Thursday, March 10, 2011

Divine Ashes - Chapter 1 Sneak Preview

Chapter 1

Divine Ashes (Imprinted Souls Series, #3)

Making a deal with Scarlett had probably been one of the most stupid things I had ever have done in my life; yet, that had been the only way to save both Tyler and Matt.

That night, after I made the deal that whether human or vampire would eventually result in me being Scarlett’s property, we all left her home, the basement of one of the oldest libraries in Manhattan.

As we left, we were escorted by none other than Nicholas.

Scarlett did keep her word, she allowed all of us to leave, including Matt, who had been my boyfriend when he was human, and once turned into a vampire, had become his maker’s favorite minion. Although Scarlett let us go, she also imposed conditions with which I had no leverage. One of them being that Nicholas was to be in charge of Matt, which translated to her being in charge of him, but from a distance.

Nicholas had betrayed me in more than one way. I was even foolish enough to hope that maybe he was putting on an act, just to save us all, but Adrianne had been right from the beginning. Nicholas was selfish, and he was only helping me because he had his own motives, whatever those motives may be.

Tyler was badly hurt and I helped him walk out of there. Tyler was my boyfriend, vampire boyfriend, who had been held down to a chair by silver chains wrapped around his ankles and wrists, while he watched me make the choice between him and Matt. I loved Tyler, but I couldn’t just leave Matt behind. For Tyler, worse than watching me make that choice, was witnessing me making the deal that was bound to ruin my life, as I offered Scarlett my body and soul in exchange for her freeing both Tyler and Matt.

Tyler was now weak and he could barely move, but he wouldn’t allow anyone to help him, except for me. Considering that additional help was limited to either Nicholas or Matt, I couldn’t blame him.

The streets were dark and deserted. Nicholas walked by Matt’s side, keeping him from getting close to me.

Matt’s gaze never left me, and his bloodlust was so strong that he wasn’t himself anymore. To him, I was merely a walking blood bank; still, I just couldn’t let him go. I had been able to control his bloodlust before. It was only temporary, but I knew that there was a possibility that I could still somehow cure him. I had to try and save whatever was left of his humanity, if any.

After we walked for a few minutes, Nicholas said that his car was only a few blocks away. Tyler tightened his grip on my hand and I feared that he would attempt to get away. He would never get in the same car with Nicholas, or even allow me to, but we kept walking in the direction that Nicholas was guiding us.

I was having a difficult time helping Tyler, and it was only a matter of time before Nicholas got annoyed.

Even annoyed, he sounded sarcastic and arrogant. “You know, love, you can get him all better if he feeds from you.”

That was enough to get a reaction out of Tyler and Matt, as they both said “NO!” Matt sounded furious, and Tyler just sounded as weak and frightened as he looked; he was frightened for my lack of protection. If anything went wrong with Nicholas or Matt, I would be on my own. The alternative, which was Tyler gaining strength by drinking from me, was in his mind, unacceptable. I knew that Tyler was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to stop before he took away too much from me.

Ignoring Nicholas’ grin, I turned away from him, meeting Tyler’s gaze and in a low voice that was in fact useless because of Matt and Nicholas’ hearing ability, I said, “He is right, Tyler. You need to drink from me. It will make you feel better, and I need you to feel better.”

He looked down, avoiding my gaze. “What if I can’t stop before it is too late?”

“I trust you, Tyler. I know you can stop.”

In a blur of movements, Matt started to move towards us, but Nicholas stopped him.

Nicholas then gave me his car keys.

Looking at Matt I saw him struggling to break free from Nicholas’ grip on his neck. Nicholas met my gaze and said, “I am taking this one with me. The car is down the street and you can use it to return home. Oh, and I am keeping this one as leverage, so I will give you two until tomorrow night. If you are not back at the house by then, Matt will pay the consequences. Understood?”

I nodded.

Nicholas dragged Matt out of there; but not before he looked back at Tyler and me to suggest that we go somewhere more private than the streets, so as to not draw any attention.

Once Nicholas and Matt were gone, I tried to get Tyler to wait where we were so that I could go and get the car, but he didn’t like that idea. It took a while, but together, we managed to get to the car.

In the car, Tyler checked the damage done by the silver chains, and it was really awful. His wrists and ankles looked burned where the silver chains had touched his skin, and the dark circles around his eyes were only one of the many signs that he was thirsty.

“You need to feed,” I said.

He nodded. “I do, but I don’t want to hurt you, Lexi, and I am afraid I won’t be able to control it… Loren has an apartment near Central Park. We can stay there for the night and you will be safe in there while I go get, umm…something to eat.”

“Tyler, you do realize how hurt you are, don’t you? You know you will heal faster if you feed directly from someone…bags of blood donations are not enough. Even I know that by now.”

He avoided my gaze. “I could just…”

I cut him off. “No! You know that the imprint is still there. If you feed from someone else you will hurt me more than if you feed from me.”
Tyler asked if I had the locket necklace he had given me. The necklace had a five pointed star engraved on it, which was meant for protection from physical harm, and the best part is that it actually worked.

I showed him that I was wearing it.

“Good. I am sure you remember that inside it, there is a star made of silver. If you feel like I am taking too much from you and that I can’t stop, I want you to use it on me.”

“Tyler, I can’t—“

“Promise?”

I nodded, hoping it wouldn’t come to that, because I knew I would never purposely hurt him.

Tyler thought it was better if we were at the apartment before he fed; although at the time I wasn’t sure if he could even make it there, but I agreed.

As we drove away, Tyler told me which way to go.

Once we got to the apartment building, I parked the car in the parking garage and then Tyler and I took the service elevator to the top floor of the building. Tyler didn’t have his keys, but it didn’t take long for him to break in.

The apartment was one of those luxury apartments, and it barely had any furniture.
Inside, he said he needed to call Adrianne to let her know where we were, and I was suddenly overcome by fear that he would not be able to reach her.

My fear was confirmed when he called and reached her voicemail.

He left her a message to call him back at the Manhattan apartment. Both of our cell phones had been taken and we never even thought of getting them back.

I told Tyler what had happened back at the house. I told him about how Loren and Adrianne were coming to look for him and how they had been ambushed right outside of my house. I told him how they were trying to protect Travis and that was probably the reason why they couldn’t stop the ones taking me to Scarlett.

Tyler couldn’t make sense as to why they had even attempted to save Travis until I told him that Travis, although a human, had the same last name as Loren, and how he had the tattoo on his back with the same symbol for protection as was on my necklace.
Tyler was still not happy; he was confused, and he felt betrayed as in his mind, Adrianne and Loren had put Travis’ safety before mine.

The more energy Tyler spent on being frustrated, the weaker he became and I knew that if he had more time to think about it, he would have argued again over drinking from me.

As I approached Tyler, I reached for the back of my necklace and removed it. I opened the locket and grabbed the star made out of silver that I knew would never be used. I placed the necklace on a side table by the couch, two of the few pieces of furniture within that apartment.

Tyler knew what I was doing and he truly looked unsure, but it just needed to be done.

He came closer to me, put his arms around my waist. Then he leaned his forehead against mine, closed his eyes, and whispered, “Are you sure?”

“Yes, Tyler.”

He slowly moved one of his hands up from my waist to the back of my neck, slowly tilting it to the side. He then came even closer, kissing my neck, before he softly scratched my skin with one of his fangs. Tyler quickly retracted his fangs, almost in the same instant as I felt the pain from the cut. Retracting his fangs prevented the venom from being released into my system while he drank from me.

He asked if I was okay, kissed my neck once again and started to drink from me.

***

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