Title-Beyond the Sun
Series-Dark Order of the Dragon Book # 1
By- Sandra Bischoff
Genre- Paranormal Romance
Publication Date- April 1, 2013
Published By- Bayou Brew Publishing
Fifteen years ago Jared Bonatelli had it all. The youngest son of one of the founding families in the Conservatorship of The Dark Order he lived a life you only thought existed in novels and nightmares. He had just graduated from Oxford University and became engaged to his childhood sweetheart when he lost it all in one violent act. The very next day he found himself shipped off to New Orleans with only the money in his pocket and whatever he could fit in one suitcase. Since that night he has suffered reliving his fiancé’s murder repeatedly in his dreams. It isn't until he finds himself summoned back to New York for an emergency meeting of the Conservatorship that the comfortable world he lives in begins to crumble around him.
Alexandra Toscano has been searching for the one assignment that could catapult her journalistic career. When her editor Gene O’Hanlon drops a manila folder in her lap, Alex is immediately skeptical. At first glance the information he hands her seems like a publicity piece that is till she comes across an article he wrote some fifteen years ago about Vampires murdering a young woman in Central Park. She is ready to laugh it off as a work of fiction until he points out he was an eyewitness to the whole thing. But that wasn’t all. The girl’s boyfriend was a member of a prominent Italian family who vanished the very next day.
Now as Alex begins to dig deeper into Jared’s life she begins to question her own past. Could the answer she seeks be found in the glowing eyes of the one person she is sworn to expose? Or will they both find themselves torn apart by a world Beyond the Sun?
The coach pulled onto the main drive through Central Park. The only sound to be heard was the steady clomp of the mare’s hooves on the pavement. An eerie silence settled over the park, no crickets or cars humming by, just dead quiet.
Everything had gone just the way he planned. Dinner was magnificent. The chef at Aureole never let him down. He went above and beyond tonight, hiding Giovanna’s engagement ring in their dessert. The happiness on her face would be etched in his memory forever.
Her bright blue eyes gazed up into his face and beamed. Giovanna held her left hand between them. Moonlight glinted off the diamond ring.
She kissed his cheek.
“Jared, I still can’t believe you did this. You have no idea what this means to me, to us…” Her words trailed off.
The coach slowed and came to a halt. A sensation of déjà vu slithered up Jared’s spine. Cold dread planted itself in his gut. Jared wrapped his arm tighter around Giovanna’s shoulders needing to feel her warmth against his body.
Jared was about to ask what the problem was when the driver jumped to the ground. He was quickly joined by three more tall, dark and gruesome men.
Giovanna gripped his arm. “Jared, what’s going on? Who are these people?”
Jared slipped his gun from the holster under his arm and pressed it into Giovanna’s shaking hands. "Whatever you do, shoot first and ask questions later. You hear me?”
“You’re scaring me.” She tried to give the gun back to him.
“Just do what I’m telling you, G. Trust me.” At her nod, he removed two daggers from their sheaths at the small of his back and opened the carriage door.
The second his feet hit the pavement, they began to circle. Jared’s eyes shifted quickly, keeping them in his sights. This was not what he intended when he set out to make Giovanna’s graduation night one she’d remember.
“Do you honestly think you can take on all of us?” the driver scoffed.
“I can damn well try. Did you think I’d sit there and let you get away with murder? Do what you want with me but let her go. She knows nothing about this.”
“Poor delusional human. The three life forces here are exceptionally strong and will sustain all of us for weeks. We’re not about to let any of you go.”
Jared’s blood ran cold. Three? That could only mean…
He met Giovanna’s terrified gaze. Her hand on her stomach told him all he needed to know.
Two of the vampires lunged at him. The other two headed for the carriage.
One of them climbed into the carriage and easily removed the gun from her grasp. Giovanna’s blood-curdling scream tore through the night air. She struggled to get away, clambering over the back of the carriage.
Jared sliced through the arm of the one holding him and stabbed the other. The shocked vamp vanished in a burst of light.
He headed for the carriage only to be tackled from behind. Hitting the ground, Jared's attacker sunk his fangs into his shoulder. Jared snapped his head backward, hissing from the pain. He struggled and strained to break free.
When Giovanna’s attackers were done with her, they came for him. Sweat and blood soaked his clothes. Gasping for breath he stared at her limp body draped over the side of the coach.
The driver loomed over him and grabbed his chin with a gloved hand, forcing Jared to meet yellow glowing eyes. "Touching, to call for her with your dying breath. I can assure you though, she's not impressed."
Jared sat up gasping for air. A fine mist of perspiration covered his skin, and the sheets were entwined around his legs. His eyes darted around the room. He couldn’t catch his breath. With a shaking hand, he reached for the prescription vial beside the bed. Just one pill, to take the edge off. As soon as he lifted it, Jared realized there would be no chemical relief for him today. The bottle was empty. The medication never helped in the first place.
He had been downing Xanax like M&M's since he returned home last week. It was only common sense he’d finally run out of his prescription long before the next refill was due. He threw the bottle across the room, shattering it on the far wall. The sound of plastic raining down on the floor was little consolation for his present state. His shaking hands covered his face and he breathed deeply to calm down. Yeah, like just breathing worked. The only thing that helped was getting as far away from here as possible. Even then it may not be far enough.
Fifteen years. He couldn’t believe fifteen years went by in the blink of an eye. It felt like it was only yesterday when the Conservatorship forced him to leave. Yet here he was back in New York for some untold reason. The Elders insisted he return, but kept mum on why.
“I must be insane.”
Jared untangled the sheet from around him and swung his legs out of the bed. He focused on the door to the adjoining bathroom, but the panic attack clouded his vision. Ever since the renegade vampires had killed G, he’d suffered them randomly. Since he’d come home, they were out of control. When they began, all he needed to do was focus in on an object and regulate his breathing. Not any more though. None of those techniques worked.
He pushed to his feet, and his legs buckled. The only thing keeping him off the floor was his hand on the headboard. Jared took a deep breath before he shoved off and propelled his wobbly legs toward the bathroom.
It only took a few minutes but felt like he spent hours on the trek through the door to lean on the bathroom sink.
Turning on the water, he splashed his face a few times before glancing at his reflection. Man, he looked like hell. Blue eyes sunk in his face, shabby chic blonde hair standing on end, as if he took a seat in an electric chair. Maybe he had and didn’t know it.
The bad news didn’t stop there -oh no. He had a few days’ worth of beard growth, but it had grown in patchy. Yeah, this would get his ass thrown in Belleview. It was where he felt he belonged. The dreams were killing him.
Jared let go of the sides of the pedestal sink and held up his hands. At least they stopped shaking and he could stand without fear of falling over now. There had to be more to the panic attacks, it couldn’t just be from coming home.
Grabbing a towel, Jared dried off his face and headed back to the room. Darkness engulfed him except for the single beam of sunlight falling across the disheveled bed through a gap in the blackout curtains. When he returned a few days ago, it had been a light and airy space. In a matter of hours, he morphed it into a cave. This was where he spent most of his time. Staying in this room saved him from the memories the town held.
He pulled a black karate uniform out of his suitcase. Funny, he still hadn’t taken the time to unpack. Living out of duffel bags and suitcases had become a way of life for him. He didn’t want to stay here, didn’t want to put his name to a deed. The Conservatorship, a council of humans who served the vampire King Xavier Dragoni, made it impossible for him to turn his back on his responsibilities. They put this home in his name, effectively ending the exile they originally imposed on him when Giovanna died.
Sitting on the bed, his gaze wandered over the mahogany furnishings. More darkness, all he had in his life, darkness. Honestly, he preferred it that way. It kept people out of his face most days. On others, he was at least civil.
He pulled on the uniform, tying it with a black belt, and rose frowning.
“This shit just can’t go on.”
Crossing the room, he grabbed the blackout drapes and pulled them off the window. He squinted, blinking a few times as his vision adjusted. The sun warmed his skin. Surveying the landscape, he already knew his destination, the gym built off the back of the house. The meditation and control would do him good. He felt the overwhelming need to beat the crap out of someone or something, and there was a large punching bag with his name on it waiting for an ass kicking.
About the Author
Sandi Bischoff lives in the historic town of Cornwall, NY with her husband, son and a menagerie of Dragons all of whom have their own distinct personalities. She is a Pharmacist by profession but finally found her true calling in a simple twist of fate. A friend approached her to write for a character in a forum on a popular networking website and over the next five years her passion had found its niche. She then went on to compose a few poems and short stories which she would post on her homepage at the same networking site. Recently one of those poems was chosen to be published in a compilation called Collected Whispers.
Her first manuscript entitled Beyond the Sun was another short story gone wild. It has recently been picked up by Bayou Brew Publishing and was released on April 1st.