Chapter 1

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The monster charged down the moonlit alley, right at Della Tsang. Even in the dark, she could see its yellowed fangs, its stained claws, and its horns, sharp and deadly. The thing reminded her of a supersized, chubby gargoyle, but in all honesty, she didn’t have a clue what it was.

Not vampire. Too ugly for that.

Maybe a rabid werewolf. She’d heard of them, but never seen one.

She tried to check its forehead to identify its pattern. Every species had one, and every supernatural could read them. This one, however, moved too fast.

One thing she did know: It hadn’t come in peace. The blood-red eyes, along with the look of pure evil, warned Della of its malicious intent.

Two options. Flight or fight, her instincts screamed. Her heart pounded. Only cowards ran. Taking a deep breath, she tugged at the shirt hem of her Smurf pajamas and prepared herself for the attack.

Smurf pajamas?

What was she doing in an alley wearing . . . ?

Th e cobwebs in her mind cleared and she vaguely realized the third option. She could wake up.

A dream. Not real.

But even waking herself to escape felt cowardly. Della Tsang was no coward. So she allowed the nightmare to pull her in deeper, and watched and waited as the monster heaved closer. She had mere seconds.




The creature smelled of death. The huge beast barely got within a foot of her when it leapt up, twisted in midair, and pounced down behind her. Della hadn’t completed her turn when the creature latched on to her shoulders. She felt a pain in the base of her neck as if a claw or fang had punctured her spine. Grabbing behind her, she buried her fingers into a mass of loose- feeling skin, and with every ounce of strength she had, she hurled the creature over her shoulder. “Take that, you obnoxious lardass!”

A loud thud brought Della fully alert. Jackknifing out of bed, her heart pounding in her throat, she saw her pillow, the object she’d just mistaken as Obnoxious Lardass and thrown across her room, sticking half in and half out of her Sheetrock.

Correction. Not her Sheetrock. Her parents’ Sheetrock!

She was home on a mandatory parent weekend. Home? The word sank into her mind like a splinter.

This wasn’t her home anymore. Shadow Falls was home. The camp/boarding school that the outside world thought was a place troubled kids got sent to, but in reality was a place supernatural kids went to learn to deal with being . . . supernatural.

Kylie, Miranda, and all her friends were her family now. This place . . . She glanced around her old room, filled with old memories. This was where she came to be reminded of everything she’d lost.

She glanced back at the pillow and the freaking hole in the wall.


Catching her breath, she tried to think how she would explain this to her parents.

On the opposite wall stood her dresser with the attached mirror. When she looked at it, a plan emerged. A little furniture rearranging and the hole would be hidden. She glanced back at the pillow, and when she moved her head, a sharp pain pinched in the very top of her neck. Right where that damn monster had gotten her in her dream.

She reached up to rub the pain away and felt the cool stickiness. Pulling her hand around, she stared at the blood. What the heck?

Reaching back again, she felt a large pimple at the very base of her skull. Perhaps the pimple had simply been hurting and brought on the crazy dream. The smell of her own blood reminded her that she hadn’t fed in two days. But bringing a bag of blood home with her was too risky.

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