Blurb:The world has changed. One must adapt to survive or hold on to the crumbling shards of humanity.
April continues to hold her fragile world together, but the ties that hold her family together are quickly unraveling. Rumors of a massive human underground settlement draw her to the shadows of the city once more in search of other survivors more like her, even with the hybrid vampires opposing her every move.
The darkness hides secrets along with the continued threat the Feral Vampires create, but a greater evil hides within the city. Something tells April that the humans will be less than welcoming of her, and that's if she can find them before the Vampires do. Joining sides with the enemy might be the only choice she has left.
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Bio:Alexia currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada–Sin City! She loves to spend every free moment writing or playing with her four rambunctious kids. Writing has always been her dream and she has been writing ever since she can remember. She loves writing paranormal fantasy and poetry and devours books daily. Alexia also enjoys watching movies, dancing, singing loudly in the car and Italian food.
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Disarming (Reign of Blood #2)
THE DAY WAS fading and I stood staring out the car window. My backpack was strapped to my back, even though it was extremely uncomfortable sitting with it on. The window was cracked just a touch, and I could hear screams echoing over from nearby streets. It made the hair on my neck stand on end and sent a snake of terror through me. Who was letting out those blood curdling screeches? What was happening? I had hitched a ride with my best friend Sarah after a study session for a huge math final the next day. I was as ready as I was going to be, even though I hated math with a passion.
Another screech resonated across the houses, bouncing off the stucco and windows, making it seem as though the entire world was screaming. My eyes widened as I scanned the streets before averting my eyes to my cell phone, flipping through some websites I had wanted to check out to distract myself from the craziness. People were running chaotically, not a lot but a few. It just occurred to me that there had been quite a few people clogging up the streets on the way home.
“What the heck is going on? Some stupid rave we didn’t get invited to?” Sarah groaned as she maneuvered around another crowd of people who kept jumping in front of the car and jaywalking across the street. Some had bags of groceries, some with bottles stacked in wheeled wire carts, tugging their load along as they flitted across the street. I glanced up from my phone and shrugged, trying not to think much of it.
“Probably, or some flash flood warning again. It’s been storming for a week. The power probably went down again,” I muttered.
“Oh, I hope not! I don’t want to miss my show tonight! If it goes out again, I can’t DVR it for tomorrow! Ugh!” Sarah cursed as another straggler popped in front of the car, making her slam the brakes. “Out of the road, moron!” she hollered out the window. I cringed at the glare from the man who gave the car a tap with his palm as he continued on across the way. Road rage was not uncommon here in Vegas, and Sarah was a poster child for it.
“I’ll stick it on my DVR in case your power goes out. One of us is bound to have electricity,” I offered.
“Thanks, that’d be great. I’ll die if I miss another episode. I already don’t know what’s going on.”
“You and your vampire addiction.”
“Oh shut up, you know you like the show, too.” Sarah swatted at me as best she could without tearing her eyes away from the street, making it easy for me to block her hand.
“Hey! I do, but I’m not dependent on them like someone I know. Can you say addicted? The first step to recovery is to admit it!” I swatted her hand out of my way as I laughed at her. She gave me an icy glare before weaving out of the crowd, gaining speed down toward my neighborhood. A thump on my window made me jump, and I frowned at the person. A woman with crazed eyes stared eerily at me as we passed. Was that blood dripping from her mouth?
In a flash she was gone, lost in the chaotic crowd. I shook my head. Studying had fried my brain, because now I was seeing things.
“I’d want to be a vampire if I could. They’re all hot, and immortality has benefits,” Sarah sighed, thinking of the life she could have in her head.
“Careful what you wish for, you might not like the fanged dental job or the bloody messes you have to get into.” Arriving at my house just then, I jumped out of the car before she could swat me again. I slammed the door behind me and waved at her as she stuck her tongue out, rolling her eyes at me as I continued to laugh.
As her semi-new Honda rolled away, the screams caught my attention once more. The sun had just set under the west Summerlin Mountains, casting long, stretching shadows across the valley and streets. The chill it gave along with the elevated humidity coupled with the now cool September breezes made me rub my arms. I wasn’t sure if it was so much the wind as the bone-chilling screams in the distance.
“April! Get inside!” My mother’s voice brought my focus onto her. Hurrying through the gate that cut off our property from the street, I helped her shut and lock it. She looked as spooked as I was, and I waited until we were inside to ask her what the matter was.
“Something’s wrong.” Her wild eyes darted about the street before she twirled around and made a beeline for the door.
“You think?” I bit my lip as her icy glare pierced into me. I needed to shut my smart mouth. “Sorry, Mom.”
“What’s going on?” Jeremy’s voice made me turn toward the living room where he sat in front of his Xbox, his game on hold in the middle of an all-out gun battle.
“Nothing squirt, keep playing. You might beat my score one day.” I winked at him as he smiled, turning back to his game, newly eager to beat it.
“The news said there have been incidents… attacks.”
“What kind of attacks?” I grabbed an apple off the pile in the fruit basket and bit down on the sweet, bitter fruit. Crunching on my snack, I finally noticed the stacks of canned food and water bottles littering the kitchen. My curiosity was getting the better of me when I realized the windows had boards nailed onto them and the sliding glass door had huge planks of plywood fixed across it.
“I don’t know, they’re saying people are turning into some sort of zombie-like vampires, pouncing on others, biting and sucking blood out of them.” Her voice cracked as she shoved some more food into a cabinet, making a pathway to the hall where our bedrooms were.
“Why didn’t you call me? I could have come home to help.”
“Randy helped us.” She looked up at me, knowing this statement would make me fume. “Besides, the cell phones are cutting in and out.”
“Randy? The plumber? Come on, Mom, you know he only wants you for one thing. That’s all he wants, he’s a no good convicted criminal, how could you…?”
“That’s enough of that,” she snapped, giving me a stern look. “He has done plenty for us. He’s coming back with more wood to bar the rest of the windows and bring more water.” She sighed. Her eyes looked tired as the worry made her wrinkles deepen.
“Water? Why? We have the filter, we have water.”
“No!” She shoved the cup I had grabbed from the drying rack before I could fill it with the water. I looked at her, shocked and unmoving. The water was running, clear and cool. The smell of chlorine permeated the air, reminding me to turn it off and wait for answers.
“Don’t drink it.”
“Why?” her silence made my temper seep into my chest. “Mom, what’s going on?”
She stopped shoving paper plates and cups into another area of the open pantry and sighed. The look she gave me showed me oceans of fear. This was bad, really, really bad.
“It could be a virus, or the water could be contaminated. No one knows, April. People are dying from it, too. The hospitals are full of bodies. People are keeling over out of nowhere. Or turning rabid….” She ran her hand through her messy hair, exasperated and looking extremely worn out. Her hands shook as she reached for more supplies. “We have to stay here, inside, for a while. Be safe.”
I nodded slowly, letting her words sink in as I glanced back toward Jeremy. I knew she was right. She always was. Mom was as streetwise as a person got. She knew how to survive. She had made the few dollars we’d had during hard times stretch to feed us. She had turned her side internet business into a profitable one, bringing loads of extra income to supplement her puny teacher’s salary. We had been able to buy a house with it. She had been self-sufficient ever since Dad had died three years ago.
Still, he had left an empty abyss in his place, nothing could fill it. Nothing ever would. Not even this Randy, who had endearing aspirations of filling the spot. Nothing could ever hope to replace him.
“I’m going to pull the SUV into the garage, get it stocked with supplies in case we have to leave suddenly.” She disappeared down the hall, leaving me suspended in disbelief.
I solemnly grabbed a bottle of water to drink, cracking the seal open and gulping down the fresh fluid. The screams I had heard earlier crept back into my mind, making the gooseflesh spring on my skin anew as the comprehension spilled over me. What did this mean? A sudden surge of panic filled me as I remembered that Sarah was heading back to her place. I had to warn her, had to let her know what was going on and to load up her car and come back to my place. It was much safer here, with high walls and wrought iron. My mom had bought it because of the fortress-like feel to it, always so paranoid of intruders. Funny, I thought she had been nuts, but maybe she’d had some sort of sixth sense about it. Her uncanny intuition was scary at times.
Pulling my cell phone out of my jeans pocket, I noticed the “no signal” symbol and moved about the house until I found one or two bars staring back at me. Dialing her number in desperation, I waited as the phone rang and rang.
Come on Sarah, answer me, please….
The familiar beeping sound of her voicemail announcement commenced, and I cursed under my breath, hitting the redial as fast as it let me. I kept calling until the signal died once more, leaving me to wonder about and worry for my friend. I prayed she had made it home safely. I prayed the chaos of the world had not swallowed her up.