Blurb: Bewitched by her beauty, he can't possibly kill her.
Vampire Zak Smith has one mission: kill the enemy. The only problem is that everything about her draws him in, questioning his duty. With his vampire clan at war with Cadence Hopewell's witch coven, he's torn between his family and his desire.
But when Zak and Cadence are catapulted together into the past, they must rely on each other for survival. Suddenly, danger surrounds them and Cadence must tap into her unstable and shaky powers. As they uncover the truth about their families and their history, can the two sworn enemies find love and a future together in the present?
Excerpt from Chapter One: Zak glared at the empty house. Cadence’s sweet lilac and vanilla perfume wafted in the air. For the first time, in his very long life, he was torn. He’d been genuine and allowed his undead heart to feel.
For half a second, he’d believed the breathtaking witch was going to give him a chance—until she betrayed him. Tonight had been a shame. She’d lured him out with the specific purpose of playing on his feelings for her. All so her friends could attempt to murder his brother. To make matters worse, his mother was back and preparing to kill him and his siblings. This night sucked. Someone needed to pay.
He'd left his house determined to make Cadence suffer for her part in this. The sooner she was eliminated, the better. She was a distraction he couldn’t afford.
He should kill her now, yet as he stood outside her home he couldn't bring himself to harm her. What was it about her? It angered him that one girl had gotten under his skin so much. What is happening to me? Surely, I’m not going soft.
Headlights shone down the darkened road and he stepped forward, walking across the street to stand next to the driveway. The familiar red car’s blinker turned on a second before it came to a halt in the center of the road. Cadence peered at him from behind the windshield. She chewed on her lower lip and he could see the indecision on her face. Will she make a run for it? He could catch her if she tried, but did he really want to? Could he end her life? She was his enemy.
Cadence ran a hand through her wavy, sandy blonde hair, closed her brown eyes, and then opened them as she inched the car into the driveway. She glared at him through her windshield, never once letting her gaze stray from his.
She hesitated, letting the car idle as her fingers gripped the steering wheel. Her eyes widened and her human heart sped up as it pulsed within her chest.
His gums ached as he imagined what her sweet, hot blood would taste like. She’d be delicious, of course. What would it be like to drain her dry? Would he feel remorse as she gasped her last breath? Yes. Somehow the little witch wiggled her way into his heart and he couldn’t fathom how that happened. It had been years since he’d cared for someone other than family. He narrowed his eyes, scrutinizing her as he waited for her to make a move.
Her gaze flicked away from his and her hand went to her neck, brushing aside her sandy blonde curls as she rubbed her throbbing pulse point. Does she possess the power to read minds? Her fingers trailed across her throat as she glared. Perhaps she does.
To his surprise, instead of throwing the car in reverse and pealing out, she shut the car off. The door creaked open and, after inhaling a deep breath, she stepped out into the cool night air.
That was why he liked her. She might be afraid, but she didn't let it rule her. Any other witch would’ve bolted by now. He admired her for standing up to him; so few ever did, actually, no one ever did. She told him how she felt to his face rather than behind his back. He admired her honesty.
Cadence slowly made her way around the car and stopped several feet away from him. "Are you going to kill me?" she asked bluntly as she raised her arm, readying to do some sort of witchy voodoo on him should he attack.
The answer should be yes, but he couldn't do it. He gritted his teeth and balled his fists at his side. Damn it! She was a weakness, one he needed to eliminate—now. He should attack, tear into her neck and drink her life force dry. "No," he said, betraying his thoughts.
"Then why are you here?" she asked, dropping her hand to her side.
"You betrayed me, Cadence," he told her honestly. "Why would you come home? You know I can get in there," he modestly stated, nodding to the house. Either she was extremely fearless or just that stupid. His vote was fearless. Cadence was too smart to have forgotten he’d been invited into her home.
"This is my house and I refuse to live in fear. So if you're not going to hurt me, or kill me, please leave. I have company coming," she replied as she held her ground.
He sighed, inhaling the fresh, cool night air drifting toward him carrying a hint of her perfume. She smelled amazing. All he wanted to do was hold her close and breathe in her intoxicating scent. But she wasn’t his. Not only that, she was his enemy. "I really did want to get to know you, Cadence."
She huffed as she crossed her arms over her chest. “How did you think this was going to turn out? My loyalty is to the coven. That’s no secret. You marched into town and declared war on the witches. Maddie is my best friend and you and your siblings are trying to kill her. She's like my sister and I’d do anything to protect her. Surely you can appreciate that."
"Loyalty, family," he mumbled. He could appreciate that. It didn’t change the fact that she’d betrayed him and was still breathing. He’d killed for far less than that.
"I'm sorry," she said her voice barely above a whisper as she met his gaze. If he didn’t have vampire hearing, he wouldn't have heard her.
He cocked his head. Most people apologized to him—eventually. More like they begged for forgiveness because they feared for their lives. This was different; Cadence was sincere. But why was she apologizing? She was right, he had attempted to off her best friend.
Zak opened his mouth, but paused as the soft sound of chanting rippled on the night air. Had she betrayed him yet again? He growled, snarling as he zipped toward her, grasping her shoulders as his fangs extended.
Cadence gasped, wriggling in his grip. “What are you doing?” she demanded as her eyes widened.
It’d be easy to latch onto her perfectly, pale neck and sample her right now, but something was wrong. He peered into her eyes; the deception and secrets that flourished there earlier during her treachery were not present now. Only fear and concern registered.
Flames shot up around them and Cadence screamed in surprise as she glanced around the inferno. Zak released her and spun on his heel.
His mother, Liana, approached, both arms outreached, chanting. Liana’s long mousy hair floated in the wind as the gusts picked up and flames danced in her mocha-tinged eyes. Her words were intelligible, but whatever she was doing couldn’t be good.
Zak leapt forward, but collapsed to the ground as dizzying pain sliced through his skull. The flames drew closer, growing hotter and causing sweat to bead on his brow. He scampered back and hopped to his feet as he stood protectively in front of the young witch. Whatever his mother planned for him, he didn’t want Cadence caught up in it.
He met his mother’s gaze and snarled. The fire flickered in his mother’s gray eyes, showing her for the monster she truly was. "Mother," he hissed. "What is the meaning of this?"
"I truly am sorry for your involvement in this," she said, turning her attention to Cadence. "You have a pure heart, but I saw an opportunity and I had to take it. I’m sure you can understand," she said as she began chanting again.
"Mother!" Zak bellowed as he blocked Cadence completely from his mother’s view. His mother could attempt to harm him, but he wasn’t going to let her hurt Cadence.
The flames billowed higher and Cadence shrieked.
Smoke engulfed him and he coughed. The ground evaporated and the world whirled around him. He was falling into a black abyss. Where is Cadence? Did she make it out?
Cadence gasped as icy pain stabbed her. Dizzying darkness threatened to pull her under. Her cold surroundings were the only thing keeping her conscious. She opened her mouth to scream, but instead water flooded in. Her rubbery limbs sluggishly thrashed in the water. Which way is up and which way is down? Her lungs burned. The little bit of breath she had left wouldn’t last much longer. Her heart hammered as she sloshed through the murky water trying to find the surface.
Her chest burned, desperate to draw in a breath. Where is the surface? She whirled from side-to-side, her blonde hair cascading in the water as she fought to survive.
Arms encircled her waist and tugged hard. She rose above the surface, sputtering as she drew in a breath of air. Her lungs ached as she panted while coughing out water.
“I’ve got you,” Zak mumbled from behind her as he carried them both to the edge of the water. He pushed her onto the gritty dirt before crawling out next to her.
She rolled onto her back, coughing and gasping as she forced air into her lungs. Her heart hammered in her chest and she shivered as the icy air assaulted her.
Zak stood, offering his hand to her. Begrudgingly, she accepted his hand and allowed him to pull her to her feet.
Cadence stumbled as another bout of dizziness threatened to knock her back to the ground. Her teeth chattered violently—she half expected them to crack—and her breath puffed out in front of her. "What the hell happened?" she asked wrapping her arms around herself as she staggered to a fallen tree limb and sat down.
"My mother," he growled.
His stormy blue eyes flashed golden and spidery black veins erupted around his temples. She took a step back as her heart kicked up a notch. He hadn’t harmed her yet, but given his current mood that could change. Sure, she was a witch, but her active powers were touch and go.
Zak closed his eyes, when he reopened them, they had returned to their normal silvery blue. He ran a hand through his auburn hair, sending the short locks into tiny spikes.
"Where are we?" she asked, pushing her drenched hair out of her face as she glanced around. They were in the middle of nowhere. Trees stretched as far as she could see surrounding the icy pond. There was no light or signs of life. Fantastic. She needed to get someplace warm and out of these wet clothes before she got hyperthermia.
He sighed, looking around the dark woods. "I don't know," he said shaking his head. His gaze continued to drift around the woods as he took a few small steps toward the tree line.
She groaned. "Well, isn’t this just great." She pulled her cellphone out of her coat pocket, praying the water hadn’t ruined it. She touched the phone and let out a breath she didn't know she was holding when the light illuminated. She started to dial, but stopped when she heard Zak laughing.
She glared at him trying to ignore the way his wet shirt clung to his body. How did I not notice his muscles before now? Yes, that is what I should be thinking about right now. Not!
"I don't think that is going to work, sweetheart," he sobered.
"Why not?" she hissed annoyed. He probably didn't want her calling her friends. He was probably enjoying this. Hell, if Liana hadn’t been involved, she’d think he set this whole thing up. But Zak’s mother would never do anything to help him. She was hell bent on killing him and though she was here with him, it wasn’t Zak’s doing.
This was the only way he was ever going to get her alone. He should enjoy the moment while it lasted; she was getting out of here.
He looked around again and blew out a breath as he dragged his hand through his hair again. "Because I'm pretty sure the cellphone hasn't been invented yet."
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Bethany Shaw is the author of the following series: Werewolf Wars, Hunted, Times Journey, Wayward Wolves, Rainier Pack, and the standalone stories: The Best Mistake, Rescued by the Bear, and Claiming His Mate.