Monthly Archives: October 2012

Cover Love: Holiday Fling

A few days ago I showed you guys the cover of THE CRIMSON HUNT, a NA sci-fi romance novel coming out in November, by my NA sister Victoria H. Smith.

Today, I present you the cover of her NA contemp romance novelette, HOLIDAY FLING, also coming out in November:

Holiday Fling by: Victoria H. Smith
Release Date: November 26, 2012
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance (Novelette)

 

Tarrah Reid is aware that she holds the name of a famous Hollywood actress… Not that she cares, since the association helps with her “Christmas floozy” persona. She has one goal every Christmas Eve: sleep with her roommate’s cousin while the rest of the family is distracted by fruitcake. However, her annual conquest comes to a screeching halt when she winds up in the middle of a bank robbery and is miraculously saved by a handsome, redheaded stranger.

A few hours with medical student Chase Stewart has Tarrah’s mind in a daze and her heart aflutter. Suddenly, Tarrah no longer wants her fling—she wants Chase. But if there’s one thing Tarrah has discovered this Christmas Eve, it’s that the Christmas gods have it out for her. Her new favorite redhead and her fling have way more in common than just their towering heights. The anticipated announcement of fruitcake has never been more heightened. Before the fruited-pastry delight is served, Tarrah must decide what she really desires this Christmas Eve – a simple fling or something more.

A New Adult contemporary romance, Holiday Fling is a short Christmas tale with a spicy kick.



About the Author: Victoria H. Smith has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. She puts it to good use writing romance all day. She resides in the Midwest with her Macbook on her lap and a cornfield to her right. She often draws inspiration for her stories from her own life experiences, and the twenty-something characters she writes give her an earful about it.

In her free time, she enjoys extreme couponing, blogging, reading, and sending off a few tweets on Twitter when she can. She writes new adult fiction romance in the sub-genres of science fiction, urban fantasy, and contemporary, but really, anywhere her pen takes her she goes.

 

Cheers,

#ROW80 Check-in 10/28

Hey friends! Welcome to my weekly ROW80 update!

Here is my goals for the past week and how it went:

  • Writing: Just write. Anything. Monday, I reread some notes and prepared to start writing again. Tuesday, I wrote 1769 words. Wed, I wrote 2400 words. Thur, I wrote 2733 words. Frid, I wrote 999 words. Total of week: 7901 words. Not bad, but I know I can do better.
  • Reading: read book #62 of the year. Read book #62, #63 and #64.
  • Social media: I want to spend LESS time on twitter and blogging—so I can get more writing done! More or less. I didn’t blog though, only Sat which had been scheduled ahead of time, so that was a good thing.
  • Exercising: at least 4x. Six times.
My secret to reading more these past few weeks is easy: I’ve been reading at the gym. I try to go 6 days a week at the gym, okay, and only 2 of those days are weight lifting (I’m trying to go for a third  but since I like the weight lifting class instead of doing it alone on the floor, I have to go with the gym’s class schedule and the other classes are during hours I can’t go) … anyway, I can’t hold my kindle and go to my weight lifting class, right? Though, I go to the elliptical for the other 4 days, about one hour each time, and read on my kindle. Friday morning I read 20% of one book (#64) that is over 400 pages during that hour I was in the elliptical (yes, I read fast, but even so!). Usually, I can read a whole book each week while at the gym. And I still read in bed before sleeping. That’s how I’ve been reading 2-2.5 books each week ;)

My goals for next week:

  • Avoid hurricane!
  • Writing: Just keep writing.
  • Reading: read book #65 of the year.
  • Social media: I want to spend LESS time on twitter and blogging—so I can get more writing done!
  • Exercising: at least 3x.

First, we have the hurricane coming. I live right on the coast, 2 miles from the ocean where it’ll hit. This is my first time so close to a hurricane. When we lived down in SC, we only got hit by the left over storms after hurricanes since we lived in the center of the sate. I confess I’m kinda nervous. Anyway, so now I’m anticipating that I won’t be able to go to the gym much this week, and, if power is out, I won’t write much either.

Second, NaNoWriMo starts on Thursday and I plan to write all day, but I’m taking my 4 wisdom teeth on Frid morning, with general anesthesia, and the doc said I’ll be a little dizzy at least until Sunday night or Monday morning. Nice uh … gonna start NaNo behind lol

Anyway, it looks like I won’t get much done this next week, period.

 

On my blogs this past week:

 

Have a great, hurricane-free week!

Cheers,

Author Spotlight: Chelsea M. Cameron

Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Chelsea M. Cameron!

 

Nicknames: People call me Chels or Chel a lot. It drives me BONKERS. You really can’t shorten my name to anything cute.

Where do you live: Maine

Your favorite dessert: Red Velvet Cheesecake

Your favorite TV series: Downton Abbey

Last book you read: Fifty Shades Darker *sigh*

Last movie you watched: Julie and Julia

Last song (or album) you bought: The 2nd Law by Muse

A book/series you could read over and over again: Harry Potter

Coke or pepsi? Coke

Day or night? Night, definitely!

Pen or pencil? Pen

Summer or winter? Summer (I hate snow)

Cat or dog? Dog

Tea or coffee? Tea

Plotter or pantser? Pantsing all the way!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? I’ve always loved books, but I didn’t realize I wanted to be a writer until I was graduating high school. I went to school for journalism, but I figured out I wanted to write fiction my sophomore year. I finished my first book four years later, and I’ve never looked back!

What are you working on now? I am playing around with a few things, all of them secret. I will hopefully have an announcement soon!

If you decided not to be a writer, what would your other dream job be? Why? I have a few. I love books, so librarian would be high on the list. I’d also love to work with kids, so owning a daycare center would also be awesome. Early Childhood Development was going to be my major until I changed to journalism.

What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done in your life? Hmm… I’m not a very adventurous person when it comes to things like skydiving and all that. But then some people would consider indie publishing terrifying, which it is. I think I can put talking to my agent for the first time in the top five scariest things, but it turned out amazing. Whitewater rafting is also pretty far up there, too.

Who is the one person that has singlehandedly inspired you the most in your life? My dad, hands down. I lost him to cancer when I was twenty, and I had my first idea that became my first book a month after. I wouldn’t be where I am now without him. He inspired my love of reading, and he completely and totally supported me and thought I could do anything I wanted to.

What is one talent that you’re hopeless at, but you wish you had? I always wish I was athletically talented. When I was younger I wanted desperately to dance on pointe, but I didn’t much care for the rigid structure of ballet classes. I did jazz dance for years, and I was also a cheerleader, so I did get to dance, but I wish I had the grace of a ballerina. I never could master a double turn.

What is one trait or physical characteristic that you are proud of/love about yourself? Probably my eyes. People are always telling me how pretty they are, and asking me if I have colored contacts. They tend to change color, going from blue to blue/green. I also have a dark blue ring around the outer edge of my iris.

Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers? I’m taking a leaf out of Stephen King’s book and saying, “Read a lot, write a lot.” In addition to that, you need to keep improving your writing. The only way to do that is to get feedback from multiple sources. It’s something I wish I had done more of before I published my first two books. Even if you just show it to a few friends, feedback is good. Not all feedback is positive, and not all feedback is useful, but you learn something about yourself when you’re willing to let someone else read your work and tell you what they think about it. It helps you grow a thicker skin. If you’re serious about being a writer, you’re gonna need it.

 

Author bio: Chelsea M. Cameron is a YA/NA writer from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world’s worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car and tweeting. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

Taylor Caldwell can’t decide if she wants to kiss her new college roommate or punch him.
On the one hand, Hunter Zaccadelli is a handsome, blue-eyed bundle of charm. On the other, he’s a tattooed, guitar-playing bundle of bad boy. Maybe that’s why Taylor’s afraid of falling in love with him, or anyone else. She doesn’t want to get burned, and even though her other roommates adore him, she wants him gone before it’s too late.
Hunter himself has been been burned before, but the fact that Taylor calls him out on his crap and has the sexiest laugh ever make him decide maybe love isn’t a lost cause. They make a bet: if she can convince him she truly loves or hates him, he’ll leave the apartment–and leave her alone. The problem is, the more time they spend together, the less she hates him, and the more she moves toward love.
But when the man who holds the key to Taylor’s fear of giving up her heart resurfaces and threatens to wreck everything, she has to decide: trust Hunter with her greatest secret, or do everything in her power to win that bet and drive him away forever.

Amazon | Barnes & Nobles | Goodreads

 

Seventeen-year-old Ava-Claire Sullivan’s mother is dying. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that her greatest solace comes from someone who’s already dead.
Peter Hart saves her one night in a graveyard from an attacker just as strange as he is, and now Ava can’t stop thinking about him. She wants to see him again – even after he warns her he’s dangerous, and she begins to realize what he is. Her best friends don’t know anything about death, but Peter does, intimately. He’s waiting for her the next night she comes to the cemetery, and the next…
But their growing bond comes up against a promise Peter made a long time ago, a promise that could destroy them both. Now Ava has to decide just what she’s willing to give up to hold onto the one thing that could last forever.

Amazon | Barnes & Nobles | Goodreads

 

Nightmare (The Noctalis Chronicles #2)

Amazon | Goodreads 

Neither (The Noctalis Chronicles #3)

Amazon | Barnes & Nobles | Goodreads 

People think I’m crazy. Maybe I am, since I’ve been able to talk to spirits for as long as I can remember. They are the forgotten, the souls who have unfinished business and can’t cross over. I help them, or at least I try to. There’s this one in particular, Jack, I call him, who’s been following me around a lot. Usually they tell me what they need to do and move on. Not him.
It isn’t until he brings another spirit, Tracy, the victim of an unsolved hit-and-run accident, that I know for sure he’s something more than just your average spirit. Then I start seeing him. And feeling his touch. And falling for him.
In our quest to get justice for Tracy and help her move on, Jack and I become something more than just a dead boy and a living girl. I’m just waiting to see what happens next…

 

 

Cheers,

#ROW80 Check-in 10/21

Hey friends! Welcome to my weekly ROW80 update!

Here is my goals for the past week and how it went:

  • Writing: Just write. Anything. And edit when the next set of HHSW edits come to me. I was BAD. Will explain bellow.
  • Reading: read book #60 of the year. Read book #60 and #61.
  • Social media: I want to spend LESS time on twitter and blogging—so I can get more writing done! Ugh, have been on twitter a lot.
  • Exercising: at least 4x. Six times.

This week was BAD. I think I continued with the burnout from last week, and I also had *something* happening behind the curtains (and it wasn’t entirely nice), which added to my blue mood. My brain, of course, didn’t shut down. It kept plotting and coming up with scenes and dialogues even when I didn’t want to. I wrote a query (and try to revise it, but it still sucks bad), played with beatsheet (plotting), and I created a new board on Pinterest for a novel I want to write in the near future.

But I didn’t do anything that really counted. And I’m not feeling too ashamed of it. I think I needed the break.

Hopefully, I’ll be better tomorrow and will start writing again. For real, this time ;)

Anyway, my goals for next week:

  • Writing: Just write. Anything.
  • Reading: read book #62 of the year.
  • Social media: I want to spend LESS time on twitter and blogging—so I can get more writing done!
  • Exercising: at least 4x.

 

This week on my blogs:

 

How was YOUR week?

You can click here and check out the other ROWers and their progress.

Have a great week!

Cheers,

Author Spotlight: Magan Vernon

Author Spotlight is a weekly feature where I post a quick interview with an author, and present you to their books. This is my way of supporting fellow writers and authors!

Welcome Magan Vernon to the Author Spotlight!

 

Nicknames: Mags, Meggie poo, Smeggles.

Where do you live: central Illinois. The insurance capital of the world!

Your favorite dessert: that is like asking me to pick my favorite child. Uhhh…anything with cookie dough in it.

Your favorite TV series: Roswell, Jack and Bobby, Sex and the City, you know all shows that ended at least ten years ago.

Last book you read: My Favorite Mistake by Chelsea Cameron

Last movie you watched: The Avengers

Last song (or album) you bought: I had a free download of some DMB.

A book/series you could read over and over again: I find that when I re-read something it doesn’t have e same magic as the first time. The only books I really read over and over are picture books to my daughter

Coke or pepsi? Pepsi

Day or night? day, not a night owl.

Pen or pencil? pen. I haven’t used a pencil since college.

Summer or winter? I pass and say fall.

Cat or dog? Dog.

Tea or coffee? Coffee

Plotter or pantser? A little bit of both. I try and do rough outlines for series, but really, I usually veer off of them.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Fifth grade, Mrs. Johnson’s class. We got to write tons of short stories and I loved it.

What are you working on now? A futuristic science fiction novel and a secret NA novel that involves political scandals and hot boys in dress shirts.

If you decided not to be a writer, what would your other dream job be? Why? I actually love my day job as a claim representative. I get to help people and its something different every single phone call.

What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done in your life? I jumped off the ledge of a quarry into a body of water that wasn’t really deep. I literally felt my heart stop.

Who is the one person that has singlehandedly inspired you the most in your life? My Nana. She passed away a few years ago. She was a Sicilian immigrant who worked full-time at Nelson Knitting and provided for four kids while still having dinner on the table every night. She was amazing.

What is one talent that you’re hopeless at, but you wish you had? Singing. I like to belt it, but deep voice girls can’t rock the high notes.

What is one trait or physical characteristic that you are proud of/love about yourself? Not to brag, but I have a killer set of blue eyes. My daughter inherited them from me and everyone comments on them.

Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers? Don’t look at other people’s success and think “I can do that.” Make your own goals and your own successes in your career.

 

Bio: Self-proclaimed geek-to-glam poster child who channels her inner geek by writing science fiction for teens, even though she slept with a night light until she was in middle school for fear of alien attacks. She now lives with her husband, daughter, and dog in central Illinois where she still sleeps with a night light…just in case.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Indelibles

 

 

 

How to Date an Alien (My Alien Romance #1)

High school senior Alex Bianchi’s estranged father gets her an internship at Circe Operations Center to pad her college applications. But Circe isn’t your typical military base. It’s an alien-run operation center and not all of the aliens are friendly, especially the one that tries to kill Alex on her first day. When Ace, a dark-eyed Caltian, enters and saves the day, she can’t help but be drawn to him. Can these star-crossed lovers survive when they’re on the brink of intergalactic war?

How to Date an Alien is currently free! Grab your copy:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

 

How to Break Up with an Alien (My Alien Romance #2)

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

 How to Marry an Alien (My Alien Romance #3)

Releases Jan 2013 – Goodreads

 

My Paper Heart 

There are worse things in life than failing out of college- such as having your parents receive the letter that you’ve been kicked out.
Now to appease her parents self-proclaimed sorority princess Libby Gentry is packing up her Prada bag and heading to work for her great aunt’s antique store in tiny Elsbury, Louisiana. She’s pretty sure she can tackle the swamp and deal with her great aunt and tom boy of a little cousin, but what she doesn’t know is if she can handle the local town playboy, Blaine Crabtree.
As Libby’s feelings for Blaine grow, so does her need for acceptance and all of the insecurities she has kept inside are coming out. She may have survived the Louisiana swamp, but she may not survive Blaine’s reluctance to say the ‘L’ word. When Blaine finally commits to the three words Libby’s been waiting for, she only hopes they haven’t come too late.
**This book does contain some mild language and sexual content. It is meant for upper YA readers**

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads 

 

Cheers,

Prince of Persia in 15 Beats

Blake Snyder’s beatsheet is my new blog feature. I’ll try to have posts like this every two weeks or so, Name of movie or book in 15 Beats, and I hope this helps you too.

Two things to keep in mind: I watch most of these with my kid and that means most of the movies will be kids’ movies and I’m not paying 100% attention to the movie. Second, I’m sorta new to the method and still struggle with the Theme, the All is Lost and Dark Night of the Soul beats. In case you have better suggestions, please do so on the comments. We can discuss the points and, if I end up agreeing with you, I’ll change my beats. Deal?

 Prince of Persia in 15 Beats

1. Opening Image: Sunrise with some wise words.

2. Theme Stated (4.5%): Not sure. Something about how the king chose a common to be his son. Having a pure heart.

3. Set-Up (1-9%): Adoption. Princes and uncle looking at Alamut. Meeting to talk about intercepting stuff from Alamut. Inside Alamut, Princess Tamina is shown they are going to be attacked.

4. Catalyst (10%): They invade Alamut.

5. Debate (10-22.5%): They have to find proof of Alamut’s treachery. Dastan finds the dagger.

6. Break Into Two (22.5%): Dastan flees with Tamina because he’s accused of killing his father.

7. B Story (27%): Dastan and Tamina.

8. Fun and Games (27-50%): Dastan finds out what the dagger does. Desert. Ostrich racing. Tamina and Dastan escape.

9. Midpoint (50%): Dastan talks to his uncle and finds out he was the one who killed his father.

10. Bad Guys Close In (50-68%): Uncle goes to Hassassins. Dastan tracking Tamina. Sandstorm.

11. All Is Lost (68%): At temple, they are attacked. Dastan’s brother is killed. The dagger is gone.

12. Dark Night of the Soul (68-77%): no dagger, no help, no brother.

13. Break Into Three (77%): Dastan and Tamina, and their new friends, go to Alamut.

14: Finale (77-100%): Final battle: the uncle kills Tus (Dastan’s brother), go to sand glass, booby traps, Tamina sacrifices herself.

15. Final Image (100%): Sunset with wise words.

*Note that the percentages are approximate. 

Cheers,

RTW: Are you NaNoWriMoing?

Road Trip Wednesday is a “Blog Carnival,” where YA Highway‘s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This week’s topic:

Are you doing NaNoWriMo, or have you ever? Does having a deadline inspire you?

I was going to write a post about NaNo but when I saw RTW was going to ask about it, I decided to do 2 in 1 and post them together ;)

I won NaNo last year with a story I like very much (called Gypsy Heart) but it still needs some (= a lot) revision and fixing ;)

I *think* I’ll participate of NaNoWriMo this year. It’ll depend on how my edits are going and if I want to stop the story I just started. OR I’ll be a rebel and finish the manuscript, writing the last 50k words during NaNo. I do like the energy that fills the air around NaNo and the buzz of everyone talking about it. And, this year I’m here in the US again, which means there’s a local group that meets for NaNo at least 4 times a week! Which is exciting! I’m gonna go on the kick-off party on Oct 27th and I hope to get along with the group to keep going on the meetings. Eeeep!

As for deadlines, I love them. I wish there was someone by my side with a whip all day long telling me that the damn book won’t write itself, and punishing me when the daily word count isn’t met. I’m serious. I always try to impose deadlines to myself. I have a white board beside my desk where I schedule when to start, when to finish, when to edit, when to plot, etc. But it’s not the same. I do wish for the whip and the big, nasty ogre telling me: BIC HOK!

Me in my NaNoWriMo 2012 t-shirt

Oh, my NaNoWriMo profile: Juliana_Haygert. Add me!

Are you doing NaNo this year? Do you like deadlines?

Also, leave your NaNo profile in the comments so we can chase each other down ;)

Cheers,

Violet Midnight Release Day

 

Violet Night, #1

ISBN: 9781937254810

Amazon Paper: http://amzn.to/TICHVl  

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/RzVLHT

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/NrIgHg

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/obt-pEKwxT4

Book Blurb for Violet Midnight:

Let the Hunt begin….

Blending in with her college co-eds proves difficult for vampire Hunter, Emma Martin, considering the mystical tattoo on her wrist glows whenever Vamps are near. And after three months of silence, the glow is back with a vengeance.

Jake Cunningham witnesses Emma, a violet-eyed beauty, using unimaginable powers to fight off a fanged creature. Finally, after two years of searching, he may have found out what he’s become—a Hunter, like Emma.

Thankful for an ally in the fight against the Vamps, Emma finds hope and comfort in Jake’s arms. As she learns more about her new love’s family and its dark heritage, she may be forced not only to hunt them but to sacrifice her life to save Jake’s soul.

“Rush hooked me from page one! Fast-paced, gripping, this tale of vampire hunters is full of action and suspense. A great read! Buffy had better watch out…Emma Martin is one hunter to watch!” –Cynthia Eden, National Best-selling Author

 ***A portion of all proceeds benefits cancer research and awareness***

Driven to write, Lynn Rush often sees her characters by closing her eyes watching their story unfold in her mind. Lynn Rush is a pen name that is a combination of two sources – Lynn, the first name of her mother-in-law, who passed away and Rush – since the author is a former inline speed skater and mountain biker. All of Rush’s books are dedicated to Lynn, her namesake, and a portion of the proceeds benefits cancer research and awareness.

Rush holds a degree in psychology from Southwest Minnesota State University and a master’s degree from the University of Iowa. Originally from Minneapolis, Rush currently enjoys living in the Arizona sunshine by road biking nearly 100 miles per week with her husband of 16 years and jogging with her two loveable Shetland Sheep dogs.

Catch the Rush™: www.LynnRush.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LynnRushWrites

Twitter: www.twitter.com/LynnRush

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lynnrushwrites/

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/f55fL

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt:

Emma Martin had never killed a human, at least not intentionally, but her best friend, Ava, might be the first. “No. I told you. I’m not going on a blind date, so drop it already.”
Considering she battled demons on a regular basis, few things in the world scared Emma. But the one thing she feared most was giving her heart away, then losing that person.
Been there, done that. Never again.
“Fine. You’re so stubborn. At least come to the party.” Ava wove her arm through Emma’s and dragged her across the campus, toward their dorm. “Your arms are freezing, Em, why are you wearing a tank top? I know we live in the desert, but we’re up north.”
“It’s not that cold out.” Then again, Emma didn’t feel the cold, or heat for that matter, but Ava didn’t know that.
No one did.
No one could ever know.
“Whatever,” Ava said. “So, come on, already. I’ve got two hours to beautify you. The football game will be over soon, and I’m in the mood to have some fun.”
“Ava, no. I said no more blind date—” Pulsing pain stabbed Emma’s wrist. She stopped and doubled over, clutching her wrist to her stomach to hide the glowing mark on her skin. Darn Vamp detector hadn’t ignited in over three months. What the hell?
“What’s wrong?” Ava grabbed Emma’s shoulder.
She hugged her midsection. Now that the initial surprise had passed, she had to keep the pulsing light hidden from Ava. Otherwise, there’d have to be another mind-wipe.
Wonder if too many mind-wipes can harm a brain?
“Nothing. Just a cramp.” Emma stood straight, scanning the area. She never got cramps, but she had to cover when her wrist morphed into a freaky orange lighthouse beam. “I’ll be fine in a second.”
Everyone thought Emma’s mark was a normal tattoo, but they didn’t know how it came to life when the bloodsuckers were near. She slipped her hand over the piercing orange flare, silently chastising herself for not wearing her thick-band watch.
Three months, no Vamps—she’d gotten lazy.
Time to snap into Hunter mode to keep Ava safe. No way was Emma about to lose her best friend to one of those fanged beasts. She’d already lost too much.
Emma scanned the empty courtyard. The dark fence of trees encircling the campus seemed calm. No bobbing red orbs—a tell-tale sign of a hungry Vamp. Until they fixed their sights on dinner, their eyes stayed black as coal.
Ava whipped out her massive, pink leather purse. “Here, I’ve got Advil.”
“Never mind. We’re almost to the room. I’ll grab some there.” Emma straightened and rubbed her wrist while scanning the area. A couple of lights lining the sidewalk to their dorm barely made a dent in the darkening sky.
Movement to her right caught Emma’s attention. Her heart stuttered. Every muscle tensed. She needed to get Ava out of here.
“Let’s go.” Emma latched onto her elbow and hurried her along the sidewalk. Emma caught a flare of orange against the leg of her denim jeans. The Vamps must be closing in.
Bushes to the left, silent academic buildings behind them and the open courtyard to their right. She glanced over her shoulder at the mazes of deserted sidewalks leading to the various campus buildings. Slate-colored clouds rolled in, chasing away the remaining light of the setting sun. That didn’t help, despite her heightened vision.
“What’s the rush? Jeez. I’m not one of your workout buddies, Em.” Ava stumbled. “If I break a heel on these Jimmy Choos, you and I are going to have words.”
“Oh, sorry. I just want to get back to the room and get ready for the party. You said Todd was going to be there, right? I bet you’re anxious to see him again. It’s what, your third date? That’s a record for you.”
“Jerk. But you’re right. I want to look nice for him. And remember, you said I can get you prettied up a little, too.”
“I did not say you could pretty me up.” Thankfully, Ava was easily distracted.
Emma continued to hurry her roomie along. Another flare of orange pulsed. Only a hundred feet to the dorms. One more cluster of bushes to pass.
A fist that could have passed as a sledgehammer slammed into Emma’s face as a gust of wind whipped by her. An explosion of metallic-tasting blood burst into her mouth. Damn Vamps were fast. Emma toppled into Ava. Her friend yelped and tumbled to the ground. Her purse shuffled to the side along with one of her shoes when she made impact.
Emma spun, working to locate the Vamp. Only darkness. Shadows from the cluster of five, three-story dormitories up ahead provided ample amounts of darkness. Not to mention the light flickering out. Or did a rock just hit that light bulb?
Shit.
“What the hell was that?” Ava pushed herself up and reached for her purse.
“Quiet. Stay there. Don’t move.”
Emma’s friend shot her a wide-eyed glare. “What—”
Emma put her hand up, silencing her, and crouched. She held up her free hand, and whispered, “Crossbow.”
In a flash of white light, the steel weapon appeared in her palm. She stroked the smooth, otherworldly, silver metal, confirming the magazine of bolts was secure and ready to fire.
She touched her throbbing cheek. Dumbass was going to pay for that. And more.
“Okay, where are you?”
Drawing in a deep breath, Emma willed her pulse to slow, then stood. The gravel crunched beneath her trainers as she stepped off the sidewalk toward the bushes. Ava sat on the ground watching Emma with wide, disbelieving eyes. Her platinum-blond hair glowed beneath the light of the lamppost beside her, giving her an angelic halo.
This’ll be a big mind-wipe for sure.
The hairs on Emma’s neck prickled. Instinct demanded she duck. Air whooshed above her, a fist narrowly missing her face. She jabbed an elbow into the creature’s soft mid-section.
She lunged forward into a summersault, then turned and crouched.
Click. Click.
Two bolts shot out and sank into the Vamp’s chest.
White, elongated teeth flashed as the wounded creature’s mouth opened. A throaty roar rent the air as he squirmed, writhing in anguish, then vanished in a poof of dust.
As ashes settled over the gravel beside a blooming bush, she spotted another creature slithering toward her best friend. Emma trained her weapon on the beast.
Before she could fire, two gigantic hands squeezed her shoulders and yanked her into the bushes. Her crossbow clattered to the rocky ground. The creature snarled. Foul breath wafting over her triggered her gag reflex.
Lifting her hand in front of her, she said, “Dagger.”
The weapon landed in Emma’s palm. She spun it to aim the blade downward and plunged it into the creature’s thigh. His grip loosened. Emma snapped her head back and cracked the Vamp’s nose, then pivoted out of his grip. Blood gushed from his leg onto the dusty earth, but it wouldn’t keep him down for long.
The Vamp quirked his head to the side and drew in a breath. He glanced past Emma but didn’t move.
Strange.
He took in another breath. “Can’t smell you. What are you?”
She flipped the knife, blade up. “The last thing you’ll be seeing tonight.”

Awesome, right?

Cheers,

Hi! I'm Juliana Haygert,

Author of New Adult fiction.

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