There's no wrath like that of a witch scorned.
Avah Taylor has been given a death sentence: as one of the only spirit users in her coven, Avah has been chosen to wield The Power, the ultimate weapon against the immortal vampire species witches have been at war with for centuries. The Power, given by the gods to one witch of each generation, is considered a great honor, but every witch before has died trying to master this all-too-powerful gift, one that the shell of a mortal can’t contain for long.
On the night of her birth rite, Avah’s coven is attacked, and Avah is left for dead. Confronted with a terrible choice, Avah must decide to either die or save herself by becoming like her enemies. Forced to seek refuge among the very beings she has sworn to kill, Avah vows revenge on those who took her former life from her.
As Avah slowly transitions into a life of blood and war and battles her own feelings for a man she is supposed to hate, she realizes everything she’s been told is a lie.
I closed my eyes and focused on my mother, on her essence. I fought to ignore the overwhelming sensation to reach for Jasik, who lay nude beside me, with only a thin sheet separating him from me. I shivered at the thought of having him touch me again.
I exhaled deeply, focusing.
Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
My breathing became heavier. Slowly, it became nonexistent. I let go of the human tendencies, the instinctual habits, as my astral self left its binding shell. Soon, I was hovering over my old house, terrified to enter.
Instead, I opted for the front door. We needed their help, and I couldn’t afford to burn bridges.
I floated to the ground, looking around at the outside world. I could see nothing beyond the fog. My legs were heavy as I walked to the door. Slowly, I balled my fist and knocked. I could only lift my arm three times before the weight of my limb overcame me, and it fell limp to my side.
I knew my mother was rejecting me. That was the only reason staying felt physically draining to an astral being. She didn’t want to answer my call, but I couldn’t afford to leave without her help.
“I know you can hear me. I know you know I’m here. Please, Mom. We need you. I need you.” My words were barely above a whisper. It hurt to speak.
My breathing slowed, my body weak. I knew I couldn’t hold on much longer without her.
“I won’t leave. Not without speaking to you,” I said.
The door creaked open. The silhouette of a person stood in the distance. Her back was to me. She was fiddling with a vase of white roses on the table. Even though I didn’t recognize her, couldn’t see her face, I knew it was my mother.
I took a step forward, attempting to enter the house, but I was stopped. With my hand before me, I touched the clear barrier that prevented me from entering my coven’s home. I tried to push against it, silently begging for entrance. It did not give way.
“Why can’t I enter?”
“Your kind is not welcome here,” she said. She didn’t turn toward me. She didn’t look up when she spoke. She simply arranged the flowers. As she moved each rose, petals fell from the buds, drying and turning to dust as they hit the floor.
I tried to push my way into the house. I clenched my fist, brought my arm back, and banged on the barrier. I knocked again, over and over. It took what little strength I had left to not fall, to not return to my shell.
“Stop!” she yelled. “Do you really think the power of one vampire can withstand the power of an entire coven? You cannot break our barriers. Now you must leave here!”
“We need your help. Rogues, they’re coming. They’re coming for me.”
“Avah, you know we can’t help you anymore. You need to figure this out on your own. Now please leave.” She paused briefly before adding, “And don’t come back.”
A single tear slid down her cheek, but she turned away. When she faced me again, the tear was gone—replaced by the cold, hard stare with which she had welcomed me.
“I won’t leave. Not until I can speak to the elders. I need to learn about The Power. I think it can help us.”
She laughed. It was abrupt, mean. She stopped herself quickly. “You can’t possibly believe that The Power is still within you. You died, Avah. The Power moves on to the next chosen one. You know the prophecy.”
“No, it doesn’t. I’ve used it. It’s still within me.” I tried to reassure her, but I was losing focus. If she didn’t accept my astral self soon, I’d lose my connection to her.
“That’s not possible…” she said, confused. She turned away from me, lost in her own thoughts.
“I’m still the same. Becoming a vampire didn’t damn my soul. There’s so much we didn’t know—”
“Avah, stop! I can’t help you. Not anymore. You must leave here.”
“Not until I speak with the elders. They must know something. Rogues are coming, Mom. Whether you like it or not.” I was angry, and I was sure it showed. I wouldn’t budge. I’d die before I’d leave without information. I was stubborn, but I was my mother’s daughter.
She sighed, and the barrier lifted. With her acceptance, I was rejuvenated. I felt life flow through me just as it had when I first left to meet her. I stood tall, strong. I inhaled deeply. The feeling of power within me washed over my insecurities, my fears. I smiled and stepped inside.
“You can’t come back here, Avah. They won’t let me help you. Things… things have changed since you’ve left. There are new people in power, and they won’t let me help you.” She ran her hand through my hair, tucking loose strands behind my ear.
“I don’t understand. Are you not the high priestess anymore?”
“They may be listening. You must go!” Tears pooled in her eyes and threatened to spill.
“But we need help!”
“There’s nothing I can do to help you anymore. You must look within yourself.” She placed her hand over my heart and closed her eyes.
Listen, Avah. Listen to your heart. Find the strength within.
“It’s time to go back now. You’ve stayed too long.”
I knew she was right. My astral self had been away from its shell far too long. I never knew what would happen if I stayed in The Beyond longer than necessary, and I didn’t want to find out. I feared so much: The Power, Rogues, The Beyond… There was so much I didn’t know or understand.
“But I still haven’t any answers. I don’t know how to use The Power.”
She began pulling away. The world hazed over again, and through the smoke, I couldn’t see her silhouette any longer.
“No! Not yet! I need to speak with the elders!”
I was hovering over my body. I watched as Jasik lay beside me, whispering into my ear. He told me to be strong, to find my way back to him. Briefly, I wondered how long I had been gone. It seemed like only mere seconds had passed.
My eyes fluttered open as I reentered my body. Jasik leaned over me, running his fingers across my cheek. He smiled at me.
I smiled back and wondered how I’d break the news: the witches weren’t coming.
Blood Rose is a unique take on witches, vampires and Hunters. Avah had her world turned upside down. She loses everything she knows in life to live with the enemy. As time goes she discovers her teachings growing up are not as accurate as she thought. Jasik, he's one hottie mctottie vampire. Though Ava feels she can't follow through on her attraction to the handsome vampire because she was raised that vampires are the enemy, she has a hard time resisting when he is near. The story progresses at a steady pace and was quite addictive. Though the main crisis is finished by the end of the story I was left with a cliffhanger. Blood rose is paranormal romance mixed with action and a pretty fast read.
Danielle Rose is writer of fiction and travel, as well as the owner of Narrative Ink Editing LLC. Danielle currently resides in the Midwest, where she spends her days at a local coffee shop planning her next vacation or plotting her next novel.
Danielle holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast program. In addition to her Master of Fine Arts, she also holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and certification in professional writing from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
When not writing, traveling, or writing about traveling, Danielle enjoys being outdoors, cheering for her favorite football team (Go Packers!), and spending time with her husband and their furbabies: two dogs and a cat. For more information about Danielle Rose, visit her website: www.Danielle-Rose.com.
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Narrative Ink: www.narrativeinkediting.com