Authors: Jenna Kay
Copyright © 201
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the written permission of the publisher.
The characters, events, and locales portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Printed in the United States of America
This book is dedicated to my mom,
the strongest woman I’ve ever known.
I've always been a little different, leaning toward the weird and unusual side. From my long white hair and fair skin, to my almost clear blue eyes
weird, weird, weird. Not to mention my anti-social status and could care less attitude. But my weirdness level shot up to maximum proportions the day I turned thirteen. That was the day I saw a werewolf for the first time.
Now I say werewolf because it looked like something from the horror movies I'd watched and the paranormal books I'd read. Black beady eyes, tall, hairy, muscular body, sharp claws, long snout and teeth, pointy ears, resembling a large canine—you get the picture. Though later on I learned it had not been a werewolf at all, but a demon.
Demon. Yes, that's what I said. You see, up until that day I thought I was just your average looney, knowing and seeing nothing but what I saw in front of me. Everything had been school, boys, headaches,
tests—crappy school junk. Little did I know that I'd been born into a family who had been touched long ago by the supernatural.
The day I'd seen the werewolf demon I'd screamed bloody murder, pointing at it in fear. I'd almost peed my pants because of the terror that held my body hostage! Then confusion set in when my fellow classmates hadn't freaked out with me. I mean, come on! There was a freaking
in the room. Though while I'd screamed “werewolf”, everyone in class had stared at me with wide eyes, thinking
was the freak of nature instead of the monstrous creature. It had dawned on me that I was the only one seeing the werewolf...and the werewolf knew it. He'd thrown his hairy head back, making a sound in between a laugh and a thunderous howl.
That was my last day at that school. I'd ran home to my grandmother, who had raised me from birth (per my mother's wishes) and told her everything. The werewolf, me screaming, my classmates staring at me like I was insane...everything.
To my utmost surprise she'd remained calm, which had completely flustered me, but looking back now I can see why she had stayed chill. She'd known that day had been a long time coming, though she'd left me out of the loop. I had not gotten angry with her, even though I'd had every right to be. I mean, how could I be mad at the grandmother who'd raised me because my mother had gone AWOL?
Anyway, Granny had gone into her room and returned with a hand held mirror.
“Tell me, Gracen,” she had whispered. “Tell me what you see.”
I can remember like it was yesterday. I remember seeing the marks for the first time. Silver claw marks to be more precise, that started on my temples and ran down my cheeks, though they were very faint. Later on I learned that those marks could only be seen by others after midnight...among other things.
That was when I learned of my supernatural heritage.
Many centuries ago a legend was born. It spoke of a Silver Eagle that flew the skies in search of the purest of hearts, looking for the right persons to change. The ones who would take and use its otherworldly powers to fight the evil forces of the night. It scratched the chosen humans and they became transformed. A fierce power burned through their veins, and at the stroke of midnight, every night, the claws marks from the eagle would surface, turning a metallic silver. Their eyes would also turn silver, making their vision strong and more precise, for after midnight they could see in the dark as if it were daytime, and they could see for miles as well. Their strength and agility increased to super hero level, giving them an edge to the evil walking the earth.
They became known as the Silver Mortals, humans marked by an unearthly force, their mission to protect humanity against the evil that inhabits the planet.
Never heard of them? No, of course you haven't. No
person would believe in a Silver Eagle that went around empowering people with gifts so they could fight in a supernatural war, the battle between good and evil. Angels and Demons.
To finish the legend, the Silver Eagle injected its power into the ones who had been chosen, or another term some
have used, Touched. Generation after generation the bond has gotten stronger, the blood growing more and more potent to rid the world of the evil that is invisible to Untouched humans. Well, most humans, that is.
I say most humans, because I am human...and I'm also a Silver Mortal. I know how to hunt, fight, and kill demons, no matter what shape, form, or monster it portrays. I'm only sixteen but my name is getting out there, causing an uproar amongst a group of humans who have been touched by a more sinister entity.
Just as a Silver Eagle came to earth to transform the purest of hearts, a Fallen Angel known as Botis was sent to earth, crawling out of the depths of Hell, to mark the humans with the
of hearts. These humans would use their powers to aid in the destruction of mankind. Hellbent on causing pain, finding enjoyment in watching others tormented and oppressed.
Botis, in the form of a huge black viper, would bite and inject the sinful man or woman with his diabolical venom, turning them into a Night Viper.
The Night Vipers are evil spirited humans, and they will stop at nothing to destroy my kind. They are humans teamed up with demons to create chaos and devastation in their wake. Like the Silver Mortals, they are spread all over the world, and they too bare their own signature mark—a coiled black viper that takes up one side of their face.
When my gift emerged I had to say goodbye to Granny and the cozy cottage we shared deep in the North Carolina mountains. I had to go live with someone who knew what I was going through, the person who had abandoned me
when I was a baby—my mother, who is also a Silver Mortal,
just like her father had been, and like every generation before us.
We live in a city full of both good and evil—New York City.
Now if you were to see me walking down the street, you'd see a normal looking sixteen year old girl with horrible white hair and skin deathly pale. But people with supernatural eyes can see me for what I truly am...
As for the Silver Eagle who injected my ancestors centuries before, no one has seen, heard, or even knows where it came from. We only know that we have a job to do, and that we are counted on.
My name is Gracen Potts. Welcome to my world.
Your dad is going to kill you,” I tell my best friend, Bets Springfield.
We stand in Bets's Manhattan apartment where an impromptu party has commenced. When Bets found out her dad was going to be out of town for the weekend, she'd gotten on the phone and word quickly spread, resulting in a bunch of unruly teens and extremely loud music. Not to mention a mega-variety of liquor and two kegs.
She flips her long dark hair off her shoulders. “
not going to kill me because
not going to find out.” Her eyelids flutter, showing off her overly done black eye shadow.
“How will he
find out?” Following her mannerisms, I flip my white hair off my own shoulders, a stark contrast to her natural black.
Looking at me sourly, her nose ring sparkling, she replies, “You know what your problem is? You have no faith.” She points a black-tipped fingernail in my face.
“Your landlord is probably crapping the proverbial brick
as we speak!” I shoot back. That earns me an over-the-top eye roll.
“Gracen,” she begins, but we're interrupted by some drunk loser who places himself between us. He's a few inches taller than me, and as he leans down, getting in my face, he blows his liquor-laced breath right up my nostrils.
baby,” he slurs as he presses up against me. “Wanna dance?”
“No thank you,” I reply as politely as I can.
He laughs. “Oh, come on! One dance won't hurt you.”
” Narrowing my eyes I add, “And anyway, I don't like boys.”
He leans away from me, cocking his head to the side. “But—” Before he can finish I quickly interject, my anger getting the best of me.
“I like girls, so get out of my face!” I push him away, knocking him flat on his butt. The crowd points and laughs at him, then quickly gets back to their very open debauchery.
The guy quickly stands to his feet and wobbles away, his face flushed with shame.
Bets gives me her
you're such an idiot
look. “You are so not gay. You're the
person I know!”
I laugh loudly. “First of all,
...pretty sure that's not a real word. And secondly, I don't want to date some drunken moron who only wants to get in my pants and brag about it the next day.”
She rolls her eyes again, placing her hands on my shoulders and staring me down with her dark eyes. “As I
was saying—you need to lighten up! We're sixteen, we have beer, we have boys...” She trails off, her eyebrows hopping up and down.
“Yes, Bets. Boys. Not men.” My upper lip curls.
“Oh Gracen,” she sighs. “This one qualifies on the manly scale.”
I let loose my own sigh, understanding her words instantly. “So who's on the menu tonight, my slutty queen?”
“Billy Stanton, a senior and star quarterback,” she replies, totally ignoring my degrading comment. She sweeps her gaze across the room and catches the eye of her newest conquest. Bets waves—he waves back. She winks and his face burns crimson. The deal is sealed with eye contact and a wave.
She licks her lips as she continues to watch her prey. “Yes, Billy. I'm going to rock your socks off.” I stifle a laugh.
Bets, whose real name is Betrina, has always been a little...
? Oh hell, I'll go ahead and say it—
. I love her to death, even though she keeps a little black book with all her sexual adventures under her mattress. The truth be known I don't know if I could have made it at school without being taken under her wing.
When I'd moved to New York with my mother, Bets had been the first person to acknowledge my presence. Being the new kid is never easy, especially if you are way on the other side of normal. Fortunate for me Bets didn't care that my hair was white and my skin was pale, almost translucent like a ghost. She could care less that I didn't say much or that I dressed all in black. In fact she just didn't
. The very day we met was the day we became glued to the hip. However
we became unglued from each other when the clock struck midnight. That's when my job got in the way of my normal life.
One thing I truly love about Bets is that she keeps me grounded, giving the human part of me a brief feeling of mundanity, something I desperately need in everyday life.
My cell phone breaks into my thoughts, its vibration shaking inside my jeans pocket. Seeing my mother's number on the screen I feel the tiny bit of normalcy in my life quickly retreat from my system, giving room for my other self to emerge. Sadly, it was time to work.
“I gotta go!” I inform Bets, having to yell over the blaring dance music. She frowns at me in response, prompting me to ask, “What's your problem?”
“It's only eleven, babe,” she says sarcastically. “The party's just getting good!”
I cackle. “No, I think your own
party is about to get good,
, Billy Stanton!” I motion toward the hunky football star.
Her mouth curves into a sly grin, her eyes fixated on the muscular Billy. “No doubt about that.” She turns her attention back to me. “It just sucks, Gracen. Whenever we're having fun your mother always calls and takes you away! We've been best friends for three years now, and we've never spent the whole night together. You know, slumber parties and all that junk.”
This statement is so true, just confirming the fact that I am far from ordinary. What would Bets do if she ever saw my silver claw marks and eyes? She'd probably die from fright. I know I would if I was in the dark about the invisible world.
Though my claw marks are always visible to me, even during the day, luckily they can't be seen by normal eyes. Only supernatural eyes can see them all the time. After midnight...well, that's a different story. Everyone, and I mean
was able to see my marks after midnight.
That's why Bets and I never had slumber parties or stayed out late together. I couldn't risk my Silver Mortal marks showing.
Right away I go with the best excuse...well, the
excuse I ever used.
“You know how Mom is. Her protective gene fires up a notch at night.” Among other things.
She reluctantly gives in, knowing she can't say anything to change my mind.
“Fine. Go. I'll call you tomorrow to let you know how good Billy is.” She pauses, giving me a wink. “I'll let you in on
the juicy details—at least I hope it's juicy!”
I scrunch up my face, fighting to keep the disgusting image of them together out of my head. “Do me a favor and keep it to yourself. A lot of things need to stay private, especially when it comes to, uh...juicy parts.” Oh,
She giggles. “I better pounce before that blonde hooker over there wraps her legs around him.
I watch her walk off, her full hips shaking as she goes. The black mini-skirt and gold-sequined top she's wearing leaves little to the imagination, showing off her perfect curves. Every male in the apartment turns and watches her go, their dates becoming angry that their eyes aren't on them. She always dressed colorful and provocative, where as I usually wore black pants, black shirts—everything black.
Yeah, sounds boring, but in my line of work black leather or spandex helps me to blend into the night.
Shaking my head I journey through the room and walk out of the apartment, which is now full of rambunctious drunk teens, some dancing and some making-out. I wouldn't be surprised if the police show up and crash this rowdy affair. Wouldn't be the first time. Definitely wouldn't be the last.
Once outside, walking down the street, I give Mom a call.
When she answers I say, “So, what species are we after tonight?”
“Gracen!” my mother calls as I enter our apartment. “It's fifteen after eleven. Get your butt in gear and help me!”
I roll my eyes. It's very typical of Mom not to greet me like a normal parent. Instead of
Hi honey, how was your day?
, I get
You're late. Now drop and give me twenty!
OK, so maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but the simple truth is I'm not. The fact of the matter is I just got home from a teenage party and was unable to bask in the afterglow of it because I had to go demon hunting. My life totally sucked sometimes, and I should have been used to this life after three years of living it, but I'm not. Living two realities bite, leaving me feeling empty and lost.
But enough of feeling sorry for myself. Time to quit playing the world's smallest violin and get ready for a night of demon slaying. Hoo-
,” I call out sarcastically, throwing my leather jacket on the couch.
Walking into the kitchen I see my mother cleaning various weapons with an old gray rag. Laid out on the table are knifes, Shurikens (throwing stars), and our most prized possessions: Katana swords, made out of the purest silver. Every weapon we have is crafted from silver, thanks to Jude, our Informant.
All Silver Mortals have an Informant, and Jude Griffin is ours. He's not like us but is a vital part in our operation, and one of the few humans that know what we are. He helps us find and slay demons before they are successful at taking over the city. At thirty years old he's a master at technology, able to hack anything under the sun, and I'm amazed at the weaponry he's able to construct. He has all sorts of gizmos that make my head spin and hurt. Most people would think of him as a dork since he's a gamer, technical wizard, and smarter than he should be. The old black-rimmed glasses he wears and his mess of red curly hair on his head doesn't help his assumed nerdiness.
Jude comes from a family of Informants. Just like Silver Mortals, Informants have been around generation to generation, their jobs being to help us. He isn't much of a fighter, but he's got a huge brain and a faithful heart. He's like my older brother, except for the fact that I can kick the living crap out of him. Along with being an Informant, he is also able to see the demons that terrorize the earth, which makes him a little less than ordinary as well.
“So, where's the nest of vamp demons?” I ask casually, picking up my Katana and gently wiping the blade.
Yep. Nothing like spending a night with my mama, stalking and killing a few vamp demons. Just another stimulating evening in my demented existence.
“Underneath Blood Love,” she answers without glancing at me.
Never hearing of the place I inquire, “What's a
“It's not a thing, it's a place,” she replies coolly. “And you haven't heard of it because it's inside an unmarked building located in South Bronx.” She pauses and looks up at me with her gray eyes. “It's a vampire club where people pretend they're vampires. Someone must have had a Ouija board or a dark arts book, summoning some unwanted visitors from Hell. The demons were able to infiltrate the club and take over. They've got the owners either possessed or...out of the picture. From what Jude has concluded they have set up a nice little den for themselves in the building.”
A very typical scenario. You have a moron or twelve dabbling in the dark arts, unknowingly freeing some beasts from Hell, allowing them to cross over. Once the demons crawl up to earth they scan their surroundings to find an acceptable appearance. The humans make it easy for them, since all of them are dressed in vampire garb.
So the demons change into the most sexy and alluring vampires they can, taking on male and female forms. Then they make their presence known, captivating the mislead masses, eventually earning their trust. They have their way with them, and when they're done, they finish them off.
“How many have they gotten?” I question. “Besides the owners, that is.”
She lets out a weary breath. “Not sure, but there has been five missing persons filed this week, all regulars to the club, but there could be many more. Hundreds, maybe thousands of people in this city alone are involved in this vampire
lifestyle cult, and the majority of them are simply clueless to what's happening around them.”
“Making them easy prey,” I add thoughtfully, examining my now shiny Katana.
She nods sadly, then picks up some Shurikens, wiping them briskly.
Demons can take whatever form once they've crossed over to earth. They like to choose monsters that human society has made up. Like the werewolf I'd seen sitting in my classroom three years before, to the trolls I'd encountered my first year as a Silver Mortal, the many creatures of the night that have appeared in horror films over the years
hat's their cup of tea, only they take human life in a different way.