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Authors: K. F. Breene

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Into the Darkness
Darkness [1]
K. F. Breene
(2014)

I’d always been different. I saw objects in the night where others saw emptiness. Large, human shaped shadows, fierce yet beautiful, melting into the darkness. I collected secrets like other women collected bells; afraid to fully trust lest my oddities be exposed.

Until I saw him. He’d been gliding down the street, unshakable confidence in every step. It wasn’t just that he was breathtakingly handsome with perfect features. Something about him drew me. Sucked my focus to him and then tugged at my body. As his eyes met mine, I was entrapped.

No one had noticed him. He’d been right there, just beyond the light, but only I had perceived.

I had to know if he was real. Or maybe I really was crazy. And even when my secret box was blasted wide open, dangers hurled at me like throwing knives, I couldn’t stop until I unraveled his true identity.

I just had to know.

“She was fated to live.”
“Then why must you save her?”
“Often Fate is struck down by dumb luck.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTO THE DARKNESS

Darkness, #
1

 

 

 

 

 

 

by
K.F. Breene

 

 

Website:
http://kfbreene.com/

Blog: www.kfbreene.org

 

Facebook:
KFBreene

Twitter: @
KFBreene

 

 

Copyright © 2014
by K.F. Breene

 

 

Other Titles by K.F.
Breene

 

Skyline Series (Contemporary Romance)

Building Trouble, Book 1

 

Jessica Brodie Diaries (Contemporary Romance)

Back in the Saddle, Book 1 – FREE

Hanging On, Book 2

A Wild Ride, Book 3

 

Growing Pains (Contemporary Romance)

Lost and Found, Book 1 - FREE

Overcoming Fear, Book 2

Butterflies in Honey, Book 3

 

Dar
kness Series (Paranormal Romance)

Into the Darkness, 1

Braving the Elements, 2

 

 

 

 

Into the Darkness

 

 

Prologue

 

The little girl fell out of the car door, twisted metal encircling her like protective arms. Dazed, blood dripping down her cheek, she staggered from the wreckage. Too confused to cry, glass crunching under shoeless feet, she paused, staring away from the carnage out at the darkness.

The night held its breath, silence echoing in the wake of massacre.

A spark flared from one of the ruined engines. Heat met the petroleum coated ground. Flame licked the liquid, coaxed to life.

The first wail of a siren wrenched the
scene. The hungry flame caught. As the girl stared dumbly, making out shapes in the shadows, fire consumed the twisted bodies of car and human alike. Blue flame skipped along the gravel, a silent predator. Finding a petroleum-covered sock, it climbed up a small leg, reaching for a blood-crusted tutu.

Still the girl stared
at the figures moving in the darkness. Human shaped creatures with eyes that caught and threw the light. Large, hulking frames. Silky, dangerous movements.

Heat seared her numb leg, her
sensitivity cut off in shock.

“What are you doing?” o
ne of the shapes seethed from deep within the inky shadows. He clutched at an arm, stopping forward movement.

“She’ll die.”

“She’s human. That’s what they do.
Leave it
.”

“She is but a child.”

“It isn’t our concern.”

The arm ripped free. “I will not allow a child to burn to death. Not after surviving the impossible. She was fated to live.”

“Then why must you save her?”

“Often
Fate is struck down by dumb luck.”

A shadow charged forth, a black pool among flashing blue and red. The girl did not
flinch, unafraid of the large figure rushing her.  Still unable to comprehend her danger. Or the death around her.

The tiny body was ripped away from the carnage, flame smothered in black leather.     

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

 

 

“Sasha? What is it?”

My face slipped off my palm and jerked my
shoulders toward the table. Blinking away the daydream, I tore my eyes away from the balmy day peeking out of the window. My boyfriend, Jared, stared at me out of a cute, boyish face, his eyebrows quirked quizzically.

“Not a thing
,” I answered with an easy smile. “Where we headed tonight?”

He crinkled his nose
. “You’ve been daydreaming all day. Was it that imaginary guy from yesterday? The invisible male model strolling down the street?” He laughed at the absurdity of what he’d said.

I threw a wadded up napkin at him
with a smile. “Be quiet, you. You go spreading that story around and everyone’ll think I’m crazy.”

“Nah.
They already know it.” He sipped his coffee, his brown eyes sparkling above the rim of his cup.

“Actually, smart guy, I was thinking about that test.” I rolled my eyes. “I hate tests. Why don’t they just trust me
that I don’t know the material and give me a passing grade anyway? It would be so much easier on everyone.”

Jared laughed and leaned back in his chair. “You want help?”

“Argh!”

“What are you, a pirate?”

I smirked and sipped my coffee. “I guess. I’m certainly not going to pass it without you.”

He shook his head and laughed. “You need to have some faith in yourself.”

“That’s your job. I stick to reality.”

He
shook his head and got up to pay the check. My thoughts immediately went right back to the enigma. That man.

He’d been gliding down the street, movements lithe and graceful,
unshakable confidence in every step. His powerfully muscular body belayed an age ten years older than his youthful looking mid-twenties. My eyes stuck to him like a butterfly’s wings in honey. Something about him drew me. Pulled my attention and then tugged at my body.

It wasn’t
just that he was breathtakingly handsome with perfect features. Which he was. But there was something else, too. A deadly grace—like a dancer—etched his every movement. His muscles moved in perfect harmony, a chorus of power and might. Dominating. Oh-so-god-damned-sexy.

As he neared, he drew me like a magnet.
I could feel my body responding, wanting to go to him. Wanting to take those three short steps and touch his body. Smile up at him. Anything to get his attention; to get his praise.

Eyes the color of sparkling onyx had swung
my way, feeling the weight of my stare and answering. I devoured the challenge in his eyes. Answered it with a yearning that consumed my entire being in a way I’d never felt before. A way I’d never even heard
someone could feel. Like a deep ache burning in the pit of my stomach and spilling over every inch of my frame, I tingled with the need for him. I pounded with it, the beat of my heart throbbing in a few choice parts of my body.

It had taken Jared’s confused tug to jerk me away—yank my head out of the strange fantasy I’d conjured up. When I’d turned back, he was gone.

Jared had asked what I’d smiled dreamily at.

I hadn’t remembered doing
that, obviously. And I
definitely
didn’t remember giving empty air a greeting. But apparently, if Jared was to be believed (and being that he was smart, talented, and always on top of things, he probably should), I had been following the travels of the wind as it passed us by. Wind being visible? That was strange. Even stranger? Muttering largely incoherent words at it. Yes Jared, that
is
odd. I don’t know what came over me. Ha-ha…

I
t wasn’t funny.

What it
was,
however, was an example of the kinds of things I had religiously tried to keep from people. This was a secret box item, and I had long since learned my lesson on that subject. A “humor me” psych evaluation at the request of my foster parents put a pretty fine point on it. I’d only been ten years old at the time. I’d had to get street savvy really quickly after that—they’d never adopted me, they could give me back. And
would
give me back if I showed signs of mental instability.

This recent episode
meant I had to put a little more distance between Jared and I, which sucked because I’d already managed to wedge a hefty amount of space between us as it was. I wanted to get closer and fully trust him, sharing a deeper level of intimacy; but shortly after we’d first gotten intimate, I’d explained about the strange things I saw in the shadows. I’d told him an item or two that I kept in my secret box. He’d responded by worriedly asking if I had a counselor. When he learned I didn’t, he tried to set one up. He only meant well, but if I didn’t want to end up in a place with twenty-four hour surveillance, I had to zip the lip. Even with him.

“Sasha?”

“Ta da!”
I threw some jazz hands Jared’s way.

“God, you’re weird.” He grabbed my jacket and waited for me to gulp down the rest of my coffee.

“I know you are, but what am I?” I smiled up at Jared’s shaking head, angling my face up for a kiss. “Good one, right? When’s the last time you heard that one?”

“Don’t know. When’s the last time you s
aid it?” He gave me a quick peck and directed me toward the door.

“Touché, my good man.
Touché.”

 

Two hours later my eyes were crossed and my head hurt. Why the hell was calculus important, anyway? How was I possibly going to need this in my everyday life? I should’ve taken statistics for the math credits. Although, same question applied, and that teacher was a huge jerk, so…

“Give up?”
Jared leaned back with a sigh, easy breezy. What the heck a smart guy was doing with a dummy like me was anyone’s guess.

Zip the lip.

“Where was I when the man behind the curtain was giving out brains?” I closed my book and tossed it on the floor. The dull thunk was strangely gratifying.

“You hadn’t left the wildness clinic yet. Let’s remember who talked me into skydiving.”

“Not my fault that you don’t know how to live.” I threw my pencil at my backpack. “I don’t think I can absorb anymore. My brain hurts.”

“We could always…take your mind off of things…” Jared rubbed my back, his shy and subtle way of hinting that he wanted to have a little nookie. It was so cute.

Giggling, because I was always down for a little naked fun,
I stretched for his zipper. Embarrassed but excited, Jared put his hands to his sides on the bed and braced himself, wanting me to take the lead. His breath hitched as I tugged at his zipper. His eyes hooded.

Reaching in with a wicked grin
I captured my prize. I met his lips as I slid my palm against him, steel encased in luxury velvet. His kiss tasted like coffee and spearmint, his tongue shy and reserved.

I backed off
seductively—I tried for seduction, anyway—and slowly bent. He sucked in a huge breath as I took him in my mouth. I loved his uncontrolled moan as the sensations overwhelmed him. It was in this moment that I felt sexy and masterful, taking him beyond his reasonable mind to a place that was raw and wild. I wished we could stay here, two first-timers pushing our boundaries together.

Except he was a younger guy and couldn’t really hold back, and I was a younger girl and needed a little finesse.
Troubled times.

Speaking of time
, I didn’t have much of it. I worked at my shirt while keeping up the suction. I’d just gotten the last button undone, ready to rip the thing off and get in position quickly, when—

“Ohhhhhhhh
God!”

I gagged. I couldn’t help it.

“Hmmm, sorry baby.” Jared smiled in relaxation as he sighed in relief, then tucked himself away and fell back against his pillows. “You’re just so good at that. Are you sure you aren’t practicing sex in class or something?”

“Sex classes a la Jared, yeah.” I cleaned myself up as his lids got heavy.
My body, hot and tingling, begged me to continue our forays. “Is that… Are we…um…done?”

He laughed with a deep sigh
. “I think I’m just going to take a quick nap, if that’s okay?”

“Oh.
Yeah, totally. Definitely.” I bobbed my head, feeling a little awkward with my shirt hanging open. I stared down at him as I buttoned up, feeling a tiny smile bud at his absolute contentment.

I
was lucky to have him. Peaceful and easygoing, he always took my slips in sanity with a
laissez-faire
attitude. I wished I could fully open up to him like I wanted to. He was my
first,
damn it—having met him my sophomore year in high school, he was my first kiss, first real relationship, first sexual partner, and first meaningful friend. And he was kind of
my everything
these days.

A famil
iar pallor washed over me as I thought about keeping the closest person in my life at an arm’s reach. That I had to continue on in a weird half-life, in which I kept all the important things hidden behind a veil of secrecy. Saying I was alone was like calling the surface of the sun warm. Saying I was lonely…well, I couldn’t seem to find a way to fill the void my childhood had created. I’d lost my parents and brother young, the sole survivor in a freak, five car pileup. Everyone had died. Every single person. Killed on impact, or shortly thereafter in a bright blaze seen for miles. I’d been found in a nearby park with a bad gash to the head, small burns on my legs, and severely in shock. To this day, no one has been able to explain it.

I didn’t remember a thing.

Having no aunts or uncles, no other family, I ended up in foster care knowing I would spend my life fending for myself. I’d gotten lucky, both to escape the crash, and to end up with two well-rounded people and their two averagely bratty children. I fit in with them as any fifth wheel might, and they tried really hard to make me feel at home; but...well, I was the only foster kid in our upper-middle class suburbia, and though I did have some friends growing up, they never let me forget that I didn’t have deep roots. Their parents couldn’t give them away if we got caught shoplifting. Mine could. And might’ve.

I was forever an army of
one, having no one in my life to give me the unconditional love other kids took for granted. My accomplishments were praised with a placating smile and a nod or two where my foster brother or sister would get jubilant commendation and shrieks of delight. I had one picture on the fridge that never changed, pushed off to the side and half covered by multilayers of pictures brought home from the children that belonged. And only a fool would be upset by any of that, because I’d been in a good home with a good family, and sent to good schools, where others were in an orphanage on the bad side of town. I thanked my luck every day. I’d endure a helluva lot more for the chance in life I got.

If only the parent issue was my biggest problem
.

Why was I seeing
imaginary people? To this day, I didn’t know if any of that was real. I mean, how could they be? Eyes that reflected the light like a nocturnal animal? Invisible people no one else saw?

I was cracked and too afraid to confide in anyone, especially Jared. He was really all I had—my foster parents moved away when all the kids went to college.
If he knew I was constantly hallucinating then…well, I didn’t want another appointment for a psych evaluation, I’d say that much.

I lightly traced a fin
ger down Jared’s cheek, then bent over and gave him a light kiss. “Okay, well, pick me up later?”

“Yeah,” he mumbled, drifting off to sleep.

 

 

Oh man, I loved this time of night! I exited my one-bedroom apartment as the sun shook hands with the horizon. The cool breeze tickled my face, making me sigh in contentment, picking up the soft smell of roses dotting the front lawn of the apartment complex.

Jared waited in his convertible by the cur
b wearing the spiffy button-up shirt I loved. “Hey, babe,” I said, slipping into the front seat. I leaned over for a kiss then buckled myself in. “Where to?”

“I have a great evening planned.”

“Oh?”

The corner of his lips tweaked, trying to suppress a smug grin. He shrugged. “Have to give you a reason to
…come home with me, don’t I? Make up for…things.”

I
couldn’t help laughing. His smirk turned into a full, gleaming smile. With a blast of power, the car lurched forward, pushing me back into the seat. I put my hands up in glee, the wind almost visible as it pushed against my palms and wound its way through my fingers. A girl nearly dying in a car crash should be deathly afraid of cars. Should be…

My teeth became
a bug screen and my laughter bubbled up like a bottle of champagne. But I wasn’t afraid. Not of much. In high school, I’d take a dare with a smile. I was always the fearless one, ready for any challenge. Maybe I should’ve thought a few things through, but…well, life was in the journey. The wilder, the better.

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