I’m so excited for the release of Destined for Love: A Destined for Dreams Novella! This story has been a whirlwind of a ride, and I’ve enjoyed every second of it. I hope you do, too!
To celebrate the release, I’m including a special first chapter excerpt. I have to warn you, though. While Destined for Love can be read as a standalone story, some of the back story contains spoilers to the Destined for Dreams series. So, read at your own risk!
You can pick up your copy of Destined for Love at most online book retailers for only .99 cents!
Links to purchase:
Now, without further ado, here’s the first chapter for your reading enjoyment.
1. LOVERS’ DAY
Hunter’s warm breath tickles the nape of my neck as he brushes his lips across my skin under the glowing sun of our dream world. I laugh, shifting on his lap, and then I pull away to meet his hazel eyes. They sparkle as light hits them, and I can’t help myself from leaning forward to kiss him again.
“We can stay here all day, you know.” Hunter waves his hand over the luscious grass, and a blanket materializes in front of us. A basket appears next, and then he reaches over and pulls out a foil wrapped box with a bow and lifts the lid, revealing delectable, heart-shaped chocolates drizzled with caramel.
The sugary scent fills the air, and I take a deep breath. “You’re always full of surprises. You’re getting better at controlling our world.”
He wags his eyebrows. “I know you don’t eat, but these are different. They’re made of my dreams.”
I pluck a chocolate from the box and nibble the edge, expecting it to explode into dream dust. Sweetness coats my tongue, and I close my eyes, moaning as I revel in how wonderful this day is starting out to be. “They’re perfect.”
Hunter leans in. “Like you.”
I drape my hands around his neck and kiss him again. I could kiss him forever if the world would stop and allow it.
Joining Hunter in his dreams feels like the only time I get to spend alone with him these days. Now that the council has been reformed with Jacqueline Matthews in charge of monitoring the Human Preservation Agency’s activities, things have gotten a lot less scary in the city. My father even deemed it safe enough for me to get a part-time job at The Haven while I figure out what college I want to go to, and what I want to do with the rest of my life.
The ground beneath us rumbles, like a small earthquake erupts under the grassy knoll in the center this beautiful, vibrant meadow created just for me. Hunter grabs my hands, frowning, and the blue sky above us clouds over before thunder booms. A dark crack fissures the sky, and the world begins to crumble.
“I have to go,” I say, kissing him once more on the cheek. “Someone is knocking at the door.”
I pull out of Hunter’s dream world as darkness consumes it. In a few minutes, he’ll wake up and join me in the real world.
The banging on the door continues, and I slide on my robe and cross our bedroom. There’s only one person who could be on the other side. I grab a small bag off my vanity table with glittery red tissue paper sticking out from it.
I swing open the door and smile. “Happy Lovers’ Day, Lys!”
Alyssa holds a gift-wrapped box in her hands. “I wanted to give you your present before I head out.”
Every year, Alyssa and I exchange gifts on Lovers’ Day, the most romantic day in the creature world. There were never many boys our age in the Creature Council’s compound, so we turned it into a day to celebrate being best friends. Even with Hunter around, I’m glad nothing has changed between us. I think we’re closer than ever.
I hold out the bag. “You already know what I got you.”
She grins. “And I love it!” She shoves the box at me. “Here, open it. You’re going to love it.”
I laugh. Nothing’s ever a secret with a seer as a best friend.
I pluck the bow off the box and stick it to my vanity mirror and then tear the paper off, letting it fall to the floor. I hold the shoe box in my hands and gaze at the drawing of the meadow from Hunter’s dream world. It’s like Alyssa went there herself to capture it in her drawing. It’s so beautiful and perfect that tears line my eyes, and I clutch it to my chest.
Alyssa beams a smile. “Open it already. That’s just a decoration.”
I thumb the lid of the box open and brush my fingers along the beaded bodice of a deep indigo gown that matches the color of my eyes. The airy fabric runs through my fingers as the dress settles back into the box, and I bring my eyes up to Alyssa.
“It’s beautiful, but you went way over budget.” I close the lid of the box and set it on my vanity table.
Hunter moans from behind me, finally waking up, and I peek over my shoulder as he sits up on his elbows.
Alyssa smiles and waves at him before turning her attention back to me. “You’ll need it tonight.”
My brows furrow. “For what?”
She shifts her gaze to Hunter for a split second. “You’ll see.”
We smile at each other for a moment, and then I fling my arms around her shoulders. This year’s Lovers’ Day will without a doubt be better than the last one, seeing that I’m an entirely different person, no longer afraid of the outside world. It’s also the perfect replacement of Valentine’s Day, which Hunter reminded me that we missed while I was imprisoned in the Human Preservation Agency’s termination facility.
Alyssa pulls away. She holds up the simple red bag. “Thanks for the bracelet and candy. I’ll see you at work in a bit.”
“Bye, Alyssa,” Hunter calls out, but she’s already halfway out the door.
I close the door and turn back to face Hunter. He opens his arms, inviting me back to bed, and I glide across the carpet and slide in next to him. He kisses my hair and my temple, and then finally my lips.
I snuggle against his warm chest. “We should get ready. You promised to help my dad this morning before our shift at The Haven.”
He groans. “Let’s call in.”
I shake my head, whipping my pale blond hair across my face. “It’s going to be a busy day. We can’t leave Cian stranded.”
Hunter groans again. “All right, but we’re not staying late. I have plans for us.”
I smirk because Alyssa already hinted about them. “What kind of plans?”
“It’s a surprise.” He pulls me to my feet and laces his fingers around my waist.
I kiss him. “Then we better hurry and get the boring stuff over with.”
We enter through the elfin spelled chain-link gate that protects the warehouse from any HPA agents roaming around. Nadia hugs her dad, Dmitri, when she sees him. I always thought coming back to the city would be the worst idea ever until I realized how much both Nadia and I missed it.
We had planned on getting an apartment with Alyssa in the same building as The Haven, but Dmitri surprised Nadia and Alyssa and signed over his house near the city to them. This gave us a place to live, but in a safe neighborhood away from the dangers of the city. Dmitri moved to the compound permanently and lives in an apartment down the hall from Jacqueline. It’s strange, but it works for us. I’ll be forever indebted to Dmitri and the council for giving me the best life I could’ve asked for.
Dmitri pulls away from Nadia and turns to me, drawing me out of my thoughts. “Thanks for coming, Hunter. I need your opinion on a few things.” He pats my back, nudging me to walk with him.
Nadia trails behind us, her feet silent as she glides over the dirt.
“What’s the HPA doing now?” Any time Dmitri or the council needs information, they come to me. I don’t mind, but one of these days I’m afraid they’ll tell me something about my mom or brother. I have no idea what they’re up to, and I’m not even sure if my brother is alive since the last I heard, he was attempting to join the Special Abilities Task Force, a part of the HPA where they alter a person’s DNA to turn them into a weapon. Most volunteers don’t survive. I hope he did. I think about calling my mom sometimes, but I know I never will.
“Nothing crazier than usual, but an agent was caught. I need you to talk to him.” Dmitri holds the door to the warehouse open. “I want you to tell me if you think he’d be useful.”
I don’t move to go in. Instead, I cross my arms. “You want me to do what? I’m a dead man, remember?”
Nadia touches my shoulders. “I don’t like this, Dad. You promised we’d never be involved with council matters. This is more than answering a question or giving insight.”
He presses his lips into a thin line. “Ana is here to assist. The agent won’t remember you. I promise.”
I rub my hand down my chin. “Tell the council not to expect this to be a regular occurrence.”
He nods. “They already know that.”
“Then lead the way.”
Nadia takes my hand, and we follow behind Dmitri into the large living room. Wall-to-wall bookcases line the grand room, and a leather sectional couch faces a flat-screen TV. Tucked in the corner is a formal dining area with a black table and high-back chairs. It’s unchanged since the last time I saw this place. The familiarity of it all is both comforting and disconcerting since I have mixed emotions of the day I said goodbye to the HPA for good.
Dmitri peers around the empty room before motioning us to the stairs where we follow him up two flights to a row of doors in a hallway that looks like a hotel. He unlocks the sixth door on the left and sticks his head inside for a moment before opening it completely.
Fear trails down my back as I imagine facing one of my greatest enemies all over again. I squeeze Nadia’s fingers, and she enters the room before me, dragging me along with her. I draw my eyes from the floor and stare at the guy, who is sitting in a wooden chair with his hands resting on his lap. My fears prove unwarranted because there is nothing scary about this agent. I don’t even know him. His puckered brows and wide eyes are more frightened than menacing, and I bet he thinks he’s about to die.
I want to pity him, but I can’t. He captures creatures all the time and brings them back to the HPA where they meet their end. He almost doesn’t deserve the council’s mercy.
I plop into the chair across from him. “You’re new to the city.”
He doesn’t respond.
I lean forward. “I’d know you if you weren’t. It wasn’t long ago that I was wearing a uniform like that.”
He stiffens. I knew that would get a response out of him.
“But I realized something. The board has it all wrong. Creatures aren’t the dangerous ones. You are.”
The guy’s eyes narrow, and he bares his teeth. “Liar! Traitor! How can you side with the monsters?”
I shake my head. Talking to him was pointless. He doesn’t even want to hear me out. I get off the chair and turn to Dmitri. “This guy is wasting everyone’s time. You should just get rid of him.”
“You’re just like them!” he screams.
I jerk to face him. “It’s better than being like you.”
And there you have it! If you prefer to purchase a print edition, you can get an autographed copy through my website here.