Original Sin is book two in the Alexandra Jones series, the sequel to First Bitten.
Alex has run. Leaving everything she knows and loves … Nathan, behind. She’s a fugitive; hiding from the Original Vârcolacs who want to claim her for themselves.
Hiding in Italy, she has changed her identity and her appearance; working in a coffee shop in the quiet town of Sassano.
Then Zeff steps into her life. He’s solid, sturdy, but more so he’s human – he’s someone real, tangible, a friend throwing her a lifeline in a world of loneliness.
Believing she's safe from attack, nothing prepares Alex for what's lurking in the woods, on her doorstep, intoxicating her into a web of control and deceit.
Danger is closer than her shadow ... the hunt is on again, forcing Alex into the hardest dilemma yet.
Chapter One - Six Month Later
“Hey.” His deep voice comes from behind me like a warm breeze in the cold darkness.
Coming up close, his fingers ever so lightly skim down my bare arms. He’s hardly touching me, but it feels electric, intense. He slides his hands into mine, entwining our fingers, and brings both our arms to wrap around my chest. Shivering with goose-bumps of absolute delight, I never want to let him go again.
Closing my eyes, I rest my head back against his shoulder and just breathe him in. I can smell him so clearly I can literally taste him on my tongue.
“I missed you,” I say.
The longing is so completely evident in my voice it’s almost palpable. I want him to know how hard it’s been without him. I’m never going to let him go again. Ever.
“I missed you too.” His voice comes in my ear, just a whisper; raspy, warm, doing inexplicable things to me. I’ve never felt as relieved and happy as I do now, here in his arms.
He brushes his lips over my neck. Heat burns under my skin. When I feel the hint of his tongue on me, I all but combust. Freeing a hand from mine, Nathan slides his hand down.
Inching up my vest with his fingers, he smoothes his palm across my stomach. I feel a shudder deep within. Then fingers moving downwards, he hooks a couple into the elastic of my knickers, tugging on them he turns me around to face him.
Looking up at him, I feel like I haven’t seen him in forever. He still looks as beautiful as I remember. His bright green eyes are smouldering down at me like there’s a fire burning behind them, lighting them to such extremities they’re almost glowing.
I run my hands up his firm chest, nails scratching over the fabric of his T-shirt. More than anything, I just need to feel him.
Nathan draws me closer to him by the fingers firmly hooked in the elastic of my knickers. He leans down and puts his mouth on mine.
I am melting into nothing.
His kiss is gentle, soft. He’s kissing me the exact same way he did the first time he kissed me in Dalby Forest and it’s making my legs so very weak, it’s taking all my strength just to keep vertical.
I wrap my arms around his neck. He runs his tongue between my lips, sucking my bottom lip into his mouth. Murmuring a warm delicious sound that vibrates through me, pulsing down … down. I can feel myself slipping further and further into him, and I love the feeling.
Beep ... beep ...
“Nathan?” Startled, breathless, I break our kiss.
“Time to go,” he whispers, releasing me, he steps back.
Panic seers through me, gripping me, covering all other feelings. “No, I’m not ready! You can’t go!” I reach for him, but he’s moved too far from my grasp and he’s slipping further and further away.
I want to run to him but my feet are fixed to the floor, like someone glued them there while I wasn’t looking.
I spin my head wildly, looking for something, anything to help me move. I can’t lose him. Not again. And then something catches my attention, coming from my right. A glow. Shimmering, sparkling, and it’s moving toward me.
“Sol?” I gasp, as he materialises before my eyes.
“Hey Alex.” His voice. I thought I’d never hear it again. Yet here he is talking to me.
My heart breaks. I can’t believe he’s here. He looks exactly as I remember. No blood. No death. Just Sol, stood here smiling at me, with his trademark cheeky glint sparkling in his eyes.
Pain aches through my chest. There are so many things I want to say to him. I need to tell him I’m sorry.
How so very sorry I am.
Something breaks inside me. I feel hot wet tears on my cheeks.
“Don’t cry,” says Sol. “I hate to see you cry.”
In an instant he’s standing before me.
I want to grab him, hug him, hold him tight to me and never let him go.
He reaches a hand to my face and dries the tears from my cheeks. His touch is golden on my skin.
“I’m so sorry,” I choke. “I didn’t know Jin was there and …”
“Ssh, it wasn’t your fault. I want to talk to you, about everything, but I can’t. I haven’t got long.” His voice suddenly sounds reedy. “It’s taken me a really long time to get through to you and I don’t know if and when I can get back, so you have to listen to me carefully.”
He sounds so serious. My heart starts to pump hard against my chest.
Beep … beep …
I can hear the sound again.
Tearing my eyes from Sol, I glance back to where Nathan was, but he’s gone. Like he was never there. Just a darkness where he once stood. A really big part of me wants to follow Nathan into the darkness, to find him. But I’m torn. I don’t want to leave Sol, not now I have him here with me, and so very real.
“Alex.” Sol takes hold of my chin forcing my eyes to his. “You’re waking up. I just need you to hang on for a bit longer. I have to tell you something.” Pausing, he shakes his head. “There are so many things I want to tell you,” he breathes. “But there’s no time, and this is important.”
I’m trying to stay, trying to keep my focus on him. I can sense his importance, his urgency, but there’s a strong lure of something pulling me away from him. My eyes start to drift again.
“Alex.” He hardens my name, grabbing my focus. “Listen to me. You need to pay attention today. Keep your eyes wide open. Everything’s not as it first seems. I know he’s coming for you, and he’s not–”
His head snaps to his left like he hears something. Something I don’t hear.
He looks quickly back to me.
In his green eyes I can see him contemplating something, like he’s making the most important decision of his life.
Then taking my face in his hands, he leans close, and kisses me hard on the lips.
I open my eyes to the sound of my beeping alarm, alone in my bedroom. With a sigh, I reach over and slam my hand on it, hearing the crack as I break yet another alarm clock. I roll onto my back, sighing. Putting my hand to my face, I feel my cheeks are wet.
This isn’t unusual. I cry a lot in my sleep. I won’t let myself cry while I’m awake so I think it’s my body’s way of coping, you know, its natural way of dealing.
Pulling the duvet over my head, I close my eyes and rake up an old picture of Nathan in my mind. Just as I do every morning, and have done for the last six months.
Nathan is a constant in my mind, alongside everyone else I’ve lost. But thinking of him … them, is the only thing that keeps me going, gets me through this lonely bleak existence I have the pleasure of calling a life.
I spend all my time inanely fighting against my feelings of mourning the person I used to be. Mourning the life and people I’ve lost … Carrie. Sol. Jack. Erin … Nathan.
I miss Nathan so much it’s hard to breathe at times. Like there’s a physical ache in my chest that will never ever go away.
I’m trying really hard to move on. Move on from the life that used to belong to me. Move on from Nathan. Honestly I am.
It’s just not going so well.
Mostly, I feel like I’m floating face side up in the ocean, heading to nowhere in particular, but knowing I never can reach the shore. Because if I do, then it’s all over for me.
I spend all my time in my head, living in the past, dreaming of a future that can never be mine. So far, it’s the only way I’ve found that has come anywhere close to helping combat some of the loneliness which threatens to strip me to pieces.
Every day, I wake, and paper over the cracks with floating memories, knowing it’s not a permanent fix, but all I’ve got for now, until I somehow find a way to fill those holes permanently.
Throwing the duvet back off my head I flip myself over and growl the anger and frustration out into my pillow.
Eventually, I drag myself out of bed, go into the living room and switch on the TV. It comes to life with the early morning news.
The news reader is gabbling away in Italian. I understand little of what she’s talking about, I just like the background noise. Silence and me do not go well together. The people in that little box over there are the closest to company that I have in my life now.
Trudging into the kitchen I empty dark roast local blend into the coffee machine, fill it with water from the jug, and set it going. I’m going to need a strong coffee to get me through my full day of serving it. Because that’s my life now; well for the moment it is anyway, until it’s time for me to move on again.
But for now, I’m living in Italy, working in a little café called Piaz, as a Barista.
It’s not ideal, but it’s better than the alternative offered to me. I could be with the Originals.