The Deadwood Hunter Series
Rachel M Raithby
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
Word Count: 77848
Cover Artist: IndieDesignz
Lexia thought she was normal, ordinary...
Lincoln thought he'd spend his whole life seeking revenge...
What would you do if the one you loved was your enemy?
When Lexia snuck out one night to go to a party, she hardly expected to be attacked by vampires. Much less be able to kill them with her bare hands.
That night triggered events Lexia couldn't escape and soon she struggles to keep up the facade around her friends and family.
And then there's Lincoln. She finds herself irresistibly drawn to him, but Lexia senses he wants something more dangerous than a simple romance.
Lincoln has secrets and what she learns changes her life forever.
A story of love, loss and betrayal.
Only one thing is certain. Lexia and Lincoln’s lives will never be the same again.
Her feet pounded on the pavement as she raced down the dirty backstreets of Deadwood; the night had turned cool turning each heavy breath into a misty vapor.
They’re so fast, she thought, why didn’t I stay in tonight? Just for some stupid party! Now I’m being chased by these... these.... things. What are they?
Lexia turned the corner, stumbling on the uneven curb, and gasped as she came to a dead end.
She whirled around to see the three creatures circling her. Fear closed her throat; she tried to scream but nothing would come out. Her eyes widened in fright as they flashed their razor sharp teeth at her. Vampires?
They had blood-red eyes and pale ghostly skin stretched tight over hard angular bones; they looked like the living dead! And they were going to kill her.
Lexia backed into the wall, her hands grazing along the rough surface, wishing she could somehow melt into it. She felt so frightened and her body shook in terror as tears silently streamed down her face. I’m sorry, Dad, she thought as they all leapt at once; a whimper left her lips as she curled into a ball, their razor sharp nails slashing at her skin, gouging into her flesh. She cried out in pain, fear crushing her mind, blackness taking over, when...
Lexia felt her mind go blank and the pain... it was torture as adrenaline rushed through her veins, charging her muscles with strength, taking over her body. With a cry she stood up throwing the vampires off her; it all happened so quickly, she tore them limb from limb like a crazed animal until there was nothing left but her quivering body soaked in blood. A metallic bitter smell filled her nostrils; she could hear her heavy breaths, and looking around all she saw was red, death, and darkness.
Lexia stood for what felt like hours looking upon the scene before her; the torn bodies slowly rotted in front of her eyes, then panic bubbled to the surface as she finally got her voice back and she screamed, screamed so hard her throat burned. Tears ran down her blood-stained face as she realized what she’d done - she’d created this darkness, she’d caused their deaths.
People running to her cries could be heard in the distance; snapping back to reality, Lexia looked around one last time, how do I explain this? I can’t. She ran into the night not paying attention to the direction she took or the fact that she could now run faster than she ever had before. Lexia just thought of putting one foot in front of the other, of the vibrations travelling up each foot as it pounded on the pavement.
Lexia woke early the next morning on the forest floor; her body felt stiff with the dried blood that coated her skin. As her brain slowly remembered the previous night she shot up on her feet, spinning around, bracing to attack.
But she was alone, surrounded only by tall pine trees, their needles littered the floor and stuck to her clothes. Lexia glanced around herself one last time and then shot off through the trees to her home. ‘Dad’s going to freak if I don’t get home in time!’ As that thought drifted through her head, Lexia somehow found the energy to run faster. Five minutes later she stood at the edge of the trees that lined her garden. There were no signs of life in the old wooden house, so she ran to the trellis below her window climbing with an ease she’d never had before. She got back in her room and under the duvet as her dad poked his head around the door.
“Time to get up Lex, sweetie.”
Lexia’s dad, Mike, had raised her on his own since her mother, Lucy, had walked out when Lexia was 5 months old. Lexia had only one picture of her mother, it was taken when she had just been born; Lucy was looking down at her baby, her pale blond hair covering her face. Lexia didn’t know what she looked like but sometimes she would dream of a woman with blond hair singing to her.
Lexia had asked her dad if her mother had sung to her as a child but he would never answer her questions about her mother; he always closed up and snapped at her as if the mere thought of Lucy caused him pain. Lexia had tried to come to terms with the fact that she would never know her mother and the reason she’d been left behind; but sometimes, no matter how hard Lexia tried, she would long to meet her mother.
As her dad walked down the stairs, Lexia got up and looked at herself in the full-length mirror that hung on the back of the door.
Her long boots were torn and the leather stained darker on the toes and ankles; her hands trailed over her shredded jeans. The back of her blouse was also in ribbons. She took it off looking at her torn skin and where it had already started to heal, some gashes were just faint, red lines. Stripping off the rest of her clothes, Lexia stood looking at herself in her underwear. Even with all the muck and blood that stained her skin, she couldn’t miss the subtle changes to her body. Her stomach was just that tiny bit tighter, the slightest hints of a six pack showing. In fact her whole body just seemed more refined; as she moved forward muscles shifted under her skin. Lexia looked closely at a slash across her cheek and gasped as it started to heal. She watched in horror as the flesh knitted back together, felt the tingling, stabbing sensation, and then prodded her finger against the red scar line as it disappeared.
“What has happened to me?” she whispered against her fingers.
She wanted to hide, to run, to cry, but then she noticed her eyes and how they had changed. No longer were they just a clear, crystal blue but blue with a fine rim of gold lining the pupil. She couldn’t hide from this; there was something wrong with her, the evidence staring back at her every time she looked in a mirror.
Lexia started to back away from the mirror. She couldn’t seem to tear her eyes away from the person staring back at her. She could feel herself trembling and hear the galloping rhythm of her heart. So many emotions bombarded her as she decided whether to call for help or hide away from the world. She stumbled forward as the back of her legs hit the foot of her bed. “What am I?” she squeaked.
“Lexia, everything alright?” her Dad called up the stairs.
She didn’t answer at first. Am I okay?
“Yeah.... fine, Dad. Just tripped,” she called. Her eyes hardening, she could never tell a soul.
Lexia dashed across the hall and locked herself in the bathroom. She stepped into the bath, turning on the shower and watched as the water turned red at her feet from the near-scalding cascade skimming over her body. She stared at the pale blue walls of the bathroom, the night before playing over and over in her head and she wondered whether she had gone mad, whether everything that had happened had just been a dream. Then she glanced down to the pink water pooled at her feet and realized she wasn’t mad. The blood washing off her body wasn’t make-believe and the cuts and scrapes that covered her skin had been made from the sharp nails of vampires, but the scariest thing of all - magically watching her skin heal. What am I? she thought again.