Shift of Time is Coming


So for those who read and enjoyed my Libby Grace series, you might like this new series set in the future. This series is urban fantasy, which is technically what the Libby Grace series was, although I called it cozy paranormal mystery.

Shift of Time: A Rue Darrow Novel is not necessarily cozy. It is light but still a bit darker and grittier than the Libby Grace books. There is violence but no language to be concerned about. Even the violence in my opinion is very light in this book. There is no murder to solve. However, there is a mystery, which is why I call this urban fantasy mystery. Who knows, in a future book, I might find a dead body lying around. :p Anyway, take a look at the first unedited chapter. I hope you enjoy it. I'm not sure how long I'll keep it posted. Thank you for reading.

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Chapter One 

“Rue Darrow, vampire.”

This was what I so ridiculously muttered to myself each morning I woke to a new day. Scratch that—each night I woke to a new day—must remember I’m one of the undead now. If you can’t tell in the couple of sentences previous to this one, I’m different. I don’t mean just in appearance, but let’s start with that.

After I found it necessary to vacate my previous body for reasons I won’t go into just yet, Ian, my absentee boyfriend and local vampire, found me a new body. I quit the flesh I had lived in for thirty-eight years and entered this fresher, cuter—I’m told—body. Then Ian so kindly turned me into a vampire.

Before you assume I had no qualms about this entire process, I assure you, I wrestled with it, and I still do. Ian, in his quiet, explain-nothing-and-do-what-he-wants-with-no-moral-hang-ups-way, took care of the rest. Eight years after my ordeal of having my body marked by Death, I was dying. Well, being marked by the being called Death is equal to dying, but I mean I was dying faster.

I should have gone gracefully into the dark night, as it were. My desire at that time above all else was to watch my precious son grow into adulthood and stand on his own. So I tossed aside my own morals and embraced Ian’s solution. Wouldn’t you know, nothing worked out as I had thought it would.

Nothing except that I was now Rue Darrow, a vampire living in New Orleans. I was alone with no son, no best friend, and no Ian. I was of all beings most pitiable. However, don’t get the impression I was five foot five inches of depression either. Depression was for humans, at least in my mind.

I reached out to the medicine cabinet mirror and ran a hand over the surface to clear away the fog. My face came into view. Now, many people believe vampires can’t be seen in mirrors. I’m here to tell you that belief is incorrect. I could see myself just fine, but there was an eeriness I couldn’t put my finger on. Therefore, I tended not to allow humans to see me in reflection—better to avoid awkward explanations.

As Rue, I was twenty-eight with a shock of ear-length red curls, had green eyes, and the unavoidable but flawless pale skin. I was still fit, thank goodness, but vampirism had stepped that condition up as well. My muscles were pure steel, a bonus for beating up bad guys, not so nice when hugging Grandma or cozying to a human boyfriend. I had neither, so that wasn’t an issue.

When Ian turned me, he advised me that I had a choice of where to live, but I couldn’t stay in my hometown, Summit’s Edge. There would be too many questions. Where was Libby Grace? Why are you living in her house and taking care of her son? That kind of thing. Ian couldn’t glamour the entire town, so moving was the solution. I had chosen New Orleans.

A check of my cell phone showed I had time before work, so I cleaned up and walked out of the bathroom to the living room, which shared floor space with my bedroom, the tiny dining area, and off to the side, the kitchen. My apartment was bare bones and no bigger than an oversized closet. I liked it, but often I missed my house in North Carolina.

While I stood before the closet dressing in the boring brown pencil skirt and crisp white dress shirt, which was my uniform at the hotel, my cell phone dinged. I paused to check the messages, and if I had a beating heart, it would have warmed at that moment. A text from Jake.

“Hey, Mom, I guess you’re up now? It’s dark out.”

I sank onto my bed and typed rapid fire, my fingers probably a blur to the human eye but not to mine. As you can see, I still impressed myself with my abilities. “Hi, baby. Yes, I’m awake. How was your day?”

Jake was the sunshine in my life since I had lost the privilege of seeing it. I would have played the roll of vampire mom and raised him myself if I could. However, it wasn’t what he wanted. In many ways, I wish I could go back in the past and not give him the choice, but I had.

“It was the same old thing,” Jake wrote. He never elaborated. I had to dig to get him to share more of his life with me.

“Dad okay?” I wasn’t so eloquent either.

“Sure.”

Jake lived with his dad in Raleigh, North Carolina. I had escaped the emotional abuse my ex-husband put me through when we divorced, and I had vowed afterward to never allow Mason custody of Jake in order to either browbeat him or make him a carbon copy of himself.

“You mean he has stopped saying I’m the worst mother in existence?”

No response.

“I’m sorry, Jake. You understand why I can’t visit, right?” I shut my eyes after typing this and listened for his response, willing it to be an affirmative but fearing it wouldn’t. He had said he accepted me, but how could a child see his mother turned into a monster and be okay with it? I wasn’t fully okay with it.

The ding, and I focused on the screen.

“Yes, I know.”

“You can come to where I am,” I typed back, hopeful.

“No, Mom. We can’t risk your secret coming out, and you know Dad will push to meet with you. We have to leave it like this. Maybe…when I’m on my own…”

His own meant when he was grown up, and it seemed a century away. The worst part of this ordeal was in the beginning, I couldn’t stop crying for losing Jake. Now I didn’t at all. Only a few months had passed. Not that I didn’t miss him and hurt every day I couldn’t see his face or hug him. No, it was the problem of my humanity. No one had to tell me, as a vampire, my attachment to human emotions was fading. One night I might wake up and not care if I ever saw Jake again. Knowing that terrified me, but maybe my fears were unfounded. After all, Ian loved me, and he had been a vampire over one hundred years.

I considered telling Jake I would see him and that’s that, but I hesitated. Separating myself from Jake was not just to keep my secret. Eight years ago, I had fought with a vampire and a skin walker, and both of them tried to use Jake to get to me. Back then, before I’d had to change bodies, I could stay close to my son and protect him the best way I could. I also had Ian’s help.

Then came the day Ian was called away, back to his homeland of Ireland. He hadn’t shared the details, but by the hardness in his eyes, I had gathered it was serious. Three months had passed since I heard from him, no note, no call. I had tried reaching him and received the message that his cell phone had been disconnected. I worried he might be dead or staked or whatever one called it when referring to a vampire’s death, but some sense inside me told me he was alive.

Whatever state Ian was in or whatever he was doing that he didn’t deign to share with me, I had adjusted to my new life alone. Ian had remained long enough to teach me the basics and to get me past the blood lust into a routine of feeding without killing. Then he had kissed me good-bye with a promise to return.

Putting the past behind me, I gave a sharp nod of my head and rose from the bed, typing as I did. “All right, Jake, but please call me if you need me. I will come to you. I promise, and I love you.”

“I know, Mom. I love you too.”

That ended our short and very unsatisfactory conversation, but I vowed to call him in the morning before I slept in order to hear his voice. For now, I needed to get to work.

I left my apartment on the second floor and descended the stairs on the outside of the building. My landlord occupied the first floor. He was a squat, grumpy man who would just as soon spit on a woman as give her a helping hand. I don’t know what Ian had said to Almonester to get him to lease the apartment to me because he had most certainly not been interested in “anything to do with vampires!”

His vehemence with narrowed beady eyes and flared nostrils had taken me by surprise, but Ian hadn’t flinched to find this man knew what we were. In the end, Ian won the argument that ensued, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t through glamouring Almonester. You see, before Ian left me, he had given me a warning.

“Stay away from Almonester. Do not spend any more time in his presence than you have to, and by no means must you ever try to glamour him.”

The seriousness in Ian’s tone had me concerned, and I had asked, “Why, and how does he know what we are?”

Ian hadn’t explained. He gave me other instructions and warnings regarding living in a city when I had been born and raised in a small town. I had listened and agreed to most of it, but Almonester kept me curious.

I pressed for information. “Ian, about Almonester. Why shouldn’t I try to glamour him? You said I should practice because it’s still a challenge.”

He had embraced me, kissed me, and drew away. “If you try to, it will not work.”

That had made me nervous. Even my hometown friend Isabelle, who was a witch, was susceptible to glamouring if she wasn’t careful. As far as I knew, only a ghost wasn’t, which I had been in my past when I jumped from my body. In the end, I concluded there was much in the world I didn’t know and much for me to learn. I had no teacher, and my steps would falter along the way, but I kept my head up in hope some day soon things would turn around.

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Stay tuned for more of Shift of Time: A Rue Darrow Novel. I think it will be out late February or early March. I would love feedback from readers. Thanks again.

- Audrey