That’s right. The Driven is available for preorder on Amazon. Not only can you preorder this fifth installment of the Fallen–Fey Chronicles, the first book, The Darkness, will be free on Amazon only for Friday and Saturday, January 5th and 6th. Of course, you can get your free copy by signing up for my email list anytime, but if you’d prefer to get your copy through Amazon it’ll be free just for those two days.
Okay, I know I said that I’d be giving away a few teasers and here is the first. Of course, where to start except for at the beginning. So, here is the first chapter of The Driven to get you ready for release day!
This was the single best day of my life. The fifth and final book of the most amazing series in existence was delivered to the library today, and since I was placed on the waiting list some three months ago, I received one of the first copies. They had called me fifteen minutes before I was to leave the pharmacy that I worked at.
I had the weekend off, and I’d already planned my night’s activities. I would lock the front door to my apartment and the door that led from the basement apartment into my parents’ home. Then I’d heat up the first frozen dinner I found, take a quick shower while it heated up, and then pour me a large glass of wine from the box I picked up after claiming my prize from the library. A treasure like this one deserved a little liquid refreshment to make it that much more enjoyable.
I sighed as I thought through the possible outcomes of this segment in the series I was thoroughly addicted to. I knew my imagination wouldn’t do it justice, though. The author had a way of twisting the story to such a degree that I was astounded, astonished, amazed, and a bunch of other “A” words I couldn’t think of at the moment. All the while, the antagonist, who just happened to the hottest man in literary reality, teased, tormented, and wooed the super kickass woman protagonist, who wouldn’t take crap off no one.
I quickened my pace as I crossed the street and hurried down the sidewalk that brought me ever closer to my home and the seclusion it held. A lady ran out of the apartment building to my left, plowing into me in her haste. We both fell to the concrete, but she wasted no time in jumping to her feet and running in the direction from which I’d just come. I wanted to comment on her rudeness, but it was apparent she was running from something, or more likely someone, and since I didn’t know her unique position, I let it go.
Once I’d picked myself and my things up off the ground, I couldn’t help but turn back to see where the woman had gone. She was crossing the street I’d just crossed, except she hadn’t waited for the light as I had. Halfway through the intersection, a man materialized in front of her. I took a step back without conscious thought. Every Other recognized the luminous eyes of the Darkness. They had become a threat to anyone with magic. My virtually nonexistent magic was the only reason I didn’t immediately turn and begin running away.
The Darkness plunged his hand into the woman’s chest, pulling out a ball of her energy. She fell to the street, and the Darkness disappeared. I looked around frantically, hoping that I didn’t find the Darkness rematerializing behind me. When I saw the sidewalk empty, I quickly hurried the rest of the way home.
My plans had changed. I needed to let my father know about the Darkness being so close to our home. While my magic was practically null, my father was a very powerful Wizard. He had been protecting our home using antispells since we had first heard of the Darkness and what they were doing to the Others. He would surely have a plan in place in the event of an attack on our home.
My father had told me many times over the last several months about how glad I should be that he and my mother had turned the basement into an apartment for me when I’d graduated from college. I had protested the idea of living beneath my childhood home, citing that I should have my own home and that living in my parents’ basement made me sound like a loser. They had been insistent, and I’d finally agreed to live there until I met someone. Since I usually spent my weekends with my nose in a book or my e-reader, my parents said that they weren’t worried about me leaving anytime soon.
I reached my door and couldn’t get the key in the lock because I kept my attention behind me in case the Darkness had followed. I was less than a block from the intersection where the women had died, so it was possible the Darkness was still in the vicinity. When I finally had the door unlocked and stepped into my home, I knew something was wrong. The antispell was down. My father would have replaced it the instant it dropped if it had just absorbed the magic of the spell.
I quickly made my way up the stairs to the door that separated my apartment from my parents’ home. It led into the kitchen and that was where I found my mother. She was lying on the kitchen floor looking up with lifeless eyes. I knelt beside her and moved her hair off her forehead with my shaking hand. She was a good mother, and I didn’t know what I would do without her guidance. She didn’t deserve this.
I stood quickly. I wanted anything but to find my father’s body somewhere in this house, but I had to look for him. There had to be a chance that he’d somehow survived. He was a cautious man. He would have some plan in place. He would know what to do—I found a puddle of blood on the floor by the open front door. The entire foyer rug was soaked. I knew then that I wouldn’t find my father alive. A breeze blew through the door, but my eyes fixated on the substance covering the floor and the realization it brought. How I hadn’t seen that this door was open when I’d entered my apartment, I don’t know, probably because I was too busy worrying about a monster jumping out from behind me.
Finally, I pulled my gaze away from the blood but didn’t see my father anywhere close by. No trail led from the pool, giving me no clue as to where my father may have gone from here. Nothing indicated he hadn’t simply died right here on this rug.
I knelt and placed my hand next to the sticky mass. My father was the parent to whom I was the closest. He was the one who always championed for me to get my way. He did little things, like drawing a smiley face on my eggs when he’d make breakfast for my mother and me on the weekends. A tear slid from my eyes as I looked down at the pool, and I had never felt more lost in my life. I needed to find his body. I needed to put him and my mother to rest. They deserved the ritual that would allow their spirits to move on to the next plane.
A shadow moved over my face, and I looked toward the doorway to find one of the Darkness blocking the late afternoon sun from making its way into the home. He took a step forward, and I quickly stood before taking one back. As he reached for me, I reached for the closest thing I could find. The umbrella stand was all there was, so I grabbed the first umbrella my hand touched and swung it at the Darkness. He dodged the blow easily and started for me again.
I continued backing up, grabbing anything within reach and throwing it. My mother’s knickknacks were all I could find, so I used his illuminated eyes like a target. The porcelain burst against the wall as I continually missed. I wasn’t very good at throwing things. I was good at karate, having taken classes since I was a child. I’d even begun self-defense classes when I turned eighteen, but one thing I knew about the creature who was trying to kill me was that allowing them to touch me was as good as signing my death certificate.
I wish I were a stronger Witch, but the most I could hope for would be a shield, and it wouldn’t take much effort for the Darkness to absorb the energy from it. What good would that serve me? I would just be handing myself over to the creature. No, I decided the best option would be to run. I tried not to think about the fate the woman who’d bumped into me had met when she had tried to run from this Darkness. I just had to hope I didn’t end up the same way she did.
I turned toward the back of the house, guessing that the Darkness would teleport to intercept me, and then turned back to the front door and, finding the Darkness no longer in my way, ran out of the house. I turned left when I reached the sidewalk. I didn’t want to go in the same direction the woman had chosen. Although I had no idea where I was going to go, I knew I didn’t want to follow her tracks.
I ran as fast as I could and hooked a left at the next intersection. I about tripped over a small poodle who was being walked by her elderly owner. I spouted a muddled “sorry” before chancing a glance behind me. I didn’t see the Darkness, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t going to teleport right next to me at any moment. My feet never slowed as I snuck my peek, but when I turned back to the direction I was going, a man appeared in front of me.
I did my best to come to a halt, but I was moving too fast. I plowed right into him and bounced off his massive chest, landing on my backside on the sidewalk. I looked up at him but couldn’t make out his features with the sun shining so brightly behind him. He appeared to be the size of a small Giant, and I began crab-crawling away when he reached out his hand for me. He’d just appeared in front of me, so I knew he was another of the Darkness. I had often heard that when you found one of the Darkness, its brethren weren’t too far away. I had also heard that the Darkness often chose to take the shape of the different Others they had killed, which explained this one being the size of a Giant.
The Giant’s head lifted slightly as though his attention had turned from me to something else. He reached to his side and drew a huge sword. I was breathing so hard that I thought I might pass out, but the Giant strode around me and began in the direction I’d come from. I didn’t know why he’d spared me, but I wasn’t going to let his gift pass me by. I quickly got to my trembling feet and forced myself to continue fleeing. I stole another peek behind me, first making sure I wouldn’t run into anyone while I was looking in the opposite direction.
When I saw what was happening behind me, I almost lost my footing and tripped. I managed to slow down in time to catch myself, though. The two Darkness were battling on the sidewalk behind me. I wasn’t sure, but I couldn’t help thinking that the dispute might be over who got to kill me. That thought had me looking straight ahead and running as fast as I could again. I cut through a short alley that led to the next street over and then quickly crossed it.
My mind was reeling from all that had happened to me over the last few short minutes. I couldn’t even think of my parents. That would lead me to cry and a blurry vision wouldn’t benefit me right now. I needed to get somewhere safe, and then I would break down into tiny pieces and mourn for the two people in the world that I love the most.
The only place I knew that was safe was my best friend Ralph’s. He had to be home from work by now. He would be able to help me through this nightmare if anyone could. I knew it was no surprise that my feet had led me in the direction of his apartment without thought. I was only a block away when another of the Darkness appeared in front of me. I had to veer into the street to keep from running straight into him. A man in a car blew his horn as he slammed on brakes to keep from hitting me. I ran past the car and narrowly missed a truck moving in the opposite direction.
When I made it to the sidewalk on the other side of the street, I didn’t have time to sigh in relief. I started once more for Ralph’s apartment and was once again intercepted by the Darkness. I stopped only a few feet from the creature, and he began approaching me. I took several steps back as I tried to think of how I could possibly get out of the situation I found myself in. I backed into something hard and looked over my shoulder to see what it was. The same Giant I’d run into before was standing behind me. He pushed me to the side with the same hand he held his sword in. As he passed me, he looked down.
“It would be wise to form a shield, little Witch.”
I didn’t reply. Not only did he turn his attention to the Darkness, but I realized in that moment that he wasn’t one of the Darkness nor was he a Giant. He was a Fey—a real, live, broadsword-toting Fey. His ginger hair glimmered in the afternoon sunlight as he strode toward the Darkness. Then his words sank in, but I couldn’t tell him how useless my magic was because he was already battling the creature that was trying to kill me.
I reached inside me for my almost empty well of magic that all Witches had and was shocked for the second time in as many seconds. I had magic. Well, I’d always had magic. Only before, my magic was practically nonexistent. Now, my well was almost full, and I could actually feel myself absorbing energy at an exponential rate as the well inside me tried to return to full. That was more shocks than my small self could handle. I looked both ways on the street and then quickly began running and didn’t stop until I was knocking on Ralph’s door. As a Wizard, he’d know what to do.
Next week I’ll share two more chapters with you to whet your whistle while you wait for release day. So tell me, what do you think?