Welcome! Indie Author Excerpts is a feature allowing indie authors the chance to showcase one of their books and allows readers to find their next favorite story. Each week, an indie author gets to promote a 1-2 page excerpt of their book here at The Bawdy Book Blog. This is a win-win for everyone! This feature was inspired in part by Indie Author Spotlight, a meme hosted by Beckie @ Bittersweet Enchantment and CYP @ A Bookalicious Story.
This Week’s Excerpt: Dust to Dust: Fangs for Your Memories by Eden Crowne!
Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal/Science-Fiction Publish Date: December 2012 Like this excerpt? Buy it: Kindle
Soul Eaters versus Vampires, the afterlife bites. Hard.
Death, like love, has many subtle and varied layers. Lost spirit Tamsin West learned that the hard way after a group of Soul Eaters sliced up her soul like birthday cake and doomed her to dust. Only dust is not really the end. Spiritually speaking. By finding a body at the point of death, Tamsin can live again. Live to hunt her killers. There’s just one catch: that body can have no soul. Jumping into the body of a murdered royal Prime Vampire is everything a lost spirit on the vengeance trail could hope for. Princess Angelique Duprey, make that ex-Princess, has all the occult strength of the Damned plus a Prime’s ability to manipulate the earth’s elements. Just the sort of edge Tamsin needs to track a murderous band of Soul Eaters. Unfortunately, as a person, the Princess’ only power seems to have been to piss people off. Dangerous people. The kind looking to start a lethal turf war with the Prime’s clan for a cut of Chicago’s Dark Side. Reanimating the body puts Tamsin right in the line of fire. But paranormal politics won’t matter much if she can’t convince the handsome Fae Hunter holding a knife to the Vamp’s throat not to kill her all over again.
Death, like love, has many subtle and varied layers.
Breathe, she had to breathe. Lungs burning, Tamsin fought through the resistance, through the limbo of life and death. The old memories came rushing past. Not hers, the other’s. On their way out, the life that had been lived.
The pain was terrible. Like being born again. If she’d had a voice, she would have screamed. Finally, with one last, agonizing effort, she broke through the surface tension, into the body and back to the world of the living.
Tamsin gave a spiritual shrug as though trying on a new outfit that was a little too tight. Pushing herself into the edges, filling out fingers and toes. The body felt good. Not like some of the others. She focused on the heart, working the muscles, getting it to beat again. It took some effort finding the eyes. Ah, there they were. Opening them fully, she blinked her sight into focus. A man towered above her, looking down. Dark hair and darker eyes, his handsome face a mask of, what? Surprise? Horror? Horror, she thought, mentally nodding. Definitely horror.
She recognized him. Or the body did. Those last moments before death imprinted on this mind’s eye. She tried to speak and only then realized her mouth was full of water. She spit it out.
“Oh,” she gasped, finding her voice. “I know you. You’re the man who killed me.”
In one lithe movement he pulled a bright, silver blade from a sheath at his belt, crouched into a fighter’s stance and began to back carefully away.
Coughing up more water, Tamsin dragged herself up to kneel on the cold, wet, concrete. She was inside some sort of bunker or something. No windows. A heavy steel door with a spinning handle, like on a ship, at one end. The only light came from a bright halogen lantern sitting on the floor near the door. There were a great many pipe outlets all steadily dripping water.
Though her muscles felt like jelly and the pins and needles of returning circulation had her gritting her teeth, Tamsin managed to rise more or less into a standing position. Swaying unsteadily, she gave her new body a quick glance, careful not to take her eyes off the dark-haired man for long. He watched her warily, still silent.
She was female. Thank God. Tamsin shuddered, remembering. Gender bending was not an adventure she would like to go through again. No blood that she could see on the body. Given the amount of water she had retched up and the large puddles still draining away, drowning had been the likely cause of death.
Running her tongue over her teeth she felt pointed fangs, rather long ones. What was she this time? Vampire? Demon? She tried to feel what she – or this body – had been. Though she, it, had never had a human soul, there was a spirit trail of residual energy bouncing around. The energy burned a little. Oh, ouch. Burned a lot. There seemed to be far too many hot, sharp edges. Metaphysically speaking. Perhaps she had not been a very nice whatever.
“I hope you had a good reason to kill me. I mean her,” was all Tamsin could think of to say to the big man staring wide-eyed at her.
He came at Tamsin with the knife so fast his body was nothing but a swift blur of continuous motion. She stepped aside, only just in time. He whirled, snaking the knife into the space between them, grazing her ribs. She gasped at the swift, sharp pain. It was too soon. She could barely stand, let alone fight, no matter what skills this body had.
She put out her palms in a placating gesture, “Wait, wait, I can explain.”
Shoving her hands aside, he wrestled her down onto the hard floor with bruising force, the knife at her throat with one hand, the other holding her wrists above her head. His expression was fierce, implacable.
“Please,” she gasped. “If she is your enemy, I am not what I was!”
Drake looked into her eyes. Deeply. They had been red before, red as blood. He hated those eyes. Hated her and her foul darkness. Now he thought he saw the darkness slipping away like the water running down the drains, revealing something – someone – very different from the lethal Prime Vampire. Not just her eyes, her whole face was changing. Softening. He reached out with his Fae senses. Careful not to open himself too much in case this was all an act.
Her heart was pounding. Not in anger, he sensed. Fear.
Tamsin was feeling the body’s strength a little more now. Her attacker had relaxed his guard ever so slightly, perhaps sensing the change in her. This body had fighting skills. She might be able to take him, but there was something about the big, dark-haired man. Different. She wasn’t getting an evil vibe. Not at all. In fact something quite the opposite. Still, he did have a knife to her throat.
She was tired of being afraid. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith.
“Please!” Tamsin tried to put all the honest desperation she could into that one word.
Staring at her, his eyes narrowed until his thick brows formed an angry ‘V’. He seemed to be thinking over her plea. The knife didn’t strike. At least not yet. Both he and the blade looked enormous from where she lay. And both equally deadly.
Still straddling her, he gradually let go of her wrists, though the knife remained poised and ready. They stayed like that for what seemed like a very long time: Tamsin’s heart pounding; him staring down at her. He had a rough, outdoorsman look. Strong jaw and cheekbones, broad shoulders. She could certainly attest to his strength. Thick brown hair fell in waves over his ears, just brushing his shoulders. The sensuous curve to his full mouth told a different, more subtle story to the man. Whoever she was, she must have been pretty dangerous. He was dressed for battle in a black, complex Kevlar-style vest that stretched up to cover his throat. Across it rested a bandoleer of knives and other sharp and very dangerous looking objects. A gun belt held more weapons.
“Who…who are you?” he asked at last, his voice deep, questioning.
She answered truthfully, staring back at him through this stranger’s eyes, “My name is Tamsin and I have no soul.”
About the Author
I am from San Francisco, California and in my other life I am an international journalist writing on technology, pop culture,emerging trends, and travel in Asia. I call both Tokyo and L.A. home.
I’ve been lucky. My work has given me the opportunity to experience some of the most exciting cities and cultures on the planet! Admittedly I haven’t led a normal sort of life on the road and being an international vagabond isn’t all champagne and fun, believe me. I’ve learned a lot about survival. About coping in strange places. Being the outsider and never having that cloak of anonymity to throw on and hide behind.
Those feelings of being on the outside looking in is something I try to recreate in my characters. Wanting to belong and wanting to be left alone all jumbled together in a mix that never seems to make sense.
Mythology and the supernatural fuel my interest in the fiction I write and what I read. Japan in particular has a vast history of Yokai — supernatural creatures — that is still very much alive in the culture. It’s become a rich source of inspiration for several novels I’m developing now.
I love traveling, champagne, hanging out with my kids, espresso at sidewalk cafes, people watching, really fast express trains, and laughing like crazy – though not always in that order.
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