USA Today Bestselling Author
Could life get any worse? Teenage vampire Tessa isn’t so sure it can. She’s caught in a web of Deanna’s cruel making, forced into an alternate reality she isn’t sure where she fits into or how to escape.
The love of her life Cody sees their lives deteriorating as he struggles to save her from secrets that, like poison, have festered. When the truth comes to light, there will be hell to pay, and he knows only that he has to be there when it does.
In a maze of lies and deceit, the path to a safe haven is shrouded, how close they are to the door is impossible to see from any distance. Survival may depend on newly awakened powers Tessa isn’t sure she possesses and, if she does, can even control.
A the end of the last book we finally learn Bart’s secrets and see his true self. That’s also when Cody and Tessa realize Deanna is a bigger problem than they thought. Jared, Ian and Wendy get attacked in the Council Hall basement, you know that’s not good.
Tessa needs to take total control back, but she’s not exactly sure how to do that and be sure Deanna can never her take over again. The whole Deanna thing is messing with Cody, he loves Tessa but he’s having a lot of trouble with that whole takeover thing.
Rhea discovers she hadn’t yet sent Seth away, and when she’s about to hide out to hitch a ride to the blood farm, she discovers Ian, Wendy and Jared in the back of the van. Jared does manage to send a text out before he can’t move anymore. Rhia knows has to somehow protect them and find Seth.
Serus is recovering from being stabbed by Bart, that he lived at all was all Tessa and her new ability to manipulate energy. Of course he isn’t going to stay down, Rhia’s his wife, Seth is his son, one way or another he wants to get to them both.
David finally finds Jewel and when he hears about the ambush where Jared’s phone led Tessa, Cody and Motre, he believes it’s an attempt to get everyone away from Council Hall.
Sending their father’s back to the Council Hall, Cody and Tessa with Motre decide to go the long way there. Through the tunnel from the hospital to the Hall. Traveling through the tunnel they make a startling discovery of yet another form of experiments the blood farms have been doing. Dogs or wolf-dog hybrids trained to attack, they die with silver too. In largest of these animals Tessa saw enough light to cure him.
This is a favorite scene.
And Cody realized something else. This strong beautiful woman in front of him was still the gentle, caring Tessa that had gone after her own people to save a friend. And now that she’d come up against a dog that had been abused by the enemy and turned against her, she was still trying to save it.
“You can’t save it,” Motre cried out in frustration. “We just killed the rest of these evil bastards.”
“I can see its energy. It was bigger than the others. They gave him the same amount of drugs as the others instead of basing it on body weight.”
Cody shook his head, trying to understand. “So he’s not turned?”
“He’s been turned into this, but the original dog is still in there.”
“Dog or wolf?” Motre snapped. “Even if you could fix him, he’s still going to be dangerous as hell.”
“Maybe and maybe not,” Tessa said quietly. “What if I could heal him?”
And she lay down on the cement floor in front of the dog.
Both Motre and Cody jumped forward to protect her, but she held up her hand. The dog stopped bristling and snarling. He walked over slowly to stand over her.
With his breath caught in the back of his throat, Cody could barely stand still when the dog, calmer, not so killerish looking, whimpered whimpered and lay down beside her.
And laid its head on her ribs.
“Holy crap,” Motre whispered.
Cody watched as she gently reached out a hand and stroked the dog’s fur and seemed to continue the stroke out into the air. And he understood. She was moving the darkness away from the animal. Cleaning it of the damaging poison that had turned it into a killer. The dog slowly turned less black and more silvery gray as Tessa worked. The animal whimpered several times while she worked.
Just when Cody figured that Motre was going to say something about being short on time, Tessa laid a hand on the back of the dog’s neck and slowly sat up. The dog’s head slid down to her lap, but he made no move to stand up and leave. Or to stop her. Sitting, Tessa checked out the dog’s energy a little further. “I think he’ll be okay now.”
“Think?” Motre scoffed. “The penalty is high if you’re wrong.”
“Not really. Just a bite. And I’ll heal.”
Talking quietly to the dog, she carefully stood up. The dog stood up with her, apparently not willing to be separated. Cody stared down at the huge dog and wondered what had happened to it. “What could they have done that turned these dogs into killers? And surely there would have been easier weapons. Although it is hard to imagine one with greater shock value.”
“It’s the genetic experiments and drugs,” she said quietly. “They are growing some, snatching others off the streets, and perverting them into this. But this guy appears to be slowly recovering. I wonder if he wasn’t as badly treated or hadn’t been under their control for very long that I could still see the essence of who he was.”
“Well, how about you shoo him away and let’s get moving?”
The dog slowly turned his massive head to stare at Motre, a horrific growl sliding out the back of his throat.
Motre hastily shifted back several steps. Tessa casually reached down one hand and placed it on the dog’s head. He subsided instantly.
Cody stared at Tess. “Did you just tell it to stop that?”
“Sure. He’s well-trained.”
Motre snorted. “That’s what you call it?”
She smiled. “He’s less certain of you because he can feel your fear.”
“And can you feel his fear?” Cody asked curiously. “He’s huge and dangerous if you can’t control him.”
“I don’t know that I can control him, but I can communicate with him somewhat.”
“If he goes after me, I will kill him,” Motre snapped.
“If he goes after you, it will be because he’s afraid that you’ll go after him and he’s only defending himself.”
This was an interesting twist. “What are you going to do with him?” Cody asked. “I’m not sure you can keep him as a pet. He’s hardly pet material. Look at the size of him. His head is almost at your waist. The jaws on that thing…” He left the sentence unfinished. The other dogs hadn’t been quite so big or so bad-looking or as mean-looking. But they’d been deadly. And they’d been killed. He had no idea what to do with the dog now. And would it even die the same way as the others had? “Why did the dogs die by silver? That makes no sense.”
“It’s the genetic material they injected into the dogs,” she said. “Vampire blood. Makes them hungry for more, and yet is affected by silver and sunlight the same as we are. They are trying to make these animals perfect so they can replicate them. I’d say these were the first ones tested, so they don’t know how the injections work on them yet.”
“The spikes should have made them bleed out as any normal injury would to a dog, not explode like vampires though.”
“I’m wondering if they didn’t switch the blood in their veins with vampire blood,” she said quietly, staring down at the massive dog beside her. He seemed content to wait for her to make the next move. He wasn’t exactly sure yet, but he suspected she had gained a pet.
“Can we go now?” Motre strode in the direction the dogs had come from. “I’d like to make sure there are no more of those psycho animals to scare the bejesus out of everyone at the Council Hall.”
“Good point.” Tessa walked to the door. The dog remained sitting where she’d left him. Cody watched and wondered. Tessa got to the door, turned back to the dog, and raised an eyebrow. She looked at him and said, “Well?”
And the dog loped toward her like an obedient puppy—only ten times the size.
Jesus. Could this day get any weirder?
Mayer, Dale. Family Blood Ties: Books 7-9 (pp. 589-592). Valley Publishing Ltd.. Kindle Edition.
Serus takes command unwilling at Council Hall while Goran leads the human army to where they believe the entrance to the blood farm is.
A tower room holds some interesting clues and Tessa gets an idea of who might be in charge. The elders who were council members are called in by Jameson causing quite the uproar. Fearing a vote that could take them all back to the dark ages Sian and the others work to find all the council members still alive.
It’s become a battle of not only the enhanced vampires, but also time as this book springs surprise after surprise on us.
I’m starting the final book in this series. I am so very thankful this is a completed series.
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.