On the Edge of Humanity
A Vampire Seal Novel
S. B. Alexander
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: S. B. Alexander
Date of Publication: 12/27/2012
Number of pages: 320
Word Count: 120,000
Cover Artist: Streetlight Graphics
Sixteen-year-old Jo Mason is lost in a world where traipsing from one foster home to another is normal. She hates her life, she hates school and on most days, she hates living. If it weren’t for her twin brother Sam, she might already be dead.
Her normal world shifts one hundred and eighty degrees when she discovers her own blood tastes like candy and her eyes change colors like a mood ring. On top of that, her eyesight seems to be failing when she spies an otherworldly man, sporting bloodstained canines, who is trying to strangle a cop. The developments are shrouded when Sam goes missing between Anger Management class and History class.
She’s called to the principal’s office to meet Lieutenant Webb London, a Navy SEAL who is part of a secret team of natural-born vampires. His mission is to protect the twins from an evil cartel, but he’s too late. With Jo now under his protection, his team searches for Sam.
However, finding and rescuing Sam from the evil cartel may be the easy part. Jo learns she carries a dormant vampire gene that, if activated, could save him. As her normal world fades even more, pushing her closer to the edge of humanity, Jo must decide if her human life is more important than her twin brother.
With time as her enemy, she struggles to make a life-changing decision for both her and Sam.
A fire raced through my limbs as I sat in the principal’s office trying to process this new information. Webb had said the word vampire and not just vampire, but ‘natural-born vampire.’ What the hell did that mean?
I desperately wanted to run—to find somewhere to hide. I squeezed my eyes shut—tears threatening to spill. I needed Sam. Where was he?
A hand fell on my left arm, followed by a velvety voice that whispered something I couldn’t quite make out in my ear. His hot breath accelerated my pulse, causing the blood to surge through me—awakening my limbs. I twitched.
“Jo?” Webb whispered.
I looked up and met his gaze. He lifted his hand off my arm, and leaned back against the desk. He tilted his strong jaw and peered at me through mile-long lashes. I shifted my gaze. Tripp stood to Webb’s right with his hands cupped just below his belt.
My mouth was dry. I swallowed, taking in a gulp of air. “What do you mean by natural-born…?” The word was caught in the back of my throat.
Until a week ago, I had never picked up a book about vampires or anything related to one. They just plain freaked me out. Now the images of the books in the funeral home were swimming before me. I even had two of the books in my backpack, which was sitting around here somewhere. Between the books, the fanged man outside the hospital room and hearing Webb speak about vampires as if it were the most natural thing in the world, I pinched myself, making sure I wasn’t dreaming.
“Vampire,” Webb intoned. “Jo, you’re not a vampire yet. Right now, you only carry the gene. Those of us who are born with the vampire gene are normal mortals up to the time we choose not to be. However, at the age of sixteen or thereabouts, your body will start to go through what we call vampire puberty in preparation for the change.” He dipped his head, gesturing at Tripp.
What the heck was vampire puberty? I wanted to scream and laugh all at the same time.
“For example, Jo,” Tripp started to say.
He speaks. His voice was deep but with a gentle tone.
“For me, my gums started hurting when I was fifteen. I reached puberty early. Then, at seventeen, I discovered I liked the taste of blood,” Tripp explained as he nodded at Webb.
Like Webb, Tripp didn’t look a day over twenty-one. His sandy blond hair was cut short with the sides shaven just above the ears.
“One of the first things that usually happens is your eyes change colors. You’ll notice this when your emotional state alters in some way. But all this depends on your genetic make-up.” Webb flicked his head at Tripp. “He craved blood to the point it became a drug for him.”
Blood, a drug? My brain couldn’t wrap itself around that idea. Were there drug dealers who sold blood? Plus, he just described me. My eyes were changing colors, I craved blood and my gums had started aching a few minutes ago. I didn’t know if I should be relieved that I wasn’t crazy or panicked by the idea that I had a thirst for blood—or even worse, that I might be a vampire.
“You said I wasn’t a vampire yet. Will I be?” I held my breath, not sure I wanted to know the answer. My inner voice kept telling me to get out of here, as far away as possible.
On the Edge of Eternity
A Vampire SEAL Novel
S. B. Alexander
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: S. B. Alexander
Date of Publication: 10/7/2013
Number of pages: 460
Word Count: 142,000
Cover Artist: Streetlight Graphics
New vampire Jo Mason had never imagined life with fangs, or drinking blood as her main meal. She has, however, dreamed of her first kiss, her first date and her first high school dance—but for a new vampire, none of those firsts come easy. Humans now tempt her appetite for blood and the Plutariums, a rogue team of vampires, want revenge against her family.
When her human friend Ben Jackson asks her to the May dance, Jo struggles to abide by vampire law. She isn’t sure if she wants to kiss him or taste his blood. She’s even more confused by the mixed messages coming from Vampire SEAL Webb London. The way he looks at her makes her want to jump off the nearest cliff and into his arms at the same time. Her guy problems, however, become the least of her worries when the deadly ones take center stage.
The Plutariums abduct and drug her. She wakes alone with Ben, stranded on an abandoned yacht in the middle of a storm-tossed ocean. Worse, she struggles to keep her bloodlust sated and it will be a battle to see who survives.
A musty scent wafted in the air as I opened my eyes. I lifted my head. Pain shot through every brain cell. My ears hurt too. Wincing, I grabbed the back of my neck as I sat up. I squeezed my eyes shut a few times then my vision cleared. As I looked around, fear gripped me then bit as if a shark just clamped down on my chest, taking all the air from my lungs. Lots of buttons peppered the steel walls. I swallowed a scream, choking in the process.
What was I doing in the prison cell? Swords flying out from the walls and stabbing me flashed before my eyes. I had been in here once before. I had to get out right now.
The door in the distance was open. I stood up and wobbled, dizziness taking over my equilibrium. Blowing out a breath, I tried to run forward, but my knees gave out and I fell flat on my face. I pushed up on my hands, then stood upright, swaying the whole time. I tried again to run to freedom, away from this death trap. Plowing through the open doorway, I hit an invisible barrier that was supercharged with electricity. It threw me backwards so I hit the back wall and several swords answered in return. Instinct took over and I fell forward, flattening my body as the swords jutted out above me. Like a snake in the grass, I slithered my way to the middle of the room. Once I was free of the blades, I made my way to the door again. Only this time I stopped just before the doorway.
“Hello?” I called. My voice sounded muted against the steel enclosure.
Why was I in a cell in the prison building? My mind scrambled for some sense of clarity, but a haze blanketed my brain, not to mention the throbbing that still pounded inside my skull.
Maybe I was dreaming. That was it. I was dreaming. I had to be.
“Anyone there?” I called again. My voice was barely audible.
I let out a scream, muttered all kinds of swear words. Fear and anger sat on top of my confusion. My body froze. Did I do something wrong?
The door in the hallway opened and Tripp walked in.
“Tripp? What’s going on?” I asked.
His sandy blond hair seemed to have grown a bit since I last saw him. The wavy tips were brown, offsetting the lighter portion. Boy, I hadn’t noticed that before now.
His lips were moving, but I couldn’t hear him.
I cocked my head to one side.
Then he pushed a button on the wall, and his lips moved again.
“Jo, you’re awake?” He seemed startled.
Thank God. I started to walk through the door.
“No, don’t move,” he said emphatically.
The electrical charge zapped me again. Only this time my right leg took the impact. A burn skittered straight up to my stomach. I bent over, staring at him.
Tripp ran to the door, stopping inches in front of it. He touched his right ear. “Lieutenant, she’s awake,” he said. Then silence. “Yes. Okay.”
I straightened, blowing out all the air in my lungs, which helped to ease the pain.
“Jo, step back from the doorway.”
“What’s going on?”
The blood in my veins began to pump faster through my system. My heart sped up, thumping against my ribs.
“The door has an electrical barrier that prevents you from leaving that room.”
“No shit! Why am I in here?”
“Webb will be here in a minute. He’ll explain,” Tripp said as he stood next to the door in the hall.
“No, I don’t want to wait for Webb. Tell me, please.” Tears stung the back of my eyelids.
Tripp’s bronze eyes projected a sadness I had yet to see on the vampire SEAL.
“Did I do something wrong?” The dam opened and tears flowed.
“I’m sorry. I’ve been instructed to keep quiet. You have to wait for Webb.”
This was one of those times I didn’t want to wait for anyone. I wanted to get out of here. But Tripp was the good soldier, always following orders. No matter how hard I pressed, he still wouldn’t budge.
I turned from the door then glanced down. I wasn’t wearing my school uniform. Who in the world changed my clothes? A sudden chill whispered along my spine. Oh my. Did Webb change my clothes? I shook my head. I couldn’t think about that. I needed to figure out why I was even in this place.
Turning back to face Tripp, I asked, “Where’s my brother? Can I see Sam?”
Tripp shook his head. “Sam’s not back yet from school.”
“What time is it?”
“Two in the afternoon,” he said, glancing at his black-banded watch.
I inhaled. Do I dare ask what day it is? On second thought, I didn’t want to know. None of this can be good. I began pacing, staying clear of the swords that stuck out of from the back wall. I dipped back into my thick brain, looking for a memory that would tell me what happened to put me in a vampire prison cell.
My bare feet slapped against the cold steel floor—the only surface that wasn’t cobalt. Thank the Lord. Images of Blake, the brunette, and Zea came into focus. We were all in the bathroom at school. I fought Blake, the brunette stabbed me a couple of times, and Zea drank from the brunette. So far, so good. Then Mr. Banks came in. Kraft carried me to the Guardians’ quarters, then I plunked down onto the cot and drifted off to sleep. That was it. What was I missing?
Tears continued to flow.
I stopped moving, combing my fingers through my hair, and leaned against the sidewall. A succession of clicks in the cell drew me out of deep thought.
Quickly, I pushed off the wall. A sword protruded out, nearly missing the base of my neck. Stupid swords. Stupid room. Stupid life.
With a sigh, I shuffled toward the middle of the room.
“You’re lucky you weren’t stabbed,” Webb said, as the large steel door scraped against the floor, clicking closed.
I didn’t hear him enter.
All the air whooshed out of the cell. Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe.
He stood by the door, sweeping his gaze over me.
Something was terribly wrong.
A tickle slithered around in my stomach as I held his gaze, two predators waiting for the other to make their move. He wasn’t here to fight. He wasn’t even here to argue. He was here to deliver bad news. How did I know that? It was beyond me. Maybe it was the sadness in his eyes. Like Tripp’s, Webb’s blue eyes didn’t have his usual sparkle.
A voice whispered in my head. Calm down. Webb’s voice.
Everything in me stilled.
No freakin’ way! I can’t have him in my head. I just can’t.
I stared at my bare feet peeking out from my jeans.
Are you okay?
My neck snapped up, meeting those damned mesmerizing eyes of his.
“How did you get in my head?” I asked out loud.
It was just a matter of time.
He was still using telepathy.
“Why doesn’t it hurt like when my dad gets in my head?” I asked aloud.
He smiled, white teeth shining beneath the muted lights overhead, causing the butterflies to flutter wildly inside me. Oh, the panic and pain were still there, but those damn butterflies had a mind of their own.
“Your father tends to barrel into people’s heads when he’s pissed. In turn, he draws pain in the process. There’s a way to be gentle when using a telepathic connection,” he explained aloud, his tone gentle.
It figured that my dad just took command and control of anything he wanted when he wanted.
“What am I doing in here, Webb?” I dropped down onto the cot, which I had just realized was in the middle of the room, away from the walls.
He walked a few steps toward me.
“Do you remember anything that happened today?”
I let out sigh. At least days hadn’t gone by.
“Sure. Where’s Zea? Is she okay?”
Webb stopped in his tracks. My heart stopped beating.
“Tell me.” My voice quivered.
“She’s missing. What went on in the bathroom?”
“Wait, how can she be missing?” I assumed she’d gone for help.
“They’re still looking for her. Sam is helping in the search. Now, the bathroom.”
I explained the entire story to Webb. From the time I entered the bathroom until Kraft brought me to the Guardians’ medical office.
He stood feet away as I talked, not showing any emotion. In fact, he didn’t move a muscle at all. The black in his eyes fought for control over the blue whenever I mentioned Blake’s name. When I finished my side of the story, silence sucked even more air out of the cell, if that was even possible.
After a few minutes, he blew out a breath and sat down next to me.
“I don’t understand how Zea can be missing.” I kept my gaze down, staring at the floor. I was afraid if I stole a glance, I would crumble, not from his presence but from his sad eyes. “She was holding the brunette back one minute, then when I looked again she was gone. I assumed she went for help because a few minutes later Mr. Banks barged in and radioed Kraft for help.”
“I’m sorry. I don’t know anymore at the moment,” Webb said. “Your father sent me down here to get you. He’s waiting in his office.”
“Why didn’t he come?”
It was so unlike Dad not to barrel in and take control.
“He’s on the phone with the solicitors and the Master of Elders.”
“What? Why?” I jumped off the cot. “Solicitors? What do they want?” I paced furiously in front of the folding bed, staying away from the freaking walls.
Webb rose, grabbing me. His arms circled around my shoulders, drawing me to him. His fingers tangled in my hair as he pressed my head against his hard chest.
I couldn’t breathe. I tried to push him away. He only held me tighter.
I drew in a breath. I wanted to melt into him. To feel the heat of his body, the safety of his arms, the reassurance of his heartbeat. I wanted to lose myself in his embrace, but this wasn’t the time or the place. I planted both palms against his chest and pushed.
“Let me go. What did I do?”
He just held me tighter.
“Webb? You’re scaring me.”
“No, damn it. What happened already?”
He loosened his hold on me, easing back a fraction. He peered down. His eyes were swirling black. A true sign his emotions had taken over.
About the Author:
For those of you who know me, you know the ‘S’ stands for Susan in S. B. Alexander. I chose to use my initials since there were a few Susan Alexander authors out there.
The one thing I like about reading a book other than the story is reading about the author. Who is he or she? And, how did they become a writer?
For me, it’s always been a passion to write a book. I love to transport myself into other worlds—ones where vampires and the fantastical exist. Where life is the playground for the impossible.
I created fantasy worlds at a young age as a way to deal with life. Yep, I had imaginary friends and talked to myself a lot. I was always creating, thinking, drawing and writing. I believe words are the key to opening the door to extraordinary places with amazing characters that tell a great story.
My life has had a colorful journey. After high school I decided to forgo college. I enrolled in a business program and graduated in ten months with a certificate that allowed me access to Cooperate America. But, somehow the idea to enter into an unknown world at nineteen-years-old was daunting. Instead, I decided if the world was my playground why not join the military, and so I joined the Navy. The four years in the military was a great foreground to learn about life and the world around me. But, as the cliché says, Life goes on.
I traded the military for college. I became a High School Math Teacher and loved it before deciding to revisit the one thing I was frightened of—Cooperate America. I’ve held many roles in the cooperate arena from sales representative to sales manager, but I never lost my passion to write.
When I’m not working my full time job, and plotting my next novel, I love to play golf with my husband, and spend time with my two dogs.
Tour wide giveaway
5 sets of signed print books, 1 and 2 in the series, and matching beaded bookmarks