Exclusive Excerpt: Runner ( Book II of the Chosen) by Roh Morgon
RUNNER: BOOK II OF THE CHOSEN BY ROH MORGON
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
RELEASE DATE: October 25th 2017
Love comes with a price – especially among the undead.
Sunny Martin is on the run from a monster—the monster within herself. Since the night she was drained of her blood and left to die, she has lived alone and in fear of the beast and its violent urges, always on the move.
When a tumultuous affair with the mysterious leader of The Chosen ends in betrayal and murder, Sunny finds herself on the run once again. Heartbroken, she struggles with her desire to return to Nicolas, only to realize that sometimes you can never go back.
In the ensuing days, Sunny must face the death of someone she loves, and face the love of someone she fears—an outlaw Chosen even more dangerous than the one who broke her heart.
It’s Halloween night. The San Francisco streets and clubs are filled with witches and zombies and vampires, but no Chosen. If there’s any night they’d prowl among the humans, this would be it.
I’ve spent hours drifting from club to club, searching for the real monsters beneath the elaborate costumes. A silver-sequined mask is my only concession to the holiday, though my hunting blacks and black leather jacket seem to blend in well enough.
Disgusted with my futile quest, I decide to check out the Cat Club for one last look before heading out of the city to hunt.
The place is packed. The pungent clove oil I’d dabbed on my face and throat, reinforced by that in my locket, is doing its job, and though I’m wading through living bodies pulsing with human blood, I’m able to keep my reactions to it at bay.
But I’m having a little more trouble with the mass of flesh pressing against me. Fortunately the music is loud enough to cover the near-constant growl rumbling deep in my chest. My aversion to being touched by humans has increased since I came in from the wild, and it’s taking everything I have not to clear a space around me with teeth and claws.
I spot a gap next to the wall and work my way through the crowd to lay claim to it. A couple to my right dressed as a gothic Raggedy Ann and Andy ease back to give me a little more room and I settle in against the crudely mortared brick.
A black-caped figure to my left turns and regards me with eyes as dark as night. He flashes me a leering grin, his yellowish fangs in sharp contrast to the white of his teeth.
My breath catches, then slowly escapes.
They’re fake. His fangs are fake. Plastic.
Rolling my eyes, I turn away and stare out at the masquerade madness convulsing through the club.
The feel of the air surrounding us abruptly changes. I look toward the door and stop breathing all together.
A stir ripples through the masses as four costumed figures enter, drawing every gaze in the club. Their elegant 17th-century garments appear to be the real thing, with details that only my eyes are likely to pick out in the dim light. Two stately females, blonde and auburn curls tumbling to their shoulders beneath wide-brimmed hats, glide into the room, their brocaded gold and ruby gowns sweeping the floor. Two males follow, sporting doublets and matching breeches in indigo and ivory. Their pale faces are bordered with shoulder-length hair, pointed goatees, and wide mustaches, no doubt the fashion of that time.
But it’s not the costumes that have stolen my breath.
The air shimmers around each of them in transparent swirls of amber and violet, shot with fine threads of various other colors. I’ve felt Chosen auras before, but this is the first I’ve seen them. I recognize traces of Nicolas in them—these Chosen are of his lineage. His lineage. It does not belong to that traitorous bitch, Éva, no matter what she thinks.
I push off from the wall and move toward my quarry.
As one, their haughty gazes shift in my direction and appraise me from across the room. Several lips curl, and the shorter male smiles, and with no further expression, they turn about-face and stroll out of the club.
Elbowing my way through the crowd, I reach the door and shove it open. As I step outside, I run into a broad, black t-shirted chest.
“Excuse me.” I start to push past him, but he steps in front of me again.
I look up into golden eyes perched above a hawk-like nose and wide cheekbones. Full lips part and tug to one side, allowing me a glimpse of the fang behind them. Crimson flashes in his pupils and I ease back, hands up in surrender.
“Hey, I don’t want any trouble.” I yank off my mask and let it fall to the sidewalk.
The costumed Chosen behind him slip into a waiting limousine.
But they're no longer necessary—not with this one standing barely three feet away.
I just hope he doesn’t intend to kill me.
He’s studying me, his arms now folded across his chest. Thick wrists each bear a wide silver cuff, Native American in design. His skin is an odd color, reddish-brown with a dusky undertone, and his black hair is pulled back into a braid. He’s tall, about six-five, a little taller than Nicolas. But much broader, more muscular.
An aura dances around his body in shades of deep forest green. It feels strange.
He’s not of Nicolas’s lineage.
I move out of the doorway and notice a pair of Harley's parked at the curb. One of them holds a beefy, leather-jacketed biker with wild, curly red hair and a matching beard. He grins. His fangs aren’t plastic, either. A bright russet aura hovers about him like a glove, bearing no hint of Nicolas.
A chocolate-skinned waif pokes her head out from behind his back, hazel eyes shining above a wide smile, then she scrambles down off the bike. Clad in brown chaps and a dark green leather jacket, she saunters toward us, cleaning her nails with a small dagger. She’s no more than four-foot-five, maybe four-six, a petite pixie with a mop of kinky hair the same chocolate color as her skin. Her energy, absent any trace of Nicolas, glimmers a deep purple.
A child? The Chosen would bring someone so young into this life?
Roh Morgon dreams up her dark tales for young adult and adult readers while driving the back roads of California’s Sierra Nevada foothills. She’s best known for her vampire series The Chosen which includes Watcher: Book I of The Chosen; the 1840s historical horror novella The Last Trace; and the novella The Games Monsters Play. Her next novel in the series, Runner: Book II of The Chosen, will be released October 25.