Resurrection's a bitch.
Valkyrie, Book 1
For Valerie Falkyr, "Who am I?" isn't the only unanswered question. It's where she was before she woke up four years ago. All she knows is she has one best friend. And Payton, the doctor she trusts with the shreds of her life.
Just as her relationship with Payton starts to heat up and Valerie begins to reach out for something like a normal life, a series of bizarre and unexplainable events begins pummeling her from all sides. Leaving her with a new question to add to the list: "What am I?"
Magical abilities she didn't know she possessed are emerging. And dreams of a former life she doesn't want to remember leave her in a cold sweat.
As darkness descends and old enemies resurface, Valerie finds herself caught in a dark, bloodthirsty world with no way out. Her only defense--Lucha, Gregory and Kerr, three not-quite-human lovers from her inked-out past.
The only question left is whether she will survive long enough to remember which one loved her most...
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February 05, 2010
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Excerpt from The Valkyrie by Mandy M. Roth
I reached the end of the business district, which sounds so much more glamorous than it actually is. The district only consists of six blocks, two of which are public parks. All of our festivals were held here, in the center of the town, in the park with the brown gazebo. I really did love it here. It was far enough from the city and I hadn't as of yet, had any thugs jump out of a car and shoot me here.
I did occasionally have Tomas stop by. I'd done a little digging and found out how to reach him. He was cool with me and knew my secret. I knew that he was a good ally to have. I was happy to find out that his friends had taken him back with open arms. He told me that they were a little scared of him now that he had an in with a live bruja.
I stopped at the crossing to make sure it was safe to continue to the other side of the street. Even though I had no memory of being struck by a car, I still had uneasy feelings walking out in the road. Call it silly, but not being able to remember ninety percent of your life will do that to you. Everything seemed clear and I headed out. Someone screamed. I froze and listened closely. I had thought that my ears were playing tricks on me. I heard it again, only this time I was positive the scream was from a female.
I tore off in a run in the direction that it came from. I ran through Mrs. Parker's prized flower garden. I did my best to jump over everything I could, but was sure that tomorrow morning she'd find things smashed. She might recover from the blow--her Gardening Club members probably wouldn't.
I hit the end of her property and ran past the bushes in the Mills's lawn. The ground was softer here. My boots provided little in the way of traction and my leg slipped out from underneath me. Hot pain shot up it as my knee cracked the ground. The woman's screams echoed louder. I pushed myself up and continued running. I thought about stopping at one of the neighbors' houses to have them phone the sheriff, but I was afraid of wasting too much time.
I'd never been confronted with anything like this before and truthfully, I'd never pegged myself as being someone who'd run toward a problem. Of course, I had taken a bullet for Payton, but that was different, right? My feet hit the gravel and I knew that I was on the edge of the old steel mill property. The mill had closed down years ago. The town would've been huge by now if the mill had stayed open. Town council members had been debating on what to do with the building for years now. No one could figure out an economical way to deal with it, so it kept being put on the next meeting's ballot.
I caught the faint outline of a girl with long blond hair running into the back entrance of the old mill. She screamed. A dark, shadowy figure followed close behind her. For a minute I couldn't move. I was upset that I hadn't brought my purse because my cell phone was in it. I didn't want to leave the girl alone with a crazed maniac, but I really didn't want to go running in after her. My mind raced, but my body reacted before I'd even finished processing my options. My feet hit the gravel again, one after another, in a fast running motion. I tried to will myself to stop--I couldn't. I hit the steel door and thrust it open.
"No!" yelled the woman. It echoed all around me. I had the urge to go right and I followed it. I ran down an aisle flanked by crates and boxes. When I hit the end, it opened into a large clear area. In it, I saw the blond woman crawling backwards on her hands and knees. The expression on her face was nothing short of pure terror. Her blouse had been torn open enough that her cleavage showed through. I looked in the direction of her gaze.
There before her stood a tall man with broad shoulders that led down to bulging pale-skinned muscles. His top half was bare, but his lower half was covered in black leather. My mind raced to psychotic killers who had the fashion sense of porn stars. I came up blank. What I did manage to come up with was a broken piece of wooden crate.
Much better than a porn star in a pinch.
I grabbed it and ran out after the man. His dark black hair, which hung just below his shoulders, flung wildly around. He had sensed me coming at him. Oh, well, now I was committed. Every bit of me screamed at my body to turn and run. It didn't. I lifted the wood back, in much the same way you'd swing a bat, and brought it around hard at him. His left arm shot up and deflected the hit. The wood snapped in two and he seemed unaffected by this.
Great, I'd picked a fight with a superhero.
Screams sounded all around me. I didn't stop to look for the source. I just did what felt natural. I swung my leg around hard and fast. This did manage to catch the man off guard. My foot met his mid-back. His body fell forward. I brought my right hand down to strike the back of his neck. I didn't think about it, I just did it. He swung around quickly and caught hold of my wrists. I saw his eyes and they were pitch black. For a quick second, I thought I spotted flecks of yellow push up through them.
His eyes called to me. I'd never seen anything so beautiful. The face that held them wasn't too bad, either. His smile was just this side of being too feminine. The soft rose color of his lips kept him from looking like an overdone rocker. I saw the yellow flash in his eyes again and I came to my senses. Drooling over a guy's sex appeal during a fight was never a good thing.
His grip on my wrists was firm, but not painful. From the strength in his hands, I was sure he could crush them in an instant if he really wanted to. The way that I stood put me higher than him. I used this to my advantage and brought my head down hard into his.
Head butting someone looks like an easy task in the movies. In real life it hurts like hell. I think I took him by surprise with that one. Kind of caught myself off guard too. He let go of me long enough for me to pull away. As much as sparring with a crazed, sexy killer appealed to my wild side, I let my mind take over and ran.
"Oh, leaving so soon?" I heard a deep voice say. "You went to all this trouble to find me. Don't you at least want my autograph?"
That one got me. I stopped and turned around. Was this guy for real?
Yeah, please sign my coffin lid for me, asshole.
Stopping was all he needed. He was faster than anyone I'd ever seen before. He was on me in an instant. Our bodies flew backwards. I closed my eyes and prepared for impact. His hand slid up and cupped the back of my head. Somehow, he managed to spin our bodies around in midair. If I had to compare it to something, I would say flying. We hit the ground, but he took the force of it and let out a small grunt.
Screams and lights flashed all around me. I didn't have time to think about it, I brought my knee up quick and hard. I wasn't playing games. I encountered his most prized possession--his groin. This time his grunt sounded more like a moan. I tried to push myself up and off him, but he held me tight to him.
"Let go of me, you fucking psycho!" I screamed into his face.
His lips curled into a smile. Hands grabbed at my back and my shoulders. Someone pulled me off the top of him. He didn't want to let go of me. It was a tug-of-war game between the sexy guy below me and the unseen force behind me. Problem was, I wasn't a rope. It felt like I was about to be ripped in half. My feet never actually touched the ground. I kicked and carried on like a lunatic.
Hey, when in Rome.
The man rose to his feet. He stood a good head taller than I did. The guy managed to be menacing even without the scary eye trick, but man was he stunning. A tiny trickle of blood ran from the corner of his mouth. His tongue flickered out and over it and his head tipped downward slightly, as he glanced me over.
I turned and looked at what held me up. A tall, olive-skinned man with very short black hair had hold of my right arm, while a rather large, dark-skinned man with braids that hung just below his ears held my left. I struggled to free myself, but their grip was too strong. The olive-skinned man spoke first.
"Shit, Guytano, I've never seen anyone this anxious to see you."
I didn't even know how to respond to that. The guy was as nutty as the dude dipped in leather. The leather-clad man, as if on cue, walked up to me and touched my cheek. His fingers were ice cold. That didn't bother me as much as it should. What bothered me was the feeling of static electricity that pushed against my skin.
"Been rubbing your feet across the carpet for fun?" I asked.
I noticed that at certain times of my life I'd been quick to open my mouth before thinking. This was turning out to be one of those times. The man's eyes widened. He put his other hand up to me. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. The static feeling increased, followed by a low buzzing noise in my head. I jerked my head back. His eyes widened more, before the feeling suddenly stopped.
The men holding me tightened their grip. I cried out from the pressure they were putting on my shoulder blades. "Charan, Marvin, careful with her. We don't want her to break before the police get here."
The police? Had he really just said the police? I couldn't let this one go. "Great, once they're here could you please explain why you were stalking that little blond girl?"
The leather-clad man laughed. His laugh was so deep that I felt the slightest vibration from it in my lower stomach. It made me catch my breath.
"Let her go. She's not a crazed fan. She has no idea what is going on here. Do you?" he asked, staring directly at me.