Sneak Peek: Moon Rising by Laurie Bowler
As part of her monthly feature for October, Laurie is going to share an excerpt from one of her various novels. This week’s special is Moon Rising. Enjoy….
Overview from Goodreads:
Marinette (Nessy) is half vampire and half human. She flees her maker, Hervidor, the strongest of their kind and the ruler of the underworld of vampires, who has kept Nessy locked away for centuries. Nessy flees to be able to live her life as she chooses where she meets and quickly falls in love with Charles. With the threat of Hervidor constantly at her heels, Nessy tries to make the final decision to stand and face him in the fight that will decide her fate.
“Hera, stop. Put me down,” I said, as I leaned forward and whispered into his ear.
He stopped and gently lowered himself to the ground, allowing me to climb off safely, knowing that I could get injured if he were to stay at the full height of a Gulon. They were incredibly large for animals that resembled cats. Their claws long and curled are big enough to rip apart any vampire that would dare cross their path.
“What’s wrong?” Hera asked, as he transformed in front of me, before realizing that he was naked. He grabbed for the clothes that he’d attached around his waist to cover himself.
“I’ve seen you a million times naked, Hera. I don’t know why you’re bothering to do that,” I stated, as I diverted my eyes away from his incredibly muscled and naked body. “Where are you taking me?” I asked.
“Don’t tell me that now you have turned prudish on me.” Hera laughed, as I continued to look away from him.
We stood facing each other, the rustle of the leaves on the ground made me turn around as I looked towards the east. The sun high in the sky, transformed the silhouettes to outline the Gulons as they approached. I had never met any Gulons this close, other than the day of my escape, and their presence made me nervous beyond belief. I crouched down low and snarled in their direction, my own instincts of protection rising to the surface.
“Easy, Nessy. They won’t hurt you. It’s the rest of the Gulons; they probably came to see what happened and why I disappeared so suddenly.” Hera stood beside me and gently laid his hand on my shoulder, causing me to blush in embarrassment. I had almost attacked his friends.
“Sorry,” I muttered, getting up just in time as the other Gulons began to appear over the hills, their golden and red coats shining in the sunlight, as their ferocious huge paws pounded the earth where we stood side by side.
“What do they want?” I whispered.
“Just to find me, it has nothing to do with you. I won’t let them hurt you,” Hera whispered, as he stood in my path blocking me from any unwarranted attack.
I kept a close watch on all six Gulons as they came to an abrupt stop in front of us, their coats looking thick and warm, they were breathing heavily, as if out of breath as they inched closer. They immediately transformed to human form, four men and two girls. They stood before me naked, seemingly unaffected by their nakedness.
“Hera, we found you. Where have you been?” the tallest of the Gulons asked. He had a displeased look on his face as I stood behind Hera. He didn’t like the idea of Hera being my protector.
“I’m busy right now. Is there some urgent crisis I am needed to attend to?” Hera asked.
“No. Who’s that?” he asked Hera, as they stood there watching me.
“I’m Nessy,” I responded, before Hera could respond.
I stepped around Hera and walked forward and introduced myself, but he snatched me around my waist and pulled me close to show that he was my protector.
“I’m Galick. This is our family. Allow me to introduce everyone. This is, Gerard, Bostin and Spark. These two ladies are Felicity, but she likes to be called Flick, and this is my wife, Val.” I watched each in turn, as they were introduced. Each member of the Gulon politely nodded their head in my direction as their names were called.
They kept their eyes on me the whole time. They watched me with an intense curiosity as if they hadn’t seen me before, but were most likely wondering why I was suddenly being protected by one of their own.
“Hera, why is Nessy here?” Galick asked, eyeing me.
“She needs my protection. I’m taking her to a place of safety,” Hera replied, as he shoved me behind him.
“Is she one of them?” Spark asked.
“Yes. Well kind of, she is half vampire and half human.”
“How can she be half of something? She is either a vampire, or a human, now which is it?” Val demanded, as she crossed her arms, seemingly losing patience with Hera’s responses.
“She is half. She isn’t a true blooded vampire. We don’t need to hurt her, and I won’t let you,” Hera said, as he pushed me further behind his great body.
“Explain to us. You suddenly got up and left us. We don’t know what’s happening, except for the threat of some coven about to cross our land. Does it have anything to do with her?” Flick spoke in a gentle yet persuasive voice.
“It does. They are coming for her, that’s why we must offer her protection. I won’t order you to follow me, but I will order you to leave her be. She doesn’t attack humans, and hasn’t in all of her three hundred years. This life wasn’t something she asked for; the leader of the coven that’s heading here took her life. Now he wants her back in his coven because his chosen wife has been killed, and Nessy is next in line to rule with him,” Hera explained, as best he could.
I felt the fury in his voice as he spoke. I knelt down behind him. The Gulons were built to attack and kill, eradicating vampires from this side of the world. They had only co-existed with Charles because of the truce agreed upon and it was only done because of the delivery of blood they needed to exist.
“Hera, tell us the coven heading here isn’t the Tellis coven. They rule the vampires and are the strongest,” Val said, as she withdrew to Galick’s side in fear of the upcoming coven.
“They are, and we can’t let them find Nessy. They will destroy her, she’s different. Why do you think Hervidor wants her so badly?” Hera spoke once more.
“We have to offer her protection. I’m in complete agreement with Hera. We can’t let them take her, to destroy her and allow her to feed off humans,” Bostin exclaimed.
Bostin had been casually assessing me the whole time, and for some unknown reason, he decided he would join Hera in protecting me.
“Thank you, Bostin. Once you get to know Nessy, you will see for yourself that she is different,” Hera said, thanking his fellow Gulons.
“We will see. Who else is going to help us?” Bostin asked.
“You don’t have to. I can protect myself. I don’t need any of you. I don’t want to cause you any trouble. It would be best if I left now, and you can tell Hervidor that I have gone,” I responded after hearing what Bostin said.
I did want and needed their help. There was no way I could face Hervidor on my own, if he were to find me. I had already left Charles and his coven to protect them, and here I was placing Hera and the Gulons in the same situation. I knew it was the wrong thing to do; to place someone in the direct path of the Tellis was like placing someone in the direct path of death.
“No, Nessy. We will help you. Allow us to, please? You know you can’t face them alone,” Hera said, turning to me, as he held me. My body seemed to melt in his; it wasn’t a lover’s embrace but rather like being held by your brother. The kind of brotherly love that I had longed for since I was a child; for all I knew, my parents could have had another child when I had disappeared.
“No, Hera. Thank you for all your kindness, and for carrying me this far, but I have to go alone now. I won’t put any of you in any more danger. When Hervidor gets here, do not try to fight him. You cannot win, be mindful of Majentic, she is not to be trusted.”
I pulled myself from Hera’s grip, as the wind blew my hair in all direction causing me to curse under my breath. I was totally pissed.
“Nessy, wait! Please! We have been rude. Allow us to protect you,” Flick said. Her voice was convincing in a gentle way as she spoke. It seemed as if she was using some kind of power to try and convinced me that despite their earlier intentions that she and the others were willing to defend me against Hervidor.
“No. I cannot allow you to. Thank you all for offering me protection. I must leave now. Hervidor is drawing closer and you don’t have much time. Prepare as best you can and allow him time to pass through, “I said, as I started running.
I ran as fast as I could across the hill tops, stopping suddenly, as I realized the pounding I heard behind me were those of the Gulons following closely. I guess they were determined to prove their loyalty to not only Hera, but to me as well. The only way I could get away from them would be to take to the skies. As I kicked off from the ground and started flying upwards, my ankle caught onto a piece of debris. I tried with all my might to shake free of whatever it was, but it wouldn’t give way. I had no choice but to return to earth and free myself
“Good, now listen,” came the voice of Hera.
“Hera, let me go. I am not your property and I won’t allow you to do this to me. Get your hands off of me,” I demanded, as I struggled in his arms.
“No way. Stop wriggling will you, you’re making me upset,” he laughed, as I continued to struggle.
“Ok. I’ll stop.” Hera released his hold over me and allowed me to stand on my own two feet to face him.
“Good, now listen. Did you know you’re heading in the direction of Hervidor? My clan came to inform me they have split up, to scout the place looking for you. Already there have been reports of missing families,” Hera said, as I relaxed against the ground.
“Perhaps, it might be a good thing if I ran into them and joined them. At least you wouldn’t have to worry about them being your problem. It’s because of me, they have come this way; your clan wouldn’t have to worry,” I said angrily.
“Don’t be daft. That’s not Nessy talking; you don’t give up so easily. Where has my little fighter gone to, the one that survived against all odds, against all the horrors she faced?” Hera demanded, as he approached me.
I whimpered as I realized for the first time my reality. Surviving and outlasting my enemies were what drove me, and as terrifying as the Tellis coven and Hervidor were, Hera was right. I was a fighter and not one to give up that easily. Moreover, here I was, small as I was, and supposed to be the queen of some kind, the one chosen against my own will to lead alongside Hervidor. With his power and mine combined, it would be a perfect match, we would strike fear in all the other covens.
“Don’t cry, Nessy. I didn’t mean to sound so harsh. We have a plan, but you need to return with me,” Hera explained, as he held me in his arms.
“Return with you to where?” I asked, sniffling, as Hera held me in his arms.
“Charles is going to hide you. He has a safe house, the one place impenetrable, and Hervidor can’t smell you once you’re inside,” Hera explained.
“That’s right. Nessy, come with me now. We don’t have much time.” It was Charles; I was in shock as I stood there dumbfounded looking at him. Yet I was happy to see him. Neither of us had heard him approaching and unfortunately I was in the arms of Hera which must have looked like we were lovers.
“Charles, this isn’t what it seems,” I tried to explain, as I hastily pushed Hera away from me.
To Hera’s amusement, this was something he relished; he had a wicked grin on his face because he knew where my feelings lay. I had never felt like sharing eternity with anyone as I had since the day I had met Charles. I wanted him to be my mate, my own true love, if vampires could ever really have one.
“So it would appear. Come, Nessy. Hera go to your own kind, they know the details of the plan. Nessy, quickly,” Charles said coldly, as he eyed both of us.
His coldness had the desired effect, as I shivered from the strength of it. Hera however, decided to do something, which would make us seem even more suspicious. He quickly leant towards me and kissed me lightly, but longingly on the lips. His softness did nothing like Charles’s kiss had done earlier. It was more like a kiss from a good friend, rather than a prospective lover.