The Edge of Hope is the debut novel of writer Alina Popescu, the first book in the Bad Blood Trilogy, a story of vampires, love, struggles, and a constant fight for survival.
When tall, dark, and gorgeous shows up on your self-prescribed emotional recovery vacation, some would call it fate smiling down on you. If he also happens to be interested in your work and ready to make all the room you need in his life, it starts to sound too good to be true. Alexa skips the doubts and jumps right in, only to be thrown into the mysterious world of vampires.
The secrets of their origin and their very existence are far more important than her life to some of her new acquaintances. They are ancient, they are powerful, they have unlimited resources, and they are keen on controlling what the world knows of their kind. As Alexa discovers their complicated, blood feud bound world, she tries to better understand herself, heal old wounds and give love chance after chance. Will she survive the journey?
Find out more: alina-popescu.com/badblood
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JEBJXDQ
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00JEBJXDQ
I walked to the heavy wooden door, stopped, and took a few deep breaths. Then I pushed and pushed. When the huge obstacle didn’t move, I looked and saw a discrete PULL sign on it that I had completely missed. I swore and walked into a large club with a long pub-like bar, tall stools, large red-and-black couches, and low tables spread around the rest of the room. It was huge and the dim lights barely chased the shadows away, but I could see it was mostly empty. Except for a few men at the bar and three groups at some of the farthest tables, the place was empty. There wasn’t really any room for dancing, but the Buddha Bar, chill-out music was quite pleasant.
I finally spotted Anthony in one of the groups in the back. He was sitting with a group, mostly women, most half-naked, extremely beautiful. They all turned to look at me. Anthony kept staring at me, a cold smile on his lips. It took him a while to change it to the warm one he had gotten me used to. I knew I should walk up to him, but my legs weren’t moving. I saw him taking one more sip from his glass before finally getting up so I took the time to look around.
At another table, there were three girls fighting for attention from a guy. I could understand why because he was striking, but it all seemed a bit pathetic. I noticed he was also looking at me, shaking his head and smiling. He seemed to know who I was. He probably did, as he had a brief silent exchange with Anthony as he made his way towards me.
“Gorgeous as ever,” Anthony said when he walked up to me. He wore a white button-down shirt and dark jeans, so no superspy. Well, reality is reality, but he was still gorgeous.
“Thank you. Interesting….bar.”
“It’s a private club, actually. Bar, lounge, restaurant, concert venue, and even dancing club when needed.”
“Seems remote enough for a private hangout,” I said, nodding.
“Come,” he said, taking my hand. He stopped for a moment to wave to one of the bartenders, then directed me to a table in one corner of the large room. The couch was extremely comfortable, but I felt very uneasy. Both the guy that the girls were fighting over and all the people at Anthony’s table were staring at me.
“Relax,” Anthony said, noticing my discomfort. “They are friends and extremely curious. I told them tonight you’re all mine so they have to wait to meet you.”
“I see.” I really didn’t understand, but I couldn’t find anything else to say. It was not curiosity I was sensing from them. Plus, he could have spared five minutes to introduce me to them. If he wanted me all to himself, maybe he should not have chosen the place where all his friends liked to hang out.
The bartender came and brought us a bottle of chilled champagne, the music changed, and people eventually stopped inspecting me. After a few sips of the dry and cool drink, I started to relax. Anthony was acting as if he couldn’t keep his hands off of me and after a few drinks, I had forgotten everything about the awkwardness of being treated like a circus monkey by his “friends”, and the numbingly cruel smile I had seen on Anthony.
He gently helped me get dressed and the more he touched me, the more I felt safe around him. So safe that, for a moment, I forgot how weak I was and, as I completely lacked the needed power to hold myself up, I nearly fell. He caught me and held me tightly in his arms. My internal dam gave in at that precise moment and I really started to cry. Not just tears casually flowing, but anger and pain making their way out through my eyes and mouth.
“It will be all right. Don’t worry,” I heard him whisper, but I had a really hard time believing it.
Exorcising part of what was making my soul and mind rumble helped me regain a bit of my strength so I slowly nodded when he asked if I could walk. I was taking the steps, but he was still supporting most of the process. We went down the stairs, but instead of going through the club, we went outside through another door, some kind of service entrance. There were a few cars parked out back. He got me into the back seat of a Honda Civic. I couldn’t tell what color it was.
Just when he was about to get in the car, Anthony appeared out of nowhere right next to him. I instinctively moved to the farthest point from him I could possibly squeeze into.
“Leaving so soon?” he asked, a touch of anger in his voice.
“Anthony, I can’t really help if you’re never careful enough and leave girls in a state of shock. Be more careful next time,” his friend scolded him.
“What’s the point if you can’t go all wild and enjoy their helplessness? That just diminishes the pleasure,” Anthony said and shrugged. I felt a surge of anger, but fear quickly overpowered it when his gaze met mine.
“The point is she can stay out and play longer, but you have a horde more inside so I get it. Now I need to take her to your place and clean up your mess… again!” I didn’t really know him, but even I could sense the disgust in his tone.
“Fine, have it your way. I won’t be going there for a few days. I need to keep her alive and I am sure you can guess how tempting her blood is. Keep an eye on her. I don’t want sweet Alexa getting any ideas and making me chase her around Europe.”
He turned on his heels and left. Apparently, he had no need to wait for any form of consent.
I finally relaxed when the car drove off and I could feel the distance growing between me and Anthony. The car was very warm and I allowed myself to lie down on the seat and close my eyes.
I woke up as I was being carried inside. I looked up at him and he was smiling warmly. I wanted to smile back, but I could feel that my face wasn’t moving. He placed me on the big sofa in the living room and covered me with a blanket he had brought in from a different room. He stepped into the kitchen and I could hear drawers and cabinets being opened and closed, and then the microwave opened. He came in ten minutes later with a big bowl of steaming liquid.
“Here, drink this. And drink it all,” he ordered.
It was a thick soup that didn’t look or smell half bad so I ventured and took a sip.
“Easy, it’s really hot,” he said, jumping from his armchair.
“Don’t worry,” I said in a barely audible voice. I had always had an abnormal tolerance to hot liquids. When I could finally taste it, I frowned and forced myself to swallow. It had a metallic aftertaste, as if he had mixed iron dust in it.
“God, this is awful!” I complained.
“Just drink it. You’ll thank me in the morning.” He winked and gave my shoulder a little squeeze. He stayed with me, giving me an occasional nudge to make sure I kept drinking. He kept shifting and frowning, even after I showed him the empty bowl.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, annoyed by his overbearing care.
“You’re very weak. You almost passed out three times while drinking this.”
“I didn’t realize. I’m sorry.” I really hadn’t. I didn’t feel anything, neither light-headed nor sleepy, so it came as a surprise.
“Well, you managed to drink it all. Now you’ll get some sleep and you should be fine.” He tried a smile to reassure me, but it wasn’t really working.
“What’s your name?” I asked. I probably was feeling better if I had realized we had never been introduced
“Louis,” he said, taking the bowl from my hands and tucking me in.
“Thank you, Louis. And nice to meet you…sort of.”
“Go to sleep, Alexa. And you’re welcome.”
About the author
Writer, traveler, and coffee addict, Alina Popescu has been in love with books all her life. She started writing when she was ten and even won awards in local competitions. She has always been drawn to sci-fi, fantasy, and the supernatural realm, which explains her deep love for vampires and is also to blame for this trilogy.
Site & Blog: http://alina-popescu.com
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