Welcome to my stop on the Blood Awakening blog tour, book two of the Blood Prophecy trilogy. The tour is winding down, but I have an exciting excerpt to share and also it’s your last chance to enter an awesome giveaway.
About Blood Awakening:
Ava’s life went from bad to worse the night Chance became a vampire.
He won’t have anything to do with her. Ava understands why—because he blames her—but it doesn’t mean she likes it.
And it doesn’t help that she’s starting to feel something for Erik, the boy who once wanted her dead. Especially when Chance decides that he does still love her, and wants her to be with him for eternity.
Now she has a choice: Humanity…or forever as a vampire with Chance.
But Ava wants nothing more than to be human again. At least, she thought that was all she wanted.
Thankfully her best friend Kayla has a plan to distract Ava from her boy troubles, and they go in search of Kayla’s missing dad. A great idea, but one that brings Sebastian back into Ava’s life. Along with another, more sinister former member of his coven.
Sebastian and Zyris face off against Ava and her friends, resulting in Ava making yet another choice that changes the course of everyone’s lives, and leaves her wondering if being human again is really worth losing everything.
Blood Awakening is on sale April 23 and is available for preorder now at Amazon & Barnes & Noble, and you can add it to your Goodreads shelf. For a special treat, Jamie Manning is sharing a sample from the book for you today.
BLOOD AWAKENING—Exclusive Sneak Peek!
Here’s a scene between Ava and Erik that was really fun to write—hope you enjoy!
Being in a new city, and being a blood-sucking monster (okay half, but still), I was nervous about being surrounded by so many people. Sure, back in Wellesley there were people—and at times those people were plenty—but a city like Boston was teeming with them. I was unsure how all the scents would affect my bloodlust, how well I would handle the constant craving that always seemed to lurk just beneath the surface. Unfortunately we hit the city kind of late, the evening sun sinking below the horizon and casting an eerie glow across the towering skyscrapers of downtown Boston, so the abundance of fresh veins was at its peak. I did my best to ignore the heady mixtures of blood and sweat and fear and confidence that bombarded my senses even through the walls of the car, focusing instead on Kayla and her dad and doing my best to reunite them. I managed to keep most of the aromas at bay, but did catch the scents of several really cute college-aged guys loitering on the sidewalk in front of a bar as we passed by. I quickly held my breath until we cleared them. Once we were safely in the hotel room and away from the throng of people, I was finally able to relax.
“I’m exhausted,” Kayla said, plopping face-first onto one of two beds—the one she and I would have to share. Erik claimed the other one, gently placing his suitcase on the bright orange bedding and unzipping it. I watched quietly from the chair in the corner as Kayla fell right to sleep and Erik hung clothes on the rack by the sink in the back of the room. I was so thankful that these two people were in my life, that they had been willing to die for me just a few weeks ago. The feeling was overwhelming. So much so, that I suddenly felt claustrophobic.
“I need some air,” I said, standing from the chair and opening the door. The cold northern wind instantly filled my nostrils and helped clear my head. I quietly closed the door behind me so as not to wake Kayla, and leaned over the dark green railing of the balcony. Even though the hotel wasn’t what you would consider five-star, it was rather nice: Very clean exterior and interior, and the view of downtown Boston was beautiful—especially at night. The skyscrapers broke through the darkness with their illuminated squares, housing businesspeople and cleaning crews and homes full of loving families and sophisticated urbanites. The tallest one—impressive even from this distance—cleared the others by a long shot. Kayla had told me the name, but having Swiss cheese for a memory bank, I’d lost it. Either way, I was taken aback by the scale of the city, impressed with the beauty and tranquility of it all. I must have gotten fixated on the calming peacefulness I was feeling, because Erik managed to sneak up on me for the second time, going a step further by placing his hand in the small of my back.
“Stop doing that!” I said, a bit too loudly as I spun around to face him. That wicked little grin was plastered on his face again, and all I could think about was knocking it off…or biting his bottom lip. Geez.
“You like it,” he threw back, flirting. He clearly knew how he got to me, and he exploited that every chance he could. It infuriated me that he seemed so unaffected by the events that had led us to this place in our lives, while I was a stumbling ball of nerves and emotion, always on the verge of breaking down. It also infuriated me that he was able to crawl beneath my skin like no one else—not even Chance. But at the same time, that was one of the things I liked most about him.
“What are you doing out here?”
“I wanted some air, too.”
“Well, go get some air down there,” I said, pointing to the farthest end of the landing. Erik peeked over his shoulder before looking back at me and laughing.
“Why do I make you so uncomfortable, Ava?”
“I don’t know.” The words came out before I knew it. I had fully intended on lying through my teeth and telling him he didn’t make me uncomfortable, not in the least. Now the truth was out there, hanging in the air between us like the thick fog rolling across the city.
“So I do make you nervous. Interesting.” He took a couple of steps toward me. I should have backed away, I knew it; but I couldn’t. Something unseen was holding my legs in place. I was positive it was fear. Or nerves. Or want. Ugh. I could only stare as his flawless face inched closer, the glow of the moon illuminating his features, making him appear more godlike than human. “I think I know why I bother you so much.”
I fought to not look away, to hold my ground with him. “Do you?” I asked, praying only I could hear the squeak in my voice.
“I do.” His eyes never left mine.
“Enlighten me.” I was being snarky, hoping that somehow my cold tone would push him away—at least far enough away that I couldn’t see the delicious-looking vein throbbing down the side of his neck.
“Because you like me,” he said, leaning in so close I could hear his heart beating through his chest. “Don’t you?” I so wanted to tell him yes, to get it out in the open so I wouldn’t have to fight so hard to hide it anymore. But I couldn’t give in to temptation. I had to remain strong for Chance—the one guy in the world I loved more than anything. The same guy who couldn’t care less if I was alive or dead.
“Don’t be so sure of yourself.” I took the plunge and put my hand on the exposed skin of his chest nestled in the V of his black T-shirt. (When did he lose the button-down? Not that I was complaining.) Heat thrummed through my hand, tinged with a pulse of energy. I fought the urge to wrap my other arm around his neck and draw him closer, instead pushing firmly on his chest. He backed away, smiling.
“Okay, okay. I get it.” He kept smiling as he spoke, somehow making him even more sinfully irresistible.
“No, you don’t.”
“You’re in love with Chance.” I could hear pain behind his words. I looked away from him, afraid of the truth in my eyes. Of course I was in love with Chance. I always would be.
“And you hate vampires.” I stared at the glow of the city, praying for a tornado or aliens to come sweep me away from this awkward-yet-wanted moment.
“I don’t hate you.” I looked at him again. The crystal-clear blue of his eyes bore into me. “No way I could.”
“But you don’t love me, either.” I wished he would turn and walk away, leave me to be embarrassed in private. “You barely know me.”
“I know I like being around you. I know I don’t want to be away from you.” Two tiny steps, and the space between us was filled with his overbearing magnetism. “And I know you feel the same.” He dropped his fingers onto my wrist, slowly dragging them up my arm, leaving a trail of heat in their wake. I opened my mouth to speak—to tell him to either a) back off, or b) keep going. “Don’t waste your breath,” he interjected. “I know you love him, not me.”
“Then you know why you have to stop this.” And he did. I didn’t look at him as I spoke; I couldn’t. My mind was too focused on the skin his fingers had just caressed, the fire his touch created. I wanted them back, desperately. “And besides, I thought you couldn’t stand me?” I again focused on the twinkling lights of the city, my heart beating so loudly it was nearly drowning out the beat of his. Erik moved slowly, turning his back to the railing and leaning against it. His muscular arm was inches from me, his skin prickling with goose bumps from the brisk night air—I hoped. He didn’t say anything at first, just stood there staring at the wall of the hotel behind us. I didn’t speak, either. I knew my words affected him, I could see it. He was silent because he wanted more from me. I was silent because I think I did, too. So the two of us just stood there, quiet and motionless, together but alone.
“Things change,” he finally said, the decibel of his voice piercing the silence; I actually jumped at the sound. I turned to look at him, but his eyes remained fixed on the wall. What did that mean? Did that mean that now he did like me? That me being half vampire didn’t matter anymore? Or did he mean that I should give in to the inevitable change happening right in front of me and just kiss him or something? My mind pulsed painfully with questions.
“I’m going to bed,” I said softly, pressing my fingers into my pounding temples. I looked at Erik again, but he didn’t look back—didn’t even acknowledge I was there—as I brushed past him and walked to the door of our room.
“One more thing,” he said after my back was to him. I stopped but didn’t turn around, fearful that if I did, I might just give in to the overpowering feeling in the pit of my stomach.
“What?” I heard rustling and felt him ease in behind me, his large hand once again resting on the exposed skin of my arm. He leaned down, putting his mouth next to my ear, his breath warm and inviting on my neck, the scent of his blood seizure-inducing.
“You didn’t say no to my question.” A tiny laugh escaped his throat as his hand left my arm, slid along my side (more sweet fire trails) and opened the door. I was frozen, totally unable to move or speak, as he sidestepped around me and went inside.
He was right, I didn’t say no.
And I had no idea why.
Thanks to author Jamie Manning for sharing that tantalizing scene! I hope that piqued your interest in the Blood Prophecy series.
Be sure to try your luck and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here for your chance to win all kinds of cool stuff like a $50 bookstore gift card, signed copies of the Blood Prophecy books, swag and more.