Amaranthine (Willow Shadows Book 1) (16 page)

BOOK: Amaranthine (Willow Shadows Book 1)
3.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


halida somberly walked her way down to the docks that encircled the lake behind Luke’s house. Dark clouds shadowed the sky with booming thunder rolling closer the further she walked. The rain poured all morning, leaving behind a mist that still wandered from the sky. The rumbling thunder sent a sense of calmness through her mind as she lavished the cool mist the fell across her skin. The mist veiled the surface of the lake, making it impossible to see more than twenty feet across the water.

Khalida sensed eyes following her every move from the house and knew that Luke was watching her, cautiously giving her the space she needed. She knew the moment that she turned around their eyes would meet and the instant they did, he would be aware of everything that was wrong with her at that exact moment. Khalida didn’t dare turn to meet his gaze but instead stared straight ahead, mentally covering every detail of her disastrous plan that was already set in motion as of early this morning. Telling everyone she didn’t feel good would buy her some time to sneak out. Now her only challenges of getting out of the beautiful guarded mansion were the guards themselves and keeping the walls of her mind up so Luke would stay in the dark and remain unaware of her true intentions. The walls that she had learned to build denied access to anyone who dared tried to enter.


The only time I can put my plan in place is during the shift change of the guards.


drizzle slithered across her face as the storm threatened to pound harder. She had no choice but to turn back to the house. Pushing thoughts out of her already over-loaded mind, everything went still when she met his eyes. Just as she expected, Luke was watching her, no longer in the house where Khalida had left him but now mere feet from where she stood. He said nothing as the mist turned to drops and started to pour down over them. Khalida stared at him while thoughts of how gorgeous he looked with the rain falling on him distracting her, dazzled by perfectly placed hair slightly covering his eyes. His white t-shirt was saturated and glued tightly to his skin with the look of his usual self-confident swagger reaping in his eyes. Weakness threatened to tell all as he stood there watching her with hunger in his eyes.

“If you wanted to get wet you should have just said something. I am always willing to help,” he spoke, slyly, curving his mouth into sensual grin.

“Are you just going to stand out here and get soaked?” The only response Khalida could muster as she swayed her weight uncomfortably to the right.

God help me, he is so damn sexy

He laughed, apparently amused by the thoughts that were entering her mind, carelessly letting her guard down, a mistake she thought that could cost her. Luckily, the only thought that was coursing through her mind was the only way of getting him out of those wet clothes.

“I thought it was my job to have those kinds of thoughts. I have to admit it though, you are awfully cute when you’re embarrassed,” he teased.

“So, you think you’re the only one who gets to be a perv, huh?” she challenged playfully.

“Get that ass over here where you belong. You shouldn’t be out in the rain when you already don’t feel good,” he said, changing the subject as disappointment entered his eyes.


Khalida knew she had caught herself in time and stopped him from picking through her deeply hidden thoughts, but now he was alert and knew she was keeping something from him.


As she neared where Luke stood, he protectively placed his arm out for her, pulling Khalida near as she got close enough. His touch sent a fire current through her, warming her blood instantly at his touch while sending a shutter that rippled across her skin.

“I like that I make you feel that way,” he whispered in her ear as they approached the back porch to his house. Khalida looked at him nervously.

Had I let my guard down

He took her chin in his hand, looked intently into her eyes and said, “I don’t know what you’re hiding from me, but I will find out what it is, Cupcake. I can hear your heart speed up when our eyes meet and see the shivers that fall across your skin. I know you better than you know yourself, Khalida,” he said suspiciously. “That look on your face tells me all I need to know. I know your keeping something from me, you little vixen.”

“I’m not getting into it with you, sir. If you ask me, and I don’t tell you, then there’s a damn good reason. I wish that I could hear or feel all your thoughts on how I make you feel, but you seem to keep things from me as well. So, before you start picking away at my brain and I block you out, everyone is entitled to some privacy,” she said softly, burying her head in his chest as they walked, her mind begging her to come clean with him, her mouth betraying her intuition.

“I could show you how you make me feel, but we would need a private room, supplies for at least two months, and a do not disturb sign to hang from the door,” Luke said, placing his arm around her tightly, sighing.

Khalida knew to let it go; he may have played it off, but at the back of his mind she knew he was still trying to figure out what could be going on.

“Maybe for my birthday we could go somewhere special?” she asked, hoping he would consider her question.

“Why don’t you go take a warm shower and change your wet clothes? It will be dark soon, and we have another meeting at eight o’clock sharp,” he said, gently rubbing her back as he placed a kiss on the tip of her nose.

“That’s a good idea. Maybe I’ll lay down for a few after I shower,” she said before turning her back on him, slowly making her move up the stairs.

It seemed for the moment that she was in the clear, her motives remained unknown, as if she had drowned them in a sea of sorrow, sinking them deep inside herself, to be hidden from all.

As soon as the door was closed, Khalida locked the door in hopes of keeping anyone from entering. Hurriedly, she changed her clothes into a black long sleeve shirt, black yoga pants, and black running shoes. Pulling her hair back into a messy bun, she hoped that her escape would be a breeze and she would go unnoticed. Khalida glanced out the bedroom window.

No guards. It must be shift change
; they would be inside their security bunk going over the details of the prior shifts.
Now is my chance

Khalida cracked open the window, hoping the creaking of the rising glass wouldn’t alert anyone below of her intentions. She slowly climbed out onto the ledge, stopping for a minute to listen for any sign that Luke was aware of her escape. Her breathing slowed as she tried to control her heart rate, slowly making her way down the tree that was outside her window. Khalida was careful, sneaky, making sure she didn’t make any sounds that would alert the guards or the people inside. She planted her feet firmly on the ground, landing in a crouched position; her eyes darted across the yard. Running across the yard, Khalida was protected by the thick mist that carried up from the lake. Climbing over the fence, her getaway was made. Looking around, she realized her plan didn’t carry through to this point.

Crap. I didn’t think about how I was going to get there. Damn

Khalida began running down the street, amazed at how easy it was to carry herself as she stretched forward with every step. Her legs were stronger and carried her at an inhuman speed. Khalida had slowed for the upcoming intersection when she heard a car pull up beside her. Dead shock and fear ran through her body. It was Luke, he knew she lied to him and snuck out. She was busted. Khalida stopped in her tracks, slowly turning, preparing herself to face the wrath that she was sure to endure.

“Hey, girlie, where are you going? Do you like need a ride? I mean, it is about to start totally pouring right now,” Cherry said so cheerfully Khalida had to laugh as relief flooded her body and the shock of Cherry not being Luke rolled off her shoulders.

“Um, yeah, sure if you don’t mind,” Khalida stuttered still in shock by the timing of an old classmate showing up, meaning her lover was still in the dark.

Until he feels me gone that is.

“Well, no, of course I don’t mind. Now get your butt in this car,” she said, blowing smoke out of her rolled down window.

“I need a ride to my house. Do you remember where I live?” Khalida smiled, asking her nicely.

“Oh, ofcourse I do, Chicka,” she chimed in as she smacked on the gum in her mouth, her dark and heavy eyeliner stretching itself out a good inch past her eyelid, her face caked with an alabaster foundation.

Khalida stared at her, hardly believing she actually knew her. Khalida went to school with Cherry the first year that she lived here. She remembered how that year Cherry’s parents sent her away to some boarding school for behavior problems, or so the rumor went; Cherry liked to cut herself.

“How have you been?” Khalida asked, trying to be nice but not really caring about her answer. She had other things that weighed deeply on her mind. It bothered her that she was so careless about someone’s life, but she just didn’t have the energy for anyone else’s problems.

Cherry’s hair was cut short, made to spike up at the top with her bangs hanging long, sweeping across her face. Through all the weirdness she was putting off in her appearance, Cherry was really a nice girl. A stab of guilt punched in Khalida’s gut for her first initial thoughts of the poor girl who obviously didn’t have the ideal life.

My boyfriend’s a freaking vampire…I’m turning into a vampire, who in the hell am I to judge anyone?

She tried to listen intently as Cherry carried on about the job she had at one of the local strip clubs, but Khalida found herself letting her mind wander to the events that would take place tonight.

That’s it!

“Hey, Cherry, you wouldn’t happen to have a lighter I could borrow would you?” she asked nicely.

“Sure, darling,” Cherry motioned for her to catch the lighter she had cupped in her hand.

“Thank you.”

“I didn’t know you smoked, but nothing surprises me these days. I swear I need to get out of this city, but I just can’t leave my Billy Bob. You have seriously got to meet him one of these days. That man saved me,” she went on explaining her relationship until she pulled up to the curb of the house.

Without hesitation, Khalida threw open the door, turning back only to say a quick thanks for the ride as she turned, jogging to the house. Darkness had fallen upon the sky with the heavy scent of rain in the air. She knew she only had a matter of minutes before her unwanted company would be arriving. Khalida ran through the house towards the kitchen, quickly setting the knobs on the stove to pilot before rushing back into the living room to await the arrival of her greatest threat...and her very possible downfall.

Thoughts flew through her mind, running through every possibility of what could happen.
What would she do when they arrived? Would her mother still be alive?
The thoughts were loud, and they pounded through her mind, but the loudest of her thoughts, the one that made its presence known over all others is what disturbed Khalida to her core.

Tonight, you’re going to die


halida stood in the familiarity of her home, gaining strength through all the memories that flooded her mind. She had only one mission.

Get my mother and get out alive.

As she stood in the living room, she could feel the presence of evil pulling her into the reality she had only had in her dreams. The cackling laughter of malevolence made Khalida grimace, sweeping the night and rupturing the silent closeness of her beloved home.

Shit! I’m not ready for this.

Ready or not, there was no time to second guess her actions now. Khalida reached over with her fist, breaking the mirror that hung on the wall above the fireplace. Bending over to pick up a sharp jagged piece of glass and placing it in her back packet, she was startled by the heavy steps that crept up to the front door. With a blast of wind, the front door was blown open. Her vision became sharper as she quickly backed up against the wall behind her. She
scared out of her mind, yet still determined. Doubt flooded her mind and desperation stabbed her soul as she saw what stood before her.

The gruesome leader stepped through the threshold, moving slowly until he was standing just inches away from where Khalida was pressed against the wall. She looked around Braedon long enough to notice a breath-taking female only a few feet behind him with flowing white hair and sharp features. As Khalida stood gawking at her beauty, the unnamed woman’s eyes glowed amber as she hissed.

“What are you looking at?”

“You’re uglier in person,” Khalida retorted, “Where’s my mother?” she said strongly as she held her chin, pushing her fears aside, her strength radiating from within.

With a snap of Braedon’s fingers, two men wearing all black with tangled tresses of dirty black hair and cold onyx
made their entrance, carrying her mother in between the two of them. Khalida heard her gasp as they dropped her near Khalida’s feet. Falling to her knees, she grasped her mother’s face between her two palms, searching for signs of life. She was barely breathing, unconscious and unaware of her daughter’s presence. Khalida placed her head to her mother’s chest to listen, but all she could hear was the faint beating of her heart against her chest. She was alive for now, but based on the slow heart rate, Khalida knew she had to act fast if her mother was to be saved. She had to think hard, time was running out, and there were four of them against one of her. She was easily outnumbered by the vampires in the house and screwed even more if there were more outside.

“We have another surprise for you,” Braedon emitted with fierce evil, almost crippling Khalida’s soul. His rancid breath tickled her face; she had to turn her head to keep the bile that was building in her throat from pouring out.

The two evil goons stepped outside, and within a couple of minutes, they were back, carrying someone by the arms. As the body hit the floor, Khalida immediately recognized Cherry, her chest cavity ripped open with her insides empty. The poor girl had been gutted. Her soulless eyes stared back at Khalida. She could still see the fear in her face as she laid there on the floor with her mouth open as if she had been screaming for her life. Khalida would never have the chance to help Cherry or meet her precious Billy Bob she proudly gloated on.


Fear swelled in her throat and threatened to escape with a scream, but she couldn’t scream. Khalida was not going to give them the satisfaction of them seeing her fear.

Show nothing, give nothing away

“I can smell the fear seeping from your pores,” the beautiful bitch growled.

“Smell this! Screw you!” Khalida challenged as she flipped off the evil bitch.

Khalida glanced around the room at each of them, realizing at that exact moment her death was signed, sealed, and delivered. She had no way out, and even if she could get past one of them, she couldn’t make it through them all. With no way out, she could only do one thing.

Fight. I will not go down without a fight


“Khalida, I really see no choice. I cannot allow you to live. You being mixed up with them is far too risky. If I save you until you transcend, I risk the chance of that boy coming to your rescue. We, me, the Ubil’s cannot take that risk. I’m torn between killing you now or taking my chances and killing you later. I must admit, I would love a chance to get my hands on the boy that is next in line to be the king. To think, I could have your powers and the power of reputation for killing one of the most powerful vampires in our region. The plan is almost perfect,” the gruesome demon growled.

“You bastard!” Khalida screamed at the evil man that stood smiling before her, “I despise everything you stand for.”

“It really doesn’t matter what you think, child,” he spoke with a chilling grimace that sent a cold wave of fear throughout Khalida’s body.

“Get her!” he snapped at his guards.

Khalida moved into action, grabbing the piece of broken mirror out of her back pocket and held it to her neck.

“Any closer and I’ll off myself right here, right now, and since I have no powers as of yet, you will get nothing but a full stomach when you and your dogs go to lapping up my blood,” she clenched her jaw and drove the glass into her skin causing blood to trickle down her neck.

“You wouldn’t dare,” he hissed.

Khalida laughed carelessly and mockingly, “Is that a bet you would like to take? You say you want me dead but we both know my powers are what you want. There is no way you are going to kill me.”

“Can we just kill this bitch already? We don’t need her lover,” Braedon’s mate growled.

“Fala, my love, patience, dear. We almost have what we want,” Braedon spoke calmly to the white haired beauty that was hungry for Khalida’s blood.

“We don’t need this little bitch,” Fala hissed.

Seeing the power shift in the room, Khalida was amused when she heard Braedon tell Fala to shut the fuck up. A glimmer of hope dwelled in Khalida’s chest as she realized the power she was holding.

Fala took one step forward with determination that got shut down by Braedon who held his arm out as a warning for her to stay back. Khalida grinned at her denial.

“Denied, bitch,” Khalida taunted, “I bet you want a piece of me, huh, Psycho?” she challenged Fala further. Pushing her buttons came amusingly easy. Khalida crotched down over her mother, trying to pick her up one handed. The sound of screeching tires blared through the house as Khalida jerked her head up to see headlights that beamed brightly through the bay window.

Awe, hell, now what? I can’t handle any more of them

Khalida knew what was coming next, so she threw herself over her mother’s lifeless limp body. The crash was deafening on impact, and through the debris of bricks and wood, she saw Luke standing next to the wrecked black truck that was now imbedded in her living room. As a wave of relief flooded through her mind, Khalida could tell by the look on his face that he was mad as hell, but no matter how mad he was, she was never as glad to see him as she was now. His eyes scanned the room and relief washed over his face when he saw her alive and in one piece.

Braedon and Fala were trying to recover from the unexpected arrival, and Luke took full advantage, sweeping by them and running to where Khalida stood, the two demons still dazed by the events that had just unfolded in her living room.

His cold black eyes glared at her, fuming with anger but thankful she was still alive and unharmed. He said nothing, no words of anger, nothing. He gently picked up Fatin in his arms, ready to carry her out of the house away from the mad man that was slowly regaining his composure.

The kitchen, we go out the kitchen. I left the pilot on it will blow with one spark. We can take them down in the house.

With a slight nod of his head, he let her know it was a go.

“Razi and the others will be here shortly. We have to move. Now!” Luke said, taking the first step forward, making it to the other side of the room. “Come on, Khalida. Move it. NOW.”

“Get her out of here!” Khalida screamed as she made her way through the rubble that used to be her living room. She made it five feet from the entry way when a hand grabbed her by the hair. She turned her head as best as she could only to see the evil eyes of Fala staring soullessly back into hers.

“I thought you wanted a piece of me, you stupid little girl!” she shrilled.

“Fala, No!” Braedon’s voice boomed through the room.

Fala looked at him with an evil smile spreading across her face, baring her elongated fangs. It was the distraction Khalida needed. Khalida thrust the piece of shard glass that she still had in her hand into Fala’s neck, penetrating her artery on contact. Despair poured over her face as she let go of Khalida’s hair to clasp the wound that was gushing blood. Braedon released a tortured howl that made Khalida realize she had to get out of there. Rushing to the kitchen, she ran into Luke who was already making his way back to her.

“We have to get out of here,” he grabbed her hand and pulled her with him as he ran out of the house through the back door.

“Where did you put my mom?” she asked wildly, adrenaline flowing heavily through her body.

“She is safe. I put her down about twenty yards from here,” he said, tugging her hand, but instead of letting him pull her to safety, she snapped her hand free and pulled away. Shock and anger floored him.

“We don’t have time for this shit, Khalida. Let’s go!” he growled.

“Go shield her.”

“Khalida wh…” he didn’t have a chance to finish before she interrupted him.

“Now go!” she snapped, turning back to run up to the house. Busting the window with her elbow, the gas hit her like a big truck. In her moment of despair, she took the Zippo lighter that Cherry had given her, struck the flint and braced herself for a fast escape as she tossed it through the broken window. Without looking back, she ran as fast as she could before the explosion caught her running down the porch steps, flinging her forward with such force she lost her balance. Falling face first into a tree, her head slammed back as the side of her face hit the rough bark. Khalida fell to the ground limply, her vision instantly blackened.

Khalida could hear fighting in the background as she came to, but the pain that seared through her body was too overwhelming for her to focus on the ruckus that surrounded her. Sharp stabbing pains pricked deep within her body, a pounding pain shooting through her head and down her neck. She opened her eyes only to see a dark gloomy sky with smoke, smothering the visibility of the stars. Trickles of rain slowly started to fall from the sky, gently running down her face. From her side, she heard what seemed to be a hungry animalistic growl which made her jerk to see what it was and where it was coming from. Her eyes widened at the reality of what was going on around her hit home. Through the fire and smoke, she could see Luke, Razi, Vega, Josephine, Crevan, and others that she had seen guarding the house fighting against Braedon and his clan of ruthless killers. Another feral grumble too close for comfort drew her attention away from the fighting.

Dread spread across her body, fear flowing through her veins as her eyes fell upon the source of the growling. Fala. She was still alive and she looked pissed. The wound that Khalida inflicted upon her was oozing black liquid, her body weakened from the loss but still alive.

WTF? Oh shit! She’s healing?

Braedon must have carried her out before the explosion.

Khalida’s mind went numb. She tried to scream but nothing came out. She tried to move but her body was in too much pain. She was dragging herself towards Khalida by her forearms, inching forward as she slithered across the ground fifteen feet and closing in.

Oh, God!

She moved quickly, closing the distance between them in a matter of seconds.

She must need blood to heal, and it is my blood that she after.

She tried to move away, but her body was like a useless weight. Khalida could feel Fala grab her feet, slowly dragging herself on top of Khalida, the pain of her nails digging into her skin overwhelmed her as Fala made her way across her body until she was staring into Khalida’s eyes with her black, soulless eyes. Khalida could feel nothing as Fala sank her fangs into the crease of her neck.

BOOK: Amaranthine (Willow Shadows Book 1)
3.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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