Unforeseen, the first novel in the Alex Crocker Seer series, was Lauren’s debut novel, and she’s thrilled to be continuing the series with Unveiled. To learn more about her or her writing or to connect with her online visit her website at www.laurengrimley.com
Unforeseen (Alex Crocker series, book 1)
Genres/tags: urban fantasy, paranormal romance, vampire series
Available formats: ebook and paperback
Publisher: Malachite Quills
Website page: http://www.laurengrimley.com/Unforeseen.html
Trailer link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4jIAt-U1iQ
Alex was quite sure gifted was a term delusional parents applied to their strictly average children, vampires were gorgeous dead guys in her eighth-grade girls' novels, and Seers was a middle schooler's misspelling of a department store known for power tools. Teachers, however, don't know everything–it’s Alex’s turn to be educated.
Running alone the night before school ends, Alex is violently attacked. Regaining consciousness, she finds herself in the home of the Rectinatti Regan, the leader of one of two covens of vampires battling nightly on the streets of her city. If that discovery wasn't enough to make her think she'd gone insane, she realizes she's sensing the emotions of another of the vampires as strongly as she feels her own. Discovering these creatures have the answers to what she is and why she was attacked, she decides she wants to stay, despite knowing it is a dangerous, possibly deadly desire.
Purchase links for Unforeseen, Book 1:
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unforeseen-lauren-grimley/1110436184?ean=2940014543286
Excerpt from Unforeseen:
She knew he was out there. She hadn’t heard him approach over the music she’d been playing. And she couldn’t see clearly through the windows of the two double doors due to the reflection cast by the soft yellow light of the small desk lamp. But Alex would have bet her summer paycheck he was right outside, standing silently in the dark corridor.
That afternoon she had been out the door of the middle school where she taught before the dismissal bell had ceased ringing. The heat and charged end-of-year atmosphere had left her spent and desperate for escape. Unfortunately there was no escaping her uncompleted work. So as soon as she was sure the final after-school activity had ended, she had returned and retreated to the comfort and quiet of the air-conditioned library with her stack of ungraded essays. It had seemed like a pretty smart plan at the time.
As she tapped her front teeth together repeatedly, she was second-guessing her wisdom. She supposed it was too late to flick off the light, mute the music, and hide under the librarian’s desk. He knew she was in there, alone.
But why should she be the one hiding anyway? She had dumped him.
“Come on in, Peter.” Alex stood up and gave a quick tug to the bottoms of her skimpy running shorts. They were probably not appropriate attire to be wearing in the workplace, even after the students had all gone home. She supposed she had little to worry about, though. Peter, as vice-principal, was her boss, and he had seen pretty much all of her. That was more than three years ago, when she had been fresh out of college and easily won over. She’d grown past that stage. Peter had missed the memo.
“Sorry. I, ah, didn’t want to startle you.” He flashed her a guilty grin as he entered the room rubbing his hand over what remained of his buzzed hair.
“Skulking in the hallway was a good idea, then,” Alex said with just a shadow of a smile. Peter chuckled. “Do you use that kind of sarcasm in your classroom, Ms. Crocker?”
She groaned at his form of address. Ms. rang of wizened old spinsters who reeked of
chalk dust and sour coffee breath. At twenty-five, Miss Crocker was more of a laptop-and-sports- drink kind of gal.
“Are you here to kick me out, Peter?” She caught a glimpse of the clock over his shoulder. It was quarter of ten. She knew asking the night custodians to stay sixty seconds past their contracted hours could potentially lead to a union riot.
“Sorry, I know your place is a sauna on nights like this,” he answered, as if she needed reminding he had spent more than a few hot—make that lukewarm—nights at her small one- bedroom apartment.
Alex took a deep breath. He was a good guy, a good friend. But the puppy-who-refused- to-give-up-his-favorite-chew-toy routine was getting old. Not that the chew toy had found a new dog, unfortunately.
Ugh, she thought. Did he really have her equating herself with something plastic and squeaky?
She must not have been successful at hiding her aggravation, though Peter misread the reason for her mood. “You know, if you needed some money to buy an air conditioner—”
“I don’t need money.” Alex knew she snapped a little too fiercely at his generosity. One of her many flaws was a proud independent streak that often bordered on pigheadedness. She had her father to thank for that. Alex sighed and continued in what she hoped was a softer tone. “Thank you, though, for offering.”
“Right. Well, how about a ride home? At least allow me one act of chivalry.” He looked down at her with his deep brown eyes. For a fleeting instant, as she met them, his emotions waxed into hers. She had a bad habit of falling for guys simply because they fell for her. She knew it was how they had become a couple to begin with, but she just couldn’t help it. Some days everyone’s emotions felt as contagious as the flu germs her students passed around each January. She mentally pinched herself, hard.
“Thanks, Prince Charming, but you’ll need to find another damsel in distress. If I don’t run, I’ll never sleep.”
Peter furrowed his brows. “You and your late-night runs.”
“Yes, I’m such a wild child,” Alex laughed. She hadn’t been up past midnight more than twice in the last year. In fact, the most exciting thing she’d done since college had been with Peter—here at school, in a janitor’s closet. She blushed remembering. She peeked up to see he was rosy, as well. “I’ve gone cold-turkey on the Grey’s Anatomy marathons,” she assured him. Though it still seemed unfair that young doctors had all the fun. “Perhaps you should lay off the Law & Order reruns—I’ll be fine.” Alex slung her school bag over her shoulder, scooped her beat-up iPod from the desk and started to the door, patting her pocket to double check she had her key to her apartment.
After dropping her bag in her classroom, she walked with Peter as far as the faculty parking lot. He stopped before crossing the dimly lit pavement to his car. Jingling his keys in his hand, he turned to her one last time.
“Yes. I’m sure.” Alex held up her right hand so he could see the bracelets that covered her wrist. She pointed to her runner’s ID tag and flashed him a grin. “Don’t worry, if some idiot kills me at a crosswalk, you’ll be the first to know.”
“Not funny, Alex.”
She was already heading to the sidewalk, slipping the headphones blasting her alternative rock mix into each ear. She raised a hand to him to say goodnight.
Once on the main road, Alex’s route home was practically a straight shot through the center of Bristol. The former mill city in Eastern Mass had its shabby sections, and it lacked the culture and sophistication of a bigger city like Boston, but it was her home and always had been. She had never felt afraid running the familiar four-and-a-half-mile trek between school and her place. Besides, what she told Peter was true: she needed to run. Handling her students’ hormone- enhanced emotions could be draining. She needed an outlet. Since she could no longer afford karate in addition to her student loans and grad classes, she’d turned to running.
As she closed in on the final street before she’d be on her own block, she watched her shadow grow and shrink in the peaks and valleys of light cast by the evenly spaced streetlamps. She turned around, jogging backwards a few paces. The street behind her, like that ahead of her, was empty. The usual light traffic and occasional dog walker had been kept home by the oppressive humidity and the evening’s earlier thunderstorms. It normally wouldn’t have unnerved her. As a city girl, Alex usually relished the rare opportunity to be truly alone, especially on a night when the rain-washed pavement left the city streets smelling clean for once. So, feeling the unmistakable nervous twinge that turned her stomach and tightened her chest, she cursed the power of suggestion.
“Damn you, Peter.”
Hoping to shake the ridiculous feeling of being followed and not wanting to squander the adrenaline, she took off at full speed. Her sneakers tore into the wet pavement, sending spray up her muscled calves. Halfway to the corner her lungs were burning. At just over five feet short, as her brothers used to say, speed had never been her thing.
Just to the next alley, she promised her aching chest. As soon as she reached the gap between the two commercial buildings, she let up. Her feet slapped the sidewalk as she tried to slow her momentum. She would walk the last block and a half home. It would allow her time to catch her breath, cool off, and calm down. She tried to focus on something mundane.
As she wiped the sweat from her brow, she thought about what Peter had offered. She’d never accept the charity, but she really could use a small air conditioner for her bedroom. She was sick of fighting with the landlord over the ancient hunk of metal that was supposed to cool her whole apartment. Midway through cursing the useless beer-gutted moron under her breath, she was overwhelmed with what might have felt like a wave of nausea to anyone else.
Alex was not anyone else. Part of being sensitive to others’ emotions was having a killer sense of intuition, and hers was suddenly on high alert. This was not the vague undefined fear of moments before—this was real and immediate.
Author website: http://www.laurengrimley.com
Twitter @legrimley: https://twitter.com/legrimley
Lauren Grimley lives in central Massachusetts where she grew up, but her heart is on the beaches of Cape Cod where she spends as much of her time as possible. After graduating from Boston University she became a middle school English teacher. She now balances writing, reading, and correcting, all with a cat on her lap and a glass of red wine close by.