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Lia & Dominic

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When Lia Holley meets Dominic, a handsome and alluring vampire, sparks fly…literally. They discover they can dreamfast, a rare telepathic connection, and she finds herself bound to him against her better judgment. But as Lia and Dominic begin to fall in love, a sinister threat conspires to rip them apart.

 

For a century, Dominic has co-existed with Lilith, the jealous she-demon who made him.  As Lilith’s obsession with Dominic grows into an unpredictable and deadly rage, Lia finds herself in a bitter fight for survival, hunted by the she-demon and the pack of werewolves she commands. But there’s another reason that Lilith wants Lia dead.

 

Lia holds the secret to Lilith’s destruction. But as Lilith’s fury becomes uncontrollable, Lia knows she must find the courage to commit the ultimate sacrifice — her own death — or risk losing everything she loves.

Enjoy the free Prologue below!

Prologue

 

I was ten years old the first time death came for me. I was an ordinary child living an ordinary life up until that point. I lived with my parents in a small white three bedroom, one bath house on the outskirts of the historic district of Savannah, Georgia. When I wasn’t playing Barbies or dress up with my best friend, Brenda, I spent a lot of time with my parents in our backyard. I had cool, quirky parents. They liked to do fun things like draw pretty star patterns in the dirt, dance around in circles, and chant funny words that I didn’t understand.

My mother had a table in the living room where she would burn candles, sprinkle salt in a circle, and talk to herself. I never understood the words, but I loved to watch her. Whenever Brenda visited our house, my mother rearranged the table to make it look like a normal household decoration. I was never allowed to talk to Brenda about any of it, although sometimes when we were playing Barbies, my doll would make up chants and dance around her tiny living room. Brenda thought it was fun and neither of us had any idea that there might be consequences.

Two years before, a few weeks after my eighth birthday something changed with my parents. I remember it was my eighth birthday because my parents gifted me with a set of my own special candles and I thought I was the luckiest eight-year-old in the world because my parents trusted me to have them in my bedroom, all to myself. My mother owned a bakery and would often have cookies and milk waiting, fresh from the oven, when my father came home from work. It was one of the things I loved best. He and I would sit together at the long stainless-steel table in my mom’s bakery kitchen and see who could stuff more cookies into their mouth without taking a drink of milk. Looking back on those memories years later, I could see that he would just let me win. But one day he came home from work and things changed.

It was a Friday afternoon and I sat at the long table waiting so-not-patiently for him to appear. Appear he did. But he wasn’t the happy-go-lucky daddy with the easy smile, a pinch on the cheek for me, and a kiss for my mother. No, this daddy was much different and not one I had ever witnessed before. I had been looking forward to our cookie eating session and had everything laid out before me. I was excited more than usual on this particular night because Daddy had surprised me that morning by telling me he was taking us to the movies that night. It was a rare treat and I looked forward to all the popcorn and candy. But, when Daddy came through the kitchen door, I knew immediately that all those hopes were dashed.

Instead of hanging his coat on the rack like he usually did, he threw it on the vacant end of the table along with his briefcase and stared at my mother. In place of his easy smile were deep gouges on the side of his mouth where his lips turned down in a hard grimace. He didn’t blink but continued to stare hard at my mother until she turned around to look him. Not a word passed between them, but I could tell they were somehow communicating. After a moment of silent conversation, my mother removed her apron and set it gently on the counter. She turned off the oven, not caring about the half-baked cake inside, and rinsed her hands with extra care. I sat on the stool, my head swiveling from one to the other. What was happening? Why was Daddy so upset? Why wouldn’t they say anything?

And then, they left. Neither of them even bothered to look at me as they walked through the door. I know my mother at least remembered I was still there because when she passed by me, she waved her hand in a few circles over my head and murmured one of her chants. A moment later, I heard their heavy footsteps on the stairs leading up to the apartment above the bakery. It was mostly empty at the moment but my mother used it occasionally to sleep over if she had large orders to fulfill and needed to put in long hours.

I didn’t know what to do. I had never seen them act this way. My breathing roared in my ears while the clock on the wall ticked away the minutes. The cookies grew cold and the milk grew warm, but I didn’t care. After a few minutes, I got up and went out to the front of the store. I had helped her out enough over the years that I had a pretty good idea about what to do to close things up. I turned out the lights, knowing somehow that my mother would not be returning to the bakery that day. I went to the front glass door and turned over the sign to “closed.” As I turned the lock, it was then that I saw her.

At first it was just a fleeting glance. As I turned the lock on the door, I happened to glance up at the people in the park across from the bakery. I turned to go — I don’t know where — when a flash of red caught my eye. The color stood out from everything else around it and, curious, I turned back to see what it was.

She stood there in the middle of the park, looking at me. Being only ten at the time, my first thought was, Wow! She looked like one of my Barbies. The one with the red hair. The one I used as “the bad girl” when Brenda and I played together. Her hair was a brighter red than my Barbie’s hair. It was impossibly long; it hung nearly to her calves. It floated around her, wispy ends fluttering in a breeze that wasn’t there. The way the sun hit it just right, it seemed to be on fire, and I could’ve sworn I heard it crackle like flames. She wore a long red dress, a deeper color than her hair, with long flowing sleeves that nearly brushed the ground. She looked like some of the old drawings that Daddy showed me one time of people back in the medieval times. I wondered why she would be dressed like that.

I continued to stare at her, fascinated at how white her skin was; like porcelain. Even from this distance I could see it was smooth as silk. Her eyes glittered like emeralds, such a bright green they were. Her ruby red lips curved up in a smile as I stood there, unable to tear my gaze away from her.

I knew that she was out of place. She stood in the open underneath a tree, her red gown and hair fluttering softly in a non-existent breeze, but no one noticed. She stood out like a sore thumb, but no one even looked up to acknowledge her. It was like she was invisible to everyone but me. A small family walked by, the mom wiping something off the child’s face; a couple holding hands drifted past her. A boy chased his dog and nearly brushed her skirts. All around her there were people, but it was as if she stood quite alone. She ignored them all. Her gaze was pinpointed on me.

“Lia.”

I heard my name whisper around me, like it floated on the air. It wasn’t loud but I heard it clear as day. I watched as she raised a hand and crooked a finger at me. I hadn’t seen her lips move but I knew instinctively that she had said my name. “Come play with me.”

She was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. Her voice sang through me like butterfly wings. Her eyes entranced me, held me, and drew me in. Her smile was warm, friendly, and promised endless delights. I wanted so much to be her friend. An excitement built in the pit of my stomach even as my heart flipped over in my chest. Her green eyes beckoned me and I felt my feet moving. I stepped up to the door, flattening my palm on the glass. I needed to touch her.

I unlocked the door.

Before I could push it open, someone grabbed me from behind. My father’s voice roared in my ear but I didn’t know what he said. He dragged me backward across the floor and then shoved me behind him. I stumbled into a table, turning over a chair, and landed hard on my backside. But no one noticed. My mother raced forward and locked the dead bolt. And then, in unison, the two of them stood in front of me creating a barrier between me and the windows. They faced the red-haired woman through the glass, chanting words I’d never heard before. They ignored me, their attention riveted on the woman. I had never seen them like this. I stared wide-eyed at their intense faces, their eyes locked on the woman, unblinking, never wavering. I scrambled to my knees and peeked between my parents’ legs. And got the shock of my life.

The woman stood outside the glass windows, her hands splayed flat against them as if she was trying to push herself inside. Her eyes were no longer the beautiful emerald green, but a deep black. Spidery veins of black shot out from the corners of her eyes, creating deep furrows down the side of her face like deep scars. Her hair flew around her like a wildfire — I could hear it crackle and pop — and her face was contorted in a mask of rage. Her lips peeled back baring long, white fangs.

I crawled under the nearest table, trying to make myself small. I wanted to disappear into the floorboards. But this was a mistake. The movement caught her attention and she turned her black eyes on me. I shrank back as her fingers curled and she scraped her long bloody-red nails down the glass. “Lia….” She called my name and it sounded pathetic, a high-pitched whine.

My parents’ voices grew louder and the chanting changed. I didn’t understand the words; they were in a different language. I cowered underneath the table, trying to make myself as small as possible. A high-pitched wail filled the air and I clapped my hands over my ears. The sound penetrated my body, ringing in my head. I felt myself going limp.

“Mama.” My voice wouldn’t work. It cracked on the word, but somewhere inside my fuzzy thoughts, I knew my mother heard me. She didn’t look at me, but I heard her voice whisper to me, cutting through the wail in my ears.

My parents clasped hands. The air changed and became thick around me. I tore my gaze away from the red woman to stare at my parents. A blue glow surrounded the two of them, bathed them in a bright, pulsating light. Glancing around, I noticed the light surrounded me, too. And just like that, I was no longer afraid.

I glanced back at the window, but the red-haired woman had shrunk away. She crouched low on the edge of the sidewalk, a foot outside the door. Even as young as I was, I knew real fear when I saw it. Her eyes were glued to my parents but there was an uncertainty in her now. Her lips curled back upon her sharp teeth but there was less menace in them.

I climbed to my feet but stayed behind my parents. I wasn’t scared, not really, but I didn’t want to take any chances. But somewhere inside me something bloomed. It grew in the pit of my stomach and spurred me forward. I took a step. And another. Before I knew it, I stood between my parents. They unclasped hands and each took hold of one of mine. I didn’t look at them for reassurance. I didn’t need to. We were together, a team. We were one. I had never felt more connected to them than at this moment.

Buoyed by a surge of confidence, I straightened my spine and looked her dead in the eye. I wanted her to know that she couldn’t have me, she wouldn’t take me. I had never seen her before in my life, but I was certain, more so than I had ever been, that she wanted me. I didn’t know why and right now, it didn’t matter. All that mattered was for her to know that my answer was no.

I stood with my parents, our hands clasped together, the blue glow pulsating around us, sending out an energy that I’d never felt before. It sang through my body, flowing through my veins like warm honey. It was foreign to me, but also a part of me, like I had known it was there all along. I let go of my parents’ hands and formed a ball of energy in my palm. It pulsed liked blue lightning between my hands. I reared back, ready to throw it, but before I could, the red woman screeched and disappeared. It took me a moment to realize she was no longer there. One second she was crouched outside the window, the next she was gone.

My parents stopped chanting and the blue light faded around us. The pulsing energy slowly became less intense. As the last of it disappeared, my legs gave out and I slipped to the floor. My mother gathered me into her arms as my father hovered over us. A look passed between them.

“What?” I croaked.

But they ignored me. My father’s blue eyes were intense as he stared at my mother. He ran a hand through his hair and sank down beside us.

“She’s the one.”

My mother shook her head. “No.”

“You saw what she did.”

I tried to listen to what they were saying.

“ —a fluke,” my mother said. Was she crying?

My father shook his head. He chanted a few words, his palm laying across my forehead. My eyes became heavy; I could barely keep them open. “She is the one to fulfill the prophecy.”