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Taken from all she has ever known and loved, Neva finds herself swept into a world of vampires where she learns she will determine their future. Yet she quickly discovers she is the target of a vampire, Zachariah, seeking to stop her from altering the vampire lineage. She must decide which path she will take while trying to protect the family she left behind, and discovering a past she cannot escape.

Release dateJul 31, 2017
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Mikayla Elliot

Mikayla Elliot is an avid reader and writer of fantasy novels. She is a single parent to two beautiful children and their rambunctious corgi, Sheila, living in Atascocita, Texas. When Mikayla isn’t creating new worlds and adventures she spends her time working as a Planner in the energy industry, which has unveiled various landscapes in multiple states for site visits. Mikayla holds a Bachelor’s in Business Management from the University of Phoenix, and feels the debt deep in her soul and pockets.

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    Snow - Mikayla Elliot

    Part I

    Unfortunate Beginnings

    January 1287

    DARKNESS IS AN unwelcome thing these days; it runs through my eyes and into the core of my mind where it rolls over and over, a black tide that swallows me into the depths of silence and cold. It is all I have known for two hundred and fifty years. My name is Neva, and I miss the world of light dearly.

    When I became what I am now, I was in shock and panic. I was too weak to react in any way other than lying helplessly on the floor, letting tears burrow lines down the sides of my face. A chandelier of crystal with diamond accents strung on golden wires was hanging above me, and I could see every single thing in the room reflected within the prisms. However, the fire burning in my neck distracted me from taking in the full visual from that hanging mirror. I could hear a woman screaming and could smell blood, our blood, together. My blood was on the floor, on her lips and tongue, while hers was being painted across the walls as a dark figure slit her throat. Her gargled words of traitor and why were silenced as her body was thrown against a wall; a heavy thud accompanied the impact that gave the wall new dimension.

    I could pick up other scents easily matched to the reflections in the chandelier. The man who had brought me to this room, the reason I was present for the horror playing out before me, was curled into a corner. Bastard, I thought. I could smell his urine mixed with his expensive cologne. Scared, spineless bastard. My body arched and shook as my eyes rolled back and caught the other man’s visage. There is the devil, I thought. The dark figure smelled of patchouli, light and alluring through my suffering. His eyes were the beacon in the room for my eyes; where he looked, I looked. I could hear him, yet I never saw his lips move. Then he was at my side, asking if I wanted to see my family again, if I wanted to see my nieces playing.

    I want you to live, Neva, he said so gently, so sweetly. I have plans for you, my dear, and I offer you a chance to see the ones you love the most once again. They were poison, those words. The offer he gave was one I didn’t believe he could follow through on.

    I accepted with a nod while inside I was screaming out for him to save me, help me, over and over, a chant and a plea. So he did. This dark figure leaned across me, and for the first time, I could almost clearly see his features, but blood had pooled into my eyes and replaced my tears. He bit into my neck where the woman had. I felt the agony intensify; his bite was deeper, and I still held no strength to push him away. As the fire in my blood and heart burned into an inferno, my mind was ablaze. My mouth opened wide to scream, but no noise came; his words and will silenced my voice from within my mind. His essence caused the convulsing and increasing of my senses; I could smell and see everything when all had begun to dissipate in my dying moments.

    In the beginning, I thought my skin was melting, but then the sensation shifted to my skin and tissue being torn off, bit by bit, with an endless array of rusted nails. My skin and muscle tissue felt as though they had been sloughed away from the bones as the fever peaked, but instead, the muscles tore and tendons tightened as my bones bent and most assuredly broke beneath the pressure. My body was an offering to the sadist as his bite rooted itself firmly into my veins. My heart became a cage filled with hummingbirds suffering from rabies; the fluttering and beating was going to break through my sternum and leave a beautiful display of my remaining life, an artistic expression covering the room from ceiling to floor. My mind was a blistering of sensors; everything was lighting across my brain and, if seen from the inside, would have held such an array of colors it could have lit the world on fire.

    I later realized he was replacing the woman’s influence with his own as he held his bite firm, though at the time I thought he had finally drained my body completely, and I waited to welcome death. It would have been more peaceful, merciful even, because how I was still alive through such trauma was a marvel. With his poison coursing into my veins, the woman’s poison seemed like a pinprick compared to his knives assaulting my body. The pain doubled, then tripled with no possible comparison. I knew no physical comparison was possible in the entire world because his mind told me it was so.

    Then, all I could see changed. Everything became unstable, warping by being stretched out too far and then crashing in to tight fragments. Yet the torment left as swiftly as it had struck, and the fire numbed beneath my skin and in my heart. My entire body followed suit, and my mind became a blank slate in a healthy state of awe. I was left to feel only my heart.

    It was slowing.

    I closed my mouth slowly, not knowing how it was possible after I was certain every part of me was broken. As he drew back, I watched with an emptiness as he smiled down at me.

    Time to be free, he whispered.

    My mind burned. The fire had not left but simply migrated; it was hot and liquid yet felt like lead. He parted my lips for me and dragged his thumbnail across his wrist; his blood barely seeped out at first. My mind and the panic were still acutely aware, yet my heart was slowing to its impending end as he lowered his wrist to my mouth and gently pressed it upon my lips, into my teeth. A sweet metallic taste on my tongue spurred the desire, which pressured my heart to beat and forced my teeth to dig into his skin. I fed, taking from him what had just been taken from me: precious life. He was the one who stopped me; I know now if he had not, I would have taken the last drop of blood he had to offer. Too bad really, he was quite a delicacy.

    The woman, the one I had thought was dead, got up from the floor, grasping her healing throat. I was alive again—and beyond that. My heart was running wild yet entirely silent while my mind was the ocean at its calmest. She became my first kill, one of my own kind.

    Anger was all I felt in the subtle hatred still simmering in my heart and veins. I was pulled to my feet by the dark figure. I gave him no recognition, as though he were but a tool I utilized. In a moment, I was standing before the staggering woman, letting her see my face, take it in, and remember it in her last moments. Everything was instinct, I like to believe, and not just my hatred and hunger combining to form the monster I was in that instant. My body had begun to shift and change; I felt as if my muscles had doubled, and the tightened dress, ever resilient, resisted tearing open. All my veins and arteries were pulsing throughout my body as I grabbed her by her throat with my right hand, holding her a few inches from the floor, and slammed her against the wall until she hung like a rag doll. I stood watching as she futilely clawed at my hands and face. My entire body felt rigid; it was a reflection of hard edges, as though adamantite had replaced my bones and steel wires my muscles. The change was boiling in my veins, pulsing with my heart while it raced harder.

    In my mind, I was flipping through the memories still fresh before the acid took over my body, fueling the insanity I was burning through in that instant. I pulled my left arm back and struck my hand into her body, my fingers and hand straight as a spear that pierced her heart. No semblance of who I once was stood there before that dying woman. I twisted my hand and felt a warm liquid spill down my arm, hot blood invading my senses. It tingled, a warm bubbling sensation over my arm, and smelled more inviting than any pastry I had ever baked. I wanted to eat her then, not just drink her blood, but taste her flesh between my lips and know her skin that way. Revenge held me steadfast.

    Was he really worth all of this? I asked with my voice coarse and low, foreign to my ears.

    She was screaming hoarsely as I twisted my arm back and forth, and only then did I realize men were yelling through the bolted double doors, hammering away at them. The woman’s screams diminished quickly. I immediately blocked the impending intruders’ noise out of my mind. I had no more time to play with her, so I withdrew my left arm from her body and released her throat, letting her fall, her screaming having fully ceased. She was slumped lifeless into a pile of peach taffeta, such a lovely color complementing her. Grabbing her white-blonde hair, I dragged her, trailing a wide streak of blood, to the massive stone fireplace that took over a single wall in the study.

    Above the fireplace sat an immense mural of the man cowering in the corner, ironically showing him sitting bravely upon a white horse with his royal decorations displayed and common folk surrounding him with welcoming faces. A giggle escaped my closed lips. With ease, I picked up the dead woman’s body and disposed of it into the hearth in a single heave. To the left of the opening sat a five-piece set of fireplace tools; I grabbed the poker and stuffed in the edges of her dress. I watched as her beautiful gown immediately became engulfed within the orange flames; a hissing sound issued against my hearing. I stood for a moment as the fire tried to match the smolder in my skin; the body twitched and writhed as one last gasp came from the melting lips. The smell of her hair and burning skin would have repulsed me, but I took in three deep breaths, reveling in the glory of her death. I laughed, a deep low sound that shook my body, my very alive body, to the core.

    The man in the corner was mumbling and getting louder with every passing moment. I turned my gaze to him and could immediately see what he saw of me. A woman in emerald green, the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, left arm covered in blood dripping slowly off her elbow, standing nonchalantly by the fire with eyes that were an ever-changing kaleidoscope. I went to him then, a slight swagger to my walk, purposefully taking my time so he could see his impending doom. He became kill number two, and my first taste of human.

    Am I everything you wanted and more? My words were a sweet, alluring poison as the man stared up into my face. His deep brown eyes were lost as his soft, ash blond hair danced excitedly with every shake of his head.

    My spell was gone by the last shake of his head; I let go of my control. Though I did not understand that fact in the moment, it was the direct result of my subconscious desires. I saw his fear and then tasted it as he screamed. I was at his neck and biting down, drinking his blood and taking his life, my hands pressed so hard upon his shoulders I heard and felt them cracking beneath my grip as my fingernails dug deep into his soft tissue. I felt my new teeth break through my gum line, a pain and pleasure meeting as one, and bury into his neck long, deep indentures that cut through into his throat where air was entering and exiting.

    He continued to scream in a gargled frenzy until I tore away, taking part of his neck and throat with me. I then realized he had been pushing against me, grabbing my arms and body and anything else to fight me off, but I had felt none of it. No resistance, though it had been there. He was grabbing at his throat with his hands; shock had set in, and he sat gasping with his mouth wide open in an attempt to cry out his horror, not that he could scream at that point. A wheezing sound rapidly exhausted itself from the gaping wound.

    Part of me came back then, and I felt nausea wash me from the crown of my head to the ends of my toes in a temperature change that left me off center. The room was beginning to spin, and I could taste and feel the texture of his throat gripped tightly between my teeth. He had patted cologne along his neck earlier in the evening and still had a bit of stubble missed during his shaving. His blood poured from between his grasping fingers, spilling and pooling in his lap. Nausea led me to vomit, causing the piece of meat that was once the man’s throat to fall to the red-and-cream rug beneath my jeweled heels with more blood than the flesh had provided.

    I heard the click of a tongue; the dark figure had sat in a plush red velvet chair in the farthest corner of the room and watched the spectacle unfold. He was smiling at me. I still didn’t have enough time to catch the details of his face; I only caught sight of his eyes as I turned and he spoke to me, You exerted yourself, my dear, far too much too soon, but such promise!

    I hated him then.

    I passed out before the guards were able to bust through the main door. I later found out the dark figure had swept me out of the doors leading to the balcony, doors that were closed and locked even after we left. Those men later reported the doors had been locked from the inside during their investigation of the appalling scene. Had they opened those doors the moment they had entered, they might have found the two remaining drops of blood that had absconded from my arm on our way out, but the gruesome scene they found themselves in was more than their minds could handle in that moment.

    By the time they opened the balcony doors, the snow had turned to rain and washed away what little evidence there had been.

    Four days later, I found out they had discovered the man stuffed halfway into the fireplace. Only his upper half, to be precise, along with what they had thought was my body. My family held my funeral the evening I awoke within the walls I came to consider home. My heart was no longer beating as a human but with the slow, nearly nonexistent pulse of a vampire.

    WHEN I WAS still human I was attractive in a simplistic way. My ivory complexion had its imperfections, and my hair curled in the least amount of humidity, but I could bathe in the sunlight. I could bask in all the beauty there was to find of sunrise and sunset. I felt sweat beading down my neck and back as I worked in my family’s bakery, daylight pouring in through the front windows. My hazel green eyes never changed color, and my hair was the darkest possible ash brown, and, while men were drawn to me then, it was not in the way they are now.

    They desired me from their basic instincts and not from my aura as a vampire, with hair the color of midnight, thick and full and styled to my every thought. My eyes hold more of a

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