Read Ash Online

Authors: Leia Stone,Jaymin Eve

Tags: #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Fantasy, #Paranormal & Urban, #Teen & Young Adult

Ash

 
 
 
 

Ash

Hive
Trilogy Book 1

By:
Jaymin Eve and Leia Stone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright
© 2015 by Leia Stone and Jaymin Eve. All rights reserved.

 

No
part of this publication may be reproduced. Stored in a retrieval system, or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the author.

 

This
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the
product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance
to actual persons, live or dead are purely coincidental.

 

Stone, Leia

Eve, Jaymin

Ash

 

 

For
information on reproducing sections of this book or sales of this book go to
www.leiastone.com
or
www.Jaymineve.com

 

[email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To
our fans, this one is for you.

Chapter 1

 

Rounding the corner of
the path, I pushed myself harder, red and gold fall trees blurring in my
peripherals as my legs demolished the last mile of my run. I was totally going
to break my record. My best time so far was five miles in thirty minutes. I was
so beating that today.

I
breathed deeply, finishing the last few yards at a slow jog, and as I glanced
down at my watch, I had to stop for a second before looking closer.

Twenty-five
minutes … 
Okay, that’s ridiculous.

I’d
only started running a year ago … after that night, the night when everything
in my world changed. Since then – running, self-defense, gun training – I
wouldn’t be a victim again, that was for damn sure. But to be smashing out five
miles in twenty-five minutes – I wasn’t even breathing hard. 
Not
exactly normal.

As
I jogged up the steps into my dorm building, a breeze ruffled my long black
hair, refreshing against the light sweat I’d worked up. It was late September;
the fall days were beautiful and it was just starting to get cool at night.

Pushing
open the door, I crossed the common room quickly and hopped up the three sets
of stairs to reach my room. My university, Portland State (PSU), was in northwest
Portland, which happened to be my home town. I would have loved to have gone to
college in New York or LA, but we couldn’t afford it and I couldn’t leave my
mom. I was almost finished now though; this was my last year – four years of majoring
in marketing. God knows why I chose that. I was twenty-one and still had no
clue what I really wanted to be when I grew up. Everyone else I knew had the
next ten to twenty years of their lives mapped out. Me? I had nothing. So for
now, marketing seemed like a good ticket to an interesting job. 

“…totally
an ash. They were fucking gorgeous.”

Two
girls pushed past me going in the opposite direction, their voices loud and
excited as they chatted about the newest batch of ashes at our university.
Personally, the vampire/human hybrids didn’t do it for me, but I was in the
minority there. The blond girl giggled, and I kind of wanted to bitch-slap her.
“Yeah, they must have been on their way back to the Hive,” she twittered away.

It
made my blood boil the way humans got all crazy over the Hive compound, like
they’d do anything to make their way inside. I’d been inside those gates one
time, and there was absolutely nothing good there for any human. We were
nothing to those creatures, lower than animals, just food, plain and simple. I
was lucky I got out with my life and my blood intact.

I
shook off those thoughts as I removed the key from my sports bra and opened the
door to the apartment I shared with my best friend Tessa. We’d grown up
together, both of us from single parents, and we were as close as sisters. I
stepped into the semi-dark room, slamming the door behind me.

“There
is something seriously wrong with you, Charlie.” Tessa was leaning across our
small, round, piece-of-shit dining table, her blond curls mussed everywhere.
She wasn’t exactly a morning person. “No sane person gets up and jogs, it’s
just not done. Plus, you’re not even sweating. Why the crap don’t you get all
red and blotchy like the rest of us?”

She
rubbed at her eyes, before downing the rest of the tar she called coffee. “I’m
still betting you just run around the corner and sit in Starbucks checking out
hotties for thirty minutes.”

I
laughed, crossing to the fridge to grab a bottle of water. I took my first
swallow, but strangely the water didn’t seem to quench the non-stop thirst I’d
had the last few days.

“I
don’t know what’s up with me,” I said, taking the seat next to her. “You
remember what I was like when I first started jogging. I almost had a heart
attack and nearly had to be resuscitated.”

Tessa
snorted. “Oh, I remember. You limped along for about half a mile before
collapsing in a heap and declared that the next person who suggested jogging as
a way to relieve bad memories was going to get cut.”

I
hadn’t been kidding about that either. Running was like torture to me back then,
but it did help chase the mental demons away. “Yeah, and not even twelve months
later I’m running five miles in twenty-five minutes and I barely even break a
sweat.”

 Actually,
it was really only in the last month I found this whole exercise and defense thing
easier. Maybe I was just starting to get it. My muscles knew what to do.

 “Come
on,” I said, jumping to my feet and hauling her up after me. “Comm skills is in
thirty minutes, and it’s gonna take you half of that just to fix that rat’s
nest.”

   She
flipped me off but didn’t argue. I waited to make sure she actually made it
into her bedroom before I dashed across and entered my domain. I had time for a
super-quick shower, then I’d have to haul ass to get dressed and out the door
in time to jog across campus.

 

 

We made it to class just
in time. I’d only managed to drag on some jeans and a tank-top, but lately my
hair and skin had been doing some awesome stuff on its own, which was very
useful during those late rushes to class. Tessa was next to me, propped up on
her elbow. Her desk was empty of anything but her takeaway cup of sludge.
Unlike me, she’d managed to style an outfit, fix her hair, and smooth out any
flaws with her perfectly applied makeup. I had on lip gloss and mascara and
that was an achievement.

“Do
you think they’ll be in class today?” Tessa said as she turned her head toward
the doorway.

I
shrugged, trying to pretend I wasn’t also watching the door, but for a
completely different reason. Two ash were normally in this class. They sat near
the front, kept to themselves, and probably tried to ignore the fact that
ninety percent of the females spent the hour staring at them. The ash were
pretty much physical perfection. That’s of course if you ignored that fact that
they were part bloodsucker. I watched the door hoping like hell they had been
hit by a car today and would never make it to class again.

Two
perfect heads of golden brown stepped through the door and moved toward their special
seating. 
Fuck. 
A chorus of feminine sighs echoed through the
room and I tried my best not to roll my eyes.
Smug, gorgeous assholes.
No
car accident and the Hive hadn’t burned to the ground last night.
Oh well,
there’s always tomorrow
. I’m pretty sure I was the only one in the
room who hated the beautiful bastards.

“Settle
down.” The graying professor stepped up to his lecture stand, dropping a bunch
of paperwork onto the table. “Okay, so we’ll be picking up from chapter eight
today…”

“I
swear to God, Charlie, I would totally blood-whore myself for one of those
Ash.” Tessa’s hazel eyes were hooded as she ran her gaze along the two elegant
males.

“I
seriously wish you would stop saying that. They’re animals, Tess. Who knows
what they do to their donors.”

As
if he’d heard me, the golden ash closest to us turned his head and fixed his
dark eyes on me. All of them had the same eye color, black with a ring of
silver right around the pupil. It was just one of the many things which set
them apart from us. From humans. I refused to lower my gaze, sensing mainly
curiosity from him, before he dismissed me and turned back to the professor.

I
shuddered, counting slowly in my head to calm down. Those eyes reminded me of
that night. When the nightmares came, it was always black with rings of silver.
Tessa knew some of what had happened to me, but I hadn’t wanted to go into
detail about the attack. Let’s just say the nightmare stories about vampires
were not all fiction.

“You
know, Charlie, we should be thanking the gods. They gave us a race of perfection
and every single one is male.”

Tessa’s
lecture was getting old. “Yep, they’re all male. Yep, they’re all gorgeous.
Yep, they use humans as nothing more than living, breathing blood donors. The
gods totally love us.”

Tessa rolled her eyes and
finally shut up. It was a tired debate with us and she knew I was sick to death
of hearing about them. Why the human government let those gorgeous freaks walk
among us was lost on me. At least they kept the vampires secluded away. I
shuddered at the thought of the creatures who walked the night. Ash might be gorgeous
and strong and fast, but in my personal opinion, for pure freak-me-outness, they
had nothing on the full-fledged vamps that sired them. It was weird to call
them vampires; sometimes I felt like I was living in a fantasy movie.  Of
course,
Anima Mortem
Virus
just didn’t have the same ring.

We all knew the history. A
few centuries ago some rabid bats bit some villagers and gave them a virus that
increased longevity, increased strength, improved skin elasticity – among other
things – and depleted blood platelet count in the process. The virus allowed
the host to live forever, but a constant influx of blood was required for the
renewal of cells. It also killed the female reproductive system but not the
males. Of course sperm would survive. Friggin’ men, they had it easy.

Tessa nudged me and I
shook off my thoughts. The professor was glaring at me.

“I’m going to guess you
don’t have the answer. Moving on.” He went back to rambling about how certain
colors made you want to buy certain products. Ugh. Damn this class was boring.
I stood up and slowly walked down the aisle to go to the bathroom, which would
hopefully kill at least five minutes of his lecture. As I passed one of the golden-haired
freaks, I noticed his body stiffen and his nostrils flare. His hand snaked out
and grabbed my arm.

“What the crap!” I
muttered, trying to wrench myself free, but he held on. He stared up at me,
pupils pulsing, black and silver eyes flickering. He was taking in deep
breaths, his jaw clenched.

You’re not allowed to
touch me, shit-head.

“Mr. Daniels!” the
professor shouted, and the ash released me right before I was about to clock
him one in the jaw.

Holy hell. I bolted to
the bathroom, rubbing my arm.

They weren’t allowed to
do that. They couldn’t touch a human without an invitation. Dammit, he had
looked ready to eat me or something. Maybe it was feeding time and he’d zoned out.
They weren’t supposed to be around us unless they had recently fed. But of
course rules were made to be broken. I didn’t trust ash. They weren’t natural.

I shivered, washing my shaking
hands. Tessa was crazy if she thought they were something to be desired. Those
pulsing eyes were animalistic. I shook myself; I didn’t want to think about it
anymore. Returning to class, I was totally ready to glare at that asshole and
let him know who was boss. But the ash were gone. My face turned beet red as
all eyes rested on me. The professor paid no mind and kept rambling. Reaching
my seat, I sank low into it, wanting to disappear.

 

“What the hell was that all about in
class?” Tessa crooned as we walked to lunch. “What did it feel like? Did you
orgasm – I heard that when they touch you it’s like a mini orgasm.”

I snorted. “You’re
flippin’ crazy, Tessa. You believe everything you hear about them. Did I look
like I had a mini orgasm? I was a second away from smashing him in the jaw.”

Tessa sighed again. I was
going to have to start thinning out her peroxide. She was losing brain cells
far too rapidly.

“So did Professor
Jennings kick them out or what?” I chewed my lip. I wanted to go for another
run. I was starting to crave it, the pull on my muscles, the wind in my hair,
the pumping of my heart. It was an adrenaline rush.

“Nope. The two ash shared
a look and then they got up and left.” Her eyes were wide like she was telling
me a horror story.

I shrugged. “Good, he
broke a rule by touching me without permission. The other one probably went to
take his ass back to the Hive, where I hope he’ll stay forever.”

I grabbed an apple and
water bottle from the snack cart and sat with Tessa on the lawn outside.

She eyed my food. “You’re
joking with the rabbit food, right? Where's my best friend and what did you do
with her?”

I snorted. She had a
point. I was a total foodie, but lately my appetite wasn’t there.

“Hey, bitches!”

I forced myself not to
roll my eyes, but that overly high-pitched voice belonged to Valarie. She
bounded across the lawn, her best friend Amber in tow. Tessa and I shared a
look. There was definitely a bitch here but it wasn’t us. Amber was okay, but
Valarie was like a mosquito, constantly buzzing around with an ulterior motive.

I finally managed to stop
rolling my eyes and turned to the girls. They looked similar, long straight
bottle blond hair, big blue eyes, fake tanned to the shit, and plastic parts
from their rich families.

“Hey, Val … Amber,” I
said.

Valarie threw me one of
her famous glares. She hated being called Val. And even though Tessa was
friends with them, she still grinned at my attempt to annoy the princess. Valarie
sat down next to us, smoothing her short skirt over her toned legs. Bitch was
perfect but so plastic. No one’s boobs were that perky.

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