Enlightened Book Excerpt Plus Contest Reminder!

Enlightened: A Tale of Love and Light

Loti Dupree fears that when her husband died, she lost her soul. Harboring a painful secret, she flees her life in a small Appalachian town for the ashram, the spiritual retreat where she trained to be a yogini. But she is running from more than grief. An ominous nightmare the night before she leaves sets her on a dangerous path of self-discovery that challenges everything she believes – and threatens her life.
 
While dodging psychic attacks from an unknown assailant, she struggles with her growing attraction to a broody, handsome and completely frustrating vampire. Loti races to understand who and what she is before her anonymous enemy catches up with her.
 

Loti thought she couldn't survive her husband’s death, but among healers, witches, and vampires, she discovers not only a future, but a family.

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Book Excerpt

The basement room reeked of mildew and old books. A great, crumbling tome rested on a heavy wooden table that harkened back to the days of the Salem witch trials. Candles burned in a ring around a chalked-pentagram on the cement floor, while a pony-tailed blonde set the last one down carefully, completing the circle of protection.

“That’s not right, Katie,” a flat-topped young man teased as he pushed her playfully out of the way. She giggled and fell to her side, slapping at the hand nudging the candle a hair to the right.

“Smart-ass.” She laughed, tapping his knee with her saddle-shoe. He turned and their eyes held for a moment.

“Come on, Joe, time’s a-flying, and we’ve got a metaphysics final tomorrow. I’d like to pass.” A fellow in gray trousers tapped his wrist watch.

“Don’t flip your wig, Patrick, we’re ready.” Joe grinned over his shoulder. Katie shifted her blue, blameless eyes to Patrick’s face, the warm glow as steady and true on him as it had been for Joe. The corners of Patrick’s mouth curled up.

“Then let’s begin,” he said in a mocking, ominous voice. Patrick offered both hands to Katie, who tilted her head and winked. She grabbed them, and he took his time pulling her to her feet. When Joe turned toward the pair, Patrick dropped her hands, and she dusted off her green pedal-pushers.

“I’ll never get these clean again. Mom will kill me,” she fussed.

The three college co-eds marched around the circle, mumbling a protection incantation under their breath. After three turns around, they stepped into the circle and knelt, facing each other. Joining hands, they struggled to maintain serious faces as repressed smiles twitched their lips. They repeated the incantation over and over:

“Asato ma sadgamaya.

Tamaso ma jyotirgamaya.

Mrtyorma amrtam gamaya”

Katie’s soft, schoolgirl voice balanced out the men’s coming-of-age gruffness. The candle flames flickered as the energy they conjured coalesced around them, blowing in a gust around the circle. The wind grew more robust until Katie’s ponytail danced behind her like blonde streamers on the end of a girl’s bicycle handle. They raised their voices over the roaring pitch, changing the incantation.

“Om Klim Kalikayei Namaha”

They chanted in perfect unison over the blustering energy. Their eyes flared in fascination as a pinprick of light materialized in the center of their circle, expanding into a sphere. The edge sizzled and danced in unison to the flickering candle flames. The center was a blur of color with indistinct shapes forming and dissolving.

Joe shouted, “Now.” And they yelled over the commotion:

 

“Om bhurbhuva svah

Tatsaiturvarenyam

Bhargo devasya dhimahi

Dhiyo yo nah procodayat”

 

The sphere of light blasted open into a swirling orb of green and blue, ringing like a singing bowl. Katie laughed out loud in wonder and shock, and as if drawn by her girlish voice, the orb rushed to her. Her hands were torn from Joe and Patrick’s frantic grasps as she floated above their heads trapped inside the shimmering ball. The howling wind and the shrill ringing muffled her scream as the orb shrank, and Katie stretched out long and thin, like a girl-shaped rubber band.

Her panicked “help me” echoed down the disappearing corridor, one hand stretching out to them as the orb sucked her away. Her eyes bulged with horror or pain—or both. The orb winked out of existence with the sound of a single flame being pinched out with wet fingers. The room rang with sudden silence, the candle flames still.

“No!” Joe bellowed.

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