Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sample Sunday: Jane #4

Vampire Assassin (Jane #1)For this week's sample, I've decided to give a sneak peek into Jane #4, the continuation in the Vampire Assassin series. This novella will be out in July. The first three novellas are available on Kindle and Nook and a print collection of those three will be released at the beginning of July. 

Below you will find the prologue. Please keep in mind that if you haven't read the other three, there may be some spoilers.

The world spun as I tried to stand. At least it remained blurry instead of fading completely to black. I realized after a couple seconds that standing wasn't going to be an option. The most I could muster was rolling to my side. My stomach churned even at that and I fought desperately to hold onto the bacon and eggs I'd had for breakfast. My cheek rested against the rough pavement and I could smell blood--my blood. A quick glance to the side told me that a lot of it lay on the ground beneath me, and sent my stomach pulsing again.

I coughed and more blood splattered the blacktop. I placed my right hand on the tarred surface and pushed, giving myself enough leverage to bring my left elbow underneath me. I balanced there, fighting against the nauseating twirl of the planet. A few deep breaths later and I had my digestive system under control once more. Turning my head slowly, I surveyed the scene, trying to recall what events had led to my head being crushed on the ground.

Several feet away, I could see two vampires I didn't recognize. Both were laying on the pavement. One, a female, looked like her neck was broken. She stared at me, eyes and mouth wide, but didn't move. I couldn't tell if she was dead or alive from that distance. The male was missing an arm and a leg. He lay on his back, his remaining hand pressed to his chest. I could see blood dripping down his side to join the ever-growing pool beneath him. His chest rose and fell in jagged breaths while his lips moved. If he was saying anything coherent, I was too far away to hear him.

A familiar boot off to my left drew my gaze. I cringed as I recognized the man attached to it--Jax. He was on his side, his back to me, unmoving. With his armor, I couldn't tell if he was still breathing. A quick glance around showed no others from my team, so I made it my goal to help Jax, if I could. Using what little strength I had, I pulled myself forward, grunting with the effort. Something below my ribcage but above my hips felt broken and my legs wouldn't work right. I've never been one for biology and I pushed aside thoughts of permanent disability after reminding myself that vampires can heal better than any other species on the planet.

After several agonizingly painful minutes, I'd dragged myself the ten feet to Jax. His eyes were closed, his face covered in blood. I leaned in close, sending up a silent prayer. I almost cried aloud when I heard the faint, gasping breaths echoing from his partially opened mouth. Shoving my hand up under his body armor, I felt around for the cause of his incapacitated state and found it quickly. In his chest, just under his arm where the armor stops to allow freedom of movement was a hole. After a bit more searching, I found the accompanying exit wound. Not good that he'd been shot, but good that the bullet had gone straight through.

As I reached for the first aid kit on my belt, I heard a roar behind me. I jerked my head around, cursing inwardly as the world spun and my stomach heaved. My left arm gave out and I landed heavily on my back, gasping for air while I fought the urge to vomit all over myself. I turned my head to the right, toward the growling sound that continued unabated. Felipe lay pinned beneath one of our SUVs, his muscles bulging as he attempted to push the three-ton vehicle off his lower extremities. My gaze was drawn to his left, though, where a blood-covered female vampire stalked toward him, her lips curled into a vicious snarl, makeshift stake in hand.

My mouth dropped, my nostrils flared, my eyes burned with tears that were sure to shed. Donna. Her clothes were in tatters, her hair a matted mess. I could barely recognize her through the dirt and blood stains on her face, neck, and arms, but it was most definitely Donna, the bubbly, dog-grooming fashionista who had been my first friend at the sanctuary. And she was heading toward my boyfriend with a very sharp, very deadly piece of wood.

"Noooo." The voice sounded hoarse, pained, and unfamiliar, but I knew it was mine. My body moved before I thought to move, trying to draw itself toward the fallen vampire. I reached out a hand, clawing at the black stones, pulling myself forward. Felipe turned his head from the SUV, seeing the oncoming attacker, then tilted his head as far as it would go. His dark eyes landed on mine, terrified. My heart seized. For the year that I'd known Felipe, I'd never seen him afraid of anything, much less death. But this was different, so different.

I opened my mouth to cry out, to plead with Donna for mercy, to tell Felipe that I loved him. The words never came. An unexpected pain blossomed across the back of my head, spidering out across my skull. The horrible agony was followed by an uncontrollable urge to yack. As my breakfast finally freed itself, my vision blurred, shrinking until all I could see were Felipe's eyes, dark and pleading. Then they were gone.

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