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Friday, September 8, 2017

Paging Through The Days Presents: Primal Darkness by Barb Shuler; #CoverReveal, #ExcerptReveal, #ComingSoon

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Primal Darkness
Publish Date: September 26, 2017
Genre: Dark Paranormal Romantic Thriller
Cover design by: MadHat Books

Darkness knows no bounds, nothing tethers it to reality. Darkness is in the eye of the beholder. Primal instincts run through us all, a call to the wilder side of life, a call to arms for those of us that shift within the shadows. When the darkness and the primal instincts merge, no one is safe.

Faith and fate are pulled to the forefront and all that is left is a choice. Do you join the darkness, or do you run and try to let faith lead you to your salvation?

My name is Emerson Davenport and this is my choice. My life hangs in the balance if I chose wrong. The dominoes of destiny have started to fall, now it’s up to me to outrun them and the darkness that rides the wave that crests at my door.

Either way, death is coming.



High school is supposed to be the best of your school years. Or so my Mom always said. It was, in the beginning. Then Sophomore year came and it all changed. I was a normal high school kid who laughed and joked with her friends. I went to Friday night football games - I mean that is the thing to do in Texas, after all -  and cheered for our team. I went to the movies on Saturday nights, spent my Sunday mornings in church, and my afternoons with my mom. It was a great life. Then she met him and everything changed. She changed. I became just a burden to her.
A girl can only take so much.
By Senior year I had to find a way to fix this. I couldn’t stay here anymore. I called my dad and made the move to get my life back on track. My grades had started to slip - which sucked. I wanted a future that didn’t include locking my bedroom door at night - or anytime Mom wasn't home.
A change was a necessity. I made that leap, and thank my lucky stars daily that I did.
As I sit in this auditorium waiting for our graduation ceremony to start, I can't help but let my mind wander back to my first day here. The first time I saw him.
I’d only just gotten here. My dad had taken a new job, and I was nervous as hell. The town was nice, and the people I'd met so far were really nice, but it was different than Texas. Colorado Springs, Colorado was a marvelous place. Simply gorgeous. Breathtaking, even.  
The school was slightly different from what I was used to. Still, it had the big buildings, kids playing around in the parking lot, and of course the practice field in plain view of everyone. It was different from the mass of buildings and parking lots my school in San Antonio had. This was small, quaint even, compared to my old school. It looked inviting, and for a school of any kind that’s something miraculous.
There were a few other vehicles like mine, some a bit older, but nothing new and flashy like there was in San Antonio. There was a lot more variety in the bigger cities, thanks to the military bases and what not there. Here it was just simple. Thank God. After parking my dark blue, Dodge truck, I took a deep breath and climbed out. I turned to go up the walk that would lead me into the school, but came to a stumbling stop when I literally ran into the most gorgeous man I had ever seen. He was tall, dark and totally the man that got all the girls attention. He looked like a model. A very hot, sexy, tall drink of a man kind of model.
Shaking myself from the haze of hotness I shifted my bag on my shoulder, made my apologies and went inside. My heart had set to racing like it was a new racer in the Indianapolis 500. Jesus. I made my way to the office - still barely breathing - to get signed in and pick up my schedule. My dad, bless him, had already been here and gotten everything changed over for me so the first day would be easier.
The secretary was the sweetest lady I think I had ever met. She said that my classrooms would be easy to find, but she gave me a map of the school, just in case. Thankfully I had already scoped it out on the school's website, but the map would come in handy. I was the kind of girl that could get lost on a one way street as it was. Seriously, I could get lost in my own house, at times, or so it seemed.
Walking out of the office I gave myself a mental shake. I could do this. It was just another school, and this change would gear me up for college. I nodded again and headed to my first class. School had been in for a few months already. School had started here in August, and it was only a few weeks until Christmas break - so I was worried about being the center of attention. Assholes and bullies had a  “new kid radar” when they intended on making your life hell. I hated that - bullies who were nothing more than scared children themselves. Just let me slip in, unnoticed and stay unimportant.
I entered the classroom and froze as I scanned the seats.
My heart sped up and I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Sitting there in the back of the class was the god I had run into outside. Thank you, baby Jesus, for putting the hottest student in school in my class. The teacher handed me my books and directed me to a seat in the middle of the room, but I had tuned her out. Holy crap. How could I concentrate with him in here? During the class I wanted to turn around and look at him, but I didn't want to make a fool of myself by gawking. Like, seriously, girl, get a grip.
I can see it now, the gossip would spread like wildfire. Oh hey, guys, the new girl is a stalker. Yeah, no thanks. I tried to focus on the teacher. It didn't work well. All I could think about was running my hands through those dark curls and kissing those dimples.
Yikes, hormones out of control in aisle three! Send help! SOS!
When the bell rang, I shot out of my seat and went to find my next class. I didn't want to risk seeing him after I had daydreamed about him for the last forty five minutes, an hour, whatever it had been.
The rest of the morning there was no sign of him, sadly. I was disappointed, yet relieved by that fact. I didn’t know what in the hell was wrong with me. It was as if something inside me was trying to claw its way out and make me into a nut case.
I had learned his name was Dylan. How, you ask? Ugh, from the cheer-bitches who were always stalking behind him. I marveled at the memory of him all day, and was so lost in my own head that I never saw him until he was right in front of me. Again, all I could do was drool. Attractive,right?
I moved to the back corner of the courtyard, where I tried to focus on my lunch. I kept getting lost staring at him. So much so that I ran into a bush. Yep, brilliant freaking way to make an impression. Why hello Mr. Bush, nice to meet you. Can I crawl inside you and hide until I die of embarrassment?
The people he sat with glanced my way a time or two and I was almost caught staring. Well, more like ogling. There was a guy on the bench where Dylan stood that looked just like him. Tall, dark and oh, so yummy. Though I doubted anyone could be as yummy as Dylan. I watched as one of the cheer-bitches leaned down in front of him, her body trying to mold to his. I knew girls like her. They were pretty and as shallow as a dry river bed in summer.
Nonetheless, I learned through my eavesdropping that Dylan was going off to college after graduation. Well, that took a rocket scientist to figure out. Most of us were destined for college. Or we hoped to be, at least. I wanted to roll my eyes at her but it seemed the cheer-bitch was his girlfriend or something.
I overheard a few kids talking about me as I tried to shove Doritos in my mouth and pretend I wasn't drooling over a guy I'd only seen up close once. Someone said I looked ready to pounce him. Maybe I was, but really? They had nothing else to do but trash me? They didn't even know me! My dad had warned me about small town gossip when we first got here. Apparently everything was worthy of spreading around town.
Later in the afternoon, in my last class of the day - English - some girls were all abuzz about prom. Prom was still a few months away, but they all wanted to be asked. They seemed to be making plans as to how to get the guys to ask them out.
No thanks. Y’all can keep that mess. I don’t do loud noises and stupid people all up in my space. Plus, being new, no one would want to get to know me and vice versa. They did have me glancing at myself, though. I wasn’t much to look at. I was 5’10”, which meant I was the freak and a head above the other girls. I have double D boobs, and am a little fluffy. Not the average jock’s type. I wasn’t the cheerleader. I wasn’t even the girl worth a second glance, most days.
As the days went by, I admired him from afar. I never approached him, nor did he approach me. I had occasionally caught him staring at me, when he thought I wasn't looking. He would always look away quickly and it would make me blush. I had come to the conclusion he didn't have any interest in me, since he never acknowledged me otherwise. I decided to try and forget my fantasies. I needed to be like any other teenage girl. Even if they dreamed of the sexy lacrosse player. Ugh. Him in that uniform on game nights. Sweet baby Jesus.
Things at school progressed slowly for a few more weeks, until I found a groove I liked. I had a few new friends, so I was content. They seemed to be nice kids. I never felt out of place with them. They treated me as one of them. We could study together, which was helpful. The teachers here didn’t play, man. A few more long months and then school would over. That was why when Zeke came up to me after a football game and asked me out I didn't know how to respond. I'd been watching Dylan undress in the parking lot - I was so busted. I’m sure he thought I was blushing for him, but not a chance. That blush was reserved all for Dylan even if it was all a secret. Which made my heart thud.
Zeke was a nice guy and fun to be with. Every time we went out he was always a perfect gentleman, but I just couldn't get Dylan off my mind. I was constantly thinking of what it would be like to be on a date with him instead. I also couldn't stop thinking about doing other things besides just dating him. The things I wanted to do to him. Oh My God. I was turning into a harlot for sure. The Lord was going to strike me down at any moment. I swear.
If anyone else heard my thoughts I would simply die. No matter what we did, who we hung out with, it just didn't feel right to be with Zeke when I was constantly thinking about being with another man, even if that man didn't return my feelings.
So, after a couple of months, I decided to call it quits with Zeke. I gave the poor guy that same old tired speech we all have gotten at least once. The “it’s me, not you” kind of speech. It really was all me. It sounded as lame as a three legged horse. I really felt like shit after that. I hated the thought of hurting Zeke, but anytime Dylan and I locked gazes his eyes lit a fire inside me that I never thought could be extinguished. It was then that I knew I was making the right choice. There were things in life, no matter if they hurt or not, you just had to do them.
I frowned as I remembered what transpired that day.
That day two months ago changed who I was and what I wanted. I knew I'd never get it, but I wanted Dylan. He was the one I dreamed about and I only hoped I'd get the chance.
As the graduation ceremony started, I waited for my name. When it was called, I strolled across the stage feeling a pang of heartache. This would be the end of my high school days, and an end to my desires to be with Dylan. I was leaving for the University in a few weeks, and into the real world.
Dylan would become nothing more than a memory.



Author Logo.jpgI’m a Carolina Girl by right and a Texan by birth. Best of both worlds. I have the brass sass to keep up with my Texas sized temper. Living and working in both states i’ve learned a lot about hard work, adapting to your surroundings and making the best of the path that you have been led down. My grandma Dollie once told me I would know what I was meant to do when it happened. She was right, as always.
As with most book lovers, I am an avid reader. Reading has always been a hobby - a passion, really and a way to get lost in other people’s lives, their drama and other worlds. It’s a private movie in your imagination that you get to cast and navigate through, at your own pace. Reading helps to expand the perimeters of one's mind. That is what got me into writing. Writing has been something that I have done since I was a kid. If I had paper, I was writing. Nine out of ten times it made no sense but what are words if they are not to be used to your advantage? Words are a part of us all. Why not use them, right?
During the day I work as a ‘desk jockey’ and help the residents of my county navigate themselves around our little, but not too little country town. By night I am either blogging with my best friends, doing PA work for some of my favorite authors or fighting with the voices in my head. They can be stubborn at times. It’s a blessing and I am cherishing every moment. Tomorrow is never guaranteed so I want to make sure I live the day as fully as possible. For what is my creation, can become someone else's treasure.

~ Connect with Barb here ~

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