Here is a sneak peek of my first chapter for Superior Species Book 3: The First Fallen.
Ivory Ames has lost two friends because of the “Models”, supernaturally good-looking monsters in their human form. She plans the two funerals to keep her remaining friends from finding out the truth. If they learn, they will be killed.
In order to escape the “Models” that control the town, Ivory focuses on graduating college early. Her boyfriend Romero Riveras has her hesitating on her plan. He’s sweet, has been there for her, and has the most important quality—he’s human. But they live a town filled with monsters, secrets, and being human is not always a good thing, it’s downright dangerous.
Chapter 1 A Partial Truth
“Karen’s dead,” I whispered to my four friends. My heart ached, and I blinked away tears.
“Ivory, how do you know? Did the police call?” Peter Dupree asked me, his voice rose. He drew onlookers in the seating area of the Main Dining Center, The Main. He sat back in his chair and ran a hand through his thick brown hair.
I glanced around and waited for the other students to stop paying attention. When they did, I shook my head. Los Roshano Police Department was a poor excuse for a law enforcement agency. To be fair, they didn’t know they were up against monsters. When one beast was accused of murder, another used compulsion to cover it up. The detectives wouldn’t remember the killer, and the evidence they collected would disappear. The victim would never get any justice. No one could win a case under these circumstances.
“How do you know Karen’s dead?” Sally Harmony asked.
The rest of my four friends broke into a chorus of questions.
I lifted my hand to stop them from talking. The action gave me a moment to choose my next words. Leaning into the table and lowering my voice, I said, “Last night, Karen was killed because she was a rogue vampire.”
My friends’ mouths slackened, their eyes widened, and they were at a loss for words. They had a much better reaction than I had when I learned the nightmarish monsters existed.
“Are you on something? Whatever drugs you’re taking, can I have some? They must be good, since you concocted a ridiculous notion like this. Vampires don’t exist,” Peter said to me, the first to recover.
“They do. I’ve seen them. They’re everywhere,” I said.
“They’re for entertainment purposes, like in movies or in books,” Peter said.
“You don’t understand. This town is run by them, along with another two species. They’re the Models.” My friends and I had given the good-looking upperclassman, who appeared to have stepped off a runway, the nickname last year. Their exceptional genes gave them the perfect hair, chiseled chins, and toned bodies.
“The hot people are the vampires? Aren’t beasts supposed to be ugly?” Peter asked.
“They’re not because they need to entice us humans,” I answered.
“And let me guess, we also have witches, shapeshifters, and wizards to deal with?” Taylor Waltz asked, sarcastically. He dug into his chocolate and caramel pudding.
“Don’t be stupid. They’re not real.” I regretted my statement after I had said it. I didn’t know if my words were true or not, since I wasn’t an expert. A few months ago, I’d learned monsters were real. Witches, shapeshifters, wizards, and leprechauns might exist as well.
“And vampires do?” Taylor shook his head across the table from me.
I cleared my throat to explain further.
“I hate to break it to you, but it’s impossible for them to exist. A human can’t transform into a bat,” Taylor said before I could speak.
“Some things can’t be explained. I’ve seen a video where a guy turned into a werewolf,” Tad Barnes said before I could rebuttal.
“If it’s the footage I’ve seen, the guy had lycanthropy, a disease. He thought he could transform. He didn’t do it.” Taylor shifted and turned to Tad. “You’re not helping Ivory. She’s cracking under the pressure of classes, work, and our two missing friends. We need to get her some professional help soon.”
“I’m fine.” I ignored Taylor. He never learned any tact. I resisted the urge to smack him on the back of his head, the usual training method we used for when he said or did something wrong. Instead, I continued with my explanation. “This town is run by the Models. They’ve been plotting against us from the moment we accepted our scholarships.”
“That doesn’t make any sense. Nor did the one you had with the university wanting us to leave. If we break our four-year contract, we’ll owe them thousands of dollars,” Taylor said.
“What they want is way worse,” I said. An empty feeling made a pit inside my stomach, and my heart raced. I could hear the blood rushing in my ears.
“What would that be?” Peter rubbed his bare chest between the buttons on his teal dress shirt. The man had style. Only he could wear that color with orange pants.
“They brought us here to make us into one of them,” I said.
“I could become a vampire? I wouldn’t mind.” Peter checked himself in his spoon’s reflection. I imagined him thinking how cool he would be.
“No, you don’t want to be one. They’re pure evil,” I said.
“Your ideas are farfetched.” Sally smiled weak at me. She was the only remaining girl at our table besides me.
“I’m not joking.” I folded my arms. My friends were missing the point of this conversation. Karen was dead.
“Monsters don’t exist,” Sally said.
“I wish I was lying. If we went missing, who would search for us?” I paused, taking a breath. “No one cares what happens to us except us.”
“I know you’re a conspiracy theorist, but this is the strangest idea you’ve ever had.” Despite her words, Sally played with the straw in her soda. She glanced around. Was what I was saying making any sense to her?
“Can’t you see everything has been planned? This has been going on for years. Everything is linked together—the curfew, the town rulers, even the missing and dead kids.” I raked a hand through my hair. This had gone all wrong. I needed to take a step back and tell them everything from the beginning.
The bell rang, signaling afternoon classes started in ten minutes. Other students lifted their trays and shuffled to the garbage to empty them.
I didn’t have much time left. What I had to say could take hours. Tears sprang to my eyes.
“You’re not making any sense. Our two missing friends, work, and school has gotten to you. You’re stressed. You should take the afternoon off. I’ll stop by later and we can talk about Karen.” Peter wrapped an arm around me, pulling me into a tight embrace.
Being in his arms felt soothing. After a moment, I placed my hand against his chest, telling him he could let me go.
Peter complied, but he scooted his chair closer so our arms brushed.
I wiped my tears. Where should I start in the whole fiasco my life had become?
“We should go somewhere nice for Easter. The last time we went to Albuquerque, we had fun,” Taylor said. The holiday was three days away.
“I’m not saying you’re an idiot, but you do say moronic things sometimes.” Peter hit Taylor on the back of his head, hard enough to make a sound.
“What did I say wrong?” Poor Taylor rubbed the spot.
Peter glared, not justifying an answer. He must not want Taylor to remind me that Parker was gone and get me upset again. I wasn’t crazy.
“Let me start from the beginning. Do you remember when I was hurt?” I asked.
“What time?” Peter asked.
The eating area thinned as more students headed to class. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the vampire, Onyx.
Her face was no longer expressionless. I used to compare her to a doll. Now she had a wide grin. With her superior hearing, she must’ve heard everything. She would tell the town officials that my friends and I had learned they were monsters. We would be murdered.
Breathing became difficult and my hands shook. We had to leave now. I stood, and my chair fell back, clattering to floor.
Onyx disappeared when I blinked.
“Are you okay? You’re shaking,” Sally said to me. She took my hand and gave it a squeeze. “Sit back down, we’ll discuss this.”
I would never be fine. Scratch that, my friends and I would never be the same again. I yelled, “We need to go now. The town rulers are coming.” My warning came too late.
Five vampires appeared in the eating area. They formed a line and hissed, baring their pointed canines like an animal protecting their young. Each vamp grabbed one of my friends. Their teeth sank into the flesh at the neck. Blood gushed everywhere.
I was left standing against Onyx.
She ran at me, and I yanked myself out from my horrific daydream.
I gripped the sides of the sink in the girl’s bathroom, letting the fear fade away. Once it vanished, I sighed and wiped the steam off the mirror. Every scenario in the hundreds I’d come up with, including this one, ended with Onyx killing me. My friends would be murdered in the process, casualties of my stupidity.
My life had become a soap opera. It didn’t have the cheating step-mother or the steamy hot sex between everyone. Instead, I had monsters, real monsters, and there was nothing I could do to get away from them. Well not for the next four years. No, eight years. Peter planned to be a doctor and received a longer scholarship. No way would I sacrifice him to the beasts.
“Ivory Ames get it together,” I muttered to myself. I adjusted my purple towel and stared at my reflection in the mirror. My blue eyes were red from crying the whole night. Each time my tears had run out, I planned inside my head a new way to tell my friends the truth, but whenever I did, we died, and I ended up crying again. At least now, I had no tears left.
I was a mess. My friends couldn’t see me like this. Peter would want to know what troubled me, and I would spill everything to him. Avoiding him for the day was my best option. The most believable excuse was studying. My Introduction to Fine Arts class had a test soon. I was a little preoccupied last night with murdering my best friend to study.
I changed into my clothes and walked back my dorm room. An idea popped into my head. A partial truth was better than nothing. If my friends could see Karen was dead, they wouldn’t search for her, and I wouldn’t have to live with the guilt anymore. I didn’t have to tell them the town’s secret.
The problem with this plan was I didn’t have her body, and I didn’t know if vampires turned to dust or their age at the time they changed. The only way this could work was for me to speak to someone. This was the one phone call I didn’t want to make.
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