by Joanne Kershaw
Published by Xchyler Publishing on April 25th, 2015
Defeated but not vanquished, the foes of light have retreated. But victory came at a terrible cost to Elora Walker, with her friends lost and scattered. Eleven months later and just seventeen, she commands her own Vanguard quad but struggles with a past that won’t release her and a future she hesitates to embrace.
The barriers between worlds continues to weaken, Dark Seekers are emboldened, and David still plans to engulf humanity in eternal night. Elora means to end the threat once and for all but dreads the personal consequences. Will saving the world demand the ultimate sacrifice? And who must pay it?
I thought that, with this being book three, it might be a good idea to introduce you a little to Elora’s new world and the new cast of characters in her life. The main events of Fated take place almost a year after the conclusion of Reflected, and a lot has changed for Elora. Now an active Vanguard, she is finally living an ‘ordinary’ life—you know, aside from the mind-reading and exceptional speed, strength and senses! Enjoy!
My back slammed into the red brick wall, and a hot breath rushed out of me. Gasping, my eyes flickered shut for a second before I felt myself rise again. Cold, hard hands gripped my neck and lifted me until my face was level with a pair of menacing, soulless black eyes. I didn’t wriggle or squirm, not that I didn’t want to, but the hold the vampire had on my neck was choking the life out of me. Pushing out with my mind, I tried to find my back-up. Where on the Spirits was the rest of my quad?
My quad, however, seemed oddly absent, and I felt my heart beat grow a little more frantic—and probably more delicious-sounding considering my current company. Desperate now, I swung my legs up hard and punched my feet into the centre of the vampire’s chest. A dead thud reverberated through me. He snarled derisively while I pushed against him, trying to force him to release his grip on my throat. One shove, another. The third time, I summoned all of the Vanguard strength I had in me.
I caught the smug creature off-guard—my short stature often led my enemies into a false sense of security. His grasp loosened for a fraction of a second and I twisted away, both of us falling in a tangled heap on the floor while I gasped for breath. I scrambled away, the dirt from the alley pushing up under my fingernails as I skittered backwards. The vampire moved fast, and I was unable to put any real distance between us before his shadow loomed above me.
I cast my eyes towards the shadow, trying to anticipate the creature’s next move. It was not the vampire but my quadmate and commander, Marcus. He held his finger to his lips and I listened inside instead.
“The rest of the quad are behind you, Elora,” came Marcus’ calm, calculating voice. “We need to draw him that way if we’re going to take him alive.” This steady-in-the-face-of-danger attitude was something I had come to expect of Marcus during the last few months, and so I nodded, the panic fading as quickly as it had come.
Marcus slipped back behind a portion of the wall and continued his commands, relying on me to pass them around the quad. This was what I did, after all—human telephone. A sudden lump rose into my throat as the phrase fluttered through my brain, my assigned Vanguard Superior had coined it and he had died a little over six months ago whilst trying to protect me. He was an honourable man. I had trusted him and he had believed in me. It still hurt that he was gone. I had little time to think about it, though; the vampire had hold of my ankle and was slowly lifting me up. The tendons in my ankle popped, straining against my weight. My short, auburn hair slipped from its ponytail as I was lifted completely off the ground.
“They sent a little girl for me?” laughed a dry voice. We had reached the obligatory ‘just before you die’ gloating, and I steeled myself for the usual barrage of taunts and mockery. “Did they really think you would be able to take me down?” the vampire continued. I squirmed a little, making it look good. I knew the others were about to make their move and I was waiting as patiently as I could. “Little girl, I am Ramos. I have been alive probably ten times your lifespan! How dare you think you can kill me?” It was clear that Ramos needed this to be a two-way affair, so I joined in—if only to shut him up.
“Maybe I just look good for my age?” I coughed. It turned out it was difficult to speak when suspended upside down.
Marcus whispered to me that it was probably best not to antagonise the monster any more, but it was a little late for that.
“Good for your . . . ha!” Ramos mocked. “The lack of marks on your uniform show me just how little you are, girl.” The silver flecks on my sleeve were on the sparse side—but I was still new, really, so twelve was pretty good. With a sudden surge, the vampire wrenched me up and around, spinning me so that he once again gripped my neck rather than my ankle. Then he whispered darkly, “I think I will drink you slowly, painfully. Punishment for your arrogance.”
“Now would be a great time to perform your daring rescue!” I urged my quadmates silently. I saw them about the same time as Ramos heard them. They slipped in from three sides and completely surrounded him, like moths to a flame. His grip tightened on my neck for a moment and then he lowered me. Turning slowly, he looked to each of my team in turn. He was no doubt realising that I was the very junior of juniors when it came to Vanguards, and that my quad most definitely were not.
Marcus had his arms folded loosely across his chest. His forearms glistened in the faint orange glow from the distant streetlights. He had many more kills and captures to his name and he was not alone. Simon had an equally glittering past. Finally, Maria, who had been here only six months longer than I, certainly had her fair share.
“Well, well! I see this has become more of a banquet than a snack!” Ramos ran his tongue slowly over his teeth as if to prove his point. All at once, I lashed out with my foot, striking him in the back of the head and nudging him forward. Simon and Maria each grabbed an arm, and Marcus pushed his iron stake firmly through Ramos’ heart. He gasped a chalky breath before disintegrating gently into a fine grey powder. He really never saw it coming, how would he when the signal was invisible?
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E-copy of Foretold
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joanne Kershaw lives in Wakefield, England, with her husband, four young children, and an uppity cat named Dipstick. As a teacher of five- to eleven-year-olds, she spends her days playing at being a grownup, then goes home to delve into Young Adult dark romance and being sixteen again. Joanne lives and breathes books, whether reading, writing, or marking them. She wrote her first novel in six weeks. Encouraged to submit her work by a friend and fellow YA novel addict, Joanne now finds herself a signed author at Xchyler Publishing.