From SHADES OF GRAY by Joleene Naylor, Book 1 in the Amaranthine series:
Where vampires live in the shadows and don’t sparkle.
Hunted by a coven of vampires, Katelina has only one person she can trust: Jorick. But what happens when her knight in shining armor turns out to be one of the monsters? Katelina will have to examine not only her feelings for those close to her but her perceptions of good and evil if she wants to survive.
The men returned to the car and Jorick slid into the front passenger seat. As the door banged shut, he glanced over his shoulder to offer Katelina a tight but reassuring smile.
She wanted to ask him what was going on but figured it was pointless. Besides, she wasn’t sure she really wanted to know at the moment. She did, however, want away from the horrible place; away from the pink motel and the ugly carpet and hideous orange drapes and bloody footprints.
The driver climbed in and asked Jorick quietly, “Are we ready?”
Jorick nodded and dropped back into the seat. He closed his eyes wearily as the car shuddered into gear and they pulled out of the parking lot.
“I take it they found you?” The driver glanced sideways for a moment and Katelina could see his perfect profile. His strange eyes and golden brown hair made him look like a lion. It wasn’t just his appearance, though. There was something very feline about him, the feeling of controlled power lurking beneath a peaceful exterior, like a cat coiled and ready to spring on its prey.
“Yes.” Jorick opened his dark eyes. The street lights flashed past them and splashed dark, twisted shadows across his weary face. “They found us.”
With this pronouncement the car fell silent except for the sound of the motor and the wheels on the pavement. They soon left the small town of Dunwick behind them. As it shrunk in the darkness, Katelina began to relax. Though, she longed for a cigarette to sooth her nerves. She knew that it wouldn’t really make things better. How many times had Sarah lectured her about that, after all? But somehow things would seem saner if she had one. She wanted a cigarette and her own bed and her telephone. She wanted to curl up under the covers and call Sarah and tell her about this horrible nightmare she’d had, and then she wanted to call her mother and make arrangements for Grave Day like usual. She just wanted reality.
But, her reality wasn’t pretty. She’d just been attacked by two vampires and the two packs of cigarettes she’d bought had been abandoned in the motel room with the food; her last twenty dollars gone for nothing, after all. Somehow this was a deeply disheartening thought.
She leaned her face against the cool glass and stared out into the night flying past them, the trees illuminated and ghostly in the harsh brightness of the headlights. The rhythm of the tires on the pavement droned in her ears. She closed her eyes and tried to relax to the vibrations of the car. She hadn’t been awake for very long, but she was already as exhausted as Jorick looked. Her muscles were taut, and her left shoulder was aching again.
The driver’s voice interrupted her thoughts, his tones low enough that he probably thought she couldn’t hear him.
“So this is the… erm… her?”
“Yes, this is Katelina,” Jorick answered.
“What are you planning to do with her?”
The question hung in the air and Katelina felt herself wanting to know what he’d say, her ears tensing for the sound of his answer. Finally, after what felt like uncountable minutes, Jorick cleared his throat. “I don’t know,” his voice was sad. “I admit I didn’t expect things to happen this way.”
“I told you it was a bad idea, Jorick.” His tone was flat, as though they’d discussed it too many times already.
“I know, I know.” Jorick said quietly. He seemed resigned to this fact. “I just hated to leave her hanging, never knowing what really happened to him. Besides, who’s to say that Claudius wouldn’t have gone after her sooner or later? She is a reasonable suspect, you know. Would it be better for it to come as a complete shock?”
“And I suppose you broke it to her gently?” The driver snorted. “I understand your reasoning, Jorick, your true reasoning, but I still stand by my original opinion.”
“I’m sure you do, Oren. I’m sure it wouldn’t have haunted your dreams, but we’re different.”
“We didn’t used to be, not before….” Oren trailed off.
“Yes, I know. I’ll bet you don’t even dream anymore, do you?”
There was silence and then very quietly he said, “No, Jorick. I don’t.”
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