PLEASE NOTE - BOOK 8 is already up! Now onto the start of book 1...
Being part vampire played havoc on her love life.
Tessa didn't need her dates for their blood. In fact, she had this thing against young male blood. Horrible tasting stuff.
Not that she'd tell them that. At least not on first meet.
And she rarely got a second. Maybe it was a lack of self-confidence like her girlfriends said. Or maybe she was too shy. It didn't really matter. Her life sucked. She winced. Or maybe she did.
Tessa checked out her black-tipped nails. Maybe she should change the color. Black did go with everything, just not necessarily with the new look she was trying out. The one that might make Jared notice her. She shrugged. Her venture into red nail polish hadn't worked out so well, either. People had actually cringed when they saw her hands, even with her extendable nails retracted.
She studied the long, sharp points. So maybe the red had made them look a little like blood dripped from them.
She sighed and slouched lower on her bed, plumping the pillows under her head. She adored red. And black. But those were vampire colors. And she wasn't doing those anymore.
Her world didn't exactly overflow with potential dates. Not with her family hovering protectively behind her. Even worse, her two older brothers insisted on escorting her to various school parties and events. Shudder. Like how humiliating was that? Snide comments whispered at the last party still whirled through her head.
'What's wrong with her?'
'There has to be some loser out there who'd bring her. God, how pathetic.'
'Her brothers? Again?'
The mad titter of gossiping females always followed. Worse were the worried glances and whispered comments from her well-meaning family, particularly her mother, who trotted out one question almost daily.
'Why can't you be happy with who you are?'
It was hard to be happy when you were a genetic oddity. A primitive. A throwback. A weirdo – not fully one of them.
Why was she part-vampire in a family of vampires? The odd one in her ancient lineage, an anomaly in the genes that showed up every few generations. Yay for her.
"Tessa? Come down here, please," her mother called.
Now what? Her mom never called her down to offer a mother-daughterday out or to give Tessa money for clothes. It was more likely that her mom needed a hand, or wanted Tessa to do chores. What was with her parents, anyway?
"I'm here," she called as she walked out of her bedroom. Entering the kitchen, her father, two brothers and Cody slouched at the table, sucking back blood smoothies and coffee. She groaned at the collection of strong dominant males that stared at her.
So what else was new?
Tessa cringed. She didn't have the same thirst for blood as the rest of her family. Different from them, and feeling like she didn't belong, Tess now took every chance she could to be different.
Dead silence greeted her arrival.
"Tessa, what have you done to your hair?" The words exploded from her mother and were echoed by the shocked looks from the rest of her family.
"Oh." Instinctively Tessa touched the top of her head. "I wanted a change."
"A change? That's not a change, that's...that's..." Her mother couldn't find the right word.
"Bizarre?" Seth suggested.
She smiled at David, the youngest of her two brothers. At eighteen he was only a year and a half older than her. They were close. He understood what she was going through, having struggled with his own issues a few years ago. If anyone could relate to her need to be different from her family, he did.
Her mother stood in front of Tessa, her hand touching Tessa's pure white locks. Horror rippled across her mom's features as tears threatened to fall. "Your beautiful hair."
Tessa watched her warily. She hadn't expected this strong reaction. "The hair is still there, Mom. It's just white instead of black, that's all."
"You're a vampire. One of the ancient ones. We're proud of our family's dark hair."
"No, you're a vampire. I'm only part." Nobody understood how she felt. "You're proud of your dark hair, and I...well, let's just say I was ready for something different."
Seth, her oldest brother, shot her a warning look. She glared back at him.
Over the years her parents had always been understanding as the three of them had grown through their teenage years, especially with her brothers. David sported a punk cut, his hair spiked in every direction and the girls loved it. Then again, girls loved him.
She just wanted a piece of the action. With the guys, of course.
"I like it," Cody said slowly. "It's really hot."
Tessa beamed. Wow, Cody almost never said anything directly to her. And when he did, it was usually to call her down. As David's best friend, he practically lived here – whether she liked it or not. "Thank you. I'm glad someone does."
"Oh, Tessa honey. I wish you'd relax about not having a boyfriend. Don't try to change yourself into something you're not. You'll find someone soon. Someone who will love you for who you are."
Easy for her to say. Her mom was one of the most beautiful vampires in existence. Her centuries-old features were still young and perfect. Her figure – well, Tessa's couldn't even begin to compare.
Seth might be the quietest in the family, the older, and more studious one, but he usually nailed the issue on the head. "And that's the problem, Mom. No guy's going to fall in love with her when she isn't happy with herself. Self-confidence is sexy."
Tessa turned her head to hide the rising warmth on her cheeks. Her family never blushed. They probably couldn't – yet another way she was different.
With her hands fisted on her hips, her mom spun around to face Seth. Outrage vibrated through her slim frame. "That's not true. Tessa knows she's beautiful – inside and out. Any boy would be happy to go out with her."
Tessa's dad had stayed suspiciously quiet. She glanced at him warily from the corner of her eye. He rarely spoke, but when he did...
"What's his name?" his deep voice boomed and it was like he shouted it to the world. How did he know she had a crush on someone?
She gasped, her shoulders hunching protectively. Catcalls and a chorus of teasing bombarded her. Tessa raced out of the room.
Her mother's chastising voice lingered in the space she'd left behind. "Stop it. Don't tease her. You've all been there."
"Yeah, but this is way more fun!"
Tessa ran faster.
She wanted to run from her life.