I had planned to publish Where Will You Turn? today, but due to some personal issues with my editor, the book release has been put off a bit. Not only is my editor awesome at what she does, she is an amazing person and a dear friend. For me, family and friends always come first. I would rather take a little extra time and put out the best book I can instead of rushing it. The book will definitely be published in November. I'll keep you all posted when I know more. I appreciate everyone's support and patience.
In the meantime, I thought I would share with you the first chapter from Where Will You Turn? Book Three of the Díon Series.
Mari got up from the dining room table to stretch her legs. She turned around and pulled the curtains back, looking at the lights of Scarborough. She had quickly grown to love the old seaside town and wished the team was there for rest and relaxation.
It had been a month since they had stumbled upon the last remaining draugr, Reinn Gunnarson. According to the Díon laws, Reinn should have been killed on sight. As fate would have it, he had lost his life saving his nephew, Aran, from a draugr. Instead of entering Valhalla, Reinn awoke to find he had been turned into the monster he had destroyed.
Aileana was an original member of the Díon council and Raith's sire. She had demanded Reinn's death, but Raith was able to save him using a loophole in their Díon laws that made him responsible for Reinn's actions.
If Reinn created another draugr, Raith would be forced to kill him and turn himself in to the Díon for punishment and possible death.
It wasn't a long-term solution, but it bought them some time. Aileana had ordered that Reinn be kept prisoner in his castle "as a precaution." The Díon council had allowed his human lover, Kylee to remain with him. As if the council had a choice.
Raith's team had remained in Scarborough, but they had not been allowed to contact Reinn. Since all had been quiet, they assumed Reinn was behaving.
Mari knew Raith's biggest fear was that Aileana would have one of the Díon teams harm Kylee, forcing Reinn to either turn her, or let her die. Either way, the Díon team responsible would be doomed. Reinn would destroy anyone who harmed Kylee.
Raith and his team had been busy hunting down key players in the human trafficking ring. They were used to going after rogue creatures, who were threatening humans. But this was a highly organized group of vampires, who knew what they were doing and how to cover their tracks.
They chose homeless people and runaways - humans who might not be missed, herding them up like cattle and selling them to vampires and other blood-drinking, flesh-eating creatures. The lucky ones died right away. Mari's stomach turned when she remembered what Raith had told her about the fate of humans being kept as blood slaves.
Their investigation of the human trafficking ring had been done with the help and blessing of the Díon council, but their recent run-in with Aileana led Mari to believe that she was somehow involved.
Raith didn't want to believe it. He'd been fighting for the Díon cause since Aileana had turned him during the Draugr Wars over one thousand years ago. Mari convinced him to at least consider the possibility and to follow the evidence.
The rest of the team was on edge. Since Mari and Raith had decided to investigate the Díon itself, they gave the rest of the team the option of leaving, knowing the danger they'd be in. They had all signed on without hesitation.
"So what now?" Mari asked, turning to stand next to Raith who was sitting at the dining room table with Aran.
"We keep playing along like good little Díon members until we can figure out what the hell is going on." Raith sighed.
Raith knew they had to follow wherever the leads may take them, even if the evidence pointed to the Díon council. He also knew Aileana was ruthless. If she was behind the disappearances of the humans for sale as food, she wouldn't hesitate to kill anyone who got in her way. The fact that she had sired Raith would not save him.
They didn't know how far the conspiracy went in the Díon, but it was unlikely that Aileana could keep that kind of operation a secret from the other council members.
Raith wanted to be able to talk with other Díon teams, but there were only a handful of people outside of his own team he could trust now. Aileana was very powerful. The fact that she was using those powers to control and use werewolves, was something he had not expected.
After the Draugr Wars, the werewolves kept out of Díon business. They had a representative on the council, but they policed their own packs. Their representative was always thought to be more of a spy. A way for the packs to keep track of what the "parasites" were doing.
Raith, Mari, and the rest of the team had been waiting impatiently for their next assignment. They were secretly investigating Aileana, but she wasn't stupid. Eventually she'd catch on to the fact that they suspected her, if she hadn't already. Raith wanted Aileana to make the first move.
While the team continued to gather evidence, they decided to remain in Scarborough, waiting for any Díon assignments they were given, keeping up the appearance of business as usual.
Mari ran her fingers through Raith's hair as she looked into the living room and smiled at the dysfunctional group who made up her new family.
Marco was trying to keep Steve occupied with video games, which meant they'd be buying new controllers again due to Steve's habit of biting whatever pissed him off.
Bohdan was pacing and throwing his daggers in the air forcing Pierce to take cover in a corner, scowling. When Bohdan was in a bad mood, daggers had a bad habit of flying off course. Ami pretended to read the same magazine for the tenth time.
"Wraith." Bodhan froze.
"Yeah," Raith responded.
"Not you," Bohdan whispered, pointing.
"What?" Raith followed Bohdan's direction to a spot above Mari's head, where a faceless specter floated menacingly. Mari glanced up as well. Her feet suddenly rooted to the floor.
"Oh shit." Raith tried to grab Mari but the creature's decaying claw reached her first.
Mari dropped to the floor feeling a icy blast that froze her very bones. She couldn't see, hear, or feel anything but the cold. Fear started creeping into her brain, as she realized whatever was happening to her was slowly killing her. She could sense the intense rage in the creature that seemed to be draining the life from her. Despair overwhelmed her.
"Don't touch it!" Aran screamed at the other team members as he tackled Raith, who made a move to snatch Mari out from underneath the creature.
"We can't just sit here!" Bohdan raged.
"Marco..." Aran started.
Raith could hear Marco whispering while burning something that made his nose want to close for business, but he had to focus on Mari.
"Listen to me brother," Aran forced Raith's head around until he had eye contact. "You aren't helping her like this. Marco is working as fast as he can. You have to help her hold on."
Raith nodded and crawled over to where Mari had fallen. He tried to ignore the cold despair, seeping from the wraith, sucking Mari's life away. He moved in as close as he dared.
"Mari, listen to me. I need you to hold on. Marco just needs a few minutes. Focus on my voice. Just stay with me, don't give in to the fear and despair. That's what it wants. You have to fight. Fight, Mari!" Raith struggled to keep himself calm. He didn't want to give the creature any more fuel.
"Marco!" Aran yelled.
"Done," Marco said, breathing heavily.
They watched as the wraith appeared to be struggling with something, as it pulled away from Mari and was dragged from the house by some unseen force.
"Get her some blood!" Raith yelled, as he moved in to scoop up Mari's still body and place her on the dining room table.
Bohdan ghosted next to him with two bags of blood. Raith tore the top with his teeth and opened Mari's mouth, pouring the thick liquid in.
"Come on baby, swallow." He continued to pour blood into her mouth and talk to her, while the rest of the team stood by and waited.
Mari finally snapped awake, swinging her arms in self defense, as if she were still under the effects of the wraith.
"Shh...baby it's me." Raith crushed her against his chest, and she melted into him.
"Is it dead?" Mari croaked.
"It's banished," Raith said. "From here at least."
"Banished? What was that?" She asked, pulling back, while shaking her head as if to clear it.
"A wraith," he said quietly, as if saying it louder would bring it back.
"It's a creature of pure vengeance," Marco added.
"From what I read, I thought they fed on souls," Mari added, sounding dazed.
"They do, but they can also feed on energy or emotion," Marco explained.
"It takes someone very powerful to raise and control a wraith." Bohdan vocalized what, Raith assumed, everyone else was thinking.
The fact that it had targeted Mari left no doubt who had sent it. Aileana had made her first move. So much for covertly investigating her and the Díon. Game on.
Book one of the series, Where Will You Run?, is still on sale for $0.99 on Amazon.
Book one of the series, Where Will You Run?, is still on sale for $0.99 on Amazon.