Forsaken is a new book from debut author Sophia Sharp that just went on sale December 13. I haven’t read it yet but the cover is gorgeous!
Hunter cut off with a strangled sound, and in an instant, he was at the door. “They’re coming,” he hissed over his shoulder.
“What? Already? You said we’d have until nightfall!”
“I was wrong.” He shut the door quickly and rushed to the opposite wall. “You need to hide.” He pulled back a board to reveal a small cubby in the wall. “Quickly!”
Nora ran without arguing.
“Get in,” he told her, “and don’t make a sound.” Nora nodded. Her pulse raced, and a jolt of adrenaline kicked through her. A mixture of fear and dread came over her as she pushed herself into the wall. There wasn’t much space, and splinters and rough pieces of wood pierced her skin and got caught on her clothing. She wedged herself farther in. Hunter replaced the board.
Light scattered in from cracks along the wall. Nora pressed an eye to one of them. She could see the entire space between her and the entrance door. Hunter stood facing the door with his back to her. His feet were wide in a predatory stance.
Anxious minutes passed. Only Nora’s ragged breaths broke the silence, and they sounded as loud as hammers to her ears.
Slowly, the door started to move. Hunter tensed.
It creaked all the way open, and a tall figure stepped into the entrance. Nora’s breath caught. It was the same man from the dream, the same one she saw at the school.
“Where’s your friend?” the man asked Hunter crudely. He spoke with a harsh accent.
If it were possible, Hunter tensed even more. The man took a step forward. He wore the same long coat from before, the same dark hat. He and Hunter were approximately the same height. Leisurely, he started to take off his coat. Hunter still hadn’t moved.
The man dropped his coat in a pile at his side, and Nora saw that he was much thicker than Hunter. Bigger, more developed.
“Don’t try to hide her. I can smell her stench from here. I know she is with you.”
“You will not have her.” Hunter’s voice held a steely edge.
The man laughed. “Oh? Is that so? And you think you’re going to stop me?” He laughed again. “You have broken the ancient creed by bringing her into our world. You will answer for your crime. As will she.”
“You will not have her,” Hunter repeated, his voice filled with a deathly calm.
The man waved dismissively and took a step toward Hunter. “You cannot stop me,” he said. “And I don’t intend to take only her. You’ll be coming along, as well.”
“No,” Hunter growled.
“Oh, yes, I will take you both.” The man stood only a pace away from Hunter, now. “You cannot imagine what they will do to you. You will be bound in chains, locked away to never again see the dark of night or feel the cool rays of the moon. You will grow weak and feeble, forever barred from taking blood. You will never feed again.
“Your body will go first. Your muscles will wither to nothingness. Your bones will crumble. You will become a shadow of what you once were. A shadow of what you could have been.
“But they will keep your mind sharp. Make no mistake, you will know you are suffering. An antidote will be administered, and it will stave off the madness that accompanies your deprivation. You will languish in misery, forever conscious of your mistake. That will be your sentence. To suffer, until the end of time.”
The man took one last step, until he was nose-to-nose with Hunter. And he spoke just loudly enough for Nora to hear. “But that pales in comparison to what they will do to her.”
“Yes, her. Your precious human.” He spat the word. Then he raised his voice. “I know you are here, little one. Listen well to what I have to say.”
He returned his attention to Hunter. “She will suffer for your sin. A human mind and body is much weaker than that of our kind, and for that reason…she will be converted. And sentenced to suffer eternally alongside you.
“You know of the savage bloodlust that overtakes a new member of our race, do you not? Oh, but I think you do. You were once one of them, were you not? You were born a human.” Again, he spat the word. “A despicable thing. A despicable creature to risk so much for, wouldn’t you say?”
Hunter didn’t say a word, and the man continued. “I will give you one chance. One chance now, to repent. Give her up freely, and the punishment for your treason will be less severe. You will be bound for one century, before your freedom is returned.” He put a hand on Hunter’s shoulder. “You know you cannot win. Is she worth an eternity in hell?”
Nora caught a furtive movement at the door. The other hunter. “No!” she screamed. It was a trap.
On Nora’s cry, both newcomers looked in her direction. Hunter curled back from the man’s hand and smashed an elbow into his face. The thick man stumbled back.
Then he laughed cruelly and flung himself at Hunter.