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

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