Sunday, August 26, 2012

Grab Your Panties, Crimson Darkness is COMING!

Okay, all you fever fans out there (yes I'm talking to you) you NEED to check out this series! 

In honor of the upcoming release of book 2 in the Crimson Midnight Series on September 1st 
(on Amazon, Amazon UK, and Smashwords)
 I have a little treat for everyone!  
It's a fantastic series that I highly recommend, 
and my review of book 1, Crimson Midnight, 
can be found on Passionate Book Divas.  
I haven't finished my review of book 2, because I wanted to re-read the final edited version, but I gave book two a Dark Obsession Chronicles rating of
It truly is a series not to be missed!

But now, I'm sure you're tapping your foot, saying, 
"You said something about a present.  Where's our present?"
Amos and Cassidy wrote a special story for me to post.  If you haven't seen it before, be sure to visit my interview with them from the Crimson Midnight Blog Tour.  They are a hoot, and I'm tickled pink to have them grace my blog with their presence again!
Without further ado...
a glimpse into the past, back when the werewolves were in their teens.



Roman let himself into the house, silently, stealthily. He didn’t want his mum to know he was home early. He moved to the house phone and unplugged it. The school would call of course but they wouldn’t be able to get through. The last thing his mum needed was more trouble, more worry. He sighed and tiptoed up the stairs to his room, careful to avoid the creaky fifth step.
The house was silent, too silent. Either his mum was out with Erin or she was asleep again. Lately all she did was sleep, and honestly, he couldn’t blame her. Anything was better then the harsh reality that they were faced with. The oblivion of sleep was like a comfort blanket and the few precious moments upon waking where everything was as it should be, before reality intruded, was bliss.
Safe in his room he kicked of his trainers and flung himself onto the bed. The events of the morning played through his head. Sam Greer and his posse hanging out by his locker, blocking his access as they chatted and ribbed each other, playing the big guys as usual. Everyone knew to avoid the gang, not to attract their attention, not to be singled out and Roman wasn’t stupid, hadn’t been stupid in the past. He knew how much good grades and behaviour meant to him mum and dad and had steered clear of the dodgy groups, but not today. Today he had seen Sam, with his gelled up hair and too wide grin, leaning against his locker as if he had all the time in the world, and something inside Roman had snapped. A hot rage like boiling lava had surged up inside his chest bubbling and burning up his throat until his eyes grew glazed with tears of frustration and inexplicable pain. Today Roman had gotten himself noticed. If you can call planting a fist in a gang leader’s face getting noticed. He lifted his hand and studied his bruised knuckles. The headmaster, although sympathetic toward Roman’s feelings, ‘considering the circumstances’, had still suspended him for a week.
He sighed. He knew what was wrong with him, everyone knew what was wrong with him. He was grieving, and if he had read the literature correctly he was stuck on the anger stage. The last thing he wanted to do was hurt his mum even more than she was hurting. It had only been four months since his dad’s sudden death and she needed him to be strong. So he did what he had to, put on a brave face and swallowed his emotions…until today. Thank God it was Friday. He could avoid questions about what had happened at school for a couple more days. Thanks goodness he had plans this weekend; camping with Raven and his family. Thanks to the Bank Holiday weekend it would be a long one.
Raven Stonewall was a Godsend. He’d transferred to Roman’s school a couple of months ago, a skinny lanky kid a year younger than Roman but smart enough to be taking the advanced classes. He wasn’t sure how it had happened. Maybe it was because it was easier to speak to someone new, someone who didn’t know his history. Regardless, they had become friends. Raven hadn’t been at school today, if he had Roman doubted he would have lost his cool like he had. But he would see his friend this evening. Raven’s dad was picking him up and they were off to Wales to some cool camping retreat. Raven kept raving about it, saying how much fun they were going to have. He needed this. He couldn’t wait.

He’d never seen a night like this. In all of his sixteen years, Roman Loch had never witnessed stars like these. In the city the stars lay hidden, overshadowed by the city lights and smog. Here in The Black Mountains, the stars dominated the skies.
It had taken about half an hour of hiking through the forest to reach the clearing Raven’s dad, Richard, had wanted. When they got there, three people waited for them. Two guys, Damon and Kris, both fifteen like Raven, and a twenty-three year old bloke called Harold.
There seemed to be an instant click. There wasn’t any awkwardness really – okay, Harold was a bit of a show-off, but they had a laugh together. Turned out Harold and Kris had a mutual appreciation for Charisma Carpenter and Resident Evil video games. Damon was quite quiet, but not shy. He seemed to be more observant. Raven looked tightly-wound. He always looked tightly-wound!
They gorged on sausages and bacon, fried up over an open fire. Richard entertained them with stories about his youth. He was a cool guy but there was something slightly unnerving about him, if Roman were honest. There was something about his cold eyes that reflected danger and commanded respect of the highest magnitude. He always thought Raven’s silver eyes were a little creepy, but not like Richard’s. And apart from having creepy eyes in common, where the hell was the family resemblance? Despite that, it was nice to be away from it all, to just chill and leave the hurt back in London; be free from its dark, suffocating arms.
Something ripped through him, a hard surge of pain. He groaned and clutched his stomach.
Raven leapt to his feet.
“Calm, Raven,” Richard said. “We cannot interfere.”
“Think…I ate…dodgy sausage…” Roman wheezed. He fell forward, close to the fire.

Damon, Kris and Harold extinguished the flames. They took a step back and just stood there, watching.
“I need…ARGH!”
Agony came in waves, pulsing through him. There was a snap and a scream tore itself from his throat, white hot pain seared his brain, as snap after snap filled his ears. He realised on some subconscious level that the snaps were the sound of his bones breaking. But he was floating in a halo of pain where every ounce of his energy was channelled into the next scream. His spine popped and his skin stretched. When his jaw gave away his cries were silenced. There was a sensation of tiny spiders crawling over him, a weird feeling of hair… lots of hair. And then the pain stopped. He looked down at himself, laying there in the dirt. He had paws! He had fur! He suddenly had energy. Up he got, on all fours!
“I’m on all fours!” His voice came out as a bark. “Bark? Whoa! That was one gone off sausage!”
No, the sausages were fine. This is real.
It was Raven, his voice as clear as anything… but in his head.
He looked over to where his friend had been standing and saw a bloody huge wolf with a blue-black pelt. He panicked, and a high whine filled the air. He realised in shock that the sound was coming from him. Terrified he looked around for an escape route but found himself surrounded by more big wolves! Trippin’ on an out of date sausage or not, there was no way he was sticking around to be eaten!
The biggest wolf, one with grey fur, approached him. Roman wanted to run, but couldn’t. All he could do was stare into the wolf’s pale blue eyes in terror and…
“Richard?” Another bark.
Yes, Roman. It is all of us, the pack.
“The pack?” Roman barked.
Let us bind you. Bow your head.
It wasn’t a request, it was an order. Richard’s voice was powerful in his mind. It compelled him. There was no other way. He lowered his muzzle to the ground.
He shuddered, almost losing his balance. In the next few moments his body flushed with heat and cold, fire then ice, fire then ice. Tremors pulsed through him. The fabric of his mind was ripped open and his eyes rolled back in his head. He felt it, a sensation of something new pouring in. And then he felt the wave of emotions, the voices of the guys he’d been sitting round the fire with. He was connected, becoming part of… of a pack. Then the smells of the forest assaulted him, vibrant and distinct. And the sounds of life; the birds, the mice, the foxes, they were all so pure.  His eyes snapped open and the night was no longer a cover because he could see through it clearly. Roman fell to his knees as this tsunami of sensations assaulted him, drawing a few deep breaths before he passed out.

“You will never experience that pain again,” Richard said. He was now human again.
Roman was sitting by the fire, in a pair of jogging bottoms and a T-shirt that matched the others. They had all torn their clothes by changing. He should be wailing in confusion, steeped in denial - something. What had just happened had been fantastical…unreal, but his instincts forced him to accept everything. He belonged.
“I hope you’re right.” He shook his head in wonder.
“The first time is the one and only painful time, Roman. From now on, shifting will be a seamless act. Do be prepared to destroy all of your best clothes. You have been late in changing. The vast majority experience their first change come puberty; Raven before that.”
Roman noticed Harold shuffling uncomfortably. It was subtle, but it was there. Roman knew Raven was a prodigy. In school he was more than just leagues ahead of everyone else.  It was fitting he would be here too.
Werewolves, supernatural beings, Alphas, it was all so crazy! But then it wasn’t. It felt as natural as anything else, as if this was how it was meant to be. He knew he was going to be okay. What was his mum going to say? He was terrified. But Richard assured him that from now on his mum and little brother would be looked after. They were family now.
“So, you’re not Raven’s dad?” Roman asked.
“No, I’m not. Raven’s parents are part of the civilian pack who the active pack feed and nurture by being active, by shifting. Civilian werewolves can still shift, they just have no need with the active pack’s magic.”
He felt a little annoyed at being lied too.
“I’m sorry, Roman,” Raven said. “I hated having to lie to you.”
“He was working under my orders,” Richard said.
Roman took a moment to answer. “If I’m honest, I’m not happy about that. But then what does it matter really? I know you didn’t do it to hurt me.”
Raven smiled. “I wouldn’t hurt you, Roman.”
“Thanks, mate.” Roman returned the smile.
Roman frowned. “So I guess my parents…my birth parents were werewolves too?”
“Yes.” Richard nodded. “Your parents were good friends of mine. When the accident that took their lives occurred, I was away on business. Somehow you slipped through the net and ended up in the system. You were just a baby, and by the time we found you…well you’d already been adopted.” He sighed. “So we watched and waited. When you showed no signs of changing at puberty we grew concerned but decided to wait.  After all, you had grown up around humans, and maybe this had tempered the change.”
“How did you know I was ready?”
“Your scent,” Raven said. “A werewolf on the cusp of change has a particular scent.”
A thought suddenly struck Roman. “So you were sent to my school to make friends with me…to watch me?”
Raven looked aghast. “It’s not like that, Roman. I know I was sent to watch you but trust me, Roman, our friendship is real.  I mean, I didn’t expect to actually like you but…you’re my best friend.”
They locked eyes as Roman gauged Raven’s sincerity and, after a long moment, Roman sat back and nodded. “I believe you.”
Harold made smoochy sounds and Richard shot him an icy look.
Raven rolled his eyes and changed the subject. “I’m looking forward to going back to school on Tuesday.”
Roman nodded. “Yeah, me too. Gonna be interesting when I bump into Sam.”
“Just be careful,” Richard said. “Do not cause any harm to this Sam person. Raven has told me he is a bully. Just show him you will not be pushed around, scare him a little. But do not injure him. We are hidden. The human world believes us to be a myth. That is the way it is.”
Roman nodded respectfully.
“Welcome to the pack, Roman.” Kris said.
“Yeah, welcome,” Harold agreed.
“I third that,” Damon said.
“Thanks, guys.”
“Now,” Richard said. “Tonight we spend outdoors. Tomorrow you will see the cottage, our retreat. And also, we hunt tonight. Are you ready for your first kill?”
Roman hesitated. “Hunting what?”
“Animals, of course,” Richard said. “Did you think I meant people?”
Roman winced. “Only for a minute.”
Richard laughed. “I’m going to set you all a challenge. I want you to each bring back a kill. The fastest will win a HMV gift card worth £100. The slowest has to clean the cottage, cook and be in charge of all chores.”

The werewolves all looked at one another. Excitement flooded Roman. Just as his life had been permanently changed by his dad’s death, it was now changed again as new paths opened up before him.
Richard’s voice deepened. “Get ready to shift…”

... I just LOVE this series!

Be sure to check out the entire Crimson Darkness Launch Tour!  The entire schedule of stops can be found on my Crimson Darkness Cover Reveal post.


  1. Thanks for having us here Alana, it's great to be back!

  2. Thanks Alana!! So glad you recommended this to me in our Tom Challenge! Can't wait for Sept. 1!!!