Lose yourself in the Shadows…
Five young women each encounter a different supernatural force: seductive werewolves, shadowy vampires, dangerous fae, mysterious ghosts, and nightmare creatures.
Asia, a young college student, struggles between two seductive temptations. Farren is desperate to escape her heart-wrenching grief when she encounters vampires. Holly finds herself home alone on winter break when she rescues a handsome Fae. Lena has always been aware of a world beyond our own when she attempts to help a mysterious ghost. Ruby is entranced by a creature made of nightmares...
Lace yourself in scintillating tales of fated meetings, undying love, and eternal life.
Lacing Shadows features New Adult paranormal tales from five talented authors.
Spirit of the Wolf
Asia, a young college student, struggles between two seductive temptations—her boyfriend, Jesse, and a new friend, Nati. Meanwhile, hidden forces strive to draw out the wolf spirit inside her. Will she embrace her nature…or have it driven out against her will? In the end, the spirit of the wolf may be the only thing that can save her and those she holds dear.
Farren is desperate to escape her heart-wrenching grief, attempting to end her life when fate suddenly intervenes... Rescued by Joe, she finds herself an unwilling pawn in a vampire tug-of-war over her life. In a world where she can choose if her death will be final or eternal, why would she fight to live?
Into The Dark
College freshman Holly Barclay finds herself home alone on winter break with plans to do some soul-searching. Being a Good Samaritan to a handsome wounded stranger, this human girl has not only endangered her heart but quite possibly her life. The holidays suddenly got a lot more exciting.
The Unspoken Truth
Lena has always been aware of a world beyond our own. She is happily married and employed by the police to uncover the secrets of the dead, helping to solve cold cases. But when she meets Jessica Clayton, the abused wife of a rich industrialist who died in the 1800's, the parallels between them change her life completely. Is she ready to learn The Unspoken Truth?
Some believe in legends, Others don’t want them to exist…. Immortality can have its downfalls, especially when you’re a creature made of nightmares constantly on the run. Enrolling in college, Matthias meets Ruby. When he discovers who she really is they are both in mortal danger, but for reasons Matthias has all wrong.
Andrea Stanet is a freelance writer from upstate New York, she has been published online and in print since the late 90s. In addition, Andrea works as a tutor and editor. She is currently submitting a middle-grade fantasy novel and a new-adult, urban fantasy novella for publication. Other recently published works include “Under the Mattress” in the anthology Urban Harvest: Tales of the Paranormal in New York City and “Lucid” in the anthology Stalkers.
Tina Smith is the author of the Wolf Sirens Series. From her home in Adelaide South Australia Tina inspires, entertains and examines life. Night is the time her creative juices flow. Under the light of the moon she is driven to write and connect with readers through her mad-capped imagination—you could say it's a calling...
Lee Ryder is a mother of 3 children and one angel. She currently lives in New England. She started writing small works at an early age and was featured in several local publications. She is an accomplished musician playing three different instruments and also studied vocal performance and dance. She studied theater in college and was featured in several plays. Lee believes in love at first sight and married her soul mate at age 19. She also has read reviewed and edited other published works.
Alexia Purdy currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada- Sin City! She loves to spend every free moment writing, or playing with her four rambunctious kids. Writing has always been her dream and she has been writing ever since she can remember. She love's creating paranormal fantasy and poetry and loves to read and devour books daily. Alexia also enjoys watching movies, dancing, singing loudly in the car and Italian food.
Spirit of the Wolf
Jesse picked Asia up on time as usual. They drove back to the park where they had discovered a favorite picnic spot, just off the hiking trail. They had to tramp through tall grass to reach it, but the same grass gave them privacy. Not that the park was crowded. Cloudless as the sky was, the temperature hadn’t even hit fifty.
Asia reached into the picnic basket. Jesse had packed sandwiches, a big thermos of coffee, and three fleece blankets. He spread one on the ground, wrapped one around Asia’s shoulders, passed her a ham and cheese sandwich on a roll—no seeds, extra mayo—and scooted next to her.
He threw the last cover around both of them. “So what’d you do all morning?”
She bit into her sandwich. “Came up here for a quick jog. Froze my ass off.”
“Yes. I am capable of taking care of myself.”
Jesse held a hand up in surrender. His mouth opened as if he might say more, but he took a swig of coffee instead.
When they finished eating, he brushed a crumb from the corner of her mouth, flashing the crooked, one-dimpled grin that always brought a warm sensation to the bottom of her belly. If he were a poker player, that would be his tell, and she knew exactly what was going through his mind.
Putting the empty thermos down, she shifted to fit a little more snugly against his side and tilted her face up to his. “Thanks. This was perfect.”
He leaned down, softly kissing around her mouth, over her cheeks, and down her neck. “I missed you today.”
He snaked a hand behind her back to pull her closer, teasing her with his butterfly kisses. Somehow, he rearranged the blankets around them. The next thing she knew, he’d lowered her to the ground beneath them.
“I really missed you.” His voice rasped.
Their kiss intensified, and soon, his fingers ventured down to the dip at her waist, around to her belly.
She stopped breathing.
His fingers traveled up her ribcage, stopping at her bra strap, stroking just under it, waiting for a signal. When she didn’t protest, even slower than before, he brushed his hand over one breast.
An electric current crackled through every nerve of her body. She had an impulse to arch her back, pressing that electric spot into his palm. But her brain shrieked to pull back.
“Can’t the Guard protect me?” I guessed.
He shot me a look. “Not as well as I can.”
But I took my opportunity to say what had been on my mind.
“Then turn me.” My face was serious.
He looked furiously in my direction. For a moment his face contorted with disgust.
I insisted. “You are the undead, they can’t kill me if I am like you.” I had a point.
He grabbed me hard and thrust his nose to mine as if he might kiss me; I was tantalized by the thought. But instead he whispered, “You don’t have any idea what you are suggesting.” He let me go.
“I don’t care,” I protested. I didn’t. We had bonded. I couldn’t explain it but I knew I belonged in his world, no matter the cost. I’d felt more alive with him in the last few days than I ever had.
He turned, his face furrowed.
“Please, I think there is a reason you saved me.” I had thought about it during class. “Maybe I was always meant to be like you.” I was pleading, I hoped he would agree. It wasn’t for his sake, I wanted to be changed regardless of the situation.
“No, it can’t be done.” He started packing my things regardless of his refusal.
Perhaps he had other reasons for not wanting to change me. “Listen, is she your girlfriend?”
His packing slowed. “She is most certainly not my girlfriend, or anything else.”
“What was that about then?” I tried not to sound hurt.
“What was that argument with Jack about?” he replied.
“I don’t care for Jack.” I never did. I wouldn’t have thrown myself off a bridge if I had.
“—But you care about me?” he questioned.
My chest fluttered. “Yes,” I answered shifting awkwardly. We faced each other. My chest rose and fell. I could feel my cheeks burn. We stood nose to nose, I thought he may kiss me, but he pulled away and shook his head, frustrated.
“No, you only think you do.” He sounded like he was trying to convince himself of the fact.
But it still hurt. “So why protect me?” I narrowed my eyes. “Take me back to the park and kill me now. Do what you didn’t do.” I jutted my chin as my eyes misted. “Let me jump.” It wasn’t an empty threat. “I’ll be just another body.”
“Fine.” He grabbed my hand in his cold palm. I dropped the clothes I held as he pulled me along. We passed a few curious students and I avoided their faces as I stubbornly went along with him into the park. He stopped halfway to the bridge and clasped my face, his palm resting on my neck. I leant my face into it. Would he call my bluff?
“You have killed before.” I gave him a doe-eyed stare. Maybe this was it.
His face was inches from mine in the dark. “You would like me to say that, wouldn’t you?”
“Aren’t you hungry for something real?” I parted my lips, slightly. “I trust you.” I sounded desperate, because I was. When he was so close, all I wanted was more time with him.
He sized me up. “No,” he finally refused as he broke away, turning his face from mine.
“Why did you save me, if you usually take lives?” I searched his face.
Suddenly he was before me again, slowly leaning his face to my ear, achingly close, he whispered, “Yes, I have killed. Are you scared?” Fangs showed themselves as his breath quickened, his nose wrinkled angrily.
I stepped up. “No,” I whispered.
“You should be.” He turned grimacing, struggling with himself.
“Why not kill me?” I insisted, my voice sweet.
He steadied his gaze. “I don’t like willing participants.” He glowered.
“How do you know I’ll remain willing?” My face hardened.
A sad smile escaped his lips. “I used to kill a lot, is that what you want to hear?” He hit a tree and a chunk of bark broke away. “If you were lucky we’d keep you around, we’d have used you.” His voice was low.
I tried not to look scared but my eyes fluttered. “How many?”
“How many were there?” I bravely met his eyes. “How many did you kill, in cold blood?”
“Their blood was warm,” he corrected. “I used to eat hundreds, their bodies went cold beneath me.” His lips curled back to reveal fangs. “They suffered as I sucked the life from their veins. I’m a predator, Farren. We are deadly animals. We would take over this God forsaken earth, but then who would feed us?” he scoffed. “Every night we’d feast on girls like you and throw them away like used gum.” His honey eyes were cold, scathing.
“Then why spare me?” I leant towards him; the sensual air between us made my heart race.
He gave me a long look. “Because you want it.”
Into the Dark
By my fourth attempt at struggling and pushing, I emerged victorious when I wiggled out from under him. “Yes,” I groaned, rolling away.
Funny, I’d pictured my first time with a guy on top a bit more romantic.
Climbing to my feet, I snapped at Chewie. “Thanks for going on vacation! He could’ve hurt me! All you did was bark, you big doofus.”
His tail wagged slowly, and then stopped, head bent down.
Remorse replaced my anger. When Mom found him wandering the property nine years ago—starving and obviously abandoned—she took him in and made him the family pet. Despite his huge size, Chewie’s always been gentle and loving. I couldn’t remember the last time I heard him growl.
“Sorry, boy, I’m mad at me, for putting myself in that situation.” Feeling bad, I scratched his head. “So what do we do now?” I stared down at the stranger’s body sprawled out across the snow. “Call the police? Leave him here?”
I walked around him, taking in his hat, the leather belts crisscrossed around his vest, the long gloves. Every item was from another time period. It was as if he didn’t belong here. But he reminded me of someone. Who? The name was almost there, in the center of my mind.
A giggle fit took hold as I thought of my favorite line from The Princess Bride. “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya!” I even ended with an imaginary sword thrust.
I laughed so hard I wiped tears away. Chewie sat between us, his head volleying back and forth from one to another. I’d had my fun. What do I do?
Why did this intoxicated, costumed guy have to wind up here? When I brushed snow off my coat, something caught my attention. Big, brown stains scattered across the front of my favorite Land’s End coat.
My fingertips were also stained. “But I didn’t touch anything…” I mumbled, scanning the area. A quick glance at the drunk provided my answer.
Two buttons had slipped opened on his jacket, revealing both his vest and shirt cut up. Both garments were spotted just like mine. What the? I sniffed before touching a section. It was odorless but sticky and slightly thick with the same consistency as blood.
Curious, I kneeled beside him, undid some more buttons, and slid the materials apart. My fingers itched to explore him.
And I might have, if it weren’t for the bottom-half of the shirt soaked with the same odd liquid. The something-is-wrong meter from yesterday deafened me now. I inhaled deeply, let the cold air into my lungs, hoping it would calm me, and released it. My hand shook as I yanked up the shirt.
The Unspoken Truth
The next morning, Jackson accompanied me to the precinct. It was his day off and he was going to help me go through Jessica’s files. We were met with questioning looks by the officers in the main lobby because I was walking so stiffly and wearing long sleeves in eighty-degree weather. I knew those looks. They were the same faces the officers wore when they went to domestic dispute calls.
“It’s okay, honey.” Jackson reassured me.
“I feel like they’re judging us.” I whispered.
“These guys have known me forever; they know I wouldn’t do anything like that to you.” Jackson replied quietly.
Then we walked smack into his father. Samuel rushed us into his office closing the door behind him. “What’s going on?” He asked in an accusing tone.
“Nothing…” I began.
“This doesn’t look like nothing.” Samuel said indicating my posture and the bruises that were peeking out under my sleeves.
“Samuel, do you remember that case I keep in my desk; the Jessica Clayton Case?” I asked him.
“Yes, but what does that have to do with my son abusing you?”
“Dad!” Jackson said standing up.
“Jackson didn’t do this!” I said defensively. “Please…let me explain.”
Samuel walked around the back of his desk and sat in the worn leather chair that he had used ever since he began working at the precinct. He eyed us suspiciously. “I’m listening.”
“You know how I see spirits? And how I’ve been using my gifts to help you solve cold cases?”
“Yes.” He answered.
“The spirit of Jessica Clayton has been following me for the past month. She has never been a nuisance and I actually kind of like her around. She is a gentle spirit; well she was a gentle spirit. The last few days, she has been showing me things that happened to her. Her husband, Steven, abused her; he was a violent, controlling man. Usually, when I get visions nothing happens, for some reason the injuries from Jessica’s visions are manifesting themselves on my body.”
“Can that happen?” Samuel asked incredulously.
“Believe it or not, yes.” I answered in a small voice. “I’ve read about this in books, but it’s never happened to me before.”
“Why now?” Samuel asked.
“We don’t know.” Jackson replied taking my hand. “We need your help to diffuse any rumors about this. Can you do that?”
“I’ll do what I can.” Samuel promised. “But you know, this is a police precinct, and you know how the officers feel about abuse. Perhaps you should work this case from home?”
“That will add fuel to the fire.” I answered. “They’ll think that Jackson beat me so bad that I couldn’t come to work.”
“We’ll work this out.” Samuel said. He opened the drawer of his desk and handed Jackson a key. “This is the key to the tombs. If there’s any information on the case it will be down there.”
At this he relaxed. “That’s okay. Frankenstein is the scientist who created the monster out of dead parts of others and reanimated it. He never gave him, the creature, a name.”
“Oh, that’s weird. Why not?”
He shrugged, looking pensive. “I guess he just didn’t see him as alive. It repulsed him.”
“Are you alive?”
He flicked his eyes from mine back down to the table. “I believe so.”
“You seem pretty alive to me.” I reached out and touched his hand, where he laid it out by his shake. It was cold, like he’d been holding onto the cup for a while. It prompted me to peer down and study his fingers. They were a deep pink. In fact, almost too pink from the coldness of the shake. Though his skin was rough and there were scars circling his wrists and down the top of his hand, he didn’t appear dead.
He watched me studying them before pulling away.
“I feel alive. I guess it’s strange to think I was made from dead things.” He looked morose, like he was about to shut down again, and possibly run. I struggled to think up a way to prevent it. I wanted him to stay longer, for a long time.
“But, you are alive.” I missed the touch of his skin and I wanted to slide over to hug him. He looked like a lost soul who could use some sort of interaction. “How long have you been alone?”
He seemed stunned, as though I’d read his mind. Maybe I had. I always did have a funny way of knowing how people felt. He was no different, so he had to be as alive as I was. As anyone eating in this diner right now.
“Why would you ask me that?”
“You’ve been alone a long time, right? How long ago were you made?”
He contemplated what he was going to say to me, and I could see the conflict flash in his eyes. I hoped he would tell me. I didn’t want him to stop talking, but it was like pulling teeth to get any words out of him.
He peered around before clasping his hands together, leaning on them with his elbows on the table. “I’ve been alive for over a century and a half. I’ve seen all the world wars and then some. I didn’t even have a name until I was thirty years old.”
“Who gave you your name?”
He frowned, his face took on a darkened look as his thoughts tumbled into the past. “A woman named Cassiopeia.”
His reaction told me so many unsaid things and I scooted over, laying my hand on his arm.
“Was she your wife?”
His face looked slightly surprised at my nearness, but he didn’t pull away. Instead he slowly turned to look me in the eyes. There was pain there, a great suffering. I hoped I hadn’t caused it, and I only wanted to wipe it away and make him smile again.
He looked away and pushed his plate away. He was done eating. So was I.
“Yes,” He was shutting down again so I reached out to rub his arm and distract him.
“I’m sorry. Look,” I pushed my hair out of my face and dropped my hand back down onto his. “Let’s go back to my place, or yours since you live so close. Which is really cool. I know you don’t want to talk about it, but you should. Let it out. I won’t judge. I swear.” Tracing the scars, I found this somewhat comforting, but he tensed up and looked like he wanted to run away. That was when I retreated and placed my hands in my lap. Maybe he was beyond reaching. I hoped not. I wanted to talk to him more, badly. It felt like a need that couldn’t be sated and it made me wonder why.
I picked at my nails, chipping off the old polish flake by flake. I had to do something. Anything to keep from sounding desperate.
I risked a peek up at Matthias and found the spark of amusement back in his eyes.
“I know you won’t judge me.” He motioned to the rest of the diners. “But they all do. No one can look at me and not think horrid things. There’s no escaping it and nowhere in the world where I can live without being scrutinized for these.” He pointed to the scars on his face, letting his finger slide down his cheek.
Even from across the way, a group of young girls were whispering and giggling, staring at him. I felt my rage grow and I wanted to hop out of the booth to rush and scream at them for being so insensitive. How dare they?
“Ignore them. From what I can tell, they know nothing about you.”
He jerked, looking uncomfortable. I wondered if I said something off or the unwanted attention was too much for him.
“Here’s your check. Anything else I can get you?” The waitress dropped off the check in front of him and he reached for his wallet.
“No thank you.” I held out my hand to him. “I can pay my part.”
He shook his head and gave the waitress the check back with his money. “No, I got it.”
“You don’t like ladies paying their way, do you?”
“It’s not that at all.” He peered at me and smiled. It made my heart jump. “Money is nothing to me. You need it more than I do.”
I huffed and crossed my arms, not really sure what to think about that. “This is the feminist era you know.”
He laughed and got to his feet before holding his hand out. “True. Come on. I think we have more to talk about, but not here.”
I took his hand and studied him wondering if I’d lost my mind for falling for this guy so easily. It didn’t matter though, I was hooked. I had it bad and couldn’t run, even if I tried.