Earth Day Blog Hop 2012!
Welcome to the Earth Day Blog Hop!
The blog hop kicked off at http://justromance.me so head over there to take the tour from the start if you’re just joining in now. We’re celebrating ebooks and the earth this weekend.
I’d like to share a fascinating article featuring pictures of grains of sand through a powerful magnifying glass. Amazingly beautiful! No two alike! Find it HERE.
Below you will find an excerpt from DEATH WISH, the upcoming 5th book in the urban fantasy Alexa O’Brien Huntress series.
The unmistakable sound of footsteps outside pulled me from Arys’s past. Before I could wonder why he had never told me about his artistic flare, adrenaline had me on my feet. It was still dark though dawn was just over an hour away.
The noise came from the back patio. A heavy tread, pacing back and forth from one end to the other. I moved slowly toward the stairs that led up into the kitchen. The sliding patio doors would be locked but that wasn’t going to stop a vampire who wanted in. And since this wasn’t Hollywood, there was no invitation needed.
I paused on the stairs, listening hard. I reached out metaphysically, trying to get a feel for whoever lurked outside. Vampire, definitely. It was tough to get a read on him or her. There may have been more than one.
I glanced toward the upper floor. Coby was likely asleep or unaware of the potential trouble. The heavy pacing gait continued and I knew it was a trap. I was being lured out.
Knowing this was just what they wanted, I crept silently to the patio door, threw open the blinds and flicked on the outside light. There was nobody there.
As silly as it was, I checked the lock anyway. I was being toyed with. But why bother? Why not just kill me? Or try to.
I waited, knowing that whatever move my unwelcome visitor was going to make, it would happen any moment. To act too quickly could be a mistake on my part. I expected an attack of some kind. I anticipated the moment when a vampire would crash inside and try to kill me. So I was in no way prepared for the patio to burst into flames.
The heat and force of the sudden ignition threw me back. Seconds later the double glass patio doors shattered. Thousands of deadly shards landed where I’d just been standing. A few pieces cut through my pants, biting into my flesh.
Throwing myself through the kitchen into the front room, I reached the door in time to find it engulfed in flames. They’d covered the entire perimeter. Coby and I were trapped inside.
“Coby!” I screamed his name as I ran down a floor to the living room to check the north facing windows, finding a haze of orange.
I snatched Arys’s journal from where it had fallen. Shoving it into my bag with my phone and car keys, I knew if I made it out, it would be all I could take with me.
Again I screamed for Coby. I was frantic in my attempt to find a way out. It didn’t take long for the fire to find its way inside. Smoke filled my lungs and burned my eyes as the shriek of the smoke detectors assaulted my ears.
I slung the strap of my bag around me and ran for the upper floor. I crashed into Coby on his way down. He reached out to steady me on the stairs as I lost my balance.
“We have to get out.” I coughed as the smoke rolled in thicker. My eyes burned and watered, blurring my vision.
Flames crawled through the kitchen toward us, trapping us near the front door which was already a mass of crackling fire. There was nowhere to go but up.
Without a word, Coby pulled me along behind him, back up the stairs to the master bedroom. He slammed the door shut behind us while I ran to open the window. I gulped the burst of outside air into my burning lungs. It wouldn’t take long for the fire to reach us. It was moving fast.
A cold spark deep in my core informed me that Arys was near. I would have wept with relief but we still had a fire to escape. Coby joined me at the window, surveying our only option.
“We have to jump,” he declared. “And we have to do it before that reaches us.”
I followed his gaze below to the wall of flames eating their way through the main floor of the house, climbing up toward us fast. The heat was scorching from where we stood. We were three floors up. High enough for the fall to be risky. We didn’t have another alternative.
I felt Arys’s touch on my mind. His worry was as strong as his rage. There was no time for me to engage with him. Not if I wanted to survive the next few minutes.
Briefly I considered shifting to wolf. We’d be stronger that way. Coby was too new. There was no telling how he would act as wolf. Besides, the neighbors would have called 911 by now. We would have to jump and deal with the damage.
“You first.” Coby’s hand was firm on my back, urging me to go for it.
I hesitated for just a moment. Casting one last look back around the bedroom I spent so many nights in back when the wolf was new, I saw Raoul’s house for the last time. It had never really felt like mine. Why should it now?
It was the home of many memories, both good and bad. Friendships had formed inside that house. Hearts had broken. Hell, I lost my virginity in the office downstairs. There was no time for nostalgia. My time in Raoul’s house was finally done.
I took one last look into Coby’s hazel eyes, wild with panic. He was new. He didn’t belong here. For some reason, that made it easier to let go. I climbed up into the window frame, steadied myself the best I could, and jumped.