Title: The Darkest Frost, Vol 1 of a 2-part serial (TDF, #1)
Author: Tanya Holmes
Genre: A Gothic paranormal romance with a twist.
Release Date: June 22, 2015
Volume 1 of a 2-part serial
© Tanya Holmes
Fear all but crippled me as I listened to the wind beating the treetops. Listened to the creaks and groans of the house. Took some effort, but I got up and inched my way to the door with legs as steady as rubber bands. I yanked it open only to find the hallway empty except for a fiery trail of footprints. Strangely, the carpet didn’t burn. Were I not buck naked, I would’ve followed right then. Instead, I backed into my room, fully intending to throw something on. But twin headlights skipped along the wall through a crack in the drapes. I shut the door and edged over to the window to brush the heavy curtains back. High beams sliced into the darkness as a vehicle cruised up the hill, breaking free of the wispy fog. A gunmetal-gray Jaguar taxied into the courtyard and pulled in beside my late-model Chevy. My adrenaline spiked as soon as the headlights doused. Moments later, Dr. Braeden Frost climbed from the car and slung a gray satchel over his shoulder. It appeared to be a medical bag. He was dressed in dark clothes—leather coat, pants, boots, and gloves. Even his silky hair was black. He would’ve melted into the night if not for the security lights flooding the grounds and the white aura framing his body. I’d witnessed a similar illumination on others in his profession. Doctors. Nurses. Orderlies. Most everyone in health care. I’d seen the glow on cops and morticians too. In fact, all who came in direct contact with the dead and dying had it. Still, on Frost the neon radiance was chilling. The wind rushed past him, sending the tail of his trench coat dancing on a breeze. Then as if he sensed my presence, his gaze shot to my window. Our eyes locked. His narrowed and I froze. Unable to move, unable to breathe, I stood rooted in place like a petrified tree. The man gave the word “presence” new meaning. He had a stillness about him, an eerie calm that chilled my blood. I was surprised yet intrigued. Intimidated yet inexplicably drawn to him. An eternity passed before I found the will to duck away. I plastered my back against the wall, my gaze doing a mad search around the ruined room for something to put on. A light breeze hissed outside, but still I didn’t hear him move. Finally, a trunk opened and slammed shut. Next came the slow but steady sound of footsteps crunching gravel as he trudged around the left side of the house. Downstairs a door wailed open. Floorboards creaked, then a stair, followed by another. I dashed around like a headless chicken, tearing through my clothes, desperate to find something—anything—to throw on. But then the footsteps stopped just outside my bedroom and a menacing shadow crept beneath the door. The lock. I’d forgotten to click it. I stood motionless in the center of the room, my gaze latched on the knob, my blood pulsing in a crazy rhythm. I was still frazzled from Caryn’s appearance, and all I kept thinking was, please, please, please don’t let him come in here with me naked as the day I was born, and the room a complete mess. Seconds passed, and still the shadow remained. Lurking, looming, waiting. Normally, I had to be in the same room with people to read their emotions, but only five feet separated us, and a strong odor of sulfur—anger—wafted in from the hallway. No mistaking the owner. The essence belonged to him. The smell ebbed, replaced by a hint of saltwater and allspice. The former scent was fear, the latter smacked of uncertainty. So Frost was angry, afraid, and confused by my presence. The realization made my heart go from thumping to pounding. Seemed like hours before his shadow finally retreated. The creaking staircase should have calmed me, but I was still unnerved. I slammed my lids shut and listened to his footsteps and the jingle of keys, followed by a door groaning open. When it shut soundly moments later, I collapsed on the bed, landing in a wet heap. What the heck had I gotten myself into?
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