Here is the first of several sneak peeks I have for you guys before the release of The Devil’s Downfall (August).
“Esmeri are you out he-… oh!” Jenna said as she came tumbling out the door.
Esmeri pulled away from Nicholas and looked at Jenna’s smug face.
“Stephen was looking for you, but um, I see you’re occupied. Sorry, I will go keep him busy.”
Esmeri narrowed her eyes at Jenna, something akin to jealousy and defensiveness creeping up inside of her.
“Where’s Matt?” she asked flatly.
“Left already, yea didn’t work out,” Jenna said. “No worries, have fun you two.” Esmeri’s jaw set as she watched Jenna disappear back inside and Nicholas chuckled.
“You like this Stephen then?” he asked and Esmeri glared at him.
“No, it’s not… it’s just…” she stammered.
“Spit it out, I’ve heard worse I’m sure.”
“Jenna is a troll.”
“I thought she was your friend?” Nicholas asked with a slight chuckle, confusion masking his handsome features.
“She is the image of all I will never be in everyone else’s eyes,” Esmeri said softly.
“You should be counting your blessings that you will never have to deal with being so ordinary and predictable,” Nicholas said warmly.
“What do you mean?”
“Anyone who has any common sense will take one look at her, maybe even before they really know her and realize that she is just like every other simple-minded woman on this planet. Searching for her identity in the arms of a man. Maybe not solely because she needs a man but because she feels she needs a savior.
“You see someone who you are envious of because of physical beauty, the obvious kind, that you don’t see the true beauty that is you both inside and out, the beauty that is everlasting. Men may enjoy her company for an hour, but they will want your attention for a lifetime. She may be able to give them a moment’s distraction but it is going to be you they will never forget.”
Esmeri didn’t know why, but she felt a blush creep up her neck all the way to her cheeks as he spoke.
“Thank you for trying to make me feel better,” she said sheepishly.
“My pleasure,” Nicholas said and checked his watch before sighing.
“It’s time,” Nicholas said, his face growing somber again.
“I have to go with Luc now don’t I?” she asked, that panic filling her again.
“Not exactly,” Nicholas moved closer to her, so fast she didn’t realize he was behind her until she felt the knife go into her side. She gasped at the white-hot pain that filled her and she tried to scream as his hand clamped over her mouth. He started to whisper against her ear as he held her and she started to feel the life drain from her. She could barely hear his words, only make out that they were a language she didn’t understand.
“You will,” he said and she could feel him grin against her ear. He pulled the knife free of her and she gasped as he let her go, slicing his palm open and forced it to her lips.
“Drink, now!” he demanded and she didn’t have a choice before her was forcing her mouth on the wound. The blood hit her lips and she couldn’t stop the urge. Fangs descended just like when she was with Luc and she bit down into his flesh, swallowing hard as the coppery liquid splashed against her tongue.
Esmeri collapsed to her knees screaming out in pain as he let go of her and then he was gone, leaving her all alone. She felt something overtake her, the charge she always felt when she used powers with Luc, but this time it hurt. It felt like her insides were being doused in acid.
She felt arms lifting her and heard someone telling her to hold on, and then she smelled something she couldn’t quite place, something akin to burning flesh.
“Esmeri, stay with me,” Stephen said and she felt his hand pressed to the wound in her side. She was being moved and being placed in a car. All she felt was pain so terrifying she couldn’t breathe and she clawed at him, trying to tell him.
Stephen was in the driver’s seat, putting the car in drive and pulling out of the parking lot of the banquet hall so fast his tires squealed. He didn’t know what to do, but all he knew was she was paler than normal and had lost a lot of blood from the looks of her dress.
“Hold on, I’m taking you to the hospital,” he said and she gripped his arm.
“No,” she managed hoarsely, panic in her tone and he looked at her, her eyes wide, emerald flames shining against her pale skin and blood-stained lips.
“You will die if I don’t get you to a doctor!”
“No… Stephen… please…” she stammered. “Take me home, take me home.”
Stephen watched as her eyes rolled upwards and her body went limp. He was barely able to focus on driving as he scrambled to feel a pulse. Finally feeling a faint one he pulled out his cell phone and dialed Liam.
“She’s hurt, bad, she’s bleeding from her side, looks like a stab wound,” he said when Liam answered. “I’m taking her to the hospital.”
“No don’t!” Liam demanded. “It’s too late Stephen, they can’t help her. Luc has already been here. She will be fine, but you need to bring her home immediately.”
“You’re not listening to me Liam, she is dying, right here, right now, she is dying!” Stephen yelled.
“Stephen?” Devrynne’s serene voice was on the phone now. “Listen carefully, Esmeri is about to go through something that the doctors cannot help her with and you are in very real danger. I promise you, she will be fine, just bring her home.”
Stephen closed the phone, throwing it against the dash and it bounced onto the floor. Esmeri stirred next to him but didn’t wake up. What was he doing arguing with vampires, he wondered. Turning the car around he headed towards the manor, praying to whatever god might be listening, that she didn’t die.