Saturday, 18 October 2014


Genre:  YA Paranormal


Katalina Winter has been living for eighteen years with a secret, hidden inside of her, a secret not even she knew.

With this secret comes consequences, expectations, one's she's not willing to fulfill; she'll give her heart to whom she wishes, even if he is, a Dark Shadow wolf...

Join Katalina as she navigates her way through this world at war, where the alpha is law, and only the strong survive. You will see the power of true love, and the length's people will go to destroy it. 

**Please note this is a YA Stand alone novel, no cliffhangers**

  Book links: **99CENTS SALE ON NOW**

Pre- Order Amazon CA

Hey Guys!

I'm completely in love with this cover! And super excited to hear what everyone thinks, I need to thank Mae I Design for her amazing design skills. 
I've been very busy lately, writing and looking after my baby boy, who has just turned 5 months! It felt like he was born 5 mins ago!
I'm very excited to have Winter Wolf out to you on November 29th, which also happens to be my birthday... Just saying! ;)

Then I'll be locking myself away in hopes of having Holocaust ready for Feb 1015, I'm a little sad to see this series end but I have a feeling we'll be back in Lexia and Lincolns world pretty soon!

Anywhoo, take a look at the cover and if you want to one click this baby! It's on sale right now for 99cents! 

I hope you Like Katalina and Bass as much as I do!

Rach x

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Thursday, 20 March 2014

Breaking My Heart Cover Reveal

We are so excited to share this gorgeous Cover for Aleya Michelle's upcoming book

Breaking My Heart


What happens when the one you thought you would spend forever with decides that ‘he still loves you but is not ready to settle down' he tells you 'maybe we will meet again later in life'. Ouch now that hurts. Would you let go? Would you give up? Or would you fight with every ounce of your soul...... Roxy is a fighter, she is strong and independent. Definitely not one to let her guard down, she has been burnt too many times! Her stone walls are unbreakable....... Well at least they were......She thought that the new guy she met, Kade, was cute, sweet, and innocent and would make a good toy to play with. He blushes when she gets near him......... Will Roxy chew him up and spit him out or will he break down her walls and find the map to her heart........



Unedited & Subject to change etc.

Fuck you make me hot Roxy. I’ve never been so turned on in my entire existence. Your curvaceous body, lips made for kissing and skin so soft and untouched. I am so greedy when it comes to you, so get used to sex morning, noon and night from here to eternity princess.

Kade – Breaking My Heart

Author Bio

Born and raised in Sydney, NSW I am happily married with 3 gorgeous boys. My first love has always been reading, so the writing side is very natural to me. Favourite books include anything by: Abbi Glines, but Fallen too Far is a favourite, Pulse & Collide by Gail McHugh and The Driven trilogy by K Bromberg. Hobbies of mine are playing netball; shopping and I love my music. I add it into my writing frequently. I am totally enjoying this rollercoaster of being an Indie author and hoping others enjoy my writing as much as I love writing it


RELEASE DAY BLITZ – Monday 21st April 2014 Hosted by HEA Bookshelf Link for bloggers sign up:

Books to follow in this trilogy

Book 2 – ‘Healing My Heart ‘due for release mid 2014 Book 3 – ‘Forever in My Heart’ due for release Oct/Nov 2014.

Facebook Page | Twitter Link: @aleyamichelle | Goodreads

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Unfinished Song (Book 1): Initiate by Tara Maya

The Unfinished Song (Book 1): Initiate by Tara Maya

Dindi can't do anything right, maybe because she spends more time dancing with pixies than doing her chores. Her clan hopes to marry her off and settle her down, but she dreams of becoming a Tavaedi, one of the powerful warrior-dancers whose secret magics are revealed only to those who pass a mysterious Test during the Initiation ceremony. The problem? No-one in Dindi's clan has ever passed the Test. Her grandmother died trying. But Dindi has a plan.

Kavio is the most powerful warrior-dancer in Faearth, but when he is exiled from the tribehold for a crime he didn't commit, he decides to shed his old life. If roving cannibals and hexers don't kill him first, this is his chance to escape the shadow of his father's wars and his mother's curse. But when he rescues a young Initiate girl, he finds himself drawn into as deadly a plot as any he left behind. He must decide whether to walk away or fight for her... assuming she would even accept the help of an exile.

Blue-skinned rusalki grappled Dindi under the churning surface of the river. She could feel their claws dig into her arms. Their riverweed-like hair entangled her legs when she tried to kick back to the surface. She only managed to gulp a few breaths of air before they pulled her under again.

She hadn't appreciated how fast and deep the river was. On her second gasp for air, she saw that the current was already dragging her out of sight of the screaming girls on the bank. A whirlpool of froth and fae roiled between two large rocks in the middle of the river. The rusalka and her sisters tugged Dindi toward it. Other water fae joined the rusalki. Long snouted pookas, turtle-like kappas and hairy-armed gwyllions all swam around her, leading her to the whirlpool, where even more fae swirled in the whitewater.

"Join our circle, Dindi!" the fae voices gurgled under the water. "Dance with us forever!"

"No!" She kicked and swam and stole another gasp for air before they snagged her again. There were so many of them now, all pulling her down, all singing to the tune of the rushing river. She tried to shout, "Dispel!" but swallowed water instead. Her head hit a rock, disorienting her. She sank, this time sure she wouldn't be coming up again.

"Dispel!" It was a man's voice.

Strong arms encircled her and lifted her until her arms and head broke the surface. Her rescuer swam with her toward the shore. He overpowered the current, he shrugged aside the hands of the water faeries stroking his hair and arms. When he reached the shallows, he scooped Dindi into his arms and carried her the rest of the way to the grassy bank. He set her down gently.

She coughed out some water while he supported her back.

"Better?" he asked.

She nodded. He was young--only a few years older than she. The aura of confidence and competence he radiated made him seem older. Without knowing quite why, she was certain he was a Tavaedi.

"Good." He had a gorgeous smile. A wisp of his dark bangs dangled over one eye. He brushed his dripping hair back over his head.

Dindi's hand touched skin--he was not wearing any shirt. Both of them were sopping wet. On him, that meant trickles of water coursed over a bedrock of muscle. As for her, the thin white wrap clung transparently to her body like a wet leaf. She blushed.

"It might have been easier to swim if you had let go of that," he teased. He touched her hand, which was closed around something. "What were you holding onto so tightly that it mattered more than drowning?"

Tara’s blog
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Initiate is free everywhere except on Barnes and Noble (where it’s $0.99). You can download a free .epub version via Smashwords.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Orange Blossom Cover Reveal

Orange Blossom will be the penultimate title in Sarah Daltry's bestselling New Adult romance series, Flowering. The reading order and information about the other titles follows. orange_blossom

Title: Orange Blossom

Author: Sarah Daltry

Cover Design: Shoutlines Design

18+ New Adult Contemporary Romance

Release Date: April 4, 2014

"I’ve never understood a year. A year was always a measurement of something bad for me. A year in my father’s prison sentence, a year since my mom’s death, a year left of school before I could get far, far away from here. Now, as I look down the end of my college career, with only a little more than a semester to go, a year seems like something magical. It has been a year since Lily chose me, since she sat with me on the old swing set and made a decision that I was worthy of her. And every minute of the entire year has been better than the last." You already know their stories: Lily, the perfect princess, always living someone else's life. And Jack, the broken boy, who had stopped believing in hope. Somehow, though, they found each other and what was one night blossomed into a love story. Now, a year later, Jack and Lily are dreaming of the future. Despite all of his promises to himself that he would never be indebted to anyone, Jack makes a new promise - this time to Lily - that he will be there for her forever. But when life unravels for them, he starts to pull away, and Lily worries he's out of reach for good. When Jack does the unthinkable, Lily is left destroyed. Is it possible to have a happily ever after? Does love ever really save anyone? Listen to the Playlist or watch the Trailer! Series Reading Order: Forget Me Not, Lily of the Valley, and Blue Rose can be read in any order. There is some crossover in scenes between the titles, but each stands alone as one character's story. Star of Bethlehem is a direct continuation from Forget Me Not and Lily of the Valley. Orange Blossom and Ambrosia (releasing June 6, 2014) assume readers have read the other four titles and read as sequels. In essence, the first three are #1, Star of Bethlehem is #1.5, Orange Blossom is #2, and Ambrosia is #3.

FMNTitle: Forget Me Not (Lily’s Story)

Author: Sarah Daltry

Cover: Shoutlines Design

18+ New Adult contemporary romance

This is a coming of age story, but it isn't always sweet and innocent. If dirty talk, bedroom toys, and threesomes offend you... this is not your book. "No one tells you when you start school just how homesick you will be, or how hard it will be to start life over with no direction and no friends or family. No one says that becoming your own person is terrifying." I never wanted anything but Derek, my brother's best friend. When I chose a college, it didn't seem to matter that he would be an hour away. We could survive it. After all, we were in love. But almost immediately, things change between us. I blame myself. Maybe I'm just not sure how to be a girlfriend and independent. Life seems to be getting away from me - and then there's Jack, the guy down the hall. He's rude and vulgar and my parents would be shocked by him, yet every single time I see him, I feel like I'm being pulled toward him. It's physical, sure, but there's something in Jack's eyes - and I want to know him. I know I don't always make the right choices, and I'm the only person at fault when everything falls apart. How do I tell Derek, the guy who was supposed to be everything, that I don't feel like fighting for him anymore? And do I run to Jack, when I know his past is way too much for me to handle when I've just turned 19? Finally, where do I end up in all of this? Can I be more than just someone else's idea of what I should be? Buy it Now! Listen to the Playlist or watch the Trailer!

LotVTitle: Lily of the Valley (Jack’s story)

Author: Sarah Daltry

Cover: Shoutlines Design

18+ New Adult contemporary romance

Jack's story isn't pretty. He's suicidal, depressed, and he uses meaningless sex and alcohol to survive. However, the story is about finding light in the darkness, but sometimes the road there isn't always easy to walk. "No one tells you about pain. They tell you that it hurts, that sometimes it's consuming. What they don't tell you is that it's not the pain that can kill you. It's the uncomfortable numbness that follows, the weakness in your body when you realize your lungs may stop taking in air and you just can't exert enough energy to care. It's the way taste and color and smell fade from the world and all you're left with is a sepia print of misery. That's when the shift starts - the movement from passive to active. I fall asleep, hoping that the morning will bring back the pain. At least the pain is a thing." I'm a plague, a cancer. My mom is dead - and my father is in prison for it. I survived high school because college was my way out. I needed to escape, to get away from my family and the people who tortured me, but it hasn't grown any easier. I don't pretend that I'm a good person. I drink far more than I should, and I use my best friend, Alana, because together, we thrive on destroying each other - as well as the parts of us we hate. I don't believe in love, but sex is fun and it also makes me feel something. The morning I see Lily, the beautiful princess who smells inexplicably like strawberries every time I see her, I realize I'm in trouble. I should hate her. I want to hate her, because the alternative terrifies me. However, as she continues to crash into my life (often literally), I can't avoid feeling something that is the one thing I swore I would never feel. I can't fall in love, because people like me don't live in a world where love saves anyone. She just won't go away, though, and I don't know if I can keep running. The voices and the darkness hover over me and they threaten to bring me back to the safety of my hate, but the stupid scent of strawberries lingers on the horizon, as something like hope. Buy it Now! Listen to the Playlist or watch the Trailer!

BR_frontTitle: Blue Rose (Alana’s story)

Author: Sarah Daltry

Cover Design: Shoutlines Design

Warning: This book deals with topics of abuse and may trigger reactions in people who have experienced those things in their own lives. It remains a story about healing, but it's not always an easy journey. "Four. My life has been shaped by four people. Four men, to be more specific. My father, my stepfather, my best friend, and my boyfriend. The first two shaped it in horrible ways, but what I am, who I am, is all because of four men." Over the last twenty years, I've learned how to keep secrets. It doesn't really matter, since everyone already seems to think they know everything about me. So I hide. I avoid confrontation, I treat Xanax like a magic pill that will make it all go away, and I become everything they think I am. A slut. A whore. Nothing but trash. I can only name two guys who have ever made me feel like I was more than that. Jack is my best friend and I've loved him since I met him. Now, though, he's in love... with someone else, and I guess I need to get over him. Somehow. And then there's Dave. The guy I never gave a chance. The guy I used almost as much as people used me, because I wanted to pretend I was someone worth loving. Two years have passed since we last spoke, but I don't know how to stop thinking about him. My new therapist is making me face my past, and she tells me that life inevitably changes without our permission. I believe it, but I know what I am. I hear what she's saying to me, and I want to try again with Dave, to help Jack find joy, to love myself, and to move on. I just wonder if anyone can do that, really. Buy it Now! Listen to the Playlist or watch the Trailer!

SoBTitle: Star of Bethlehem

Author: Sarah Daltry

Cover: Shoutlines Design

18+ NA contemporary romance

This is a holiday novella-length story that follows Forget Me Not and Lily of the Valley. "With you, Jack, it was the first time I ever felt real. It was the first time anyone looked at me and saw substance. It was the first time I wanted to make someone see me." Jack: New Year's Eve. I've somehow managed to get here, and now I'm wearing a hideous and unreasonably itchy sweater, because I want to impress Lily's family. I want to do anything for this girl who has made me believe in second chances. Lily: The house is beautiful and shining with light, but it feels empty. At least until Jack gets here. I know how desperately he wants this - a family, love, a home. If I can be the person who can give it to him, it's all I need, but I hope I can keep him from seeing how hollow it all really is. Buy it Now! Listen to the Playlist or watch the Trailer! button.2About the Author: Sarah Daltry writes about the regular people who populate our lives. She's written works in various genres - romance, erotica, fantasy, horror. Genre isn't as important as telling a story about people and how their lives unfold. Sarah tends to focus on YA/NA characters but she's been known to shake it up. Most of her stories are about relationships - romantic, familial, friendly - because love and empathy are the foundation of life. It doesn't matter if the story is set in contemporary NY, historical Britain, or a fantasy world in the future - human beings are most interesting in the ways they interact with others. This is the principle behind all of Sarah's stories. Sarah has spent most of her life in school, from her BA and MA in English and writing to teaching both at the high school and college level. She also loves studying art history and really anything because learning is fun. When Sarah isn't writing, she tends to waste a lot of time checking Facebook for pictures of cats, shooting virtual zombies, and simply staring out the window. Sarah has also written Bitter Fruits, an urban fantasy romance, and Backward Compatible, a gamer geek romantic comedy. Author Social Media Links: Website: Facebook: Twitter: Pinterest: Tumblr:

Saturday, 1 February 2014


Blue Rose By Sarah Daltry

Book Info:
Title: Blue Rose, a Flowering novel
Author: Sarah Daltry
Release Date: 2/1/2014
Publisher: SDE Press
Cover Design: Shoutlines Design


“Four. My life has been shaped by four people. Four men, to be more specific. My father, my stepfather, my best friend, and my boyfriend. The first two shaped it in horrible ways, but what I am, who I am, is all because of four men.” 

Alana Reardon has secrets. Some of them are too dark to tell, but everyone already thinks they know anyhow. At 20, she takes too many pills, hides the parts of her that she hates, and willingly becomes the person that they think she is. A slut. A whore. Trash.

There have only been two guys who ever saw Alana as more: Jack, the guy she can’t get over, and Dave, the one who never got over her.

With the help of therapy, facing her past, and the inevitable ways that life changes without your permission, can Alana learn to stop blaming herself? Can she allow love into her life? Is she ready to move on?

Warning: This book deals with topics of abuse and may trigger reactions in people who have experienced those things in their own lives. 


Later that day, at lunch, I had just found a seat by the window when he sat across from me. I was used to sitting alone. He didn’t say anything, and he had nothing to eat. He looked up at me, though, after a few minutes, and his eyes did it again. I hated my body, hated the way I looked, hated that somehow I owed my body and my looks to everyone else. But when Jack looked at me, I wanted to let someone touch me. I wanted him to hold me. He felt like safety.
It didn’t even make sense. He was just a broken kid, like me. He always wore the same threadbare hoodie. Most days, it covered his head. He was cute, but awkward. His hair was too long and usually greasy. His Chucks were a little too big, so they looked a little like clown shoes. Yet those gorgeous eyes were all I cared about. I hadn’t considered guys at all. I didn’t find them attractive, and I certainly couldn’t see the appeal of sex or of intimacy. With Jack, though, the thought of him near me didn’t make me nauseous.
“Do you want my orange?” I asked him.
“Are you sure?”
It wasn’t a groundbreaking question. But it was how I knew that what I naturally felt for Jack was right. Because no one had ever asked me that. No one had asked if I minded, if I was sure, if something was okay. They just took things.
He took it and I handed him my knife. It was flimsy plastic and wouldn’t even pierce the rind, so I took the orange back and peeled it with my fingernails. Jack just watched me and, when I handed him the orange, now peeled, he smiled. His upper lip curled more than it should have and he looked silly, smiling at an orange. But he drew the same smile from me.
“Thank you,” he said, and he pulled two slices free from the whole and handed them back to me. I didn’t eat them right away. I just watched him eat his part. He was messy and he ended up covering himself in the juices. He unzipped his hoodie after the orange squirted down the front. Underneath, he was wearing a washed out blue T-shirt with a train on it. He looked ten.
“Nice shirt,” I teased.
He looked down. “I live with my grandmother. She has no concept of clothes.”
“It’s cute.”
He smiled again and it was less awkward this time. “Do you live with your grandmother, too?”
I was wearing a huge black sweater over baggy black pants. “No. I just… I don’t like people looking at me.”
“Yeah. I get that.”
He didn’t tell me that I was too pretty to dress the way I did; he didn’t say my body was too good to hide. He just went back to eating his orange, letting the juice spill all over the train shirt. We were fourteen, but I already knew Jack would always be the only thing that mattered in my future.

My Review

5 big stars
I've just finished reading this book after buying it this morning, some books you read and there good and then there are some books that stay with you forever. You finish them and can't quite put into words what they made you feel.
This is one of those books, the way Sarah writes Alana's story is breathtaking; she makes you feel so many emotions at once that you're not sure whether to laugh or cry. At some points you'll want to jump into the book and shake Alana, tell her what a mistake that would be but as Alana says

"Real life doesn’t have a happily ever after and, like I said, this is no fairy tale. But it’s a story and it’s my story..."
Sarah writes stories about real life, she doesn't candy coat them and that's what makes them so good, so real; real life has mistakes you'll regret and happy moments that will get you through the bad.

I would recommend this book and any of Sarah's other books to anyone, she really is a gifted author, I hope she carry's on with Alana's story as I'd love to read more about her and maybe you never know, happily ever after may just be possible after all...

Sunday, 26 January 2014


Chapter 1

Her feet pounded on the pavement as she raced down the dirty backstreets of Deadwood; the night had turned cool turning each heavy breath into a misty vapor.
They’re so fast, she thought, why didn’t I stay in tonight? Just for some stupid party! Now I’m being chased by these... these... things. What are they?
Lexia turned the corner, stumbling on the uneven curb, and gasped as she came to a dead end.
She whirled around to see the three creatures circling her. Fear closed her throat; she tried to scream but nothing would come out. Her eyes widened in fright as they flashed their razor sharp teeth at her. Vampires?
They had blood-red eyes and pale ghostly skin stretched tight over hard angular bones; they looked like the living dead! And they were going to kill her.
Lexia backed into the wall, her hands grazing along the rough surface, wishing she could somehow melt into it. She felt so frightened and her body shook in terror as tears silently streamed down her face. I’m sorry, Dad, she thought as they all leapt at once; a whimper left her lips as she curled into a ball, their razor sharp nails slashing at her skin, gouging into her flesh. She cried out in pain, fear crushing her mind, blackness taking over, when...
Lexia felt her mind go blank and the pain... it was torture as adrenaline rushed through her veins, charging her muscles with strength, taking over her body. With a cry she stood up throwing the vampires off her; it all happened so quickly, she tore them limb from limb like a crazed animal until there was nothing left but her quivering body soaked in blood. A metallic bitter smell filled her nostrils; she could hear her heavy breaths, and looking around all she saw was red, death, and darkness.
Lexia stood for what felt like hours looking upon the scene before her; the torn bodies slowly rotted in front of her eyes, then panic bubbled to the surface as she finally got her voice back and she screamed, screamed so hard her throat burned. Tears ran down her blood-stained face as she realized what she’d done - she’d created this darkness, she’d caused their deaths.
People running to her cries could be heard in the distance; snapping back to reality, Lexia looked around one last time, how do I explain this? I can’t. She ran into the night not paying attention to the direction she took or the fact that she could now run faster than she ever had before. Lexia just thought of putting one foot in front of the other, of the vibrations travelling up each foot as it pounded on the pavement.
Lexia woke early the next morning on the forest floor; her body felt stiff with the dried blood that coated her skin. As her brain slowly remembered the previous night she shot up on her feet, spinning around, bracing to attack.
But she was alone, surrounded only by tall pine trees, their needles littered the floor and stuck to her clothes. Lexia glanced around herself one last time and then shot off through the trees to her home. ‘Dad’s going to freak if I don’t get home in time!’ As that thought drifted through her head, Lexia somehow found the energy to run faster. Five minutes later she stood at the edge of the trees that lined her garden. There were no signs of life in the old wooden house, so she ran to the trellis below her window climbing with an ease she’d never had before. She got back in her room and under the duvet as her dad poked his head around the door.
“Time to get up Lex, sweetie.”
Lexia’s dad, Mike, had raised her on his own since her mother, Lucy, had walked out when Lexia was 5 months old. Lexia had only one picture of her mother, it was taken when she had just been born; Lucy was looking down at her baby, her pale blond hair covering her face. Lexia didn’t know what she looked like but sometimes she would dream of a woman with blond hair singing to her.
Lexia had asked her dad if her mother had sung to her as a child but he would never answer her questions about her mother; he always closed up and snapped at her as if the mere thought of Lucy caused him pain. Lexia had tried to come to terms with the fact that she would never know her mother and the reason she’d been left behind; but sometimes, no matter how hard Lexia tried, she would long to meet her mother.
As her dad walked down the stairs, Lexia got up and looked at herself in the full-length mirror that hung on the back of the door.
Her long boots were torn and the leather stained darker on the toes and ankles; her hands trailed over her shredded jeans. The back of her blouse was also in ribbons. She took it off looking at her torn skin and where it had already started to heal, some gashes were just faint, red lines. Stripping off the rest of her clothes, Lexia stood looking at herself in her underwear. Even with all the muck and blood that stained her skin, she couldn’t miss the subtle changes to her body. Her stomach was just that tiny bit tighter, the slightest hints of a six pack showing. In fact her whole body just seemed more refined; as she moved forward muscles shifted under her skin. Lexia looked closely at a slash across her cheek and gasped as it started to heal. She watched in horror as the flesh knitted back together, felt the tingling, stabbing sensation, and then prodded her finger against the red scar line as it disappeared.
“What has happened to me?” she whispered against her fingers.
She wanted to hide, to run, to cry, but then she noticed her eyes and how they had changed. No longer were they just a clear, crystal blue but blue with a fine rim of gold lining the pupil. She couldn’t hide from this; there was something wrong with her, the evidence staring back at her every time she looked in a mirror.
Lexia started to back away from the mirror. She couldn’t seem to tear her eyes away from the person staring back at her. She could feel herself trembling and hear the galloping rhythm of her heart. So many emotions bombarded her as she decided whether to call for help or hide away from the world. She stumbled forward as the back of her legs hit the foot of her bed. “What am I?” she squeaked.
“Lexia, everything alright?” her Dad called up the stairs.
She didn’t answer at first. Am I okay?
“Yeah... fine, Dad. Just tripped,” she called. Her eyes hardening, she could never tell a soul.
Lexia dashed across the hall and locked herself in the bathroom. She stepped into the bath, turning on the shower and watched as the water turned red at her feet from the near-scalding cascade skimming over her body. She stared at the pale blue walls of the bathroom, the night before playing over and over in her head and she wondered whether she had gone mad, whether everything that had happened had just been a dream. Then she glanced down to the pink water pooled at her feet and realized she wasn’t mad. The blood washing off her body wasn’t make-believe and the cuts and scrapes that covered her skin had been made from the sharp nails of vampires, but the scariest thing of all - magically watching her skin heal. What am I? she thought again.

Chapter 2

The school day had dragged, and Lexia struggled to listen to anything in class. Thank god school’s nearly over, she thought. Her friend Alice was talking to her now as they walked down the bustling school hall, the sounds of lockers banging and the shouts and calls of students echoed off the walls. Alice was talking about a party later but Lexia was finding it hard to pay attention. She looked at her friend and thought about how quickly things had changed. Alice had now moved on to babbling about some boy but her voice just blurred into background noise and Lexia turned her thoughts to more serious subjects. What had happened to her eyes and how had she killed those vampires? Vampires existed - how was that possible?
“Lex, are you even listening to me? Lexia!”
Lexia focused on Alice’s petite face, her big brown eyes glaring at her in frustration. Alice had a sprinkling of freckles over her cheeks and nose and her blond hair was pulled back into a ponytail. Alice always dressed up-to- date with the latest fashion and spent most of her time worrying over her looks and the latest boy she liked. They had an easy friendship, one with no secrets or lies. Until now; why can’t I just go back to worrying about boys and which parties I should attend? God why do I have to keep replaying last night? Their blood red eyes, the feeling of power...
Sorry, Alice, can’t do the party, I’m working.”
She had a shift at the local diner tonight. It didn’t pay much, but she was saving for college so she could get out of this small town.
“Oh, that’s crap, I’m not going alone.”
“You could always come keep me company.”
“No, thank you, I am not sitting there bored all night.”
Lexia smiled to herself, Alice was allergic to hard work or being anywhere near it. They walked out of the school doors together. Lexia was lost in thought again, but she heard Alice this time. “Got time for a quick coffee before work?”
“It will have to be quick.” She smiled at Alice’s face, how hard she had it, having to spend a night alone.
They headed out of school and walked the short distance to the local coffee shop all the students used. The door chimed as they walked in and Lexia rushed for the last two remaining sofa chairs in the far corner.
“Grab me a sandwich and cake, too, please Alice.”
Lexia sat watching her friend impatiently tapping her foot on the polished wooden floors as she waited in line and Lexia smiled to herself; they were complete opposites, Lexia laid back and breezy and Alice impatient and fiery, but they complemented each other perfectly and had been best friends since the moment they met on the first day of school. Alice was the only one of Lexia’s friends who knew about her mother leaving her, the only one who knew Lexia was much older than all the other students in her year. Lexia told her everything and for the first time in her life she had something that not even Alice could know.
Alice put down their food and then plonked herself in the chair opposite. She looked at Lexia and frowned at her troubled expression, “Hey, Lex.”
Lexia looked up, “Yeah?”
“Are you alright? I mean, you seem really distant; you’d tell me if something was wrong?”
Should I tell her the truth? “I’m fine, honestly,” she said with a plastered smile on her face.
Lexia spent the next thirty minutes forcing herself to pay attention to every word Alice said. Fortunately Alice was the talkative one out of the duo and did most of the talking. As long as Lexia added a comment or two, Alice was happy and when they parted ways, Lexia thought she’d done a good job at convincing her she was okay.
As Lexia walked down the long driveway to her house she stopped; looking into the forest, she could have sworn someone was there. Quickening her pace she made it to the house and bolted the door behind her. The strangest feeling had come over her; the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end and every nerve in her body felt like it was electrified. Waiting, Lexia watched for movement in the trees but when nothing stirred, she ran up the stairs and threw herself on the bed with a sigh. “I’m losing my mind,” she muttered.
She’d never been one to be afraid of being alone, but right now she seemed to jump at every shadow. She felt as if her body was on high alert, ready and willing to attack at a moment’s notice. But if she wasn’t mad then that meant the world of the supernatural was real and Lexia couldn’t decide which was more frightening.
Three hours later, Lexia looked at herself in the mirror. She was hiding out in the bathroom at Lucky’s Diner. Everyone kept mentioning her eyes; she’d tried to avoid eye contact with people but that proved hard when she had to serve them. Taking a deep breath she stepped back out into the diner, chanting the lie she’d been telling everyone all night: it’s just a play of the light, it’s just a play of the light. Who the fuck am I kidding? You’re a freak, Lex. Well, only 5 hours left, she thought with a sigh.
The night turned out to be pretty busy, keeping Lexia from dwelling on her worries. Twenty minutes before closing, the door chimed; Lexia stiffened as a chill over her skin slivered over her skin. Looking up she saw a man take a seat in front of her. He was tall and well-built, the kind of man she and Alice would drool over, and his eyes were so light brown they could have been gold. He smiled at her but there was nothing friendly about it, the kind of smile that whispered of danger and excitement. Lexia gulped and the hairs on the back of her neck bristling.
“What can I get you?” She smiled back, squaring her shoulders.
“Just a coffee, black.” His voice was a deep, rough rumble that made goose bumps appear up her arms. Turning to fetch his coffee, she felt his eyes on her every move as a lion would stalk its prey. There was definitely something about this guy, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. He felt off but not in a run for your life way. He was dangerous, but enticingly so.
Shaking her head, she returned with his coffee. As he reached out to take it from her, his finger brushed hers sending a jolt of heat up her arm. Gasping she lost her grip on the mug and it started to fall. The man’s arm shot out so quickly all she saw was a blur. Chuckling, he said, “Careful now, love.” And placed the cup on the counter.
“S-Sorry.” She turned and started to head out back needing to put some distance between herself and this strange-eyed man.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
Lexia froze not sure whether to tell him her name. Argh, stop being so paranoid, he’s probably just being polite.
Lexia turned and looked at him again, his eyes twinkled in mischief as he slowly took a sip from his drink. They never left her as his lips touched the rim of the mug. She felt trapped by his gaze, like looking into the eyes of a great hunter before he made his kill. She was a helpless rabbit caught in headlights; she had no choice but to answer, “Lexia, but most people call me Lex.”
He snorted sending coffee splattering all over the counter. “You’re joking,” he laughed.
Lexia’s temper rose. Breaking eye contact, she walked towards him feeling her fists clench and her face harden. “No, I am not joking. Why is that so funny?” She glared at him, her eyes ablaze with anger.
He paused for a second, his smile faltering. “Lexia means ‘Man’s Defender,’” he answered.
“And that’s funny because…? Actually don’t bother. Finish your coffee and get out!” Lexia never saw his reaction; she turned and strode out back. When she returned five minutes later, he had left and the diner was empty.
“Do you wanna head off, Lexia? I’ll finish up,” said Jan, coming out of the kitchen door.
“Hey, are you all right?” said the small plump woman, her brown eyes scrunching up with concern.
“Yeah, just some jerk who was in here before got under my skin.”
“Will you be okay getting home?”
“Yeah, thanks, Jan, I’ll see you Friday,” she called heading for the door, wishing the day would be over already. All she wanted to do was crawl under her covers and hide.
Lexia walked along Main Street away from Lucky’s Diner heading  toward Upper Main Street; her home sat on the edge of town, about a fifteen minute walk from the diner. The house was set back off Upper Main Street with a long driveway enclosed by tall pine trees, a wall of dark greens hiding the house from view.
As she turned up the drive a sickening chill set in the pit of her stomach. Lexia lengthened her strides, each crunch of gravel making her cringe. There was movement up ahead in the shadows. She stopped while her eyes adjusted to the dark and then took a step back as she saw what waited for her.
A woman stood ten yards ahead blocking her path to safety, only she wasn’t a human woman; she had blood red eyes that glowed in the darkness and ghostly white skin pulled sharp over her bony face. Her clothes were torn and dirty, clinging tight to bones that seemed to jut from her skin. She held her hands by her side, each long nail curled and ready to strike.
“What do you want?” she called, surprised how strong her voice sounded even though she was shaking with fear.
“You killed my mate, bitch!” the woman spat, leaping for her with lightning-fast speed, closing the space between them in seconds. Lexia had no time to think over the woman’s answer or even time to draw breath and scream. She felt cold, hard steel grip her arms and then cool air rushing past her face. When she hit a tree, pain exploded throughout her body. She gasped as she connected with the hard, ungiving surface, all the air rushing from her lungs. For a second Lexia just laid there, stunned, unable to move even a finger; tears pricked at her eyes as she tried to deal with the pain. A voice screamed in her head, get up, it told her, you can’t just lay here and be killed! FIGHT. Scrambling to her feet Lexia mentally shook herself, I’ve killed three of these things before, I can do this.
Peering out into the darkness Lexia tried to find the vampire woman. Suddenly a ghostly fist appeared before her, Lexia tried to dodge it but wasn’t quick enough. The fist as hard as steel caught the side of her face; it slid off her cheekbone and past her ear as Lexia moved her head. She’d missed the full force of the punch but still felt dazed. She threw punches hoping the vampire would back out while her head stopped spinning.
Her fist connected but the vampire never flinched; each blow felt like hitting concrete. With each wave of pain coming from Lexia’s fists, she felt her sprits drop. Panting furiously Lexia tried again and again to cause the vampire injury, but she was formidable and soon Lexia grew tired. The energy and strength that she had felt drained away with each punch or block she made.
The vampire knocked her to the ground like a rag doll, her razor sharp teeth snapped near her throat. Lexia brought her knees up as a barrier, desperately trying to keep the vampire from her throat but her muscles ached and all the energy seemed to have left her; a dark gloom clouded her mind. There’s no point, Lexia just wanted it to just be over; this fight, the fear, the madness she’d felt gripping at her all day. She looked up into the savage face of the woman above her, the woman who would bring about her death. She no longer looked like a woman, she snapped and snarled like a savage beast and her blood-red eyes bulged from their sockets. Lexia closed her eyes feeling oddly calm preparing for the pain that would surely come with her death. But when her eyes closed she didn’t see darkness but the face of her dad, and then sadness enveloped her as she thought of how he would be alone if she died here now.
Picturing her dad gave her power; it raged through her worn-out muscles, pleasure and pain erupting throughout her body, giving her the strength to throw the vampire off. Lexia felt around on the ground desperately searching for some kind of weapon and as her fingers brushed across a sharp branch, she felt a surge of hope fill her; all light and goodness, she was strong, she was invincible and as the branch sank through the vampire’s heart Lexia smiled, feeling elated. The vampire woman slumped to the floor, the branch still protruding from her chest, her blood-red eyes widened in disbelief, looking at Lexia who stood above her. The adrenaline, the ecstasy rippled through Lexia and for just a moment she stood there feeling like a god, feeling alive, her prey dead at her feet.
And then the body rotted away and panic took over; like a great tsunami Lexia had no hope at stopping it. She ran towards the house feeling her chest constrict, her stomach twist, and with a trembling hand, she unlocked the front door.
Standing in the dark, quiet hall Lexia took huge gasping breaths and collapsed to the floor. There she laid, a trembling, frightened mess lost in the dark, frightening thoughts circling around and around her head.
She crawled up the stairs many hours later, careful not to wake her dad, and stripped off her clothes, climbing between her cool sheets. Closing her eyes, Lexia curled into a tight ball, gripping her knees as small tremors travelled down her body. She willed herself to sleep hoping she could shut out the horrifying images, hoping that maybe she would wake tomorrow and the past two days would have just been a nightmare.

Chapter 3

Her dad left early for work the next morning. Lexia laid there listening to him leave. Normally she would still be fast asleep but she’d tossed and turned all night; vampires and death had haunted her dreams. With no one home it made it easy to skip school.
Lexia couldn’t face the world today; she’d woken, laid in that blissful second before your memory resets, and then her eyes had focused on the hand curled next to her face. All innocent and relaxed until she’d seen the red dots sprinkled across her skin reminding her of the night before, of the death that hand had caused. Lexia thrust her hand under the covers and then pulled them over her head. She planned to stay there for most of the day; she wanted to wallow. School would be over soon anyway, so what did it matter?
When she finally crawled out of the pit of despair, Lexia made the decision to no longer hide from her problems, it was time to try and work out what was happening. Grabbing her laptop Lexia brought up a search engine and typed in ‘Vampire.’ She sat for hours filling her head with information. Most of it seemed to be fantasy, but she was beginning to find out that not everything was as it seemed. By late afternoon she’d ordered herself a stake and a silver knife from a site she’d found - they did next day delivery, too - she hoped nothing would attack her before then.
“I cannot believe they sell this stuff on the internet!” she muttered to herself.
Her phone vibrated again and she looked down to see ten text from Alice, the latest read:
Why aren’t you at school & why are you ignoring me? Up for going out later?
Lexia didn’t reply, she had no idea what to say, she never missed school and she always kept in touch with Alice.
Suddenly her room felt so small; the walls seemed to be closing around her. Vampires and the supernatural buzzed through her mind.
“I’ve got to get out of here.” Lexia ripped off her pajamas as if they were suffocating her, changing into her running clothes as fast as she could. She dashed from her house onto the trail near her home; she’d run this path so many times it felt like a second home.
She watched her feet move steadily over the forest floor until she fell into a steady rhythm. She found herself relaxing, inhaling and exhaling with the thud of her steps.
When a sheen of sweat covered her skin and her breathing grew heavy she turned onto a trail that would lead her back home. Lexia jogged slower, her senses becoming more alert. She got the feeling someone was following her. Someone or something? Her chest tightened and her heart rate doubled as she glanced around, her mind racing. It’s not night time. Vampires can’t go out in the sun? What else was out there if vampires were real?
Catching movement on her right she picked up her pace. Cursing for tiring herself out, Lexia pushed herself to the limit; her heart threatened to beat right out of her chest. She glanced back quickly seeing... What the fuck! Risking another glance, she definitely saw a sleek black panther prowling through the trees.
The panther was closing the gap between them. Lexia’s breathing labored with each hard footfall, but up ahead she could see the exit about 50 yards away.
I’m gonna make it... I am going to make it! she chanted in her mind. But she was growing tired now and panic was setting in making it harder to think clearly. She couldn’t keep up this pace for long; her lungs burned with fiery strain.
But you’re not just anyone a voice whispered in her mind. She pushed past the burn, increasing her speed, tapping into power that had always been there hidden away deep inside. No, not anymore, she thought pushing herself faster.
With the exit just yards away, a surge of hope filled her carrying her through the exit, but she had forgotten about the tree roots that snaked across there. Her foot twisted into a rut pitching her forward; she got her hands out just in time as she hit the ground and the air rushed out of her body.
A car screeched at her side stopping centimeters from her face and scattering gravel into her eyes; her vision blurred as her eyes watered. Lexia scrambled back, wiping at her eyes whilst trying to catch sight of the panther that must surely be on top of her. But in the tree line she saw a blur of midnight black, its gold eyes seemed to glow at her then it turned and vanished back into the undergrowth. Lexia let out the breath she’d been holding.
“Lex! Lexia! Oh my god, are you alright?” Her dad shouted running to her side, shaking her lightly. “Lexia, what were you doing?”
Tearing her eyes from the forest, she focused on her dad’s distraught face. “I...I...I thought I saw something, chasing me, a-an animal.”
Lines of confusion marked his face. “What kind of animal?”
Looking into her dad’s face she thought she might tell him everything. He’d always been there for her, kept her safe, given her the best life… But as he looked at her now like she had lost her mind, she realized that this was a secret she could never tell.
“Lexia, are you sure you’re… look at your eyes... they’re…?”
Lexia tore her eyes away from her dad, his last question lingered in the air. Panic twisted her gut and she jumped to her feet quickly, afraid of the way he was now looking at her. “Yes, yes, I’m fine, must have run too long.” Turning, she dashed to the house and unlocked the door heading for the bathroom, leaving her dad standing in the driveway staring at the spot she just ran from.
He didn’t bother her after that, not even to make her tea, which he did most nights when he made it home in time. She felt lost and confused, his face kept floating across her mind. She couldn’t quite grasp his expression, he looked at her like she was a stranger or his worst nightmare come to life. He felt miles away from her, even though in reality he was just down the hall. She just couldn’t shake the feeling that in that moment, as he had stared into her new eyes, she had lost him forever. The feeling settled heavy in her stomach, twisting at her insides.
She had to get out of the house; there were too many thoughts and feelings churning around inside her, slowly growing and twisting, threatening to consume her.
Lexia was looking at herself in the mirror; she’d put on a short, tight dress that clung to her every curve, it was made in a soft grey material. The color seemed to make her eyes sparkle even brighter, the new ring of gold muted against the crystal blue; she smiled feeling more like her old self.
She tied her long, wavy brown hair over one shoulder, ringlets curling together over her breast, a few escaped curls framing her face. She then paired her dress with long leather boots that stopped just below her knees. She stared at the person before her, the person she used to be. This person in the mirror looking back at her was her old self; she didn’t understand what death was or what it felt like to be utterly lost like a plastic bag floating in the wind. She was young and free; her only worry - to get out of Deadwood.
For a brief moment Lexia wondered if she could pull it off, whether she could climb out of her window like she’d done so many nights before and meet Alice and be an ordinary teenage girl. Fuck it! I can’t sit around here with all my thoughts.
Slipping her fake ID into her purse, she sent a quick text to Alice asking her to meet at the club and then pulled up the window and climbed down. Leaving her worries and troubles behind her, she felt her gut unravel as she landed softly on the ground.
Alice turned up an hour after Lexia arrived. Lexia had already had a few drinks and different men kept coming up to buy her more hoping they would get lucky.
“Jeez, Lex, what are you wearing?”
“It’s new, you like?” She smiled sweetly.
“Well, I see plenty who do,” Alice said, glancing around and glaring at the men who were openly drooling over her exposed thighs.
“You okay, Lex? You’ve not been with it lately. And since when did you dress like a slut?”
“Hey, enough abuse! I just want to have fun! Isn’t that why we came?”
“Ok, I suppose, get us a drink then.”
For the next hour they chatted about boys and school. Lexia felt herself relaxing, the crazy events from the last few days a distant memory. Alice mentioned the amount of drinks she was throwing back a few times but Lexia brushed it off insisting everything was fine.
“Let’s dance!” She pulled Alice up, dragging her toward the dance floor.
“Lexia, it’s eleven, maybe we should head out?”
“I climbed out the window, Dad thinks I’m in bed,” she giggled. “Come on, one dance. Please?” Lexia smiled the kind of goofy smile you smile when on a happy high from too many drinks.
Lexia sauntered onto the dance floor wiggling her hips then she turned around to face Alice. Alice swayed stiffly in front of her. “Come on, Alice, loosen up!” She grasped her hand making her twirl around.
“Stop it!” Alice said.
“Fine!” Lexia dropped Alice’s hand. Turning dramatically she wiggled off into the crowd of bodies until she reached the middle of the dance floor. When she looked back, Alice was walking out the door. She paused for a second giving Lexia a pleading look that said ‘come home with me’ and then disappeared into the night.
For a split second Lexia felt bad but then her happy drunken haze banished that thought and she stomped over to the bar. She didn’t want to think about the fact that Alice was normally the silly one out of the two of them or about the look she’d given her, so Lexia ordered another drink and washed Alice from her mind with the sharp taste of vodka.
Many drinks later, Lexia was well aware she’d had too much to drink but the alcohol had numbed her brain just like she had intended it to. The pounding beat jerked at her body as she swayed to the music. She felt like a puppet being controlled by an invisible master; her hips moved on their own accord under the spell of the music that swirled around her.
Twisting around, she noticed strange brown-gold eyes watching her from the bar. He smiled, noticing her look. As he walked toward her a warning bell chimed in a distant part of her brain, but before she could think of what it meant, his warm hands touched her hips sending sparks across her skin. Drowning in sensation Lexia twirled around, hands in the air, moving along to the hypnotic music, his body pressed along the length of hers, making every nerve come to life. The lights and sounds all seemed to blur together, bodies brushing by hers as they swayed and danced around her, their energy seemed to crackle in the air around them making Lexia’s skin tingle; it was a heady feeling and for once Lexia let go, surrendering to the sensations.
His hands trailed up and down her body leaving a scorching trail. He spun her around, pulling her close till their bodies touched and her breasts rubbed against him. His eyes widened as she gave a slow seductive twist of her hips. She smiled, taunting him; it was so unlike her but she felt as if someone had taken over her body. It felt good, empowering, to feel how she affected him, to see his eyes focus on her only. In that moment as they both swayed and twisted as if one, they felt spellbound, lost in the fever of lust that spun around them like a magical web.
But when someone bumped into Lexia, a jolt ran through her body. Spinning around she looked for the person that had radiated such darkness but she couldn’t see anything; only dancers surrounded her, all lost in their own worlds oblivious to the danger that had just passed by. When Lexia felt hands skim over the curve of her hips, wrapping themselves around her waist and pulling her close, she pulled away. The spell now broken, her vision cleared and shivers that had nothing to do with arousal slid down her spine. Looking up into his eyes now, they seemed so familiar but there was something not quite right about her mystery dancer. Stumbling back she staggered to the exit; he held out his hand to her, a questioning look in those golden-brown eyes but didn’t follow.
Cold air hit her as she stepped out into the dark night. Wrapping her arms around herself, Lexia headed for home realizing how stupid she’d been tonight; getting so drunk when danger seemed to be following her around every corner. She knew she had to do more than just type ‘vampire’ into a search engine; she’d changed and now she was seeing the world for how it was. Had there always been darkness around her and she’d only just noticed it? She couldn’t carry on being so reckless, otherwise she may wind up dead.
Lexia managed to walk home without seeing anyone and as she snuggled into bed she felt as if she was finally coming to terms with the events of the past few days. Feeling suddenly exhausted, sleep claimed her almost straight away and she drifted off dreaming of a golden-eyed stranger drawing tingling trails across her skin.