Bait by KC Blake - an excerpt


Today I am thrilled to have an excerpt from the brand new YA novel by KC Blake, Bait. 

The temperature in her bedroom plummeted thirty degrees. She shivered and flipped onto her stomach. Dark hair caught beneath one shoulder, pulling painfully at her scalp, and she winced. The sheet proved a poor barrier between her skin and the Arctic air. What was going on? Had the heater stopped working?

Knowledge returned, and experience helped her tired brain connect the dots. The cold was due to a supernatural occurrence. It had been a warm evening when she’d gone to bed. What could change the temperature so drastically? She bolted upright, the answer coming to her with the speed of a freight train, chilling her further.

At the same time she reached behind her, sliding her fingers beneath the pillow and grasping the hilt of the ancient dagger, a rumbling sound emanated from the closet. The raised design pinched the tender flesh of her palm, but she barely felt it. Her fingers tightened. Simply having it in her hand had the power to calm her.

The urge to call for her uncle parted her lips and she gathered a breath.

White light seeped through the cracks around her closet door, outlining the tall rectangular plank, proving it was too late to yell for Connor. The monster from the Spirit Realm would hear her.

Bay-Lee swallowed as she tried to remember every lesson Van had taught her about self-defense over the years. She purposely slowed her breathing. It would be better if she had the advantage. With that in mind she went down on the mattress and closed her eyes. Let the thing think it had caught her asleep and defenseless. She held the dagger against her chest beneath the orange sheet and waited patiently for it to make the first move. Nothing was going to kill her, not in her own bedroom, not tonight.

The light died, her closet door opened, and a shadowy figure swept into her bedroom. A floorboard creaked beneath the unexpected weight. Her entire body stiffened underneath the orange sheet, knowing the thing was there to kill her. For years monsters from the Spirit Realm had searched the world for her. It was inevitable one would eventually find her.

With eyes closed she couldn’t see the monster coming towards her, so she strained her ears to pick up on the slightest noise. Instead of footsteps, a disturbing dragging sound rested on the air. Her fingers gripped the dagger tight. The monster swished closer. It was almost to the head of the bed now. She held her breath, waiting. A plan of attack played like a silent movie in the back of her mind, letting her know exactly what she should do.

The monster bent over her. Its breath stank of smoking ash and decaying flesh. She watched it from beneath lowered lashes. Bony fingers reached for her.

Now! She rolled in the opposite direction, leaped off the bed, and pointed the dagger at the intruder. Draped in a black cloak with tattered edges and a hood pulled down to conceal its face, the thing was obviously a reaper. Although she’d read about reapers in one of Van’s books, she’d never seen one in person. No one saw them, not until they came to collect.

Reapers could see better in the dark than a cat, so she felt extra vulnerable in the silly bunny pajamas. There was a fuzzy robe hanging on the inside of her closet door. If she could have a single wish granted, she would want to be in that robe, but there was no point in asking the reaper to allow it. The thing wouldn’t give her time to put it on. They weren’t known for their patience.

She swallowed hard before forcing words from her mouth. “Are you here to reap me? Am I dying?”

It spoke to her in a voice that sounded like gravel in a blender, a mere whisper in an otherwise silent night. “I have not come to harm you.”

“Then why?” Everything she knew about reapers flitted through her mind, nothing useful. They collected souls and crossed them safely over the dark plains of the Spirit Realm. It was their only job, priority one. If the thing wasn’t in her room to collect her, then... “What do you want?”

The monster’s eyes burned bright, yellow at first and then red, staring at her in the smothering darkness. It spoke slowly, enunciating every word with excruciating detail, and it hissed on the letter S, reminding her of a snake. “I can s-see into your s-soul. Do not fear. Your s-secrets are s-safe with me.”

What the hell? Her own voice quivered. “You have thirty seconds to tell me why you’re here before I cut your tongue out.”

“We both know that isn’t possible.” To prove its point it remained silent for an uncomfortable length of time. When it deigned to speak again, she was ready to scream for backup. “Your s-soul is a mess of contradictions. S-sometimes you s-stand in front of the mirror and s-stare into your own eyes as you s-search for your true s-self.”

The dagger in her hand trembled. Quickly she took control of her body and stopped the involuntary movement, using every ounce of determination she possessed. How could this thing possibly know what she did or how she felt? Had it been spying on her?

“For the last time, tell me why you’re here. Then get out of my house or I will find a way to tear your face off.”

Did reapers have faces?

“S-soon you will know who you are, who you truly are. All of your questions will be answered. You will find your other half, your destiny.” It paused before adding, “They are keeping s-secrets from you?”


“Your uncle and your father. They want to keep you from your destiny, child. Open your eyes. S-seek the truth.”

“If they’re keeping secrets from me and you know what they are, tell me.”

“I am bound by rules, child. I can only give you a hint.”

She waited, saying nothing.

“Follow your heart,” it said. “Love what you love. Be who you want to be.”

“Seriously? I could find that in a fortune cookie.” Clenching her teeth, she said, “Get out.”

The thing remained statue still. Then it said, “There is more.”

Her frustration grew. If it was possible to kill a reaper, the thing would be dead on her floor, bathing in its own blood.

Did reapers have blood? Giving in, she asked, “What?”

“Why must I tell you everything? You must s-sense it. S-something is coming. S-something bad.”

“Something worse than you?”

It chuckled. “Beware. It kills—”

“Newsflash. Everything from your side kills. That’s what hunters are for, to stop them.”

“I wasn’t finished.” The reaper sounded irritated, losing patience. “It kills you on your birthday.”

“That’s depressing.” She wondered if monsters understood sarcasm. “Why bother to warn me? I know the Order wants me dead.”

“S-soon, yes. But not yet.”

“Are you serious?” They’d been on her trail for years. Why would they suddenly send her a warning?

It didn’t bother to answer her question. Moving scary fast, the monster disappeared into the closet before she could swallow and a light flashed around the edges of the door, signaling its departure. Darkness once again stole over her bedroom. It was gone.

Her flesh itched to chase the monster down and torture answers out of it. Problem was she couldn’t remember if reapers felt pain. Following it would be stupid. Getting caught on the other side without an arsenal would be doubly stupid. She started in the direction of her bed, but her gaze swung back to the closet door and she hesitated. She didn’t want another visitor. The next one might kill her instead of handing her a useless warning.

Bay-Lee got on the other side of the dresser. Gritting her teeth, she pushed, scooting it across the bare floor until it blocked the closed closet door. Let something try to enter her room now. On her way back to bed her gaze found the garden picture on the floor, and her breath caught in her throat. If she’d been dreaming before, why was the picture on the floor?

She’d had two visitors tonight.

What was going on over there in the Spirit Realm? Had someone opened a doorway between there and her bedroom and put a sign out front saying: This way to Van Helsing’s daughter?

Adrenaline pumped through her veins. The encounter with the two monsters had her body burning extra hot. Too bad she hadn’t been able to fight with at least one of them. A good fight might have helped calm her. Now she was too wound up to sleep so she decided to listen to music for a while.

It took hours for her body to relax enough to fall asleep.

Intrigued? I know I am! Here's some info about K.C and where to get a copy of what promises to be a fabulous book!

K.C Blake
Born and raised in sunny California, K.C. Blake fell in love with books at a young age and decided to pursue writing as a career. Her favorite authors include Stephen King, John Saul, Cassandra Clare, J.K. Rowling, and Carrie Jones. In her spare time she enjoys shopping (and when I say shopping I mean go to the mall early in the day, eat lunch, and then keep going until you don't have any strength left), reading great books, taking care of animals (she lives on a farm), and searching for creative ideas to improve her home. A former writer for Harlequin, she now publishes her books her way and loves every second of it. Okay, she's a bit of a control freak.
Bait links:
(also available in print)

K.C. Blake's Social Links:
Twitter: @kasiblake

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