Wednesday, September 18, 2013

City of the Fallen (Dark Tides, Book One) by Diana Bocco


The first sliver of sun was peeking in through the windows when she woke up, breathing hard. She’d been dreaming all night about the monsters and the horrors that awaited her. The screams still resonated in her ears, almost as real as the world around her.

She sat up on her mattress and took a few deep breaths, fighting against the wild booming in her chest. As her breathing started to calm down, she looked around, pausing on the mattress where Anna and Sofia were sound asleep, just a few feet away from her. At nineteen and twenty-one, the sisters were the youngest people she had seen in a very long time.

It all suddenly seemed hopeless. Even if she was able to get to the compound, what exactly was she hoping to accomplish? Was she really expecting to walk into the king’s room and stake him in the heart while the other vampires watched?

Isabelle, the great vampire killer.

She felt like crying.

Right then and there, she decided she had to leave right now, without saying goodbye. The practical side of her was telling her it was best not to waste any daylight with hugs, tears and promises of “I’ll see you soon”. But the truth was more complicated than that. She simply didn’t want to lie. She didn’t want to promise Shawn that she’d see him soon. She didn’t want to deal with everybody’s last-minute requests for her to stay behind. She had decided a long time ago that humanity’s last hope was in killing the vampire king. And that she should be the one to try it.

It had been a fantasy at first. The kind of daydream you had when all hope was lost and you wanted to convince yourself you could still win. So she had dreamed, first during the day and then eventually every time she closed her eyes. Dreams of a new dawn, of a hopeful tomorrow. And of herself piercing the heart of the monster that ruled the vampire world. Somehow in the midst of all the dreams, she had convinced herself it was actually possible. And the dreams had become more of a strategic plan: how to get to him, how to gain his trust, how to kill him. As much as she hated the idea, the only way in was to become the one thing she hated more than vampires themselves: a pet.

The first couple of years had been easy for vampires. A plentiful supply of blood and a prey that was easy to hunt. But over time, more and more people had gone into hiding and soon vampires were having a difficult time finding food. So were humans. And so the concept of pets had been born. Those who were starving had the option of becoming pets. Either for a single vampire or—much worse—for a group of them. In exchange for providing blood, sex and entertainment, the person could get food and shelter. No more running, no more hiding.

Complete families had started surrendering in a desperate attempt to stay alive. It was hard to guess what had happened to them once they were gone from the cities and into the vampire compounds or areas. None were ever seen again. There were lots of rumors—vampires torturing children, vampires leaving humans to die once their blood supply became too low, women being passed around to a large group of vampires… It was hard to know what was true and what was a result of widespread panic. She knew vampires could turn humans if they wanted, but she doubted they ever did. Why bring a lowly human into their ranks? There were already enough of them (and too few humans) in the world.

She closed her eyes, took a deep breath to hold back the tears and then slowly got up. Robert was on window watch, the last of the day. Once the sun was up, the world was safe again—at least until the darkness returned.

He acknowledged her with a slight head nod when she entered the room.

“I’m going out for a bit,” she whispered and Robert nodded again.

On the way out, she grabbed her scavenging bag. It contained everything she needed—everything she owned—plus a change of clothes she’d stolen from Sofia. She needed to clean up before walking into the compound. The more attractive she looked, the better her chances of landing an important master. Somebody closer to the king.

She jumped into the car and started the engine on the first try. Before anybody had time to step outside, and before she had a chance to change her mind, she took off towards the highway and the plundered world ahead.

The wind was howling against her window as she drove away.

City of the Fallen

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Genre - Paranormal Romance/Dystopian Romance

Rating – R

More details about the author & the book

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