Brenda Hayes #2
Brenda Hayes, a woman with an ordinary life, encounters extraordinary characters she thought existed only in fairy tales or nightmares. Her world and theirs collide, and she is caught up in the middle of warring paranormal factions that threaten the extinction of humankind. She tries to keep her life normal but her nightmares and visions have her second-guessing what’s real and what’s not. One night she almost gets killed by a mythical creature that had been hired to find and destroy her. In that moment her journey begins.
With the help of Vladimir, a handsome and intriguing man, she begins to discover and understand how dangerous can be the supernatural world. Only Brenda can prevent the disaster, and she pushes herself to channel the powers she discovers are within her. Major errors in judgment, betrayal by trusted friends, and a perilous romance push Brenda into a prophetic role she’d never dreamed possible.
Release Date: October 27, 2020
Genre: Paranormal / Vampire / Fantasy / New Adult Romance
A WHITE SATIN ROMANCE
Just like that I was back in the safe house. I couldn’t believe my eyes. One second, I was about to be attacked by Zetran and the next second I was in the entrance of the house that had become my safe haven. I felt relief when I realized where I was. I smiled as soon as I saw Mayari, Amy, and Tristan approaching me. I was thrilled to see them. Mayari hugged me. I was about to tell them everything that had happened and ask for Vladimir, but just then a stabbing pain in my stomach made me bend double. I clutched at my abdomen, not knowing what was going on. Another stab in my chest and I couldn’t move. I fell to the floor, contorting in pain. Another stab and another and another and I couldn’t breathe. A scream of terror and pain invaded my head. From the expressions of the others I knew that horrid scream was ripped out of my throat. A desperate urge to vomit engulfed me.
“Focus, Brenda, protect your body, block any harm.” I heard Mayari’s voice from afar. “Nobody touch her.” But the pain didn’t decrease. On the contrary, it worsened by the second.
“Please, please.” My voice was shattered, and tears streamed across my face. I had never felt such intense pain. I worried I could pass out.
“What can we do?” I heard Amy’s deeply concerned voice.
“I’m not sure what is happening to her. I think someone is attacking her,” Mayari answered.
Another scream ripped from my throat and I felt an excruciating spasm in my chest, abdomen and thighs. It was spreading through my body. Another piercing stab in my thorax and I was sure I was about to die right there. In a dizzy haze, I saw Irving, Amy, and Kendra bending over me. Their faces appeared and disappeared as if tossed around in a tornado. A burning sensation scorched my hands. When I tried to move, I felt the ripping of my skin. Tristan knelt and cupped my face in his hands and started chanting.
“Look in my eyes, don’t shut them,” he said calmly but sternly. I tried to obey, but the pain was unbearable. “Brenda, look at me,” he demanded. I could hear urgency in his voice. I tried but I was overcome by the pain all over my body. I started trembling uncontrollably.
“Please! Please just kill me,” I begged him. I wasn’t sure I could endure another minute of such excruciating pain. I forced myself to look at him and saw concern deeply etched in his face. Something changed in his caramel brown eyes as they grew deeper. He kept chanting, and I could hear the others chanting something too. Louder and louder their voices rose in crescendo. I could hear Tristan’s voice in my head, filling my mind. I felt a sense of falling. My body started to vibrate, and I felt my skin getting warmer. Little by little the pain started to dissipate, and Tristan’s energy started to flow through my body. I felt embraced and protected by warmth, and the vibration attuned with my heartbeat. Our heartbeats were synchronizing. My entire body glowed.
The pain was ceasing slowly. I could feel the warmth of his hands on my face. I could see his features more clearly. The burning dissipated and suddenly I was standing in a garden with knee high grass and flowers everywhere. The variety of colors and smells was beautiful. I was alone, enjoying the view. The sun kissed my skin. I felt as though I was absorbing the rays of light. I stood still and closed my eyes, savoring the warmth on my face.
This place must be enchanted, it is so magnificent. Far in the distance I could see a stone castle. I ran toward the fortification. At the entrance I saw a purple banner with the symbol on my necklace. I touched my neck, but the pendant was missing. I couldn’t have lost it. Searching for it urgently, frantically, I was drawn back to reality.
“Hi, Brenda.” Tristan still held my face between his hands.
I felt stronger and now I could focus on his features. Tristan was calm, and the lovely color of his eyes was back. He started smiling at me. I felt drained, but at that moment I wasn’t in pain anymore. Our faces were inches apart and I reached up and caressed his cheek.
“Thank you,” I whispered.
He chuckled and said, “No problem.”
I tried to stand up but couldn’t. “Slow down, don’t rush it.” He carefully helped me sit up.
“Tristan, take Brenda to her bedroom,” Mayari commanded. I almost forgot she was standing beside us. Her voice made me remember how she had guided me to escape from the horrible place I had been held as prisoner. I realized she was always beside me every time I felt hopeless.
“I’m so sorry, Mayari, for everything.” I wanted to cry because I felt so ashamed and guilty. I had put everyone at risk.
“Don’t worry, you need to rest. We will talk later.” She smiled. The others had already left. I tried to stand but my legs wobbled. Tristan carried me as if I weighed nothing. I had a bit of a headache but wasn’t about to complain to them. They had risked their lives for me.
“You are paler than ever, and that dress looks awful on you.”
I chuckled. I had forgotten the red gown I still wore. Tristan was nearing my room when I realized someone was missing.
“Where is Vladimir?”
“He has not come back yet.”
“What do you mean?”
“Some returned as soon as the chaos started, but others had unfinished business.”
He saw the worry on my face. “Don’t worry, he is a big boy.”
As he carried me into the bedroom, I suddenly felt so tired. The havoc of the last couple of days washed over me. I wanted to take a bath and then go downstairs to explain everything to Mayari. To tell her how sorry I was and what Dominick wanted to do with me. I wanted to tell her his plan. I didn’t have too many details, but somehow I knew I could help, or at least I wanted to think that. That way I would not feel my reckless behavior, and how I had put everyone as risk, was a total waste.
“Just rest, you went through a lot.” Tristan laid me on top of the bed very carefully, as if I were a porcelain doll. How differently he was acting. I almost missed his normal cocky behavior.
“You are not telling me something.”
“You need to rest now. I will tell you later what we know. Right now we just have to wait.” Before he left, he gave me back the necklace he had given me as a gift.
“How?” I looked at the piece of jewelry, surprised it was still intact. I thought I left it in the room. When Zena dressed me, she put it away.
“Put it on. It is important you keep it on all the time. Later I will answer your questions,” he said before he left the room.
* * *
After a much-needed bath, I lay down. As soon as I put my head on the pillow, I disconnected.
“I will have the last laugh,” she said, pushing me. Her eyes were all black.
“We’ll see about that,” I retorted, squaring my shoulders with the anger of a thousand men. Her scornful laugh made me angrier.
“Move!” Katherina yelled, relishing how she was able to command me. I followed her out of the room, noticing the guy from the forest was escorting us. I couldn’t pay attention to him at that moment. I was too focused on how much I hated the woman walking a few steps in front of me. Besides that, warmth like a fire in the pit of my stomach was increasing. Anger and frustration was enraging me. I had only one thing on my mind. I must kill Katherina, and escape. How? I wasn’t too concerned about it. I don’t care if I die trying, I repeated in my head while walking the corridors and stairs behind her. The escalating warmth embraced my entire body and I felt strong. I closed my eyes as I walked, and the energy flowing in my body felt like waves of vibrations. I could feel the electricity, and suddenly a pain seared through me, so unbearable that a horrid scream erupted from me. When I opened my eyes, the shock on Katherina’s face urged me to act. As a reflex, I moved my hands in a circle and pushed the force that was in me toward her and the two guys beside her. To my astonishment, I watched their bodies fly through the air.
“Come, hurry.” The guy from the forest grabbed my arm and pulled me toward a patio. “Run, we need to leave right now,” he yelled as both of us sprinted down the hallway. I could hear Katharina’s yelling, but there were no footsteps following us. The corridor was dark and narrow but at the end a light was beaming. At first it was small but grew larger and clearer as we got nearer.
Someone started to follow us. I didn’t dare look back as that might slow me down. We ran and ran and then something hit my left thigh. My rescuer grabbed my hand and prompted me to keep running.
“Don’t stop,” he yelled. Another strike on the same leg made it difficult for me to continue as quickly.
“Can’t,” I gasped. I wanted to keep the rhythm up, but the pain was impeding my movement.
“Run!” He squeezed my arm and pulled me harder toward the opening. From out of nowhere, a tall figure stood in front of us, blocking our way out. Again something hit me, but this time in the shoulder. I felt that thing, whatever it was, move from my shoulder to my neck and back, as though it had tentacles growing over my skin. I started to feel suffocated. It was strangling me. My free hand grabbed it and tried to pull it away, but it was slippery to the touch and stuck to me. I barely got to the opening when I saw the floor coming up to my face. Then I woke up.
I sat up on the bed and touched the necklace. I can’t go on like this. Between nightmares and visions I won’t be able to discern what reality is. I wish I still had Mayari’s bracelet. Somehow it made me feel close to her and secure, but who knows where it is now?
“Mayari will help me to understand the nightmares and visions.” I went downstairs to talk to her but made a stop in the kitchen because I was so hungry. “I could eat a cow right now,” I said aloud. I remembered that the last time I stood here I was with Robert. The memory of him and the journey we had taken made me shiver. I was alive almost as a miracle.
“How are you feeling, Brenda?” Mayari entered the kitchen and smiled.
I ran to hug her. I was so grateful to her for always helping me. My impulsive show of affection surprised her. She hugged me back, and as I let go of her, I couldn’t stop myself from speaking my mind.
“I’m sorry for leaving the house with Robert. For almost ruining your plans and putting everyone’s life at risk. You have been very patient with me and I almost ruined everything. I’m deeply sorry for that.”
“Brenda, don’t worry. I knew someone was about to betray you—betray us. We needed to let things unfold. Fortunately, you are healthy and no one except Robert is dead. We learn our lessons the hard way,” she said, touching my cheek. “The important thing is that you are here now, and we know more about Dominick’s plan and his followers. Now we know the covens that support him, the ones that are afraid, and the others that could be reached to get them on our side.”
I was impressed at her statement. It was almost like she knew.
“See, everything can be positive if looked at with a different perspective.”
“The day I left with Robert you knew what would happen?” I was curious.
“No, I would have never put you in that kind of harm. But I knew Robert wasn’t someone I could trust. I sensed he would do something, given the opportunity. You had to be alone with him so he could make his move.”
“That’s why no one was in the house that day,” I said, realizing how odd that seemed to me back then.
“Yes.” She smiled. “Come to the garden to talk some more. The sun will help you feel better.”
I grabbed an apple and followed her. She was right; as soon as I felt the rays of sun on my skin, I felt different, happier. Mayari began to pick flowers, a variety of color spread in front of us like the ones you see on a painting.
“Nature is magnificent.” She was in her element. The breeze was comforting, and the brightness was a pleasing contrast to the place where I had been kidnapped for the last couple of days. Remembering everything that had happened in that short amount of time made me shiver. I was grateful to be alive and standing next to Mayari. Again I reflected that it was almost a miracle I had escaped apparently unharmed.
“Brenda, how do you feel?”
Mayari looked at me and her eyes told me she knew that all the events were taking a toll on me. I wanted to be strong and be the one they needed. I wanted to help them and keep everyone safe, but I doubted my ability. Maybe the task is too big a challenge for me. Mayari waited patiently for my answer but I felt the knot in my throat. I knew that as soon I tried to be honest, I would start crying. I kept silent, looking at the beautiful scenery; it was very peaceful. I preferred not to look at her to avoid showing my vulnerability.
“You know, all of us understand you might feel scared, lost, and defenseless. This is a road that is difficult because everything is new for you. You had been thrown into this situation without asking. We have asked a lot from you, and to our surprise, you have risen to the challenges, facing your fears, and that is very brave.” At that moment, I looked at her with teary eyes. It felt good to hear her support. Tears ran down my cheeks and we hugged.
I cried for the longest time. I was afraid because Mia was still missing. I was frustrated because my powers were not developing faster. I didn’t want to disappoint my new friends and allies because it was a matter of life and death. I was sad because Vladimir was far away from me again. And I was scared at the thought that I might be held captive by Dominick again. It terrified me to think about his plans to use me. There were so many emotions and thoughts running through my head. I tried to push away those terrible thoughts and focus on the support and friendship of Mayari, Vladimir, and Tristan.
Mayari gripped me by my shoulders. “I will send you to the safest place on our world to be taught and trained by the best creatures ever. You will be safe, and you will learn to trust yourself. My darling, you will see your power grow and you will be amazed at the light inside of you. Just believe.” She smiled, and somehow, I felt warmth from her hands that spread to my entire body and made me relieved and a bit hopeful.
We sat under a tree in silence, just contemplating nature and feeling recharged by it. “Tristan will accompany you in the journey. No one will know where you will go.”
“Where is Vladimir?” I wanted, I needed to see him. I missed him and was worried about him.
“He is on a task that is very important for all of us. He cannot distract himself with you.”
At that statement I felt a bit hurt. What does she mean by that? I remained silent.
“All of us have an important role in this path, and we each need to fulfill our own destinies.” She patted my knee. “Now I need to meditate, and you need to practice, Brenda,” she said firmly and closed her eyes. That was my cue to leave.
The new information took me off guard. I was about to leave to “another safe place” with Tristan but I didn’t want to leave. I’ve just arrived, and Mia is missing, and Vladimir is absent. This is absurd. Why is no one taking my opinion into consideration? Why did no one tell me their suspicions about Robert? I could have handled the truth. I’ve been handling it since the day Vladimir entered in my life. Do they really, fully trust me? That was something I wasn’t sure about.
I need a distraction. I need to practice. My inner voice repeated Mayari’s words and I headed toward the woods, the place I had been using to practice while staying in this house. As soon as I arrived, I remembered my practice with Tristan and the time I showed Vladimir how I could heat my entire body and use it as a weapon. That night had ended very heated, and the mere memory of it made me blush.
“What are you thinking?” Tristan appeared out of nowhere.
“How long have you been there?
He grinned. “Not long, relax.” He reclined near a tree. “Show me what you got,” he teased. But I wasn’t in the mood.
“I have many questions.”
“I know you must have. But first you need to prioritize and mastering your skills and powers should be on top of your list.”
I know! I only smiled, not wanting to let him know that his honesty triggered me. I closed my eyes to focus on my breathing. Feeling his eyes on me, it was hard to try to concentrate to create my sphere.
“I can’t practice with you staring at me,” I spat.
“You got to be kidding me?” He started walking toward me. “This is not a joke, Brenda. Everyone’s lives depend on you.” His gaze was stern. Tristan was right.
I closed my eyes again. You can do this, just breathe. I felt warmth in my chest that spread evenly through my body. I could feel the energy bouncing between my fingers. I envisioned my bubble surrounding me and Tristan.
I opened my eyes and smiled at him. He was inside a huge bubble with me. He moved his head around, looking at the transparent sphere, with his arms crossed. “Can I break it?” he asked with a mischievous smile.
“You can try,” I answered, very sure of myself. He chuckled and pushed with his finger, trying to pop it, but nothing happened. He pushed with both hands with all his strength, but it was like stone. I stepped outside the sphere and left him trapped inside. “Try with magic,” I teased. Maybe I was overconfident this time, but I wasn’t about to back down.
His smile widened. As his expression changed, I realized he was attempting to break it with magic but couldn’t. He was annoyed and that made me very happy. He moved his hand back and forward and nothing changed. He looked hilarious. I couldn’t keep a stern face and started laughing. He was in shock and maybe a bit angry. Apparently, his ego was getting hurt by his lack of force to break the orb.
“It’s not that hard.” I made it elevate and he was again floating like in a balloon. Maybe I could make it blend with the surroundings, shielding him. As soon as I thought about it, the sphere disappeared. When I brought it back to normal, Tristan was gone.
“Tristan? Tristan?” Where did he go?
Something shoved me from behind and I fell on the ground. “Always be prepared.”
He was about to give me his hand to help me get up, but I moved my hands with all my force and threw him a bolt of energy that sent him flying backwards toward the trees. I never intended to be that powerful, but he wanted me to practice so I wasn’t about to apologize.
His face let me know it hurt. “You are a big boy.” I felt a little guilty because I didn’t want to hurt him, but Vladimir wasn’t here. The memory of Vladimir made me lose focus. Tristan disappeared again, and I knew it would hurt because it was payback time. I felt a push on my chest and fell to the ground. He appeared on top of me and pinned me down. He just stared at me. His gaze was intense. I could feel the ambience changing.
“This is very sexual.”
I rolled my eyes because it was typical of him to make this kind of comment. I put his pants on fire, literally.
“Hey, that’s not playing fair.” He looked down his pants. Then the fire caught his whole body and he started screaming and contorting on the ground. I was scared and didn’t know what to do.
“Tristan!” I tried to touch him, but he kept moving and screaming in pain. Feeling completely useless and not knowing what to do I just screamed. “Help! Mayari, help!” I couldn’t believe I had gone this far. I didn’t want to kill him. Then it wasn’t him anymore. The body stiffened and stood, still burning. When he faced me, he extended his arm as an invitation and smiled. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was Dominick reaching for me.