Rising Tide: Dark Innocence by Claudette Melanson
When a cruel prank nearly claims Maura’s life, one of her classmates, Ron, rushes to her rescue. Darkly handsome & mysteriously accepting, Ron doesn’t seem to want to stay away, but Maura is reluctant to get too close, since her mother has announced she’s moving the two of them to Vancouver…nearly 3,000 miles away from their hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania.
If life wasn’t already challenging enough, Maura begins to experience bizarre, physical changes her mother seems hell bent on ignoring, compelling Maura to fear for her own life. Vicious nightmares, blood cravings, failing health and the heart-shattering loss of Ron—as well as the discovery of a tangled web of her own mother’s lies—become obstacles in Maura’s desperate quest for the unfathomable truth she was never prepared to uncover.
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Maura being pursued in a dark alley
There weren’t any doorways in which to hide down this stretch of alley, and I’d realized, once I’d started toward the restaurant, it was deceptively longer than it had seemed upon first inspection. Every time I turned around, the space behind me was empty, as it had been the last five times I’d jerked my head around, certain I’d catch a glimpse of whomever I knew had to be there. I was about halfway through the narrow, dark walkway now, my skin consumed by the cold-running chill of fear.
Maybe I should call Caelyn? *No, Maura,* I stubbornly told myself, *you’ll scare her to death. You’re probably imagining it.* I could envision the near hysterics at the other end of the line and ruled that option out completely. Besides, I was almost at the other end. If anything should happen at this point, I was sure someone would hear me scream. Wow…I really didn’t want cause to scream… I rubbed my hands over my arms in an effort to calm, comfort and warm myself.
I tried to put myself at ease by telling myself anyone who smelled as good as this guy could be no homeless drug addict. And if he meant me harm, wouldn’t he have made his move before I’d gotten this close to the crowded street? As I inched through the last quarter of the alley, I took in a deep breath, just to catch one last whiff of whatever scent this guy was wearing. I tried to store it in memory, so I could try to find some to give Ron—and myself—as a Christmas present.
“You know I’m here, don’t you, Maura?”
My legs felt like cooked spaghetti, and it was all I could do to keep from collapsing in utter fear, right there on the sidewalk. Though the deep, male voice was smooth and beautiful…it still should not carry across the night in the syllables that made up my name.
My brain fumbled around inside itself for a reasonable explanation. One of the teachers must have been at the library? A far more rational part tossed out the thought that even if one of the teachers from my school was the mysterious, sweet-smelling man in the alley, he had been lurking around, not allowing me to catch a glimpse of him. And I just couldn’t propose any way that could be a good thing.
Then, my brain tossed out the oddity that this person, whoever he might turn out to be, had stalked me, frightened me, made me doubt my own perceptions, only to let me get so close to a place of safety? He’d cruelly let me believe I’d soon be in a well-lit restaurant, only to take it away when I thought I was home free. My ever-increasingly volatile temper flared white-hot, burning away most of the fear I’d felt. I irrationally whirled to face whoever he may be, infuriated by the twisted way he’d kept me rooted to the edge of the darkness at the very last moment.
Claudette Melanson writes dark fantasy in Kitchener, Ontario with four bun babies: Tegan, Pepper, Butters & Beckett. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a BA in English, BS in English Education and an MA in Literature. Harboring a deep admiration of vampires since the age of five left her with the desire to eventually become one, and now fuels the creation of her favorite paranormal characters. She hopes to one day work full time as an author, since there are many, many stories playing out inside her head.
In her very scant spare time, she enjoys watching Japanese Anime and reading vampire stories…along with other genres of great fiction, as well as riding every roller coaster she encounters in both her hometown and away at signings. An advocate for good health and ketogenic eating, her favorite foods are bulletproof coffee, cashew-flour crust pizza and treats made with xylitol and almond, coconut or cashew flours.
Future dreams include a cabin boasting a roaring fire, isolated inside a snow-filled wood in the Yukon—the perfect writing spot—and the completion of dozens of future novels and stories. A Rabbit Rescue fanatic and loving bunmom, she also hopes to help rescues all over the world save many innocent lives.
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