Just wanted to say thank you so much for taking the time to review my book.
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I really appreciate it, and the constructive crit. I'll definitely apply what I've learned to future stories! Happy reading! Sold by: Amazon Digital Services. Krystle Jones was born and raised in the small, southern town of Tullahoma, Tennessee. Reading and writing have been lifelong passions of hers.
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In addition to being a novelist, she is also an award-winning flutist, and moonlights as a voice actress. Her voice can be heard in the popular online game, Alice is Dead 3. After the Eclipse — the night vampires began openly slaughtering human victims — everything changed. Out of fear, the government salvaged what remained of the human population and enclosed them in massive, security-laden cities called White Sectors, while marking the vampire infested territory as Red Sectors.
Gathering her courage, she braves the Red Sector to search for clues to his whereabouts. By chance, she encounters Aden, a handsome, charismatic vampire with a hidden agenda. He turns Sloane against her will, and whisks her away to his underground city. Enemies quickly become friends as Sloane struggles against her attraction to Aden, and resists her growing loyalties to the creatures that ruined her life. And I know you took my dagger.
My thumb stroked the hilt of the sheathed blade. My voice warbled on the end and I silently swore.
I was never good at keeping secrets from Leo. I knew it! He sighed hard, and I imagined him running his hands through his spiky black hair in classic Leo fashion.
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If my father finds out —. Then I guess you better not tell him. You know my father put an enormous amount of trust in letting me practice with it. For you to do this to me, Sloane It was top secret, but Leo had managed to find out it could decompose a vampire — skin and bone — within seconds if the blade penetrated deep enough. I prayed it would work if I actually had to use it tonight. But you never let me train with anything more exciting than regular knives and swords. My chest swelled with pride. Well, I had a good teacher. My heart fluttered, and an unexpected blush crept to my cheeks.
The bus must have been wired with an automatic speaker system, because right then a woman said loudly, Next stop, Cherry Hills Mall. My lips pressed together. This was Leo, my best friend for over eight years.
The Scarlet Dagger: The Red Sector Chronicles, #1
Should I just tell him I had flat-out lied to him? Who am I kidding? This is Leo. I was so tense with indecision that my shoulders were painfully scrunched up around my neck. There was another pause on the other end. I heard Leo draw a sharp breath as he pieced the puzzle pieces together.
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Leo swore. No one blames you for what happened. I know, I said, forcing my voice to remain steady as the image of my brother swam before my eyes, accompanied by a heavy wave of guilt. I have to at least try. I owe him that much.
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Not your life! I blanched, swallowing against the tide of vomit rising in my throat. I know the dangers. The chances of him surviving are slim to none. That comment stabbed straight into my heart, which should have been completely calloused over from the emotional beating it had endured these past three years. Somewhere along the way, I had simply refused to stop listening every time someone told me Orion was dead.
He could be alive, waiting for someone to rescue him. The phone call abruptly ended. Maybe the call had been dropped. Reception — and electricity, in general — grew more unstable the farther out one went in the sector, and I was on the far eastern boundary. No one exactly knew why it did this. This is it , I told myself. Shaking slightly, I rose to my feet. Despite my efforts to remain calm, my knees trembled as I made my way to the front of the bus.
A news anchor appeared, with a picture of a pretty, teenage girl to her upper left. All the sound faded away, and I barely registered that the anchor was rattling off my description and something about a high dollar reward for a tip leading to my whereabouts. Panic surged through me, and I gripped one of the cold metal handrails to keep myself upright, suppressing the urge to fret about my plan falling apart before my very eyes. The way I saw it, I had two options. Or I could run, hoping I made it to the fence before the Guard could catch up to me.
Maybe then I could get away from them in the unknown dangers of the Red Sector. And honestly, given the choice of facing my mother or a vampire, I think I would always choose the latter. His eyes were squinted, flicking back and forth from the TV screen to my face and growing wider each time.
His hand slowly sank into his pocket. Without hesitation, I reached beneath my skirt to my thigh and whipped out a small, silencer-rigged pistol as he put the phone to his face. His fingers paused over the keypad. Holding the pistol in one hand, I walked up to him until the barrel was only an inch from the back of his head. Drop it, I commanded, and the phone clattered to the floor. I picked it up and stuck it in my coat pocket. The driver coughed and spit blackened chew on the floor, right at my feet.
My breath caught in my throat as his other hand appeared, cocking the trigger of a large, menacing black handgun. I had enough control of my senses to swing my foot up, kicking it from his hand as he fired a shot, shattering the front window. The gun hit the dash and fell to the floor. As the driver scrambled to recover the weapon, I threw open the door and stumbled outside, landing hard on the cool pavement. My kneecaps flared with pain, but the sound of another gunshot propelled me to my feet, and I tore off down the street as he radioed the Scarlet Guard.
A brand new Scarlet Steel factory loomed ahead of me, ominous and black against the red, particle-saturated sky. Though Leo said Scarlet Steel posed no threat to humans, the government built their factories in the least inhabited zones, as a precaution, Leo had quoted his father. It made me sick to think that they cared so little for the lives of the destitute who still lived out here. Though I had seen a full lunar eclipse the night of the Eclipse, seeing it appear as though it had been dipped in blood was an entirely unsettling feeling.
But the eerie moonlight was the least of my problems, and I focused more on my surroundings as my foot found a pothole. My ankle painfully twisted before I caught myself and continued running, teeth clenched tightly together. I had spent some time in this part of the city before it became a sector, so I knew the path well as I tore through the night. After the Eclipse, the city went through major rearrangements.
Living there also meant an influx of Scarlet Guard, which had completely replaced our policemen. The heels of my boots clip-clopped like hooves across the pavement as I ran straight through the Cherry Hills Mall parking lot. Cherry Hills, like so many other locally owned businesses, sprang up after many shops and restaurants closed down, post-Eclipse.
It inhabited an old building that used to be a community center. Other businesses — thrift stores, salons, and knick-knack shops — had also planted themselves in abandoned homes or buildings. They saw a lot of business, as quite a few people still lived in this area, though most of them would be either locked up in their homes or downtown for the memorial.
Nobody wanted to be roaming about on the eve of the Eclipse, as it was considered a day of ill-omen by many survivors. Eclipse or not, this area was pretty much deserted this time of night. A forest of security cameras watched me, their wiring like vines as they choked the light poles that shone down on me. The lights flickered, yellowed and weak, as I cleared the lot and raced down a blackened alley between two stores, my boots slapping through sludge and knocking over trash bags.
The putrid smell of garbage clung to my nostrils, and I gagged as I emerged on the other side.
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There, narrowly more than ten feet away, was the fifty-foot tall steel fence that wrapped around the entire sector, cutting it off from the outside threat. A large sign hung near the electronic gate:. Situated next to the gate was a tiny box, blinking innocently at me with its eyes of little green lights. I stared at it, my heart pounding harder and harder inside my chest. This was it. The moment I had been waiting three whole years for. I swallowed hard against the knot forming in the base of my throat.
There was a high-pitched hum and then a brief patch of pure darkness as the power failed and struggled to come back to life. Sirens wailed in the distance, and that was all the prodding I needed. Racing to the box, I holstered the pistol and grabbed my cell phone, pulling up the code.
I was so nervous that my fingers shook, and I punched in the seventeen-digit access code as quickly as I could. My body practically buzzed with adrenaline as I waited for the entry light to change from red to green. At last, I let out a huge sigh as a series of thick bolts slid back into the wall, unlatching the door.
The sirens were so close now that their high-pitched frequency hurt my ears. Come on. Come on , I thought as the heavy metal door slowly swung open with a groan. It felt like an eternity passed before it opened wide enough for me to go through; the gap looked to be little over a foot across. My foot tapped impatiently, and I whirled around as car doors slammed shut just outside the alley.
Gritting my teeth, I grabbed hold of the door and pulled as hard as I could, but my petite frame was far too weak against its crushing weight. Without warning, the power died and my sight suddenly vanished. My breath was ragged as I flipped open my cell phone, using it as a makeshift flashlight, and I eyed the pitch black gap between the now ajar door and the fence.
Pulling my coat on and tossing my phone back inside a pocket, I grabbed the pistol and aimed it toward the hole. Then I edged myself through the chasm, into the darkness of the Red Sector. I clung to the fence, waiting for my eyes to adjust to the dark while keeping one palm pressed flat against the cool metal, as if to ground myself to the world I was about to leave behind.