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THE NEXT GENERATION
By S.C. Stephens
Series: Conversion #4 (beginning of the second arc)
About the book
Fitting in can be hard for anyone. But for Julian and Nika Adams, it’s especially challenging. Born as partial vampires, a rare offshoot of pureblood vampires, the twins have had to deceive people their entire lives—distancing themselves from their peers.
Nika desperately wants a hero, a soulmate, someone she can trust with every fibre of her soul—someone as amazing as her father. The boys at her high school aren’t impressing, but luckily for Nika, Hunter Evans has moved into the neighborhood.
Julian desperately wishes he could sever the empathic bond he has with his sister. While it was fun to experience each other’s emotions when they were kids, now that Julian finds himself pining for a girl he can’t have, sharing his feelings is the last thing he wants to do.
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My brother was normally a calm person, not easily ruffled or riled, but Russell was his exception. Consequences aside, Julian would fight him to the death in a bathroom, and drain him dry in an alley; he hated him to the core. And all because Russell was dating the woman Julian was infatuated with: Raquel Johnson.
Raquel was the girl Julian wouldn’t shut up about. They were lab partners for a semester last year, and had developed some sort of friendship during class. But while they talked on occasion, and Raquel seemed to like Julian well enough, Russell was the moon and stars in her eyes. And he treated her like dirt. It was all very tragic, and sometimes I wondered if Julian was only attracted to Raquel because he wanted to save her. He wanted to be her knight in shining armor, wanted to be a hero, like our father. Only problem in this situation was that Raquel didn’t seem to want a knight. Some damsels preferred being in distress.
Just when I was about to yell at Russell to leave already, he and his entourage finally backed away from the shower area. Julian’s body was still tight with anger as the sounds of Russell and his gang started to dissipate. When the heavy door to the locker room banged shut, Julian opened his mouth, exposing his fangs to the boys who were no longer there.
Annoyed, I put my hands on my hips and faced him. “What the hell were you thinking, Julie?”
Julian stepped away from the shower wall; his eyes were still firmly locked on the locker room exit. “You didn’t need to rush in here, Nick. I had everything under control.”
I wiped a smear of blood from his cheek. Holding my red finger in front of his gaze, so he’d concentrate on me and stop staring at the door, I murmured, “Yeah, I see that.”
He glanced at the blood and sighed. “Damn it.” Tenderly, he touched his fingers to his face; when he pulled them away, they were red.
I momentarily considered sucking the swath of his blood from my finger—the vampire in me growled in delight at the idea—but I easily ignored the desire. Grabbing Julian’s elbow, I pulled him to the sink.
Looking at the cut near his eye in the mirror, Julian grimaced. “Great.” His face contorting around his fangs, he asked, “How am I gonna explain this to Mom and Dad?”
Turning on the water, I let the cool stream wash away the yummy goodness that a part of me yearned for. “Well, since I’m still waiting for an explanation, why don’t you try out your excuse on me?”
Sliding his fangs back in, Julian shook his head; his pitch-black hair instantly reminded me of our father. Julian was right, Dad wasn’t going to like hearing about him fighting. “It was nothing,” he murmured, his expression sheepish. “Just Russell being a dick because I was talking to Raquel.”
Sighing, I moistened a paper towel so Julian could clean himself up. “Didn’t feel like nothing, Julie. It felt like…” Remembering his fear and panic, I bit my lip and handed him the towel. That had been a lot more than Julian just reacting to Russell being a jerk. That had been…primal.
As Julian took the towel, his light eyes silently begged me to not finish my statement. Knowing his feelings when he didn’t want me to know them felt intrusive, so I decided to respect his reluctance as much as I could. “It just…felt like something,” I told him.
Julian hissed in a breath as he dabbed the towel against his cut. Unfortunately, since we were living vampires, Julian and I didn’t have the fast-healing ability that our undead family members had. Julian’s wounds would have to close the old-fashioned way. “I was just having a…moment,” he whispered, glancing at me in the mirror.
With sympathy in my heart, I nodded at his reflection. Julian’s panic attacks had subsided over the years, but they crept up now and again if he was put in the right circumstances. Dealing with Russell must have put him over the edge.
I said nothing more about it as Julian wiped away the bloody evidence from his face. I could feel the lingering bumps and bruises Julian felt, shared the ache stinging his cheek. Pain wasn’t necessarily an emotion, but our bodies processed it as such. Ever since birth, I had known when Julian was hurting, physically and emotionally. My long, lean limbs felt fine, but I was aware of his injuries, and was going to be aware of them for the next several days while he healed. Yeah, double-edged sword.
About S.C. STEPHENS
S.C. Stephens is a bestselling author who enjoys spending every free moment she has creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance.
Her debut novel, Thoughtless, an angst-filled love triangle charged with insurmountable passion and the unforgettable Kellan Kyle, took the literary world by storm. Amazed and surprised by the response to the release of Thoughtless in 2009, more stories were quick to follow. Stephens has been writing nonstop ever since.
In addition to writing, Stephens enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading fabulous novels, loading up her iPod with writer’s block reducing music, heading out the movies and spending quality time with her friends and family. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her two equally beautiful children.