April 17, 2017

Freeze Cover Reveal and Pre-Order Discount!

Super excited to reveal the cover for Freeze (Midnight Ice Book 2)! My newsletter subscribers got the exclusive cover reveal two weeks ago, and they loved it, so I hope you do too!

Also, I posted the book for pre-order over the weekend, so I'm happy to announce to everyone who has reached out begging for the next installment of Midnight Ice that it will go on sale JULY 11th!  So close!

Without further ado...

...

...

...

WOOHOO!


Locked up doesn't mean locked in.

Pandora Scott is in jail…again. Everyone she once loved betrayed her…again. And some of the most powerful people in the world want her dead…yes, again. Sound familiar? But if there’s one thing Pandora is good at, it’s wriggling her way out of life or death situations, and this time is no different. Armed with her ability to disappear and aided by the mysterious Sam, Pandora’s got a plan. Escape the most secure prison in the world. Evade the most powerful trackers on the planet. Forget every word that Jax has ever told her. And figure out how to change one teeny tiny thing—fate. Easy, right? Well…doable, at least.

On-sale July 11th! You can pre-order it now at the special discount price of $2.99! It'll be raised to $3.99 at on sale :)

            

*Google Play link coming soon!

THANK YOU!!!


Blogger Tricks

March 26, 2017

What should I include in my new author newsletter?!

I've been thinking for a while about starting a new monthly newsletter! So many of you already subscribe to my "New Release Newsletter" which is amazing, but I sort of want to do something more regular and more interesting--something that will give you a peek behind my writing curtain and also involve you in my process!! 

So I figured, the best way to see what my fans might want to know more of, is to ask :)

I think the first newsletter will go out May 1st, and once a month after that. If you have time, it would be a HUGE help to answer these poll questions to help decide what to include!


What should I include in my new author newsletter?!

Updates about my writing progress and different projects I'm working on!
Polls to include you in my writing process! (i.e. What book should I write next? Which character name do you like best?)
Books I'm reading and ones that I love!
Steals and deals for mine and other great books!
Exclusive teasers from my current works in progress!
Other exclusives like cover reveals, title reveals, character interviews, and more!
Nothing! Sorry, but I've no interest in joining a newsletter...
Other
Please Specify:
QuizMaker

And of course, I hope you subscribe!!

February 28, 2017

Midnight Fire Audiobooks Are Here!!

I have SUPER SUPER exciting news!! 

MIDNIGHT FIRE AUDIOBOOKS ARE HERE!!!

Wooooohooooo!

Creating audiobooks has been on my *dream* list for years, but I always hesitated. Was the high upfront investment worth it? Would anyone buy them? Could I find a narrator who would give life to my characters? Would they sound the way I always envisioned? 

But this year, I decided to take the plunge! And the experience was AMAZING!! I found a ridiculously talented narrator named Meghan Crawford, and listening to her give life to my beloved characters for the first time is an experience I will never forget. 

As of right now, the audiobook of Ignite (Midnight Fire Book One) is on sale at Amazon, iTunes, and Audible! Meghan is working on Simmer now, and Blaze and Scorch will follow shortly! 

:)


Buy it here:

      

I can't wait to hear what you all think!! I hope you enjoy!

Much love :)




January 26, 2017

Frost (Midnight Ice Book 1) is on sale TODAY!! And a Giveaway :)

Frost (Midnight Ice Book 1) is on sale TODAY!!

I'm SO SO excited to finally share this new series with all of you!! It's been ridiculously fun to dive back into the world of Midnight Fire and to go back to my original genre, paranormal romance (this time with a more urban fantasy flair!). 

I hope you guys love these new characters as much as I do! Anyone who loved Kira will definitely fall for Pandora, trust me :)

Without further ado...enjoy!


Even the hottest love can turn a girl cold-blooded...

Life's tough for a vampire thief on the run--just ask Pandora Scott, she knows. Four years ago she ran away from home after everyone she loved betrayed her. But now her annoyingly grown up (and handsome) ex boyfriend is stalking her, begging her to return. A mysterious vamp with a particularly dangerous (and sexy) stare keeps popping unexpectedly into her life. The extremely powerful head vampire of New York is hunting her down because she may (or may not) have broken into his highly-secure, highly-secretive personal vault. And the fate she's been trying to outrun? Well, it's about to catch up. Because even a super-speedy vamp with the ability to disappear can't escape her own destiny.

Available now!

               

Paperbacks too!

   

And one more teaser, because I just can't help myself :) Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win some Amazon gift cards!





January 24, 2017

Frost (Midnight Ice Book One) - Chapter Three Reveal!!

Happy #TeaserTuesday!! 

Here's one last chapter reveal before Frost (Midnight Ice Book One) goes on sale in TWO DAYS!! What?? Crazy! I'm so excited! If you missed the first two reveals, check them out here: first chapter reveal & second chapter reveal :)

Without further ado...chapter three!

~~~


Frost
(Midnight Ice Book 1)


Chapter Three


Pandora didn’t stop running until she reached her studio apartment, closed the door behind her, and fell back against it. Lifting her hands, she realized her fingers were still trembling.
I'm a vampire, for god’s sake, she thought, annoyed. I'm tougher than this.
But was she?
Seeing Jax had brought back a lifetime of feelings she'd spent the past few years trying desperately to forget. Obviously, she hadn't been as successful as she'd hoped.
Obviously, I haven't been very successful at all.
But that was about to change.
Because today was her twentieth birthday, and it was time to finally move on. Like she’d said to Jax, she was never going back, and it was time to start acting like it. 
Spurred on by new resolve, Pandora ripped open her closet door and dug through the shoes and clothes bundled on the ground. A sharp metal corner pricked her palm. She yanked the photograph of Jax out.
But that wasn’t the only thing it was time to destroy.
Swallowing deeply, Pandora stretched her hands farther into the closet. She pulled out the only other thing she still had from her life before—a tote bag that was flattened and smashed against the ground. Resting the cotton on her knees, Pandora fingered the broken strap, the mud-stained spots, the zipper that refused to close. The bag was completely unusable—she’d pretty much destroyed it during her escape from the enclave. But for some reason, she’d never been able to let it go. On the night she’d left, she was pretty sure she’d grabbed it just because it was the biggest one she owned, could hold the most stuff. It was only after, when she’d woken up alone and as a vampire, realizing for the first time that there really was no going home, that she remembered what the tote really was. A present her father had gotten her for her thirteenth birthday, special because it was the only thing he ever bought that had required any bit of thought, that wasn’t related to titan life. Knives from the armory when she was ten. Her mother’s secondhand combat boots at fifteen. A worn-out, plastic bow-and-arrow set when she was seven. But this bag was something she’d torn from the pages of a magazine and left on the kitchen counter, a subtle hint she never dreamed he’d notice. But miraculously, he had.
Good grief. Pandora sighed, eying the two items in her hands. What sort of life had she lived that the photograph of a boy who’d broken her heart and the ratty old gift of a father who’d never once told her he loved her still meant so much?
I’ve got to get out of here, she thought, shaking her head and standing. Freaking birthday!
And she knew just the place to go.
Bound.
It was a blood bar in the meatpacking district. And no, the irony wasn’t lost on her. One of the rules of being a vamp was that only human blood did the trick—no animals, no way to cheat. So even though the trendy area had once been New York’s personal slaughterhouse, only human blood was served there now.
Tatsuya had funded the bar, one of the head vamp's many efforts to keep the mass murdering a little more under control in his city. Vampires weren't known for being especially careful with their food, but this had helped. The cocktails were crafted with the blood bags Tatsuya secured from the Red Cross, and there was a room in the back with willing victims, but Pandora had never seen it. Just the idea made her shiver. She’d fed on people before, out of desperation in the early days, and she remembered those vacant, exalted human eyes all too well. She couldn't erase the memories from her mind. The volunteers were little more than junkies searching for their next hit, and unfortunately, there were plenty of vamps all too willing to comply.
Nope, I think a cocktail will be just fine, thank you very much.
She just needed a bit of an escape.
A moment to unwind, to lose herself, to forget.
Already grinning with the ingenuity of the idea, Pandora dropped the picture and the bag on her bed, then scoured her closet for the right thing to wear. Sure, it was still the middle of the day, but vampires loved themselves some sexy, revealing attire. And, well, so did she, especially when she was going out. Because becoming a vamp as a teenager? Not exactly the best thing ever. Her face still looked young, fresh, far too youthful. Her body, on the other hand, did not. At fifteen, she'd already been about five foot ten, well endowed with a woman's curves. So even though she'd stopped aging, passing for her actual age of twenty wasn't too difficult. Especially when she'd ditched her baggy sweatshirt and grungy jeans for hip-hugging high-rise leather leggings and a midriff-baring crop top. She'd once been a Goody Two-shoes titan, but she wasn't anymore. And sometimes it just felt good to be bad.
Much better, she thought, staring at her almost unrecognizable reflection. Hunger made her eyes glow the supernatural frosty-blue of a vamp, and when she smiled, fangs slipped over her lower lip, drawn out by the anticipation.
The birthday girl was gone.
The vampire had returned.
Normally she’d fight it, but not today. Twenty was a new era, a whole new decade. And maybe seeing Jax had given her the closure she needed to finally let go. Sure, he’d looked amazing. And sure, he’d made her heart beat for the first time in years. But the pain was still there, raw and deep, and Pandora didn’t think it would ever go away. So, she grabbed the photo and the tote, determined to make a quick pit stop on her way to the bar.
Twenty minutes later, she was standing at the edge of a dock on the Lower West Side, watching the water flow quickly downstream. The surface was choppy and tumultuous, spraying up to splatter her feet in a strong gust of wind.
Pandora held the tote bag out, staring at the fraying edges for a moment, and then let go. The cotton floated on the surface of the river as though suspended in air, and then a strong wave pushed it under, far enough that the striped pattern vanished from sight.
So long, she quipped.
But Pandora paused before dropping the photo of Jax, cradling it gently in her palms as the Hudson River continued to rush by beneath her feet. His smile was the same—that was the one thing that hadn’t changed. Those penetrating eyes, they’d grown older, harder, not nearly as open. His body had grown stronger, manlier, tougher. But his smile had been just as easy and entertained as ever.
She brushed her thumb over the glass, outlining his lips.
Oh, Jax. She sighed. How did it end up like this?
She drew her hand back as her chest throbbed painfully, a reminder that it had been his choice. But as she searched her mind for the reason, there was nothing there, just pain floating in empty space, tied to nothing yet tied to everything at the same time.
The last thing Pandora remembered before waking up as a vampire was the day before Jax’s birthday. The two of them had been in their tree house, daydreaming about running away, just as they always had—speaking in what-ifs and maybes, never serious, always playful. But for Pandora it had been real, always. She’d never belonged with the titans. Her strange ability to disappear had always kept her separate from everyone else—undefinable, other, different. Her father never loved her. Her mother was dead. She had nothing at the enclave to live for besides Jax, no reason to stay. But he had been different—a clear-cut tracker, the superstar of their class, popular and strong, always ready with a smooth smile and a joke. There was no doubt that when he turned sixteen he’d be initiated into the Order of Othrys, no doubt about his role in life. Pandora had always known that he would go one way and she would go another. She’d always planned to run away from the enclave once he was initiated—to go become a vet, to lead a normal life.
So, what had happened that day he turned sixteen?
What had changed so drastically that her entire world had flipped upside down? That she’d had to become a vampire to escape? What had made his birthday so painful, so utterly catastrophic that she couldn’t even live with the reminder of it? That she suppressed it so deeply inside her soul there was no memory left?
Doesn’t matter, she thought, closing her eyes tight. It’s in the past. And I’m moving forward, just like I always do. I’m moving on.
Pandora released the photograph, letting the frame slide through her fingers, and heard it splash. By the time she opened her eyes, it had already disappeared with the current, carried away.
Good-bye, Jax.
She tore her gaze from the river and swallowed the knot in her throat. For once, she didn’t run away. She walked at a slow human pace back down the dock and onto the sidewalk, gathering herself and building her wall back up before she slipped through the inconspicuous front door of Bound.
The heady scent filled her nostrils immediately.
Blood.
Pandora took a deep breath, trying to control the paralyzing hunger working its way through her system. Her dry veins ached, scratching her insides like knives, begging for sweet relief. But the club always had that effect on her. The blood was too potent, too overwhelming. And that was part of the lure—to get high on that euphoria, to lose herself in it.
Even in the middle of the day, Bound was crowded. Tables were full. There was already a line for the back room, where the living humans were held. And the dance floor was packed with vamps drunk on their hunger, grinding up against each other in total abandon—skin pale, lips red, eyes blazing blue. Where any blood dripped free, a hungry tongue was sure to follow, wild and uncontrolled.
Pandora made her way to the bar instead. Five minutes later, she secured a Bloody Mary from the bartender—heavy on the bloody—and found a spot in the shadows where she could be alone. No one was paying attention to her, and that was part of the reason she liked it here. She could fade away and feed without anyone even noticing.
Pandora lifted the glass to her lips and took a long sip, closing her eyes as the thick liquid slid down the back of her throat. There was no human food in her memory she could think to compare the sensation to, because it wasn't like eating dinner, it was like drinking life. As soon as the blood touched her heart, as soon as it filtered to her fingers, her toes, everything about her felt more alive. The lights were brighter, the smells more vibrant. Her muscles were stronger. The icy frost encasing her dead body lifted just a little as the warmth spread.
But along with the high came the hate.
The self-loathing of what she'd become.
Pandora slid the shadows around her, disappearing as she drank. For some reason, knowing no one else saw made her feel better, even if those other people were vampires who wouldn't judge her for the pleasure flashing in her eyes. All around, everywhere her laser-sharp gaze turned, were irises lit with the undeniable crystal glow of bloodlust. To all those vampires, it was natural. To her, it never would be.
Wanting a distraction, Pandora reached out with her ears, letting her eyes slip closed. Tomorrow night, at his charity ball for the Red Cross, she’d be facing Tatsuya for the first time. All his high lords and all the most powerful vampires in the city would be there. And what else would be there? The item she was getting paid just over a million dollars to steal right out from underneath their noses. A samurai sword, or katana as the client had called it. Apparently, the head vamp had taken it with him when he left home five hundred years ago, and now a group of very powerful Japanese vamps was paying her to get it back. And they didn’t care that today was her birthday, that today she’d seen her only love for the first time in four years, that she’d finally said good-bye. They only cared that she delivered…or else.
Normally, Pandora preferred to steal for a good cause, more of a supernatural Robin Hood, some might say. Blonder of course, with a much better ass. But sometimes the commission was a little too good to turn down. And this wasn't just about money—it was about sizing up her competition, seeing how strong Tatsuya really was. Because just like every other head vamp, he had a dungeon full of lost souls, and she intended to see it destroyed before she moved on to the next town and the next target.
No, there was no time for pity.
Tomorrow, she had to be on top of her game.
So Pandora decided to take advantage of being the invisible lurker in the corner and did a little eavesdropping, just in case something informative came up. At first, it was just the usual. He saw this vamp. She punched this werewolf. They escaped this or killed that or bit someone. And then she heard something a little more intriguing.
"I heard he's worried," someone said in the far opposite corner of the club. Pandora tilted her head just a little, finding a better angle to listen. "Bringing on more security. Constantine said he met with someone earlier this week, but no one knows who. He's scared."
"He's never scared," a deeper voice said, scoffing. "He has no reason to be."
"Maybe he does. Two hundred and twenty-five years is a long time to be in charge. And I've heard there's someone new in town, someone ready to take his place. All the high lords are afraid, not just him. Maybe—"
"That's enough," a higher-pitched voice interrupted, a woman's voice, sharp as a razor as it cut him off. "Not here. Go drink, go enjoy. I hear there's a new boy in the back. His blood smells like caramel. I intend to see if it tastes like it as well."
Asshole, Pandora sneered, imagining the poor kid stretched out like a druggie on a pedestal, waiting for his next bite. But there was nothing she could do about it, and there were other people she could save, the ones Tatsuya held trapped. So she focused on their other words—that he was worried, that he was bringing on more security, that the high lords were afraid.
Excellent.
Pandora grinned, downing the rest of her drink.
That was exactly what she'd been hoping to hear, and just in time too, because her glass was empty, and she was in the mood for a refill. All she wanted to do now was forget. Forget Jax, forget everything he'd stirred up, forget her birthday. So, she downed another bloody cocktail, this time O-negative. And another after that. She let the feeding frenzy take over, let the high of fresh life wash through her.
She drank.
And danced.
And lost herself in the blood and the music and the touch of other cold bodies just like hers, searching for that little spark of life, reveling in it.
"You look good enough to eat," a sultry voice whispered in her ear.
Pandora whipped around lightning fast, flashing her fangs. "I bite."
The man smiled, lips practically dripping with sin. "Me too."
Normally, this was when she'd punch and run. Seduction wasn't really her thing. It just made her think of another boy and another time she'd never get back. But tonight was different. Tonight she wanted to be free. Tonight she was determined to move on, to move forward.
So she grinned back, taking the stranger in. And really, a girl could do worse, much worse. He was tall, broad, with bright golden hair that seemed almost aflame in the darkness of the club. His vampire-blue eyes were just as bright as hers, flashing with unabashed hunger, brazen want. His skin, though, was what really caught her eye. It was sun-kissed and bronzed, not pallid, not washed out by his ebony shirt. Somehow he looked almost warm to the touch.
Before she could stop herself, Pandora lifted her fingers, stretching for the triangle of hard skin at the base of his throat, exposed between two sets of open buttons.
He stepped swiftly to the side.
The darkness seemed to follow, wisps of ebony clinging to his frame, undulating with his every movement.
"Not yet," he murmured, never once taking his eyes off her.
The longer he held her gaze, the more familiar it seemed to become, as though she'd seen those eyes before, as though this wasn't the first time they had caressed her body.
"Have we met?" she asked.
His smile deepened, filling with secrets she could tell he had no intention of spilling. "Not like this."
"Like what then?"
But he looked away without answering, sweeping his stare down to her lips, to every inch of exposed skin, lifting back to her throat, pausing there. She didn't move. There was a dangerous sort of confidence about him, but against her will, she found it alluring, intriguing in a forbidden way. She'd always been drawn to things she wasn't supposed to have. Usually, she took them anyway.
She reached out again, trying to touch him.
He moved deftly away, almost made of air as he circled behind her.
"Pandora," he whispered into her ear, breath like a kiss against the soft skin of her neck, making her shiver.
And then the word he spoke registered.
Her name.
He knew her name.
"How…?" She spun around, trailing off when she realized there was nothing there, no one there.
A ghostly finger brushed against her elbow, tracing a burning path up her arm. "You're not the only one who knows how to disappear."
Pandora spun again.
But he was gone.
That's my trick, she thought, annoyed, trying to mask the shiver racing down her spine, trying to ignore it. Because she couldn't quite tell if it was desire or fear—and to be honest, neither option sounded appealing at the moment.
Pandora stole a drink from a nearby table, not caring what sort of blood was inside as she took a deep gulp, shaking off the strange encounter, trying to get lost in the music once more.
When another vamp sidled up next to her, snaking a hand around her waist, Pandora hissed, flashing her eyes in warning. One more move and she’d bite. Because sometimes, all a girl really wanted, especially on her birthday, was to dance like no one was watching and to be left the hell alone.

~~~


I hope you enjoyed the third chapter! That's the last of the reveals!

Frost goes on sale in just TWO DAYS! But if you're super eager (like me!), you can always pre-order a copy now :)

               

YAY!!




January 17, 2017

Frost (Midnight Ice Book 1) Second Chapter Reveal!!

Happy #TeaserTuesday!!

Only a week and a half until Frost goes on sale on Jan 26th!!! To celebrate, I'm revealing the first few chapters a little bit early :) Chapter One was revealed last week! 

And here's Chapter Two!! Enjoy!

~~~


Frost
(Midnight Ice Book 1)


Chapter Two

Pandora didn’t move. Her hand remained hovering over the donation box as the rest of her stood stock still, jarred by shock. His scent filled her flared nostrils, even more overwhelming than the sound of his voice. The subtle hints of saffron and rosemary along the outer edge of his lip, the metallic scratch of steel strings permanently etched into his fingers, and, most recognizable, the lingering traces of bark and dew and fresh morning air clinging desperately to his clothes. Everything about him brought her back to those warm summer nights, to those long lingering gazes, to the days of sweat and sun and smiles, and to the dreams whispered tentatively under cover of starlight.
Back to the world she had left behind.
But there was something new too. Something she had never noticed before. Something that now called out to her senses more brazenly than all the rest.
His blood.
Sweet and salty, brimming with an undercurrent of undeniable power—titan power. Against her will, her sharp fangs pressed into her lower lip, pushing slowly out from hiding, drawn by the incredible allure of that tantalizing scent.
She should leave.
She should run.
Keep going. Never stopping. Just as she'd been doing for the past four years—always a new place, always a new cover, always a new identity. The order had sent others before him—after all, a titan outcast was still a titan, and they didn’t let their own go so easily. But each time, she slipped away before they even had the chance to get close, even had the chance to spot her.
But this time, she didn't.
This time, she stayed right where she was—frozen.
Because the smell of him brought her back to a place she hadn't been in a long time—a place that felt almost like humanity, almost like home.
It was inevitable the titans would send him. She'd tried to prepare herself to resist the temptation. But now, the lovestruck teen she'd once been was whispering in the back of her mind, wondering how different he looked from the boy in the picture, wondering if he missed her, wondering if he'd ever expected to find her like this.
As this.
Jax leaned in closer, completely unafraid as his breath tickled the back of her neck, sending a shiver along her normally lifeless skin. “Happy birthday, Dory.”
Hearing that name tumble from those lips jarred her back to the present.
He’d lost the right to call her that name.
He’d forfeited it.
“My name is Pandora,” she growled, turning on her heels.
But the moment she looked into his seafoam eyes, all the anger vanished, dropped away in an instant. Because just like that, after so many years spent running, she’d finally been found. For the first time since she had woken up alone, cold, and not at all human, her heart jerked into motion, beating once, painful in a cold chest unaccustomed to the warm spark of life. Yet comforting. Exciting. Terrifying.
She stumbled back, overwhelmed.
Those eyes pierced her soul the same way they always had. Well, what was left of it at least. And they didn't look away as he stepped determinedly forward, the slow stalk of a panther at hunt, closing in on its victim.
Jax’s gaze pinned her to the spot.
But hers roamed. The last time she’d seen him, he was scrawny, barely taller than her, barely stronger, merely a boy, and she had still found him beautiful. Now, he was a man. And he wasn't beautiful. He was a force of nature washing over her, melting every iced-over part of her body. His golden-brown skin was even richer than she remembered, sizzling with the heat of the memories she had tried so hard to bury. He was taller and broader, thicker, with muscles defined even through the hug of his clothes. But mostly, there was an air about him that she didn’t recognize, confident and harsh, demanding and arrogant, stronger and more focused than the popular, happy boy who used to live in dreams and sing her sweet lullabies in the dark.
What did he see when he looked at her?
The same fifteen-year-old girl? Just as lost? Just as lonely?
“Dory,” he whispered, deep voice thrumming.
Part of her yearned to whisper his name.
Jax.
But the other part won.
The part still clinging to his betrayal, perpetually aching from it.
I should have left when I had the chance, she cursed inwardly. Why did I turn around? Why, oh why, did I actually look at him?
Pandora swallowed her rising emotions back down, flipping the switch inside her head, letting the vampire take over. With a cool, crisp voice free of the taint of human feeling, she asked, "What are you doing here?"
His soft green eyes flashed, revealing his surprise. But then he crossed his arms, responding with a challenge of his own. "What are you doing dropping what could be an entire life's savings into an anonymous donation box for a zoo?"
Pandora ignored the question. “Are you alone?”
A lazy smile crawled across his face, one she recognized immediately because it was the same grin he wore in the photograph she’d stuffed in the back of her closet. Carefree and confidently amused. “You really think I need backup to face you?”
She shrugged absently. “None of the other titans came alone.”
"None of the others know you like I do," he murmured, voice silky as he reached across the space between them, a distance that seemed both vast and nonexistent at the same time, gently running his finger over the bare skin of her hand. And again, her pesky heart thumped once, alive for a moment, ignited by his touch. Without even a hint of hesitation, he latched his fingers around her forearm, palm burning hot through her sweatshirt. But his brows came together as he felt the frozen temperature of her skin, confirming what he’d seen with his own eyes—that she was a vampire.
"Let go," Pandora demanded, pushing past him hard enough to make him stumble.
But he just tightened his hold. "Not so fast."
"Jax," she warned.
His entire face brightened, eyes sparkling like the ocean on a sunny day. "So you do remember my name! I was starting to get a complex about spending four years chasing after a girl who'd completely forgotten me."
Pandora took the opening he’d provided. “Four years, huh?” She scoffed, mocking him. “I always wondered when they'd send you. It never crossed my mind you've actually been trying to find me this whole time."
“I haven’t,” he denied.
But Pandora knew the truth—the body didn’t lie, and his was abuzz with feeling. His heart was pounding, a heavy beat of blood that smelled deliciously alluring. His throat was tight as he fought to maintain a relaxed fa├žade, unaware that she could read past any front he put up, could hear his stilted breath and one very slow, purposeful swallow. Jax was overflowing with anticipation—he just didn’t want to admit it.
Before Pandora could retort, he tugged on her arm, dragging her away from the donation box. “Let’s go.”
“No.” She yanked against his hold, but it was no use. Titans were annoyingly powerful and annoyingly similar to vampires. They had all the good stuff like superstrength, superspeed, and superinvulnerability without any of the downsides—the blood sucking, the immortality, the unavoidable frost of death.
Just another thing for Pandora to hate about her former best friend.
"Jerk.”
"Dory." Jax sighed, lifting their arms so his bicep came around her shoulder, pulling her against his side—a place she’d been many times, under different circumstances, of course. And yet he felt different, solid in a way he hadn’t been before, broader and taller too. She was hyperaware of his flexing muscles, of the heat building in the small space between them, of the way her body seemed to mold perfectly to his—as though after all this time, they’d finally grown up enough to fit.
To the outside viewer, they could be a couple in love. In reality, his fingers were digging into her shoulder blade. All he'd done was secure a more inescapable grasp, yet Pandora still found herself melting the slightest bit in his embrace.
Jax leaned down and whispered in her ear. "If you're not careful, you might actually start acting like my best friend instead of the bitch you're trying so hard to be."
Pandora stiffened, standing tall.
“Let go,” she ordered again, more forcefully this time.
“Not a chance.” Jax clutched even tighter. "We both know the first thing you'll do the second I let go. It's the same trick you pulled on everyone else, and I've waited too damn long to let that happen."
Pandora opened her eyes wide, feigning innocence. "Whatever do you mean?"
He scowled.
She grinned.
He was obviously referring to her pesky little ability to disappear completely from sight, and he was right—the second he let go, that was exactly what she’d be doing. Because she never should have turned around. She never should have looked into his eyes. She never should have talked to him. The second she heard his voice, she should have disappeared and run, the same way she had when every other titan had gotten too close for comfort.
But he wasn’t every other titan.
He was Jax.
And even after four years, apparently, that still made all the difference.
"You have to talk to me, really talk to me," Jax implored, steering her away from the exit, back toward the crowded area of the zoo, where it would be harder for her to escape. "Because you know what? If you run again, I'll just keep looking. I can find you anywhere, any place, any time. And you know as well as I do that I won’t stop. Because the last night I saw you is burned into my mind. I can't erase the look in your eyes, can't erase the memory of you running away from me. So, we're going to talk, whether you want to or not."
Pandora paused, taking a deep breath, thinking back to that last night.
But her mind was blank.
The truth was, she couldn’t remember her last night at the enclave, her last one as a human. She couldn’t recall the way Jax had looked at her right before she'd run away, couldn't envision their final moments together. Because when she'd started this new life, she'd forced herself to forget them. The truth of that night had been too hard to handle. It had broken her, destroyed her. So rather than live with the pain, she'd washed the memories away, leaving only the raw hate and anger behind. Leaving just enough emotion to constantly remind herself that she could never go back. Everyone she loved had betrayed her so deeply that she'd lost who she was, lost everything. Now all that remained was the throbbing pulse of disgust that had taken the place of her heartbeat.
"No, we're not going to talk," Pandora countered. "Because no matter what you say, I don't belong at the enclave. I don’t belong with the titans. I never did. I never will. And I'm never going back. Now, for the last time, let go."
But the moment Pandora tried to shrug free of Jax’s arm, his shirt pulled down, exposing his collarbone—exposing the little brownish-purple spot staining his chest. Immediately, she forgot that she was supposed to be angry with him, supposed to run away, supposed to leave all parts of her former life behind. Pandora reached her hand up, gently skimming her fingers over the outline of the bruise, eyes wide.
Jax inhaled sharply at her touch.
His heartbeat sped up.
His skin grew hot.
His breath came short and fast.
His blood boiled, rushing to a singular spot in his body.
All things a vampire could notice that a titan could not.
Pandora dropped her hand, meeting his soft gaze for a moment before stepping as far away as his hold would allow—so, not very. But the last thing she wanted to notice right now was his unabashed attraction, a painful reminder of all the memories she was trying to forget.
"Why do you have a bruise?" she asked quietly, concern overpowering everything else.
Jax took a deep breath, turning his eyes away, gaze falling to the ground. She didn’t need to be a vampire to notice the way he paused just a second too long, hiding the truth. "Because New Yorkers are a pretty angry bunch. Elbows were flying right and left on the subway.”
Pandora frowned. Why wouldn’t he tell her? Why was he dodging? In her fifteen years at the enclave, she’d never seen a spot on him—on any of them. Titans weren’t immortal, but they were supposed to be indestructible. What had changed while she was gone? "You know what I mean. We're—I mean, you're not supposed to bruise. Titans are supposed to heal."
His brows drew together. "Why do you care if you’re never coming back?"
The gruffness in his voice sounded contrived, almost like a cover-up for something painful, a knife still lodged in his chest. Part of her wanted to heal the imaginary wound. And part of her still wanted to pretend as though she didn’t give a damn.
"You're right, I don't," she snapped.
"You ditched us," he told her, grip digging deeper into her skin. "You ditched me. So you don't get to know my secrets, not yet."
That little not yet concerned her.
Pandora sighed, glancing around, noticing the eyes subtly shifting in their direction. "We're gathering some attention, so if you have something to say, do it quick or leave."
He leaned into her, nose brushing softly against her cheek. The spot burned like wildfire, its effects spreading recklessly across her nerves in frenzied abandon.
I will not shiver. I will not shiver.
Once upon a time, she couldn't control the reaction her body had whenever his was this close. But now she could, and she held her muscles rigid as his breath tickled her cheek and his lips moved precariously close to her skin, another display for watching eyes.
"Smile and walk with me," he whispered.
When he stepped forward, she paused for a moment. She could fight him off. He was strong, but so was she. He was fast, but she could disappear. A few minutes was all it would take to toss him over her shoulder, punch him once or twice until he loosened his hold, and then vanish just as she'd done with all the other titans who’d come before. But the more she glanced around, the less possible escape seemed. The zoo grew more and more crowded by the minute, and a fight between a titan and a vampire would inevitably catch some attention and trap an innocent in the crosshairs. No, she’d have to wait for the perfect moment to strike. He’d always been kind with her, gentle and trusting. His guard would drop eventually. 
Pandora eased into his hold, keeping up the pretense of a young couple in love as he led her to the very spot she'd started—the sea lions. He leaned over the rail, gripping her hand tightly and pulling her down beside him.
"You know, as soon as I stepped foot in New York, I had a feeling I’d eventually find you here," he whispered, keeping his eyes focused forward, talking gently, voice melodic. "Not a tracker feeling, a Jax and Dory feeling." And then he looked at her, eyes bright against his dark skin and even darker hair. Pandora stared straight ahead, but it did little to dull the awareness creeping across her skin, sparking her every cell to life. "You always used to go to the woods or to our tree house whenever you were stressed or sad or needed to think. You always wanted to be closer to the animals, to use them to take your mind off things." As he spoke, his grip loosened. The edge of his lip curled into a nostalgic grin. “Do you remember that time we found the bird’s nest?”
Pandora snorted. A smile came to her lips even as she tried to suppress it. “Yeah, it was broken and shattered against the ground, and three of the five eggs had already cracked open, but I was determined to keep the other two alive.”
“So determined you kept them wrapped in your scarf the entire way home and ordered me to get supplies.”
“They needed to stay incubated.”
“You were a slave driver!” he teased, squeezing her hand with affection before releasing his hold a little bit more. “‘Jax, go get me a heating lamp. Jax, find me a thermometer. Jax, print out the twenty pages of research on fledglings I found. Jax, sneak out of training with me to turn the eggs. Jax, stay home from school to watch them hatch.’ I got into so much trouble that week when the teacher called my dad.”
I didn’t, Pandora thought grimly. The teacher had never called her father—the teacher had never even noticed she’d been gone. Because to everyone in the enclave—the other kids, the teachers, the members of the order, her own father—Pandora had been the invisible girl, all too easy to forget. At least until she’d done the one thing they couldn’t abide by—run away and tried to actually disappear. 
Pandora lifted her brows as she stared ahead, still not ready to face those eyes that had been the only ones to ever truly see her. “Well, it worked, didn’t it?”
He puckered his lips, amused. “You know what I remember the most?”
“What?” she asked wryly.
Jax kept his gaze pinned on her face, drawing hers from the spot where she’d been purposefully not watching him. But he was magnetic like that, unable to be ignored for very long. And right now, his expression was intense, fueled by a molten undercurrent of suppressed emotions now fighting to reach the surface. “I remember watching you while those two little birds broke their way through those shells, totally transfixed by the gleam in your eyes—it was the most alive, the most excited I’d ever seen you. I didn’t even see them hatch, because I couldn’t tear myself away from you, from the wonder transforming every closed-off corner of your face. I’ll never forget that day because it was the first time I remember thinking, I want to kiss this girl. I want to make her look at me like that.”
And you did, Pandora thought, glancing away. But what do you see in my eyes now?
She couldn’t ask it out loud. She wasn’t sure she wanted to know.
And when her gaze landed on the sea lions once more, Pandora realized that sometime during their conversation, Jax had stopped clutching her hand. Instead, their fingers were loosely intertwined, holding on to one another equally, comfortably, one person’s grip no stronger than the other.
She subtly slipped her palm free.
I should definitely leave. Vanish. Now, before he notices his mistake.
But she didn’t.
Pandora watched the sea lions take the same path over and over, spinning in the same endless rotation. And before she was even aware what she was doing, the words slipped out. "Why are you here, really? You know I’m a vampire. You know I can’t go back even if I wanted to. So why are you still chasing me?"
Jax didn’t take his gaze from her face. "You know it’s not permanent anymore. I'll admit, I was pissed as hell when I realized you did this to yourself, that you turned into one of them. But there's a way to undo what you did. And you can put up this tough front, but I see right through you, Pandora Scott. This isn’t the life you want for yourself. It’s not the life you always dreamed of. So come with me, get the cure, be the girl I know you want to be.”
Pandora shut her eyes tight, squeezing.
She knew what he was talking about. A few years ago when it was first discovered, it was all anyone was talking about—the cure for vampirism. When she'd first heard the news, she hated herself for the immediate sense of relief that had flooded her heart—maybe she could go back, maybe she could stop running. But then the betrayal sharpened, reminding her there was no home to return to.
And the same thing happened now.
At first, she weakened, shoulders hunching, relieved that Jax hadn't given up on her. And then she hardened, letting the ice freeze her heart, remembering that everything Jax said was just empty sounds, that he’d broken every other promise he’d ever made. Even still, his next perfectly hollow words made the frozen cube in her chest fracture.
"Come home," he whispered, purring, voice so sincere, so honest that it hurt. For a moment, her mind flashed back to the boy who used to sing her songs across the space between their open windows, whose voice once lured her to sleep. "Come back to me."
"I can't," she rasped, feeling the heat in his gaze melt her resolve.
"Dory."
"I can't, Jax, so stop asking."
He reached for her immediately, realizing her hand was no longer wrapped in his, but he was too late. She had already stepped away.
Pandora turned and ran.
He chased after, following close on her heels, but as soon as she got out of sight behind a building, she did what he knew she would.
She vanished without a trace.
Pandora became one with the shadows, watching the world dim as she pulled the darkness closer, wrapping it around her like a shield. Once upon a time, Jax had been able to sense her even when she was out of sight, had been able to locate her in the void when no one else could. But now she was a vampire, and that changed everything. Because before, he'd been able to sense her beating heart, her soul. But now, when she slipped away, there was nothing to trace, nothing to find.
She became nothing.
And even a tracker as good as Jax couldn't find what wasn't there.
"Dory?" he called out.
 At the sound of his voice, she paused, pressing her back tight against the side of the building, unable to leave. At least, not yet. Because hearing him shout her name so desperately made her wonder if there maybe was a little something lingering deep down in some hidden part of herself that he could still tap into. If there were a little human morsel struggling to stay alive in her undead body, one only Jax could sense.
Two feet pounded toward her, no longer the slow, graceful saunter of a panther but the desperate slap of a hunter who'd let his prey slip through his fingers.
Pandora made herself small, wrapping the shadows closer as she watched him round the corner. She waited to see if he could still find her in the darkness. But those seafoam eyes that had just made her heart beat for the first time in four years, that had melted a little bit of the ice wrapped around her insides like a protective shield, were now frantically searching for a girl he feared he’d never see again.
And he won’t see me again, she silently promised herself. Never ever again.
“Dory!” he demanded, louder this time, firmer. “Don't disappear on me again. I'll find you. I always have, and I always will. Just talk to me, please. I'll do anything for you to just talk to me."
Pandora pressed her lips tightly shut to keep her dark laughter from slipping out. What do you want to talk about, Jax? What could we possibly have to talk about? You did this to me. You and everyone else I once thought I loved. I trusted you, and you betrayed me. What’s left to talk about?
"I'm going to find you," he said, his voice a growl, frustration mounting. "I won't stop. I can't."
Pandora pushed off the wall and stepped slowly toward him as he continued to scan for a hint of the girl he'd lost. Those panicked irises passed over her once, twice, three times, blind to the body she kept invisible, not sensing her even when she was a foot away. Cautiously, she reached up, stretching her palm toward his face, stopping an inch from his cheek, shivering as the heat from his body brushed against her skin.
She stayed like that for a moment, wishing beyond anything else to close the gap, to pretend even for a second that things were different. Wishing that his eyes would somehow locate hers through the void, wishing he could still find her when no one else could. But her heart was still, her chest was empty, there was nothing there.
And she had to remember that.
So she lowered her hand, wrapped her fingers around his neck, and let the vampire take over. Pandora squeezed, digging her nails into the soft flesh of his throat, choking him.
You shouldn’t have followed me, Pandora thought, grip tightening as the bitterness rose, bubbling up from somewhere dark and dangerous, from the memories of the past that she kept suppressed—too difficult to face, too difficult to remember. But even though she couldn’t remember all the details of that night four long years ago when her entire world changed, she remembered enough. Jax had said he loved her, but he’d still chosen them. He’d still chosen the titans. And the ache of his betrayal was just as strong as ever. You shouldn’t have come, Jax. You should have known better than to piss off a vampire who seriously didn’t want to be found, than to pick a fight with a woman very much scorned. Me.
But as quick as the satisfaction of hearing his sputtering breath came, it was gone. Because she made the mistake of looking into his eyes—his beautiful, woeful eyes. And then she noticed the arms limp by his sides, the crease digging into his forehead, the burn gathering in his heart. And her grip softened.
Jax wasn’t going to fight her.
He wasn’t going to give her what she wanted—another reason to hate him.
"Leave me the hell alone,” Pandora demanded instead.
Then she used her superstrength to throw him like a rag doll across the empty space of the alley. He smacked against the ground, cursing when his chest hit the dirt. Pandora stayed a second longer, watching as he slammed his fist against the earth so hard he left a dent before jumping to his feet, alert.
After this last job, she was leaving New York.
And wherever she went next, one thing was certain.
Jackson Rodriguez would never find her. Because leaving him once was tough, twice doubly difficult, and a third time might be too much to bear.
Taking one last moment, she breathed in his scent.
And then she really did disappear.
~~~

I hope you enjoyed the second chapter :) Keep reading and enjoy the third chapter here!

And in the meantime, Frost is available for pre-order!

               

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