I’ve been bogged with work lately!
Unfortunately, so was my artist! I feel awful for what I made her do, but the result is beautiful. I’m mailing her a handmade candle to show my appreciation for all of the dedication she’s shown me.
Check her out at Beagifted.com!
Without further ado…
Is she not amazing?! I’m in love with this work in particular. I already have it set as my phone wallpaper, and you can to if you click Book Extras at the top of the screen!
Below is the beginning of Bound by Blood…
I was woken by the buzzing of my phone on the nightstand. The sheets were tangled around my feet and a fine sheen of sweat covered my skin. My breath came in short, shallow gasps. Never have I ever been so happy to have my sleep interrupted by a late-night phone call.
Shaking off the remnants of my eerie dreams, I reached for the buzzing phone. Neil’s number lit the screen. I should have known; that’s the only kind of call that I would get at…I checked the screen again, the only call I’d get at 4:00 am.
I slid the lock key across the screen and put the phone to my ear before falling back into my pillows. Beside me, Jason mumbled in his sleep. A soft growling came from him and I resisted the urge to scratch behind his ear to quiet him. I didn’t speak, but Neil spared no time and launched right in.
“I know that the guys aren’t too fond of you showing up at every scene, but I think that this is one you need to see. It has your name written all over it, literally.”
“What do you mean my name?” I shot back up again. The sheen of sweat turned cold.
“I mean exactly what I said. Get down here so that you can see it for yourself.”
He rattled off an address as I fumbled for a scrap of paper. Eventually, I got it down and found myself staring at it. The address was for a new residential area that they were building, Fleetfoot Meadows. The land was raw and the houses cookie cutter pretty, if you liked that kind of thing.
“Fine, don’t give me any details,” I grumbled.
“Isn’t that why you’re the so-called psychic? Figure it out on your own.” He hung up and I tossed my phone back onto the nightstand.
Behind me, Jason rolled over and his arm fell where my head would have been. I smiled, feeling warmth returning to me. It was a regular occurrence, us smacking each other around in our sleep, that I associated with having a normal life. It still surprised me that in two weeks’ time we would be vowing to do this together for the rest of our lives. I would become his wife.
Reluctant to leave the comfort of Jason’s warmth, I slid from the bed and made my way towards the clothes I had tossed on the floor earlier. I threw on a slim fitting, black t-shirt dress and skin tight leggings from the previous day, trying to rub the white deodorant stains from the dress. Finally, I gave in and decided that I’d cover it with my fleece lined leather jacket. Winter weather made dressing more convenient for someone like me. For instance, with knives strapped to the outside of each of my calves, I can easily cover them with leg warmers and pull my knee-high boots over them. Self-defense comes easier with smaller weapons and layers.
Never leave the house without at least a blade.
Mom’s voice was always so sharp in my mind. It was strong and overbearing, but I knew it for the good advice that it was. Neil’s words had left a crawling feeling on my skin that refused to go away. I had two blades tucked into my boots and I was throwing a sheer, dip dyed scarf around my neck as Jason began to stir. He sat up, propping his body on his elbow and staring me down with sad, puppy dog eyes. They were shadowed with fear and hurt, even if his lips were set in a firm line.
I shrugged, not knowing what to say. I had a job to do and it took me away at night sometimes. I hated it too, but I wasn’t about to stop. It was better than letting myself become overwhelmed by the power stirring inside of me. That wasn’t an option. Getting out of bed at 4am to meet the local detectives was a fun option in comparison. It allowed me to siphon off my power little by little so that it was no longer an oppressive force that threatened to take over my life.
Instead of arguing, I knelt on the bed and laid soft kisses over his face. A slight smile touched his lips as he reached up for my face. He cupped my chin like it was the last time he would see me. I wasn’t a cop, but he knew better than they did what was truly out there.
The perks of being engaged to a Faoladh, a werewolf.
“I will be back before dawn,” I lied. I liked to think of it as a promise, but with my luck it was one I wouldn’t be able to keep
He nodded, the frown returning because he could see the lie for what it was. He gave no reply other than that before rolling away from me.
Fine. Be that way.
I gave the car a good ten minutes to warm up while I made coffee and the seats were still frigid. I blasted Dorothy as loud as I could possibly bear to help wake myself up as I backed out of the driveway. The Challenger slid on a patch of ice in the driveway, but quickly righted herself before I slipped it into drive. Every road was like that, covered in a thin sheet of iced that tossed my car from side to side.
I cursed the October cold snap, but was thankful it wasn’t snowing and there weren’t many other cars on the road at this time of the morning. The urge to speed to the music was nagging and persistent, but I preferred life over charred ruins. Besides, this 69 Dodge Challenger was my baby in all sense of the term save for literal. I’d dragged her out of a field when I was fourteen and spent the rest of my teen years learning to put her back together.
There were several police cars parked on the edge of the newly formed neighborhood. Their flashing lights danced in the naked trees off in the distance. They cast shadows that I wasn’t entirely certain were shadows from the way that my skin prickled. I parked the Challenger behind the black sedan, careful not to slide into it.
The uniformed officer at the door watched me with wary, cop eyes. He was unfamiliar to me, which meant that I was unfamiliar to him. When I dressed for work, I paid careful attention to the art of covering my plethora of tattoos, but the ink on the back of my hands and the gauged holes in my ears set off warning bells for some uniformed cops. I tried my best to look professional when I was called to scenes, but I probably looked like a weirdo making her way across the frozen ground. The uniformed cop gave me that “what is your ass doing here?” look.
“I’m sorry ma’am, but you can’t come this way,” he tried saying nicely. “You don’t want to see what’s inside.”
I looked at the house for the first time. While it had structure, there were no doors or windows on it yet. A bright glow spilled out from the inside that said that there were industrial lights set up, the kind that construction workers used. The light sprinkling of snow outside was pristine and sparkled in the harsh light. I cocked my head as I studied it. That meant that no one had physically walked anywhere other than the icy walkway to the door. Forensic techs hadn’t even touched it.
“Ma’am,” the uniformed officer said again as I stepped closer. “You should get back in your car and leave.”
“Detective Neil Matteson called me in.” I narrowed my eyes at him and pulled the flimsy, laminated paper badge that Neil had fought for me to get. He took it with a skeptical look on his face. It didn’t change as he looked from the card to me and then back to the card.
“E.B. O’ Dair? What does the E.B. stand for?”
“E is for Evangeline and you’re about to find out what the B stands for if I have to call Detective Matheson over here.”
His eyebrows shot up. This would have been so much easier if I could have a permanent ID. But no, I’d have to wait for Neil to beg his superiors for my assistance on the case before I could even get the temporary ID.
“So, you’re that Evangeline.”
I didn’t say anything, but my expression must have said plenty.
“You will see when you get inside,” he moved aside to let me through, not once daring to look into the house himself.
My coffee rolled around my stomach as I climbed the shoddy, makeshift 2×4 steps. The first smell that greeted me was metallic and sweet. Tones of charred meat and wood shavings came afterwards. The bright lights blinded me to the scene as I came in. As my eyes adjusted to the light, I could make out six, dark shapes burnt into the floor. Three shapes contained charred bodies that were reaching toward the far wall, but the other three were simply burns on the floor.
There were three missing bodies.