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Sword Point Excerpt:
Pulling out her cell phone, she called her mother.
“Donny’s 24-Hour Diner, can I help you?”
“I'd like an extra large banana split to go please,” Ava said.
Mom laughed. “Ava, sweetie! How was practice?”
“Like a Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Mom. I pillaged and burned.”
“Showing off on the first night isn’t a good way to make friends.” Her mother kept her tone light, but Ava knew the little dig was aimed at her.
For Ava, fencing had always come first. She didn’t have time for friends she didn’t need. Her mother disagreed.
Ava drew in a calming breath. “How soon can you pick me up?”
Silence. Her mother worked full-time, and attended college classes at night, but; to pay for Ava’s training at the Academy, she scaled back her course load to one class so she could take another job as the night manager of Donny’s.
You don’t reach the Olympics without sacrifice.
“You can come during your dinner break,” Ava prompted.
“Ava, I can’t. I only get thirty minutes to eat. Can you get a ride? It could be a good ice breaker for making a friend.”
Her fingers tightened on the phone. Her mother just wouldn’t quit. Perhaps if she had an imaginary friend her mother would get off her back.
“I already made a friend,” Ava said.
“Already?” Doubt laced her mom’s voice.
“Yeah. Her name’s Tammy, she lives in Copperstown. Her parents own the Copper Tea Kettle.”
“Oh! The place with all those fancy teas?”
“Yeah. They’re big tea drinkers. Look, Mom, I’ve gotta go. I’ll get a ride with her. Bye.” Ava closed her phone, and checked the time. Ten minutes until the next bus.
She left the locker room, and almost ran into a group of fencing coaches, including Mr. Clipboard talking with the Karate Dude. They all jumped back when they spotted her, and conversation ceased.
“Sorry. Didn’t mean to surprise you,” she said into the silence. No response. As she passed them, her back burned with their stares.
That was creepy.
When she reached the bus stop, she dropped her heavy bag on the sidewalk in relief.
“You lied to your mother,” a man said behind her.
She spun. The Karate Dude stood five feet away, peering at her with loathing. “Tammy isn’t one of the Academy students.”
Anger flared. “You perv. You shouldn’t be hanging around the girl's locker room.”
“And you shouldn’t have come here alone.” His intent gaze pierced her body like the point of a sword. “Your kind is always overconfident,” he said.
“My kind? Fencers?” Fear brushed her stomach. Perhaps this was one of those situations her mother warned her about.
“You can quit with the charade. I know what you are.”
And he was a dangerous wacko. Should she scream or call the police? He put his hand in the pocket of his black leather jacket. Ava grabbed her phone, searching the street for help. No one.
The Karate Dude yanked out a bottle. In one fluid motion, he flipped the lid off and flung the contents into her face.
From THE ETERNAL KISS, 13 VAMPIRE TALES OF BLOOD AND DESIRE,
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EDITED BY: TRISHA TELEP, RUNNING PRESS BOOKS, 2009