Silence kept her alive during nearly a century of captivity.
Ancient magic set her free.
Willa Avery created the serum that changed the world as humans, witches, and vampires knew it. Sun Serum 99, the cure for a vampire’s death by sunlight. Many tried to create it, but it took the magic and science of a Grand Elite Caster to perfect it. Despite the fame and recognition that came with this discovery, the fact remains: Willa was forced by the vampire king of the West to create the one thing she could have used to kill him.
After hiding from the king and his spies for years, she’s tired of living in the shadows. She vows to end his reign of terror and return to the man she was stolen from a century ago.
With her two best friends–witches of high rank by her side, and the love of a vampire seeking his freedom, can Willa destroy the king that ruined her life?
From the #1 international bestselling author of Rise of the Flame and The Chronicles of Koa comes Silenced, a dark paranormal romance novella.
“WILLA, YOU HAVE to see this,” Zoe said in a whisper that broke Willa’s attention from her journal.
“Hmm?” The tone of her voice told Willa that her study of spells and formulas could wait.
Willa stopped twirling her long black hair and glanced up. Zoe stood at the door with her back to the crowded coffee shop. The pretty young woman with cocoa-colored skin and a curvy frame looked uncharacteristically tense as she watched something outside the glass.
She took a sip of her coffee. “What is it?”
“A vampire,” Zoe said in a lowered voice as she waved Willa over.
“Blimey.” Despite her fear, the very mention of a vampire intrigued her.
Willa had seen vampires before. She knew them well. But this was different.
It was daytime.
The air felt thick as Willa shot from her seat and met Zoe at the storefront window. Her breaths quickened as they watched the slender woman step from her silver Mercedes parked along the busy street.
It seemed too soon for such an appearance. Willa swallowed as she glanced up at the sky, the sun’s light muted from behind the cloud cover of the overcast London morning. She bit her bottom lip and put her hand over her heart.
It’s happening, she thought as she watched the woman.
All of the patrons in Little Zoe’s Coffee Shop crowded in front of the window to watch the spectacle before them.
Willa scooted closer to Zoe, uncomfortable with the proximity of the other patrons of her best friend’s coffee shop. Each time someone touched her, a jolt of visions filled her head, showing her their thoughts.
Some were pleasant.
Most of the thoughts were not.
Warily, Willa’s eyes went from the short man whose arm pressed against hers as he ogled the woman outside to the morning sky. Visions of him sitting in an old recliner with a lazy cocker spaniel on his lap came to her. The smell of cigar smoke and whiskey accompanied the image, making her cover her nose. It was no use trying to mask the smell. She was thankful when it faded with the vision.
Sighing, Willa crossed her arms over her chest and chewed her bottom lip. She still had yet to find a way to exact her revenge on Lukas and save the other witches he’d imprisoned.
A gruff voice came from the short man beside her. “How do you know she’s a vampire, Zoe?”
Zoe took a picture of the vampire on her cell. “It’s not difficult, Mr. Craig. They just stand out.”
“We should make them wear something. So they stand out even more. I can’t tell them apart,” Mr. Craig said.
“Like the Jews?” Willa raised a brow. Having lived through countless wars, Willa was used to hearing such remarks. This was 2016 and humans still felt the need for a scapegoat.
His eyes glanced at her. “You know what I mean.”
“The Vampire Nation must have put their Sun Serum 99 on the market,” Zoe said.
Willa looked down to see Zoe uploading the picture to Instagram.
Willa’s brows drew in. “Stop that,” she whispered, nudging Zoe.
Nearly a foot taller, Zoe looked down at Willa with an amused smile on her mauve lips. “What? They don’t care! They love the attention.” Her hazel eyes left Willa’s stern face and locked on the beautiful woman with the porcelain skin and impeccable style.
Willa envied how the woman’s gray dress hugged her full bosom and slim hips.
“Look, she’s almost glowing,” Zoe said. “Sun Serum 99 must work.”
“Bloody vampires,” the short man said, shaking his head. “Won’t be long now before the world’s overrun with them.”
Willa glanced at him. She wished he’d shut his mouth. Only years ago people said the same thing about witches. Now they were everywhere, perfectly assimilated into the human culture.
Zoe gave Willa a concerned look. “We don’t know that,” she said. She lowered her voice. “You going to be okay?’
Willa nodded. She hoped she’d be fine. Everything was changing.
All she could think about was the prospect that the vampire walking toward the coffee shop could be one of Lukas’ spies. How many times had she moved in the last few years?
Mr. Craig wiggled his stubby finger at Zoe. “Mark my words. They’ll be serving our blood up at tea time, with scones.”
“Oh my,” Zoe put a hand on Willa’s. “It’s Lady Cavill.”
“It is,” Willa said in surprise. Her eyes widened. Lady Cavill was one of few vampires that were coming forward now that the serum was created and approved for use.
The world was about to change.
Zoe gave her hand a squeeze. “She’s coming here.”
Everyone stepped back, their eyes following Lady Cavill as she reached for the door of the coffee shop.
Mr. Craig clicked his teeth in disapproval. “What does she want with coffee? You let vampires make a habit of coming here, and I won’t be returning.”
“I’m sure that won’t be the case,” Zoe said. She fixed her long curly hair and straightened her dress and apron.
All eyes followed the stylish woman as she took off her hat to reveal long red waves.
Zoe let go of Willa’s hand and put on her usual bright smile as she approached Lady Cavill.
“What would you like to drink, Miss?”
Willa settled back into her seat and tried not to stare.
“Just a cappuccino, please,” Lady Cavill replied as she took off her leather gloves and put them into her Chanel purse.
“I’ll bring it right to you,” Zoe said.
Lady Cavill nodded and turned to find a seat amongst the contemporary design Zoe had spent almost two years developing.
Willa lowered her eyes. Please don’t sit next to me.
Lady Cavill’s unearthly green eyes rested on Willa. She gave a little smile and chose the black table beside her.
The screeching of the chair’s feet on the slick floor made Willa shudder.
“I didn’t expect to see another celebrity when I left home this morning,” Lady Cavill said in a thick Welsh accent.
Her tight smile and the coldness in her eyes made Willa uncomfortable. She should have been used to such creatures, considering her former occupation. A Grand Elite Caster was sought for many different services. All forms of supernatural beings and humans turned to Willa and her sisters, desperate for one of her spells. But that life was over. She’d been in hiding since she escaped Lukas’ clutches.
“I don’t know what you mean,” Willa said, turning away. Her eyes darted around the crowded coffee shop to make sure no one listened to their exchange.
Of course, everyone in the shop listened, even if they tried to keep their eyes on their cell phones, tablets, and newspapers.
“Come now. No need to hide who you are,” Lady Cavill said. “Soon all creatures of the night will be free. I’d think you of all people would understand that. What you did for vampires all over the world is revolutionary. Don’t let me start on what you did for witches.”
Willa’s face paled. “Please,” she whispered when she turned back to Lady Cavill. Her blue eyes looked at the older woman. One mention of Willa’s presence in England would have Lukas racing to her.
Not yet. She wasn’t ready.
“Please, just respect my privacy.”
The lady’s smile faded as she nodded.
“Of course,” she said. “My apologies. I just commend you…for creating the serum. That’s all.” She put a thin, manicured hand on Willa’s shoulder. “Thank you.”
Willa winced but nodded. Painful memories resurfaced, making her feel ill. She turned away.
“You’re welcome,” Willa whispered. She clenched her jaw and glared at her journal.
You won’t be thanking me when I kill your precious king.