The Foxworth Coven, Book Two: Natural Urges
Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance
Word Count: 76,561
Coming this summer from Solstice Publishing
Love conquers all...and evil seeks to destroy it.
Arcadia Foxworth has no idea what destiny has in store for him. He thought his life as an elite Council Hunter of Rogues was his perfect career choice. But little does he know his fate truly lies in one little powder keg, Korbin Callows. She’s beautiful, graceful—and a stripper. After having woken up, remembering nothing about her old life, Korbin had to pull herself together and make tough decisions to survive a harsh world. And now people she doesn’t even know are out to kill her. She finds herself relying on Arcadia to manoeuvre the new dangers presented to her, as she starts to recall who she really is. A powerful being that could make every vampire in British Columbia fall to their knees, including Arcadia.
Excerpt One (Rated PG, with mild violence):
Surrey, British Columbia
July 16, 1994
“Ceanna, just kill the son of a bitch!” I really didn’t know if the Rogue’s Mother was a bitch, but her son was definitely one useless waste of space.
“In a minute, Arcadia,” Ceanna, my sister and fellow soldier in arms called over her shoulder.
My sister and I were Hunters who tracked outlaw vampires. This is what we did, we followed our orders to the letter to make the world better for humans and vampires alike. But Rogues just got on my nerves when they didn’t follow the rules, my rules. The most important rule of all, they should always die when I got tired of chasing them. It should just happen. I’d been doing this for over seventy years and they seemed to just get dumber and dumber as the decades moved forward.
The second rule, my sister should never “play with her food.” Fat chance of that happening any time this century.
I stood there and watched Ceanna in a meadow. She played cat and mouse with our target, Charlie, in the middle of the night. We had already run him down long enough to kill most humans, even Olympic long-distance runners.
“Charlie didn’t even do anything worthy of this show,” I grumbled to myself.
Ceanna shifted in my mind through our bond. A clear chastisement was evident, even before she spoke. “Charlie breaks our laws. He killed humans for sport. A lot of them, more than any vampire needs to feed. He gave them pain and terror. I owe him for such credulity. By this night’s end, he’ll know it.”
“Then kill him.”
“No, I want him to suffer for what those women went through. They don’t have anyone to speak for them. But I will.”
How could I argue that? So I leaned against my new friend, the tree, and left her to it. Ceanna is pissed, that was painfully obvious. Every time she cornered the terrified Rogue, allowing him to think this all over for him, she backed off just enough so he thought himself free. And then the game started all over again.
My fingers traced over the pattern of the bark, my mind wandering. I remembered the beginning of the night, when we had finally located Charlie’s home, if one could call such dismal and pathetic dwelling as such.
Ceanna had picked up a photograph lying on the box serving as a coffee table. For a long moment, my sister stared at it, before she released a scream so shrill, I had winced from the agony of it. I reacted to nothing, but whatever vision Ceanna had then, would have been terrible to the tenth degree.
She wouldn’t talk about it. Her only focus was making the Rogue feel pain and fear. I had no idea if the woman in the picture was dead or alive. Or what Charlie had done to the seemingly innocent woman. But if the reports the Council had handed us just this afternoon said anything, the victim had suffered unbearable pain.
“I saw her in a locked box in his home, badly abused and left there for when he was hungry. I felt her fright so acutely, more than I normally do in a vision. I also got the sense that she is very special, Arcadia. She needs us.” Ceanna’s voice shook in my head, something she never did. This told me she’d glossed over a great deal of what she had seen, and whatever that part was, scared her right down to her core.
And that caused me physical pain. It wasn’t fair some vampires thought they could get away with committing such crimes on humanity, seeing a superiority that simply wasn’t there. Our powers granted us nothing more than the ability to harness energy; not to rule over anyone else, and certainly not to bully them for kicks.
I hated Rogues for views like these. If Ceanna didn’t kill the Charlie soon, I would. My boredom of the chase had fled at the harsh reminder of why we were here. Now, like my sister, I wanted him to pay for what he had done.
Charlie ran through the trees toward me, his anxiety affecting him so much, he didn’t even notice me standing there. My foot came out the moment he passed, tripping the ignorant vampire, and making him stumble headfirst into a trunk beside me. He to the ground.
The Rogue looked up at me with a strange mix of defiance and panic.
“Where is the woman you locked in a box?” I said coldly.
“No, I don’t think she is. Ceanna didn’t see her death, or she would’ve specifically told me. That woman is alive somewhere, and I want to know her location.”
“You’re wrong. It isn’t my problem if the futuristic sightseer can’t figure out what happened. Obviously she isn’t very powerful if she can’t tell the truth of something so simple.” Charlie sneered.
“Maybe she’s lost her touch, or all the rumours I’ve heard about the Foxworth Council Hunters are myth.”
Oh, shit. That did it.
Ceanna’s infinite patience for this hunt had just run out. She teleported to the small space between Charlie and the tree, and picked him up by a fistful of cloth. “Don’t be stupid enough to lie to us, Rogue, because I will prove every ‘myth’ to your own person and make it a reality. I’ll take great pleasure in making you bleed.”
Her eyes blazed red, her anger snapping as her body dragged in energy from every natural source around us. I struggled not to gape at my twin and her loss of control.
Charlie didn’t answer, so Ceanna slammed him against the wide trunk hard enough to make the roots groan, partially uplifting them from the cold ground.
“A good place, Hunter.” Charlie’s twisted smile filled with the vilest promises any mind could conceive of.
“I can’t tell you that. It isn’t part of my job.” Charlie’s smile wilted a little. It changed to calculation and cunning. “Did you ever consider that you were brought here, young-blood? That all you’re doing is a dance in a much bigger production than you’ve ever dreamed?”
Ceanna and I both refused to rise to the last jab. Many Rogues had similar things to say when they were nearing their end. Though Charlie hadn’t quite yet reached the true desperation part. But soon enough, he would soon enough.
They always did.
However, Ceanna did focus on the first statement. “And what is your job?” Ceanna asked curiously, brow shooting up as far as it could go without it flying right off her face. “Rogues do not have jobs in this game.” She paused, and thought that over. “Well, I guess they do. They die.”
“Of course, you’re right. That is part of my job. But not all of it.” Charlie needled. “Tell me, Ceanna Foxworth, if your powers were what you claimed, why don’t you know the answers to these questions already?”
Though I couldn’t see all of Ceanna’s face, I knew that remark had hit a nerve. “She probably already does,” I replied to fill her silence, but I didn’t feel good about it.
“No, she doesn’t.”
“He’s right,” Ceanna whispered. “His mind is murky. I see some things, like the woman in a box, what she went through before, but I can’t find it now. It’s like the Rogue wanted me to see it, and has control over what I can read off of him.”
“But he isn’t old enough for that,” I said.
“He has someone much older and adept protecting him. One who understands my power and doesn’t want me to know who he is.” Ceanna’s hand tightened on the Rogue’s collar. I thought she might strike him. In fact, I hoped she did.
Charlie tried to jerk away from her, but Ceanna wouldn’t allow it. She held him by her supernatural strength. “How do you know it’s a he?”
“I can feel the masculine presence attached to your life force.” Ceanna contemplated him for a full minute before continuing, while I stood there wondering if I should risk pissing her off and interfere. My sister was temperamental that way. “Fine, you’re a willing pawn set up to die. I get that. But that is only a small part of this.”
“A very small one in comparison to the bigger picture. Many of my people are willing to give up their lives in stopping the prophecy from coming to pass.”
“What prophecy?” I demanded. If there was one thing I hated more than anything, it was foretelling of people’s lives by some otherworldly entity that had no business forcing anyone to do anything.
Charlie’s mischievous, evil stare shifted to me. “You should know, Hunter, better than anyone. It’s to prevent the true Heir and her key from joining.” He lifted his hand and playfully slapped Ceanna across the face.
Oh, he really did have a death wish.
Ceanna gripped his neck hard enough to crush a human, pulled him a few inches forward, only to throw his weight backward against the tree. The thick, deep rooted trunk lifted right out of the ground, until it hung precariously in the air. Only one more hit, and it would fall to the forest floor.
“He speaks gibberish,” I snapped through the link I had with my sister.
“He speaks the truth.” Ceanna responded.
“Then what Heir does he babble about? Like an Heir to the Coven, or something?”
“No. Someone much more powerful than just a normal vampire, and I think this woman in the box is the one. She needs to be found and protected immediately.” Ceanna glanced back at me, her blue eyes dark with worry.
“Then get the information from the Rogue and we will do just that.”
Ceanna took a step back from Charlie, giving him breathing room. Why, I didn’t know, but this was my sister. She had something planned. She stood still as stone when Charlie observed her with a wary expression.
Charlie smirked. “Got you scared now, don’t I?”
She didn’t even flinch. The Rogue took a tentative step sideways. His eyes never left her. Then he took another, slow and steady, half turning. Charlie was about to run.
Ceanna’s foot came up so fast even I had trouble keeping up with the streaking movement. The strike connected with Charlie’s lower back, sending him careening into a wide oak tree close to one I leaned against.
The poor trees. They didn’t deserve to be touched by a vampire so vile, let alone be abused by him. In fact, I swore I heard them screaming from the violence. I blinked, confused by it, but only for an instant as the fight drew my attention back to my sister and her opponent.
Ceanna gathered power from every source around her, until her body cracked and popped with the sheer amount of it. Birds flew from their perches high in the air, squawking at the disruption of the natural flow of the atmosphere.
Charlie laughed with a maniacal edge, as he got to his feet, body quivering from the harsh blow. “Kill me, Hunter. It won’t do you any good.”
Ceanna threw her unrefined energy in the form of a crackling bluish-white sphere. It hit him in the chest, and he broke into immediate seizures. Charlie fell to the ground.
And then, my sister did the worst thing she possibly could. She leapt through the air, and came down upon him. Her eyes were bright red, glowing in the darkness when her head jerked forward with the grace and swiftness of a cobra. Her fangs sunk into his shoulder without a shred of mercy, tearing and ripping his flesh.
The smell of blood became heavy on the misty night air. It wafted to my nose, but I remained unaffected, for I had fed earlier. My sister, as a rule never fed before a hunt. She was determined it honed her senses, bringing out the animal instead of civility.
I took the smell into my lungs nonetheless, sensing something off beneath the metallic odour. There was a polluted quality about it.
To make the scene more strange, Charlie didn’t fight her at all. Like he welcomed her feeding from him, had planned for it to happen.
The last piece of the puzzle clicked a minute too late.
I bound forward to grip Ceanna by her long blonde hair and ripped her back from the Rogue. Long thin strands of flesh and gore still connected them. Blood arched into the air from an artery Ceanna had ruptured.
“Stupid, arrogant Hunters.” Charlie muttered as he coughed up phlegm that was thick with blood.
The trap was sprung.
I threw Ceanna as far away from him as I could. I winced at the awkward angle she fell in. I launched onto Charlie and held him, my eyes flashing crimson as they bore into his feverish ones.
“What was the spell in your blood?” I demanded. I refused to show the fear I now possessed for my twin, who still hadn’t realized what had happened. I saw Charlie with new eyes.
“Don’t know,” Charlie stuttered. “Didn’t ask. Was only…told…to make sure…the Hunter…drank it.”
“Why would you kill yourself for that? It’s eating you alive! Are you that much of a zealot to whoever pulls your strings?” I couldn’t keep the frantic tone out now. I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it before! Charlie’s sickened pallor, how thin he was—he must’ve been carrying this spell around within him for days, ever so slowly killing him from the inside out. I had just assumed it was from him being on the run.
“I broke Coven laws. Leader condemned…me…to death. This was the better option…for me.”
Ceanna cried out behind me, and my head turned just enough to see her writhe on the ground as the magic took hold in her body. Her eyes glazed over, and her tanned skin began to lighten, shade by shade. Like she lost valuable nutrients every second it was in her system.
Charlie tittered. “So it does…work faster within her than me. Good news to go to my…grave with. Faster she dies…” Charlie coughed up more blood. “Less time for you…to save her.”
Coming Soon From Solstice Publishing
Book One, Death of Innocence can be purchased here: