone. It’s a pretty heavy message for a teen vampire book to give, but it does so beautifully and it certainly reached me. I know there’s tons of vampire books to check out now, but I definitely recommend The Silver Kiss as a must read for any vampire fan!
Today I’m excited to share the first book in the dark fantasy Survival Trilogy, Breaking Cadence.
I snorted softly. “You expect me to believe that you came to town looking for a cure? I’m not stupid, Zander. There is no cure. There never will be.”
“Oh there is,” he assured, staring right at me. “There has been for years.”
Decontaminated. Deflowered. Defunct.
Cadence Laurence has suffered pain and humiliation at the hands of the town committee, but the saving grace of her torture means nothing when her brother, Alex, and his girlfriend, Kitty, break the rules for the last time.
Now the only place they have left to go is on the run in the unforgiving Wastelands, a place where sand spiders and the Infected become the least of their problems when Cady’s ex-lover escapes her darkened past and deepens their plight with an agenda of his own.
Dodging Wastelanders out for blood and Kitty’s father determined for revenge, can Cadence avoid a bite from the Infected long enough to save her two wards and escape or will her ex-lover’s plans destroy them all?
Warning: Mature content with reference to criminal, adult-themed acts that may serve as triggers.
Download Breaking Cadence from Amazon, Smashwords, Apple iBooks and Barnes & Noble.
It was raining the day we were outcast. And I blamed him.
I drove my car over to their house, windscreen wipers flipping in the heavy downpour as my headlights grazed the row of small suburban bungalows. This was one of the more populated areas but the street was quiet. Nobody was out.
A streak of white caught my eye. My brother’s car sat comfortably in their driveway, engine off. I pursed my lips together and tugged my eye patch a little further down. I would be unwelcome, but they would just have to deal with that.
My car pulled smoothly to a stop, barely any noise emanating from the wheels in the kerbside puddles. The headlights died, leaving the faded ginger streetlamp the only light source. I took off a glove and wiped the rain residue from my brow as if it was sweat. It dripped from my sodden hair, staining my cheeks and clothes. I’d been walking when she’d called over to me, all filled up with panic. A stroll to reminisce would have to wait now.
The box on the seat behind was still there, strangely reassuring me in the rear view mirror. It was white and well cared for even though the dress, once entombed, was no longer inside.
But these things change.
Heavy hearted, I swallowed, glancing up at the house between the shadows of running rain on the window. If it had been anyone other than Sera who’d asked I wouldn’t have gone, but I’d sealed all our fates when I’d said yes to her.
Yet, hesitation clawed at me. He should be old enough to look after himself and to follow the rules, but obviously that was too much to ask for. This was not somewhere I’d choose to go. The cold windows of the house stared back.
I still remembered the family inside. They despised the tainted ones.
Tainted one. There was only me, now, to claim that title. All others had drifted away or died. I established the knife in my belt, just in case, and then stepped out of the car. The rain had grown heavier. It hit my coat like a shower of lead shot, reminding me of long days in the Wastelands. It was always heavy there when it came.
My key checked the car door with a soft chink like locking it would really matter in a place like this. My shadow cut a dark line in the dull orange light. The neighbours were probably watching behind their darkened curtains, but the street remained eerily quiet all except for the sound of the skittering rain. The silence didn’t bother me any more. I moved past my brother’s car, hand sliding across the cold, wet paintwork as I passed.
He would be inside the house courting the girl, but that was no excuse for taking that thing from Sera. He was getting us all into trouble.
I stepped up to the door and instead of simply turning the handle, I knocked. An uneasy feeling unfolded in my stomach like the separation of haemoglobin and plasma in a bag full of blood. Crimson and ochre. You were always supposed to knock, but I hadn’t knocked in a very long time.
The door opened filtering out a cold light. She stood there with curlers in her hair, feverish rings under her too wide eyes like a ventriloquist’s dummy. If her lips hadn’t compressed I might have mistaken her for one of the Infected. Her shock died down, her eyes tightened to small holes. It didn’t take a genius to work out that she’d recognised me.
“I don’t want you in my house.”
It wasn’t really her house; it was just one of many things inherited from long dead inhabitants, but there was little to gain from arguing with her. To her and plenty of others I was already outcast.
What was going to happen would make no difference to that.
“He’s here and I need to see him.” I raised an eyebrow at her impassive façade. “Is Maurice inside?”
Her eyes flared for half a second, telling me all I needed to know. Diplomacy wasn’t usually my strong point where committee members were concerned. My hands tightened into balls and I tried to soften my tone, gentle but unyielding.
“Let me in, Wilma. I’ll speak to my brother and I’ll be gone.” She didn’t inch from the door, her pincers curled around the wood. My gaze levelled on her, cool and calm. “I give you my word.”
“What good’s your word?” she hissed, retracting from the entrance nevertheless.
I stepped inside, moving smoothly past her as she recoiled. Frightened rabbit syndrome scratched her gaze. Once upon a time, I might have sympathised, but now I didn’t care having been treated to her cruel words and unkindness more than I deserved.
The kitchen felt loveless, the kind of place where food preparation had no passion and eating was a task forced in silence. It was a graveyard to fine dining, the pale bulb sluicing everything in a jaundiced light.
Wilma still held the door ajar, her eyes burning into my back. Her disdain hardly registered any more. Instead, I focused on the voices in the other room. The girl’s laughter wrinkled my nose. Silly teens. I pushed through the door, soft browns and pale creams divining nothing but a washed out heart of a so-called living room.
They were on the sofa. My brother saw me first, rolling his gaze and wrenching his lips into a twist of disgust. “If they sent you to spy on me–”
“You took Sera’s pet.” The words were hushed. “You know what’ll happen if they find it.” My hem dripped dark circles onto the faded carpet, pooling around my boots. My brother’s mouth moved into a line. I could see the cogs working in his skull, preparing his angry excuse. “I need to take it now, before you get us all into trouble.”
To read the rest of the story, download Breaking Cadence from Amazon, Smashwords, Apple iBooks and Barnes & Noble.
Find more from Rebecca on her blog, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.
If you’re looking for some paranormal romance to start off your weekend, download Connie Flynn’s Shadow of the Moon.
A woman bent on saving a pack of wild wolves crashes during a deadly snowstorm.
A man tormented by a secret he dare not reveal desperately needs her to free him.
Only a ceremony grounded in love can save them both . . .
And it must happen during the SHADOW OF THE MOON.
Download Shadow of the Moon from Amazon.
Whomp. Thump. Thump. The right front wheel scaled the edge of the ditch, jolting the Ranger to a stop.
“Dammit!” Dana Gibbs pressed her lips together, slammed the gears in reverse, and floor-boarded the gas pedal. The wheels spun impotently and she released the gas.
Throwing open the door, she stomped through the mud, dug out a lantern from the rear, and went to inspect the damage. Her back tires sat on a sheet of ice. The front passenger wheel was mired in the ditch.
The lantern splashed light on the underbrush. Birds flapped their wings and flew from dark shadows. Various creatures scurried and squeaked on…the ground. Finding the normality of the sounds reassuring, Dana hurried toward a broken branch, confident she’d soon be out of her predicament.
A howl shattered her serenity. The night creatures instantly hushed and only an undulating echo broke the silence. Dana froze midstep. Her breath misted, creating a heavy fog and the light quivered in her trembling hand.
Battling an urge to dash for the Ranger, Dana made herself creep toward the branch, snatched it up, then raced back to the Ranger.
Wedging the bough beneath the mired wheel, she scrambled inside the cab and applied gentle pressure to the gas pedal. After several tries the Ranger still didn’t budge. As she steadied herself once more try, the terrible wail sounded again. So loud, so close, it seemed just outside the SUV, and in the perimeter of the headlights, a blurred shape moved with superhuman speed.
Dana slammed down on the gas pedal. The Ranger lurched, shuddered, broke loose, and careened back at drag racing speed. She instinctively hit the brakes, all the while knowing it was the wrong thing to do. The Ranger zigzagged, then skidded. Behind, a wall of snow loomed larger and larger in the rear view mirror. Like a great white shark, the wall opened up and sucked in the four-by-four like a minnow until it jerked to a halt against the skeleton of solid earth. Dana flew out of her seat and into the windshield, then rebounded back and slumped like a rag doll.
Who will protect my wolves? Dana wondered as she passed into unconsciousness.
From the shadows of the forest, a pair of gold-green eyes witnessed her misfortune.
Beneath a towering pine stirred a man as huge and solid as the tree trunk that sheltered him. A long wool overcoat hung to his knees over heavy leggings that were tucked into bulky, serviceable boots, and his face was hidden in the abyss of a deep hood, allowing him to melt into the shadows.
What had possessed him to come this close to a major road so early in the evening? He knew better. But he’d heard the screams so often of late, could barely abide them, and a night such as this was made for death. They would be out, seeking lost travelers, and he somehow felt compelled to stop them.
He’d been observing the female, had seen her purposeful and confident movements become first alarmed, then panicked. Was she even now trying to claw her way free like a snared rabbit?Her vehicle had been so fully engulfed by the snowbank that only the hood and grille remained exposed. The night fell into deep stillness, save for the purr of the engine and the whap-whap-whap of the airborne tire. He strained to hear, anticipating what was to come. Soon a rustle arose from the underbrush. A soulful wail followed.
Why did those creatures howl so incessantly?
He calmly turned toward a tangle of brush and thickets. Within the dusky shadows, two sets of watchful eyes glinted red in the light from the woman’s abandoned lantern. He returned their gazes with a hard stare, but they held their ground. Slowly, his lip curled in threat.
“Back off,” he snarled.
The eyes retreated, leaving another squealing rodent in their wake.
He turned his back and sprinted to the road. With one leap, he scaled the ditch, landing nearly fifteen feet away beside the vehicle’s spinning wheel. Over a foot of snow covered the cab. The snow would act as insulation and undoubtedly would keep her warm, but the running engine would soon eat up her oxygen. She was still alive, though, very alive. He could smell her in there, the spicy scent of warm flesh, the tang of hot, rushing blood. Could hear the strong pulse in her veins.
He dug into the snow barehanded, heedless of the scratches he put in the paint, effortlessly deflecting the new chunks dislodged by his movements. When he’d cleared the snow off the driver’s side of the windshield, he leaned over and saw the slumped figure.
Unconscious. This came as no surprise. He’d seen her strike the windshield, seen her forehead turn crimson, knew she probably had a concussion.
Without his help, the others would finish her off before dawn. A guttural protest escaped his lips.
He must walk away. The risk was too great. Yet it had been written. On such a night, a maiden would come.
With a resigned sigh he dug through the remaining snow and opened the door. Blood was clotting in her dark, curly hair and the beginnings of a bruise already stained her forehead, yet he still saw how striking she was. High, well-defined cheekbones. Smooth, golden skin. A slender, well-developed body. A dislodged comb hung in her hair, letting her curls fall forward, which gave her a tumbled, morning-after look.
His heartbeat quickened and he realized then how long it had been since he’d touched a mortal woman. Fingers trembling, he moved a hand toward her fragile throat.
The wound still bled, the fresh blood trickling slowly down her face in tiny streams. He inhaled the tart odor and instantly salivated.
He jerked his hand back.
Do no harm. The ingrained dictum sprang to his mind and lodged there. He tried to dismiss it. Surely it didn’t mean he also had to prevent harm. This wasn’t his doing. How could he be blamed, when the female had foolishly driven down an unmarked dead-end road and bogged her truck?
A trill of laughter traveled through the night. He glanced up, sniffed the air. Was he even now being mocked by his indecision? Watched, to see if he’d leave the unconscious female so they could fulfill their dark needs?
Or worse, far worse, use her to fulfill his own?
To read the rest, download Shadow of the Moon from Amazon.
Check out Breaking the Nexus, the first in Lindsay Avalon’s dark fantasy series. Book 2 is coming soon!
A homicide detective out of his element…
Demons? Magic? Strange realms filled with mythical creatures? Connor Flynn had no doubt these things existed…in the pages of fictional books. As a homicide detective, he knew evil, witnessed it every day on the job. Even when a series of ritualistic murders begin appearing, he looks to the evidence, not the supernatural. Until the day he found a mysterious woman sitting right in the middle of his latest crime scene. While he searches for a rational explanation, all signs indicate she materialized out of thin air.
A woman in a foreign land…
Locked in battle with a fierce hellbeast one minute, then lying in a pool of blood the next, Sha Phoenix has no idea what happened. A Sorceri within the Mythrian Realm, magic is a way of life, as she manipulates the elements of fire and water. She understands banshees, blood mages, and dragons, not waking to find a sexy detective accusing her of murder. Trapped in the Human Realm, she can be sure of only one thing: the barrier that separates her world from Connor’s is weakening by the minute.
A world on the brink of destruction…
Thrown together by fate, Sha and Connor must find a way to put a stop to a killer, bent on destroying the world as they know it.
The Nexus is breaking, and all hell is about to unleash…literally.
Download Breaking the Nexus from Amazon.
You can find more from Lindsay on her blog, Facebook and Twitter.
Finding Esta is the tumultuous tale of one extraordinary woman’s journey of self-discovery within a supernatural underworld.
If you wrote those words, I doubt you could hurt me. His eyes shone, tears lingered, longing for release. Great swaths of grey grief poured from him and pierced my chest. I winced at the sting of his need, his loss.
Is it you? Did you ever find your Esta?
Despite the possibility of immense pain, I now longed for him to touch me. It made no sense, but I needed it. Perhaps to prove him real, not a hologram? Perhaps to see if I could? And like he’d heard my desires, he raised his hand towards my cheek again. This time I made no attempt to block him, I simply braced myself, the cloth of my outfit in my fists at my sides. I clenched my jaw and held my breath, but my eyes remained open; I had to see him, his reaction.
We stared at one another, waiting for the touch that might even kill me. His fingertips made contact with my cheek and a cool, soft, and electric stimulus passed through my skin.
Immense emotion poured from them, into me. But no pain followed, nor visions to flood or cripple me, no agonies of histories. When he saw me relax into his fingertips, he cupped my cheek fully and I felt, for the first time in my life, the absolute wonder of painless flesh on flesh touch. My hand flew to hold it in place. I never wanted it to end. And from his chest passed the purest of all emotions … love.
Is that for me? But …?
For a perfect moment, I thought if I died right then, it wouldn’t be too bad.
Tears of my joy soaked his gentle palm, and I forgot about the razor, the house, the loss of Flo and Ada, my mysterious loitering stranger with his messages, dreams and unspoken intent. Even the blood’s allure dissolved, somewhat.
We remained in this odd position for what seemed like hours. Until I coughed, feeling more and more weak. He removed his hand and licked my tears away with his blood soaked tongue. This broke my reverie and reawakened my hunger for blood.
Hovering above me, his face now over mine, I lay admiring him and the blood colouring the otherwise white glare of his complexion. The smooth glow of his flesh shone through a midnight blue, sheer woollen sweater. I imagined my tongue licking vanilla ice cream and finding his flesh instead. I wouldn’t have minded.
My head buzzed, stomach churned with physical attraction and mounting hunger, an intoxicating blend I found increasingly hard to resist. He sunk towards me, still suspended by some magical force.
What the hell am I feeling?
I should have screamed, fought, fled. But the tranquil aura circling us, overflowing with soft light, filled me with a sense of love, true or false. It oozed from him like blood from a wound. He was the most arresting being I’d ever encountered, other then Abby. Unashamed, transfixed, and willing, I lay yearning in silence beneath him. Overcome, my tears continued to dribble and my lungs stretched with held breath.
The fantastic finally killed all reason. He lowered further still, until a droplet of blood fell from the razor onto my cheek, then another fell between my lips. My autonomic response was to lick it, savour it, drink it, which of course horrified me. But the taste was too divine to deny myself. My hunger multiplied, my body screamed that I needed it. The blood raced through my veins, moistened dusty pathways, cleansed the drought.
“Ah …” I adored it, right up until my vegetarian conscience asserted itself, and as much as I’d savoured its taste, reason said to spit, choke, vomit. I turned my head to do so, but the demon grabbed my face to stop me.
He sliced the razor across his tongue, gasped in pain until his lips found mine and luscious blood flooded my mouth.
He delivered my first kiss and I sucked, licked, and drank him in.
No pain or visions interrupted the sensation of his unadulterated passion, which rode into me on each blood cell.
My body sang the sweetest sonnet. Such a kiss reached way beyond the famous Charlie Brown kiss I’d dreamt of as a child. I soared through midnight starry skies like an Apollo spacecraft, right up into a completely new dimension. I zipped around glorious moonbeams and chatted with the man on the moon … I mean this was epic.
My mind called out to anyone who might hear it, hoping that my Shadows shared my frequency, even if I couldn’t share theirs.
“If I die today, now, know that I died one happy lady.”
To read the rest of Finding Esta, you can download it from Amazon.
Find more from Shah on her website, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
If you like a darker fantasy novel, check out J.L. Bryan’s The Unseen.
Cassidy is a young tattoo artist living in the Little Five Points neighborhood of Atlanta. She’s always suffered terrible nightmares, and sometimes the hideous creatures seem to follow her out of her dreams and into her waking life, though she’s the only one who can see them. Drugs and alcohol can blot them out, but never entirely chase them away.
When a demonic cult begins to take control of the people in her life, including her younger brother, Cassidy discovers that the unseen world of monsters is very real. She can no longer avoid it. To protect those she loves, she must accept her own hidden supernatural talents and face the forces of evil before the sinister cult achieves its twisted goals and casts the world into darkness.
You can download The Unseen on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Sony, Kobo and Smashwords.
“Come on, Tami. It’ll be fun. Please?” Cassidy resorted to a begging tone, locking eyes with Tamila. What she wanted to say was: I am desperately trying to make you part of the group here, so please stop acting like such a tromboner tonight. “As a favor to me?”
“It does work better with four people,” Barb added.
Tamila sighed, looked at the board, and reluctantly left her chair to sit next to Cassidy, while offering a shaky, frightened smile to no one in particular.
“Okay. Let’s get it over with,” Tamila whispered. She placed her trembling fingers on the base of the upside-down wine glass. “We should say a prayer first.”
Barb and Reese found this hilarious, and Tamila frowned at their peals of drunken laughter.
“Let’s go,” Barb said. She closed her eyes. “Are there any spirits—”
“Come talk to us, spirits!” Reese interrupted, closing her eyes and also swaying from side to side. In her best drama-club voice, she projected, “Speak to us, give us messages from the world of the dead…”
The glass trembled under their fingers, and Cassidy gasped. Everybody leaned in for a closer look, but the glass became still again.
“You should say only good spirits,” Tamila whispered. “Or we could end up talking to demons, or evil ghosts, or dead murderers…”
“Calling all demons, evil ghosts, and dead murderers!” Reese cried out in a slurred voice, then doubled forward, laughing.
“Be serious, Reese,” Barb said. In a louder, more formal voice, she asked, “Are there any messages from the Other Side? Like from our spirit guides or totem animals?”
“Totem animals,” Reese snickered.
“We all have one. Mine’s a frog,” Barb told her, and Reese laughed and shook her head, tossing her blond hair.
“You look like a frog!” Reese said.
“Sh! It’s moving,” Cassidy told them.
The wine glass shuddered again, and this time it began to slide over the poster board, the lip scraping and smearing a few of the still-wet letters, gathering glowing paint around its rim.
The glass moved across the alphabet to the word YES in the upper left corner of the poster, scraping up glue and glitter from a sparkly red pentagram along the way.
“Who’s doing that? Are you doing that?” Reese asked Tamila, who shook her head, her wide eyes fixed on the board.
“Hello? Are you a spirit?” Barb asked.
The glass slid half an inch, then right back into place. YES again.
“Who are you?” Barb asked. “I mean, to whom do we have the pleasure of speaking?”
The wineglass lay still for a moment, then vibrated and hummed as if someone had plinked it with a fingernail. The glass slid over the alphabet.
Cassidy felt her heart racing. She hadn’t expected it to work at all, and it was starting to freak her out. She wished they hadn’t turned off the lights.
The wine glass smeared its way across the board, its entire rim glowing green now. It stopped at the letter N, and didn’t move again until Barb said the letter aloud. It stopped again on the I.
“N…I…” Barb said.
“Nipple?” Reese suggested.
The glass continued on to the B, then H…A…and then it stopped on Z.
“N-I-B-H-A-Z,” Barb said.
“It’s just nonsense,” Cassidy said.
The wineglass jerked under their fingers, then flew to the word NO, dragging their fingers with it.
“Who’s doing that?” Reese asked. “Is it you, Cassidy? Barb? It’s you, isn’t it, Barb? You big Goth girl.”
“Sh,” Barb said. “Nib…haz? Is that right?”
The wineglass zipped over to YES.
“What does that mean?” Cassidy asked.
The wineglass spelled out N…A…M…E.
“Your name is Nibhaz?”
“Sounds like a demon’s name to me,” Tamila said in a soft voice.
“Pfft, shut up,” Reese told her. “Like you would know.”
“Do you have a message for someone here, Nibhaz?” Barb asked.
“For who?” Barb asked.
Cassidy felt her blood turn cold.
“Oh, shit, for Cassidy?” Reese asked.
“Nibhaz, what is your message for Cassidy?” Barb asked.
The four girls watched as the glass crept back and forth along the top row of text. D…I…E…
“Die? It’s telling her to die?” Tamila gasped.
“Sh, it’s not done yet,” Barb told her.
“Yeah, it’s not done yet,” Reese echoed, her eyes fixated on the glass.
Cassidy shivered, trying to think of any non-scary word that started with “die.”
“Diesel?” Cassidy asked in a shaky voice. She expected someone to laugh at her, but nobody did.
The glass moved back to the letter D.
“Died,” Barb said. “He’s saying he died, I think. He’s a ghost.”
The glass whipped over to the word NO, then returned to the letter D.
To read the rest of the story, download The Unseen from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Sony, Kobo and Smashwords.
To find more from J.L. Bryan, visit his website, Twitter and Facebook.
Twenty-year-old Julia Wade, a young woman tragically widowed, is in the middle of a bizarre bid between two mythical species who are vying for the unique properties she offers; her blood. The vampires need her to balance the food load of the human species and give them their coveted “Lightwalkers.” The Were wish to be moonless changers; a Rare One can make that a reality.
Julia wants to belong to herself.
Can she free herself and begin a new life?
The vampire moved as a unit, talons extended, fangs sprung free of their houses of flesh.
They came to where the delectable smell of fresh blood was released. A quality without compare. It was as if a thousand year old bottle of wine lay breathing.
On a cold stone floor mere paces away from consumption.
William leaped in front of the Julia just as the first vampire would have been upon her.
Julia looked up and saw a monster, fangs the size of her pinky fingers, dripping a clear fluid tinged with red, talons as long as her forearms standing at deadly attention.
And then like small swords they began to slice whoever drew near.
Their motion in a blur of darkness, too fast for her to follow, Julia became aware of moisture falling on her bare skin like rain.
She opened her eyes and a head fell beside her shoulder with a meaty thump. The dead eyes, once gray, turned into a collapsing wall of flesh and bone. As she looked on in horror, it began to disintegrate into a mass of ash.
It was the eyes she’d never forget.
Or the creature William had become, fighting the vampires that would have killed her.
They came, one after another, as blood drenched her gown and she lay helplessly at his feet.
William slashed and stabbed as injuries were rained down on him and then five overcame him. Julia whimpered, having never envisioned herself dying this way.
At that moment, Julia realized she wanted to live.
Had always wanted to live.
Her eyes met Williams, pleading.
She knew she didn’t deserve his help.
But she was sorry. In that moment she didn’t want this life, this existence.
Nevertheless, he was dying to defend her.
William was overcome. He had dispatched fifteen, losing all hope of the guards helping him through the crowd of rabid vampire overrun with blood lust.
The higher functioning of their cerebral cortex was gone.
When the five overcame him, he saw Julia torn from beneath his feet by two fanged brethren, one held her as the other prepared to strike, losing his grip twice, her body slick with the blood of the massacred.
She was weak as a kitten, any fool could see, her wound not closing up. The blood clotting properties of the vampire saliva was not working.
Of course, Edna would have not used hers willingly. Julia was bleeding out.
William struggled against the vampire, beyond reason and rationale when he heard her soft whimper like a plea.
Her eyes met his again, the blood bond reverberating in his body, pressing him to take action beyond his capabilities.
William did, smashing two of the vampires’ heads together hard enough for their brains to splatter against the inside of their skulls and leak out their ears. He threw himself on his feet and launched to Julia’s side in a fluid gymnastic movement, his fist punching out as he did.
The vampire who had fangs a millimeter away from her throat, lost them from the impact of William’s fist even as his talons swung to take the head of the one that restrained her.
Julia saw William come. A shaky exhale escaped as she lay in the arms of one vampire while the other prepared to chew her throat out.
The one that held her dumped her head on the floor so hard she saw lights twinkle above her.
And then William was there.
Their heads fell on either side of her body and heat suffused her. Julia knew she would pass out and had but moments to express herself.
William crouched above her protectively and she raised her arm, weakly. She clutched onto his clothing.
He glanced at her then away, prepared for the next onslaught.
She tugged again.
“Julia, lay still. You have lost much blood.”
“Thank you,” she whispered on her final breath. Her vision dimmed to a pinpoint.
The last coherent image was William.
A face she didn’t hate anymore.
His mouth moved but she couldn’t hear him, an enveloping softness encased her as she floated away.
Like dandelion seed on the wind.
Julia slept in a pool of her own blood.
And that of others.
Seventeen year old Nikki and her twin brother, Nathan, move to the small town of Shore Lake to start over after their mother is brutally attacked. When a missing teenager washes up on shore during their first night at the cabin and there are whispers of vampires in Shore Lake, Nikki begins to realize that there are things roaming in the darkness that are far more sinister than what they left behind in the city.
Blur is recommended for mature readers. You can download it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Sony and Kobo.
A strange noise jolted me awake, and I looked towards the window, only to find myself alone.
Must have been dreaming…
Sighing with relief, I checked the time and noticed I’d been in the tub for a half hour. The water was too chilly to enjoy anymore so I decided to get out. I toweled myself dry, put my robe on, and unplugged the bathtub. I then padded into the bedroom where I stopped dead in my tracks. Ethan was on my balcony, leaning against the railing watching me. He reminded me of a predator studying its kill before striking.
Time seemed to stand still as the realization of what Ethan really was sunk in. Obviously, he’d made it up to my balcony all by himself, and yesterday, we’d soared through the night faster than what was humanly possible. There could only be one explanation now, and it chilled me to the bone.
We stared at each other for what seemed like forever and then he pointed to the door.
Swallowing hard, I stepped over and unlocked it.
“Aren’t you going to invite me in?” he asked softly.
My heart was hammering in my chest and I bit the side of my lip, trying to decide what to do.
“Well?” he asked, smiling devilishly. “I promise I won’t hurt you, Nikki. In fact, I imagine you’ll enjoy my company immensely.”
I let out a ragged sigh and nodded.
He stared at my mouth. “I’d like to hear you say it.”
“Come in, Ethan.”
Download Blur at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Sony and Kobo.