Thursday, November 3, 2022

Motionless In White - Werewolf [Official Video]


I am so obsessed with this song! It's helped me write quite a few scenes.



LYRICS:
I can feel you, I can hear you, howling in my bones   
There’s an evil lurking in the dark (there’s an evil lurkin’ in the dark)
Ever shifting, skin is ripping, as you take control     
I can’t tell where you end and where I start (there’s an evil lurkin’ in the dark)
 
A ferocious diagnosis, under moonlit hands         
Will the man become the monster or the monster become man? 
 
I could be up all night, but I’m paralyzed when the creature comes alive              
Cause it’s fight or fright, in the full moonlight, you can run but you can’t hide
I could be honest, I could be human 
I could become the silver bullet in your head
But no one can break my heart like I can
Werewolf
 
Bleed the neon from the bite marks, ever bittersweet
Smile for the camera but don’t flash your teeth (everybody loves a mystery) 
Let the bodies hit the dance floor to this heart-break-beat 
I feel like "somebody’s watchin me" (feels like everybody’s watchin me)
 
Seductively destructive, we are true romance
Does the man become the monster or the monster become man? 
 
I could be up all night, but I’m paralyzed when the creature comes alive              
Cause it’s fight or fright, in the full moonlight, you can run but you can’t hide
I could be honest, I could be human 
I could become the silver bullet in your head
But you can’t break my heart like I can
 
Can't fight these cravings in the night
A beast whose burdened by his bite
Can't fight these cravings in the night
You can’t break my heart like I can 
Can't fight these cravings in the night
Moonwalking feed the appetite
Can't fight these cravings in the night
You can’t break my heart like I can 
 
And in the pale moonlight, a debt to be paid 
For one must suffer for all eternity 
Nothing lasts forever, even guilty pleasures 
 
I could be up all night, but I’m paralyzed when the creature comes alive      
Don’t wanna feel
I could be honest, I could be human 
I could become the silver bullet in your head
No you can’t break my heart like I can
Werewolf 







#motionlessinwhite #werewolf #scoringtheendoftheworld

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

HUNTRESS SOULMATE by Selene Kallan




Blurb:
BORN TO DESTROY EACH OTHER. BONDED BY DESTINY.
Fae Warrior Prince Axel has defeated many flesh and blood demons, but not the darkness haunting his past. His grim memories besiege him whenever Valentine’s fangs get too close to his neck. Which is often, since the vampiress' iron self-control melts under the alluring call of Axel’s blood. He tempts her as no one has before.
So the enemies-turned-friends-and-almost-lovers cling to apprehension-fueled restraint to avoid acknowledging their unstoppable soul-bond.
Until their most feared enemy returns to shatter them both, and unleash Valentine’s most savage, lethal side.
Driven by pain, Valentine is closer than ever to losing herself under the torment of the beast that made her a monster.
But Axel won’t give up on Valentine so easily, not after they have bled and fought for each other. He will use his most forbidden powers to defeat the beast seeking to break Valentine.
No one hurts Axel’s soulmate and gets away with it.

The second installment of the Bonded by Blood and Magic series.


CHAPTER 1


VALENTINE


The tangy scent of human fear reached my nose.

I stopped daydreaming about late-night conversations and stolen, forbidden, definitely not just friendly kisses with Axel, and focused on finding the source of the scent.

The small supermarket I always visited when I needed organic eggs for Freckles, my 35-pound Maine Coon, was nearly empty. A few other patrons filled baskets with that sedate, half-absent attitude most humans have after a long day of work. Pop music drifted from the speakers on the ceiling, a familiar tune that had been popular along with fruity body splash.

I did my best not to squint at the bright white fluorescent light reflecting against the clean, white-tiled floor as I advanced one position in the line, behind a middle-aged man wearing a cardigan and khakis.

The tingling sensation of discomfort became strong enough to make my forearms itch just as my eyes landed on the cashier, a young girl with pale skin, copper hair, and many freckles. The bluish imprint of the veins in her delicate neck became starker as her pulse ratcheted.

She gulped twice, hands shaking as she registered the products of the man in front of me. A bead of sweat ran down her hairline despite the AC.

For half a second, I thought perhaps she had sensed something odd in me. Some humans did, after all. But I’d been completely relaxed and smiling like an idiot, lost in my musings, so I wasn’t the catalyst for her apprehension. No, it was the middle-aged man who had bought bottles of water, canned food, bleach, a mop, and hygiene products.

The man, who was about half a head under my almost six-foot-one, was openly staring at her with his indecent little brown eyes, particularly her chest.

Having been a victim of leering looks from disgusting men since I was ten, I felt bad for her. Reining in most of my mental force, I aimed a silent, scolding command at the mind of the man.

I wasn’t careful enough.

My telepathy flared and before I could stop it, a barrage of images flashed in my mind’s eye.

I locked my muscles not to drop or crush the eggs in my hands.

Maybe I should have taken this one instead; the man mused in his mind. I clenched my teeth not to gag at the revolting way he felt about the adolescent girl registering his purchases.

The rest of his thoughts came in sensations and images instead of words. He envisioned his hands around the freckled girl’s slim throat. He was imagining how her screams would sound. He imagined her in his trunk, bound with rope, or naked and chained to the floor.

The harrowing vision of a thin, pale girl, crying and bound with a chain, played in the forefront of his mind.

Gods, no.

My heart kicked into a race, and I was certain that if I could produce bile, it’d have crawled up my throat.

Either the bastard had a disgustingly vivid imagination, or he had a young woman trapped in a basement. Maybe a container? I wasn’t sure.

“Ma’am?”

I shook my head, cutting the mental connection to the man who was picking up his bags and giving me a once over.

I turned away from him, meeting the brown eyes of the still-pale cashier.

“I, um, just realized I forgot my wallet,” I lied. “At what time do you close?”

From the corner of my eye, I saw the man exiting through the glass doors, heading towards the parking lot.

“At nine,” the cashier responded.

Someone cleared their throat behind me.

I placed the eggs on the empty register to my right, gave an apologetic smile at the peeved customers and confused cashier, then darted out.

The man got inside his SUV and drove out. I cursed my decision to walk instead of using my car and headed for the nearest building at full speed, faster than the human eye could register, and jumped on the rooftop, then ran towards the next building, leaping the two-yard gap with ease.

Half of my focus zeroed on the SUV, the rest on making sure I landed on a solid surface not to make a hole through the ceiling of a building. My limbs buzzed with the relief of letting out my usually contained strength. The wind ruffled my loose hair beyond repair and made my calf-long black coat fly behind me. That raptorial part of me I usually kept under control slowly uncurled from its cage.

Thankfully, this neighborhood was near the suburbs, and the buildings were mostly under ten stories high, because otherwise, I’d need Spiderman’s webs to reach the rooftops.

I kept close to the front of the buildings, running and leaping, grateful I had fully recovered my strength after being kidnapped by Johan and his demon friend.

The SUV took a turn towards a road that led to suburbia with mansions built in the middle of the forest. I jumped down from the last building, a two-story hardware store, and leaped over two moving cars. Still following the SUV’s trajectory, I hid behind the first line of pine trees that bracketed the road.

I slowed my speed in tandem with the SUV, sticking to the shadow of the pine trees as the vehicle headed towards a massive, industrial-design white house. My breath came in shorter bursts than usual and my heart thrummed but not from physical effort. The predator in me was relishing the hunt.

I watched as the man parked the car in a large square of concrete on the left side of the property. He left the car, taking his purchases towards a white shed near the other side of the tree line. He paused, half turning to look behind him. His brow furrowed with mild concern as if he sensed he was being watched. Not surprising, since my control over the hungry monster dwelling within was fraying.

The man adjusted his glasses, peering intently at the cluster of trees, almost where I stood. His eyes were too weak to see me in the shadows. I grinned in satisfaction as he shook his head, no doubt thinking it was his imagination, and opened the lock on the metallic door, entering the shed and closing the door behind him.

I waited for a minute, afraid of taking too long and also of going inside too soon.

Keeping my steps light, I approached the door. My skin tingled and my sight sharpened, signaling my shift. Dull pressure exploded in my gums as my fangs descended halfway. It took only a sliver of my mental force to open the lock.

There was no sound coming from the inside, so I slipped in, locking the door behind me.

I narrowed my eyes to adjust to the white fluorescent light of a lamp hanging from the ceiling. The shed was neatly organized and pristine. Shelves full of tools, and a worktable; the smell of paint thinner, gasoline, and bleach assaulted my senses.

There was another door at the end of the room.

This one had a digital lock, but that hardly mattered. It still had bolts and I could force those with my mind, so I did. As soon as the door opened, I was hit with cold air that reeked of bleach mixed with urine, vomit, and that salty, metallic, sour scent of fear that was unfortunately branded in my mind.

I clenched my teeth not to growl, slowly descending the steep stairs, my heart pounding with apprehension. I loathed closed spaces.

He’s locked in here with you now, not the other way around, I reminded myself.

I reached the bottom of the stairs, pressing my ear against the closed metallic door.

“Please, please let me go,” I heard a broken feminine voice beg.

“I brought you some food,” responded the man. “You will eat it. And I’ve also bought toiletries. You will use them all and shower at least twice a day.”

“Please,” the woman sobbed.

My stomach churned. There was suddenly no air reaching my lungs and my head pounded.

Really? This was the time my ridiculous brain was choosing to have a panic attack? What the Hell was wrong with me?

I sank my fangs into the inside of my lower lip, drawing blood and causing enough pain to halt the panic and regain control.

“I see you cleaned yourself and the mess you made, good,” the man continued, ignoring her. “Remember, there will be a punishment if you ever behave like some sort of wild animal again.” His tone was prim. He sounded genuinely insulted that the poor woman had soiled herself after whatever the fuck he’d done to her.

I’d heard enough.

I stretched a line of my power and unlocked the door so hard it flew open.

The scents were much stronger now, and the sight nearly sent me to my knees.

A young woman with long dark hair and pale skin, completely naked. Her abdomen and face were covered with angry purple-green bruises. A shackle, tight around her right ankle, was anchored to the white concrete floor with a chain. There was a bed near the left wall and a full bathroom with acrylic walls near it. On the other side, near the door, there was a kitchenette with a concrete counter.

“What—” the man began.

I growled at him.

That power I’d shoved inside me for so long broke free. Translucent vines of kinetic energy pinned the bastard against the left wall. His brown eyes went wide with shock, glasses clattering to the floor, and a strand of brown hair fell on his pale, sweat-sticky face.

I peeled my lips at him and let him see just what kind of monster he’d encountered.

He didn’t scream, but the sheer fear pulsing from him in little waves was satisfying as Hell.

But he wasn’t my priority.

I turned my attention to the shivering woman standing near the bed, wrapping her arms around her frame. She was gaping at me as well, and I hated her shock, her fear. Not for the first time, I wish my true self was less threatening to the victims.

I lifted my hands, showing her my palms. “I won’t hurt you, I promise,” my voice sounded cold and sharp as it always did when I used my hypnosis. “I will release you, alright?”

Haltingly, she nodded.

“Who do you think you are?” the man sneered behind me. “This is a private matter—”

I growled, wrapping another vine of my power around his throat. “Shut up.”

The woman shook like a leaf, silent tears streaming down her face.

I neared her as slowly as I could manage, crouching and taking the shackle in my hands. “It’s going to be fine, I promise you.”

She shivered but didn’t recoil as I cracked it open. A low, broken sound of relief left her throat. The skin where the shackle had been was inflamed and reddish; as if she were allergic to the metal. It was iron, I realized, and couldn’t help but wonder if maybe the woman had some fae blood in her.

I stretched and took off my coat, handing it to her.

With trembling hands, she took it and put it on. Her green eyes swam with tears. She was small—her head barely reached my shoulder—so the garment covered her down to her ankles.

“What is your name?” I asked as gently as I could.

She gulped. “Becca Williams.”

I nodded, wrapping a careful thread of my coercing power around her mind. “Behind that door,” I pointed behind me, “there’s a flight of stairs. Go up and wait in the shed for me. I’ll be right behind you.”

Becca launched a fearful look at the pervert, who was breathing like a bull, eyes manic on us both.

I placed my arm around her shoulders and steered her towards the stairs, covering her with my body as much as possible. She made her unsteady way to the top, looking back at me with questioning eyes.

“Close the door and wait,” I commanded as gently as I could. “I’ll be there in a moment.”

She obeyed.

I turned to meet the gaze of the pervert, fully letting go of my aura. Dark satisfaction curled inside me at his desperate attempts to pull free of my power’s hold. The scent of his fear further awakened the predator in me.

“What are you?” he mouthed, blood vessels stark against the whites of his eyes.

I flashed him my fangs. “A huntress and you are my prey.”

He kept struggling in vain, smashing his head against the wall in frustration, veins throbbing in his neck. A popping sound came from his wrists and he screamed. The sound was sharp and shrill, like a pig in a slaughterhouse, which was appropriate.

I wished I had Axel’s magic so I could cast a silencing spell and slowly dismember the fucker.

Rarely did I feel the desire to torture someone. Only once had I done it and I’d been sick afterward.

Knowing I didn’t have the stomach or the time for torture, I stepped closer to the pervert, gripping his jaw. “Quiet,” I commanded, barreling my mental force against his mind.

His scream died, teeth grinding so hard one broke.

I forced his head to the side and bit down over his jugular. Bloodlust and disgust mixed in a violent cocktail inside me as I drank long gulps of bittersweet blood, cracking open his mind and reading all I could.

His name was Tom Parsons, and he had a beautiful fiance, who was a pediatrician.

Becca was his tenth victim. He’d become obsessed with her since she began working for his construction company. He’d forced her to write a resignation letter saying she was going on a trip to Europe so that no one suspected he’d kidnapped her. Becca had no family who would challenge such a rash decision.

The faces of all the other women he’d tortured and killed flashed in fast, nauseating succession in my mind.

I’d seen enough.

I retracted my fangs and swiped my tongue over the puncture marks. My stomach nearly turned at the taste of the salty, rank sweat of the fucker.

Stepping back, I went to the concrete counter and riffled through the shopping bags, finding the mouthwash I’d seen him buy. I used it, opening the faucet on the sink to wash away the blood-tainted green liquid. My mouth burned by the time I tasted nothing more than mint.

Tom the degenerate was nearly unconscious. I’d taken over a liter of his blood.

I slapped him awake and pushed my mind inside his before he could speak. “Your fiance has no idea what a twisted bastard you are, does she?” I asked, tilting my head and slamming my hypnosis power against his feeble brain. “You will go inside that pretty house you have, write down all your perversions, and leave them where the police can find them. And then, you’ll put your 9mm inside your mouth and pull the trigger.”

He tried to fight me, but it was futile. I ripped to pieces his will, submitting it under mine, leaving enough awareness so he became a prisoner in his mind and suffered until he took his last breath. He appreciated his life oh so very much, something common in psychopaths.

“Count until one thousand,” I commanded. “Then you will do as I say. Oh, and make sure to write down where you keep your trophies, too.”

I released him, and he dropped to the floor like a sack of manure.

He shook so hard his teeth clashed. “You are a monster.”

“‘You are a monster,’” I mocked, scoffing. “Your ilk always points that out once the tables turn.”

I rushed back upstairs, finding Becca huddled near the door leading outside.

“Come along,” I said, opening the door for her.

She stepped outside, gazing up at the stars. Tears shone in her eyes.

I placed my hand between her shoulder blades and guided her towards the road.

“W-where are we going?” she asked.

“That depends,” I answered. “Do you want to go to a hospital or do you want me to take you home?”

Becca gulped, mulling it for a moment as we made slow progress through the concrete of the back of the property, and then the uneven ground of the forest. “I’m not hurt. I mean, I’m hungry and sore but he didn’t…” She took measured breaths. “I don’t think I need the hospital, and I can’t afford it either.”

He hadn’t raped her yet. I knew this, but the bruises on her abdomen worried me.

“I can pay for it if you wish to go,” I insisted. “If not, I’ll make sure you’re at home and safe.”

“Home, please,” she muttered.

I nodded, reluctant to force her to do anything she didn’t want to.

Becca winced, hissing, and toppled to the side.

I caught her waist. “Sorry, I should have found you some shoes.”

Her wide, green eyes met mine. There was fear coming from her, but also cautious hope and gratitude that made my eyes itch.

“I will not hurt you,” I promised again, carefully prodding her mind.

Not human. She’s not human, she’s a vampire, Becca thought. Grandmamma said vampires liked to kill people like us, but this vampire saved me. Can I trust her? God, what other choice do I have?

I hid my surprise as much as I could. She knew what I was. Humans didn’t immediately think, ‘she’s a vampire!’ as soon as I showed them my fangs. At least not since my kind had become only mythical for most humans. And that thought about her grandmother…. Was I right? Did Becca have fae blood?

“I can carry you, if you will allow me,” I said.

She licked her dry lips and gave me a tentative nod.

I slipped an arm under her knees, the other around her shoulders. Her weight was nothing. I could carry her for a hundred miles and not feel tired.

“Do you have a car?” Becca asked.

I shook my head, biting my lip. Should I pretend I didn’t know she knew about my true nature? Should I not give her any answers and wipe her mind at the end? Everything inside me recoiled at the idea.

“I walked to the supermarket to buy some things, and ran into Tom,” I said. She shivered, seeming to shrink as I mentioned the pervert’s name. “I’d have lost him if I waited to get a taxi,” I continued. “So I ran after him.”

She gaped at me. “You… can run that fast?”

By that time, we had reached the road. “I think 180 miles per hour is my speed limit,” I confessed, walking further to leave Tom’s property.

Becca stayed quiet as I deposited gently on her feet to fish out my phone from my leggings’ pocket and ask for a taxi. Neither of us broke the silence for the long minutes we had to wait for our transport to arrive.

I opened the door for her and followed her inside the car that smelled like pine, mint, and the driver’s sweat. Gods, some days, I hated my hypersensitive nose.

“Where to?” the man asked.

Becca launched me a speculative look.

I mulled it. Leaving her to go home alone was irresponsible of me. What if the taxi driver was a pervert? What if she fell and hit her head? She was dehydrated and weak.

But it wasn’t my choice.

“If you prefer to go alone, I’ll understand,” I said.

I could run after the car to make sure she reached her home safely.

She took a deep breath, examining me for a second, and then recited her address to the driver.

I gave her a tentative smile, which she returned.

***

Becca had lost consciousness halfway to her apartment.

I let her sleep until we arrived at what could be considered the ghetto of the city. It wasn’t dangerous per se, as far as I knew, but the buildings were closer together, the apartments smaller and the houses not as well taken care of.

I gently prodded Becca awake, then used my power to erase the memories of the cab driver and gave him ten times the fare before sending him off.

Becca headed towards the back of the building and climbed up the fire escape stairs. I trailed after her until she reached her floor. She tried to pull her window open, but it didn’t budge.

I unlocked it with my mind.

She shot me a look over her shoulder, but opened her window and carefully entered.

The apartment was tidy and clean. About half the size of my living room, with a small kitchen-dining area, and a compact living room with a blue sofa that had seen better days and an old flatscreen TV.

I blinked as Becca turned on the lights. She bit her lip, staring at me. I could sense relief and wariness battling for dominance inside her.

“If you are certain you need no medical care and wish me to leave you alone, I will leave,” I offered.

She swallowed hard. “What did you do to Tom? Will he—” she placed a hand against her chest “—will he come after me again?”

I almost snorted and asked her how bad at being a predator did she think I was but held back the snark.

“He’s probably committed suicide by now, as I compelled him to do,” I said.

Her eyes went round. “Oh.”

“Unlikely as it is for any human to break my compulsion, I will make sure he’s dead tomorrow,” I assured her.

She breathed out, running a hand through her tangled hair. “I… thank you? Is that the right thing to say?”

My lips flickered. I shrugged. “I’ve no idea, but you’re welcome.”

Becca huffed. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but will you stay a bit longer?” She shifted her weight nervously. “I don’t doubt your skills, but I don’t want to be alone right now and I-I have no one else.”

My stomach felt laden with sympathy. “Sure, why don’t you shower and I’ll make you some coffee?”

She let out a relieved breath, nodded, and headed to her bedroom.

***

As promised, I had a warm cup of black coffee waiting for Becca when she returned, smelling like soap and toothpaste. I’d also found cheese and bread that hadn’t expired—indicating her kidnapping had not lasted long, fortunately—and made a couple of cheesy sandwiches.

Becca sat at the table and lifted the white cup to her lips, drinking eagerly.

I bit my lip and tried not to stare but caught the widening of her eyes and the bob of her throat as she drank nearly all the cup.

“What did you do to my shitty coffee to make it taste good?” she asked.

Well, I added one tablespoon of my blood to it. I hope you don’t mind.

Doing so had painfully reminded me of the time I’d done the same for Adam, the man I’d almost fallen in love with over half a century before.

I refilled her cup, sitting at the table across from her. “Used a new filter and added a tiny bit of honey and cocoa,” I responded, which was true as well.

Becca shot me a grateful smile and ate her sandwiches in record time.

I abstained from asking her if she was sure she didn’t want to go to a hospital again. The blood I’d given her was taking effect before my eyes. Her skin went from too pale to a more normal milky color. The green bruises on her cheekbone and forehead cleared to a yellowish color.

And if she had any internal bruising, it must have healed as well.

Becca leaned back in her chair, examining me. “Can I ask you something?”

“Go ahead, although I can’t promise a response.”

“Fair enough,” she agreed. “Why did you help me instead of killing me?”

I froze, not knowing how to feel. It was an understandable question, but I couldn’t deny it offended me somewhat.

Her cheeks reddened. “I don’t mean to insult you, it’s just…” her shoulders drooped. “My grandmamma, she was… different, and she told me of your kind, and her experience had not been pleasant.”

I wrinkled my nose. “I had no idea vampires enjoyed feeding on fae until recently,” I admitted. “Hell, I just found out that fae are real a few weeks ago. And even if I’d known, I would have never fed on one just because they taste good.”

Becca gaped at me. “How did you know I have fae blood? My grandmamma was half-human, and I hold no power at all.”

“You are violently allergic to iron,” I told her.

She let out a breath. “Oh, that.”

“Yes, that.” I mulled it for a moment, but what the Hell. She was aware of supernaturals and not entirely human. “I won’t pretend to be some sort of hero, but since my transformation, I’ve hunted down degenerates.” I half shrugged. “What’s the point of having all this strength and power if I don’t use it to take down as many bastards as I can?”

Becca gulped. “I suppose not all vampires are as terrible as the ones in grandmamma’s stories.”

I sighed. “I’m glad you are nuanced, but considering I’ve met quite a few assholes of my kind, and I’ve done my best to hide from them for centuries, I’d advise you to keep your distance, if possible.”

Becca shivered. “Thanks for the advice, and for saving me.”

“You are welcome,” I said. “I don’t mean to pry, but is it impossible for you to move somewhere safer?”

She took a deep breath and hugged herself, her expression so forlorn I felt the impulse to hug her. “I’ve always dreamed of moving to Iceland. Grandmamma was from there, and we went there on a holiday once. I had my chance years ago, but then my mom got sick and I used all my savings to pay for her medical bills,” her throat bobbed. “After her death, this is as far as I could afford to make it.”

“How much would you say you’d need?” I asked.

Becca blinked. “Uh, I don’t know. Fifteen grand maybe?”

Incredible what could be a life-changing amount of money to some and pocket expenses to others.

I hummed noncommittally, calculating how much cash I had at home. I wagered about twice that.

“I should get going,” I stood. “You will be safe, I promise. And if you need help, I’ve left my number written down in the notebook under your phone.”

Becca stood, went to her kitchen, and rifled through a drawer until she found a set of keys. She unlocked her door for me. “Do you want your coat back?”

I shook my head. “No, keep it or throw it, as you wish.”

“Okay.” She rocked on her heels. “Thanks again.”

I stepped outside, trying not to squirm. “No worries.”

The hallway was well-lit, and a quick scan with my empathic awareness told me there was no one dangerous in a one-mile radius, so I headed for the stairs.

“Wait!” Becca called.

I turned. “Yes?”

“What’s your name?”

I hesitated for a second. “Valentine.”

Becca smiled. “It was nice to meet you, Valentine.”

I returned the gesture. “Likewise, Becca.”

She closed the door, and I descended the stairs, feeling tired but satisfied.

This night had been evidence that being a freak could come in handy sometimes. It wasn’t always this satisfying. Sometimes I arrived too late, sometimes I had to use too much of my coercion with the survivors so they wouldn’t have a panic attack in my presence.

One night at a time, I reminded myself.

***

I entered my apartment, closed the door, and leaned against it.

Freckles waited for me on the island, yellow eyes transmitting worry and impatience.

I sighed. “I know, I’m a terrible cat mother who never got you your eggs. But stuff happened. It’s a long story.”

Freckles flicked his bushy, tricolor tail, whiskers moving as he licked his nose.

I approached him, kissing his forehead. “I know, honey, but your salmon is not bad. I promise I’ll buy you the best eggs you’ve ever eaten tomorrow and—”

A low chuckle came from my bedroom.

I froze, all my instincts awakening sharply enough for it to be dizzying.

Axel appeared on the threshold of my bedroom’s door, leaning against the frame with that nonchalant ease that not even I could emulate. A swathe of dark golden hair fell down his forehead, almost obscuring one green-gray eye. Dressed in black jeans, a white button-down shirt with two open buttons, and black boots. Casual and hopelessly beautiful, as usual.

“You are such a crazy cat lady,” he teased. “It’s adorable.”

The reflexive growl that had been forming in my chest turned into an undignified groan-squeak. “You scared the shit out of me, you idiot!” I cried.

Axel’s lips flickered as he controlled a smile. “It’s not my fault you are such a disaster of a vampire, darling.” He clicked his tongue. “Some apex predator you are if you can’t sense me mere yards away from you.”

“You were using a spell to cloak your presence again,” I accused.

He shrugged, wholly unrepentant. “Maybe.”

I was torn between the maddening impulse to kiss him senseless or whacking him in the head to erase that self-sufficient smile from his face.

Axel grinned, approaching with graceful steps until he was a foot away from me. “Now, I know what you’re thinking.”

I licked my suddenly parched lips. “Do you?”

“Indeed,” he said, voice low and slightly scratchy. “You want to shut me up with that pretty mouth of yours.”

“You are so full of yourself,” I countered, trying to sound stern and coming out slightly breathless.

My knees felt weak and heat built in my stomach. My body’s reaction to his presence was beyond ridiculous.

Axel leaned until we were inches away. “Denial is futile, Valentine.” He leaned closer, and I almost proved him right and attacked his mouth, but then I remembered what I’d done earlier and I stepped back.

His eyes widened slightly, something like doubt and a spark of hurt flashing there so fast I’d have missed it if I didn’t know him better.

“I hunted down a pervert and I need a shower,” I said in a rush.

Axel blinked.

I clenched my fist not to facepalm. Yes, that was just the thing to say to the male who was still wary of me.

But… I am what I am and if he can’t handle it, that’s his problem and not mine.

So I squared my shoulders and held his gaze, even if I was squirming on the inside.

Axel recovered his nonchalance, leaning his hip against the counter and caressing a curious Freckles’ head. “That explains why you were gone for so long. Freckles and I were a bit worried.”

My heart squeezed with aching warmth and delight.

Centuries.

I’d been so lonely for centuries.

And having someone who cared, even if that someone was Axel with his acerbic, nonchalant habits and circuitous way of saying things, was as thrilling as it was terrifying.

I swallowed and looked down towards Freckles, blinking fast to keep the tears stinging in my eyes at bay. I wanted to hug Axel so badly that it hurt. I wanted to run out the door away from him and the complicated feelings he’d awakened in me and were sure to be my doom.

My chest was too tight. Heavy with all the decades of isolation, with the terror of loving someone and losing them. With the self-loathing that I was still struggling against.

I gulped, trying to clear my voice enough to say something that sounded vaguely normal and not weepy. “I’m sorry for worrying you guys.”

Ugh, my voice was hoarse.

I scratched Freckles’ neck, trying to keep avoiding eye contact with Axel.

A cautious, warm hand cupped my jaw. “Are you alright? Did the pervert hurt you?”

My treacherous eyes met his.

His brow furrowed. “Valentine, please say something.”

Tears overflowed my eyes. “I’m sorry,” I laughed ruefully. “You must think I’m ridiculous.”

His hand fell to my shoulder, where he gave me a reassuring squeeze. “I don’t, but you are worrying me.”

I sniffed and wiped my eyes. “I’m fine, I promise.”

“If you are certain,” Axel said dubiously.

“I am,” I insisted, knowing that I’d scare him if I tried to explain the sudden suffocating sadness making me feel small and pathetic. “I’ll just go have a shower and then you can tell me how the Hell you got inside my apartment.” I tried to smile, but it came out as a wince.

His lips tilted, but his eyes remained worried. “We’ll be waiting for you.”

***

After a quick shower, considering the meltdown I had halfway through, I dressed in a beige jumper and pajama bottoms and headed toward the kitchen.

The sight that welcomed me nearly made me trip over my feet.

Axel was pouring hard-boiled, diced eggs onto Freckles’s plate. My furry rascal munched them at once, making happy noises.

“Where did you get eggs?” I asked.

Axel turned to look at me, examining my face.

Thanks to my lightning-speed recovery and healing skills, I wasn’t as red and puffy as I would have been if I were human, but the careful curiosity in his eyes wasn’t precisely reassuring either.

“You mentioned Freckles had eaten the last three when we texted last night,” Axel replied, breaking eye contact to quickly wash the cutting board and knife. “I decided that I should bring some since I was planning to invade your apartment again.”

That was… considerate and showed he’d paid attention to everything I said.

And gods, that made my eyes itch again.

Was I hormonal? Could vampires get hormonal? Or was it just my depression taking one of those weird turns at a completely unexpected moment?

“Thanks,” I finally managed.

Axel dried his hands with the towel hanging from my fridge’s handle. “You’re welcome.”

The kettle whistled, startling me.

Axel hummed, taking two cups, dried lavender, and honey from my cupboards with complete familiarity. Not rare since I’d made tea for him a few days ago and apparently, he paid me as much attention as I did with him.

I could do nothing but stare at the bizarre but domestic sight of Axel using my kitchen, while my chubby cat ate on the island and watched us both between bites. I felt brittle inside, as if I were about to crack open and spill pieces of my heart all over the floor.

After making the fragrant tea, Axel pointed to the sofa.

Forcing my body to move, I nodded, and we sat like we had a few nights already. Keeping a safe distance, but close enough that I could feel the heat of his body and his tempting scent filling my lungs. I sat cross-legged, facing him and hugging a pillow. He handed me my cup, and I drank a few sips, feeling marginally under control.

Axel leaned his elbow on the backrest and gazed at me openly as he took a sip from his tea. “Do you want to talk about it?”

I sighed. “It was nothing out of the ordinary, really.”

Still, I relayed to him the events of the night as we drained our cups. Masochistically, I searched for any signs of revulsion in his beautiful face and warm aura but found none.

He ran a hand through his hair. “Nothing out of the ordinary? Because that sounds quite… hectic to me.”

I shrugged. “Almost a century ago, several of my nights each month were like this, minus running into someone with fae blood who knew what I was.” I bit my lip, remembering a few survivors who had been extra frightened of me. “Or maybe I have and didn’t notice.”

Axel hummed, gaze turning thoughtful but hesitant.

“What?” I asked.

He sighed. “I know you’ve helped many by hunting down psychopaths, and that you need to feed on a human at least twice a month to stay healthy, but it seems to affect you emotionally.”

I laughed ruefully, picking a loose thread in the pillowcase. “And that is why I stopped roaming the streets looking for prey, and simply let it come to me, mostly.” He remained quiet, attentive, and non-judgemental, so I elaborated a bit. “Sometimes I read about serial killings, and I know I can find the pervert faster than the police, and I can’t just sit on my powerful ass and do nothing.” I sighed. “Perhaps I am a deranged vigilante. Perhaps I am as much of a monster as the men and women I’ve killed. Maybe I’m deluding myself by thinking I’ve done more good than damage. But I am what I am.” I couldn’t help but sound defensive at the end.

Axel stretched out a hand and clasped my wrist gently, his thumb rubbing my pulse point. “We are all monsters in someone else’s story, Valentine.” His gaze turned thoughtful. “Light and darkness can both corrupt you. Righteousness suffocates and twists good intentions.” He half-smiled. “The potential for kindness and cruelty dwells in all of us. Knowing when is the right time to use either is what matters. And I think you are rather brilliant at that.”

Gods dammit, I wanted to hug him.

I swallowed the lump in my throat. “How come you always say the right thing when I need to hear it?”

He blinked, surprised. “I do?”

“When it matters, yes.” I smiled at him. “Thank you.”

“Whatever for?” he inquired.

I couldn’t answer without freaking us both out with the painful intensity of all I felt for him.

Axel leaned closer, leaving enough room for me to withdraw. But I couldn’t resist the magnetic pull inside my chest and the storm of affection-fear-gratitude-terror raging inside me. So I met him halfway, shuddering with the touch of his hot lips. This kiss was different from all the ones we’d had before. Not desperate or hungry but warm, like a soft embrace. I nearly groaned as his tongue brushed mine. He tasted like tea, honey, apples, and everything that was forbidden and I craved with every cell of my being.

As I lost myself in the gentle dance of our mouths, which soothed open wounds I had neglected for so long, I remembered that sometimes words were unnecessary.

©Selene Kallan, Huntress Soulmate 2022.
__________________________________________

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Friday, August 12, 2022

Beth Crowley- In The End (Based on The Witcher) (Official Music Video)

In the end by Beth Crowley is a gorgeous song, and it fits most of my characters so well. 




LYRICS

I saw you and
Recognized right from the start
We're both ruined
With matching insatiable hearts
And I knew that
One day we'd take this too far
My misgivings
Fade into nothing when I
Touch your skin and
Feel your heart beat next to mine
I'm not living
If I don't have you at my side

I can tell that we're
Going to destroy one another
Our twin flames could ignite
The whole world for each other
But something this powerful
And dangerous
Will burn until there's nothing left
I can tell that we're
Going to destroy one another
In the end

Separated
At opposite ends of the earth
Is it fated
The way my path leads back to yours
Though I hate it
I've never desired something more
Yes I hate it
But you leave me desperate for more

I can tell that we're
Going to destroy one another
Our twin flames could ignite
The whole world for each other
But something this powerful
And dangerous
Will burn until there's nothing left
I can tell that we're
Going to destroy one another
In the end
In the end

I don't want to
Stay away from you
So I won't even try
You say you will
Stay away from me
We both know that's a lie

I can tell that we're
Going to destroy one another
Our twin flames could ignite
The whole world for each other
But something this powerful
And dangerous
Will burn until there's nothing left
I can tell that we're
Going to destroy one another
In the end
In the end 

Friday, November 12, 2021

HALFBLOOD BETRAYED: prompt inspired novel.

Enemies-to-lovers is my favorite trope, so when I saw this prompt my imagination ran wild.


HALFBLOOD BETRAYED

CHAPTER 1


WHO AM I?

Blood poured out of the wound and ran down my leg with every heartbeat.

I applied pressure on the deep stab with my red woolen scarf. The fabric was completely soaked through. My body tilted to the left, and I barely had time to reach out a hand and hold on to the grimy wall of the dark alley. If I fell, I wasn’t sure I had the strength to get up again. Breathing hard, I leaned my back against the wall, looking at the full moon. Thick clouds that promised rain slowly extinguished its pure white light.

Two of the largest clouds combined and a flash of light came. Even though the following near-deafening sound was expected, I startled along with the black cat eating what looked like bolognese leftovers.

Part of me was tempted to allow my shaking legs to surrender and simply sit in that damp alley that smelled like decomposed food.

But a loud, desperate voice in my head screamed that I had to keep moving and find refuge before he tore me apart.

I had no idea who he was.

Hells, I had no idea who I was.

All I knew was that someone had stabbed my abdomen with a silver, cursed dagger and that I needed an antidote and rest if I wanted to recover.

Five more minutes, I bargained with myself.

Just five more minutes to gather my strength and look for the address I’d hastily scrawled on my inner forearm with black ink.

I vaguely remembered writing it. The pain of the wound had been beyond searing. I recalled the anguish clawing at my insides. The ache of betrayal that made my heart race…

Why did I feel betrayed as I ran for my life and who had stabbed me remained a mystery.

My head pulsed with pain. Every nerve ending was painfully alight with a primal warning. The stench of gargoyle magic, that pungent smell of iron and stone, clung to me like an oil stain. Whoever had attacked me used gargoyle magic to erase my memory.

Was it one of the stony bastards who tried to kill me? I wasn’t so sure. Most of us supernaturals had little to no hope of surviving a gargoyle attack. They either killed us or locked us away in a dungeon, condemning us to never see the light of day again. That much I remembered.

Could it get worse than this? Bleeding and weak and chased down by someone who I knew in my gut wanted to silence me forever?

And then, as if the universe were answering, it poured.

Grunting and nearly gagging with the sharp pain, I straightened and walked again. My left leg was half numb from the poison and the pain. I almost had to drag it. One more block, that’s all I had to walk, but it seemed like a mile.

I stopped at the opening of the alley across from the back of the apartment building.

The imposing twenty-story building was pristine. Painted in white, the design sleek and modern, not what anyone at all would imagine a vampire den to look like. Admittedly, not only vampires lived there. According to the rumors, there were even human residents, but I knew vampires dwelled within. Those were a few of the recollections that remained; holes in the thick black cloud obscuring most of my memories.

Even the alley was clean, which was a relief for my too-sharp senses.

Gritting my teeth, I made my way toward the service entrance, nearly crashing into a petite human whose head barely reached my chest. I held onto the door before it slammed shut.

The woman, who smelled of cleaning products, squealed in shock, taking in the wound in my stomach and then my face. Fear buzzed from her at once, her pale skin turning almost ghostly, brown eyes wide. Wounded or not, I was still not human, and she could sense it.

“Mind your business,” I warned, opening the door further to step inside.

“You-you’re bleeding,” she mumbled. “D-do you want me to call an ambulance?”

I looked over my shoulder, pain lancing down my leg and up toward my chest. The poison was spreading, and if it reached my heart…

I considered flashing my teeth at the woman, Ella, according to the tag pinned on the white shirt of her uniform. But she was scared enough, and some deeply buried instinct made me loathe the idea of being mean to an innocent woman for no good reason.

“No, I know someone inside,” I said. “They’ll help me.” It was technically not a lie.

She nodded, unconvinced, but didn’t try to stop me as I entered. The smell of fresh laundry, lavender, and mint welcomed me, along with warmth that made me shiver and realize how cold and soaked I was. White walls and polished concrete floors. A wide hall with doors led to several large rooms to the right and the elevators to the left.

My sight swam, and my ears rang.

Minutes. I had minutes before collapsing and then perhaps an hour before a painful death came.

Breathing hard and barely noticing the surprised gasp of a young man and an older half-fey female who were carrying linens, I limped toward the promising silver doors of the service elevator. Nearly groaning in relief when they opened in seconds with a soft ring.

I hastily pushed the button to close the doors before anyone tried to drag me to an ambulance, and then automatically chose floor sixteen. That detail I hadn’t scrawled onto my arm, and I had the feeling I’d been here before. A violent shiver shook me from head to toe. I leaned my head against the cold metal of the elevator and held onto the side of the panel for dear life.

The apartment on floor sixteen was safe. I knew that even if I didn’t know my own name.

The doors pinged open, and it took every last drop of strength I had left to limp to the tall wooden door and knock.

My mouth flooded with saliva, and I would’ve vomited if there was anything in my stomach. I held onto the door frame and lifted my hand to knock again just as the door opened and my eyes landed on…

A vampire male.

So tall his head was almost half a foot above mine.

Pale skinned, buttery blond hair reaching his collar, platinum gray eyes that showed the same shock I was certain was etched on my face. Outrageously and unsurprisingly handsome, with stark features that seemed carved by an artist.

And that was the wrong moment to get caught up in the beauty of a six-and-a-half-foot predator who was sniffing at my blood.

Vampires and werewolves had stopped fighting each other millennia ago when humans had started to burn us all down at the stake. Still, instinctive wariness rose in me. Perhaps because I wasn’t just a werewolf, but also half-fey, and therefore not as strong as him.

And how did I know all that and not my gods-forsaken name?

“Aylana,” the male said, his rich voice laced with surprise.

Aylana, my name was Aylana.

Something clicked inside me. A mix of recognition, relief and fear flooded me as I heard the echo of different voices in my head calling that name. Some sounded loving, and others were full of rage and disdain.

I blinked. The vampire’s face was blurring. “I’m safe now, right?” I asked.

And then I was staring at the bone-colored ceiling, which meant I was half a second away from falling back on the floor…

Strong arms circled me, halting my fall. I reached out and my hand landed weakly against a firm chest, right above the thrumming beating of a heart that evoked relief I felt down to the center of my sore body.

Worried platinum eyes were the last thing I saw before darkness claimed me.


SEBASTIAN

I’m safe now, right?

What the Hells was that supposed to mean?

Aylana’s head lolled back, completely unconscious, probably comatose given the stench of silver and rotten magic stuck to her, overpowering the smell of her blood… Which was probably a good thing. Her heart’s cadence was slow and labored, both because of the massive blood loss and the poison invading her veins. She was pale, her usually tawny skin almost yellow. Dark circles surrounded her eyes like bruises, her long raven hair tangled and out of its usual braid.

Part of me wanted to leave her to her own luck. It served her right for all the ceaseless harassment she had subjected me to for weeks.

But my arms were refusing to let her go. Quite the opposite. I was drawing her smaller frame closer, lifting her off the floor and closing the door with my foot, nearly on autopilot.

It was a bad idea.

No, it was a terrible idea to settle the bleeding halfblood on the white leather couch.

And there was blood everywhere. My hands, my white shirt, her once light blue t-shirt, the sodden black jeans and jacket she wore. I removed her makeshift bandage, the knitted scarf I’d seen her wear several times before, and cursed.

The two-inch-long wound on the lower left side of her abdomen was viciously deep. It had almost run through her body. Still, the stab itself was far from being lethal to a semi-immortal like Aylana. I was certain she’d have healed in a matter of minutes if the wound had been made with a regular weapon.

But it wasn’t.

It had been inflicted with one of those magic-laced daggers gargoyles use to hunt us down.

I pulled the fabric of her shirt up to the edge of her black sports bra and cursed. Silver tendrils stretched from the wound, further than I expected; even if I rushed her to the hospital, it was unlikely they could fix the wound completely. Aylana would have crippling side effects for years, or perhaps the rest of her life.

Who’d done this? I wondered as I rolled up my sleeves. Gargoyles were not allowed in the city, so it seemed unlikely. I knew the cursed daggers could be obtained on the black market. But what kind of miserable coward would do this to Aylana?

The halfblood’s breathing turned shallow, her listless body shuddering without control.

I’d have all my answers once she was awake.

Lowering my fangs, I bit down on my inner forearm, cutting through a vein. The taste of my blood hit my tongue, and I pulled back, pouring the crimson liquid over Aylana’s wound. Her stomach rose and fell quickly, and her heartbeat sped up. Even while unconscious, I was certain she could feel the agonizing pain caused by the collision of my healing blood and the poison wreaking havoc in her system.

Not wasting time, I squeezed my forearm to draw more blood out of the rapidly closing wound, leaving a small puddle right above her navel. I called for my magic, that well of cool power that rose from my solar plexus and made my eyes shift into their vertical pupil, bright azure form, sharpening my eyesight. Dipping my finger in the small puddle of my blood, I drew a spell I’d seldom used before on her stomach, composed of a sacred geometric figure and glyphs. Blue magic ignited the blood, turning it into translucent energy that sank through Aylana’s skin, leaving behind a faint impression of the spell. A gasp came from the halfblood, her back arching. My heart raced. What if I’d made it worse? What if I killed her instead of healing her?

Ten slow—goddess, too slow—heartbeats later, Aylana let out a long breath and relaxed against the sofa. Her breathing and pulse stabilized.

Knowing it was going to give me heartburn—but that I had no other option if I wanted to make sure she healed as best as possible—I drew closer and licked her wound.

Hells, gargoyle sorcery was even more repugnant than I remembered. Her contaminated blood burned a fiery path down my stomach, despite being neutralized and diluted by my blood and magic.

Aylana’s heady, red-wine-like essence remained beneath the unpleasant flavor, however. It awakened part of the predator in me, but I beat it down into submission. Saliva flooded my mouth, which was good. I applied as much of it as I could to the wound. I let out a breath as the cut knitted itself back together and the bleeding stopped.

Feeling bizarrely exhausted, I sat back on the coffee table, watching the now steady rise and fall of Aylana’s chest, ignoring the desire to get up and drink a gallon of cold water until the sting in the back of my throat disappeared.

Her dark, damp hair looked like spilled ink on the white cushion. Her exquisite face—all sharp angles and high cheekbones softened by plump lips—was half swollen, bruised. The swift point of her left ear was bloody too, as if her eardrum had been pierced.

Someone had beaten her and stabbed her.

It was almost hard to believe anyone could cause so much damage to the feisty female. Half fey-half werewolves had the best traits of both races. Some shifted into their lupine forms, some didn’t, but they were strong as Hell, magically gifted, and healed at the same speed pure werewolves did. And Aylana could pack a punch. I knew that from experience.

So who had hurt her?

The daggers she usually had strapped to her legs were absent. So perhaps she was caught off guard?

I sighed, almost running a hand through my hair before I remembered the blood.

Why should I care?

Aylana was a part of Cayne’s pack. The self-righteous, annoying werewolf who patrolled the streets with his buddies, ‘protecting’ humans and supernaturals alike. Or so they claimed. Power should never be given to those who carry prejudices. I knew that all too well. And Cayne hated vampires, especially if they had royal blood as I did.

The enmity between vampires and werewolves had ended over a millennium ago when the church had received a ‘celestial blessing’ in the shape of the gargoyles and thousands of our species were cut down like wheat. But according to my sources, Cayne’s daddy was an old, mean bastard who upheld the age-old tradition of being a racist asshole.

And Aylana…

She was young, younger than me, but she had joined the ‘let’s harass and accuse the newcomer royal vampire of all the crimes in our town, shall we?’ crew at once. And alright, that was a bit my fault, too. I’d been an asshole to her in revenge for her baseless accusations.

Still, the smart thing to do would be to take Aylana to the nearest hospital, where her pack would no doubt find her. Let her be their problem and not mine before they accused me of being the one who had almost killed her.

Yes, that was definitely the best course of action.

But every instinct I have told me she’d be in mortal danger if I did.

And I had the feeling Aylana had felt the same way. Why the Hells would she have limped to the door of her greatest enemy if the hospital or her damn pack were the more logical options?

Her voice echoed in my head; I’m safe now, right?

Fuck.

Goddess helped us both, but yes, she was safe.

For now.

©Selene Kallan, 2022. Halfblood Betrayed.

___________________________________
HALFBLOOD BETRAYED is a spicy paranormal fantasy with enemies-to-lovers romance, action, mystery, and snark. Perfect for fans of Midnight Breed and Lost Girl. 
Tap the image to download or read with Kindle Unlimited💜


Disclaimer: violence, mentions of SA, gore, and steamy scenes 🌶️🌶️🌶️

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Motionless In White - Werewolf [Official Video]

I am so obsessed with this song! It's helped me write quite a few scenes. LYRICS: I can feel you, I can hear you, howling in my bones  ...