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Melissa Darnell

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Melissa Darnell Consume
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Series:

The Clann

Biographical note:

Melissa Darnell is the author of a growing list of adult and YA fiction and nonfiction books. Born in California, she grew up in East Texas and has also lived in Utah, West Virginia, Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky, and Iowa. She currently lives in South Dakota with her husband and two children where she enjoys watching Whale Wars, UFC matches and True Blood, trying out new hair colors, and designing things for the virtual world of Second Life. Visit her on the Web at www.melissadarnell.com.

Excerpt from book:


SAVANNAH

I stared at the surrounding forest on Rich Mountain, one hand braced against the trunk of a leafless hardwood tree at my side, my too-quick breaths making puffs of fog in the afternoon air as the feeble sun edged beneath the winter-stripped branches of the tree line. The air was smoky, acrid with the false promise of comfort from the chimney of a cabin several yards behind me, which I was struggling to ignore during my few blessed minutes of solitude outside.

It should have been perfect…. Tristan and me and a remote log cabin with a crackling fireplace nestled on a west Arkansas mountain in December. No Clann or vampire council nearby to bother us. No more rules or secrets to keep us apart. No more risk of accidentally draining and killing Tristan with a kiss.

Instead, it was all wrong, and I was staggering under the weight of what we now faced.

We weren't alone here. My dad had come along, not for Tristan's safety or even my own, but for anyone else who might come too close and trigger the bloodlust within Tristan. If not for Dad's holding him back last night, Tristan might have slaughtered his own family in the Circle, the Clann's clearing and primary meeting place in our hometown woods where so much Clann and vamp blood had been shed only hours ago.

Just the memory of how Tristan had looked there—his once soft emerald eyes turned white-silver with need, his normally full lips stretched thin and baring newly formed fangs as he snarled with rage—forced a shudder to ripple through my body. Until that moment, I'd never seen a vampire lose control to the bloodlust. Now that I had, I would never forget it.

Coming to this isolated cabin hadn't been optional, and staying here promised to be anything but fun or peaceful. We'd had to load up Dad's car last night and come here immediately after the battle in the Circle just to get Tristan away from all humans before the bloodlust drove him crazy. Even stopping for gas had been a nightmare. Thank heavens Jacksonville, our East Texas hometown, was only a day's drive, so we hadn't been forced to stop often. Now that Tristan was a full vampire, his strength was far beyond my own thanks to his years of playing football and strength training before being turned. The one time we had stopped, I'd had to fill the gas tank so that Dad could hold Tristan inside the car and away from the humans in the gas station.

And afterward, the new mind connection had made it all so much worse, allowing Tristan to pick up my every thought while I silently struggled not to freak out.

Before I had turned Tristan, the ESP between us had been a one-way street and I hadn't had to worry about his hearing my every thought. Because vampires and Clann were natural-born enemies, mental blocks had evolved in both the vamp and Clann species so that neither side could read the others' minds. But because I was a dhampir—born from a human mother and a vampire father—I could read both sides' minds yet was shielded from their reading mine.

Unfortunately now that Tristan was half Clann and half vampire like me, we suddenly had zero trouble reading each other's every thought. This would have been great if there had been some sort of off switch to the abThese violent delights have violent ends 

And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,  

Which, as they kiss, consume. 

—William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet 

Tristan Coleman has survived the change from Clann magic user to vampire, much to Savannah Colbert's joy—and despair. By changing the Clann's golden boy and newly elected leader, even to save him from death, she has unleashed a fury of hatred and fear that they cannot escape. 

As the Clann and the vampire council go to war, Tristan and Sav face a new threat—a fracturing of the all-consuming bond they share. To fight for peace, they must forge a new trust and risk everything to take down their deadliest enemy, even as they must run for their lives. Soon they will learn that some bonds are stronger than love—and some battles cannot be won without sacrifice.


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