Saturday, October 18, 2014

Reaper Tour

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Vampires and shifters get all of the love. What about reapers? They need love, too. In honor of Halloween, please join us for the Read ‘Em & Reap Blog Hop Oct. 26-31.

What better way to celebrate than a week of reaper goodness?

Participate below in the Rafflecopter by sharing/liking/following and visiting each of the reaper writers below for your chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card! Every time you participate you earn another chance to win!
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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Chapter One of Death's Dilemma Teaser

Below is chapter one of Death's Dilemma which is book two of the Death Has a Daughter Series....Enjoy :)

One more Strike



If I had one soul for each time this lady crammed “ya’ll” into this lecture I’d be a record breaker back home. I rolled my eyes at Lacie, and she nonchalantly covered her mouth to hide a smile.

            “Do ya’ll get what I’m saying?” she asked, and I marked another tally on my mental checklist.  Once you got past all the southern drawls and the unnecessary “ya’ll” in every sentence, the South wasn’t so bad.  The people seemed to be a lot nicer than those from the “North” as they would say, but considering where I came from, all the pleasantries freaked me out.   Even as this lady, well principal if we’re being technical, was yelling at me, she had a nice yell, more like a stern talking to versus a yell.  It didn’t really make sense why this area of the U.S. was much nicer than the rest.  Probably something to do with the sun, I imagine, but whatever the reason, here I was being lectured for yet another scuffle.

“Cendall, do you understand me?  We typically have a zero tolerance policy, and considering this is the third time you’ve been to my office for this behavior. One more incident, and we’ll have to expel you.”


“That’s what you said last time. I understand you and your cousin are from a different area, which is why we’ve tolerated the first two instances.  Coming to Georgia from my home town in Texas was an adjustment too, but Cendall, this behavior is just not acceptable here.” At the word “cousin”, I almost chuckled.  That had been the story we came up with—Lacie and I were cousins and we just moved here.  My parents “died” in a tragic accident, and I had to move in with her. It also helped explain my odd behavior of always having to be at her side. They assumed I was damaged and vulnerable, the perfect alibi. They wouldn’t believe the truth anyway.  If you’d told me a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed it either.  That I, Cendall, would go from top-rated Reaper in my training class to never finishing collecting my first scroll of souls.   That I’d practically betrayed my entire realm and was now working with my natural enemies to protect one on my list.

“Cendall,” she called, taking me out of my own self-pity party


“Well, can you please tell me what’s going on so maybe I can understand?”

“They were in threating positions, and I reduced the threat, that’s all. It won’t happen again,” I told her.

“It flag football, Cendall. That’s part of the game.  It was explained at the beginning that it was no tackle.  Yet, you decided to run over every person who got in your way as you blocked for Lacie.”

“I really just misunderstood the game,” I lied.

“It would be a lot easier to believe if this was the first occurrence, but you did this during soccer, volleyball, and basketball. You have to get credit in gym to graduate, Cendall. Don’t you want to graduate?”

“Sure.” Hell no. I’d graduated from the only thing that ever mattered to me, and I’d lost that career within a year.

“Then can we agree this won’t happen again?  No matter what the circumstances are, you cannot put your hands on other people.  If you really think that you’re in danger or someone is threating you, then tell the nearest teacher, and they will handle it.”

“Okay.” Handle it? Yeah, right. A teacher would be the last person I would go to considering they were human and didn’t have near the strength I did.

“You promise?”

“Sure,” I said as I focused my gaze on her face, willing my eyes not to give away my lies with a heavy roll..

“Say you promise,” she repeated.

“I promise,” I said, and she seemed to believe me. It’s amazing, foolish really, what that simple word can do to ensure a human’s trust. It was just a word, but if that’s what she needed to hear, so be it.

We walked out of her office, and I traipsed through the open doorway. The secretary pushed her black, square glasses higher on her nose and shook her head as we walked past.    

“We can’t get kicked out of here, you know? It’s too late for my credits to be able to transfer to another school without a penalty,” Lacie complained.  “Trevor’s going to be mad.”

“When is Trevor not mad?” Especially lately. He reeled with anger or awkwardness.  When he talked to me, he analyzed every word before it left his mouth, like he had a little censored teleprompter in his head.

“Well, I can think of a time.” She gave me a smirk, and I punched her in the shoulder. She loved reminding me of my moment of weakness when I tried calling chicken on Trevor last year. 

We walked out the doors, and the final bell rang—my least favorite time of day. Students starting piling out of their classrooms, trucking through the hallways, and pushing against one another as they rushed to their lockers.  Like the extra seconds earned by pushing people out of the way made them get out of there any faster.  They’d put their codes in, grab their bags, and then trudge on. Trying to dive in an out of bodies like cars in a traffic jam, I grabbed Lacie’s arm and pulled her into the next classroom which just happened to be Mr. Mullen’s class. Everyone knew Mr. Mullen never stayed after; he was too busy participating in happy hour at the bar he called home. The students liked to play “Guess What Mr. Mullen Drank at Thirsty Thursdays” on Friday morning.  Today’s guess had been gin as it smelt like he ate his Christmas tree air freshener before coming in.  I couldn’t judge.  Everyone had their bad habits, and his worked in my benefit.  Lacie and I would come here at the end of the day to teleport home. 

“Do you see anyone around?” Lacie asked.

“Nope, coast is clear.” She grabbed my hand, and we ported home.


“Don’t even start. I can tell by how you’re looking at me what you’re going to say,” I said to Trevor who was tapping his foot like he’d been waiting for us as we arrived on the back porch of our Georgia palace.   The place still didn’t feel like home to me, but nowhere on earth ever would. We’d been here for four months now. The Guardian team that helped me protect Lacie voted that we move away from Lacie’s place in Michigan and come here. It was practically a mini mansion, and we didn’t have many neighbors.  It was the only house capable of accommodating Lacie’s entire Guardian Angel secretary squad and located in the school district slated for us to attend. The house was grand in its façade and played host to 15 bedrooms and 10 baths. The estate was gated, and a code was required to gain entrance to the grounds. This feature seemed to deter most visitors. The real barrier though, was one they couldn’t see—wards, at a level like I’d never seen before shielded us from Demons. Guardians couldn’t put wards up against Reapers or I’m sure they would have done that too and given me a little dog house outside to sleep in.  It had been explained to me that since Guardians fought directly against Reapers they couldn’t put those wards up, as it was an unfair advantage, and Reapers weren’t technically evil.  They could put them up for Demons because they were evil and took humans at non-vulnerable times, unlike Reapers.  Lacie and I were each given a room that was connected by a walk-in closet.  Most of the others had to share, except for Trevor since he was the head Guardian.  For how big the home was, it felt unusually crowded with the simultaneous and seemingly constant presence of 20-30 Guardians.  My only place of refuge was my room, as they took over all the other spaces, especially the basement with its small theatre, pool room, and Jacuzzi.  Why the previous owners had put a Jacuzzi, I had no idea, as it was always hot in Georgia. 

The sweltering Georgia heat took some getting used to.  Trevor looked me up and down, probably disapproving of my outfit choice for the day.  As usual, he was dressed in official Guardian uniform; most of them never changed. Unless it was their day off or they were sleeping, they were always in Under Armour from head to toe. The colors of the shirt would change to every color but black.  They refused to wear that color due to the heat, or so they said, but I’d asked another one of Lacie’s Guardians one day, and his answer was what I expected: “Because black is the only color Reapers wear, and why the hell would we ever want to be mistaken for them?!” Trevor swore this wasn’t the reason, but he, like the others, never wore black. He mostly chose blue, like today.

His shirt was a light, sky blue, and I couldn’t help but notice how it made his baby blue eyes pop. The shirt also accented his arms quite well.  They’d gotten bigger over the past few months.  His pants were dark grey and hugged his hips enough that they would allow me to see the shape of his rear if he were to turn.  A small string tied them in the middle, and my hands twitched wanting to untie it.  I let out a deep breath, trying to gain control. Stupid hormones.  I’d way underestimated the control they could have.  When we learned about them in my Reaper training, they said to be mindful as they could make one go insane, but I vowed to never let that happen.  Now if my body would get on the same page, I’d be set.  

Bets were placed in my class that, because I was female, it would factor in even more, and they’d been partially right.  I’d always sworn I wouldn’t get emotional, but I had, hadn’t I?   And not just about Trevor, which was made obvious when I saved his life last year, but with Lacie as well.  She’d become my best female friend, like the little sister I never had, but I still had to believe, given the same situation, they would have chosen this path as well.  Deep down, I still knew Lacie never belonged on my list.  Now, if I could just figure out the why.

“Cendall, there’s something,” Trevor said, thankfully pulling me out of my trance.  Why did he have to wear blue all the time?  If he’d worn brown, then I wouldn’t have noticed his eyes, or his rear. I hated that he had this effect on me, yet another reminder why I never should have kissed him.

“Can we just not have the lecture today?  I’m in trouble, and I can’t get us kicked out blah blah blah…I don’t feel like hearing it, okay?” I cut him off. I didn’t need this from him today.  I went to move past, but he grabbed my shoulder, forcing me to turn.

“Cendall, we need to talk about something. I… things…well,” he paused, holding me in his baby blue stare. Not this again.

“Please just say what you want to say or just leave me alone,” I said as I locked my eyes onto his.  He looked taken aback; he inhaled sharply and it was followed by silence. This same scenario—always bickering, lecturing, or leaving things up in the air— had been on repeat between us since I started guarding Lacie again. Sometimes, I wished that kiss never happened. Things were so much easier when I was just trying to kill Lacie. He finally let out another breath and ran both hands through his blonde, wavy hair, something he usually only did in deep frustration.  His hair hung just at his chin, as he tucked it back behind his ears.  He stepped out of my path, and I saw what he was trying to warn me about standing in the doorway.

“Hi, I’m Catherine,” she said like I didn’t know who she was. Like I’d forget that day.  Like I’d be able to forget her skinny, chicken legs wrapped around Trevor’s waist.  Hell, I’d almost ended her life that day, but not that she was ever aware.  If only I’d known how to aim the electricity that left my fingertips.  But, I guess I did have her to thank for me discovering the electrifying effects my fingers were capable of emitting. Too bad my aim was off.  I would have loved to make her long, wavy, brown hair stand up like a porcupine.  I walked past her, ignoring the “how rude” comment she said to Trevor as she rolled her emerald green eyes at me.

Rude? Seriously, she was at my assignment?  I let out an exaggerated breath as I went up the stairs and opened my bedroom door.  What the hell was she doing in our house?  How could this day get any worse?

“What is she doing here? Conjugal visit?” I asked Trevor as he entered my room behind me.

“This isn’t prison.”  He smiled.

“Says who?” Sure felt like it sometimes, especially with how much time I spent in this room.  Granted, it was a pretty decent size, and if you counted the walk in the closet that connected my room to Lacie’s, it was twice the size of the one I’d had back home.  I did miss my red paint job though. This room was painted daisy yellow with brown edging. Nothing hung on the walls except for a painted picture of pugs playing poker.  Lacie said her overweight pug, Debbie, got it for me for guarding her so well. That ball of fluff didn’t leave me alone from the moment we arrived.    

“Bite him, Debbie,” I commanded as she jumped off my bed.  If only she’d taken one obedience class, but Lacie thought they were cruel.  The damn pug didn’t listen to a thing I said.  And no matter how hard I tried, she wouldn’t even leave my room.  I didn’t mind it so much on the few nights that were cold.  She was like having a mini heater, but most nights, she just kept me up with her snoring. For some reason, the thing would whine until it slept with me.  Lacie said it was because Debbie was her guard dog and she still assumed I was trying to take Lacie’s soul, so it was her duty to watch me, monitoring my every move.

“Seriously though, what is she doing here, Trevor?” I asked as Debbie wobbled out of my room.

“She’s a Guardian.”

“You’ve got to me kidding me.”  I turned to face him, making sure he saw my eyes roll.

“No, I’m not kidding you.  She’s a first level.”

“Do they let just anybody join?  We at least have restrictions and a course we have to pass.”

“So do we. She may have gotten help getting in, but she’s really not bad.”  He was lying.

“Okay.  Let me guess.  By mere coincidence, she was assigned to protect a child in this school? And please tell me she’s not staying here.”

“She’s not staying here, but she will be over occasionally, I assume.  And yes, she was assigned to a child at the school, but why do you care?”

“I don’t. I just don’t think the distraction is needed.” Not to mention, I didn’t need another person around who wanted me gone; the list seemed to be multiplying daily.

“Distraction?” He ran a hand through his hair again and started laughing like I didn’t get it.

“Yes, she distracts you.  I don’t want you making out with her in the corner or something when Lacie is in trouble.  It’s just tension, and annoying, and well, again, we don’t need those kinds of distractions around here.”  As I finished my sentence, he really started to crack up.  Was I spitting out jokes here?

“Have you lost your mind?  She doesn’t distract me. Never has and never will. She may try to fault my attention, but it’s not with ill will.  She likes being around me, unlike some.  No, there is only one thing that takes my mind from my mission, and it’s something I’m working on.”

“What?” I tried to get out, but he interrupted

            “Have you figured out how to control your light yet?” he asked, throwing me off my question.

“I think so. It comes out when I’m angry, apparently, so I’d watch it if I were you,” I threatened.   

            “How did you find that out? And how long have you known?” he questioned.

            “I figured it out yesterday.  It just came to me that each I’m really angry, it deploys.” The timeframe was a lie, but I didn’t want to tell him how or exactly when I discovered it.

“Like the tree outside when Catherine came to see me after your trial?” he asked, and I felt my mouth drop.


            “Well, make sure you learn to control it.  We might need it soon.   If you need to picture me making out with Catherine for it to come out, that’s fine.”

            “That wasn’t it. I wasn’t…” I stuttered out as he let out a breath and raised his brow.  The look in his eyes let me know he called out my bullshit. “I wasn’t mad you were making out with her.  Why would I be?  I was mad because of the situation. I don’t want anything distracting you from what our mission is. That’s why that made me mad.  It had nothing to do with the fact that you were making out with her.”

            “Okay, Cendall.  Whatever triggers it is fine with me, and it’s nice knowing something that I’ve done resonates up there,” he said as he poked me in the forehead. My cheeks burned, exposing he’d found the truth.  The penalties of fair complexion sure liked to get in the way. 

            “Why hold that information for so long? To catch me off-guard?” I asked him.

            “Of course. That is the only time that I get a slight glimpse into what’s going on in that head of yours.  It’s the only time you let the wall down, and I can see how you really feel.  You’re very hard to read, Cendall, I have to use any advantage I have.” He smiled wide and gave me a wink before turning away.

I hated him so much.

Book two of DEATH HAS A DAUGHTER is OUT :)

The sequel to Death Has a Daughter is finally here :) I had so much fun finishing this one.  Lot of twists and turns like always and I hope everyone enjoys it. HAPPY READING :) Blurb and link are below

Cendall, history’s first female Grim Reaper, has had one hell of a year. She has gone from the top of her class to the realm’s biggest traitor. Working with the enemy, Cendall finds herself enrolled in a human high school, protecting a soul she was originally supposed to

With her powers building and feelings for a particular enemy growing stronger, Cendall must learn to control herself and navigate her emotions as the threats against her and her assignment escalate. As she begins to come to terms with the fact that a master Demon is hot on their trail, an old friend brings to light that a bounty has been placed on her head, and she is the most wanted individual in the realm.

Faced with the impossible task of defending herself and the soul she has grown to care for, Cendall must make a choice she never wanted to make and confront death’s greatest dilemma.

Sequel to Death has a Daughter

Friday, August 15, 2014

ReVamped is now out via kindle :) Happy Reading!

So excited to have the second book in Caylee's Confessions published. Revamped is now available on kindle, and should be in paperback by tomorrow.  Caylee is such a fun character to write, and I find myself relating to her most in my own life.  Besides the fangs, witches , and werewolves of course. :) Happy Reading everyone!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Welcome to My World of Books! Five Star Review for Death has a Daughter

Welcome to My World of Books!: Death has a Daughter: Book Website Book Details: Written by Candice Burnett . Published March 31st, 2014. 186 Pages. You can purchase a hard copy or digital ...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014


It's official :) Georgia Indie Author Event to be held September 27th, 2014. If you're an indie author and interested in the event please like the link to the official GA Authors Indie page :)  The event will be from 12-5.  Authors are free to bring their books to sell as well. The café that's hosting it is connected to a book store. The book store agreed to let us sell our books during the event, but the procedure is that you bring whatever books you have to sell, they put it into their system and they mark the book 10% off the initial listing prices. Then they get 30% and the author gets 60% of every book they sell during the event. This is a standard for this book store whenever they have authors have events.  Feel free to bring any swag.  There will be tables there to decorate/set up.  They are small coffee sized tables though. If you want to bring your own table feel free but please keep it to a small four person card table size. Cost is donation towards advertising for the event.  I plan on advertising on FB and getting a PR done.  So it would be nice to get around ten dollars from each indie author as a donation towards advertising.  I also ask that you spread the word to all your friends, share on your facebooks, twitters, blogs etc.  :) Each author will have twenty to thirty minutes in the main area to answer Q n A read from their novel, and talk about their books.  The venue that's hosting this for us is called Boulder Creek Coffee in Buford GA. It is connected to the book store called books for less. I AM SO PUMPMED about this event, and really think it's a great opportunity for all of us indies out there in the Atlanta GA area. I plan on getting the word out there via, fb groups, blogs, twitter, and many other social media avenues.  I'm also going to pass out flyers, and alert local media. If the event is a success we can make it annual. Please spread the word to all you know and if you'd like to be a featured author please let me know. It'll be first come first serve. and I'm looking to have 10-15 authors.  If you have any questions please post below.  I'm going to start working on banners/flyers, etc tonight!!! I hope everyone is as excited as I am.  Message me if you're interested in signing up.  Also like the fb fan page for it so you can be kept updated. the link is

Sunday, July 6, 2014

New Amazon Page

My new amazon author page :)  Apparently if more people like your page then you get more publicity.  So if anyone's got a minute...check it out and like it please :) happy reading!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Caylee's Confessions teaser Ch1-3

To celebrate ReVamped (which is the second book in the Caylee's Confessions series) coming out in just 38 days, here is a teaser of Book One in the Caylee's confessions series.  Below is chapter's 1-3.  Happy Reading!! 

Some Fun Facts before we Jump in

Every thirty seconds, seven-hundred-twenty people disappear.  That adds up to approximately 27,397 per day, making a year’s total 10,000,000.  Of these 10,000,000, only 500,000 reappear.  We see missing people’s pictures on billboards, postcards, milk cartons, and if the story is especially sad, our local news.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but as you can see from the numbers above, most people who go missing are never found.  And if it wasn’t for people like me, the numbers would be double. 

I’m not doing this to spoil anyone’s faith of finding a loved one, but numbers don’t lie.  The only chance they have of finding these lost people, would be if their loved one is in that lucky percentage of those who are taken by other humans.  If they are taken by the things I hunt, their chances are slim to none.

If you think about it, there has to be something—or multiple things—that are taking all of these people.  Well, I know who and what it is, but with society’s recent turn to love these creatures that aren’t supposed to exist, it makes my task more difficult.  If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m telling you that your loved ones were probably taken by an undead.  And by ‘undead,’ I mean not human. 

Let me start you off with the worst of the undead: vampires.  Movies depict them as creatures that are always smitten with humans.  They’ve recently been depicted in stories as those who love humans, and will drink animal blood to survive.  The stories say that they don’t like to kill and that they only take a little of our human blood to survive.  Movies want us to believe that there could be a ‘good vampire,’ because even though they’re posed as fictional, if they were to exist, they wouldn’t kill us.  They’ll sweep us off our feet, fall in love, and maybe even sparkle in the sun.  The thought makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit, especially since these are the worst of the creatures I hunt.  Trust me, they have no respect for human life, and the only thing they love about us is our blood and how amazing it tastes as it drizzles down their throats.  To show you how cruel they are, let me bring you back to those missing people. 

Take a good look at who are the people that are missing.  What do they have in common?  You never see Grandma or Grandpa on a milk carton; you see mostly children.  Why, you might ask?  It’s because, to them, the blood is more pure.  They don’t care that this person has only lived seven years; they just care that one: they are the easiest to catch; and second, but most important: they have what they call the “purest blood.”  At these young ages, the blood is the purest, because it is just developing, making it mostly free of diseases and untainted by drugs or alcohol.

If you are ever taken by a vampire, you’re lucky if they take your life right away.  The more cruel ones will save you for years, using you as a blood slave, until your soul crumbles and finally gives up. 

Why one would ever want to become one of them makes me sick to my stomach.  It’s mind boggling, when I walk around the mall and see these young girls and boys wearing shirts that say ‘bite me.’  Ha, if they only knew the truth.  The truth being that, not only going along with the torture and death that would come from being bitten and drained of your blood, you do not change into a vampire by merely being bitten.  No, you only become one if the vampire exchanges their blood back to you. 

A vampire will bite a human for one of two reasons: One: they want a slave, for whoever changed you is now your master; or, two: they need bodies to sacrifice in their war for power.  Neither a reason any sane person want to sacrifice their human life.  Most vamps have so little regard for human life that they don’t change anyone, because they feel no human deserves to be like them.  So please, kids, enough with the ‘bite me’ shirts. 

In fact, the only species I hunt that would change from a simple bite would be a werewolf.  However, don’t get your hopes up, people; this is no experience you’ll ever want to try and endeavor.  Simply put, there is almost no chance of you surviving this ordeal.  When werewolves hunt, they not only need the blood of humans, but the meat as well.  They basically tear their prey to shreds in seconds, ripping limps, and sucking the blood that drains from them.  They leave nothing behind, unless, maybe an eyeball or a finger falls out of their mouths while they’re consuming you. 

However, there is that one-in-a-million chance that, after you were bitten, you got away.  If this happened though, being a werewolf is no pleasant ordeal.  You become a part of their family, which is a very strict society that is almost impossible to escape.  You will always be hungry, and you will have no control over your emotions or feelings on the night of a full moon. 

Werewolves are the only creatures I remotely feel sorry for, because of their limited self-control on a full moon.  I still kill them though, because they don’t only feed on a full moon. It is most difficult to kill them on these nights, because they are at their full strength.  The kill can still be done, but it takes a lot of practice.  Unlike vamps, they don’t usually pry on children, because frankly, they don’t have enough meat yet. 

The last, and least likely, undead creatures I hunt, I call the non-consumers.  These are the shape shifters, witches, and fairies that I sometimes come across.  I’ve actually only killed a few of each of these.  I refer to them as the non-consumers, because they don’t actually have to consume human blood for their existence.  That doesn’t mean that they don’t…it’s just that, unlike vamps and werewolves, they don’t have to in order to survive. 

Occasionally though, I have caught shape shifters feeding on humans, merely for the thrill of the hunt.  Just like you would see a cat torture and leave a dead mouse’s body behind.  These shape shifters usually work for, or run with, vamps. 

Witches, on the other hand, don’t feed on humans at all.  I have caught them using human blood and limbs for their potions though.  This rarely happens, because they can use animals to serve that same purpose.  The ones that use humans for their potions work for, or run with, vampires, like the shape shifters. 

As far as fairies, I’ll be honest, I’ve seen them twice and I’ve killed two.  I only did it because they were with vamps and were trying to kill me.  I don’t really know much about them. 

Now that I’ve educated you briefly on the undead that I despise, I not only hope you refrain from wearing a “bite me” shirt, but I need your help in my battle with these creatures.  I’m hoping that, after hearing a brief history on me and the past year of my life, you will be able to help me with my quest.  I’ve given to you, in this journal, as much straight, to-the-point information as I possibly could, in the amount of time that I could afford.  I’m asking for help, because I can no longer do it alone.  Things have happened where this is no longer possible.  I hope whoever finds my scribbles will find the strength and knowledge to join the effort. 


Chapter 1
The Beginning

So I guess, to really help me, we should start with how I got into all of this.  I wish I could say for vengeance or revenge—that a vampire had hurt my family—but hey, that would be a lie, and we must learn to trust one another.  Here’s the truth: I started all of this for the same reason that most 18-year-old girls do something crazy for…a boy.  Here I was, fresh into college, without many friends, and no family.  He had a really cute face with a hockey butt to match, but we’ll get back to him later. For now, we’ll hit the “no family” part.

I had lost my parents when I was young, and by “lost” I mean: my dad ran off, and my mother followed suit when I was about nine.  Not really a biggie to me, from what I can remember; I didn’t like her much anyway.  I always recall wanting to stay at Grandma’s, and at nine, I got my wish.  My grandma was a gambling, loud, moonshine-drinking hell of a woman.  She always told you exactly what was on her mind, and didn’t give a damn what anyone thought of her.

She had lost my grandpa, the only man she’d ever loved, right after she had my mom.  We didn’t talk much about him, because it seemed to be the only thing that could bring her to tears.  Like myself, Grandma didn’t like my mother much.  She would always say how opposite they were: my mother was a “no backboned” woman that couldn’t even spell responsibility. 

Looking back, I would have to agree, especially since the reason she had left me at age nine was because she’d met a rich man.  This man wanted to start a family, but couldn’t see himself dating a woman with kids.  This was perfect because she didn’t let him know she had one.  She dumped me, so she could live happily ever after. 

My grandmother said the only good thing my mother ever gave me was her looks.  I guess she also had strawberry-blond hair, pale skin, and light-colored freckles.  Our only differences, my grandmother had said, was my height, since I’m 5’6” and she was 5’1.”  Our eyes also differed as my mothers were brown, like mud, while mine are a light, turquoise-blue. 

Whatever, though—I had no grief over it; I loved living with my grandmother.  You never knew what would come out of her mouth, which made each day a thrill.  She was also extremely random.  To the point that one day we just went to the airport and she let me pick out which plane, and that’s the one we flew in.  I loved her like a mom and was sad the day old age took her away from me.  It was a week before I left for college.  So here I was: eighteen, a freshman in college, with no family and no friends, since my grandmother insisted on homeschooling me. 

This brings me back to the boy.  Kevin was his name; he was twenty-one and a senior, finishing up his elective courses.  He stood six-foot-three, with baby-blue eyes, tan olive skin, and dirty-blond hair, styled like a hockey player.  His hair lay just below his ears in a tangled, curled mess.  I was lucky enough to snatch up the seat next to him on the first day of class.  It was a business communications class, which required a lot of group projects.  Since we sat next to each other that made us partners.  It didn’t take long for us to become a couple, probably because I basically worshiped the ground he walked on.  He was the first boy that really gave me attention.  I remember the day he asked me to be his girlfriend. I thought it was the best day of my life.

It also happened to be the day that he introduced me to his ‘extracurricular activities.’  We had been talking for about a month, and to be honest, I hadn’t really listened to anything he had said; I was too busy looking at his face.  So it came as a shock when he brought me to this meeting where everyone dressed in black.  We were the only ones in, what I thought to be, normal dress.

Kevin introduced me to his four ‘friends’: Stacy, who had short, blond hair and the body of a twig; Scott, who also had blond hair but was built heavy, like a wrestler; Alice, who was tall, with a solid frame, and had dark, hazel eyes; and Carrie, who was short and a twig, like Stacy, but with black hair. 

They all seemed to be as interested as Kevin in these paranormal fiction books.  They would rant about vampires, witches, werewolves—you name it—and they basically covered the whole fantasy world.  That was all we ever talked about really.  Actually, that’s what they talked about.  Kevin would take me to, what I thought to be, ‘book club meetings’ once a week.  I would have rather been humping, since I had just recently discovered how enjoyable it was, but he insisted we go to these meetings.  He said that once his friends trusted me, it would be so much better and I would enjoy the meetings more.  Two months into attending these book club things, Alice finally talked directly to me. 

“Caylee, it’s this group’s decision to let you into our true circle.  Do you want to become part of our fighting alliance, for if you do, you can never go back, and we will become your only friends and family?  If you become a part of this, what we discuss and do never leaves the six of us.  You will be bound by life or death to hold this bond, for what we discuss, will help our race so that they cannot bring us down.  Do you want to join?” 

I was slightly confused and weirded out.  How intense were these book discussions that we couldn’t talk about them outside of the group?  But, whatever, if it made Kevin happy and his friends would trust me, I guess I would agree.

“Uhh, yes,” I replied, and they all smiled and took a deep breath.

“Thank god,” Stacy said. “I’m so sick of talking in code.” 

“Huh?” I asked.  And for the next half-hour I was enlightened by them on how this wasn’t a book club I had been attending, that the science-fiction things they talked about were real, and they hunted them.  I stared in shock, probably with my mouth open, and started laughing hysterically. 

“Yeah, nice joke, guys, you got me…is book club over now?”  I asked.  I really wanted to get back to my dorm, where Kevin and I would be alone.

“They’re not kidding, Caylee.  I know it’s hard to process—I thought the same thing—but tonight we’ll show you,” Kevin said.


Chapter 2
Reality Check

They really like to play out their jokes, I thought as I followed behind the five of them. In new black attire, since they had brought a change of clothes for me.  We were in depot town, a place full of alleys and old, abandoned buildings. 

“Are you sure you scouted one here last weekend?” Alice asked Kevin.

“Yeah, and last night I double checked.  You know how they all like to feed in the same place,” he responded.

“Alright, well here, Caylee, here’s a stake just in case, even though you won’t need it tonight.  If anything comes near you, stick this in their chest, through their heart,” Alice said as she handed me a stick that was shaved off into a point.  It was as thick and heavy as my forearm. 

“You can’t be serious…” I mumbled.  How far was this joke going to go?  I got the point. 

“Shh, we’re almost there,” Kevin said as everyone went silent.  We walked down an alley and came to a point where you could turn right or left to, what I guessed were, other alleys.  He turned to us, put up one finger, and gestured to Scott and Stacy to go back out and around the other way to.  He did this I guessed in effort to trap whatever was in the alley.  They headed the other way as Kevin motioned Carrie and Alice to follow behind him.  He put his hand up to me, telling me to stay put.  They all gripped their stakes and held them up, with the pointed end facing forward.  One by one, they turned around the corner.  I crept up, slowly, behind them.  As I rounded the corner, I heard a loud sucking sound, like when someone slurps the last of their drink through a straw.  What the hell was going on?  I slowly peeked my head around and saw Kevin, Alice, and Carrie stalking up on something that was hovering over a huge rock.  That was when Kevin yelled.

“Hey, bloodsucker!”  And I watched as Kevin flashed a bright light onto whatever was hovering over the rock.  I watched as the light flashed on its face.  My mouth went wide in horror as the thing looked up into the light, like a deer in headlights.  It hissed and its eyes froze, giving a cold, dead stare at Kevin.  What the hell was this thing?  It appeared human—hell, it looked human, besides the fact that its eyes were a dark, blood-red, and it had fangs.  Freaking fangs!  What I thought was a rock that it was hovering over, was actually a person.  Well, more like a lifeless body.  That thing hadn’t been hovering over it but, rather, drinking from the person.  The blood dripped from its chin onto the cement below.  

The thing remained still, trapped in Kevin’s light.  I heard it hiss once more as it looked behind it, to now see Stacy and Scott coming.  It then leaped up onto the wall, and used the wall as leverage to bounce off and leap onto Stacy and Scott.  Taking them both out and sending them flying, it stood on the ground, unaffected.  I saw Stacy and Scott put up their stakes as the thing readied its pounce.  It once again leaped, this time on top of Stacy.  It grabbed her arm and twisted it, making a loud popping sound.  She screamed out in pain, and I watched, frozen, as Scott then tried throwing something, that I think was water, at the creature. 

Whatever he had thrown at the thing seemed to work, because it hissed again—as if the substance burned its skin.  By this time, Kevin, Carrie, and Alice were feet away from the creature and they all had their stakes held high in their hands, attempting to trap the thing.  I watched its face as its lips curved up into a smile, proudly showing its fangs as it seemed to be thinking about which person to attack first.  I then saw it run at Scott so fast that, if I had blinked, I would have missed the whole thing.  It grabbed his arm that had the stake in it.  A loud cracked filled my eardrums, as it used Scott’s arm as a rope and swung him around its head—much like cowboys do in movies as they’re about to lasso a bull with their rope—but Scott was the rope.  After a few twirls of Scott above its head, it launched his body into the rest of them, sending them all flying into a wall.  The thing was laughing, and getting ready to leap again onto the heap of people it had just defeated.  I looked in horror at Kevin’s eyes: terrified, from defeat and shock. 

Before I knew it, my feet started running towards them—before my brain could even process what I was about to do.  I just knew I couldn’t watch as this thing killed them.  What I was thinking?  It was too late now to go back.  As soon as I took those first steps, the thing heard me and snapped its attention my way, making me come to a halt.  When its eyes met mine, I froze as I felt a shiver run up my spine.  What the fuck was I going to do?  The plan had been for me to just go and watch. 

“HAHAHAHHA,” I heard the thing laugh again.  “I can see from your face that I’m the first vampire you have ever met.  Pity for you—your stupid friends shouldn’t have brought you here.  They at least knew what they were getting into, but the look on your face tells me you did not.”

“No, I didn’t,” came out of my mouth.  Was I really talking to this thing?

“I’m surprised you can even speak…bravery, maybe?  Entertaining, I’ll admit. Maybe I’ll even let you become my blood slave, since you dare to speak to me like you have the right to stand before me.  Yes, that sounds good.  I think I’ll kill your friends and make you my slave.”  He laughed. 

“I’m not really good at house chores, so I don’t think I’d make a good slave,” I said, still without thinking.  But I somehow knew I had to keep him distracted while my brain rambled on for a solution.

“So I’ve not only found a brave fool, but a smartass as well?” the thing asked, and I watched him slightly bring up his left foot, indicating he was done with my distractions. I felt my fingers tighten around my stake, and watched as he ran at me at a speed that I barely processed.  I screamed the whole time he came at me, but made my eyes focus on his chest.  It was actually the only thing I focused on.  Something I would never do now, but that was all I could think about.  When he was a foot from me, I threw up my stake, putting it into his chest that I had been so heavily concentrating on.  His body crashed into mine, my slammed into the cement behind me, and everything went black.


Chapter 3

I awoke to Kevin screaming my name and shaking my body.  “What…What…” creaked out of my mouth.  I then, slowly, forced my eyes open and saw all of the book club members staring at me in shock.  “How long was I out?” I asked.

“About ten minutes.”  Kevin laughed.  “Is that really all you’re concerned about?” he asked, smiling from ear to ear.  “Caylee, you just saved all of our lives…” 

“I, what?” I asked as my lovely memories of what just transpired flashed back to me, and informed me of why I was on the ground.  “What the fuck was that?”  I mumbled as I slowly lifted my body to stand.  My head was throbbing from the knot that had just been placed in the back of my skull.

“That was your first vampire killing!” shouted Alice from my left. 

“So you weren’t kidding about this not being a book club?” I asked.

“No, definitely not,” she said.

“Well, that’s good, because I don’t really like reading…”  I said as I tried rubbing my temples to make the headache go away. 

“I’m so sorry, Caylee.  You weren’t supposed to be involved just yet.  I just wanted you to be there so you would believe.  I underestimated this vampire.  I didn’t know he was an empyreal.  I would have never brought anyone if I had known,” Kevin rambled.

“What is an empyreal?”  I wanted to know.

“Yeah, well, we hadn’t had the time to explain that part, but there are different kinds of vamps.  This one was one of the worst to face,” Kevin explained.

“You can tell by their eyes what kind they are,” Stacy said as she flashed Kevin an accusing look.  They then enlightened me on how vampires, depending on age and skill, were ranked.  The lowest rank was the amateur level.  These were freshly made or born vampires.  They had little skill, but still had super strength, and other things that were superb to human abilities.  The next levels, in order of rank, were: rookie, knight, judicial, empyreal, and royal.  Empyreals and royals were the “top dogs.”  They told me that I should never face an empyreal alone, and if I ever saw a royal, run the fuck away, as they were near impossible to kill.

“I’m so sorry,” he pleaded to Stacy.  “The lighting had to have been funky. I thought he was an amateur.  You know I would have never…”

“She knows that…” Alice chimed in.

“It doesn’t change the fact that my wrist—and now Scott’s arm—is broken,” Stacy shouted. “It’ll take months before we can go out full-force again.”

“More time to train Caylee,” said Scott softly, trying to mediate the situation. 

“Yes, Scott is right.  Let’s look at it like that.  This was definitely scary, but we’ll learn from it.  What a good first kill for Caylee to have on her record.”  She didn’t bring up the fact that it only happened out of sheer dumb luck, and the vampire way underestimated me.  But, hey, I was alive and the vampire was not.  One point for Caylee, zero for the vampire. 

Things carried on like this for four years.  They taught me everything there was to know about undeads.  Like our vows said, we really all did become a family—a naïve, stupid family, thinking we could remain a large group and successfully take on the undead.  We trained, studied, and even came up with a sweet hunting party name: ‘The Dukes.’

Ultimately, it wouldn’t matter.  We probably would have been better off to break apart and hunt on our own, but we thought the group unity made us stronger.  In the end, it would be our demise. 

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