Author: Candy Crum
Genre: NA Paranormal Romance
Cover By: Megan Parker with EmCat Designs
Date Published: April 13th, 2014
CHAPTER ONE (first half)
The night was cool and thick as it sheathed me in total darkness. The satin shorts and camisole that I’d gone to bed in were now damp from the moisture hanging heavily in the air. Holding my hands in front of my body, I blindly wandered around in blackness as I tried to find some kind of clue that would give me a better picture. My bare feet told me that I was standing on soft ground, the tall grass tickling my calves as I moved. It was possible that I was in a large pasture, though the clean, crisp scent of the air let me know that no large animals were near.
Thunder cracked in the distance and the ominous, coal-black clouds had even chased the moon and stars into hiding, not even the faintest glow giving away their location. It took a moment, but my mind was finally beginning to recognize this place. This was a dream world, one that I’d seen before. With every passing night, with every passing dream, I was able to travel further and further into this illusion as I tried to discover its meaning. I’d had recurring dreams before, but there was something different, disturbing about this one that seemed to speak to me. There was something that I was supposed to learn here and I needed to find it.
The wind began to pick up and I looked to the north, the same direction that I looked to every night. Lightning cascaded across the sky, illuminating the massive, empty pasture in which I stood. The momentary flash brought something to my attention that I’d never seen in the dream before. Two figures stood off in the distance, several yards between them, facing off. Even with great distance between us, I could feel the tension rolling off of them. That must be the dark, heavy feeling in the air that I’d felt: anger, hatred.
Thunder rolled again as the lightning danced across the sky. Using the display to light my path, I ran toward the figures ahead of me. As I approached, a bolt of raw, electric energy reached down from the sky and ignited the immediate area in flames. The swift turn of events stopped me short, nearly throwing me to the ground. The flames spread into a perfect circle as it surrounded both figures, blocking any further approach by me. Sharp chills cut through me from head to toe as I realized that one of them was fully controlling the blaze.
Now that I was closer, I could tell that the figures were women. One woman, maybe an inch or two over five feet tall, stood around fifty feet away, and to my right. Her long, jet-black hair reached just below her hips and whipped around in the increasing wind. As I studied her, I began to see a deep-red, transparent cloud, like an aura surrounding her. She was strong, very strong, and I could feel her overwhelming power from here.
Looking to my left, her opponent was roughly the same height; only her hair was frosty white and hung to her knees. This woman was much different. She was surrounded by an aura cloud as well, though hers was dark blue. Something about her called to me and it took everything I had not to trudge barefooted through the flames to reach her.
Rain began to fall and quickly soaked everything around us, though it was still unable to extinguish the fire. Movement brought me to attention as the white haired woman lifted her arms. The earth began to quake beneath me as it broke free all around her. She looked like a dancer as she maneuvered her body, forcing the element into submission under her power. The packed earth sailed through the air towards the dark haired woman, but she was quick to react.
In a flash, she completely disappeared from my sight, managing to dodge the attack. My eyes moved quickly as I focused to find her. My body locked up as my vision was suddenly clouded with the mysterious dark haired woman as she appeared before me, seemingly out of nowhere. Her dark, emerald green eyes and dilated coal-black pupils stared into mine, glinting in the firelight. Her raven hair seemed alive as it brushed my skin and sent tingles running through my body. Her flawless, olive-toned skin nearly glowed as she stood there, concern in her expression.
“Kailah.” As her soft, sweet voice spoke my name, I inhaled sharply. Though her mouth barely moved as she spoke my name, her perfect, white teeth showed just enough for me to make out four tiny, yet still elongated, razor sharp fangs. My heart fluttered rapidly as I wondered if this woman was the creature that she appeared to be, and if so, how did she know me and what did she want with me?
“Y-yes?” I stammered.
“This is not a dream, Kailah. It’s a warning.” She leaned in closer. “Run,” she whispered.
“Wait, what?” I asked, chills once again stabbing me like thousands of needles running from the roots of my hair to the bare, wet soles of my feet.
As soon as I turned to run, the dark thunder cracked overhead and the lightning began touching the ground all around me, trying to hold me where I stood. I heard a loud growl sound out from behind me, but decided not to look back. The earth began to shake again and my bare feet slid on the wet grass, the soft ground cushioning me as I fell hard on my right hip.
“Hello Kailah.” The new voice sent a shiver down my spine as I looked into the icy blue eyes of the white-haired woman.
Though her hair would have suggested otherwise, she looked no older than me: around twenty. Her skin was also olive toned and absolutely flawless, just like the other woman. Though, normally, one would look to the light as salvation and the darkness as hell, I didn’t think that was the case in this situation. Her crystalline blue eyes had death in them and I found myself backing away from her, toward the raven-haired beauty.
She laughed and the sound enveloped me like frigid water.
“Kailah, you would choose the Vampire over your own grandmother?”
Before I could digest the words that she had unleashed on me, her attention shifted and the blue aura cloud surrounding her exploded into a barrier. Instinctively, my eyes closed and I threw my hand out as a large throwing knife bounced off the cloudy shield and headed for me.
“It is you!” she said with wonder.
My eyes snapped open and surrounding my hand was the same blue energy that surrounded the white-haired woman, only mine had a throwing knife buried in it. I couldn’t stop the scream that bubbled up out of my throat as the energy dissipated and the knife fell in my lap. What the hell was going on?
Her attention shifted again and with soft, graceful movements, a lightning bolt responded as it split from the sky and reached for her outstretched hand. She caught the energy easily before throwing it at her opponent. Another loud growl sounded out only a moment before something slammed hard into the barrier. That something, I realized, was the woman she had referred to as the Vampire.
Dark red energy swelled around the supposed Vampire as she pushed against the barrier of the opposing woman. “Kailah! She can find you in your dreams! Go, now!” As soon as the order left the raven-haired beauty’s lips, energy exploded from her body as the white-haired woman was thrown several feet away. “This dream is a figment of your own mind but, make no mistake, this is a premonition. You are the key to ending this war and if she finds you, it will doom all humans to a fate worse than death. Leave this realm now and prepare your mind. Your life is about to change.”
Candy Crum lives in Indiana and is the Author of “Series” and other short stories. She published her first novel, The Eternal Gift, in May of 2011 and has been publishing ever since. Candy is an avid lover of the paranormal genre, stemming from years of reading the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice when she was a teenager. Later, she developed a deep love of the Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead and the House of Night Series by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, furthering her love of the genre and pushing her to really push to finish and publish her novel.
Since then, Candy has released three other books in The Eternal Series and will release another later in 2014. Now, Candy is trying her hand at more contemporary pieces of work, like that of Lean on Me and other books she will release in 2014.
Some of Candy’s interests include the usual reading and writing, music (of most types), movies (action and comedy or any combination of the two), cartoons (she loves to say that her children watch cartoons because she does), and drawing. She loves talking with her fans and loves reading the reviews that her fans are kind enough to leave for her. Always feel free to find Candy on Facebook and send her a message!