Authors: Jamie Manning
Also By Jamie Manning
The Blood Prophecy Trilogy
This is a work of Fiction, characters, names, places and incidents are either a product of the author’s imagination or, if real, are used fictitiously.
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First Edition 2013
Library of Congress in Publication Data is Available
This book is typeset in Gill Sans
Cover design by Brian Butler
Cover Photography by Brian Butler
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Culver City California
or buying me my first book.
nd for teaching me to love it.
Praise for The Blood Prophecy Trilogy
lood Awakening builds on the promise of Blood Born with higher stakes, surprising new character developments, and unexpected revelations to deliver a sequel you won’t want to miss!”
anggle author of
Alice in Everville and Light Sister, Dark Sister
ith a compelling vampire mythology and unique story, Ava’s quest to come back from the undead kept me turning pages—and looking over my shoulder—late into the night.”
orbett, author of
lood Born proves that there are still new great vampire stories out there. With it’s great cast of characters, refreshing mythology and unique spin on vampire lore, Jamie Manning has created himself a stake in this successful genre.”
oodland, author of
The Yara Silva Trilogy
ull of secrets and twists, Manning’s action-packed YA debut is suspenseful and passionate. I devoured every word, and I’m still hungry for more Ava Blue and Chance.”
olfe, author of
hoever said ‘time heals all wounds’ obviously never fought vampires. I mean, look at these.” Kayla stretched her tiny frame in front of the full-length mirror tucked into the corner of her room and lifted her black fitted tee up to her chest, exposing her purplish-yellow midriff. “No way these are gonna be gone by prom.” She twisted her back to face the mirror and arched her head over her shoulder to stare at the gigantic bruises flanking her side and moving around the front just below her belly button. “It even hurts to pee.”
“Since when do you care about prom?” I winced along with her as she gently pressed at the contusions with her fingers while simultaneously sucking air through her teeth.
“Since Michael asked me.” Kayla had only been dating Michael for a few weeks—just before The Dance From Hell—but things seemed to be getting serious between them. She was different somehow, more open to things other than vampires, death and destruction. She dropped her shirt and bounced across the room to her bed, folding her legs beneath her as she sat directly across from me. I had to hang on to keep from being tossed into the floor.
“So I take it you’re going?” I already knew her answer—I’m sure she announced it to anyone with ears—but I feigned surprise.
“Aren’t you?” More air-through-teeth. “Ooh, sorry, Ava. I’m such an idiot. Just ignore me.”
“No, it’s fine,” I lied. “Really.” It wasn’t fine. Not by a long shot. But it was also unchangeable, so what could I do? The euphoria of Kayla’s mood burst like a popped balloon.
“I guess he’s still not taking your calls?” By “he,” she meant Chance, my sort-of-at-one-time boyfriend. Almost a month had gone by since he was turned into a vampire (totally my fault, but I’m not getting into that) and he still wouldn’t see me, wouldn’t even speak to me. I’d called him every day since I stood in horror and watched him leave, bloodied and undead, in the back of Aldric’s car, and every day Aldric told me “he’s not available;” code for “he doesn’t want to talk to you.” I even went to Aldric’s—where he’s been staying since the attack—but he refused to see me. Of course, with Aldric being the super-old vampire who caused my life to turn on its head, he could just be lying to me. But for some reason, I believe him. I understand Chance is mad, but enough is enough.
“What’s his deal?” Kayla continued, shifting her weight on the bed. The movement caused a whiff of her scent to flood my nostrils. I had gotten so used to being around her that I barely recognized the sweet smell of her blood anymore. A couple months ago, I had been ready to sink my fangs into her neck and drink (one of the many drawbacks to being half vampire—the craving for blood), but not now. “Why doesn’t he just get over it already? I mean, you saved his life, you know? He should be grateful.” She plucked a bag of sour-cream chips from the nightstand beside her bed and popped a couple into her mouth. My vamp super-hearing amplified the sound of the chips being smashed into a million pieces by her teeth—which was very annoying.
“Because I killed him, Kayla. That’s why he can’t get over it.” Hello, awkward statement. I lowered my eyes and focused on the section of comforter I had unknowingly pulled up between my crossed legs. I tugged at the loud pattern, my mind elsewhere. “Chance feels betrayed by me. And I don’t know what to do about it.” Kayla finally stopped chewing (thankfully) and reached out a hand, resting it gently on my knee. I watched the grease from her fingers seep into the fabric of my jeans; I just looked at her and smiled.
“Two things,” she stated. “One, you need to stop blaming yourself, okay? It wasn’t your fault.” I tried not to wince as she continued. “You made a choice that the rest of us were too scared to make.” A tiny squeeze of my knee. “You did what you had to do to save Chance’s life. That’s it, nothing else.”
I took a deep breath, slowly letting it escape my lungs. “Can you get him to see it that way?”
“I would if he would talk to me,” she said, sadness clouding her bright eyes. She missed him, too.
“So what’s the second thing?”
Kayla smiled again and stood from the bed. “The second thing is, you need something to get your mind off Chance and the fact that he’s turning out to be a total douche.”
“He’s not a douche, Kayla. He’s hurt.” I gave her a playful tap on the arm; she ignored it as she hopped off the bed and crossed to her desk. As she gave her computer’s mouse a few clicks and the screen woke from its cyber slumber, I couldn’t help but notice that the change I was seeing in her had bled over into her room.
That day I had woken up in here—the day I had tried to kill her—the space reminded me of a hospital: boring white with zero personality. Now, it was looking more like a normal girl’s room. Or what I imagined one would look like, since my only point of reference was lost in a sea of still-forgotten memories. More furniture—the desk, a nightstand and floor mirror—lined the walls, which had been painted a soft pink with off-white trim. Bright, gaudy fabric replaced the once-drab bedding, and even though the pattern was bordering on seizure-inducing, it at least made that ugly blue side-chair not quite so horrid. Right away, my mind found the image of Chance slouched in said chair, waiting for me to wake up, and I closed my eyes as the memory tugged on my heart.
“Whatever you say,” Kayla spouted. I opened my eyes, erasing the memory with overhead lighting. Kayla was busily clicking away on her computer, image after image popping up on the screen. I reluctantly got up and went to stand next to her. “But you’re still gonna need something to occupy all your free time,” she went on. “You know, now that you’re single again.”
“I’m not single!” I yelled, shivering at the thought. Not that Chance and I were ever officially a couple, but I definitely didn’t consider myself single. At least not until he said it first—which I prayed never happened.
“Again, whatever you say.” More clicking, more images. I could hear her mumbling beneath her breath, oblivious to me and everything else.
“And besides,” I went on. “I have plenty to do. I still have a lot of vampires to kill.” I had barely made it through half of the one hundred vampires I needed to “rid the world of” (Aldric’s words, not mine) to save myself and become human again.
“Well that goes without saying,” Kayla added. “But it’s not like they’re lining up outside. In case you hadn’t noticed, they’ve kind of disappeared.” I had noticed, actually, and it was really weird. A month ago, this town was crawling with vampires; today, I felt like the only one. “But we’ll find them, don’t worry. I wanna kill them as much as you do.” I cut my eyes down at her. “Okay, maybe more than you do. The point is, no way am I going to forget about helping you with that.” She turned her attention back to the screen, where she clicked a couple more links.
“And I have to find some way of getting Chance to talk to me,” I went on. “That’s not gonna be easy.”
“He’ll come around, trust me. You just need to be patient. He’s still a douche, but he’s a smart douche.” I suspected she wasn’t just guessing when it came to how Chance was feeling; it sounded like experience talking. I wanted desperately to believe her, to believe that Chance would come to his senses and forgive me, and the two of us would be together the way we should have been all along. But my inner voice kept saying, Don’t get too cocky. I really hated that voice.
“What are you looking for?” I asked, suddenly desperate to change the subject.
“Our next project,” she said. “Well, it’s a project I’ve been working on for a while, but you need a distraction. And this is perfect.”
“What is it?”
Kayla took a deep breath. “Youcanhelpmefindmydad,” she said, the words smashing together as she emptied her lungs.
I took a few steps back, shocked that she’d asked me that. I mean, I knew she had been searching for her dad ever since he went missing almost two years ago—apparently he had been taken by vampires, being a vampire hunter himself and all—but I never expected her to ask me, the resident half-vamp, for help.
“Are you sure you need me?” I whispered, suddenly nervous with no explanation why. “You’ve been looking for him on your own all this time.”
Kayla finally stopped clicking the mouse—which had kind of become a bit annoying, so I was glad—and stood up and crossed the room back to her bed. “Which is why I need your help,” she said. She dropped back onto the thick comforter and resumed devouring the bag of chips. “All this searching has gotten me nowhere. I can’t do it anymore.” I could hear pain behind her words; hidden, but just barely. Her guilt over not finding her dad was almost palpable. “It’ll be that whole ‘two birds with one stone’ thing. I could always use the help, and you won’t be constantly thinking about what’s-his-name.” She smiled and inhaled more chips. “Win-win.”
Admittedly, it sounded great. I had been looking for a way to help Kayla—and Erik—ever since they stood next to me to battle Sebastian and his coven of vampires. Paying them back for their loyalty definitely fell on my to-do list, right beneath “Find a Way to Get Chance to Forgive Me.”
“‘What’s-his-name’ is important to me, Kayla. Probably the most important right now.” I sat down beside her and twirled my fingers together. “I just don’t know what to do. I love Chance more than anything, I know that now. But I think it may be too late.”
“Don’t say that.” She popped one last chip into her mouth and tossed the empty bag to the side. “Chance loves you, too. You know that. He loved you from the first time he saw you. Probably even before then, you know?”
I stared at the crumpled bag on her bed. “Yeah, until I screwed it up. Now he wants nothing to do with me.”
“You didn’t screw anything up.” I glared at her. “You didn’t. You did what needed to be done. You did what the rest of us could’ve never done. Try to remember it that way, okay?”
“Sure. No problem.” Sarcasm much?
“And he’ll come back to you, Ava. Don’t worry about it.” There was that flash of knowing in her words, like she had zero doubt what Chance would do. It unnerved me, but also filled me with hope that maybe she was right. We sat quietly for a moment before Kayla quickly stood up. “Now,” she said. “Are you gonna help me or not?” Her smile was so wide, and her eyes so full of elation, how could I even think of saying no?
“I’ll do what I can.” I was a bit reluctant to offer my help—mainly because I had no clue what that help would be. But when Kayla’s face lit up, reminding me that even though she was a super-skilled vampire hunter, she was also just a kid, I was glad I’d said yes. She jumped back into her desk chair and began assaulting the mouse again. As I stood watching her, it hit me that this girl sitting in front of me was my best friend—my only friend—and I was so lucky to have her around. “So what are we gonna do?” I asked, doing my best to feed on her positivity, which was so surprising given the subject of our conversation. She had several pages opened on the computer screen, most of them dealing with news reports spanning several hundred miles. “What are you looking for in all those articles?”
“I’m trying to find a pattern of vampire attacks,” she said, still clicking and opening even more pages. “Hopefully I can pinpoint where the coven that took my dad is hiding out.”
“So you think you’re gonna find articles about vampires?” I was a bit skeptical, my words unintentionally coming off as condescending.
“Of course not. But I will find articles about strange animal killings or missing people or ritual-type crime scenes. You know, weird stuff like that. More times than not? Vampires.” I was admittedly surprised at both her statement about how brazen vampires were with their killings, and at the knowledge she had about my newfound heritage. But her reasoning made sense to me. I felt like such a moron for being so clueless about vampires. I was one; I needed to get in the game.
I pulled the ugly chair over and slid up beside her at the desk. “Okay, what do you have so far?” My eyes followed image after gruesome image as they flashed on her screen: mangled deer bodies, gutted livestock, headshots of missing people, crazy, cryptic drawings in blood. Knowing that vampires existed, they seemed like the most logical culprit to me, too.
“Well, there’s been a high number of missing persons reported everywhere between here and the Canadian border,” she said. “Not to mention the animal mutilations.” She kept clicking through articles, and I had to look away from the carnage that I could have so easily become a part of had Chance not been the one to find me that night in the cemetery. More memories of him and our short-but-full time together flooded my mind yet again, and I fought off tears. “It looks like Boston has been hit pretty hard over the past year or so, so I think maybe we should start there.”
“Really?” I asked, shaking off thoughts of Chance. “Boston?” Even though Boston was the nearest big city to us, I was having a hard time imagining a wild coven of vampires living there. Then again, I never imagined I would be one of those vampires, so I guess anything was possible. Kayla never looked away from the computer as she clicked on a couple of personal folders on her desktop. Several more articles opened, images of a man I assumed was her dad filling the screen.
“Yeah,” she finally answered. “I think Boston may be our best shot. Look at these.” She pointed to a couple of the smaller articles about her dad’s disappearance. “He was supposed to speak at Boston University. My mom and I thought he disappeared before leaving home, but maybe he didn’t.” Her face twisted as she tried to piece it all together. “Maybe he did go to Boston, but never made it to the university.”
“Why would he be speaking there? Was he a teacher?” I didn’t know much about her dad, but I didn’t think that the local schools would hire a vampire hunter to teach a bunch of kids.
“He was an archaeologist. He gave it up once he discovered vampires are real, but he still did lectures and presentations on his findings.”
“Yeah. You’d be surprised how many people are interested in them. Most universities have classes and seminars about the history of vampires and how they’ve influenced our culture, blah blah blah. If people knew they’re real, they wouldn’t be so interested.”