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Excerpt: Shattered Illusions (Ashryn Barker #1)

Ashryn is easily one of my most well loved and well hated heroines (she was a bit insufferable at the beginning!) If you haven't read her series, then you might recognise her from her appearances in City of Blood, Grimalkin Academy: Stakes, The Black Fan, and Grimalkin Academy: Catacombs. This is where the Obscure World began...with a vampire hunter who went into hard denial about becoming a vampire after dying in chapter 2! Read on for an excerpt!
Copyright 2017 Laura Greenwood

Blinding pain assails me.
Wait? Pain? How is that even possible? I’m dead. Or at least, I’m pretty sure I am. Having one’s blood drained tends to end that way. Particularly when the vamp gets to the stage he did with me.
I shiver at the thought.
Okay, so I’m guessing I’m not dead then. Huh. Strange. Maybe my brain didn’t make up my saviour.
I try to open my eyes, but the light in the room burns them. It’s beyond bright, and hurts to even blink.
One hundred percent not dead then. Interesting.
I run my tongue around my mouth, and almost gag. It’s so dry. Like I’ve been asleep for a long time and have managed to severely dehydrate myself. Then again, I lost a lot of blood, so I guess it actually does make sense.
My tongue catches on something sharp where my incisors normally are, and I sit bolt upright, a wave of dizziness crashes over me. I rub my tongue over the sharp spot again.
No. Fucking. Way.
This isn't my reality. This can't be my reality. No way was I a...a...nope. I can't even think the word. Thinking it will make it true.
"Good, you're awake," a smooth male voice comes from my left. I glance that way, and am surprised to find a tall handsome man there. One that reminds me slightly of the vague shape I thought I saw earlier when I...
"I am?"
"You're questioning it?" He raises an eyebrow, and I will admit that it's a pretty stupid question on my part. Obviously, I'm awake. But my awakeness status isn't exactly my biggest issue right now.
"Would you rather I questioned what you did to me?" I demanded. My tongue couldn't leave my fan...surprisingly sharp teeth, alone. They're like a scab that you know is there, but you just can't leave alone, no matter what you do.
"I think you know the answer to that." He flashes me a grin, and I see the tips of his fangs pressing against his lower lip. But to my surprise, all he does is sit himself down on the bed next to me. I scuttle away quickly, pressing my back into the wall.
"Stay away from me," I insist, patting myself down and being surprised to discover all of my weapons are still in place. Save for one.
"Looking for this?" he asks, holding out my missing sai to me, handle first. Tentatively, I reach forward and take it.
"Thanks, but-"
"Because it's not mine to take. You're clearly attached to them."
"But I could hurt you with them," I point out, then curse myself. Why did I do that? I could take him off guard if I hadn't said anything.
"I don't think you're going to. Do you have a name?" he asks softly, surprising me again. He's not anything like I imagine a vampire to be. He's not being brash, or abrasive. Instead, he's calm and sure. I kind of like it. A lot more than I should do.
"Yes," I answer.
"Are you going to tell me it?"
"No," I blurt out instantly.
"Very well. I'm Dimitri, pleased to meet you, Red."
"Don't call me Red," I growl. I hate people calling me Red. What stupid person thinks a hair colour is a good way to define people.
"What else am I supposed to? I'd call you Hunter, but I think it's probably a bit late for that. Then again, I do like irony." He chuckles, mostly to himself I think.
"Where's the irony?" I'm sounding defensive, even to my own ears.
“You were a hunter and now you’re…”
“Lalalalalalala,” I sing rapidly, sticking my fingers in my ears. I just can’t hear it. I’m not ready yet. I may never be ready.
“Please, just listen.” He pulls my hands away from my ears with a firm, but surprisingly gentle, grip on my wrists. I stop singing, more in shock than anything else. Why isn’t he attacking me? Shouldn’t he want to?
More to the point, shouldn’t I be wanting to attack something? Nothing I’ve ever heard about newborn va...people like me, suggests restraint is a common attribute. So the last thing I expect is to be sat here chit chatting with Dimitri. What kind of name is that anyway? Does he want to sound like some stereotypical Russian Prince?
I look him up and down. He doesn’t sound Russian, but with vampires, who knows what’s possible. If he’s hundreds of years old, then it seems likely he’d have lost his accent at some point. Is it rude to ask his age?
I open my mouth to speak, but he holds his hand out to stop me. Oh yes, he wants me to listen to him. I close it again, catching my lip against the sharp tooth and causing a bead of blood to well up there. Without realising what I’m doing, I swipe at the droplet with my tongue. Dimitri’s gaze heats up as it follows the path of my tongue. I wonder if vamps are as attracted to their own blood as they are to humans’?
“You’re a vampire now,” he begins.
“Am not,” I interrupt, pouting at him. How dare he say I’m one of them. I’m not a...a...thing.
“You are, and you’re not going to be able to deny it for much longer will you please tell me your name?” he almost demands.
“No,” I reply instantly.
“What do I need to do to get it? Swear on garlic bread that I won’t do anything to hurt you? I saved your life, need I remind you.”
“I’d hardly call it saving,” I mutter.
“No? So you’d be alive and kicking right now without my intervention?” He sounds a little irritated. Oops. I mean, good. I want him to. He took my life from me. “You were already dead. All I did was give you a bit of my blood. So you’re a vampire, it’s really no big deal. Unless you’re a particular fan of sunshine and churches.” He chuckles to himself, clearly pleased with his little joke. I’m not. While I can’t say I’m fussed about either of those things, it’s hardly compensation for having to drink blood.
“You’re a vampire. And sooner or later, you’re going to discover the truth of that.”
“No.” I shook my head, my long red hair whipping around me with the exertion.
“Fine, be in denial. But when the thirst gets too much, just remember I warned you.” He sighs, and gets up from the bed. For the first time, I let my eyes meet his. They sparkle in the light, a dark brown. Softer than I expect, with flecks of gold that captivate me even without them meaning to.

Ashryn Barker Trilogy

Urban Fantasy, Complete Series

A completed urban fantasy series following hunter-turned-vampire, Ashryn, as she realises everything she's been told since she was a child is a lie. Part of the Obscure World.

Series Overview: 
Heat Level: Low - Relationship Type: Whychoose - Build: Slow - Point of View Character: Single first person POV, same throughout the books - Cliffhangers: Yes (complete series) - Tense: Present

Shattered Illusions Broken Illusions Tarnished Illusions - Ashryn Barker Trilogy 3 Laura Greenwood