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Newborn City Series: Affinity for Pain

By R. E. Johnson All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Fantasy


Unbound by the burden of physical sensation, Hope Turner, the demon daughter of The Chakal makes for the ideal human hunting assassin. Brilliantly cruel and decidedly callus Hope finds no problem engaging her latest hit, Ciaran O’Connor. But as the very essence of nature begins to twist and turn around her, Hope becomes paralysed by an onslaught of new-found emotion and feeling. Unable to kill, confused and in danger, the unlikely pair must embark on a journey together in order to survive the much darker powers that chase them from their pasts. Only through embracing their connection will Hope and Ciaran find the means to survive.


Saturday, October 31st, 2015 4:33pm

It was official, the whole world knew of the existence of demons. At least that’s what the humans called them. For centuries, the “demon” clans had agreed to keep their existence a secret. Humans could be violent after all.

‘Finally,’ Hope sighed and clicked off the TV.

Demons had pretty much all known each other. There were some clans that weren’t on the map. Like an uncharted continent or something, the Shin D’ri, the Daemos, and the Bimfishy Bobs. Okay, the point was she didn’t fucking know. They were unheard of. There could still be demons that no one had seen, especially if they were pure blood. That was all changing now. Now people knew they were sharing the world. Some jerks are going to come looking for us. They’re not all gonna like what they find.

Certain clans weren’t going to like this newest development. A lot of them weren’t comfortable being seen on an off chance let alone on the 5 o’clock news. It was a good possibility that this would not only interfere with their quiet lives but fucking tear them to pieces. Hope was alright with moving, being seen, she had desperately wanted to get out of Ontario and New York State wasn’t too far. She just hoped her POS car would make it.

Hope had been waiting for this day since the rumors had started. It was hilarious that of all the days, it was on Halloween. It made some kind of sick sense. All Saint’s Day was always more like “All Demon’s Day.” It was the one time of the year that pure-bred demons who looked the part could go out in public. Not that many of them did, usually just the young-uns.

Hope however looked human; she never had to really hide. Sure, she never left the clan’s land but that was her clan’s doing, not her skin’s. Everything was her clan’s doing. And she’d been pretending to be the doting daughter for too long. After all this, plus the braednas ceremony, she was done.

Hope thought of the images of the demon-whatever on her TV. He looked human too.

“We’re constructing a new settlement in upstate New York. Over the foundations of Endwell, a haven for demons will be created,” he’d said.

Free-to-be-you-and-me land was just a drive away. No father, no clan laws, no ceremonies. A blank slate called Newborn City. The Dawning was her opportunity. The clan bullshit could be left behind her, along with the glare her father always wore.

Hope walked down the small hallway from the living area to her bedroom. The door displayed a giant “Do Not Enter” sign and was padlocked. She fished in the pocket of her jeans and grabbed out the small key. It was difficult to find since her fingers were always numb. As she opened her door, she could hear her father’s voice outside the trailer. He was talking with Jonathon, another priest of Shendara the Maker, about the CNN report. They sounded panicky and Hope laughed at the old fool’s fear.

She grabbed the old, brown backpack that she had had since she was four and set it down on her small bed. The twin was covered in cheap cotton sheets and a cotton comforter that had purple kittens all over it. It was her favorite when she was small, but now it was just a disgusting reminder of the lie that she lived as a child. The fuzzy, matted purple carpet, the posters of Devon Sawa and David Boreanaz. She had been obsessed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xena, anything science fiction or fantasy. She was convinced demons made them since they were filled with supernatural creatures.

Her father had put a stop to that pretty quickly. He had drilled the truth into her, “Humans are to be feared and hated because they fear and hate us. They let the fear and hate control them. They are murderers who persecute our clans. Better we hide away from them and stay in the shadows.”

Hope could remember the stories, like all the others told to the yanyas. The horrific tales of how humans had hunted demons long ago. Maker, after the tales of vampires, it was no wonder demons chose to stay under the radar. I mean coffins? Garlic? They were nothing but evil creatures, bursting into flames at daybreak. They only want consume every drop of human blood on the planet. Please, nothing could be further from the truth, unless you counted the crazed among them. That’d be like saying serial killers are a good representation of all humanity. And don’t get me started on the devil. Sure, he didn’t like people very much but he was just a flame demon. Not the commander of an army of unclean hell spawn.

Now that was over, no shadows anymore. Just a bright fucking spotlight pointing down. She grabbed the few clothes she owned and her notebook of thoughts. She didn’t want anything else. Hope never wanted to think of this shit hole again. It bit at her though. Something deep inside her always held onto that night.

For hours, she had sat outside of the braednas temple waiting. Watching the males exit out the front and a few minutes later the females would sneak out the back. As some of them walked off, she could see their white robes stained with blood. The females looked awkward and confused, the males, each one of them, looked satisfied. The females waiting their turn before her had sat complacent and still. It had always been that way. The twenty or so girls who were deemed ready, lined up outside the temple. The following months witness to growing bellies. Then one day, small bellied, they left the lands never to return. Then she was grabbed off the ground and shoved toward the temple.

Twenty-five years with her clan was more than enough.

Hope turned off the light and felt the bile rise in her throat. All this time spent waiting, for braednas, for the Dawning, for something, anything to get her the fuck out of there. She reached for the brassy gold knob and closed her door. She left the padlock open.

Hope surveyed her home. The frayed, green and brown couch, the mustard yellow fridge in the corner, the sink that spat brown water. Peeling laminate partially covered with a purple shag carpet, a giant wooden fork and knife, a Formica counter top. Hope saw it all. I’m never living in a shit hole again. Hope opened the door of the puke green trailer and took a deep breath. The air inside smelled of mac’n’cheese and dawn dish soap. Outside the air was fallen leaves, wet earth, and rain. She stepped off the tin steps and started for her car.

Jonathon glared at her, shaking his head. He bowed deeply to her father. They clasped arms. With a final attack from his eyes, Jonathon walked back to his own trailer. She had been his son’s partner for the braednas ceremony.

“If you leave us, leave the safety and love of your clan, you will be alone and you will fail,” her father’s voice was deep, proud.

He stood in the yard with his arms crossed over his chest. His dark hair was pulled back making his pale skin tight. He was tall and it was funny to watch him go in and out of the trailer, hunching so low he looked like Igor. The long, blue robe, his symbol as a spiritual guide to Shendara their Maker[RJ4] , was tattered and the hem fell open. His brown moccasins poked out and they were dusty from the gravel drive.

“Love? What the fuck is that? You know as well as I do that love isn’t a part of how this clan works. Madru isn’t the only mother to leave and you’re not the only father that’s forcing their yanyas into braednas.” Hope walked past the statue-like figure and over to her blue Geo Metro.

She threw in her bag into the trunk and grabbed the CD’s she had locked inside. She had to pick the appropriate tune-age for such a momentous occasion. Hope pulled out Arch Enemy, System of a Down, Deftones, Tool, A Perfect Circle, and some mystery CD’s. Hope slammed the trunk shut, rattling the entire car. What a piece of shit. I’m hocking you for parts ASAP.

“And what do you plan on doing? Beating your way into the human world? Not even they would appreciate your violence… The race must go on Hope. I won’t force you to stay. I won’t. By leaving you avoid the risk of omaeriku and we all know to fear araj, even you.” Her father’s eyes seemed tired, his wrinkles standing out like cracks.

“I fear nothing. Omaeriku is a dying magical impulse. I am not controlled by sensations, by emotions. Your fear is misplaced. It is nothing but hormones and a dose of superstition. Learn to live without fear and your own avoidance. I have. You won’t stop me from leaving. Find a place or be left behind… Ontario isn’t safe anymore. Not after the announcement. If you’re really concerned, leave. Go to a place where the Dawning hasn’t touched.”

Hope turned away without hearing his response. The road out of this Shendara forsaken “community” was in the opposite direction. Hope tossed the CD’s on the passenger seat and adjusted the rearview mirror. She could see her father, the wind blowing dead leaves into piles at his feet. He didn’t turn away; he just kept standing there, arms crossed. His stare bored a hole into the back of her head. She pulled the car out of the driveway and kicked up gravel at his legs.

The drive down the private road seemed to take forever. She waited to see the highway appear and the Territory Property sign which marked their lands. Her clan had stolen it and was now falling apart. There was no need for it now but it would stay. Bravery and a good sense of “fuck it” didn’t run in the family.

The sign became visible as she reached the end of the five-mile drive. A chain held it in place and it was in equally shitty condition. Hope rolled down the window in the car. It was quiet except for a few crows and some semis. Hope put on Arch Enemy, cranked the volume, and skipped to Revolution Begins. She looked back in the rearview and gunned it for the chain.

A satisfying snap echoed around her. She actually smiled. As she sped off, she held her hand up and flashed a one finger screw you. She looked at the green clock in her dash. 4:56 pm. Around eight o’clock each night she would note one more day of freedom.

A few miles out, she noticed a black SUV parked in the main intersection. She couldn’t veer around it, so she pulled up beside it. As she stepped out of the Geo, she tried to peer inside the car but the windows were tinted and she couldn’t even tell if there was a person driving.

“Alright so you got me to stop, now what?” Hope swung the hair out of her face and the piercings she had acquired in her ears shone in the sun. The long vertical bar that ran from top to bottom of her ear gleamed. The rings running down the side of the other ear all lay perfectly in a line. There were barely any spots on her ears she hadn’t poked a hole through. They did a fabulous job masking the power of her hearing and she loved the badass look they gave her.

Hope had trained herself to hear outsiders. Now she steadied herself to listen to the sound of car doors unlock and guns being cocked. Hope stayed still and pulled all the tension up inside her muscles so it could be released when she needed it. Bring it on fuckers.

She thought back to the times she had fought members of her clan in friendly skirmishes. She had wiped the floor with her opponents.

“Now we talk.” The male voice was low and calm.

The tall, dark-blonde human was unlike any Hope had ever seen. He was just so damn calm; serene despite being surrounded by serious hardware. Two rather large men came out of the car after the man and stood to either side of him.

“I have been watching you. And yes, I know you must think I am a demented stalker. But trust me, you are not my type. I have been watching you because I could use a woman of your talents, to be cliché, and I would like to offer you a position in my employ.” He certainly got to the point.

She didn’t trust him, but the man had a certain appeal. He was direct, simple, and he had options. It was something to do, something that would fill her time so much better than finding thugs to beat, or Maker forbid, a day job.

“What did you have in mind, mister…?” Hope raised her eyebrows and smiled. The curved barbell in the center of her lip caught the light and Hope was even more pleased with her latest addition. It was a nice partner for the simple lip ring she had on the right. Hope could see blue-eyes staring at the two silver balls straddling her full lower lip.

“I believe I asked you for your name. So maybe you could stop staring at my lip and speak the fuck up.”

“Always so direct, I like that. I happen to be CEO of the Company, you may call me Dante. Like I said I have a desire for your skills. After all it is not every day that you meet someone who cannot feel pain. Or is it? I suppose in your “clan,” it happens all the time but for a mere human like me? I,” Dante waved at one of his thugs and the stout man handed him a manila envelope, “have an important investment which I need to protect, completely. I believe that your talents, along with some careful training, will help to ensure the safety of my project. You see recently there has been some damage to a property of mine and I wish to find and eradicate all those responsible for the loss.”

“Yeah well, Dante, was it? I see your predicament and if you have been watching me, you creepy fuck, I assume that you know that my predilection for violence, developed as it is, happens to be geared to a specific type of opponent.” Hope stared coldly in Dante’s eyes.

“Yes, my name is Dante, and I am aware. They are demon killers, thugs, and scrap. These people have stopped me at every corner. I am trying to make a life for demons and men alike within Newborn City and these pathetic, myopic fools insist on playing into a fear that old men in robes created. Do you not see Hope; I must use the power I have collected to destroy those that would stand in the way of “demon” culture. Their prejudice must not be tolerated.”

“And you just showed up, randomly on the day that I chose to leave and the Dawning just happened to take place?” Hope was skeptical.

“Yes, as I said I have been watching you. I have numerous demons in my employ and I enjoy their talents, such as locating a particular demon and keeping tabs on her.”

Hope was silent as she thought about what he was offering.

“I understand your apprehension, truly, but I am a busy man. I should also mention that the position includes an extensive retainer, benefits, and a beautiful house with state-of-the-art amenities and absolutely no smell of macaroni and cheese.”

How’d he know that? Hope knew mind-reading demons existed but this guy was human. She looked around and saw a dark figure still seated inside the car.

“Understand also, that I will spare no expense in your training. With my help, you will be able to realize the full potential of your gift and, if I can be so bold as to say, you shall learn how to survive and eliminate all threats…without any other person’s help.”

The bastard has his pitch down, that’s for sure.

“Well Dante, it appears as though you’ve got yourself a new employee. Now when do I get to start killing these fucks?”

“Soon, my dear, so very soon.”

Saturday, October 31st, 2015 2:04 am

Ciaran rolled over on the small mat and listened for the guards down the hall. The cell was slab cement all around and smelled like sweat and urine. The back of his white Hanes tee was stained with blood. His black sweatpants were stiff with dried sweat and his feet were bare.

Ciaran was shivering and he couldn’t hear the sounds of fighting from the ring. Dimitri wasn’t there. This cell was new and way better fortified. Ciaran felt sore and the mat didn’t provide much of a cushion against the cement floor. ‘First things, first. How the fuck do I get out of here?’ Ciaran thought.

Ciaran gasped as he stood. The pain in his bruised ribs was like a roaring fire in his bones and almost matched the pain in his back and stomach. He’d been worked over in the ring by Rook. Thankfully, that was over quickly. Marcus had not been so generous.

The aches were a not-so-friendly reminder of what had gone down before he wound up in this cell. Ciaran remembered impressing Marcus by managing to stay awake and standing, chained by his wrists to the ceiling and ankles to the floor. That only made the fucker bored and he had resorted to more creative techniques. The memory of the braided leather strips biting off the flesh on his stomach and back was alive and well in Ciaran’s mind. Thankfully a fight had broken out down stairs and Marcus had to excuse himself. Ciaran took advantage of the fragility of the chains. He bent his knees and jumped in place to break the shackles free. It hurt like a bitch and he had small rips in the flesh around his wrists but it was worth it. Freed, Ciaran was just barely able to reach the key on the table and left bloody fingerprints as he grabbed it. He bent over to unlock his legs and nearly passed out. He couldn’t risk sitting, he might not be able to get back up.

He paid for it though, Marcus had sent guards and they weren’t thrilled with his idea of departure. The bigger one had punched his misshapen fist into Ciaran’s gut. Ciaran had fallen to the floor. They both got in a couple of kicks, which sent Ciaran to a wonderland filled with hot flashes, cold sweats, and the overwhelming desire to puke his lungs out. Then they shuffled him to this cell and he passed out.

All of which brought him to this locked door. Ciaran had no fucking clue how he was supposed to escape. He peered around the cell and examined the door. The side had two hinges, one on top and one on the bottom. They were big, thick pieces of metal and supported the weight evenly. If he could manage to dislodge one of them the weight of the door would break the lock, crushing the tumblers, and the door would fall sideways.

But what do I use to push up the hinge? Ciaran didn’t have many options. But he might have one, the toilet. He walked over to the john and took off the lid. The various pieces looked entirely unhelpful, the pump was a no, plastic handle arm was a no, but the metal float arm held promise. Ciaran pried the arm out of the float and top of the fill valve; it was just the size of the pins inside the hinges. And whoever said being a handy man was useless? Now if only I had a hammer.

He looked at the toilet again and tried to think. What could he use to hit the metal float arm hard enough to dislodge the pin? The only thing that was solid enough to give him the force needed was the tank lid, but that was made from porcelain and he’d only have one chance to make it work. Ciaran took the lid off and set in down on the matt. He wadded up the shirt he was wearing which sucked ass since dried blood stuck to the wounds on his back and pulled as he separated the fabric from his skin. Once he caught his breath he tied the bloody fabric around the lid. Ciaran walked over to the door and forced the float arm into the hinge. The sharp edge pushed on his hand and scratched his palm, but it stuck.

Ciaran grabbed the tank lid and walked over to the door. It was in the corner and there wasn’t a lot of swinging room. He got as close to the wall as he could. Lifting the lid off the tank had been a small treat of pain to his ribs and Ciaran stiffened at the thought of how swinging the heavy thing would feel. With a deep but shaky breath, he summoned his remaining energy. This is gonna suck.

Each muscle fiber in his torso pinched down on his ribs like a vice. There was a loud crack as the lid hit the float arm and the hinge pin popped out like the cork in a champagne bottle. Ciaran sagged against the cold cement wall and thought about how you aren’t supposed to let that happen. God, weird fucking thought. Ugh, I’m going to pass out. No, no time for that. Ciaran somehow managed to stand up and lift his head. The door hadn’t moved much, about an inch. Dammit.

As Ciaran considered some serious wall punching, he heard the lower hinge start to creak. The metal made the most horrible grinding noise. In one clean swoop, the hinge broke off the wall and the door fell to the ground.

“Fuck me. That was loud. Better get Dimitri,” Ciaran whispered. He struggled to lean down and get his tee from the lid. The lower his head got, the more he felt like a wobbly noodle.

“Fine, no shirt, it’s not like I have shoes,” he mumbled. Blood was dripping down his sides and he was sweating up a storm. Ciaran really couldn’t let anyone see him, so he checked to see if there were any visitors in the hallway. With it clear, Ciaran left his cell and headed for a miraculous beacon, a glowing exit sign.

Ciaran followed the sounds of fighting down to the ring and walked to the fighter’s “locker room.” The simple blue sign made Ciaran want to slam his fist into the cheap plastic. Locker rooms, right. He shook his head and pushed through the doors. Ciaran searched for the black key box he had been studying for weeks.

Just visible from his corner cell, the pin pad protected box held the key to unlock the cells. His cell was empty now of course, since he had killed his roommate Rook and thanks to the fight going on there wasn’t a guard in sight. Ciaran held his arm around his ribs as he entered in the memorized code. There were three rows of three, and he pushed the bottom middle, middle left, top left, and bottom right. Two, four, seven, three, he thought. The locking mechanism clicked and the metal door swung open. Ciaran smiled and pulled out the circle shaped key.

“You fucking did it. I can’t believe it!”

Dimitri slapped the bars of his cell. Ciaran’s neighbor had front-row seats to their escape. With a laugh, he reached out through the bars for Ciaran. Dimitri wore the same attire as everyone else did but his pants dusted the floor. At a whopping five foot ten, Dimitri was a short-ish, dirty-minded Russian American from Brooklyn. His bright green eyes were filled with the joy of expectant escape. Ciaran couldn’t help but be thrilled he’d found the guy. He was always relieved to see the shifty fucker come out of the ring alive and it always surprised him. But, there were a helluva lot of muscles plastered onto that small frame.

“Fuck man. What happened to you? D’you lose a fight with a weed whacker?” Dimitri asked.

“Well, have you seen the elephant?”

“What elephant?”

“The one who jumped on my ribs,” Ciaran chuckled as he spoke, but as his ribs kicked up another fuck-you-stop-that, he winced.

“You fuck. Get me outta here, so we can leave.” Dimitri slapped the top of Ciaran’s head as he pushed the round key into the main lock. A satisfying click echoed down the line and all the doors slid open with a creaky scrape.

“Exit’s through that door, don’t stop for anything. No one is going after Marcus. Not even me. We just need to leave.” As Ciaran’s voice rang through the “locker room,” a wave of prisoners brushed past him and ran out the swinging doors. One of the prisoners that never listened to anyone, Red, stopped in front of him.

“Explain to me why we aren’t killing Dentry?” Red’s orange eyes stared angrily at Ciaran and her blood red skin glowed.

“Because you’re gonna help me do something better.” Ciaran smirked and Red rolled her eyes.

With her hands on her hips, her muscular physique was staggering. Ciaran couldn’t help but stare sometimes. This godforsaken place was his first exposure to demons and she certainly looked the part. Red was fucking red, her skin, her nails, and her hair faded from a deep, black red to yellow. She was a blaze personified. The fucking fire-demon was exactly what he pictured when he heard the word. A towering inferno of fire and brimstone, minus the horns and tail.

“Oh yeah, what?” Red faced off at Ciaran.

“Burn the place down. Something I’ve heard you do well.” Ciaran watched as Red’s face changed from horrifyingly pissed to happy beyond reason. As she started to laugh, Dimitri came running over after playing escort to the other escapees.

“What’s so funny? Oh wait, Red’s laughing that means something’s about to blow up.” Dimitri smiled and Red chuckled openly as she nodded.

“You fucking know it. Now what do I have to do?” Red focused on Ciaran and he felt like her stare was burning a hole in his face. Ciaran saw her skin start to glow and he took a step back.

“Easy there tiger, I have no intention of being a crispy critter. I need you to follow me outside and then around back. I figured out this place must run off a generator. The security systems, heat, lighting, it’s too much to tap from the public lines. I need you to make it blow.” Ciaran looked at Red and then Dimitri who was staring at her intently.

“Explosions are a little harder. Straight up flame no problem. Do you think heat alone will make it blow?”

“Last week when I was in Marcus’s office, I managed to get a peek at his accounts. The generator runs on gas.” Ciaran smiled and Red blazed. Her deep red skin was bright and a bubble of heat formed around her.

“Fuck yes. You certainly know how to get a girl hot.” Red laughed and gestured toward the door. Ciaran shook his head as he ran out the swinging doors, Dimitri and Red tight on his heels.

“You know, ah how to I say this? Your back looks like ground beef.” Dimitri’s voice trailed off behind Ciaran.

Ciaran been avoiding any thought of the damage done to his body. Pausing on it only made the cuts, gashes, and broken bones pull him closer to the la-la land of near coma.

The trip down the hall was fast and quiet, each of the escapees knew better than to risk being heard. As they reached the exterior wall, they followed along the brick until they found another blaring exit sign. Ciaran slammed into the push lever and the heavy steel door swung open. The light from the sun was bright and even Red squinted. It had been months, hell years since any of them had been outside. He hadn’t been out since his plane touched down in New York. Fuck, he’d been out of Ireland for like three months when Marcus grabbed him, literally.

He’d been such a young, optimistic idiot. Fresh faced off the plane from Dublin and ready to take on the world. He knew the basics of the maintenance man trade and could easily learn the new systems of voltage and watts. He had it all planned and nowhere on the list was the job title “Demon Killer.”

Sure, he’d been in some scrapes in Ireland, hell who hadn’t? It was practically a local past time where he grew up. But life there had been peaceful. Boring[RJ6] as watching your Gram knit throw pillows, but peaceful. He went to work, came home, ate dinner, went to bed. Repeat. Later, he had added visit Ebony to the list. Ebony, Jesus Christ, I havena thought of her in forever. Lovely lass mother shoved at me. Life with her is lookin’ better and better the longer I’m in this shite-hole. As Ciaran’s mind wandered, the task at hand finally reemerged from his likely concussed brain.

“Around back, it’s the only safe place to position a generator,” Ciaran nodded toward the back and jogged around the building.

“How the fuck does he know where to put a generator?” Red looked over at Dimitri as they trotted behind Ciaran.

“Oddly enough, he was a handy man in Ireland, fixing plumbing, basic electricity, and I don’t know pullin’ cats out of old lady’s trees? Or is that firemen?”

“Yeah. Now if you both could hurry the fuck up. I want out of here, now.” Ciaran stopped just in front of a yellow, box-like device which hummed something fierce, “This is it. The generator is diesel powered. If you can burn through the metal tank we should be good. I would try it at a distance.”

“Yeah, duh. I’m not an idiot, human. Now how about you do a lady a favor and hold her clothes?” Red looked back at Dimitri and winked.

“Say what?” Dimitri went pale as Red started to strip.

“Well I can’t really set fire to my clothes, now can I? Running around naked is frowned upon in the human world I believe?” Red tossed her sweatpants and t-shirt at Dimitri and laughed.

“Just get on with it Red.” Ciaran grabbed Dimitri by his sleeve and backed away from Red who started to glow. He figured behind a car would suffice.

Crouched behind a sedan, Ciaran and Dimitri could see Red’s body begin to light up like a steadily heating torch. In a few moments, she was too bright to look at and they ducked down behind the car.

“This is probably gonna be loud, buddy.” Ciaran looked over at Dimitri who was clutching onto Red’s clothes, “You alright?”

“Oh, yeah. Just, Red once told me that this wipes her out. We’ll need to carry her to safety once she’s finished.” Dimitri’s eyes were pinched in worry. It was a look Ciaran had never seen him wear; always so carefree and who-gives-a-shit. This was almost frightening.

“No problem. We can grab her. I promise…We’ll all get out of here.”

As the heat from Red’s flame grew stronger, the sound of cracking metal and steaming fluid filled the air. The massive blast from the explosion was almost anticlimactic. It was loud, but the surge of air Ciaran expected wasn’t horrible. In fact, it was Dimitri who got up and ran to Red first. He lifted her up and brought her back behind the car.

As they struggled to pull her clothes on, Red tried to speak, “It’s not finished…that was…the first blow…hasn’t reached the tank…just gases…” As soon as the words escaped her mouth, a huge blast of heat hit them and they all huddled together. As the crackle and hiss reached epic proportions, Ciaran looked over at Dimitri and smiled. They were out. They were free.

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Stephen Warner: To start off, I am thoroughly impressed. The writing style is somewhat unique, and the plot seemed to move at a nice and steady pace. However, I was not expecting this to be a vampire book! I am usually not one for novels about vampires, but I was pleasantly surprised! You wrote with such grace a...

Bri Hoffer: I couldn't put it down!! The characters are all incredibly likable, and it's so descriptive you can see, smell, and feel thier surroundings. Great story, and very well written. I cannot wait for follow up stories. there were a few grammatical errors, but nothing that I could move right over.

rihannabkj2: Great story,I can hardly stop reading this novel. it shows that compassion and love can still exist after so many years between two persons. I most say well done to the Author who wrote this book. Others should read this book inorder to know that there can still be LOVE among two persons no matt...

Flik: Hi! ^.^ huge fan of yours on! When I saw the note about this contest on The Way We Smile, I couldn't help but rush over here, create an account, and vote! XD Seriously love this story and would recommend it to anyone! :D best FT fanfiction out there. Amazing story, amazing concept that wa...

minallie: One word, brilliant

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