Sunday, May 17, 2020

Moonlight: Immortal Heritage 3 First Chapter.

MOONLIGHT Book 3 of my main Saga Immortal Heritage is days away from premiering! Enjoy the first chapter.


CHAPTER 1


DAHLIA


Night was falling.
I looked out the bus window, not really seeing anything; my mind was still reeling with memories of what happened that afternoon. Despite my damp hoodie and jeans, I wasn’t cold. Nick had his arm around my shoulders, pressing me against his warm body. I ventured a look to his face, his skin was pale, hazel eyes lost. He was more numb than me; the rage had turned into shock.
How else could he feel?
To know his adoptive brother and cousin—David—had murdered the first girl he’d ever loved while almost killing me was bad enough.
Things got worse when we discovered that his aunt—and adoptive mother—Sarah, had known the truth and hid it from him. And everything had gone to hell when his entire family had turned against me. Just because I am different.
Well, maybe different is a bit of an understatement.
A supernatural hybrid creature who feeds on the life-force and energy of others to survive would be more accurate. A succubus, half-vampire. That vampire half made Nick’s family want to tear me apart, quite literally since they were lycanthropes. Turns out movies weren’t that off. Some vampires and lycanthropes hate each other and make their life goal to chase and murder one another. One more testament to my rotten luck was that I had to run into 3 of them.
It didn’t have to be that way, Nick was also a lycanthrope, and he had learned to accept me despite the prejudices. He’d seen me as a friend and not a monster. Together we had learned that most of what he believed about my kind were lies. Eventually, friendship and understanding had turned into something stronger, something dangerous for both of us and those I cared for—my human adoptive family, Jenna, Cassie, and Brian. Innocent to the reality of my true nature. What would Jenna think when days went by and I didn’t return home?
The bus shook as it stopped; Nick straightened, blinking back into focus. His eyes looking for mine as the numbness faded, his emotions a turmoil much like mine. The other passengers were getting out of the bus.
I squeezed his warm hand. “We should get going.”
He swallowed hard and nodded, sliding his arm off my shoulders to take my hand and guide me to walk behind him. Always protecting me, even though he was fully aware of my powers.
“Wait,” I said. The smell of smog and the noise of the vehicles welcomed us as we stepped outside. “We should walk to the train station.”
He turned to me, his athletic 6-foot-3 frame towering over me. “I don’t have enough cash with me to pay for train tickets.”
I felt his anger and shame when admitting that. We had run away with nothing more than our mud-stained clothes and barely enough money to pay for the bus ride.
“I know,” I assured him. “I have a bag with some cash and clothes stashed in the train station.”
He nodded, and we made our way through the busy streets. His nervous vigilance of our surroundings echoed mine through our tangled fingers. I was an Empath, able to sense the moods and intentions of anyone around me; touch amplified that power. One of my several powers.
“Where were you planning to go?” I asked, hating the silence.
His mouth twitched. “I hadn’t planned that far ahead, to be honest. I just feel… restless.” He looked at me, attempting a faint smile. “But I’m sure you already knew that.”
My smile faltered too.
We walked hastily to the train station. The buzz of the many emotions surrounding me made me uneasy. I hated crowded places with a passion. The inside of the station was worse than the streets, and my stomach knotted. Nick let go of my hand, squeezing my shoulder reassuringly, allowing me to lead the way.
He stood beside me vigilantly while I fidgeted with the combination to open the locker. I felt sweet relief when I saw my bag there, as I had left it. Many months before I had considered running away, leaving my adoptive family behind—fearing to hurt them. But something had stopped me, and I had stayed in the small town of Lakeport with them.
“Ready,” I said once I had retrieved my belongings.
Nick nodded, leading us outside with his hand in mine. His uncertainty and despair echoed mine, rising and falling like waves in the ocean.
“I think it might be a good idea to rest,” he said. We stood on the sidewalk moving aside from the crowded entrance. “We need to clear our heads.”
“Just what I was thinking,” I admitted. “We can check into a hotel nearby and get a shower and some sleep.”
“How are you feeling? I should have asked before,” Nick whispered, taking my chin in his hand. He examined my right cheekbone, the one that had David had cracked a few hours before.
An involuntary shiver ran through me as I remembered how David had kicked me until several of my ribs broke. “Completely healed.”
Nick cocked a brow. “Dahlia.”
I sighed, he knew me too well for my sake. “A minor discomfort, nothing I can’t handle.”
He traced his thumb on my chin, and the world disappeared from sight. He had chosen me over his family, risked his life to save me. I had only one word for the feeling that bubbled between us, overpowering the raging fears and concern.
He leaned forward and pressed his warm lips on my forehead. “Let’s go.”
His warm breath tickled over my cool skin as I looked up at him. “Okay.”
***

The receptionist had given us a once over until I paid in cash. The hotel wasn’t exactly fancy, but it was good, and we looked like hell. The cream-colored room was simple, with two single beds, a bathroom, and a window instead of a balcony.
I dropped the bag on the bed near the door.
“Take the one further from the door,” Nick said. “Just in case.”
Just in case a bunch of crazy lycans tried to kill us.
“Okay,” I moved to the other bed and opened the bag, offering him one of my oversize hoodies.
He took it, looking at his green, mud-stained shirt. “Thanks.”
“You go first,” I suggested pointing to the bathroom. He agreed wordlessly and closed the bathroom door behind him.
I let myself fall back on the bed, closing my eyes as I expanded my senses, looking for impending danger. I regretted it when my empathy amplified more than usual, giving me more information than necessary. A depressed female presence, a couple having sex, guilty sex at that which led me to believe they were having an affair.
Satisfied with knowing there was no danger, and disturbed by the sharpening of my power, I willed myself to focus back on us.
My heart raced as I felt Nick’s anger and sorrow reach new levels.



NICK


The warm water did little to ease my tense muscles.
Every time I closed my eyes, flashes of memories I’d try to bury for months clouded my thoughts. Katie, the human girl I had loved broken and dead in my arms, David’s disdainful smile when I was mourning her at the funeral. His petty commentaries about how I needed to get over it. And worse than that, Sarah echoing the same, trying to force me to forget Katie, knowing her own son had killed her.
I restrained myself from hitting the tile wall, knowing I would end up making a hole in it. How could Sarah do that? A woman I had considered a mother. How could both she and Cal let David get away with murdering a 16-year-old girl? Why was David so hellbent on killing those I love?
If I hadn’t pulled him off Dahlia early that afternoon… Dahlia was strong, and a decent fighter, but not a match for a lycanthrope with years of training and brutal strength. Not even I was a match for David. We took him down together; I doubted we could’ve done so separately.
“We will have plenty of time to kill it,” Sarah had snarled, referring to Dahlia.
Never. I would rather die right than before allowing them to hurt her.
I did my best to wash the green shirt in the sink. Putting on my black jeans and Dahlia’s black hoodie before stepping out.
She was sitting on the bed waiting for me, her sapphire eyes wide with worry. With her usual fluid moves, she got up and walked to stand in front of me. I pulled her close, resting my chin on the top of her head. She sighed against my chest. The pain eased when I held her in my arms, my heartbeat synchronizing with hers. The only one I could trust, my only friend.
“I’m sorry,” she said. Her melodic voice breaking.
I took her chin, prodding her to her look at me. “This is not your fault, it’s theirs and no one else’s.”
Her elegant features contorted in sadness.
She nodded and moved to get some clothes out of her black bag before entering the bathroom. I ran my fingers through my hair, sitting on the bed by the door. What were we going to do? Where would we be safe? We couldn’t go too far, we needed to make sure Dahlia’s very human adoptive family remained safe.
My eyes landed on Dahlia’s bag, wondering what she had stored there.
“Go ahead, have a look,” came her voice from the shower.
I felt a smile tug on my lips. Her empathy made it difficult to hide anything. It was almost as good as if she could read my mind.
There were some clothes, a taser, and a pair of black tennis shoes in the biggest pocket. I opened the next zipper and my jaw dropped when I saw the amount of cash stored there.
“Did you rob a bank?” I half-joked.
“Not exactly,” she replied, the water was still running. “It’s only a minor part of what mom left for me.”
The grief was clear as day in her voice. Her mother had died a few years back in a car crash; Dahlia would have died too if it weren’t for her vampire side.
Her immortal heritage.
Eager to distract myself, I counted the money; she’d tied with elastic bands in thick rolls. Different denominations. A little over $50.000.
“What did your mother do for a living?” I mused, she heard me nevertheless. The shower was turned off now.
“She was an artist, drawing, painting, she also wrote her own music.”
I lifted my head as the door opened. Dahlia was drying her short dark hair with a towel, her eyes glazed and sad.
“She also gave music lessons, persuading even the less invested kids to learn to play the piano,” her full lips lifted in a sad smile. “She made time to volunteer in a dog shelter.”
She shook her head, closing the bathroom door to sit beside me. “Being honest, I don’t know where the money came from, family inheritance was the answer I got the few times I asked.”
I closed the bag, tossing it by the nightstand; wrapping my arm around her waist.
She leaned against my shoulder with a lengthy sigh. “I can’t help but wonder if Jenna and the kids are safe. What if your family doesn’t buy your threat?”
To keep Dahlia and her adoptive family safe, I’d threatened Cal, Sarah, and David with contacting the Jaeger—human lunatics who hunt down supernatural beings in the name of protecting humans from “demons”. A load of shit they made up centuries ago to feel better about being murderers.
I moved a lock of her hair behind her ear, the blonde roots were showing. “Cal and Sarah know I can find the hunters, there’s a sizeable group of them camouflaged as a religious congregation. One call to the hunters pretending I’m a scared human, and they’re screwed.”
“Have you ever ran into one of them?” Dahlia asked, searching for my eyes.
I swallowed, a shower of memories making way in my already troubled mind. “Yes. A group of those bastards tried to kill my real parents once. Others succeeded.”
Dahlia gasped, her eyes widening.
“We were living in this tiny village in the middle of the forest, a few human families who worked on woodcutting like father lived nearby.” Rage bubbled up, remembering. “They didn’t care if the humans fell to, they burned much of the forest and the homes trying to get us. Mom and dad stopped them and save the families. But it was awful.”
I felt Dahlia’s anger echo mine. “I’m so sorry. How old were you?”
I sighed. “3, it was one year before they died.”
Dahlia blinked, her brow furrowing. “I can remember with full clarity things that happened when I was 1-year-old, a supernatural trait I assume?”
I nodded, her eyes questioning, I knew what she didn’t want to ask aloud. “One year later the hunters killed them. In front of me. Sarah, Cal and the others saved me, but didn’t get there in time to save them.”
She caressed my cheek. There was no need for words. She tried and failed to stifle a yawn; I followed.
“Off to bed, you need to rest.”
“So do you,” she replied.
I shook my head. “I should stand guard.”
She pursed her lips. “I don’t think it’s necessary. If something is off, I’ll feel it even in my sleep.”
I was going to argue, but she cut me off. “You need to sleep too.”
She was right; I was more tired than usual and slightly sore. A sign that soon I would go through the change, becoming a complete lycanthrope. A thought I didn’t want to dwell on.
“Okay,” I relented.
We got up, she slid inside the covers. I tucked her in.
She blushed, biting her lip. “Nick? I don’t want to sleep alone.”
“Me neither,” I confessed. I turned the lights off, Dahlia’s eyes slightly shining in the darkness.
I got under the covers, her head resting on my shoulder, my arm around her waist.
“Goodnight,” I murmured, kissing the top of her head.
“Goodnight,” she whispered, placing her arm across my stomach.
______________________________________________________
©Selene Kallan, 2020





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