My Author Ethics

DisclosuresAs a published author it is important to acknowledge that certain ethics come with the job. I pride myself in being professional with a high level of honestly, integrity and passion. I write many of my blog posts from my experience in the publishing and sales world. My publishing background has evolved from my original journey as a self-published author in 2012 to an Indie Amazon Bestseller as of today. My sales background includes ten years in sales, seven of which have been spent in the financial industry, including six years experience as a supervisor and top selling agent for the institution I worked for. I am currently a Retail Banking Operations Manager and Project Manager who develops Sales Campaigns, Initiatives and Training programs for the bank, along with numerous duties involving maintenance of 220+ procedures (writing, editing, creating and monitoring) and marketing projects. I am also studying to receive my degree in Marketing and plan on pursuing a second degree in Graphic Design.

BLOG reviewsAs a published author, my reading has taken a significant hit because of time restrictions, but also ethical issues. It’s much easier to write a review when you aren’t an author. When you are, any criticism is not taken kindly. That being said I would like to disclose the following as my strict policies for reviewing:

  1. I never accept review copies from other authors. If asked I will politely decline and advise that I will look at the book description, and if interested, I will purchase the book and review it in my own time.
  2. I will no longer post reviews of Self-Published or Independent Authors that are three stars and under. I will rate the novel as is such on Goodreads, and post that the author may contact me for a full review if they are interested. I will not rate novels under three stars of authors I personally know or have an acquaintance with. This creates a blackmail situation in which I do not wish to be involved.
  3. I will follow the following format when reviewing novels:
  • Star Ratings can and may have 1/2 Stars
  • Each Review will include an Overall Star Rating
  • Each Review will be broken down into the following individual Star Ratings with explanations for the ratings:

-Book Description: 1-5 Stars; 5 being the best

-Cover: 1-5 Stars; 5 being the best

-Plot: 1-5 Stars; 5 being the best

-Creativity: 1-5 Stars; 5 being the best

-Grammar: 1-5 Stars; 5 being error free (this will NEVER happen, not even with major pubbed books)

-Simile Use: 1-5 Stars; 5 stars being the best, meaning no similes were used. 1 meaning similes were used in excess and pulled me out of the novel.

-Description: 1-5 Stars; 5 being the best

-Show Not Tell: 1-5 Stars; 5 being the best- dialogue driven without excessive and obtrusive description

Additionally, please keep the following in mind for reviews of my novels:

  1. I do not respond to negative reviews of my own novels, but I may, at my discretion, respond to positive reviews.
  2. I never pay for reviews.
  3. I do directly contact bloggers to request reviews.
  4. I will never ask a reviewer to not post a review because it doesn’t show my novel in the best light. That is their right. If they are a part of the blog tour for the release of the novel that is hosted by myself and or my publisher, I will state that I prefer the review not be posted as a part of the tour–but I do not require/condemn it.
  5. You can contact me if you would like to review any of my novels via Goodreads messaging.
  6. I may share good reviews on Social Media, but will not concentrate on them.
  7. I hold the right to not read each and every review that is written for my novels.
  8. I disclose that I do not read reviews of my novel that are personal attacks (yes, these do happen).
  9. I disclose that I do not tend to read reviews that are 2 stars or under.
  10. I respect a reviewers opinion. I acknowledge that my writing style is not for everyone.
  11. Don’t be surprised if I like a JPEG you created for your review and ask if I can use it in marketing materials, but I will always ask permission and give credit on the materials to your blog or you.
  12. I save all fan art to my Pintrest board.

ARCAny reviews posted before the release date of my novels will be of UNEDITED Advance Reader Copies (hence referred to as ARCs). An ARC is an unedited Galley that is distributed by myself and my publisher before the publication date to solicit early reviewers; this includes both electronic and paperback additions. The novel is disclosed as an ARC with with words “Unedited Advance Reader Copy” on the electronic or paperback cover. The following disclosure is issued to each receiver of the ARC from myself and my publisher:

This is an UNEDITED Advance Reader Copy that will contain grammar and syntax errors. The final version of this novel may appear slightly different in content, but plot and characters will remain the same.

E-ARCS will additionally have the following disclosure:

This novel is a review copy for your use and your use only. This file is not to be shared, forwarded, or otherwise misused under copyright law.

The paperback versions will be used for promotional purposes and will also include the word “PROOF” on the back page. This will never be sold for a profit. Additional information and format changes may occur before the final version is released.

In addition to being used to solicit early reviewers, the electronic version will be utilized as a gift to those that participate in Promotional Events before the release date of the novel, including, but not limited to, cover reveals. If you participate in a Promotional Event and are given an E-ARC, reviews are welcome, but not required.

Reviewers are asked to take into account that any copies (ARCs) given before the publishing date contain such errors.

Feature FridayI do cross promote other authors on my blog. This doesn’t necessarily mean I have read their work, but I do believe in assisting other authors in their goals. I reserve Fridays as promotional days for other authors, but may participate in tours on other days if they cannot or do not fall on a Friday. My release dates (including cover reveals) do fall on Fridays, and I will promote my own novel on Feature Fridays. Feature Friday is open to authors to approach myself for interviews, cover reveals, or other promotional items with the exception of reviews (see the above review policy).

BLOG ratingPG-18

While I have published Young Adult novels, and write/illustrate Children’s Novels, this blog will be utilized to promote my New Adult novel and other novels in the genre. Thus, the rating is PG-18 due to slight to moderate sexual content and language that may be contained in Excerpts or Teasers.

WIP: Flawed Perfection Book Trailer

2 wip wednesdayI must say I am super proud of myself this week. It’s my vacation, by which I mean, it’s my time to just concentrate on getting this new book done right! So after seeing a post Ruth Silver did on Animoto, I got my butt over to their website to check out how I could make a book trailer for Flawed Perfection. I did trailers for In Between Seasons and Walking in the Shadows, but when it came to Love Exactly I’d run out of music options from my husband, and the amount of work times the amount of people who viewed the trailer didn’t seem to add up. I’ve seen some book trailers that were just…well…scary. They were either too short to peak my interest, or too long that I got bored. When I saw Ruth’s post on Book Trailers, I thought it might be time to take a second look, especially after she said it was as simple as getting your pictures together and dropping them in. Then she said it was free! I looked over Animoto and opted to go for their monthly version which costs $5.00 so that I could have enough time to really get the reader hooked, but not too long that they got bored. Animoto is great because it instantly customizes a video to your specifications and selects music for you. Now, you have a choice of thousands of prebuilt templates and music, but the music that came with the template I fell in love with matched perfectly so I didn’t have to do much searching there. I also liked how Animoto has some free photographs you can use, along with free motion videos to add in. I opted to use my own photographs and ones from public domain, and one motion video. This took me about 20 minutes to do all together, and I love it! I’m hoping the readers will too! Without further ado, here is the book trailer for Flawed Perfection (Beautifully Flawed, #1)

Book Blogger Love-a-Thon Book Valentines!

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The 3rd annual Blogger Love-a-Thon has officially began!

The Mini-Challenge I will be participating in today is the Mash Up Challenge! This is where we talk about some combined loves–like, for me, music and books! I’m going to share my go to writing playlist and favorite music videos of all time!

Now, you are all pretty aware that I’m a metal-screamo-heavy screamin-hot rockers kind of girl. This mix-up has everything from the heavy stuff that made my dad buy earplugs to the slightly squeaky squeals that make my husband’s heavy metal heart turn over (in agony–hey, we can’t agree on everything!)

  1. Sleeping with Sirens – Congratulations
  2. Bring Me the Horizon – Can You Feel My Heart
  3. Bring Me the Horizon – Shadow Moses
  4. Of Mice & Men – The Depths
  5. Sleeping with Sirens – Alone
  6. Of Mice & Men – Blame It
  7. Asking Alexandria – Right Now (Na Na Na)
  8. Sleeping with Sirens – If You Can’t Hold On
  9. Crown the Empire – Payphone
  10. Issues – Boyfriend
  11. Tyler Carter- Mirrors (Cover)
  12. Bring Me the Horizon – Go To Hell, for Heaven’s Sake
  13. 10 Years- Minus the Machine
  14. Woe is Me – Vengence
  15. Blessthefall – What’s Left of Me
  16. 32 Leaves – All is Numb
  17. Sting – Fortress Around Your Heart
  18. Maroon 5 – Payphone
  19. Choidos – Notes in Constellations
  20. Issues – Love Sex Riot

Book Blogger Love-a-Thon Twitter Party!

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The 3rd annual Blogger Love-a-Thon has officially began! Don’t forget to take part in the awesome Twitter party! #Loveathon

8-9 P.M. EST

Twitter chat/party: Come help us say farewell to the 2014 Love-A-Thon with a blogging, bookish, awesomesauce Twitter Chat with our moderator of the evening, Katelyn (@KatelynTorrey), co-host Alexa (@alexalovesbooks), and all the #LoveAThon-ers! For our last Twitter chat of the event we will be reflecting on the Love-A-Thon, what we liked, what we didn’t, what we had the most fun doing, etc.! And who are we kidding, there will be a few giveaways involved too! Be sure to follow and use the #LoveAThon hashtag to participate!

Book Blogger Love-a-Thon Awards!

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The 3rd annual Blogger Love-a-Thon has officially began!

Are you ready for the #LoveAthon Awards?

Best of the best of Bloggers! Here are my nominations:

Best Blog Design: The Book Bellas

Best Weekly Feature: That’s What He Said Thursday @chapterbreak

Best Discussion Posts: Closed The Cover

Friendliest Blogger: Danielle Young from Consuming Worlds

Most Helpful Reviews: Breathe in Books

Favorite Author Twitter Feed: @NikGodwin

Book Blogger Love-a-Thon!

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The 3rd annual Blogger Love-a-Thon has officially began!

Our first event of the day is an interview! Be sure to check out all the blogs involved and tweet us using hastag #LoveAThon! Through out the two days there will be great giveaways and fun posts–stay tuned!

1. How did you come up with your blog name?

It’s not really all that creative…It’s my name with author attached!

2. What genre/subject matter do you read and review most on your blog?

I read a lot of Young Adult and a little bit of New Adult. Other than that it’s a real mix, but I love anything with a bit of romance to it!

3. Name the 3 books you’re excited for in 2014!

Promise Me Forever by Sarah Ashley Jones

Everlasting by Candace Knoebel

Casted–Book 2 By Sonya Loveday

4. Where in the world are you blogging from?

Connecticut!

5. Tell us — how did you get into blogging in the first place?

As a writer it was imperative that I start a website and a blog, but then it’s also good as an author to support other authors. A blog is the perfect way to do that!

6. Apart from reading, what other hobbies/interests do you have?

I’m a photographer, graphic designer, sewer, knitter, painter, jewelry maker…among author things!

7. If you were stuck on a deserted island, which books would you bring with you?

Everything by Jane Austen

8. If you were stuck in some dangerous situation (like a fire, a sinking ship, a warzone), which book boy or girl would you want to come and save you?

Hunter from In Between Seasons…he kills people with his bare hands!

9. You’re attending a party with your friends. Suddenly, the DJ changes the song and it’s YOUR song – what song would that be?

Right now? Boyfriend (cover) by Issues

10. What 3 movies would you love to have your favorite author write into books, or vice versa?

I’m not a real fan of any of the movies out there right now, and it seems like most of them are from books anyways. All my favorite books are already movies, but I’d love to see any of my fellow Indies have their novels made into movies!

Book Blogger Love-a-Thon Twitter Party!

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The 3rd annual Blogger Love-a-Thon has officially began! Don’t forget to take part in the awesome Twitter party! #Loveathon

8-9 P.M. EST

Twitter chat/party:Come hang out with our moderator of the night, Alexa (@alexalovesbooks), co-host, Katelyn (@KatelynTorrey), and all of the #LoveAThon-ers for a party on Twitter! For our first Twitter chat of the event we will be discussing blogging, books, all-things-nerdish, and everything else in between! There is also a good chance a giveaway (or a few!) will be involved so be sure to follow and use the #LoveAThon hashtag to participate!

Book Blogger Love-a-Thon Mad Libs!

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The 3rd annual Blogger Love-a-Thon has officially began!

The Second Mini-Challenge I will be participating in today is the Mad Libs Challenge! #Loveathon

One day, I was wandering with Hunter. Out of the blue, a bird came out of nowhere! It was so cute, cuddly and agressive. At first, we were afraid, we were petrified, but we survived. We hopped on train to make our getaway. 

 

As we escaped, we turned up the radio because Love, Sex, Riot came on and made me giggle. Everything was extremely smooth sailing until an octopus appeared in the middle of the road. We swerved to avoid it, but while Hunter stayed on train, I got thrown onto my side in the woods.

 

I couldn’t get up, and felt sickly as I lay there staring up at the trees. What was I going to do? I heard a growl among the leaves, and felt sad. Surely, this was going to be my end. As my eyes fluttered shut, the last thing I saw was a head of purple hair and ivory eyes.

 

When I woke up again, I was on a coffee table. My body hurt a whole lot less, and I could sit up. There was a camera and penguin in the room, along with burgers and vodka. The door suddenly opened to reveal Adam, a concerned look on his face. I blushed and averted my gaze, but he kneeled and said, “Don’t be shy. It’s okay.”

 

He came over to sit by me, and we started talking after I told him my name. We chatted about photography,knitting and pole dancing and realized we had a ton in common! I thought he was jackass and couldn’t help feeling a little swoony. 

 

Just as he reached out for my hand, the door crashed open and in came Evan Levesque. “Don’t let him charm you away, my love!” He yelled, running at Adam. They each had blender in their hands and began to fight. “Stop!”, I yelled, feeling so overjoyed. They didn’t listen to me. Before I could intervene, Adam fell to the floor and disappeared in a cloud of smoke.

 

“What was that?” I asked, staring at the empty space. Evan Levesque dropped his weapon, and came over to me. “Magic, but you are safe now, Duckie.” He hugged me close, and I suddenly knew that this was the real deal and not just a dream.

 

Just as Mirrors started playing in my head, I woke up. I cursed my nasty luck. Why had it only been just a dream?

 

Book Blogger Love-a-Thon Book Valentines!

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The 3rd annual Blogger Love-a-Thon has officially began!

The Mini-Challenge I will be participating in today is the Book Valentine challenge. Now, for this challenge I’m supposed to write a love letter to my book boyfriend–but (sorry hostesses) I’m thinking it wouldn’t be fair because, well, I write my book boyfriends. So this is my spin on it–I’m going to write a valentine to YOU–my readers, fans and those fabulous bloggers out there!

love letter

 

V-Day Bites Blog Hop Stop!

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Today I am happy to participate in a celebration like no other of Valentines Day! We’re talking about those special romances, the ones only found within the pages of a book–those paranormal ones! The stop today is Undying Love, and I’m going to share with you a look into the novel that inspired Walking in the Shadows. Walking in the Shadows is an Amazon Bestselling  YA Romantic Suspense that follows Vera MacIntrye as her whole world is turned upside down by, you guessed it, VAMPIRES. The thing about these vampires is, that they are VERY real, not like the ones found within the pages of a book. These vampires are ones that have taken the love for the fiction novel The Crimson Reign a bit too far. As a writing activity I began to write The Crimson Reign, so I could understand the scope of the obsession and why it had taken place. I’ve shared sneaks at this before, but today I am going to share EVERYTHING that I wrote for the novel. It’s long, but I hope you enjoy it! Without Further Ado, take a peek into the bizarre vampiric world that inspired the serial killers from Walking in the Shadows. (Please keep in mind this is unedited and will surely contain many grammatical errors–it also was written outside my style)

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CHAPTER ONE

“Time to hunt,” Evan said, clapping his hands together, his sharp retractable incisor teeth protruding.

Faye leaned up on her tip toes and kissed his neck. “Let’s.”

“I’m good,” I replied looking back down at the book I was reading. We weren’t nocturnal and I wasn’t a fan of night feeding.

“Not hungry?” Evan asked as he leaned down and put his face in front of mine.

“Not in the least,” I said, my voice sounding meeker than the ferocity I felt.

He struck the book from my hand and grabbed me by the shoulder hard enough to bruise as he yelled, “What’s wrong with you lately?”

I slapped his hand away. “You aren’t the boss of me Evan.”

“I’m the leader of this coven whether or not you like it,” he hissed, shaking his arm. There was no doubt in my mind that I had bruised him back and that I had bruised his ego, too.

“I don’t,” I retorted in a matter of fact voice. Being a vampire was so dramatic sometimes.

“And what pray tell would you do about it? Leave?” Faye teased, dancing in front of Evan and running her hands across his chest, “I think not.”

She had her back to me now as she rubbed her body against his and then bit his lip. I rolled my eyes as I tried to look away from them. My life was filled with these awkward moments 99% of the time. I didn’t have a mate and they felt the need to rub it in my face, or complain about it. Either way I wasn’t in the mood for their nasty feeding and make-out fest.

“I think you need a mate,” Evan commented in between kisses with her.

“Don’t you dare try to convince Collin into trying seduce me again,” I said, thinking of the other single coven member. They had chosen him for me, and weren’t very pleased when I decided he was almost as much the scum of the earth as they were; as we were.

“Then come feed, you can’t starve forever,” Faye begged with sweet pout. It was fake though, she really didn’t care.

“I’m good,” I repeated.

“Why are you so stubborn? They deserve what’s coming to them. This is what we were put here to do. They are our prey. God put us here to do this,” Evan explained forcefully.

I watched as Collin, Aria and Leo entered the room ready for the hunt.

“Is she getting a conscience again?” Aria guessed, flipping her curly golden locks.

“I don’t like that theory,” Evan growled as he turned on Aria and pushed her to the wall. “So keep your opinions to yourself.”

“She’s just like the Gray’s. Sorry excuses for vampires,” Aria retorted, pushing back against Evan. She was weaker than me, though and couldn’t free herself from his grip.

“Us equal to the humans?” Collin spat with his black eyes narrowed on me.

“Live among humans?”  Leo added as he pulled Evan off of Aria. They acted like beasts, no wonder we couldn’t live among humans. They would all be running for their lives—too bad they wouldn’t get far.

“The Grays live with them?” I asked, jumping over the couch and grabbing my book of the floor.

“You already act like one—reading. What a waste of time,” Leo commented as he sniffed Aria’s hair before kissing it.

We were supposed to be more evolved than the humans, yet we acted like this. I felt the bile rising under the pale skin of my throat. That was the reason I couldn’t feed; these idiots made me nauseous with their sexual behaviors and lack of any sort of inhibition.

“You’re coming with us whether or not you like it,” Evan demanded before grabbing me by my arm and throwing me over his shoulder. His finger dug into my collar bone, and I couldn’t fight him. He knew it was the only way I wouldn’t.

~*~*~

I knew I couldn’t run from them forever. They would fine me, not because they cared but for their own selfish motives. My only way out was this; I would do it before they could find me. I lay down and stared up at the stars and kissed them goodbye with one slice of each pale wrist. The metallic stench was overwhelming. It called me to feed, but it would do nothing to save me now. I watched the pink veins being to flow forward as the blood cycled towards the deep cuts and out. I let my wrists lay in the cool crimson puddles and tried to forget the pain.  I hoped there was a God to save me at the other end of this.

“What the hell are you doing?” a deep, intoxicating voice interrupted.

“Finding a way out—away from them,” I replied as I watched his face come into view over me. It was blurred by the moon that was making a halo over his head. I had thought the stench of the freshly manure covered field would hide my blood from other vampires.

“Why?” he pried as his voice softened.

His face focused through the blur of the moon and I found myself staring into the sterling eyes of Colby Gray. He was a name and face I knew but a voice I had never heard.

“We’re beasts, diabolical beasts. I can’t do it anymore,” I choked out in a rasp whisper. I knew that his strong ears would be the only thing that could hear my weakened voice. It was working; I was dying, finally.

“They’re beasts, you don’t have to be,” he murmured as he swept me into his arms.

“I’m done for already,” I said. I could hear my heartbeat fading from a thump to a pitter. Yes, that much closer to never having to kill again.

“We’ll save you—?”

“Nara Cabe,” I managed with a slurred voice, the words painfully coming as my head lolled against his shoulder.

“Nara Gray now,” he replied, brushing a tear away from my face. My body was numb, but his cool finger was like an electric shock. I fought hard against the weakness in my limbs as he ran faster and faster. His face was desperate, and I could tell he didn’t know if they could save me. I wished I had known they would have been willing to save me. The Grays—the coven mine despised so much. The one I would now become if I could only convince my heart to stop beating the life out of itself.

 CHAPTER TWO

I woke up to find Colby’s head on my stomach, a tuff of dark chocolate hair cast over his open eyes. “You’re awake.” He said lifting his head and brushing a hair from my eyes.

“Mmhmm.” I said swallowing against my parched throat.

He handed me a cup of ruby liquid. “Thanks.” I said choking it down.

“It’s not human.” Colby said when he saw my face contort at the taste.

“Right…what is it?” I said finishing the last of it.

“Pigs blood.” He said watching my facial reaction.

I smiled. “Much better.”

“You get it at the butcher—no dirty work.”

My stomach dropped at the thought of the dirty work.

“You okay? You look pale.”

“We’re vampires, we are pale.” I said looking down at my bandaged wrists.

He squeezed my hands. “Right…Nara…I need to know—why did you do it?”

“I needed a way out.”

“But death? It’s long, agonizing and messy for us. You could have been in that field days before your heart let the last drop of blood leave you. Why endure that pain?”

“Your life is obviously different.” I said looking at the empty cup.

“Was it the killing?”

“You can never know,” I said my voice drifting off as the little girls frightened eyes flashed in my memory. “How horrendous it was to kill prey that you knew could feel just as yourself. To hear them beg, to hear them ask why, to treat them as if they all did something personally wrong to me. To treat them as if we had the right to take their lives. When we are just power hungry beasts.”

“That’s a path you chose.” Colby said his eyes darkening with the words as I said them.

“There was no other way. Evan and the others, they forced me into it. They told me there was no other way. That we were created to punish them and I believed them. Until they started killing whole families for sport…until I looked in the mirror and saw the horror. I know I would have gone to hell—but its hell here already. I’d rather be dead than have to kill another innocent human, to have to feel their pain as they die.”

Colby’s eyes softened, “You have something better now—a choice. You can live and not ever have to do that again.”

I wiped my eyes and took a deep breath. “Maybe I’m dead already and this is heaven.”

Colby’s deep laughter filled the dark room and I couldn’t help but smile.

“I’m afraid not, that’s something you and I will never see. Being immortal has its pitfalls, that is unless you try to kill yourself again.” Colby said squeezing my hands. “I have to ask you to promise me something.”

“Anything,”

“You will never try to do that again.”

“You need to promise me something.”

“Yes,”

“That no matter what you will never let me kill another living thing with my own hands again.”

“I promise.” Colby said his eyes staring into mine and bringing blood up my veins into my face forming rose cheeks.

“I promise.” I said not letting my eyes leave his.

CHAPTER THREE

Colby had left the room after our conversation and I drifted back to sleep. It didn’t feel like a dream though.

“You’re going to do it.” Evan said one hand on the little girl who was screaming at the top of her lungs.

Leo was dispatching the mother who was yelling to her daughter that everything would be okay. I was crying, it wouldn’t be I knew it wouldn’t be.

“No,” I said punching him in the stomach causing him to release the girl. “Run,”

“You piece of–“ Evan said as the girl began to run away from the camp ground.

I grabbed his arm as he lunged after her. “She can’t be more than ten.”

“It doesn’t matter.” He said his teeth biting into my arm.

I heard the mother scream one last time as she watched Evan in what seemed like one stride reach her daughter and break her neck. I turned and watched as Leo did the same to the mother. The scream of the father now filled the night as Aria and Faye attacked him. I was running as quick as possible away from them. They were feeding and I was done with life. I found myself in the field again, but instead of Colby Evan came into the view of the moon. It turned red and I screamed in pure fear that he would take me back and make me kill again.

“Nara,” Colby’s voice broke through the dream.

I opened my eyes as he came running into the room and I dove across the bed into his arms.

“It was you, thank God it was you.” I said as his arms tightened around me.

“Were you dreaming?” He said into my air.

“Yes.” I said, “It was the last night I was with them…” My voice broke.

“I’m sorry Nara, but you need to try to forget your past.”Colby said. “We’ll help you—“

“We?”

“Yes, the rest of the Gray coven and I.”

I couldn’t describe the feeling that overcame me then. I wanted it to be him and me. It was ridiculous that he wouldn’t already have a mate that God had sent him to save me—I was too much of a beast to deserve that.

“Do they know what I’ve done? That I use to be a Cabe?”

“Cabe is a name Nara, and most of us have done what you have. It’s taken us centuries to seek the way of life we now live.”

“Have you?” I said looking up into his eyes.

He couldn’t hold my gaze. “No,”

“Right.” I said, of course not. He couldn’t even look at me and I couldn’t look at him without feeling shame.

He titled my chin up and looked me in the eyes. “My parents had already found this way of life when I was born. I would be just like you if it weren’t for them. It is a choice to kill humans, but Nara you didn’t know you had a choice. I believe that.”

“You knew your parents?” I said in shock. I had never known mine; they had sold me the second I was born. Vampire babies were far and few between because the genealogy only allowed certain vampires to breed and for unknown reasons. It was the way vampires had a controlled population.

“Yes…”

“I was sold. The coven already numbered too many I guess.”

“When did you stop aging?”Colby asked as I put my head on his chest exhausted.

“Forty years ago.”

Colby’s laugh caused his hard chest to rise against my cheek.  “You’re a baby—you can’t be but fifty?”

“Are you centuries old?” I said wondering if we would have any common ground.

“Not yet one. I’m ten years shy.”

“You’re not too much older than me.” I said pulling away and smacking him on his arm.

“You’re stronger than you look.”

“I could take Evan down.”

“I guess we’ll just need to fight to see if I’m stronger than you.” He said with an eyebrow raised into the line of his wavy hair.

“I’m sure I’m faster than you. I bet you can’t see half the time through all that hair.” I said.

“You’re lucky you can’t see my eyes all that well.”

“And why is that?”

“I’d seduce you in a second with them.” He said. “And in your weakened state you wouldn’t stand a chance.”

“Would you want to seduce me with them?” I said my skin tingling in a way I had never felt before. I yearned for his arms to be around me again. He stood and his hands tangled in the hair on the back of his head. He didn’t say anything for a long time. I swallowed, “Or would your mate not like that?”

“I’ve not found my mate yet.” He said after a minute. “Was Evan…?”

“Not in the least. I’ve never felt anything for anyone before…”

“The others will be home soon.” Colby said, “I can tell them you’re not ready to meet them yet if you still need some time?”

I finally began to take in the room around me. I was sitting on an oversize platform bed with the most comfortable pillows I had ever felt. The sheets were all crisp white and smelt like Colby—like wild lavender. The room was painted a navy blue and there was a gold book case covering the right wall. The other wall was all curtains and I assumed from the light filtering through the bottom of them, it was all of windows.

“Do you need more time Nara?” Colby said sitting on the bed beside me.

I brought my knees up to my chest staring at the clean silky pajamas I had on. I started as my skin finally felt the coolness of them against my skin.

“I had Amber change you into a pair of clean clothes…don’t worry I didn’t peak.” He said.

“I…thanks…” I said.

“No problem,” He said as I heard a door open downstairs and footsteps. “I’ll just go down and tell them you need some more time.”

He stood and I grabbed his hand. “I don’t want to fall asleep again.”

“I’ll be back up before you even notice I was gone.” He said and was gone before I blinked. I had never experienced someone with his grace in moving, it was as if he didn’t need to worry about stealth. He wasn’t hiding from anyone. “Did you notice?”

I laughed. “Yes,” I said.

“How?”

I didn’t want to say what was running through my head. That the second he left the room, my whole being yearned for his return. “I did.” I said.

He sat back on the bed next to me. “So…why don’t you want to fall asleep again? Your body is healing rapidly but that saps the best of us.”

“I don’t want to dream about my past.” I said raking my hands through my dirty blonde hair.

“What do you want to do?” He said, “Watch TV? Shower? Eat?”

“Is the whole house this nice?”

“You should see my bathroom.” He said nodding to a shut door.

“May I?” I said and he nodded his head standing and giving me his hand.

“You’re still weak.” He said as I lost my balance and my head began to pound. “We had to give you a lot of blood transfusions.”

“Have you had to fix up a lot of vampires?” I said as he led me into the bathroom that was almost as big as his room.

“Not me personally, but Amber and Joseph have. They’re a lot older than you or I so they have seen a lot of the wars that have been fought.”

“Wars?”

“Many of which were fought between us and the Cabe’s.”

“What?” I said turning to quick and losing my balance. He caught me in his strong arms and I had never felt so human in my life.

“They never spoke of it?” He said and when I shook my head he continued, “What did they tell you?”

“They told me to hate humans and the Grays. Humans are the prey, the number one enemy, the reason we were created. You guys were enemies because you live among humans as if you are humans and treat them as equals?”

“That is true, we do do that. With all the convincing arguments they still couldn’t make you one of them.”

I shrugged and tore my eyes away from his afraid I might do something entirely stupid like kiss him.

“Look at this tub,” I said sitting on the rim. “I’ve never taken a bath. I’ve read about it though.”

“That explains the smell.” Colby said scrounging his nose up with a smile.

“Did Amber wash me up too?”I said knowing that I didn’t smell as bad as I should of blood and manure.

“Yes, but feel free to take a bath. I can put on some soothing music and get you some candles and bubbles from one of the girls?” He said and my face must have lit up the way my heart did at the sound of it because in a flash he was gone. The only thing that showed he was ever there was the over the top fluffy towels waving against his wind.

I looked in the mirror for what seemed like the first time in years, and in fact it had been. In one of Evan’s attempts to make me less human he had destroyed the mirrors in the house, as if that would make me different. Nothing had changed my hair was the same length of auburn curls. The curls looked as if I had spent hours in a salon, but in truth they were just like that. Just another part of what made us the ultimate predators, unnatural beauty. My skin was the only thing that I changed; it was paler and more transparent due to my brush with death and lack of nutrition for many months. I jumped as Colby entered the room once again and turned on the tub.

“You’re far too stealthy.” I said watching his quick movements. I knew that if I had the sight of a human I would barely be able to see what he was doing.

He stopped moving and looked up, “Can’t keep up?”

“You’re making me a bit dizzy but I don’t think it has to do with keeping up.”

He stood and touched my face. “You should be starting to feel better. When was the last time you ate, besides what I gave you?”

I swallowed and looked at my hands, watching the blood moving through my veins. “I can’t remember.”

“What do you mean?”

I looked up at him. “I haven’t been able to bring myself to kill anyone.”

“Go on, get in. I’ll have Rachel come in and bring you some new clothes and something to drink.” He said beginning to walk away.

I grabbed his arm, “Can you just bring it in? I’m not really ready to meet anyone, although I know she’s already seen a lot of me.”

“Are you sure?”

“The bubbles will cover me up.” I said and watched as his cheeks colored slightly.

“Alright, but be sure you don’t put your wrists in…The sutures aren’t fully healed and that bite mark is still healing.”

“Okay,”

“Nara, who bit you?”

“Evan, I tried to stop him from killing a child.”

“Was that what made you…?”

“It was the last straw.” I said feeling nauseous.

“I’m sorry Nara. I really am.”

I looked up at him, “Why? You did nothing wrong.”

“You’re a good person though. It’s obvious you didn’t deserve the way you lived.”

“But now I have something better…so don’t be sorry.”

“I’ll be right back with some food for you.”

CHAPTER ??

“Why did you come back here of all places?” I said letting my hair float around me.

“We’ve seen a lot of places, them more so than me. But it’s nice to come back to where you’ve been when nothing changes in you but everything changes around you.” He said trying not to look at me.

“I’ve lived so long but I’ve seen nothing but darkness. I wish I could understand but I don’t.” I said my eyes watching as his searched room for anything but me.

His eyes settled on me and glanced momentarily at my bare shoulders only covered partially by my Hair. His eyes met mine. “The Cabe’s haven’t always lived where they live now…did they use to live in the city where prey was easier?”

“Yes…” I said popping a bubble with my hand.

“And?”

“Evan moved us because he thought I was watching the humans too much.”

“And not eating them?”

“Pretty much.”

“Did you like the city?” He said picking at a hole in his jeans.

“Yes, we lived on the top floor of an abandoned building. It was more civilized than where we ended up…in an abandoned house in the woods that is barely standing. I liked to sit on the fire escape and watch people living. It seems I am stuck in a time warp I can’t get out of where I watch people live but stand still. I’ve never gotten to live.”

He sighed and stood up, “Now you can. Somewhat.”

“Do you think they’re going to come looking for me?”

“It seems Evan has a bit of an obsession with you from what you’ve told me.”

“I’m sure that they’re all happy to be rid of me, especially Faye.” I said leaning on the outside of the tub and staring up at Colby’s back.

He turned around. “And why’s that?”

“She’s Evan’s mate. She hated when he paid attention to me, well more like tortured me.” I said swallowing.

Colby bent down in front of me so that his eyes were on the same level as mine. “You really don’t like Evan do you?”

I shook my head.

“Makes two of us…until we know if they are looking for you I don’t think you should leave the house.”

I nodded my head and looked away from him. “I’ve read about the ocean, but I fear I’ll never know what it is to taste the salt in the air, or feel the sand beneath my toes.”

“I wish I could set you free—“

“But they’re still controlling me even though I’m not with them anymore.”

“Someday I swear…the first thing we will do when we get out of here is go to the ocean.”

 

CHAPTER ??

 

I stood looking out the window of Colby’s room as the snow began to dance to the ground. I touched the cold of the glass and let it fog the world I could no longer touch out of my view. I heard the door open once and then again. By the sound of the graceful but heavy footsteps I knew Colby was one of the two. The second pair seemed to glide almost silently over the floor—Rachel.

“How long can we keep her locked up in here?” Rachel said in the living room before. I could sense she was sitting on the edge of the couch.

Colby sat and I heard him run his hands through his hair. “I don’t want the Cabe’s to catch her sent and come after her.”

“We might have to leave Colby. There might be no other way to truly save her.” Rachel said.

“Would you all do that? Pick everything up and start all over so soon?”

“When we came back here we knew the Cabe’s might present a problem once again. I had never thought they would stay here this long though, it’s as if they didn’t leave at all after the war.” Rachel grasped Colby’s shoulder and I heard his shirt wrinkle.

“I don’t think they ever did. Why would they? They don’t have to move because the humans will suspect something when they don’t age. They don’t interact with mankind, besides to destroy it.”

“If they find out Nara is here…”

“It will be another war, even though they didn’t want her.”

“Correction Colby, they didn’t want her to be who she is. They would have broken her…”

I heard Colby’s sharp intake of breath as he realized she was right. “We can’t risk losing more lives.”

“There’s two choices here, you let her free and tell her to leave and fend for herself. Or we live with her and risk the Cabe’s tracking us, or getting to us before we get out.” Rachel said and when Colby made no move to reply. “Tell me one thing Colby—do you love her?”

“Yes.” He said it so low that I wasn’t sure he had said it, and my heart was hammering so loud inside my head I thought I might have made it up.

“Then there’s only one choice. We leave then we can all live normal happy lives until the end of time.”

“Their stronger than us.” Colby said. “More raw power.”

“Maybe Nara can teach us about the way they fight? It’s barbaric the way they play without any regard to rules, we are too refined when we fight.”

“Nara said she could take Evan down.”

“Then she most certainly has something to teach us—wasn’t he the one that?”

“Yes.”

I was left wondering what Evan had done that made Colby’s voice uneven and rough filled with pain almost a century old.

 

PROCEEDING CHAPTER

“Hey, there.” Colby said coming into the room and sitting on the chace next to me.

“Hi,” I said putting down the volume of Shakespeare I was pretending to read.

“You okay?”

I pulled my hair out of the bobby pin that had been holding it up and let it fall around my shoulders. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Your eyes are gray.”

“Thanks for stating the obvious.” I said looking at him through my lashes.

“No, like there’s a storm going on…like they’re sad—the way they were when you opened your eyes when I found you.”

I turned so I was parallel to him our thighs only an inch from touching. I tried to ignore the feeling of the heat of his body so close to mine. “Just thinking.”

“About what?” He said and when I didn’t respond but looked towards the covered windows, “Fresh air?”

“Snow falling and dancing in my hair.”  I said looking at the curls that fell to my mid waist. “The feeling of cold snow against my skin. The sharpness of the air in my throat and the soft twinkle as the snow hits the ground like crystals falling into a pillow.”

I turned my head to look at his face deep in thought. I always turned my eyes down when we were this close, afraid that I would lose myself in the sea foam eyes hidden behind a curtain of black tangles. I couldn’t turn my eyes away from him now with his eyes so locked on me begging me to stare back. I took in every detail of his pale face, the permanent five o’clock shadow that never left his chiseled chin, to his soft pink lips framed by the soft prickles. My eyes stopped at his lips seeing a deep scar traveling from his upper lip up to the corner of his nose. My hand reached up in instinct and I couldn’t help myself from tracing it with my fingers.

“How…” I said wondering at the deepness of the wound. Even my cuts on my wrists were mere lines now. This was an old scar, one that was unchanged by time or immortality.

“When a wound is as complete as this was, it hardly heals as if it wasn’t there.” He said his lips moving against my palm. His eyes were still carving into mine.

“Who?”

“Evan,”

I started at his name my hand dropping at my shock. “The war?”

“They thought we would steal something that they held very dearly. We to this day don’t know what it was, but they wanted us nowhere near their territory.”

“How long ago was this?”

“Fifty.”

“What day did it begin?” I said my voice breaking.

“March twenty third.”

I stood moving away from him. “And who died?”

“Both my parents were killed.”

Tears were beginning to race down my face and I knew Colby could hear them because he was at my side in a moment. He turned me to face him and I shook my head. “It was me.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I’m the reason your parents are dead. Fifty years ago on March twenty third I came to live with the Cabe’s.”

He held my head in both of his hands my tears pooling and falling over them. “You are not the reason my parents are dead.” He said.

“Yes, I am. If I didn’t exist than they would still be alive.” I said.

“Look at me Nara. The Cabe’s are the reason my parents are dead. You are not one of them and never were. You were always mine.” He said.

When I looked up into his eyes I was lost in him. I could barely control myself as his hands pulled my lips to his own and slid down my body pulling it hard against his own. My hands rushed through his hair and to the strong muscles of his back as his lips slid from mine and trailed down my neck. They stopped at my ear. “Always mine.”

 

FIGHT! CHAPTER ;)
 

To feel something so strong that it heightens everything within you. Love and intense fear. I was staring out the bedroom window waiting for Colby when it hit me. Both emotions at once and everything started racing. The wall that surrounded the house like a fortress fell to my senses as I heard his pacing—Evan’s pacing. My mind was racing, at exactly how he had figured out I was here and exactly what he was doing pacing like that. The next thing that hit me was both emotions at once, because I could smell Colby’s cologne and hear his light steps. They were nothing at all compared to Evan’s. I was frozen as the curtain lost grip from my hands and whooshed silent to its proper position.

“What in the—“ Colby said his voice bouncing off of the towering wall that held me in just beyond Evan.

“I could say the same thing.” Evan said his voice a growl as his pacing turned into a sprint.

I heard Colby’s body crash into the ground. The house was a mile in, and Evan was fast. Every muscle in my body burst forth as I ran out of the bedroom and leapt off of the balcony. There was no time for stairs.

“You still managed to steal her away, almost fifty years later.” Evan said as Colby’s fist connected with his face sending him flying through the air.

“I stole nothing.” Colby said and I heard his graceful strides meet Evan and his fist connect again.

“Then why do I smell her on you?” Evan said his ripped jeans tearing at the knees as he bent and kicked Colby’s feet from under him.

I ignored the rain as it began pelting down at me and drowning out their words. I had to concentrate on one thing only—them.

Evan was on top of Colby punching him, but Colby launched him off and into the wall. I heard rocks crumbling.

“She has free will you know. God still created us with that.” Colby said waiting for Evan to get up. Why was he waiting for him to get up?

“Ha, so you thought you could save her? She’s some sort of trophy?” Evan said and Colby hesitated to react, caught off guard.

“She’s not a trophy she’s a living thing.”

“Then you thought you could save her damned soul. She’s killed many people you know and I know she enjoyed it. She’s lied to you if she has said otherwise. She’s useless, for the price I paid for her I thought I would at least get some satisfaction. No doubt you managed to enjoy that at least. She’ll always be one of us.”

The words stopped me in my tracks, my breath coming out in misted clouds. I waited for his reaction, but he seemed at a loss for words. I wondered if he had decided I wasn’t worth fighting for. I wondered if he believed what Evan said.

“She never was one of you.” Colby said walking forward his steps heavier than I had ever heard them.

“She manipulated you just like she did us.” Evan said launching himself at Colby. He over jumped him though and I knew what he was doing. I was running again the rain becoming bee stings as I ran forward.

“Colby, watch out.” I said as I launched myself up a tree and over the wall.

It was too late Evan was jumping on Colby’s shoulder and bearing his teeth into his neck. His arms were constricting Colby but the second Evan saw me he threw Colby’s body against the wall as hard as he could, breaking enough bones that he would not be able to fight back if I lost. If I lost Evan would kill us both.

“Now, now, the little harlot appears.” Evan said wiping his bloodied chin.

“Colby,” I said rushing to him and bending down. “Please.”

The green of his eyes was paling. I brushed his long hair away from them. “I don’t believe him.” He said. “I know you. I love you.”

My head wipped around.

“Even dressing the part, so pretty in those fashionable skinny jeans. I’m surprised you’re not already trying to be a human.” Evan said one eyebrow raised.

“I’m not trying to be anything but what I am.” I said my eyes narrowing.

“But darling, you are a cold blooded killer. Humans were created to be the opposite of us, and when they act like us we were suppose to keep them in line. But you see when you’re the embodiment of the seven deadly sins, you can’t follow rules. Especially not God’s rules.” Evan said leaning down on his knees. “Too bad you didn’t want to be like us, you were a trophy.”

I stood and launched myself at him before he could react slamming him up against a tree. The tree cracked with the force. “I’m not anyone’s trophy.”

“I beg to differ.” Evan said grabbing my wrist and twisting. My gripped loosened and his knee went into my stomach.

I didn’t hunch over in pain like he wanted instead I put myself into a full attack of legs and punches. He was able to block a few but not many. “Did you forget how fast I was?” I said as my foot connected with his head sending blood spewing out of his mouth.

The smell of blood was everywhere now. If there were any vampires around it would be a shark fest in ten minutes.

He grabbed my fist and spun me onto the ground grabbing a fist full of my hair and slamming my skull into the cement. “Did you forget how uncivil I am?”

“Not at all,” I said head butting him. “You must have forgotten that you taught me to fight like you.”

His laugh broke the night air as lightening sliced through the sky and light his satanic face. “And you think you can change. He can’t save you from what you are. Killer! You let me kill that little girl when you ran away from me. And I enjoyed it. You let her die. You killed her by running!”

I froze unable to react for the tears that were welling in my eyes.

“Don’t listen to him.” Colby said his voice cracking. “You ran because that was the only way you could save yourself. The only way to save others that he would have made you kill for no reason.”

I looked over at my shoulder and my senses intensified again. The beating of his heart was slowing, I needed to end this now. Evan thought he had caught me off guard as he rushed toward me in a tackle, but I grabbed his neck as he came into reach of me and flung him against the wall. It buckled at the force of Evan’s body hitting it and I rushed forward jumping on top of his back as he landed grabbing the top of his head and his chin and turning his head to break it clean off.

“Nara don’t.” Colby said breaking my thoughts. Evan took the opportunity to thrust me off of him into the stones. My body tumbled down next to Colby’s and Evan stood walking towards us. I heard another sound that Evan missed as he smiled down at me. I heard Rachel’s feet barely touching the ground. She was on top of Evan before he could react and I shut my eyes as I heard the sound of breaking bones, the soft thud of a body part and the twinkling of blood as it spilt from the stub. Evan’s torso slumped to the ground and I rolled my head into Colby’s shoulder to stop my nose from smelling the hideous metallic that filled the air and the ground around us.

END

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February 10 – Undying Love (Vampires)

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February 11 – Changing Love (Shifters)

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February 12 – Rotten Love (Zombies)

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February 13 – Haunting Love (Ghosts)

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February 14 – Love Gone Wrong/Dark Love/Erotica

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