This is the third week of our Author of the Month special featuring K.A. Tucker's books. This week we shine the spotlight on Asylum, Book Two of K.A. Tucker's YA paranormal series, Casual Enchantments.
Asylum (Casual Enchantment, Book Two) by K.A. Tucker
YA paranormal*Paperback & e-book, 252 pages
Published December 12th 2011 by Papoti Books
Tucked away in Sofie's wintery asylum with no hope of release for years, Evangeline must come to terms with her situation: the curse still plagues her, she's now hunted by a two thousand-year-old vampire, and the guy she's in love with tried to kill her.
Plus, she's locked up with a cranky Max and the Forero kids—two people everyone
seems to prefer dead over alive. Things aren't looking good.
Meanwhile, back in Manhattan, Sofie struggles to keep forty trapped and bloodthirsty Ratheus vampires at bay and a desperate Viggo from killing Evangeline's friends, all while hints stir outside the walls of the NYC vampire asylum of a war brewing
between the Sentinel and the witches.
Is there any hope for Evangeline and Caden? Can Sofie control the rival powers? Is the fate of Earth predestined? Find out in Book 2 of the Causal Enchantment series, a sequel to ANATHEMA.
I made it to the blood bank dock with two minutes to spare, after a small detour through the city to shake any tails. Normally I could tell when I was being followed, but today was not the day to take chances. The delivery entrance for this bank was in a wide alley, the tall brick buildings on either side providing some privacy from the street. I backed the Navigator up to one of the delivery doors and threw it into park to wait for Reggie. My fingers strummed the steering wheel as I watched various trucks at different stages of unloading through my black-tinted windows. Guilt fluttered as I thought of the generous people who had unwittingly donated to feed forty hungry vampires. It took the meaning of saving lives to a whole new level.
I sensed the approach a second before the white knuckles wrapped against the window. My finger on a button rolled the window down and I regarded my blood dealer, an unusually pale, blonde man who reeked of terror. “Is something the matter, Reggie?” I asked in my sweetest tone. Apprehension tightened my insides. He shouldn’t be frightened of me . . .
“There’s an unmarked delivery truck on its way from a drive,” he answered in a rush, ignoring my question. “I’ve deleted it from the main system so it’s free for the taking.”
Unmarked. That meant I could leave the Navigator here. Much easier than unloading and reloading. I flashed him my most appreciative smile as I pulled a thick envelope full of cash from the glove compartment and handed it to him. Viggo had cash stashed everywhere. “For your troubles.”
His eyes widened briefly as he took it, then he looked quickly around to check for witnesses before stuffing the envelope inside his lab coat. I heard the loud rumble of an approaching truck. “There it is,” he confirmed, turning to leave.
My hand shot out to grab his forearm. “Thank you, Reg.” He glanced down at my hand, then up at my face, giving me the chance to lock eyes with him. I needed to strengthen the compulsion for the next time I needed blood. “There’s no need to worry, Reg. I’m harmless. I would never hurt you,” I crooned, waiting for the hypnotic trance to kick in. “I may come back for more blood in a few weeks. Please be ready and willing to help me out.”
He nodded slowly, as if listening, but the haze of a compelled person did not register in his blue eyes. That’s strange . . . am I losing my touch? The second I let go of Reggie’s arm, he bolted into the building.
If I had time, I’d follow him in and try again. But I didn’t have time, I decided as a hospital-green cube truck parked beside me. No telltale blood-donor markings. Perfect. Hopping out of my Navigator, I opened the truck’s passenger side door and swung smoothly into the seat, earning a pleasantly surprised look from a balding delivery man in his sixties.
“Hello, sir. I believe you have a delivery for me?” I crooned, focusing in on his watery irises, pulling his mind toward mine as I had just attempted with Reggie. This time it worked.
“Do I?” he slurred.
“Yes. Please step out of the truck and begin walking away. Go home and take a nap. When you wake up, you’ll remember nothing about this truck or me. Right?”
“Right,” he drawled. Still mesmerized, he pawed absently at the door with his left hand, finally opened it, and spilled out of the truck. He staggered down the alley toward the street as if drunk.
“Okay. Now,” I murmured, sliding into the driver’s seat. I studied the truck’s gearshift. “At least it’s not a rig,” I muttered under my breath. Those were a pain to drive. I threw the truck into drive and began rolling forward.
Two black Dodge extended-cab pickup trucks pulled in front of me, blocking my path. I slammed on the brakes as four burly men hopped out of each, a mixture of fear and determination in their eyes as they peered up at me. My attention flew down to their hands. There it was, the Sentinel tattoo. That meant they knew this red-headed, green-eyed woman was no ordinary woman. This was no accidental encounter.
Rage flared within me. They had gotten to Reggie, used him for an ambush. But how had they broken my compulsion? “Oh,” I murmured, the puzzle pieces fitting together into a hideous picture. There was only one way to break a vampire’s compulsion: witch magic. That meant either Mage’s prophecy was coming true and the Sentinel was allied with the witches, or Ursula was back in action as a thorn in my side. I hoped for the latter at this point but, either way, I didn’t have time for this.
I briefly considered ramming the trucks but decided against it. The damage might stall the delivery truck. Plus, the noise would most definitely attract the attention of curious passersby. I couldn’t cause a scene in broad daylight in front of a blood bank.
I sighed heavily and rolled down the window. A gust of frigid November air struck me. “Hello, gentlemen!” I called cheerily.
The one closest to my door—a heavyset, brown-haired man of six feet—edged forward. He wasn’t getting too close, though. Smart. “You don’t look like the typical truck driver,” he answered with a nonchalant grin, trying to play up his ignorance of my identity. He was a decoy, of course, meant to distract me from the two men to the right who were busy readying a flamethrower drawn from a
compartment in the back of one truck—the Sentinel’s weapon of choice against us. It was stupid, really, given the speed and power of a vampire, yet they still did manage to catch us unawares sometimes. But they hadn’t been dealing with the likes of me.
I couldn’t let this go any further, knowing they’d torch the truck, destroying the blood supply. I gave him my sweetest smile, all while plucking helixes of magic from my body, arming myself. I’d paralyze them. Simple. “Oh, but I’m not. You know that . . . don’t you?”
The grin slid off his face as his eyes darted to the others; he gave the slightest nod.
I laughed aloud. “Seriously? Haven’t you guys realized who you’re up against?”
With that, I sent a bolt of magic out to seize the flamethrower clean from the man’s grip, letting it fly back and smash through the passenger side window to rest on the seat next to me. Glass rained down everywhere but I barely noticed. “I’ve been looking for one of those,” I said conversationally.
As the words left my mouth, I heard a faint click. I whipped my head up to see two men stepping out from behind a truck fifty yards away; one held a bazooka. It was pointing at me. And its rocket had been launched.
With no opportunity to weigh my options, I sent another bolt of magic out—this one a thousand helixes strong—to block the rocket and send it back to its launching point, trying to contain the blast. The truck rocked with the explosion, bricks, metal, and body parts flying in every direction.
“So much for keeping a low profile,” I muttered, silently berating myself for being too cocky to notice their plan unfolding. I need to get out of here. Now. I wrapped magical threads around both trucks. With a flick of my wrist, they were swept aside like a minor inconvenience, crumpling against the brick walls and taking four more men with them.
I revved the truck engine and threw it into gear again. It jerked forward. The decoy man stepped in front of the truck to stop me. He disappeared under my truck as I drove over him, the back tires jolting over his body. I peeled out of the alley, speeding up as I passed various pedestrians running toward the commotion, some eyeing my truck suspiciously and a few of them jotting down the license plate number. I had no time to stop and do damage control. Looking in my rearview mirror at the fiery, body-peppered scene I had just left, I knew I needed a new blood supplier.
About the author:
Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.