Today I finished my final edits of Nightwater! All that's left is to get the cover design and formatting done and I'll be able to make the book available for everyone. To celebrate, I thought I would post the first chapter of Nightwater: Book 2 in the Night Series below. ***There are major spoilers below if you haven't read book 1- you have been warned!*** Hopefully, I'll be able to share the cover art with you soon!
Nightwater: Book 2 in the Night Series
Love overcomes all challenges. It knows no boundaries. No limits. That’s what I tell myself as I rock back and forth in William’s arms. He’s a creature now, like me. A vampire trapped in a world of darkness. A world of death. Just moments ago, I thought he had left this world forever; a slave to the fragile nature of mortality. Things change, though. Everything’s different. He’s not leaving this world anymore. Not now.
The cold basement holding us is lit by the glow from a few dying embers. He pulls away and begins to cough. “What’s going to happen to me?” William’s voice is raspy and soft. His forehead wrinkles with confusion. Painful understanding stirs in his eyes. He must know he’s a vampire, or at least in the process of becoming one. William wipes his face with his hand. “I mean, physically. I need to be prepared if I’m going to be a killer.” Yep, he definitely knows. He’s becoming a monster and there’s nothing either of us can do to stop it.
I lean against the stone basement wall and think back to when I turned. It’s a memory I’ve tried hard to forget; some memories are not worth keeping. “You’re weak right now but you’re going to get stronger. Once the initial pain and confusion clears, you’re going to be hungry. It shouldn’t take long.” I keep my voice low, as if it might hurt him. “You will feel unsettled for awhile. The sensation will last until you feed.” I hate saying those words. I know they must hurt him. William values human life more than anything.
“I’m not going to feed,” he says, resolute.
William was always too moral for his own good. He would never kill anything that wasn’t a monster. “We can try animal blood,” I say in my best reassuring voice. “I don’t know how long it will hold you, though.” I wish I could be good the way William is. “It might buy us some time to figure things out, at least.”
His head rests just inches from my face. I push dark, chestnut hair away from his midnight blue eyes. “You look different already.”
“Different?” he asks.
“Mm-hm. Like, prettier I guess. That’s the only way I can describe it.” William was always good-looking—masculine, strong—but he’s more than that now. Much more.
He takes a moment to examine the back of his hands, which have become a beautiful, rich olive color. I’m glad he’s distracted. “I think I’m hungry.” He looks up at me and terror moves into his eyes.
“We need to get you out of here.” I glance around the dark underground dungeon as I plot out some sort of plan. The light from embers in the oversized fireplace across the room is fading. It’s so dark that I can barely see the arsenal of deadly weapons I know are laid out on a table across the room. This is probably a bad place to be while he’s shifting. It’s full of dangerous objects; not something you want around a new vampire. “Let’s get you somewhere safe. We need to get you out of this house. The staff can’t see you like this.”
“Do I look that different?’
I don’t respond.
“Agh!” He cries out, biting his full lower lip as he wraps his hands around his stomach. I have no idea where to take him. My place isn’t a realistic option right now; all kinds of danger has found its way to my home. He mouths to me, It hurts. I hate that the pain is taking away his voice.
“I know,” I say. I don’t remember the agony of the change. I only remember overwhelming hunger. But maybe it’s because I’m different. I’m not pure vampire—at least not according to Jesse. If he’s right, I’m half vampire, half…something else. Ruslka. A water demon or something. All I know for sure is that I’m not human. I’m monster through and through.
Maybe I have no real idea of what to expect as William changes. I lead him by the hand to the stairs, but he doubles over in agony before we make it up the first step. The pain of transformation appears to be taking over. “The kitchen. Can you make it to the kitchen?”
He doesn’t answer, but feebly crawls up a few steps. I consider making a mad dash across the house to get some raw, bloody meat and then running it back to him, but I’m terrified of leaving him alone. Who knows what he might do. He slides up two more steps. “I can handle this.” The words squeeze out his lips like the sour juice from a lemon. I’m not sure if he’s saying it for his sake or mine. He glances down at his feet.
“Do you think you can get up? Maybe we can cover your face or something.” I try to arrange the collar of his shirt to hide as much of his face as possible. It doesn’t work.
“I don’t think so,” he says, as he struggles to stand.
Maybe I can carry him and run somewhere safe, if such a place even exists. I bend down with every intention of throwing him over my shoulders and carrying him up the stairs, but stop as I remember why I ended up here in the first place.
There are vampires after me. Lots of them. I’m pretty much guaranteed to run into a few the second I step out the front door and there will be no way to avoid them with William in my arms. I bend down again and try to guide him to kneel onto the steps, but he pulls away. I know what I have to do and I hate it.
“Listen.” My words are barely above a whisper. “You need to stay here. You aren’t going to make it much farther.” I wish I knew more about this. “I need to get you something to help with the pain.”
At the mention of pain, William drops to the ground, writhing and convulsing on the crumbling stone stairs. I have to go. There’s no more time. I open the door at the top of the stairs and am momentarily blinded by the light filling the office. I take two cautious steps forward then hear a click behind me.