Book One: Elora’s Match
Release date: 5th March 2011 from Silver Publishing
ISBN: Ebook 9781920484033
ISBN: Paperback 9781461025313
Elora’s parents mysteriously disappeared when she was fifteen. She vowed to find answers – discover what really happened to them. But after twenty-five years of travelling the world she has come up empty handed. Feeling tired and lonely, she settles down in the city her best friend, Caleb, calls home. To lead a regular human existence for a while; like he does.
One problem; they’re not human. They’re Different – a rare supernatural race known for their beauty, strength and supernatural abilities.
Elora is lead to a man by a series of visions. Cue Kadin; powerful, sexy and also Different. He is her match – her soul-mate. Her life has never felt so complete.
But it’s not all good news. Elora must now deal with a rogue demon Elder hell-bent on taking over Lucifer’s reign over Hell. To succeed she needs to steal Elora’s power. When she’s facing the fight of her life, can Elora really trust Kadin?
The scent of moist woods came strong through my nose as I watched the tall trees pass by in a blur. Early morning mist covered the roads, rays of sunshine shimmering through the tree leaves as the car bumped down the vaguely familiar road. My heart fluttered with anticipation as the vehicle made a sharp turn, heading closer toward our destination.
Suddenly, a soft touch came upon my knee. I turned my head and looked at Caleb. His perfect face skewed into a small frown, lips pursed, dark brown eyes filled with concern.
“You okay?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I lied, forcing a smile.
After twenty-five years of travelling the world, staying put made me feel uneasy. I did this for Caleb. Best friends since childhood, we were inseparable, until I decided to leave home to find answers in my parents’ disappearance. Not easily forgotten was the memory of the event that changed my life.
Caleb and I entered the house after a day at school, as we usually would, except that day, the stench of sulphur was so strong it caused us to choke. We found a rogue demon in the back living room, his body sizzling on the ground. Caleb interrogated him while I stayed completely frozen with fear. My parents had disappeared after their attack.
Forty years later, still, nobody knew why. Least of all me.
Caleb and I were Different; a supernatural race known collectively as The Difference; a plain term coined centuries ago that stuck. Most humans would call us mutants or witches, due to our abilities, but that was just a reflection of their ignorance.
Our species appeared human enough, but we all have the common traits of astounding physical beauty, incredible strength, and heightened senses. Some of us are physic, some telepathic, and some able to manipulate the elements. But we all have the power of persuasion, a form of mind compulsion, making it very easy to control a human’s mind.
My powers have always exceeded my peers, and more than once, I received warnings they could attract unwanted attention. Not only can I manipulate all the elements, I have the gift of psychokinesis, the ability to fly, to heal, and unpredictable precognition.
Being Different has always been a touchy subject with Caleb. While I love my abilities and use them to my full advantage, he wants to be a regular human. To age and live like ‘normal’ people do. However, since five human years are equal to one Different year, it is an impossible want.
Not that he doesn’t try. Soon after I left home, Caleb moved to the United States, where nobody knew him, so he could start leading a more human lifestyle. I had always compared it to a vampire surviving on animal or synthetic blood; I just don’t see the point of it. If you have a gift, you should use it to your advantage, not let it fade away.
Caleb manoeuvred the car down the small paved road leading to a large wrought iron gate at the end of the driveway. It opened to a long, curved driveway as we approached. The car inched through the gate to perfect manicured gardens, and the house appeared, looking just as I remembered.
Large and statuesque.
The ancient white stone contrasted with black wrought iron window frames and porch balustrades. Vines grew around the lower half of the three-story home, leaving the stone all but gone.
Caleb stopped the car by the porch stairs, cut the engine, and turned to me with a smile. “Home sweet home.”
There was nothing sweet about it. A wave of nausea came over me as I realized I had never been to this house without my parents. Facing the emptiness of this home left me feeling winded. When I reached the front door, they wouldn’t be there to greet me, and nothing about that resembled the home where I once lived.
Caleb beat me to the car’s trunk, removing my three large suitcases. Then he ran up the porch stairs, taking two at a time.
As I followed behind him, I ran my hand along the thick balustrade, trying to ignore my increasing heart race. A lump formed in the back of my throat along with the burning of tears in my eyes that I refused to let free. I would not break down. I would stay strong— for Caleb.
He flashed me a reassuring smile before opening the thick wooden door. There was no sound, no creaking, and no aching old frames. The house was in perfect condition despite its standing since the 1400s.
Entering the house, I recognized the scent of rose, timber, and lemon. The house hadn’t changed one bit in the years I’d been gone. My footsteps echoed throughout the empty house. A thick layer of dust covered every piece of furniture. Nobody had been here for decades.
My gaze ran over the couch where I used to cuddle with my parents on cold nights while they read me bedtime stories.
This house was the first home my parents built together. Before I was born, they moved to Australia, wanting to raise me somewhere safer, more sheltered from the supernatural world.
Their apparent death created an empty void in my life. I miss the little things the most; the way they always called me ‘princess’, the way they ran their hands over my hair to soothe me, how we’d curl up on the couch in silence while watching a movie together, and waking every morning to find my breakfast waiting for me in the kitchen, already made.
I would never argue with them again. Never tell them another joke. Never have them ask how my day was. I’d never see their smiling faces again. These past years, I’d been so hellbent on finding the person responsible for their disappearance I hadn’t let myself mourn their loss. Anger is a much easier emotion for me to feel than sadness.
Caleb slipped his arm over my shoulder, pulling me into a sideways hug. “Memories, hey?” He smiled at me.
“Indeed.” I let out a sigh and walked toward the suitcases Caleb left by the front door. “Thanks for picking me up, Cal.”
“What kind of a friend would I be if I didn’t?”
“A normal one,” I admitted.
“You may have abandoned me, but I’d still do anything for you.”
He meant it as a joke, but I had abandoned him. When I left home, I didn’t think of anyone else, only my agenda. Never once did I think about the effect it would have on my remaining family.
Caleb wrapped his arm around me again. “You know what you need?”
“A night out with friends.”
“Friends?” I repeated.
“Layke and I.” Great, the girlfriend; I fought against the urge to roll my eyes. “It’s my mate’s birthday, and he’s having a party at a local club. It’s VIP and everything.” He grinned, reminding me of his teenage self.
“Don’t get too excited, Cal.” I laughed at his enthusiasm.
He released his arm and gave me a shove. “Go get ready. I’ll pick you up in couple hours.” He headed for the door, turning around as his hand wrapped around the knob, “Elora?”
“You’ll be okay you know.”
He sounded so positive I wanted to believe him, but I wasn’t sure I would be okay. “I know.” I smiled before he left, turning to take in my new home. “Welcome home,” I muttered to myself quietly.
As the front door closed, I headed down the long hallway leading upstairs to my bedroom. The sound of the suitcases dragging on the wooden floor echoed throughout the hall as I went past the large formal dining. A heavy oak table sat in the centre of the room, thirteen cream and gold chairs with wooden frames positioned around it. I walked up the long wooden staircase; several photographs of my parents and I hung on the wall.
The upper floor consisted of five bedrooms and three bathrooms. Mine was at the very end of the hall; a large, triple sized bedroom with French doors leading to a balcony. The bedroom remained exactly the same as I remembered. A large canopied bed sat in the centre of the carpeted room, decorated with a deep blue comforter and pillows. I sat down on the bed, opening the suitcases and began unpacking.
First, I took out a wooden box of keepsakes. My fingertips ran over the tiny roses engraved on the surface, emeralds in the centre of each flower. After opening it, a photograph of my parents and I lay before me, a photo taken when I was fourteen, just a few weeks before their disappearance. My mother stood on my left, her long blonde hair framing her goddess-like face, deep brown eyes crinkling as she smiled. On my right was my father, a very tall, muscular man with light brown hair and blue eyes.
Then there was me, in the middle. Sometimes I doubted they were my biological parents. With raven hair and violet eyes that change colour with my moods, I looked nothing like either of them. I am five foot seven with a long, curvaceous body and very defined muscles and facial features, whereas my parents were very long and lean.
The photo was taken so long ago, but I remember it so clearly it could have been yesterday. The trouble with having an eidetic memory is that you can’t forget a thing. All memories, good and bad, stay with you forever.
* * * *
When Caleb arrived to pick me up, I was prepared to meet Layke, expecting the worst. She was a tall, beautiful, natural blonde with golden-bronzed skin. I expected she would be a typical Hollywood type, shallow and obnoxious. Fortunately, I found she was the complete opposite. Obviously friendly, she seemed very honest and bubbly, and she gazed at Caleb like a woman truly in love.
The club was nothing special from the outside. Red brick with a neon ‘Satire’ sign above a tall thin door. When we stepped inside, it was anything but. There was a large dance floor in the centre, bodies crowding it. Along the walls were several chairs and lounges. The walls appeared covered in black velvet with rows of fairy lights lighting the way to exit doors and bathrooms. A bar situated at the far end of the room; granite bench tops, glass cabinets, and a row of stools on either end.
The scent of alcohol and stale smoke was stifling, made worse by someone breezing past me wearing far too much cologne. Almost choking, I clamped my throat before stepping beside Caleb, hoping his familiar scent would throw off the other. Luckily, it worked like a treat.
The VIP section was even more impressive. Closed off for the party, velvet ropes lined the entrance guarded by two bouncers. Tube lights shifting from purple to blue to red to green lined black and burgundy carpet walls. Several lounges sat around small tables. The bar was smaller than the main one. Granite tops, pleather bar stools, and glass cabinets showcased very expensive alcohol.
“Elora.” Caleb touched my arm lightly, gaining my attention. “This is Jordan, the birthday boy.”
Stunning dark features, combined with dark hair and eyes looked at me. Jordan was attractive but showed arrogance, especially in his smile.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you.” He smiled, reaching for my hand.
I pulled my arms away, crossing them over my chest. I hate strangers touching me; it makes my skin crawl and my stomach churn. “Nice to meet you too,” I replied politely.
“It’s great to finally put a face to the name. Caleb’s told me a lot about you.”
“I hope not,” I said, giving my friend a wary look.
“J and I went to college together,” Caleb explained. “Your name’s come up from time to time.”
From there, Caleb practically dragged me around over the next half hour, introducing me to several of his friends and colleagues. Being polite was starting to exhaust me; my face ached from smiling so much.
After a few more pleasantries, I excused myself and slipped to the bar. Leaning forward against the granite, I caught the eye of a female bartender instantly. I ordered and drank two tequila shots within seconds. Licking my lips, I savoured the bitter taste, enjoying the sensation of it hitting my stomach. It spread warmth throughout my torso, dulling my senses slightly.
“Can I get you anything else, hun?” She laughed, watching me down the second shot.
I ordered two more drinks, much to the bartender’s surprise. This time one was a bourbon.
“A woman who can handle her alcohol.” She raised an eyebrow at me. “Very nice.”
Alcohol always dampens the uneasy feeling I get when surrounded by strangers. It also takes away some of my hostility and numbs my senses. Always speaking my mind got me into arguments and fights, something I didn’t want happening tonight. Caleb was already watching me, making sure I keep my temper in check.
When the bartender returned with my drinks, I handed her a large tip.
“Keep the drinks coming and you’ll get more,” I told her, much to her delight.
Propping myself against a barstool, I drank my bourbon slowly, sipping at it to savour the taste.
“Not big on crowds, huh?”
Jordan stood next to me, a friendly smile replacing the arrogant one I noticed earlier.
“Not big on people,” I retorted, downing the spare tequila shot quickly.
“I’ll have to remember that.” He leaned over the bar next to me. “So, you and Caleb grew up together.”
“Yep,” I smirked, biting back a sarcastic ‘well duh’ remark.
“I bet you have some stories to tell us.” He laughed.
“Oh you have no idea.” The smirk on my face grew bigger.
“Can I get you anything else, J?” the bartender asked, placing his drink before him.
“I’m good for now, thanks, Caiti.”
She glanced at me, and I held up my glass with a quick smile, asking for another one.
“So…” Jordan sipped his drink casually. “You’ve been travelling for a few years?”
“Since I was eighteen.”
“I don’t understand why you’d travel away from Australia, it’s just such a beautiful country. I’ve always wanted to go.”
“There’s no other place like it in the world.”
Caiti handed me the fresh drink and winked. “There you go, gorgeous.”
I smiled, not particularly surprised by the term of endearment she’s coined for me. A lot of humans tend to do that when they see someone they find attractive. “Thanks.”
“Did she just call you gorgeous?” Jordan asked with raised eyebrows, giving me the look most men did when they saw women being friendly with each other.
“Yeah, that could work to my advantage,” I said, thoughtfully.
“What?” he exclaimed, nearly choking on his drink.
Rolling my eyes, I scoffed lightly. “Such a male response. Not everything revolves around sex.”
“In my world, it does.” He clinked his glass with mine and took a drink.
Jordan and I chatted for a few minutes longer before making our way back to Caleb who sat on a lounge with a group of friends.
I sat in the spare seat next to him, leaning away from Jordan sitting on the other side.
“Hey, where have you been?” he asked with an expression of slight concern.
I shook my head. “Jordan joined me.”
“Oh, really?” He nudged me with raised eyebrows.
“No, Cal,” I replied quickly. “It’s not going to happen.”
He might want to hook me up with one of his friends, but it wasn’t going to happen. Ever. I refused to form a romantic relationship with a human.
Caleb gestured to the group of friends that were next to him. “El, this is Tifanni, Rachelle, and Jaymes, they’re friends of Layke’s.”
“Hi.” I forced a smile at the three girls who looked like horrible clones of Layke. All had badly bleached blonde hair, terrible fake tans, and a plastic look about them, with short dresses showing a lot of cleavage. Tacky. Quite obviously, they didn’t have the natural beauty Layke did, but they were sure trying hard to emulate it.
“So, Elora,” Jaymes said, flicking her hair over her shoulder in an exaggerated movement. “Why did you move here?”
“Thought I’d settle for a while, I’ve been travelling for a few years now but it gets old quickly.”
“And what better place to settle than the beautiful city of Portsea?” She aimed the question more toward her friends than me, which I found odd. “What are you going to do for work?”
I shrugged, pouting my lips slightly. “Honestly, I haven’t thought about it. I don’t really need to work.”
“Trust fund baby.” One of the other girls whispered, too quietly for anyone else to hear. Stupid girl didn’t plan on me having great hearing.
Glaring at her, I fought the urge to lunge across the table and pull her tiny head off her body. Instead, I cleared my throat and leaned forward in a threatening stance. “Actually, no, orphan.”
Going by the look on her face, my eyes changed from light violet to dark, probably black, as they do when I get angry. The heat of negativity rose in my chest, my body tingling with the familiar sensation. I closed my eyes, willing away the negative thoughts, for Caleb’s sake. Had it been under different circumstances, that girl would find herself leaving the club in an ambulance.
“Excuse Tifanni.” Jordan glared at her, slipping in at my side. “She lacks tact.”
“No shit,” I muttered, taking another drink before I said anything more.
“Thank you,” Caleb whispered, leaning into me.
“Any other day, she’d get her head ripped off,” I told him. Concentrating on Caleb, I ignored everything else those girls said.
“Anytime you want to leave, you know where to find me.” Caleb tapped the side of his head.
Caleb and I perfected the art of telepathic communication over the years, something that came in handy when we had no privacy.
Cheekily, he grabbed my drink, downing it quickly.
I scowled at him. “Didn’t anyone ever tell you not to take a woman’s drink?”
“Apparently not.” He grinned, reminding me of the child he used to be, so cute you wanted to squeeze his cheeks.
In a quick movement, I reached over, stealing the drink from his hands and sending a quick shock of electric energy into his fingers. He jerked it back, looking at me with wide eyes.
“I can’t believe you just did that.”
“You’re the one that doesn’t use their abilities, not me.” I shrugged, quickly drinking the contents of his glass. It was so horribly sweet I wanted to suck on a lemon just to get a neutral taste back in my mouth. “What the hell was that?”
“Some chick drink Layke didn’t want anymore.”
“That’s horrid, Cal,” I exclaimed, screwing up my nose in disgust.
“Payback for using your abilities on your best friend.” He stuck his tongue out quickly. I’d forgotten how amusing the intoxicated Caleb was. “Where are you going?” he asked when I stood up.
“To get another drink and wash that awful taste from my mouth.”
“Me too, please.” He held up his glass with a cheeky smile.
Caleb followed me to the bar, where we sat for the next hour.
“You were right,” I told him. “This is what I needed, a night with you.”
He grinned at me. “Told you.”
My eyes moved to Layke, who was having an animated conversation with Jordan and a few others.
“I see why you’re with her,” I said, adding a smile. “She’s incredibly sweet.”
“Yeah, she is,” Caleb replied, his eyes gazing toward his girlfriend.
“Are you going to tell her you’re Different, soon?”
Caleb’s eyes snapped back to me. I saw a harshness I didn’t expected. “No.”
“She’s going to notice you’re not aging, Cal. The sooner you tell her, the better.”
“We are not talking about this now.” He almost sneered at me.
Caleb’s temper may not be as volatile as mine is, but I still didn’t want to feel the force of it. Spinning around, Caleb stalked away from me, heading for the bathroom.
I ordered more drinks, leaning lazily over the bar while Caiti got them for me. The most intriguing scent caught my attention— a mixture of sweet sugar and the spicy musk of man that made my mouth water. Turning around, I found the most beautiful man I ever saw standing before me. Dark hair pushed off his face, a smooth jaw line off-set his perfectly symmetrical features. Full pink lips spread into a smirk, as he looked me up and down. I met his eyes, oh his eyes. They were teal. I had never seen anyone like him.
All thought wiped from my mind. My mouth suddenly dried. I really needed a drink but couldn’t force myself to look away from him.
“Who are you?”
His left eyebrow quirked. “You don’t know? I’m Kadin.” He held his hand out for mine. When I didn’t offer mine, he smiled, leaning closer to me. “And you are?”
“Elora,” I said, plainly.
The back of my mind began to tingle with the strongest sensation of power I’ve ever experienced. He was Different.
“You’re Different,” I stated, almost mesmerised by his movements as he sipped at a drink. Power radiated from him, which would normally put my defences on high alert. Instead, I was calmed. “And incredibly strong.”
“Not as strong as you, apparently. I never thought someone like you existed.”
“Someone like me?” I queried, intrigued by his tone.
“Someone so naturally powerful and beautiful. You have the beauty and aura that comes along with being Different ten-fold.” He shook his head slowly. “No one should be burdened with what you have.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment.” My voice reflected a hint of sarcasm.
“The highest compliment possible.” He smiled at me, making me want to melt. “You are the strongest, most beautiful woman I’ve ever come across.”
Oh, this guy is smooth, a little too smooth for my liking.
“Okay, Casanova, you need to go,” I said curtly, taking a step back from him.
He looked at me slightly startled. I could see he wasn’t used to women turning him down too often. His shock was quickly replaced with a confident smile. “I’ll see you soon, Elora.”
Before I could reply, he disappeared. He can teleport, great. This guy has the ability to just show up anytime. Nobody seemed to notice that Kadin teleported. Hastily taking a drink from Caiti, I swallowed it quickly. Picking up the remainders, I turned. Layke stood a few metres behind me, catching my eye as I headed away from the bar.
“I can’t believe you just did that,” she exclaimed.
“Rejected him like that. Do you have any idea who that is?”
I rolled my eyes again. “No, he was surprised by that fact too.”
“That was Kadin; he owns half the establishments in this city!”
“And I’m supposed to be impressed because…”
“He’s one of the most powerful people in the country.”
“Yet, he doesn’t have a surname?”
She laughed, throwing her head back. “I’m sure he does, we just don’t know what it is.”
Merely shrugging in response, I walked through the crowd with Layke following. Caleb sat on a lounge with a few guys, including Jordan.
Sitting next to my jovial friend, I handed him a drink, making him even happier.
“Babe, you wouldn’t believe what Elora just did,” Layke told him.
He gave me a sideways glance. “I think I might.”
“She just turned down Kadin, the owner. You should have seen his face. He was shocked that someone finally turned him down.”
“I hate it when guys assume you’re interested. It’s such a turn off,” I explained. “Besides, he was a little too smooth.”
“Oh, El, only you can do that and get away with it,” Caleb said, shaking his head.
He was right. Not many people can be as rude as I am and get away with it. My charm and looks have a lot to do with that.