Monday, October 6, 2014

Chaos Sneak Peek - First Chapter - Book 4

 Chaos has been turned into the editor. So as soon as she returns it, I will publish. The good news is that it is written! : ) I'm so excited to have book 4 done. It's 80,000 words.  So it's a big one. 



Chrissy Peebles

 Book 4 in The Crush Saga

This takes place exactly where book 3 left off. 

Chapter 1

     Feelings of panic and terror crept over me. The white buck had foretold our doom, but I wouldn’t let the supernatural creature have the upper hand—or hoof, as it were. I knew I needed to keep a calm head if we wanted to get out of there alive. I felt confident that we could still get away, as long as we left that very second, and I wasn’t about to just lie down and die like some horror movie victim.
     I opened the door, frantic to leave. A huge wolf lurched, swiping its massive paw, missing my face by mere inches. With my heart racing, I jumped back. Jesse, Grant, and Fred wrestled with the stubborn door and, with brute force, finally managed to slam it shut.
     BAM! BAM!
     The wolfen thing threw itself against the door, desperate to get in, its rage fueled by revenge. I fought to hold my scream back, knowing full well it wouldn’t take long for the mighty beast to tear the door off its hinges like paper. Of course the deceptively majestic white buck wasn’t there to issue me a warning so I could escape. I also knew it meant the werewolves weren’t far behind.
     Fear raced through me. “Uh…anybody read Fighting Pissed-Off Werewolves for Dummies?” I asked, but no one laughed.
     Jesse placed a gun in my hand. “Yeah. Chapter 1 says to shoot the thing with a silver bullet. Remember that shooting lesson I gave you and Julie?”
     I nodded. “Sure, but there are too many of them! Rambo and the Calvary couldn’t take them all down.”
     “She’s right,” Julie said, her voice trembling. “We’re completely surrounded by werewolves.”
     He let out a long breath, his eyes glowing fiercely. “We have to create a distraction.”
     “What kind of distraction is gonna fool an army of immortals at our doorstep?” Julie retorted. ”Plus, you’re sorta losin’ it here, buddy. Your eyes are glowing and you’re about to go all vampire.”
     “Julie, stop,” I said. “Calm down.”
     “Calm down!? How do you expect me to—”
     I gripped her shaking hands. “You’re losing it too.”
     “I know. I just… I don’t wanna die, not like this,” she said. “I’ve been fighting too hard for my life to let those things take it away from me.”
     “Nobody’s dying today,” I assured her. “We’ll fight…and we’ll get outta here alive.”
     The guys scrambled together and whispered about possible exit strategies.
      “Send out that bloodsucking fiend first!” a man’s deep voice echoed. “We’d really love to get the undead infestation in Big Bear Lake under control.”
       “Wait. Do they know about Fred?” Julie whispered. “They only said fiend, not fiends.”
      “They can’t possibly know I’m with you,” Fred whispered. “I have the daylight ring to hide me and let me walk in the light, remember?”
     “And you don’t think the white buck squealed?” I said, trying to hold it all together. “Plus, there were trackers after you. I’m sure the cat is outta the bag, and if the vamps know, so do the witches and werewolves.”
     “They want me first,” Jesse said, peering slightly out the window. “They know I’ll protect Taylor with my very last breath.”
     “And so will I,” Grant said.
     Jesse shot him a look. “Funny. They didn’t call you out.”
     “Do you seriously think I’m with them, man? What do I have to do to prove my loyalty?”
     Before Jesse could even answer, his eyes started to glow, and his sharp fangs descended. He fought to stay in control, but he was quickly losing the battle. All of the panic, mayhem, and chaos had triggered a violent attack, leaving me consumed with guilt. Jesse needed to be with his family, not out on the road with me, fighting off wolves. When he growled at Grant, I stepped in his path.
     “Baby, you’ve gotta hold it together. Take a deep breath, and try to calm down. We’ve got much bigger problems than Grant. We have to figure out how to get out of here.”
     He nodded but kept his eyes on Grant, as if he expected him to pull a sneak attack any minute, maybe to open the door and let the others ambush us. I really couldn’t blame Jesse for his distrust; we didn’t know Grant all that well. For the time being, though, it was best to assume he was on our side so we could all work together.  
     “We’ll let Fred go,” a man roared from outside.
     I looked at Fred, who swallowed hard. “They know.”
     “We’ve got no beef with him, even if the vampires do,” the man shouted.              “Just come out peacefully, and Freddie can ride off into the sunset with his daylight ring, though I can’t guarantee his happily-ever-after will last very long with vampire trackers on his butt. The longer you all stay holed up in there, the closer they’re gonna get to him.”
     “Don’t do it!” Fred said.
     “They’re only offering to let him go because they know he’ll be slaughtered soon enough by the hunters,” Grant said.
     “Who cares why they’re saying it? How can we trust them anyway?” Jesse said. “I don’t trust anything they say.”
Grant shot him a look. “Our kind keeps their word, unlike blood-bingers.”
     “We want the wolf traitor and the three who stole the witches’ powers,” the man demanded in a throaty roar that practically rattled the battle-beaten door.           “Do you know how long we’ve been waiting for that ceremony to free us? We’ve been forced to work with the witches, protecting petals for centuries, and for what? You just ruined it, everything we’ve worked so hard for, and you’ll pay for that, one way or another. Taylor and Julie are destined to die, and they will. At least with the witches, you would have had a few more months, but you can’t change their fate. And now, Jesse, because you insist on putting your life on the line for them, we’ll have to take yours too!”
     Julie shook my shoulder, pulling me to the window. “Look! They’ve tripled in number. They’re everywhere,” she said, her lips trembling.
     Werewolves paced past the window. The huge yard was littered with them, like an overcrowded wolf exhibit at the zoo. I ran to the window in the next room. The furry army stretched around the house, as far as my eyes could see. No matter what plan we tried to come up with, we were doomed to be mauled if we stuck so much as a toe out the door. I quickly grabbed a pair of binoculars from the desk and ran upstairs for a bird’s-eye view.
     “Wait! Don’t you dare leave me down here,” Julie said, quickly tagging along.
     Peering through the binoculars, I gasped. “Oh my gosh. I’ve never seen so many werewolves,” I said.
     “That guy was right,” she said. “There’s no escaping our curse. We stopped the ceremony, but we’re still destined to die.” She wiped a tear from her eye.             “Was I only born for this?”
      I gripped her hand. “Julie, we haven’t gotten this far just to give up.”
     “Have you looked outside?” she said, trembling in a terrified shudder. “We laid waste to hundreds of years of their hard work, ruined all the game pieces they so carefully played. I’m sure they don’t take that lightly, and they’re not gonna kill us mercifully. Maybe we’d be better off if we just—”
     “No!” I said, shushing her suicidal rant. I looked out through the binoculars again. “It’s simple warfare, like Bilbo on Smaug.”
     Sighing, and realizing she wasn’t much of a Tolkien fan, I said, “We just have to find their weakest spot.”
     “They have no weak spot. I’ve looked with my new supernatural eyes a dozen times, and so have Grant, Fred, and Jesse. They’re practically impenetrable.”
     “Look, Jules, they might kill me today,” I said, “but if they do, I’m still gonna die on my own terms. At the very least, I’ll take my last breath knowing I accomplished something, that I stopped that ceremony, and I’ll remind them of that with my last words. We have to fight or try to escape, but even if we don’t make it, we still sorta won.”
     Julie looked at me. “Well, if we were gonna die anyway, I would rather have popped my clogs for the witches, for my people.”
     I looked at her, shocked.
     She continued, “Our people could’ve had their power back. We might escape all this in death, but they’ll never get their magic back. We took that from them.”
     “Are you saying we shoulda just let them lead us to that ceremony like good little lambs?” I asked, dumbfounded.
     “Yes, because not going did nothing to change our fate. At least then, the witches—my mom included—would have their powers.”
     “They don’t deserve to have powers!” I shouted. “They would’ve murdered us just like they did the chosen ones before us. Murderers shouldn’t be rewarded with powers.”
     “You’re only thinking in the short term,” she admonished. “We would have helped the entire witch race, not just the ones we know.”
     “Gosh, Julie, how can you even buy into that line of crap?” I asked. “It’s like you’ve been brainwashed with all that propaganda they pumped into their victims for hundreds of years.”
     “At least if the witches got their powers back, those deaths in the past would have meant something. Because of us, they died for nothing!”
     I shook my head. “I’m sorry, but I don’t agree. Those others were murdered, and we stopped the ceremony to pay the witches back for those unnecessary losses. Now, the witches and werewolves are out in the cold. I’ll die knowing we got our vengeance on those who deserved it. I’m proud to go down in the history books as the girl who ruined everything.”
     “Well,” she said, glancing out the window, her eyes growing wide, “for the time being, I’m afraid we’re only gonna be known as the Slice Girls.”
     “Huh?” I asked.
     “You know. The Slice Girls, the girls who were ripped to shreds!”
     “Wait,” I said. “Something’s kind of weird about this.”
     “They outnumber us by far. Why haven’t they just broken in here and attacked?”
     She shrugged. “They’re dogs. Maybe they like playing games. Why don’t we throw a stick and see if they’ll fetch it.”
     “Very funny,” I said, even though it wasn’t funny at all. “This isn’t Drake. He likes to play games. We’re dealing with werewolves. They hunt, stalk, kill…and we know they want us dead. By now, they should’ve burst in here and gobbled us up, be dancing around our heads on a stake or something.”
     She shook her head. “That’s not even funny.”
     “Well, they’re obviously waiting for something,” I said.
     “Yeah, something seems to be holding them off.” She looked out the window.      “What though?”
     “I dunno.” I peered through the binoculars and studied the horrific scene before me, hundreds of canine killers pacing around the house. “It just doesn’t make sense. Why haven’t they stormed in or at least forced us to surrender if they want to take us to a different location?”
     “You’re right. Something’s definitely off. Maybe they invited the witches to this little soiree and are waiting for them so they can all enjoy our deaths.”
     “No, I’m sure that’s not it,” I said, shaking my head. I looked out the window again to survey the ever-grim situation.
      “Anything new?” she asked.
     “Nope. Same old bad news—wolves, wolves, and more wolves. If I didn’t know better, I’d say they were breeding like rabbits.” I hurried to the next upstairs room, with Julie on my heels, and glanced out the window with my binoculars.
      “What are you doing?” Julie asked.
     Without answering, I went to another room and stared out the window. In spite of her negativity, I was sure there had to be a weak spot, a place where we could break through the barrier. I was sure we’d find it, if we just kept vigilant and kept looking.
     My stubbornness paid off a second later, when I spotted the shadow of a human hiding behind a very thin tree. Through my binoculars, I caught a glimpse of a man in black robes, swirling his hands in the air. I couldn’t see his face, but I was sure he was some sort of warlock or something. Either that, or he was just a crazy man in a dirty bathrobe, and that would have made even less sense. Quickly, I handed the binoculars to Julie. “Look!”
     She studied the scene, then handed the looking glass back to me. She opened the window and looked out with her immortal eyesight. “Is that a priest?”
     I peered through the binoculars once again. “Looks like it, but what’s a priest doing here? It almost looks like he casting a spell.”
    “If that’s true, I hate to imagine what kind of spell it is. Maybe they’ll make us turn on each other and kill ourselves!”
     “Whatever is going on, we have to stop it. We’ve gotta take the padre out.”
     “How? In case you haven’t noticed, he’s sort of protected by hundreds of werewolves.”
     “Grant!” I shouted, certain that if anyone could explain what was going on in the werewolf ranks, it would be him.
     No one answered.
    “Grant!” Julie screamed.
     Finally, the boys came running up the stairs, and I pointed out the suspicious activity.
     Grant put his hands on the windowsill and glanced out.
     “Well? Is he putting a curse on us or what?” Julie asked.
     “What would be the point of that if they’re going to kill us anyway?” Fred asked.
     “Yeah,” Julie said. “That’s the freaky thing. We have no idea what kind of spell he’s casting.”
     “Something doesn’t add up about all this,” I surmised. “There must be a couple hundred of those four-legged freaks walking around out there, and any one of them could have broken in here and made Puppy Chow out of us by now. They’re holding out for something, and that scares me more than anything.”
     “Unbelievable!” Grant said, drawing a skeptical look from Jesse. “I think it’s in our best interest to leave…now!”  
     “I’m not sure anything you say is in our best interest,” Jesse mumbled.
     “Do whatever you want, but I’ve got no intention of dying today,” Grant retorted, and we all had to agree with him on that.
     He grabbed Julie’s hand and ran out of the room.   
     “What’s the spell for?” I asked.
    “I have no idea,” Fred said. “But judging by the look on Grant’s face, I’m not sticking around to find out!”

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