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Storm (Blood Haze: Book Two) A Paranormal Romance
 

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Storm (Blood Haze: Book Two) A Paranormal Romance


  Storm

  Blood Haze: Book Two

  By Tara Shuler

  Read all about the Blood Haze series,

  download free photos, stories, character bios,

  and more at:

  http://www.BloodHaze.com

  For Granny and Grandma

  Your light shines on me always.

  Chapter One – Waiting

  My brother, mother, best friend Jamie, and I

  all sat in silence in the living room of my house.

  We were waiting for word from my friend Max,

  a soon-to-be vampire hunter, on whether or not

  my boyfriend, Kai, would live or die.

  Jamie gnawed her fingernails – something she

  always did in times of stress. I felt as though my

  heart would burst from my chest. The only

  sounds in the room were the click-click-click of

  Jamie biting her nails, and the tick-tock, tick-tock

  of the grandfather clock.

  Kai – my love, my life, my world – had gone

  to Max’s father to plead for death. He knew I had

  feelings for Max, and he could not bear it. I’d

  insisted it wasn’t love, and that was the truth as

  far as I knew. But, it was more than Kai could

  stand. I had become the center of Kai’s entire

  existence.

  Kai’s adoptive father had died in prison when

  he was a baby, and his mother had always blamed

  him for it. His father had gone to prison for

  murdering my father, but it had been an accident

  that was set in motion by Kai, then only a

  toddler, coming into the room. But Kai’s mother

  blamed him, and she detested him even more

  when she discovered he was a vampire.

  All of this sparked a lifetime of abuse. Kai

  had been horribly mistreated by his alcoholic

  adoptive mother, his grandfather, and his

  cousins. Still, kind soul that he was, he cared for

  his mother and regularly went to check on her to

  ensure she wasn’t driving drunk. That was the

  kind of selfless person he was.

  I couldn’t stand the waiting. Not knowing

  what was happening was driving me crazy, and it

  was all I could do to keep from racing out to our

  rented van and speeding over to Max’s house.

  But he insisted he would keep Kai safe for me,

  and I had no choice but to believe him. I trusted

  him.

  I stood up and began to pace. I found myself

  chewing my own fingernails – something I’d

  never done before. The waiting and wondering

  was unbearable. I kept glancing at Kai’s phone,

  praying Max would call.

  The grandfather clocked began to toll its

  hourly refrain. The deep bong of the clock

  sounded five times. It was 5 PM, and it had been

  over an hour since Max had sped away from our

  house.

  “Why isn’t he calling?” I asked no one in

  particular.

  “He will,” Jamie assured me.

  “What if he was too late?” I asked,

  shuddering.

  “He wasn’t,” Jamie answered.

  “But what if he was?” I moaned. “And why

  won’t he call?”

  With that, the phone rang. Kai’s ringtone, my

  favorite song, “Moonlight Sonata”, the first

  movement, rang throughout the room. I felt my

  heart thud in my chest, and I slowly walked

  toward the phone. The song was somber, and it

  perfectly accentuated the anxiety I felt as my

  trembling hands reached for it. I flipped it open,

  took a deep breath, and pressed it to my ear.

  “Alice…” Max said. “It’s over.”

  I opened my mouth to speak, but no words

  came out.

  “Kai’s fine,” he said, almost sounding

  disappointed.

  I released a breath I realized I’d been holding

  since the phone first rang.

  “Let me speak to him,” I snapped.

  “Here,” I heard Max growl.

  “Alice?” Kai said meekly.

  “Kai,” I breathed. “Thank God you’re okay. I

  was so worried! No… worried isn’t even close

  to what I was. Horrified. Terrified. Absolutely,

  excruciatingly scared out of my mind! What were

  you thinking?”

  “I’m sorry,” he apologized.

  “I’m just so glad you’re okay,” I whispered

  weakly, sinking into a chair.

  “I’ll be home in a few minutes,” Kai said.

  “Max is driving me.”

  “I love you,” I told him quickly.

  “I love you, too,” he said.

  I heard Max muttering something in the

  background.

  “Alice?” Max said after he took the phone

  back from Kai. “I’ll explain everything when we

  get there.”

  “You’d better,” I muttered, and I hung up the

  phone.

  “Kai’s okay,” I said to everyone.

  “Oh, thank goodness,” Jamie said.

  “I told you he would be okay,” my mother

  said.

  My brother agreed. “I knew it would be fine.”

  Several minutes later, I saw Max’s car pull up

  outside. I burst out the door and smothered Kai

  in hugs as soon as he stepped out of the car. Max

  grumbled, his jaw clenched. Kai clasped my face

  in his strong hands and kissed me. He kissed my

  lips, my face, my forehead, and even my nose.

  With each kiss, he repeated, “I love you.”

  Max sighed loudly. “Are you two done?”

  I’d forgotten he was standing there. I knew it

  couldn’t be easy for him to watch us like that, so

  I suggested we go inside. Besides, I was terribly

  anxious to find out how Max had gotten Kai

  away from his father – a Viewer – a powerful

  vampire hunter with sharp tracking abilities.

  When we got inside, everyone wanted to hug

  Kai. My mother got to him first, and then the

  normally shy Jamie gave him a quick hug. Even

  my brother gave him a quick squeeze and a sharp

  thump on the back.

  “Now, Max,” I demanded. “Tell me what

  happened!”

  “When I got home,” Max began. “My father

  was waiting for me in the foyer. He told me Kai

  was in the living room, and asked me what was

  going on. I explained to my father that Kai was

  the brother of a friend of mine from school and

  that he was mentally ill. I told him Kai was prone

  to psychotic episodes, and that I needed to get

  him back home as quickly as possible so he

  could take his medication.”

  “And he bought that?” I gasped, stunned.

  “I don’t know,” Max said honestly. “I don’t

  think he did at first. I asked him to let me talk to

  Kai alone, but I was sure he’d be listening. So I

  talked to him as if you were his sister.”

 
What did you say?” I wanted to know.

  “I said, ‘Kai, Alice is really worried about

  you. She loves you. Your whole family is really

  worried. They want you to come home.’” Max

  explained. “I tried to convince him to leave so I

  could get him out of the house. I wasn’t exactly

  keen on telling him all of that, though.”

  “What did you do?” I asked, turning to Kai.

  “I didn’t listen to him at first,” Kai answered.

  “I just wanted to die. I wanted him to kill me. I

  begged him to. But he said he couldn’t do it. He

  didn’t want to hurt you.”

  “Why did it take so long for you to get back?

  Max was gone over an hour before we heard

  from him,” I asked.

  “It didn’t take all that long for him to

  convince his father that I was crazy,” Kai

  answered. “He heard me talking about wanting to

  die – asking Max to kill me. I guess it was pretty

  convincing. He wanted to call an ambulance to

  take me to a mental ward.”

  With that, both Kai and Max burst into

  laughter in remembrance. They forgot their bitter

  feud for the one moment.

  “I told my father I was going to take him

  home, and that he had medication there that

  would stabilize him,” Max explained. “But even

  after I managed to get him out of the house, he

  didn’t want to come home.”

  “What?” I gasped. “Why not?”

  “I couldn’t take it, Alice,” he said somberly.

  “It hurts too much to keep going through this. To

  know you…”

  He stopped.

  “Kai, I don’t…”

  “Don’t say it,” Kai interrupted. “Not until

  you’re a hundred percent certain.”

  I nodded.

  “I talked him into coming back,” Max said. “I

  told him how worried you were, and how much

  you…” he paused to gulp, then continued

  through clenched teeth. “Love him. It took a

  while, but I finally convinced him.”

  “I couldn’t be away from you,” Kai said

  honestly, and I smiled weakly at him.

  “You don’t think your father is still

  suspicious, do you?” I asked Max nervously. “He

  could easily find out if you’re telling the truth

  just by trying to track Kai, couldn’t he? Your

  kind can’t track humans, right?”

  “No, as far as I know, we can’t,” he admitted.

  “But I think he was so convinced by Kai’s talk of

  wanting to die that he won’t even think of doing

  it.”

  “What if he does?” I asked Max.

  “We’ll cross that bridge if we ever come to

  it,” Max said. “I promise I’ll warn you if I ever

  have any reason to believe he suspects anything.”

  “I don’t know how to thank you for bringing

  him home,” I told Max.

  I walked over to Max and hugged him.

  “I did it for you,” he whispered into my ear,

  squeezing me as tightly as he could.

  “I know,” I whispered back.

  Kai cleared his throat, and Max backed away

  from me.

  “I’d better go,” Max said. “I’ll call you if I

  think anything’s up.”

  “Thanks again,” I said, and Max left.

  “Is anyone hungry?” Mother asked. “I’m

  starving!”

  Mother went to the kitchen to find something

  for dinner, and Kai took my arm and pulled me

  into his lap on the sofa. Will went upstairs, and

  Jamie followed him. They’d been spending a lot

  of time together in the last few days. I guessed it

  was pleasant for her to have someone to talk to,

  and she certainly seemed to feel very comfortable

  around him.

  Sitting in Kai’s lap with his arms around me, I

  finally felt safe again. I leaned against him and

  put my head on his shoulder. He buried his face

  in my hair and breathed deeply.

  “I was so afraid I’d lost you,” I whispered into

  his ear.

  “What would you have done if you did?” he

  asked me suddenly.

  “What?” I asked, shocked at such a forward

  question.

  “What would you have done if Max had killed

  me?” he repeated.

  “I... I don’t know,” I stammered.

  I felt a huge knot swelling in my stomach as I

  thought about it. Just the mere thought of Kai

  dying sent a shiver down my spine. It was

  unbearable.

  “I can’t think of that,” I cried into his

  shoulder. “It’s too painful to even think about.”

  I started to cry. All of the fear and emotion I’d

  felt in the last few days came to a head and

  spilled forth as I sobbed into his shoulder. He

  held me close, smoothing my hair.

  “Shhh,” he whispered. “It’s okay, love. I’m

  here.”

  “You almost weren’t,” I sobbed.

  “But I am,” he emphasized. “And I’m not

  going anywhere.”

  I pulled away from him, suddenly angry.

  “You know, you keep saying you think I’m

  going to leave you. You keep begging me never

  to leave,” I admonished. “But you’re the one

  who keeps leaving me! You left me before

  Christmas, and you left me on New Year’s Eve,

  and you left me again to go find Max to have him

  kill you! For you to not what me to leave, you

  certainly are eager to get away from me!”

  I struggled to get away when he pulled me

  toward him again, but I finally allowed him to

  get his arms around me. I rested my head stiffly

  on his shoulder, still annoyed.

  “You’re right,” he agreed. “I’m sorry. I guess I

  keep trying to leave because I’m afraid you’ll

  leave me first.”

  “How can you think that?” I asked, looking

  him straight in the eye. “After all we’ve been

  through, don’t you see how much I love you?”

  “I do,” he admitted. “But I also see the way

  you act around Max.”

  “What… slapping him?” I snapped.

  “Methinks the lady doth protest too much,” he

  quoted.

  “Stop that,” I insisted. “You know what I

  mean.”

  He sighed. “Yes, you slap him when he kisses

  you. But the look in your eyes tells me you don’t

  really want to.”

  “What?” I gasped. “You’re crazy!”

  “Am I?” he asked. “Think about it. If I didn’t

  exist, would you resist him?”

  “You do exist,” I argued.

  “But if I didn’t,” he emphasized. “Would you

  resist him?”

  “I don’t know,” I answered. I paused to think,

  and then said quietly, “Maybe not.”

  “I know you wouldn’t,” Kai stated. “And

  that’s why I’m terrified.”

  “But you are here, and I love you,” I said.

  “And I do resist him. I will keep resisting him.”

  “Is that enough?” Kai asked me. “Would it be

  enough for you to know I had feelings for


  someone else, but I was just resisting those

  feelings?”

  I shuddered at the thought of Kai having

  feelings for someone else.

  “Do you see what I mean?” he asked, noting

  my unspoken horror.

  “I do,” I admitted. “And I’m sorry you’re in

  this position.”

  “So am I,” he said. “But I love you, and I will

  never leave you again unless you ask me to.”

  “Promise me,” I pleaded.

  “I swear,” he responded seriously, and I

  snuggled close to him.

  *****

  Chapter Two – Goodbye

  Within a few days, things were mostly back to

  normal. School started back, and Kai anxiously

  drove me to school each day knowing I would

  see Max there. It was hard for him.

  Jamie was a lot more open than she used to

  be. Something about our situation, and perhaps

  about my brother, had opened her up a little.

  With Max watching over us like a bodyguard, no

  one dared to cause any problems. Amanda and

  Ashley had once tormented Jamie every time she

  tried to eat, but Max had made it clear that was

  not acceptable. Grudgingly, they all left her

  alone.

  Max, Jamie, and I all sat together during

  lunch. We chatted openly, and Jamie even smiled

  sometimes. It had been rare to see her happy

  before, but now she managed a shy smile at least

  twice a day. It was a nice change.

  It was a little awkward to sit with Max. After

  all that had happened – him kissing me, he and

  Kai fighting and nearly killing each other, him

  discovering Kai and I were vampires, and us

  discovering he was a hunter – it wasn’t easy.

  Now and then, he would catch my eye and shoot

  me a look that let me know he still cared for me,

  but he understood the boundaries.

  I have to admit it was tough sitting there with

  Max. I had always been attracted to him. From

  the first moment I saw him in homeroom on the

  second day of school, I’d had a physical

  attraction. It was undeniable.

  But now that he’d sacrificed so much for me

  – he’d saved Kai from death even though he

  desperately wanted him out of the picture so he

  could be with me – it was somehow even harder.

  I felt closer to him, yet I pushed him away harder

  than ever. I had to.

  The day before his birthday in February, Max

  walked up to me as I was entering homeroom

  and asked if he could talk to me privately. He

  looked very worried, so I followed him out to

  the parking lot where we could speak without the

 
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