Local author and veterinarian Lydia Staggs first appeared in Beachcomber in May 2016, shortly after the publication of Shamar. The second book in the series, Rea, is out now, and we thank the author for allowing us to print a short excerpt.
Juliet’s blood curdling screams penetrated the night air, sending waves of fear through the core of Gabriel’s body. He ran towards the door from which the heart wrenching sounds were emanating. Even with his enhanced eyesight, the darkness swallowed his path. With every cry, he grew more and more desperate to find her. Reaching for the door, only to find it locked, Gabriel used the full force of his strength to break it down. As he entered the room his eyes scanned the area, searching for signs of life. The paltry space contained two people: a cloaked figure in black and Juliet lying at his feet. Deep cuts and punctures mapped her porcelain skin spilling out her precious red life force onto the floor. Her sobs were muffled now as the rise and fall of her chest was barely visible.
Gabriel fell to his knees and scooped Juliet into his arms, hugging her close to his chest. Her face was marred with pain as most of her skin had been ripped away exposing the underlying muscle. Only her sapphire eyes remained, and the vibrant life behind them was fading.
“Stay with me,” pleaded Gabriel as he brushed back her blood covered hair.
There was no response as the dimness in her eyes became fixed. Gabriel’s breath faltered as he heard the last beat of her heart with his ears. Clutching her, he cried out, the agony ripping through him like a knife.
His focus shifted to the ominous silhouette standing next to him. With great care, Gabriel lowered Juliet’s limp body back onto the floor before leaping to confront the being that had brought this pain and death upon her. He slammed into the figure, sending his nemesis flying. Using his arm, he pinned the man against the wall just below the throat.
“Why?” screamed Gabriel.
A familiar laugh came from the man in black. Gabriel reached up and pushed back the hood hiding its face, causing him to falter. His mirror image stared back at him with cold, calculating eyes that met Gabriel’s before bending his head back to laugh, exposing his fangs dripping with Juliet’s blood.
Gabriel awoke drenched in sweat and sat straight up in bed. Reflexively, he reached out only to find a cold, empty space next to him. Still shaking off the last remnant of the dream, he looked around wildly to see where he was. After a few seconds of focusing on the immediate surroundings, his rapid breathing returned to normal. Realizing his claws had come out during the nightmare, he retracted them, transforming them back into the hands of a life-saving surgeon. Once again the sheets had become victims of his nightmare, and what now surrounded him were noodle-thin strips of cotton. Taking a closer look, he was thankful he hadn’t damaged the underlying mattress this time.
After removing the tattered material from the bed, he made his way to the bathroom to wash the sweat from his face. The dreams were getting worse and more frequent…
Rea is available now from local and online booksellers that know what they’re doing.
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