I’m so excited to be sharing the opening scene to Luminescence, the second full length novel in my Extinction Series. Here is the blurb along with the opener. Luminescence is available for preorder. Just click on the cover. Protector: Prequel to the Extinction Series is currently FREE on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Protector-Prequel-Extinction-Ashlyn-Mathews-ebook/dp/B00JMSPX8A/ref=sr_1_1_twi_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416161065&sr=8-1&keywords=ashlyn+mathews.
Unbeknownst to humans, a covert war between supernatural soldiers and demons wages beneath the surface of the modern world. Betrayed by one of their own, their numbers decimated globally, two factions of demon hunters, Embers and Blades, must work together in a race against time, old traditions, and their enemies’ ruthlessness to prevent a free fall into extinction. The Extinction Series is their story of love and lost, betrayal and redemption, honor and sacrifice.
Love and life sacrificed in a moment’s time.
Words scribbled on the ceiling of her jail cell, a riddle that can only be solved if December Raine can remember her past life before she was sent to solitary confinement for a crime she can’t recall committing. When she is offered an infusion of a poison that will buy her time to unravel the mystery behind her past, she readily accepts. Hidden in her buried memories is the answer to unlocking her grantor ability and breaking her blood bond to a dangerous demon. Fail to do either and she’ll be executed.
Life she wants to live. Love she can do without. Why then does she have a suspicion the answer to solving the riddle of love, life and sacrifice has something to do with the sexy and annoying FBI agent who tails her every move?
She could be the devil disguised as a fallen angel.
FBI agent Nick Campion wants his revenge on the woman he suspects is responsible for the murder of a friend and fellow agent. Too bad she disappeared without a trace. Until now.
Fast forward six months and he is presented with the opportunity to haul December in for the crime of murder. Life he wants to live. Alone. Love he doesn’t believe in. When he discovers his importance to December, is Nick willing to live life with her and in love? Or will he walk away from his destiny?
“Prisoner 919, your arm.” The man’s voice boomed in the padded cell.
December startled awake. She shifted onto her side on the small cot and faced the steel door. The square opening, just at arm’s level, slid open. She glanced at the clock above the door and smirked. Midnight, the bewitching hour.
In the darkness, she easily saw the sparseness of her existence—the toilet and sink, and a metal chair. Her gods had gifted, or cursed her, with the ability to see in the darkness as though pitch black were the light of day.
The toilet and sink gleamed as did the floor. The scent of pine permeated the cell. All the time in the world gave her opportunity to clean until her fingers throbbed.
Her attention shifted to the lone chair tucked into the corner. In the six months she’d been confined here, she hadn’t sat in the chair, and no one had visited. Useless piece of nothingness. She flipped onto her back and slung an arm over her eyes, unable to pinpoint the reason why her chest ached, why she fought back tears. Tears for what? What couldn’t she remember? Everything and nothing. A contradictory answer. She squeezed her eyes shut.
In the back of her mind, memories flickered like images on a screen. Walking through a field. Tall grass moved side to side with the gentle breeze as the sun hung high in the clear sky. Beads of sweat glistened along the baby hairs on her forehead and clung to the upper edges of her lips. He leaned in and kissed away her discomfort. His mouth on her skin left her hot with longing.
An endless path riddled with lavender; the sweet scent of another unforgiving, sunny day. Shade suddenly covered her. Smiling, she reached up and skimmed her fingers along the smooth brim of the big, floppy straw hat he’d surprised her with. “To protect your sensitive skin,” he had said in that teasing tone of his that had her heart stuttering. He’d intertwined their fingers, his hold one of familiarity, of a lover’s.
Falling onto moss covered ground. The leaves’ colors had changed with the season. Rain clouds blanketed the horizon. The storm would soon reach them. He had crushed her to his large body and kissed her as though tomorrow wouldn’t exist for them.
“Wait for me,” he had asked.
I’ll always be yours, she had wanted to reassure. But he was gone from her arms. A faded memory.
Who was this faceless man whose touch scorched her skin with desire from head to toe? Who had elicited a smile from her whenever he had entered the room? Whose dark secret had heated her blood? He wasn’t the man she’d believed him to be. If only she could remember her life before the explosion that had sent her here.
Blue lights flooded her cell, drawing her out of her memories and taking her further away from the question that burned bright in her mind, day in and day out. Who are you?
In a few seconds, blue would change to red. The lights would flash then flicker in fast beats, an impatient message to move her ass to the door.
December counted. One one-hundred, two one-hundred . . . she tossed onto her stomach and buried her face in her arms. A week ago, she’d counted to five thousand one-hundreds before the strobe lights had driven her crazy.
“Why the blood draws?” she muttered.
“To cure and save you.” The gentle and soft voice of the doctor’s came over the loud speaker. A response given to December each time she’d asked. “You are bound by blood to a dangerous demon. Until we can find a way to break that bond, you will remain sequestered from the ones above.”
As above, so below. They imprisoned her underground to protect the people living above ground. By drawing her blood and testing it, they hoped to discover the antidote. Blood she’d suspected had been forcibly transfused into her veins after hers was stolen.
In her opinion, they weren’t doing her any favors by imprisoning her underground. She believed the clues to finding an antidote, to be rid of the evil residing in her body, lay up there.
The flickering lights changed to quicker intervals. Gritting her teeth, she shot up off the cot, stormed over to the square opening, and stuck her arm through it. Dammit, she’d only counted to four thousand one-hundreds.
The prick of the needle in her arm didn’t hurt. The association of something sharp and another kind of pain, a stinging then tearing as though she would rip in two . . . those memories hurt.
One memory she knew to be the taking of her blood followed by a faint taste of death before his blood had been transfused into her. The other memory, of feeling as though her body would split in half . . . she couldn’t put her finger on what had happened. In a way, she didn’t want to know. Those memories were too dark to dwell on in the isolation of her cell. The needle came out, a whisper of cool metal over warm skin.
“Return to bed, prisoner 919.”
The sharp edge in the man’s tone reminded her of her father’s when she’d gotten into deep shit. Why couldn’t she remember what he looked like?
She removed her arm from the opening and glanced at where the needle might’ve pierced. Flawless. She’d healed. Another gift from her gods. Yes, her gods. Though she couldn’t remember who she was exactly, December believed she was more fallen angel than a monster from hell.
Holding onto that comforting thought, she backed up until her legs rubbed against the cot. She sat and held her head in her hands. Why had the doctor pushed back her blood draws a full seven hours?
Her mind raced at the different possibilities for the earlier-than-usual blood draw. Yesterday, the doctor had reassured her they were close to finding the cure. Hadn’t he realized she couldn’t trust his word when that had been his answer for the past month?
She looked up, expecting the opening to be closed. It wasn’t. She straightened and honed in on this other change in routine. Once her blood was taken, the opening had always closed. As though the ones on the other side of the door were afraid that what December had would escape out the hole and infect them. Even the guard who led her to the shower room daily suited up in full-body protective gear.
Why risk compromising the underground location?
December shot to her feet. Risk and compromise. She gasped. The explosion that had sent her to this prison. She had compromised the location and had risked lives.
No, not risk. She sat and gripped the frame of the cot. Lives had been lost. But why had someone wanted to obliterate that particular location?
She loosened her grip and lay on the cot with her hands clasped behind her head. Words she’d scribbled with white chalk littered the black ceiling like stars in the night sky. Love and life sacrificed in a moment’s time. What in the hell did the words mean?