Unspoken will be out next month on October 27th. I hope you have all pre-ordered your copies so you won’t miss a minute of Della’s latest adventure. Pre-order Unspoken today at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.
I’ve been posting teasers from Unspoken the last few weeks, but this week, I have a special treat for you–the first scene from Unspoken. Enjoy!
The sound of the door swishing open filled the small space.Before Della Tsang heard the footsteps, the scent filled her nose.Another vampire.But not just any vampire . . .
Chase Tallman.The guy she was regrettably bonded with.The guy who’d given her his blood to ensure she’d survive a rare second turn into vampirism that had made her a Reborn—a stronger kick-ass vampire who attracted ghosts. Not that she’d asked for it, or would have wanted it—especially the ghost part.
His footsteps brought him into the closet-sized room.The door whooshed closed.Her heart thumped against her breast bone.
She’d been to hell and back looking for him.Had even gone to France to find him, with no luck.
And now he just shows up.
In the ladies’ bathroom at Whataburger.
The door in the stall next to hers opened and shut.Surely he wasn’t . . . He didn’t intend to . . . The sound of someone stepping on the toilet lid echoed.
She glared up.He peered down at her over the stall wall.His dark brown hair looked a little longer.His bright green eyes were glowing with humor.
“Fancy meeting you here.”He smiled, no doubt at her position—knees bent, locked, her tush hanging two inches above the pot, her jeans down to mid-thigh.Thank goodness her light blue top was long and flared and covered her lady business.
She jerked up and zipped.Never taking her eyes off him, but wishing she had her hands on him.Like her fingers around his throat.He wouldn’t be smiling then.
“No paperwork?” he teased.
He thought this was funny?Seriously?Did the guy want to die?Did he not have a clue how much his deceit had hurt her?
If she didn’t need information, she’d kill him.And she’d make it slow and painful.
But she needed information, needed to find her uncle, the man who’d killed her aunt, and was letting her father go down for the murder.And Chase had that info.Had it from the start, and had lied about it.
She’d recently learned the truth. The man Chase referred to as Eddie, the man who had taken him in when he was fourteen and helped him through his first turn, and bonded with him on the second turn, was Della’s uncle.
Who sent you?She’d asked Chase that a thousand times.And a thousand times he’d lied.
As much as she hated admitting it, she understood Chase’s loyalty to the man.Not only was Eddie his father figure, but she knew better than anybody how a vampire blood bond could mess with your head and your emotions.But Chase’s loyalty to her uncle meant he’d been disloyal to her.He’d made that choice.And she’d be damned if she’d let her own father go to prison for her uncle’s sin.
Bolting out of the stall at the same time he did, she cornered all six feet of him.Her pulse raced with fury.
He held his palms up, shoulders tight, but his eyes exhibited no fear.Instead his pools of green still held a touch of tease.Oh, how she wanted to teach him a lesson.She leaned in, putting her face in his, letting him know she wasn’t intimidated by him.
A move she instantly regretted.This close, his masculine scent all around her, the lure, the attraction, all of which she blamed on the bond, chipped away at her sanity.She fought it.Didn’t want it.
“What are you so happy about?” she growled.
“You,” he said.“Being around you makes me happy.”
She flattened her palm on his chest, ready to give him a good thump into the wall.
“Wait,” he said.
“For what?” she seethed.
His lips twitched into a bigger smile.He pointed to the wall behind his shoulder.“The sign says you need to wash your hands.”
That did it.Her canines came out to play.Her eyes stung, a tell-tale sign that her dark brown irises, inherited from her Asian father, were growing brighter.
“I’m not an employee.” She stared him dead in the eyes.His disloyalty stung.“How’s Feng, my uncle?”
The playfulness vanished and damned if guilt didn’t fill those pools of green.“I was going to tell you.”
“Sure you were.”
“I wouldn’t . . .”He stopped talking as if the words didn’t sound right.It took her about two seconds to realize what he’d been about to say.
“Wouldn’t what? Lie to me?All you’ve ever done is lie.”
“Della?” her name being called from the other side of the door barely registered.The fact that she was in vamp mode hardly concerned her.Or rather, when it did bring on a distress signal, it was too late.The bathroom door swung open.
Chase, in a quick swoop, swapped places with her and used his arm to hide her face from Lilly’s view.However, the way he leaned in, his hand on the wall, his lips inches from hers, gave the impression they were making out—swapping spit—in a bathroom.Oh, yeah, like that was something she’d actually do.Everyone knew what kinds of germs hung out in public restrooms.
“What . . . ?Della?” Lilly, her former human friend, blurted out as if shocked.The girl rose on her tiptoes to see over Chase’s shoulder.“Is that . . . you?”
Della glanced to the side to hide her eyes and canines.“Yeah.”
“Oh, my,” Lilly said.“And who are . . . you?”
No doubt the question was meant for Chase.Della didn’t glance up at his expression, but she knew he’d put on his charm:all smiles and good ol’ boy innocent eyes.“I’m a friend.”His voice still held on to the tease.
“Looks like you’re a good friend,” Lilly said in a playful tone.“Are you the notorious Steve?”
Chase’s shoulders tightened.His gaze shot to Della, the humor in his eyes fading to hurt, maybe even jealousy.
Not that he had any right to feel it.
Della forced her fangs in, and attempted to calm her inner vamp.“No, he’s just someone I know from Shadow Falls.”
Feeling under control, she nudged Chase back, giving herself a couple of inches, but no more.Not enough room for him to slide out.She focused on Lilly and motioned to Chase.“We need to talk. Can you give us—”
“No,” Chase said.“I just wanted to say hi.I’ll swing by your place later.”
“No.” She cut him a cold glare.He was not getting away.Della grabbed his arm, her grip locked around his bicep.“I’d prefer to chat now.”She slapped a smile on her face for Lilly’s sake.
“Don’t be silly.It’s a girl’s night out.” He gently pried her fingers free with ease.
Then before she knew his intent, he’d planted a quick kiss on her lips.His tongue swiped across her bottom lip, making her knees weak.That taste . . . That quick taste of him had her breath hitching.Her body humming.Her heart wanting.And she hated her own weakness.
She inhaled, fighting the bond while at the same time resisting the urge to go full vamp on his ass again.But before she could figure out her next move, he’d moved out the door.Gone.
Lilly, whom Della hadn’t even thought about in a year, leaned against the wall.She stared in shock at his quick exit.“Wow, he’s fast.”Then she giggled and shook her finger at Della. “Now, now, Miss Tsang.I think you’re keeping secrets.”
Ya think? Della wanted to scream.The first secret was a real doozy.Della was no longer human.Hence the reason she lived at Shadow Falls, a boarding school for supernaturals.If not for the trouble at home, she’d still be at school—with friends who understood and didn’t judge her for downing a glass of blood every now and then.
She didn’t even understand why Lilly had just shown up tonight.If her mom hadn’t overheard Lilly’s invite, and insisted Della go, she wouldn’t be in this jam.But since her family didn’t know her secrets, it was kind of hard to explain why she couldn’t maintain old friendships.
“No, no secrets,” Della lied. “That wasn’t at all what it looked like. He’s just . . . a guy.”
“He didn’t look like just a guy.”
“Looks can be deceiving.” Della walked out.She moved down the hall and inhaled to see if she could still lock on to Chase’s scent.She let go of a deep gasp of air.Only the smell of hamburgers and fries scented the air.Still, her gaze shifted left then right, hoping for the off chance he was still around.Nope.
Chase was gone.Why the hell had she let him get away?The answer bumped into her back.Literally.Lilly.If Della had used force to detain him, her old friend would have freaked.Then she might have mentioned it to Della’s parents.And with all the crap going on with her dad’s murder charge, the last thing she wanted to do was give her parents something else to toss and turn about at night.
She faced Lilly, but someone called her name.
Della turned and saw Mrs. Chi inching closer.She was an older neighbor who co-owned a small jewelry store with her husband, just a couple of blocks away from Della’s house.“I have not seen you in forever, young lady.”
“Hi,” Della said and noticed her neighbor glance at Lily.“This is my friend Lilly Shay.”
“Hello,” Mrs. Chi said.Lilly barely nodded.She hadn’t even met the woman’s eyes and was already pulling her phone up.Had her mother never taught her manners?
“How is Chester?” Della asked.Before she’d left for Shadow Falls, she’d cared for the Chis’ cat when they’d gone on vacations.
“The same.He brought me dead rat yesterday.I call exterminator out and they say I have no rats in my home or the store.Where does that cat go to find them?”
“He gets around,” Della said, remembering she’d seen the cat snooping around her dad’s shed three nights ago when she’d gone out late to the supernatural blood bar.
Mrs. Chi patted Della’s arm.“I will go and grab dinner for Bojing.He is at store . . . closing.”She glanced at Lilly.“Have good night.Be careful.It is dangerous for two girls to be alone.The neighborhood is not safe as it used to be.”
“We will.”Della watched the elderly woman move to the counter.Then plastering on what she hoped was a friendly expression—but still irritated by Lilly’s rudeness—she faced the blonde.“Did you finish your hamburger?”
“Then maybe you can drop me back home.”She didn’t know if Chase had been serious about coming by or if she could add that to his list of lies.Probably a lie, but she should be there, just in case.She wouldn’t let him get away this time.
“But we’re going over to Susie’s to watch a movie.”
“Yeah. Sorry, I’m just not up to hanging out.It’s that time of the month.”She pressed a hand low on her abdomen.It was of course another lie—Aunt Flow had already come and gone.But Mother Nature had plagued women with the monthly curse, and Della figured that meant women had the right to use it as an excuse whenever needed.
Lilly frowned.“But your mom already. . .”She shut her mouth and even curled her lips as if wanting to pull the words back in.
“My mom already . . .what?” Della asked, sensing Lilly had her own secrets.
The girl rolled her green eyes, and Della remembered she’d never really cared too much for Lilly.Even before she’d gone off to Shadow Falls, she and Lilly had drifted apart.“Spill it,” Della snapped.
“Your mom paid me to get you out of the house.”
Della stood there, mortified and furious that her mom had paid someone to be her friend.Della had friends.She had the two best friends in the world back at Shadow Falls.
Right then she wanted nothing more than to go home, grab her bags, and get back to where she belonged.Where she didn’t feel like a monster.
“It’s not like I didn’t want to see you or anything.But I wasn’t going to turn down twenty bucks.”
“Take me home.”Leaving the stench of grease and beef behind, Della hurried out of the restaurant, fighting the temptation to fly home herself.When the cold Texas air hit her face, she inhaled and swallowed the tears down her throat.She might be hurting on the inside, but she’d be damned if she’d let Lilly know it.