It’s time for Snippet Saturday! Each week has a theme or is author’s choice. This week the theme is Action.
When I think of action, one of the scenes that always leaps out at me is the opening sequence of Love Immortal, my epic, emotionally intense, and action-packed vampire romance novel.
It’s another long one this week…
Lauren had always suspected it to be true, and now she had all the evidence she needed.
One was standing twenty feet in front of her.
It towered over her, yellow eyes glowing in the dim alley between the old redbrick houses of her neighbourhood. Tufted black wiry fur covered it from tail to pointed ears, from the long claws on its colossal paw-like hands to the thick trunks of its hind legs. Her fevered mind said that it was only an escaped wolf from London Zoo, but Lauren couldn’t bring herself to believe it. She’d seen the wolves once. This creature was nothing like them. This was something else.
Its mouth opened to reveal jagged teeth, each the size of her thumb.
Why Grandma, what big teeth you have.
All the better to eat you with.
Icy fingers clutched her heart and Lauren trembled, cold sweat trickling down her back beneath the skinny-fit brown t-shirt. The mad rush of her pulse made her dizzy and unexpended adrenaline stole her strength. Whoever had said that adrenaline made you invincible was a liar. Her legs were shaking so much that they were close to buckling, the gym bag on her shoulder was too heavy, and her thick black winter jacket felt impossibly tight, as though it was squeezing the air from her lungs.
Instinct told her to run.
If only her feet would cooperate.
Her shoulders slumped when the monster took a step towards her and her kit bag dropped to the ground. The shinai case slid down her other arm but she caught it at the last second. The feel of the bamboo sword through the black canvas bag was reassuring and instilled a strange sense of calm in her. Lauren tried to remember her kendo training and everything she had just practiced in class but nothing came to her. She stared at the monster, still trying to comprehend what was happening.
Instinct changed its mind.
Her other hand automatically reached across and undid the ties on the shinai bag. Lauren swallowed and kept her movements slow, not wanting to startle the beast into reacting. The end of the bag flapped open and she reached inside, locking her right hand tightly around the white leather hilt of the bamboo sword. She drew it and let the carry-case fall to the ground.
This was insane.
Her shinai would last five seconds against such a huge creature.
It didn’t matter. Her only chance of escape was to stun it with a direct hit and run for her life. Her knees wobbled. That was, if she could run.
Taking deep breaths, Lauren shuffled backwards as the beast advanced and moved into a fighting stance. She brought her shinai around in front of her, clutching it so tightly with both hands that her knuckles turned white.
One breath. Two. Three.
With a loud cry, she launched herself at the creature. It reacted slowly, glowing yellow eyes widening. Lauren struck it between its ears and it yelped. The sound brought a smile to her face.
It was a short-lived smile.
The monster lashed out, flinging a heavy paw into her stomach and sending her flying into the wall of the alley. Her breath left her on impact and pain blasted through every inch of her. She grunted and fell onto the hard tarmac. Another huge paw flew at her and she rolled forwards to avoid being pulverised. She turned at the last moment and grabbed her shinai, desperate to protect herself. She was too damn young to die.
A low snarl sent a shudder down her spine and fear stole her breath away. Lauren scrambled to her feet and backed off, her bamboo sword trembling in front of her. The moon peeked out from behind a cloud and lit the world. Her heart stopped.
Holy God, the monster was more frightening in the light than it had ever been in the darkness. Long strings of saliva rolled down its fangs and dark fur tufted down its spine, raised like hackles. It wasn’t a wolf, but it wasn’t a man either. It was somewhere in between. An abomination. Something straight out of her dreams.
She’d dreamt of wolves and monsters before, and each time she had ended up fighting for her life.
It lowered its head and snarled again, hunkering down. It was going to attack.
This wasn’t a dream. It was a living nightmare.
Lauren’s fight left her and she moved backwards, faster now. Her heart started at a pace, thumping erratically in her throat. She clutched her shinai and glanced around. It was only just gone ten at night. Someone would pass by. Her neighbourhood wasn’t normally this quiet. Any moment now, someone would come and help her. She’d only left her kendo class fifteen minutes ago and she’d been first out of the door. A couple of the men in her class lived near her. One of them would come. Someone would. Anyone? Thirty-four was definitely too young to die. She didn’t want to be killed in the night as her parents had been.
She opened her mouth to call out for help but no sound left her lips. Her voice had died the moment her eyes had locked with the monster’s ones. She saw her death reflected in them, saw how easily it would tear her to shreds and how she wasn’t going to make it out of this alive. Emptiness settled in her mind, ringing in her ears.
Cold stillness shrouded the world.
The beast leapt.
Her heart leapt too.
Shrieking, Lauren raised the bamboo sword to defend herself and flinched away, screwing her eyes shut. Only sound came to her.
The sing of metal cutting through air, an ear-splitting howl of pain, and then a wet slapping noise.
Lauren breathed hard, hunched up with her bamboo sword still held in front of her face. Her rough gulps of air filled the night. When everything had been quiet for a minute, she realised that something had happened to the monster and that she wasn’t dead. She cracked an eye open.
The first thing she saw made her retch.
Spread across the alley were guts, blood and the two halves of a naked man. Her stomach rolled in response to the gruesome sight and she took a step backwards. It hadn’t been a man a moment ago. Her eyes hadn’t been lying to her even though her mind had. It had been a monster—a wolf that could stand on its hind legs, over six feet tall, and had tried to kill her. She looked at her bamboo sword. Splatters of blood covered the length of it, soaking into the white leather cap at the end. She couldn’t have killed him with it. It wasn’t possible.
The sound of steel sliding against something made her look up.
Her eyes widened and she dropped her weapon.
A tall man stood opposite her on the other side of the dead person. His long black coat fitted snugly to his slim frame and the stand up collar rose so high that it created a funnel that masked the lower half of his face, held closed by two thick bands of bright gleaming metal across the front. The wind tousled the finger-length spiked strands of his dark hair, shifting them across his pale forehead.
Shimmering silver eyes stared at her, pupils wide in the low light.
Her heart thudded in response to the jolt she felt when her eyes met his.
How many times had she looked at someone and not felt anything? Every day she met the eye of people on the Tube or at work, or even her opponent in kendo, but she’d never experienced a jolt that shook her to her core.
Never had she been so aware of making eye contact.
The longer she looked into his eyes, the calmer and warmer she felt, until she wanted to stare into them for forever. Something about those eyes, about this man, was so familiar. She was sure that she didn’t know him, but at the same time, she was certain she did.
He stood unmoving, a sense of resolve about him. Everything suddenly felt like nothing but a nightmare, a vivid dream that this man had roused her from. His eyes narrowed. Invisible arms wrapped around her, holding her as soothing whispered words filled her mind. She was safe now.
Instinctively, she took a step towards him.
He lowered his head, giving Lauren the impression that he was bowing to her, awaiting a command or perhaps something else.
The man raised his head a fraction, so his eyes met hers again.
She snapped out of her trance when, without any sign of emotion, and with precise and practiced grace, he slid the long curved katana he held into the sheath hanging at his waist. The blade was clean but blood splattered his hands.
Lauren swallowed her heart and the fear that rushed through her again. Lost in his eyes, she’d forgotten what had happened. Everything had seemed so normal and the monster hadn’t existed. Now she was back in reality, standing in an alley with a dead man at her feet and the man who had killed him opposite her.
His silver eyes flashed in the moonlight.
She made no move to run, or to look away, not when he approached her and not even when he stopped two feet away, towering over her. She couldn’t move. His eyes had mesmerised her again. They melted from brightest silver to ice blue and she didn’t even try to convince herself that she’d imagined it. They had changed. Ribbons of black hair caressed his forehead and her fingers itched to brush them away, to stroke his skin in their place and sweep them from his eyes so she could see them more clearly. A strange wave of calm washed over her again, only this time the feeling went deeper. She felt at peace with the world.
Because no matter what happened, this man would protect her.
He extended his hand to her. Before she could consider what she was doing, she was reaching for him.
“We must leave.” His voice was smooth and sensual, deep and accented in a way she couldn’t place but she knew that she liked it because the sound of it added to her boneless feeling.
Without hesitation or fear, Lauren placed her hand into his. His fingers closed over hers.
A sense of connection filled her.
Did you enjoy the snippet?
More about Love Immortal:
Rescued from werewolves by the most breathtaking man she’s ever seen, Lauren is dragged into the fight of her life and a dark world she never knew existed. There, she discovers that she’s the latest reincarnation of a goddess and must drink the blood of her immortal protector, Julian, in order to reawaken and continue her three thousand year old mission to defeat Lycaon, the original werewolf.
With the help of Julian and an organisation of people with supernatural abilities, Lauren fights for her life, their future and the fate of mankind against Lycaon and his deadly army, but can she succeed when Lycaon has killed all of her predecessors?
Can she crack the armour around Julian’s heart and seize her happily forever after with him? And can Julian bring himself to trust Lauren with the fragments of his heart after everything he’s been through?
Available in e-book from:
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