Title: Demon Royale (The Dream Slayer Series, #2)
Age Group: YA
Author: Jill Cooper
Release date: Oct. 10, 2012
Event date(s): Oct. 12, 2012
DREAM SLAYER (Book, #1) will be FREE Oct. 12-14, 2012.
Demon Royale Amazon | Dream Slayer | Goodreads |
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The only thing worse than dying, is running away…
Since becoming employed by a supernatural protection agency, Natalie Johnson’s life has been more interesting than ever. While most teens are working on their summer tans, Natalie works on slaughtering the undead lurking just outside her town’s borders.
The workload takes more than just a toll on her love life, it dampens her spirit and her health, as the town is plagued by a mysterious murderer intent on stealing the residents’ souls. Natalie’s investigation is hampered by her declining health and the sicker she gets, the more inadequate she feels.
Guilt over her inability to act, weighs heavily on Natalie’s shoulders during a time when her strength is needed more than ever. As some of those closest to her begin to lose faith, she must make the hardest stand yet to save the soul of the one person she can always count on:
“What’s written all over my face now?”
Tristan gave Natalie
a loving smirk, his hands tugging on the waist of her jeans until she was pressed up against her. “Only love and devotion.” They held hands as they walked up her street and rounded her backyard toward her bedroom window.
Tristan leaned against the tree that guarded her bedroom window, at least that was the story they made up when they were kids. He pulled her close, resting his hands on her hips. “Maybe he’s just upset about something else, and it has nothing to do with your suspicions about Evelyn.”
“Vampires we can kill. We can see them. This…” Tristan pulled her hair back and stared through her forehead like he could see what was plaguing her brain, “…we can’t fight it. Don’t even know what it is. I know how it makes me feel.”
Natalie bit her lip. “There’s not much I can say except right now, I feel okay.”
Tristan snorted. “For right now. But we don’t know how long that’s going to last. Or why it’s even happening.”
Her worry increased when he talked like that, and when she saw the fear on his face. “We can’t worry about every little thing. I know it’s hard, but right now, we’re together. I feel good.” She ran her hand up his arm. “You feel good too,” she whispered and blushed just a little.
Tristan’s face broke out into joy. “Wow, my little flirt! Someone giving you lessons?”
“I’ve been watching soap operas at the hospital,” Natalie beamed. “I think next, you’re supposed to kiss me.” Natalie bit her lip, nervousness bubbling inside as they shared a kiss. It lingered and her eyes closed. She clutched onto him, and in those moments, she felt like everything would be okay.
Tristan seemed to feel the same way from the way he nuzzled her neck, holding her close. Natalie leaned on him, and her body released the tension she didn’t realize she was holding. To get to be close to him, alone, even for a few minutes, was like reaching an oasis.
Tristan chuckled and gave her soft kisses. It made her feel hot, even against the gentle summer breeze.
“You know my favorite thing about this tree?” Natalie waited for him to shake his head. “It makes me think of you. All those times you used it to visit me at night, or I used it to sneak out to see you. Remember when we were kids and we’d use it to go to the carnival late at night?”
Tristan chuckled. “And we thought the circus clowns were possessed.”
Natalie beamed, her smile going from cheek to cheek. “It always made me think of you, but until a few months ago, I didn’t get why. Now I do.” She finally said it, and the nerves bubbled up in her. She swallowed them back, but still her face flushed.
Tristan’s eyes were loving and kind. He caressed her neck and a moment later, they were kissing. Sweet and simple turned hot and heavy. Natalie clutched his arms with her fingers, and her glasses steamed up from the heat of his breath. His hands searched over her legs and then across her butt.
Natalie pulled away, resting her head against his chest. She was overwhelmed, afraid of the intensity, but it didn’t change how she felt about him.
“You really are a sweet girl. How’d I ever get so lucky to meet you?”
Natalie shrugged. “It’s a small town.”
“It was rhetorical.”
She scowled. “Oh, well it still sounded like it had a question mark on the end.”
Tristan kissed her.
“I really should go in now, but it doesn’t mean I actually want to leave,” Natalie said. “I’ll see you tomorrow, somehow.” Thinking about all her mother’s rules made her stomach tight with nerves. “Besides, I can see your house from here.”
Tristan gazed over her shoulder through the yard and past several houses. “I’ll look out my window when I get to my room, if you’ll do the same.”
Natalie grinned. “Promise?” She bit her lip, feeling bashful.
“Oh yeah.” Tristan tightened his grip around her waist and kissed her nose. “You did good work out there tonight, Nat. I’m proud of you.”
She smiled wide, her heart filling with glee. “It was nothing. It was only a few this time. I could practically do that in my sleep!”
“That’s my tough girl.” Tristan kissed the side of her head. “Night, princess.”
Her heart skipped. She watched him walk away while waving, thinking she might never stop smiling. Once he was gone, her back gate closed, Natalie climbed up her tree. Back before the paladin knew she was a superhero, climbing trees was out of the question, but now Natalie found her hidden strength and easily pulled herself up. Her bedroom window was still open, with the lights off. As quietly as possible, she scooted her legs in first and pulled herself through.
Natalie held her breath as she spun and closed the window. As she did so, the bedroom lights came on. She gasped, turned around and saw her mother sitting on her perfectly made bed, tears in her eyes, while her father stood over by the door. This is it, Natalie thought. The things she did were going to destroy all the progress they’d made that night.