The Fear of the Unknown

We all have that don’t we? We all need to believe in what we hold dear to be the truth about our lives. We sometimes shy away from people, places, or events that we can’t understand or control. I think that’s why creatures of the night are so mesmerizing. We honestly long to believe in a darker side because I truly believe we have the capabilities within all of us – to be a killer. Fascinating thought, isn’t it? Vampires and were-creatures and ghosts are beings we can’t fully comprehend. I have a piece that’s been re-created from a short story to a full novella, scarlet-darkness-60-percentbringing a curse to the forefront – one effecting were-tigers. They face their extinction. The time of the Red Moon approaches and they must follow a course – or else. Take a taste of…

SCARLET DARKNESS

“No!”

The cry rang out in the night. Larken was awakened from a deep sleep. Rolling off the bed, he immediately crouched in the darkness, becoming fearful they were under attack. When he was able to adjust his vision, he exhaled and glanced up at the moon. The signs were in place. He snarled and contemplated what he should do. The creatures hunting were unaware of how they were affecting the Pride. He rose to a standing position and stretched. His muscles were still twisted from earlier, a kink in his neck. The transformation earlier had allowed him to gather information. There were more than just humans hunting.

He held out his hands and realized they were shaking. Tonight wasn’t one in which he could lose control on any aspect. Scarlet. He’d been unable to stop thinking about her. He wanted to see her, touch her. No, Larken wanted to fuck her. The thought was debilitating. Edging toward the window he studied the skyline. The majority of their kind remained asleep, oblivious to the activity in close proximity. He was tired of dealing with the rogues, the creatures who had no education about how to handle their needs.

Fumbling in the darkness, he grabbed his shirt and jeans, within seconds heading for the door. The girl was merely terrified. She had no clue what fait awaited her in the woods surrounding them. The humid air hit him, the stench of death permeating the sky. The night’s feast was far too strong. Larken jumped into his truck, fearful he was too late. He wasn’t supposed to be anyone’s savior but he refused to have innocent people slaughtered for the sake of food. The Elders were looking the other way and the good townspeople were growing restless.

Larken maneuvered the truck through the pathways in the forest, his keen eyes able to see every twig, every small creature hiding in the shadows. By the scent alone he could tell where the girl had been taken, a small lake over a knoll. The area was well red moonknown for lovers and those longing for a moment of peace. Tonight the serene location was meant as a killing ground.

As he rounded the last turn adrenaline blasted through every cell in his body. Tonight he didn’t want to turn for fear of harming the victim even more. Blood he didn’t need on his hands. He jerked the truck to a hard stop, tires screeching as the wind kicked up. There was another storm approaching, one that would drench the area. He had to move quickly or both the scent and the girl would be lost.

Using his powerful leg muscles he bounded up the hill and over the top. A cloud quickly swept across the sliver of a moon, but he was able to see the figures on the other side of the lake. Larken slipped into the water and was on the other side within seconds. Bursting up to the surface, the element of surprise wasn’t lost on either of them.

“What the hell?” the man jerked to a standing position.

“Jesus Christ!” the girl screeched, doing her best to cover her naked body. “Oh God. Oh God. Oh God!”

Larken growled, baring his sharp canines as he took in the reality of what he was seeing. The two very naked humans were sharing a heated moment of passion. He could see a leather strap on the ground where the implement of discipline had been dropped. He’d done nothing but interrupt a lover’s night out. “I’m sorry. Very sorry. I heard screaming.”

“Buddy, get the fuck out of here before I call the cops,” the man hissed then walked closer. “What the hell is wrong with you? I mean…” His eyes opened wide and he backed away. “Sissy, get your things. We gotta go.”

“But Henry, we’re not done yet.”

“I said get your fucking things, girl or you’re going to get your ass whipped until you can’t stand for days.”

Larken knew what was wrong. He was partially in transformation, his tiger pushing the very boundaries of humanity. Taking two giant strides, he dove into the lake and disappeared before the man could identify him.

He stood at his truck, chastising himself for his ridiculous behavior. Of course he was on edge, but to be so reckless was beyond him. A crack of thunder rolled in the distance and a single flash of lightning drew his attention to the trees just beyond the perimeter. The glowing eyes told him he’d been very right. Taking off at a full run, he raced through the trees, branches snapping against his face.

The wind whipped all around them, creating a myriad of fresh smells. Decaying timber and leaves, the scent of dirt and stale water mixed with the stench of fresh blood. A kill had happened tonight. Larken pushed on as the rain began to fall. He scanned the darkness, searching for signs of the kill. The beast was just ahead, playing a cat and mouse game with him. Bounding through a section of dense brush, he stumbled forward and hit the ground with a hard thud. There, lying in front of him was a body. Growling, he crawled forward and glanced around him. This was a purposeful find, nothing more than a lure.

As he padded closer, allowing the complete transformation to take place, he hovered Knifeover her and knew she was dead. Her lovely face and vacant eyes were filled with horror. Blood covered her shredded white gown, several areas of her skin shorn from her body. Sniffing, he gazed down the length of her and studied her wrist. The rope marks were faint but he knew what they meant. She’d been taken and held captive. No beast of the forest would plan a kill, not even the rogue dogs that wandered the fringes of the forest.

Larken nudged her neck with his paw. The cut from ear to ear was primitive, savage. And the raggedness of the torn skin appeared from an animal’s gouge. But he knew better. This was indeed a staged kill. A quick snap of twig too close behind him meant he was in danger. Snarling, he bounded off into the downpour just as a shot rang out.

SYNOPSIS

In the shadow of darkness there remains a curse, one aimed at destroying those considered immortal. 

Scarlet Dumane didn’t believe in the ways of voodoo and magic or in creatures of the night. When she was called to the Bayou to settle her grandmother’s estate, she was faced with the possibility that were-tigers existed. A series of brutal murders indicated a monster lurked in the forest, preying on innocent men and women. Terror had ripped the town apart. Immediately she began receiving calls from the townsfolk that didn’t like her kind. When a mysterious stranger and former handyman of her grandmother’s appeared at her door, she was curious to find out more. Larken Myers was sexy, rough-hewn and instantly their combined chemistry indicated something more between them than just attraction.

Finding an ancient book telling a tall fairytale of were-tigers who would rule the world, a required mating and a mysterious red moon, Scarlet scoffed at the information. Until the threats became real. There was an ancient curse enveloping the town and few humans would survive. She quickly became aware that Larken was more than he seemed. A calling was consuming his every night – a hunger unlike anything he’d ever experienced, forcing his beast to the surface. The murders weren’t what they appeared to be. Larken enlisted the help of his two best friends to protect the woman he adored as well as the secret life he shared with others deep in the woods. As the crimson hued full moon approached, the town was determined to hunt her down. Could the three tigers protect her or would their entire existence be wiped out?

Are you terrified yet?

Kisses and spanks…

Cassandre

About Cassandre Dayne

Cassandre Dayne is the pseudo for the best selling author of romantic suspense and thrillers
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