• ♦Chapter♦ 1
    (The Scarlet KIss)

    I AWAKE, MY HEART BEATING IN RYTHEM TO the wind that is blowing outside my bedroom window to find myself surrounded by shadows. Layers and layers of shadows. My breath gets caught in my throat as if some strange force has its cold fingers wrapped around my neck. I remember clearly that that is how the shifters feel before they make their first attack. My mother must have turned my light out after I went to bed, for the shifters can only be out in the darkness.
    I thought to scream, but I knew it would do little good. I was trapped. Trapped by my own enemy. I knew what I had to do, but the question that remained was, was I strong enough? My body began slightly shaking as I devised a plan in my head. I closed my eyes, gathering my thoughts. Then, bolted upright to face my enemy. We locked gazes and the traitorous being just stared at me, his eyes piercing my soul, scaring it for eternity.
    I narrowed my eyes at it, contemplating how weak it was, sizing it up. Just as I was making my attack, I was swirled into a pit of darkness… finding myself waking up to my phone ringing.
    I sat upright, a little dazed. The light was still on and my text books were still splayed over my bed, just as I had left them. My phone was ringing like crazy, so I decided to answer it.
    “Hello?” I asked into the phone.
    “Sarah…?” the voice on the other line was a little less then a whisper, I had to strain in order to hear it.
    “Yes…?” I said, gripping the phone a little tighter, intrigued by this stranger.
    “Okay, good, I thought I had the number right…” I heard some rustling noises as if the person were walking through tall grass. “...meet me at the old abandoned warehouse on thirty-second street. You know, the one that’s been abandoned…”
    “Who is this?” I spoke loudly, but before I could get an answer, I heard the line go silent.
    Convinced I should go, I pulled on a pair of old jeans and my favorite sweatshirt, grabbed my purse and phone, and crept as quietly as I could to the door. I knew that if I woke up my parents, the party would be over. But, then again, that was a big if. I had snuck out many times and never been caught. I grabbed my keys off of the table in the entry way and proceeded to my 2011 Volvo c70, picking up my pace to a slight jog. Once in my car, I sat there, listening to the engine run, trying to recall all that had happened. Though I didn’t know the person on the other line, there was a sense of urgency that made a sort of alarm go off in the core of me, something I have never felt before. As I threw the clutch in reverse, I thought about the last couple nights. The weird dreams, the weird feelings… I was hoping that maybe tonight I would get some answers. I didn’t realize how long I was contemplating all this, but before too long I pulled up to the old warehouse building on thirty-second street. I was pretty sure this was the right one, for there were no other buildings for miles.
    I parked my car on the curb, since the parking lot had been blocked off. While getting out, I was trying to figure out how I was going to get in the building and what part of the building I was supposed to go to. My annoyance grew and it almost felt as though my blood was boiling. Any person in there right mind would give out such details when meeting someone!
    Just as I was about to kick the ground and curse a couple times, I heard my name being called. Curious, I twisted and turned, trying to find where it had come from. Suddenly, I felt someone grab hold of my arm and, to my surprised, I turned to face Neveah Neytiri. It was like she popped out of nowhere. Before I could ask any questions (and trust me, I wanted to) she started pulling me to this window that appeared to be stripped of all glass.
    I knew Neveah from school. She and I used to be good friends, up until her sixteenth birthday. Then, things changed. She changed. Every time I was around her I could feel this sort of hate radiating off of her as if she despised my very being. Seeing her again, I realized exactly how much she had changed. She was tall and very beautiful, with fiery red hair that laid in lazy curls over her shoulders. Her eyes were a piercing green and she had a swift, graceful way of presenting herself.
    When we got to the building, we both scurried in through the window. At this point, she had successfully made her way in through the window and I followed swiftly behind her. We ran through a maze of hallways and rooms, surrounded by darkness. At times, I thought I had lost her; the only way I would know I was still with her is I would hear her say “Oh, come on, keep up!” or something.
    We eventually entered into this grand room lit by candles and lanterns. As I looked around, I noticed many crimson red eyes staring at me from the shadows and I felt the hair on my arms stand up. I remained a close step behind Neveah, afraid they would try to pick a fight or something. She led me to the end of the chamber, and in front of us sat a young man who looked about twenty-one, but looked far wiser then he should. Standing beside him was another young man who looked about two years older than myself. As we approached them, Neveah’s voice changed into a more soothing, almost melodic tone as she addressed them.
    “Christian, I have done as you asked me, the girl is here.” As she spoke, I noticed she looked him deep in the eyes. “I hope you and Dylon have a plan for her, she is not by any means who I would have chosen.” Her voice then got a little more threatening.
    At her last statement, the older man, who I now assumed to be Christian, stood up and spoke with a smooth voice that although was soft, sent shivers down my spine.
    “My love, you have made this clear, but she has been chosen, and there is nothing that can be done about that…” he looked at me, those golden eyes burning into mine as if he were trying to read me. “Come, child. We need to talk.” I stood for a moment, frozen in place, until a not so gentle push from Neveah launched me forward. Neveah fell a few steps behind me, but Christian stopped her.
    “Neveah, Dylon and I can handle it on our own.”
    “I have no doubt that you can, but Dylon is still weak to clean blood.” She took a step closer. “And he is strong, I’m not sure you would be able to hold him off yourself.”
    “He may still be weak to clean blood, but I have faith that he won’t attack his own mate, Neveah.” He gave her a stern look and she took a step back and bowed her head.
    I then followed Christian and the other man who I now knew to be Dylon, to a room at the far end of the hall. We enter, and I am suddenly engulfed in a soft candle light. I then feel a hard grip on my right arm, as if he didn’t realize his own strength, which led me to a corner of the room, where I was laid on a bed and tied with rope hand coves.
    As soon as I knew it, the door plunged shut, and silence surrounded me. I sat, waiting to find out what the future held. Life or death.

    “There is no need to worry, Sarah.” The voice came floating out of the darkness, soothing my soul and calming my nerves.
    “If there is no need to worry, then why am I tied up?” I asked, ashamed that my voice shook, showing fear.
    “Well, it is for your own good, we don’t want to hurt you and we don’t want you to hurt yourself…” this time the voice came from the other man, Dylon, it still sent shivers down my spine, but in a far different way then Christian’s did. It soothed my soul, calming it almost instantly. I knew not why his voice did so, but I liked it and I didn’t want him to stop speaking.
    Almost as if he read my mind, he continued. “Don’t worry, love. You will soon understand what is going on. There is no need to worry.” I then felt a soft yet firm hand rest on my shoulder; it sent warmth straight through my body.
    Then they continued on to ask me questions about my dreams and the feelings I was having. I knew not why they were asking or even how they about them, but I told them everything.

    “Close your eyes, love…” Dylon told me. “Perhaps they will come to you a little clearer.” I did not obey, keeping my body tense as he leaned closer to me and for the first time, I could get a good look at him. Though this was the first time I had seen him, his face was so familiar. His hair was a golden blonde with gentle curls that seemed to caress his face. His eyes, though his expression was hard, held a softness of silver with blue flecks. I then realized where I had seen him. He was the one who would come to me in my dreams and tell me of the things that tried to get me. He would also explain to me about how my life was about to change and how I would be taking over, but I would always wake up to my heart beating before I could get an answer.
    “What’s going on?” I begged and pleaded for them to tell me. Dylon then put his hands on both sides of my face, tilted my head to one side, and whispered to me that it would only hurt for a moment. I then felt a piercing pain on my neck and I heard myself scream as if I were watching it all happen. Then came darkness, a warm, soft blanket of darkness.